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Saturday, June 18, 2005 

how hot is hot?

My father has a rarely acknowledged gift of the Spirit, a gift handed down from his forefathers that allows him to create a magical barrier blocking all caffeinated beverages from entering the house. As a child I was instructed as to the evils of coffee addiction, the addicts losing their jobs and families, the kids failing at school, so overcome with the caffeine jitters they were unable to color inside the lines. The broken lives, the poor health, the husbands and fathers enslaved by Starbucks; grandfathers dying young, coffee pouring out of their ears; mothers unable to function without diet coke, all very sad.

A few years ago my parents drove out to visit us, arriving late at night. My dad said, “I had to stop and buy a Dr. Pepper to help me stay awake.” He didn’t drink it, he just sort of held onto it while driving. Okay, I’m kidding, being totally ridiculous. But my dad did drink a Dr. Pepper to stay awake, once, about six years ago, so it must be okay.

That’s the kind of house I grew up in. I had a short stint in my wayward years where I drank a few cups of coffee, just started to like it, and then I stopped the practice. I’ve been not drinking [black] tea and coffee for so long that it’s not really an issue. It’s just become a part of me, I guess.

And that means I end up giving an awkward introduction to Mormonism whenever someone asks me about coffee:

“I’m going for coffee. You want one?"
“Uh, no, that’s okay.”
“Come on, I’m buying.”
“Uuuh, I’ll have a hot chocolate. With whipped cream.”
“A hot chocolate with whipped cream? What are we in the first grade here? This place makes the best coffee.”
“I don’t drink coffee.”
“What, this late in the afternoon? It’s only two?”
“I don’t drink it ever.”
“Uhhh, it’s a religious thing.”
“Get out. What religion says ‘no’ to coffee?”
“The Mormons.”
“The Mormons? You’re serious? You’re a Mormon?”
“Yes—it’s part of this health code thing, no tea, no coffee, well, herbal tea is okay.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I know. It’s a religious thing. If it made sense, everybody would be doing it.”

The hot drinks, the cold drinks, I don’t get it. It’s religion, what’s there to get? It seems there are 101 ways to interpret, “No hot drinks, meaning no tea or coffee. Or Ovaltine.” Some say it’s the caffeine that’s bad, others say, no no, decaf is bad as well; some say no tea, some say herbal tea. If herbal tea is okay, does that mean marijuana is okay? I mean, a joint is an herbal cigarette, really. I’ve some acquaintances that would readily join a church that permitted herbal cigarettes. They’d probably give up alcohol for it.

I am intrigued by Carrie Ann’s java ice-cream confession. Isn’t it part of the word of wisdom that Mormons have to eat ice-cream? Even my mom eats coffee ice cream on rare occasion. I was shocked to see her do it, and still can’t shake my own guilt-complex to try it myself, but there it is, coffee ice-cream, the best of both worlds.

So here are my two questions:

1) Coffee ice-cream, is it against the Word of Wisdom? Any general authority anywhere backing that one? One doesn’t drink ice-cream so I wouldn’t be drinking coffee unless I had a shake and I promise not to have any coffee shakes.

2) Fresh coffee grounds, is it okay to love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans and to indulge in the scent whenever possible?

Advice, please! My life is in your hands.

I love coffee ice cream and I eat it and if that's what keeps me from the Celestial Kingdom among a myriad of other things, I probably don't want to be there anyway. I bet I can eat coffee ice cream in the Terrestial Kingdom. Honestly, I just always assumed it was the drink coffee that was not allowed, based on the fact that it was lumped in the "hot drinks" category. Ice cream never entered the equation.

According to this chart http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm coffee desserts have more caffeine than sodas, but that's a cup of ice cream versus 12 ounces of soda. And I never drink 12 ounces of soda, usually more like 20.

Maybe this is all just a big rationalization, but I never gave coffee ice cream a second thought until I entered a singles ward at the age of 21 and found out some people considered it bad and evil. I stand by my former position of, I don't think it's a big deal.

I am willing to take responsibility for the fact that coffee ice cream may not be the on "the right side of the list". I can change my ways. Honestly, we don't buy it that often, not because of the coffee thing, but because it's ice cream for crying out loud, and is it really wise (and WoW acceptable, technically) to have ice cream within reach on a daily basis?!

We grew up in a really strict NO caffeine household, and I remember the summer before I left for college, my younger sister met a guy at work and they went out a lot. She was collecting the Coke cans from the "dates" and making a little wall in her room. I remember saying to my mom, "Did you know Sarah's been drinking Coke?" to which my stalwart former-mission-president's-wife mother said, "So? She's a big girl..." I learned a lot about agency that day. My mom taught correct priciples, but knew what was important and what wasn't, and knew when to let go.

I'm with you on the coffee ice-cream guilt complex thing. I've never had coffee flavored anything that didn't involve chocolate in some way, so I don't even have a really good idea of what it tastes like (I do, however, remember the look of a friend's face when he first tasted coffee).

Regarding the smell, I think that there is a market to be found amongst Mormons for the right enterpreneur. Readily available coffee scent would make a lot of the people I know much happier

I always like a stroll through the exotic coffee stores in the mall, or the coffee aisle in a gourmet grocery store for the scents. Growing up, I woke up every morning to the smell of coffee brewing.

Now whenever my parents stay at our place, they just count on the fact that they have to run to McD's or 7-11 in the morning.

It's not the caffine that's the problem, it's tannic acid. One of the main reasons I left the church is because no one can give you a straight answer. The WoW is obviously one of those cases.

Yes, tannins, coffee is full of them, supposed to be bad, very bad for you but I heard some rumor that they act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for you, prevent cancer and keep cells young and healthy looking. In ice-cream form antioxidants are especially powerful, almost miraculous in function.

I don't know what the confussion is about. Really, it's rather cut and dry. D&C 89 says no hot drinks which was later interpreted as coffee and black and green tea. I don't see the ambiguity in that.

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Frankly, I think it is pretty sad that anyone would risk their eternal salvation for a bowl of ice cream. Would it really be that big of a sacrifice to just eat vanilla?

That being said, the WoW is not about individual substances that are evil or not evil. Coffee in itself is not evil. Eating coffee ice cream will not hurt your health and there is little risk of becoming truely addicted. What it will do is show the Lord that you are not willing to be strictly obedient to a law that is frankly, pretty easy to follow. The WoW is about obedience.

Why not be safe and not partake in anything made from coffee or for that matter anything caffeinated? I can guarantee that you won't miss out on any blessings by doing so. On the other hand if you play in the "grey areas" you might.

A fruit of true conversion is when you no longer desire to flirt with sin and start trying to live the law as Christ would if he were here. Somehow I doubt that Christ would agonize over whether or not eating coffee ice cream is appropriate. He would just avoid anything remotely related to sin and not give it a second thought. I believe he would expect us to do the same.

In the end I doubt that eating coffee ice cream will keep you out of the CK but a desire to hold on to petty worldly vices certainly will.

I think that "awkward" conversation is a great opening up a dialogue about the church with your co-workers. Sometimes our "peculiar" habits help us share the truth!

I whole-heartedly agree with Jeff.

Has anybody heard the story of the woman who was in the middle of her temple recommend interview where she stated she would not give up her daily cup of tea? The bishop told her it would have an effect on whether or not she would be able to enter the temple.

She said, "Bishop, surely Heavenly Father isn't going to let one little cup of tea keep me from the temple?"

To which he replied, "Sister, surely you're not going to let one little cup of tea keep you from the temple?"

It's absolutely all about our agency. Free agency is a marvelous thing. It is a precious gift from our Father. It was the very reason behind the war in heaven. He will never take it away from us. He cannot. He would cease to be God. The only way we will ever be rid of it is if we choose to be.

When we put ourselves into compromising situations, i.e. knowingly putting an addictive stimulant into our bodies - especially after being warned of the ramifications - we forfeit our own agency and become a prisoner to the power these things have over us.

Why even play with the fire? If you have to question it, odds are, you won't have a clean concience while partaking of it.

To each his own. There are certainly personal choices to be made between ourselves and the Lord.

But I find that so many of these comments are making the WoW much more complicated than it needs to be. Like Jeff said, it's about obedience.

When we use our free agency to *obey*, and overcome the temptations of putting those things into our bodies, we gain a feeling of self-respect with each and every victory. With that newfound respect, we also gain the presence of the Spirit to help us overcome the next temptation that comes our way.

Oh, yeah. And the blessings freakin' rock when you use your agency to obey, too.

Obedience, free agency, the Word or Wisdom... which was revealed for our health and benefit... all part of this amazing, immaculate plan.

Pretty beautiful, eh?

If that's the worst thing you ever do, you're in better shape than the rest of us. I'm with Kelly.

When you die, Jesus is not going to ask in your life review "did you eat coffee ice cream?" He's going to ask, "how well did you love?"

Personally, I think it is pretty sad that anyone would eat a bowl of coffee ice cream. I mean, like, gross.

Sure coffee smells nice, but to put it in ice cream? Ohhhh...I'm going to puke.

Oh good heavens.

Kim: Don't puke until you have tasted it. *grin*

I have the solution for EVERYONE..*chuckle*

First of all, the best scent in the world (or one of them) is the coffee flavoured candles. A variety of brands. Salt City, Yankee, ect. They have them in several java scents. My personal one is java mocha delight. So spend your 20 bucks and smell for months.

Secondly, if take a look at your lables, you can get (not the best) but ice cream that is coffee flavoured. Meaning it doesn't have coffee OR its ingredients in them.

Now, if that isn't technical enough for you, you can try postum flavoured ice cream that is made at two different dairies in Utah, and one in Idaho Falls.

Since it isn't a "hot" drink, I don't think that postom flavoured ice cream would technically count.

Happy reveling my friends. *S*

OH, do you think the gummi coke~a~cola bottles count?


Question from a non-member:
If the WOW says no hot drinks and later was interpreted to be coffee and tea....where does the soda come in?? I mean I didn't hear anything about caffiene, and I don't drink my Diet Coke hot.

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That's what is so wacky about the whole thing. Why not just say "black tea and coffee" instead of "hot drinks" from the get go?

I think the anti-soda rif came in the 1960s, some said it was the caffeine that made "hot drinks" bad and suddenly mormon culture decided caffeine in any beverage was tantamount to drinking coffee.

But I recall an interview with Hinckely a few years ago where non-caffeinated sodas were lumped in with cafeinated sodas. Maybe we should stay on the safe side and not eat or drink anything!

"Maybe we should stay on the safe side and not eat or drink anything!"

Wow! You really are one for living on faith.

If Christ only asks one question at the judgement bar, "How well did you love?" might be it. Yet I would guess that our answer will have to include an account of how well we showed our love for him by keeping ALL of his commandments (no matter how insignificant) to the best of our ability.

In the end we will be judged by our works and the intentions of our heart.

Alma 41: 3
"And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good."

Therefore if our intentions are to procrastinate repentance for all our small sins and just focus on the big ones we're gonna have a problem at judgement. Conversely, if our intention is to keep all of God's commandments no matter how insignificant they might seem and then back up that intent by sincerely repenting when we make mistakes (including the forsaking part) we will be comfortable accepting Christ's atonement at the judgement bar.

Would a non-caffienated tea be against the word of wisdom?

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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