Friday, September 4, 2015

Are Coffee and Tea Really That Bad?

Yes, coffee is bad in multiple ways - and for some people it is more addicting than tobacco and alcohol. I know quite a few people who drink coffee regularly who literally can't quit without getting terrible headaches - nearly migraines. I don't think there's a single benefit from coffee that can't be obtained from something else.

Tea? Some is bad for us; some isn't - and there are plenty of teas that are allowed by the Church in various places in the world. Wheat tea in Japan, where I served my mission, is an example. 

Ultimately, my main concern with using the things that are prohibited in the current Word of Wisdom policy is what I already said about coffee - that I don't know of a single benefit that can't be gained from something else, and there are definite risks for many people. That rarely gets mentioned and discussed, but it's important to me. (Wine is the best example, in my opinion. Who cares if a glass a night is fine for some people and provides some benefits? Those same benefits can be obtained from other things - that generally are cheaper, so why insist on drinking wine?)

My biggest concern about many of those who follow the current restrictions is that they often do so to the exclusion of the other counsel that is not part of the prohibitions. I've struggled with weight issues for the past 20 years, but I've lost about 50 pounds in the last nine months largely by paying attention to the non-prohibition parts of the Word of Wisdom and simply eating less. We should be much, much healthier as a people - and I believe a major part of that is our refusal to take the overall Word of Wisdom seriously enough.

I'm not saying the Word of Wisdom is an eternal law or that people who don't follow it religiously are sinning when they don't believe in it - but I think the underlying principles stated in it actually are eternal in nature: taking care of ourselves to the best of our understanding and avoiding addiction peddlers who care nothing about us but just want our money.

I believe those are really important things.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your comments on the "other Part" of the WofW which we too often ignore. Unfortunately, your comments on tea and coffee show a serious lack of information. While anything, including these two drinks, can have negative effects if used to excess, the healthful benefits of tea and coffee are well documented. I suggest you google this and find out for yourself. Coffee, for example, can prevent migraines, ameloriate asthma, help prevent Alzheimer's etc. etc. Whether they are healthy or not is not the issue here. Hot drinks are specifically mentioned in the WofW, the church has interepreted them to mean tea and coffee and obedience to this Section of the D&C is for us to choose or not to choose.

Anonymous said...

Old story: a General Authority 's English mother in law asked him if he would let a cup of tea keep her from Heaven. He replied, "No, would you?"

Papa D said...

Anonymous 1, No lack of understanding. I said more than once that there are health benefits to coffee and tea - but that those health benefits can be obtained from other things, as well, without risking the serious addiction associated with coffee in particular. I used wine as the best example, but I said it about the other substances, too.

Anonymous 2, I don't think a cup of tea will keep anyone from Heaven, as long as that person isn't drinking it in opposition to their conscience. I think our temple theology teaches that in no uncertain terms. If I let a cup of tea keep me from the temple, and if I draw nearer to God by attending the temple, that is one thing; if I have a cup of tea because I see no correlation between it and Godliness, that is another thing altogether.

I don't drink tea or coffee due to my acceptance of the prohibition within my religion meaning something important to me, even if I wish it was still by way of counsel and not command and even if I wish it wasn't part of the baptismal requirements (that there was a grace period before any requirement associated with the temple, for example). I don't believe it is immutable, eternal law - but I honor it, nonetheless.