As a life-long Mormon, I have never had any alcohol. This may seem surprising to some people, but I’m grateful that you clicked on this article to understand our beliefs better.
Mormons do not drink alcohol. We believe it is vital that we keep our bodies free from addictions and harmful substances. Just as in Biblical times when God commanded the people to follow certain dietary restrictions, we too believe that God has revealed to our prophet His will in this regard. Alcohol is just one of many things that Mormons are taught to abstain from.
As a Mormon, I don’t abstain from alcohol because I think everyone who drinks will be thrust down to hell (haha), or that I’m trying to look better than anyone else, etc. For me, it’s just about being the best person I can be. I want to follow God’s commandments as revealed in the Bible and through modern prophets so that I can be the best version of myself. That’s all there is to it. I don’t look down on others who drink at all, but it’s just a choice that I want to live by.
Health Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol
As I’ll explain below, Mormons don’t abstain from alcohol merely because of statistics that show our health code improves our health. For us, it’s a matter of obedience to what we believe God wants us to do.
However, a surprising amount of evidence is showing the incredible health benefits Mormons enjoy by abstaining from alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco. We also fast for 24 hours once per month, and we do our best to keep our bodies clean and healthful. These health practices were revealed to the church in the early 1800s through the prophet Joseph Smith and clarified by successive prophets for the next few decades. Though a few of the health practices we teach were considered by others outside the church during this time, they were far from common teachings.
Read these amazing facts: “The number of cases of diabetes, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancer of the kidney, stomach, and bladder among Mormons are half that of the national average; the number of cases of lung cancer was 80 percent lower among Mormons…. Following a 25-year study among 10,000 Mormons, UCLA’s School of Public Health finally quantified the numbers in terms of overall life expectancy rates: Mormon women were living 5.6 years longer than the U.S. national female average, and Mormon men on average outlived other men in the U.S. by 9.8 years.” Source.
But Didn’t They Drink Alcohol in the Bible?
Yes, they did. There are countless Bible passages showing that the disciples, and even Christ himself, drank wine.
I don’t claim to understand why this was permissible in Biblical times and is not now. Similarly, I don’t understand God commanded his people anciently to not eat pork, but now God does not give us any restriction. However, this very example does show that (1) God has throughout time commanded His people to follow certain dietary restrictions, and (2) God has at times changed those restrictions.
Frankly, it would be difficult for anyone to understand why Mormons don’t drink alcohol without understanding that we believe there is a living prophet today, Russell M. Nelson, who was called by God to reveal God’s will to us. Through my own personal study and prayer years ago, I came to believe the prophet is called of God. Thus, when commandments such as this are revealed to the church, it is not difficult for me to follow.
I am sure that to some people it may seem naive to follow a prophet without understanding WHY each commandment is given. To me, it is very much the same as when Peter, who was the head of Christ’s church after Christ ascended into heaven, revealed to the disciples that they could then eat pork again. They didn’t understand, but they trusted in the revelation the prophet received from God.
I am not writing this article to convince you to stop drinking alcohol or to suddenly believe in this prophet who you just heard of for the first time. My purpose is only to help you to understand that, to a Mormon, the question is not what logical arguments there are for and against drinking alcohol. It’s all about one decision we’ve each made to either believe or not believe in the living prophet.
How to Be a Friend to a Mormon Who Doesn’t Drink
I really appreciate you taking the time to research Mormon rules on drinking alcohol and for clicking on this article. To me, that shows you’re someone who seeks to understand other people instead of simply judging them for being different than you.
If you know someone who is a Mormon and who doesn’t drink, the best advice I can give you is to simply not be weird about it. When all the guys go to the bar, a Mormon typically will not care to join in. You can simply say, “Hey, we’re headed to the bar. I know you don’t drink, but just wanted to let you know that you’re always invited to spend time with us.” That shows respect and a desire to include the person, but helps them from needing to awkwardly decline.
Some Mormons will choose to infrequently go to a bar with a business contact or friend to show support, but will not drink. Other Mormons choose avoid bars entirely. There is not one “right” or wrong–just a personal preference of how the individual wants to approach it.
What It’s Like to Be a Mormon Who Doesn’t Drink Alcohol
As I mentioned in the introduction, I’ve never drank alcohol. Frankly, it’s not interesting to me. Even if it were not a commandment, I don’t think I’d drink because I don’t want to harm my body, and I like the feeling of being free from addictions. I like to feel in control of my thoughts and actions.
I run a popular blog about photography that is read by millions of people. As such, I frequently travel around the world to take pictures with people who read my blog. After a long day of doing photography as a group, they usually want to go to a bar to socialize.
For me personally, I usually go with them to the bar for a few minutes to just show support and friendship. I’ll order a Sprite and talk with everyone for a little bit and then I’ll head back to my hotel as I don’t love being around alcohol or drunk people.
But although I don’t drink, I certainly don’t judge anyone who does. It doesn’t offend me at all. It’s just not what I personally choose to do.
Thank you for being so respectful to learn more about my religion. If you want to understand the beliefs of Mormons, please visit Mormon.org.
President Oaks reminded Latter-day Saints that the command to abstain from alcohol was given to members of the Church in the 1830’s. It was not given to the world as a whole. It is our baptismal covenants that require us not to drink. While health benefits and other things come to those that abstain from drink, the world is not under the same covenantal obligations as Latter-day Saints. Yet, as members of the Church, we are too critical of people that choose to drink.
The reason why people eat pork now and they didn’t in the past is because we are no longer held by the mosaic law-which was before Christ and was only for the Israelites . News laws were set in after his death. Alcohol is permissible to drink, just as pork and other meats. The Bible many times talks about wine being acceptable BUT opposes drunkenness. Have a glass or even 2 of wine and being drunk or two different things. Drunks, which is gluttony , will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Here’s a good rational example. Banning alcohol because of the possibility of overindulgence which leads to bodily harm, is like banning sex because of the possibly of sexual immorality which can lead to disease, and unwanted pregnancy. , Satan has corrupted all of Gods creation. Just because something like alcohol, sex, etc can lead to sinning, doesn’t mean we should
Completely abstain. We need to follow the footsteps of Jesus and the teachings of God, and repent . If the Bible talks about a subject, we should listen and talk about it, if the Bible is silent on a subject we should be silent and not make any judgements for an entire population.
I have a very simple question, how do you remember Jesus sacrifice, his body and blood, in the partaking of bread and wine. As commanded by Jesus to do this in remembrance of me. I don’t drink alcohol but I do take a piece of bread and a sip of wine to remember Jesus every Sunday. Or Have I got this simple commandment wrong.
1 Corinthians 11:23–25
Good question, James. We participate in taking the sacrament every week in church. We substitute water for wine. We realize, of course, that originally wine was used. We just feel that in today’s world, we have been commanded to abstain from drinking alcohol.
Thank you for the reply. Although water instead of wine does seem a bit strange to me.
So will the command to not drink alcohol be changed again when Jesus returns? See Mat 26.29 and Mark 14.25 and cross reference the fine aged wine of Isaiah 26 verse 6 onwards.