Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Caffeine at BYU?!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or the Mormons) has a health code known as The Word of Wisdom. It is found in Section 89 of the LDS publication known as the Doctrine and Covenants. One vers refers to "hot drinks", interpreted as coffee and tea.
And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly. -- Doctrine & Covenants, 89:9

The general consensus is that this restriction is due to the addictive component of these drinks: caffeine -- not necessarily the "hot" temperature itself.

The world is flooded with caffeinated soft drinks -- which are served cold -- not hot. A substantial portion of faithful members of the LDS church consume these soft drinks every day, usually several times per day. Some even confess (brag about) their addiction to caffeine.

The Church has never issued a formal statement that consumption of caffeinated soft drinks violate the Word of Wisdom. Consumers of caffeinated coffee and tea are considered not worthy to enter LDS temples. Consumers of caffeinated sodas are considered worthy. Dunno why there is a double standard or why many consider caffeine in soda to be okay, but caffeine in "hot drinks" is bad.

LDS owned and operated Brigham Young University (BYU) has long restricted the sale of caffeinated soft drinks on campus. In September, this restriction was lifted. No announcement was made as to whether the Church now deems consumption of addictive caffeine is good or whether the Church capitulated to pressure. A capitulation reminds me of the case where the Lord capitulated to Joseph Smith and Martin Harris, resulting in the loss of 116 pages of the Book of Mormon transcript. The Lord essentially said no, no, then, okay do what you want and see what happens.

I grew up in Utah, but military life had me living outside of Utah for 26 years. During those years outside Utah, I never saw a member of the LDS church with a caffeinated drink. On my return to "Zion" 17 years ago, I was shocked to see a large portion of my fellow "Saints" flaunting their consumption of caffeine. I've even seen caffeinated drinks purchased from the ward budget and served at church functions -- even youth activities!

How am I supposed to counsel my children, grand children, and the young men I work with in the Aaronic priesthood to avoid addictive substances when they see their parents and their priesthood leaders defiantly and proudlly consuming caffeine?

Sure, the church hasn't taken a formal stand on caffeinated sodas. But, should they have to? Consider this:
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefor he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. -- D&C 58:25-26

As Dennis Miller says, "Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong."

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