Why Can’t Mormons Drink Coffee?
Drinking coffee has been, and continues to be, an enjoyable morning ritual for many people around the globe. However, this isn’t the case for every single person or group. Some abstain from coffee due to religious restrictions. Mormons, or followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), are one such group.
In this article, we take a closer look into understanding why can’t Mormons drink coffee.
What Does Being A Mormon Mean?
Being a Mormon means belonging to a religious group that accepts the beliefs and practices of a combination of Christianity’s guiding principles and the revelations of their founder Joseph Smith (1). In 1833, a section of the Doctrine and Covenants in a sacred text of the LDS outlined the “Word of Wisdom” (2).
The Word of Wisdom denotes a Law of Health from the Mormons’ Lord to follow for the sake of bettering one’s own spiritual and physical health.
This involves abiding by a code that dictates whether certain foods or substances are acceptable to consume for “the body or belly” (2).
And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones.Doctrine and Covenants 89, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
For more information, check out this YouTube video.
Can Mormons Drink Coffee?
No, Mormons can’t drink coffee. Although coffee was never explicitly mentioned in the Law of Health, avoiding “hot drinks” was later clarified to entail both coffee and tea. The focus instead is to enjoy foods and beverages that have been deemed acceptable to consume due to them having sustained human life throughout recorded history.
Furthermore, “hot drinks” are explained to be neither “for the body or belly,” so there is no benefit to enjoying coffee drinks because it often results in the formation of a habit, which Mormons are keen to avoid (2).
Do Mormons Drink Coffee?
Most Mormons do not drink coffee. But the percentage of those that do is increasing as adherence to the Word of Wisdom lessens. Less than half of all Mormons surveyed in the U.S. in 2016 reported having faithfully abstained from everything prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, including coffee, within the last six months (3).
Individual beliefs, opinions, and practices vary widely when it comes to acceptable attitudes towards coffee consumption among even the most faithful and active Mormons. Contemporary Mormons seem more accepting of coffee and its origins, with 1 in 4 admitting to recently enjoying coffee, tea, and even alcohol (3).
The reason why Mormons can’t drink coffee is because of their religious observance. They adhere to the Word of Wisdom that outlines avoiding certain substances, such as coffee, to better their spiritual and physical development and maintenance. However, as times change, so do its people, and coffee is now slowly seeping into the lives of faithful Mormons.
Yes, Mormons can drink iced coffee – maybe. Since iced coffee is not part of the “hot drinks” classification outlined by the LDS, there is no official ruling on whether Mormons can drink iced coffee. It is up to the practising Mormon to choose, although refraining from coffee in all forms enables one to be qualified for baptism or temple worship by abiding by the Word of Wisdom (2).
Mormons can’t have caffeine, but this can depend on how they interpret the Word of Wisdom. Based on one’s personal preference, this can also mean no chocolate and no soda. Ultimately, the idea is to abide by a lifestyle free from habit-forming behaviours, addictive actions, or harmful substances, and to take good care of one’s body by being cautious about what is taken into it.
Mormons can’t drink tea as it is part of the “hot drinks” classification ruled by the LDS to avoid. Suitable alternatives to tea may include drinks like chocolate milk, juices, sodas, milkshakes, and more. If ever in doubt, water is always an unquestionably safe option.
- History.com Editors. (2021, October 7). Mormons. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/religion/mormons
- Woodworth, J. (n.d.). The Word of Wisdom: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/revelations-in-context/the-word-of-wisdom?lang=eng
- Knoll, B. & Riess, J. One in Three Mormons Have Had Coffee Recently, Another Quarter Drink Alcohol. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://religioninpublic.blog/2018/03/29/one-in-three-mormons-have-had-coffee-recently-another-quarter-drink-alcohol/