Latest from Mormon Land: Is caffeine really against the Word of Wisdom?
Also: A first for the oldest-ever First Presidency; a revised book explores the richness of the world’s religions; an ex-missionary’s tearful return to Ukraine; and Virginia’s first temple.
(AP) This 2011 photo shows cans of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke. Caffeinated drinks may not be particularly good for the body, but they drinking them doesn’t violate the Latter-day Saints’ Word of Wisdom.
| May 11, 2023, 5:00 a.m.
| Updated: 6:11 a.m.
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Have a Coke and a guilt-free smile
This first news tidbit is brought to you in honor of this past Monday’s National Have a Coke Day:
Just Dew it, Latter-day Saints. As in glug a Mountain Dew. Or down a Dr Pepper. Or pound a Pepsi. Or quaff a Coke.
Despite what many snippy outsiders and nitpicking insiders think. There is no general church proscription against faithful members consuming caffeinated sodas.
Yes, the Word of Wisdom forbids “hot drinks.” Yes, church leaders have stated that means swearing off coffee or tea. And, yes, coffee and tea have caffeine. But that dictate doesn’t extend the scriptural health code’s prohibition to all caffeinated products.
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So those cola drinks and that chocolate — either hot or cold — are fair game.
Latter-day Saint authorities reaffirmed that stance in 2012, stating that “the church revelation spelling out health practices … does not mention the use of caffeine.” The faith’s flagship school, Brigham Young University, started selling caffeinated colas in 2017. Apostle Dieter Uchtdorf even joked in General Conference about imbibing “a diet soda that shall remain nameless.”
The General Handbook puts it simply: “Prophets have clarified that the teachings in Doctrine and Covenants 89 include abstinence from tobacco, strong drinks (alcohol), and hot drinks (tea and coffee).”
No mention of any corruptive caffeinated concoctions.
Of course, that hardly endorses that these products do a body good.
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“There are other harmful substances and practices that are not specified in the Word of Wisdom or by church leaders,” the handbook cautions. “Members should use wisdom and prayerful judgment in making choices to promote their physical, spiritual, and emotional health.”
It’s just that caffeine is not the creedal culprit. Period. Full stop. The end.
A first for the First Presidency
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson, center, with his counselors, Dallin H. Oaks, left, and Henry B. Eyring, at General Conference on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023. Soon all three will be in their 90s.
Welcome to the 90s, President Eyring.
When second counselor Henry B. Eyring turns 90 on May 31, he apparently will be part of the only three-member governing First Presidency in Latter-day Saint history to be made up exclusively of nonagenarians.
The trio already ranks as the oldest First Presidency. But come June, with church President Russell Nelson at 98 — the longest-living prophet-president — and first counselor Dallin Oaks at 90, the threesome’s average age will top 92½.
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In fact, notes the LDS Data Analysis blog, the average age of all the apostles at the start of this year was 78.7, the second highest ever.