I’m a Mormon.  I have been all my life.  Consequently, I’ve never drunk coffee–ever.  Not even once.  It may seem strange to some, but for me, it’s just a way of life.

There is a simple reason why Mormons don’t drink coffee: We believe the prophet Joseph Smith received revelation from God commanding the church to follow a specific diet.  We believe that God blesses us with health and other spiritual blessings for following this commandment.  This is not unusual when you think about it.  God also commanded His people in Biblical times to follow a specific diet.  It’s really as simple as that.

The teaching comes from the Lord’s law of health that was given from God to Joseph Smith, and which echoes similar laws taught in the Bible.

Where the Teaching About Coffee Came From

Joseph Smith was the first Mormon prophet.  We believe that God and Jesus Christ directed him to re-establish God’s church–the same church that existed when Christ was on the earth.

As God’s prophet, just like Moses and Abraham and Noah from the Bible, Joseph Smith received teachings from God and relayed them to the people.

In 1833, Joseph Smith taught God’s law of health.  You can read the whole thing here.  It contains many teachings which by today’s knowledge of science and health would be common sense, but which at the time almost no one in the world knew about and few believed.  For example, it teaches that we should not use tobacco.

It also teaches that we should eat wholesome foods such as grains (the biggest portion of the food pyramid today); fruits and herbs (second tier of the food pyramid today); and meats.

It also teaches that alcohol and other “strong drinks” should not be consumed.  While many consume alcohol socially without causing any real harm, Mormons do not so that we can maintain full control of our choices.  It’s difficult to count the number of lives which have been ended and the wrongs that have been done because of alcohol abuse.

Coffee is never actually mentioned by name in the Lord’s law of health.  Rather, it says to not consume “hot drinks.”  Later, members of the church asked the prophet what this phrase meant, and it was clarified that “hot drinks” means coffee and tea.

This is interesting as well.  Science today in 2016 is just finding the dangerous affects of “hot drinks.”

But, to us, the choice to keep this commandment isn’t about science.  It’s about doing what God asked us to do, and we believe that when we do so, God blesses us.

Why God Asks Us to Not Drink Coffee and Be Free of Addictions

God made many promises to those who follow his law of health.  Here is what the Word of Wisdom (what Mormons call their law of health) says adherents will be blessed with:

“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.

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.”

Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21

Why Doesn’t the Bible Mention Anything About Coffee, Then?

Probably because the first record of anyone drinking coffee is in the 1400s 😉

However, the Bible does show us a few things that can help us understand why the Lord would reveal a law of health.  The Bible teaches: (1) That God has always had laws of health (2) that we should remain free of addiction, and (3) that God wants us to protect our bodies from harm.

In the Old Testament, God commanded the people not to eat some types of meat.  Other biblical references warn against eating too much sugar (Proverbs 25:16), teach to eat wholesome grains (Ezekiel 4:9), etc.  These verses (and literally dozens of others I could add) show that God creating laws of health with specific prohibitions is not at all a novel concept.

There are dozens more references in the Bible about addiction.

Last, God taught in the Bible that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  The Bible says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Is This About Caffeine?

Many have assumed that the reason the Word of Wisdom prohibits drinking coffee is because of the amount of caffeine in the drink, which has been shown time and again to cause health problems.  However, I do want to point out that the reason WHY the Lord prohibited coffee in the Word of Wisdom is not explained.  Just as in Biblical times when the Lord commanded the people to only eat manna for a time, to not eat pork for a time, etc, there were no reasons explained for those commandments.  The Lord simply told the people what to do, and not why they were doing it.

Because Mormons believe our prophet receives revelation for God, we are able to follow this commandment.  The reason WHY is less important to us, but is nonetheless interesting.

Don’t you ever want to at least try coffee?

Nope.  Not really.  I’ve learned long ago that I’m happiest when I stick to my beliefs.  I can understand that it may seem strange, but I bet it’d make more sense if you read this page that explains why I’m a Mormon and why I believe.

I’ve seen enough to know that my religion is true and that I can be closest to God by following the teachings I learn in the scriptures and at church.

So no, I’m not interested.

Thank You!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our beliefs.  There are many, many people in the world who seem bent on ridiculing and belittling the sincere beliefs of others.  I appreciate you taking a minute to seek to understand us.

If you’d like to learn a little more, I’d love it if you read this page about why I believe.


  1. I am really reacting badly to coffee and I am not sure why. It was at the point that I started to accuse people that they were drugging my coffee that I realized I had no choice to quit. I have read literature about the benefits of coffee and it is sold as a supplement for weight loss so for the longest time I refused to accept that coffee had negative side effects. I recently took my faith to a whole new level and started reading the Bible everyday. It was at this point I started to notice I was reacting badly to something but couldn’t figure it out for the longest time. At first I thought I had mental health problems but later I discovered that the problems occurred around the time I drank coffee. Yesterday I drank a pot of coffee and found myself in a world of conspiracy. I know this doesn’t make sense and even at the time I knew it wasn’t real but certain thoughts kept coming into my head. Today I didn’t drink coffee and didn’t experience any of these symptoms and had a very relaxed day compared to yesterday. Is it possible to be susceptible to spiritual attacks when drinking coffee? Especially since I have now started praying and reading the Bible everyday. I am posting this because I am curious if anyone else has reacted this badly to coffee.

    1. Hi Chad. Well, I’ve never drank coffee so I really couldn’t tell you. But I do believe that God does not want us to drink coffee, and thus the reason for the Word of Wisdom. Have you considered talking with some Mormon missionaries? If you go to, you can request a visit. They can come to your house and chat with you about it and give you a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. Those are the books where you learn about the Word of Wisdom and why it’s important to our health and spiritual health.

      1. How do those that believe Joseph Smith is a prophet rectify what Jesus said to the disciples… none come to the Father but through Me. Or that Christ was the messiah and the fulfillment of the law. The new testament makes it plain that there would be many false prophets and many false teaching. It also makes plain that Jesus was the answer to salvation and that there would be no new revalation. Rather that those who come after (later generations) would have the written gospel as their guide and all signs and wonders would pass away with those who recieved the original benediction. When christ met with his apostles for the last the and the holy spririt was bestowed upon them prior to the great commission.

        I never understood how mormons could believe what they do and accept the new testament as the word of God.

        1. Good question, Dan O. The scripture you quoted “None come to the Father but through me” is something we 100% agree with. In fact, I’ve heard that scripture frequently quoted in our churches. The prophet does not replace any portion of Christ’s sacrifice for us. They are merely leaders called by God to point us to the Savior.

          I can’t read that scripture and somehow understand it to mean that the Lord would never send any messengers after Christ died. Plus, if that were true, then Paul was a false prophet. Paul did not have any ministry when Christ was alive, but began his ministry after the death of Christ. So if that scripture really means what you’re suggesting, the second half of the New Testament would have to be ripped out of our Bibles.

          1. What a minute?!? – Mountain Dew has more addictive caffeine than a cup of coffee. More sugars, artificial chemicals and it’s carbonated that’s helps deliver the sugar and caffeine quicker. It is more addictive than a cup of coffee that’s made from ground beans. Why and how do you recommend “caution” with Jolt Soda but ban drinking coffee served at 102 degrees Fahrenheit?

    2. Yes when I started going to the mormon church I and that I wanted to be a member of the church I ave up coffee (I am 66 been drinking coffee since I was 18)
      I found after 3 days my coughing and heavyness in my chest went away and I have had no problems since. God
      helped me in 3 days. I believe in the Church of Ladder day Saints . Believe in God talk to Jesus, have faith and small good things will happen to you, the small things are the most important things that will comfort you.
      In Jesus name Amen.

    3. Chad, I can’t believe I was able to find this today. It’s like another Revelation to help me.

      The same thing happens to me. Yesterday without coffee I had a wonderful relaxing day and slept so much better than usual. The day before I was in crisis even to the point of panic attacks, and asked every friend of mine to pray for me. Can I have a feeling coffee as having the exact same negative effects on me. And I don’t even drink that much: one mug all day.!!
      Your testimony has helped me come to the conclusion that I should absolutely stay away from coffee at any cost. A good life heeding the word of Our Lord is the most important thing in our existence and should never be taken for granted, neither should his word. I feel that your testimony has been a small blessing and I thank you for coming forward with it to the public. God be with you.

    4. Same thing happens to me. Coffee makes my husband very overly hyper and it stresses me out. And it makes me feel out of control too. We both cannot have coffee.

    5. I believe caffeine affects my disposition. When I drink caffeine I find myself more easily annoyed by innocent and minor everyday occurrences. That does not make for having a good day (“A man is as big as the things that annoy him”). I have struggled all my life trying to stay away from caffeine. I have kept away for as long as many years at a time and then I fall off. Still… today I can stay away for days, weeks, months, but still I fall off. I am 69 years old. To me the world appears brighter without artificial stimulants, but I also realize that anything that comes easy is not worth having.

    6. Sounds like you’re just drinking too much. I noticed you said you had a pot in one day. Nobody needs a whole pot of coffee. It’s no wonder you had so many side effects. Caffeine tolerance is individual based. Some react wonderfully, while others don’t react at all or negatively. Coffee can have many benefits if used correctly. It’s even been proven to support heart health. With that being said though, it is certainly addictive. I believe it depends on the individual, their personal health issues, and genetics. I know a big YouTube coach who always received negative comments about drinking diet sodas and coffee. He decided to get his blood levels checked and check his digestive health since everyone said it would destroy his gut health. His gut health was in the top 1%.
      People don’t consider genetics enough when it comes to health or mental/physical performance. I’ve seen a lady smoking a cigarette, drinking alcohol, and eating KFC on her 103rd birthday. Some people living their lives by the book in terms of heatlh end up getting cancer or some deadly disease early on. Meanwhile, some live a “terrible” lifestyle and live long and well. It’s just genetics.
      Caffeine is certainly not necessary though and you can live a very healthy life without it. I’m trying to cut back myself and have it more sparingly. I usually only get issues from it when i consume too much.
      Hope this helps.

  2. I have been an investigator for about six months, I was to be baptized when things turned out to be a bit disappointed to me, the missionaries never told me about being five days clean from coffee. but the worst was a member in church admitting on drinking coffee, that’s being a hypocrite, that makes me think twice about being part of this church sad indeed!

    1. @Disappointed – I’m so sorry you had that experience. I can see why you’re disappointed. I too have felt been let down by people both inside and outside the church and I felt like they were hypocrites for teaching one thing and doing another; However, I learned something that helped me.

      I realized that I had been thinking of the church as a place where the good people go to learn about God. That wasn’t right. In fact, the church is a place where EVERYONE goes to learn about God. Some of those people struggle with being dishonest. Others may have a hot temper. Others may have anxiety or depression, etc. Others may be excellent people who are obedient and good, but who allow that to make them prideful.

      In the end, I learned that the church is a hospital where we all go to be healed. It’s certainly wrong for someone to teach one thing and do another, and so I totally understand why you feel as you do. But now I understand that this simply means that we humans are still not perfect, and we need to continue going to church and learning to become more like God.

    2. It sounds like you went into this with the heart of a cynic not someone looking for salvation. If your heart is Tainted so will your experiences be. Seek advice.

  3. I too am a member of the church and I have a very hard time with the hypocrisy of hot drinks vs cokes. The Word of Wisdom did not include caffeinated sodas because they had not been invented. For the church to say Coke is OK but Tea is not…. just wrong. Many sodas have more caffeine than many teas.

    1. @Cindy – I understand how you feel. I wondered about the same thing until I realized that caffeine may or may not be the issue at all. Who says that the reason we aren’t to drink tea and coffee is because it has caffeine? I believe that’s something that Mormon culture has just assumed.

      When it comes right down to it, we just need to decide if we believe that the president of the church is God’s prophet or not. If so, then we don’t even need to understand the reasons. If not, then we’d go down another path.

      I do have a testimony of the prophet being God’s mouthpiece on earth, and have no problem following his counsel.

      1. President Monson clarified recently that caffiene was NOT the reason we don’t drink tea or coffee. As for caffiene, I don’t believe we have been told it’s ok, but that we must decide for ourselves if it is right for us. That being said, we have been warned against consuming anything that is addictive and can be harmful, and caffiene is VERY addictive for many people. It can be extremely harmful when consumed in large quantities. I admit I enjoy a Pepsi every now and then, but I no longer drink more than one or two a week, as it causes blood pressure, heart rate, and intestine issues. As with all things, the Lord gives us commandments and wisdom, but we are free to choose. It’s OUR choices that we need to govern for ourselves.

      2. I have often questioned this. And not for lack of faith, I fully and completely support the prophet of our church. But in the word of wisdom it says hot drinks should not be consumed. What is the difference between coffee and hot chocolate, why is one ok while the other is not? To me the answer of because the prophet said to is not enough. I believe it was a conference talk that President Eyring gave, and he says to not just blindly accept all teachings, but to ask questions and get clarification. So I’m interested to hear what someone else’s take on this is, because I don’t know the answer to this question.

        1. Thank you for your reply, Jordon. I agree that we should seek to understand as much as we can about the Lord’s commandments so that we can follow both the letter and spirit of those laws. However, I also want to point out that sometimes, we simply don’t know the reason WHY a commandment is given, yet we should still accept it.

          Such was the case with Naman, who did not understand WHY Elisha asked him to bathe in the river 7 times. Such was the case with Christ when he did not understand why it was not possible for God to take away the cup of pain. Such was the case with me when the Lord asked me in prayer one day to go visit my home teaching family right away, and I didn’t understand why until I got there. Seeking to understand WHY can help us sometimes learn to see things as the Lord sees them, but NOT understanding why is never a sufficient reason to disobey.

          Some research has shown that hot drinks can be harmful because of their temperature: But remember to read the blessings of the word of wisdom: great treasures of knowledge and having the destroying angel pass by, and you’ll quickly see that it’s more than just a health code.

          I would commend this article to your reading to understand more about the revelation in general and for official confirmation that hot drinks can be understood to mean coffee and tea.

      3. I have a personal relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. When ever God wanted me change something he would impress upon me, what it was. Since my relationship is important I would do as I was ask. In the Bible is says if you seek me, you will find me. It’s spot on.

    2. I agree with you there. I drink coffee at times and I will continue to drink coffee. This is a personal choice. If God feels I need to stop, he’ll let me know. In fact, sugar as a whole is extremely addictive. Some say as much as cocaine. Since sugar wasn’t invented then, Mr. Smith couldn’t mention it.

    3. I agree. I am a Mormon and I don\’t think the prophet was correct when years and years after Joseph Smith wrote the Words of Wisdom, he suddenly \”decided\” it meant coffee and tea. I firmly believe that \”hot drinks\” as originally written meant hot alcoholic drinks. I study languages and writing and am also a scientist. As the \”hot drinks\” line was included closely with the alcohol drinks sentence, it would indicate it, too, meant hot alcohol drinks. The reason I believe what I believe, is because at the time Joseph Smith wrote the Words of Wisdom in 1833, the Irish immigration was 1/3 of all the immigrants coming to America, and when they came, they brought their \”hot toddies\” with them. Until then, hot alcoholic drinks were not well known, and most ale, meads, and distilleds were served at room temperature and wine was stored in a cool cellar and brought to room temperature.

      When the Irish came, they introduced hot alcoholic drinks such as cider, and hot buttered rums and many more. It was \”believed\” that these drinks could be drank in larger quantities without worry bc it was believed much of the alcohol portion evaporated from the \”hot drink,\” and left only the remaining flavor of the spirit, ie rum. And to a great extent, if swirled and sipped slowly, this was true, as alcohol evaporates at 95°F. Unfortunately, that\’s not how many pub drinkers drank them, and far too many were being drank under the false belief that one could drink as much of them as wanted with no effect.

      I absolutely believe that when Joseph Smith wrote no alcohol incliding no \”hot drinks,\” he was making sure that the church members knew that not only were the standard alcoholic drinks forbidden but THE HOT ALCHOLIC ONES TOO! I believe that the early church members knew what Joseph meant, and \”hot drinks\” was all that was needed for clarity. Bc that\’s what they were called in the pubs, and that\’s how the were listed on menus. One old medieval menu back in the old country says: \”Serving: Ales, Meads, Hot Drinks, Coffee, Tea, Fresh Milk.\” Now, if Hot drinks were coffee and tea, coffee and tea would not have been listed twice.

      This is one area where the proof that our prophets are human and fallible shines forth. And that\’s ok. And even fabulous. They aren\’t Christ who was perfect, and they are going to get it wrong sometimes. I do hope someday a courageous new prophet will study hard, pray, and correct what I believe to be an error. But maybe I\’m wrong? But maybe not, but I think if coffee and tea were not allowed by Joseph Smith, there sure was a lot of it in the early travel supply lists to Salt Lake on the wagon trains. But for now, it is what it is, and the church does not believe one should be drinking it.

      I do also disagree with the posters reasoning, that coffee and tea are harmful, as current science has shown that coffee has a definite protective effect against Parkinson\’s and Alzheimer\’s, and tea has definite researched cardiovascular and vessicular protective effects. Coffee and tea are far more beneficial than they are harmful. HOWEVER, not all people react the same and caffeine does affect some people. They should drink decaffeinated beverages.

      Disclaimer: I am NOT telling, advising, nor teaching others to disobey church decision as it currently stands.

  4. I am a born again Christian and I do agree that the Bible teaches that we should not consume things that put us under addictition. However, I live in a city that the vast majority of the people is Mormon and while they do abstain from drinking coffee they then turn around and drink cafinated “cold” drinks on a daily basis. Such as Diet Coke, Mountain Dew etc. They also eat foods that nutritionists would classify as bad for your body and then they also drink hot chocolate. Shouldn’t all of those things be bad as well? Not just coffee? Thanks

    1. @Confused – Thank you for your comment. Caffeine is assumed by some to be the reason for the Word of Wisdom’s counsel not to drink coffee, but that is only an assumption. Just as God commanded several times in the Bible for the people to follow a specific diet and did not provide a scientific explanation, the same is true with the word of wisdom. Caffeine may or may not be the reason.

  5. This article never pointed out the real reason why Mormons don’t drink coffee or tea. It’s because of a chemical called tannic acid. Tannic acid is used to tan rawhide into leather. Just think of what your stomach would look like after several years of drinking them!

    1. This, again, is just speculation. The real reason is that we don’t know. We are told by the prophet to keep the commandments, and because we have prayed to gain a testimony, we believe that it is right for us to obey.

      1. Thou shalt not drink coffee is not one of the 10 Commandments in the Bible. Is this a man made commandment? Thou shall not add to or take away from the word of God.

    2. Curing rawhide leather with tanning substances and drinking tea, aren’t the same.

      You can use oxygen in combination with other chemicals to form a gas flame that will cut through metals. Oxygen facilitates and accelerates flame and combustion. We also breathe it in every day. It also eventually takes its toll.

      Our physical realm is filled with things that will break down our corporeal bodies. You aren’t going to get around it. Many things are a double-edged sword; some of those things are essential to physical life.

  6. I loved this article. It made my testimony about the word of wisdom even stronger. Especially because we came to this earth to grow and become closer to our Heavenly Father, and for that to happen we need to be tested in all things and if “all things” includes not drink or eat certain things… so be it! I have experienced true happiness from following God’s commandments. And Im thankful to know that there are people who defend their faith so openly and so politely just the same as the people who are looking for answers. Thank you for the article!

    1. Hi Lindsay J – Thank you for your comment. I see so many health studies that sometimes I find it hard to know what to believe. I recently read a study about the fantastic health benefits of dark chocolate. It seems that statistics can be manipulated to show many things.

      But the reason we don’t drink coffee has little to do with science. It has much more to do with faith in our Lord who we believe has asked us to follow this health code.

      While the purpose of this commandment is primarily to show our faith to God, studies have repeatedly shown that Mormons on average live multiple years longer than the average population, so there may be health benefits to following this commandment as well.

    2. Thank you for putting this in here. My mother who is LDS just got Alzheimer’s and I feel upset that many religious people are so adamant about believing “faith” over science.

      I love my mother and to know that her risk of developing this disease would have been reduced and she may never have even gotten this disease if not for some book written thousands of years ago (when no scientists had any understanding of coffee) says don’t drink “hot” drinks is her reason for not drinking it, is insane to me.

      Sugar is terrible for your health, it kills your immune system and is an addictive substance that many people cannot break their addiction to.

      Not everyone gets addicted to coffee either. Some people are more prone to addiction than others, and these people are just addicted to TV, junk food, sugar etc instead. My LDS sister admitted she can’t break her addiction to sugar.

      I’m not trying to say don’t have faith etc. In fact, LDS people do have fewer health problems based on not consuming alcohol and using cigarettes and I commend that. But I feel strongly that they’re wrong about coffee and misinterpreting the “hot drink” idea.

      In my personal opinion, when drinking a healthy fruit drink (coffee is made from the pit of a fruit) that is high in antioxidants and does have many many health benefits is such a big deal that an LDS person with early onset Alzheimer’s still won’t drink it despite scientific documentation and a doctor’s recommendation, that is mind-blowing to me. It’s self-inflicted unnecessary suffering.

      Also her LDS neighbor just died of Alzheimer’s. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Utah has one of the highest rates of Alzheimers in the US.

        1. Yes. There are over a dozen studies, one done by the Alzheimer’s Research Association themselves, that show coffee consumption decreases risk of dementia/AD by 60% – 65%. I forgot to include that.

          It’s the same with diabetes. Coffee is one of the healthiest drinks for your blood sugar levels / prevention of developing insulin resistance (of course, adding tons of sugar to your coffee is not going to help – this is assuming little to no sugar added).

  7. I’ve been inactive from the church for the past 10 years, I am now 28 and working on getting married in the Temple. I am having a very hard time with this whole coffee and tea issue. I consider myself very physically active and healthy, I don’t drink carbonated drinks ever or any drinks high in sugars, and have a pretty healthy diet. I admit I love my coffee and teas, Its my go to drink to have as a “treat” since pretty much the only other liquid I drink is water. I’m having a pretty hard time letting this go, I’ve tried finding a reason why this substances might be bad for me and why the church says we shouldn’t drink it, yet caffeine is ok ? What about iced tea or iced coffee? So far all I have found is simply because the prophet said so.

    1. I can see why this would be difficult, Karensita. What I’d encourage you to do is what the Lord has said about another commandment: “Prove me now herewith to see if I will not open the windows of heaven and give a blessing wherewith there is no room to receive it.” Follow the commandment with faith and let the Lord show to you his wisdom.

      1. Tannic acid is only in Tea.. coffee beans on trees .. cocoa is beans as well.. since all are part of the earth God created for all to eat and consume .. reading this is not convincing as all can be consumed . As needed .. however what about ice coffee and ice tea .. you said hot drinks.. I know people who drink hot cokes and and hot prune juice.. and none of these rules and traditions of men is considered a prerequisite for heaven .. only one way to heaven and that’s through our Lord and Saviour Jesus….. no denomination gets us to heaven. But a true relationship to Christ.. that said if someone wants to abstain from coffee or tea .. for spiritual reasons good .. that’s their choice.. but not a sin..

  8. Why isn’t anyone allowed to mention the real cold hard truth which many suspect? This has nothing to do with health or teachings. This is about obedience and control. Somewhere along the line, some moron decided to prohibit coffee, the rest of the cult obeyed, and so it stuck. Haha.

    1. Dear Mickey Mouse – The fact that you wrote your comment with a pseudonym and a fake email address shows me that you aren’t proud of what you wrote. You’re welcome to disagree with my or anyone else’s beliefs, but your judgmental attitude is not helpful in this discussion.

      I found your comment especially surprising because you said that perhaps this commandment has nothing to do with health but somewhere along the line the prophet taught us to not drink it. That’s actually what I said in this article. I said “We believe the prophet Joseph Smith received revelation from God.”

      One other point. You poke fun at my belief in a prophet and my willingness to obey God’s prophets. Behind that comment you intimate that doing so is foolish. I agree, it WOULD be foolish to believe for the sake of believing, but that is not the basis of my faith. I follow the prophet because I have personally prayed and sought to know if he is truly God’s prophet and because of the things I have learned through communion with God through prayer, I believe.

      You’re welcome to believe as you wish and I will treat your beliefs with civility and respect.

  9. Just curious regarding not drinking coffee or alcohol. I thought Jesus and his disciples drank wine; or was it non alcoholic wine?

    1. Hi! I’m NOT Mormon but just an hour ago was reading about this. I just learned that when Jesus talks about the contents of the cup (Lord’s Supper – Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18), he doesn’t say the Greek word “oinos” for wine or “gleukos” for sweet wine but “genema and “tes ampelou” which mean fruit of the vine. All these years I’ve wondered if Jesus drank wine or was it more like grape juice? Its really not a big deal for me but found this interesting as I just read it this morning. Blessings to you!

  10. Great blog, and great responses to each comment and question. Very respectful. I admire your approach to discussion especially in the face of disagreement.

  11. I too have been inactive for quite some time and love my coffee. I started going back to church a year ago, and I know that there is temple work for me to do so I will stop drinking it.
    The revelation says hot drinks, not coffee and tea. In the LDS history I found that it was Hyrum who interpreted hot drinks to mean coffee and tea, and I would have made that assumption too back then. But I’m really curious to know if it’s really the Lord’s intention to say coffee and tea is harmful? I’ve been praying a lot about this. The Holy Ghost has warmed me from alcohol and tobacco, but I haven’t felt a warning on coffee. I would love to talk to someone about this. If President Nelson came out and said coffee is bad I’d be the first one to stop drinking it. I even quit my keto diet because I believe that it’s not following the word of wisdom. I get the feeling that hot drinks means the temperature of the drink. There are lots of studies that suggest drinking anything above 149 degrees causes esophageal cancer and damages tissue. I don’t want to sound like a rebel, I want to obey and live how He wants me to. But Hyrum wasn’t the prophet, his brother was.
    I’ll give it up to do the temple work, but I wish I had a stronger testimony regarding coffee and tea being bad. It makes no sense how Red Bull and energy drinks are fine, but a cup of black coffee isn’t. Again, I’m not trying to be a rebel. If anyone has additional references regarding this I would love to read it. Coffee is such a petty thing to quibble over, and doing the work in the temple is way more important, but I’ve been curious for a while. I also read that they drank coffee and tea at very high temps, nearly boiling point and often right from the pot they heated the water in.
    Did the Lord really mean coffee and tea, or was he saying be cautious of the temperature? I’d love to know.

    1. Hi Kristin, it appears from your comment that you sincerely want to do what is right, but just want to be sure you understand the commandment correctly. I admire that.

      Latter-day prophets have made it very clear that coffee and tea are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom. For more info, you can see the section in True to the Faith on the topic or the FAQ page #19 here or about two dozen other places. So the church has been very clear about this commandment, including many recent statements about it.

      But I think part of your question is WHY no coffee? Frankly, I don’t know why the Lord requires us to live this commandment. I also don’t know why the Lord had a specific health code in Old Testament times prohibiting eating pork. I do know, however, that President Nelson is our prophet and this is a commandment for us, and that the Lord has many times required specific diet/health laws of his people.

      So, I don’t have all the answers for you. I do have the Lord’s promises, though. I suggest you show your faith and prove the Lord herewith, and see if He will not give you the blessings promised in the Word of Wisdom, which are both physical and (mostly) spiritual.

    2. Honestly, it isn’t about the Lord, our Messiah, telling you can’t have black coffee. It is your religion telling you that you can’t. No where in the Bible does it say you cannot have coffee or hot drinks. ????

      1. Yes, that’s true. Nowhere in the Bible does it even mention coffee. However, we do see instances in the Bible where the Lord required specific laws of health that prohibited them from eating and drinking specific things. The only reason that we follow the Word of Wisdom is because we believe God has called a prophet today who can give us the Lord’s will.

    3. I do know that coffee can be addictive so if you like the flavor I suggest decaf. I drink decaf for many reasons but since I like the flavor of coffee and other drinks I stay away from caffeine anyway.
      I hope this helps you. ????

  12. Hi, I have read through all these comments as I was also curious about this question. I think the best answers are due to tannic acid and to simply obey God in which sometimes there does not have to be a reason to understand why. It is also very addictive. If in doubt, don’t do it and you can’t go wrong.

  13. No offense but there is still no where in the Bible that says God doesn’t want us to drink coffee or hot drinks.
    Tea was around during Christ and it also is shown in the Bible that Christ’s first miricale involved alcohol (he is always perfect and holy so he never sinned by how he did this).
    I find that when you simply listen to a leader vs actually reading your Bible then things aren’t biblical at all- instead of following God’s word- you are following a man that wasn’t even a prophet of the Bible. Gods word says do not add or take away from the Bible and Joseph Smith did exactly this. He thought certain things in the Bible did not line up or make sense to him.
    It concerns me for you. I see no harm in simply wanting a healthy life style by cutting out coffee or teas but I do see a problem with you saying it’s biblical but it isn’t at all. Coke/ soda products are proven to be 100times worse for your body than hot coffee or hot teas and yet Mormons drink those. I just wish you’d look into reading the word of God more than the books that are written by Joseph Smith. ????

    1. Actually- I am not trying to argue but disagree. The Pharisees actually were very legalistic and Jesus Christ was not. Rules were their thing.
      God in His word actually says that if anyone tries to add or take away from His word they are going to be punished greatly so if you are adding and taking away from God’s word and what He says in the Bible. The prophets of the Bible are the only ones that were allowed to add to the Bible. Joseph Smith was outside of when the Bible was written. The sad fact is that he says the Bible was corrupt when it fact is the breath of God. You can’t take bits and pieces of what you do and don’t like about it and then make up more rules to fit with what you want. This is in fact what the Pharisees did.

  14. I had always thought that Mormons were prohibited from drinking caffeine, but was recently told by a member that it was actually hot drinks that were prohibited. Does this mean iced coffee, iced tea, colas and energy drinks are acceptable?

    1. “Hot drinks” language comes from a revelation to Brigham Young and has been interpreted as meaning coffee and tea. They didn’t have iced mochas back then 🙂

        1. Many people assume that we don’t drink coffee because of the caffeine. That isn’t necessarily true. We just know that is the commandment we have received from our prophet to not drink coffee, and God doesn’t always fully explain the WHY.

  15. I am not of your faith but have always been a student of many faiths.
    I find the statements reflecting “ we don’t know why but we follow it” to be very interesting. We don’t know fro certain why Judaism restricts pork, but we assume it was due to trickanosis (sp) and no refrigeration to keep the meat from spoiling. We assume that Catholics were told not to eat meat on Friday to “suffer” for the church, but now fish is more expensive than meats. The Amish reject direct use of mechanical tools regardless of efficiency and speed, And we applaud their workmanship.

    At the end of the day we assume that traditions and religious laws have some sort of reasoning behind them. But if true, then they would be repealed as we continue to evolve. I gentleman I sat next to on a plane, he was with traditional Judaism he said he didn’t cut his locks, he wore the prayer cloth and yarmulke…”Because that is the law, and I follow the law”

  16. I love the idea and reasoning behind this being to keep your body clean and free from addiction, but anything can be addicting. I myself am addicted to certain foods. I can’t stop eating all food. I live in an area that’s mainly LDS, and so many members I know say they won’t drink coffee or tea, but then I see them drinking soda and eating or drinking foods with artificial colors, preservatives, and lots of junk food. Is that keeping their bodies clean? To me that’s really hypocritical and contradicting. It’s about the intention behind something….if you’re not supposed to consume something out of enjoyment for fear of addiction, then you probably shouldn’t be consuming any type of sugar….it just doesn’t make sense to me. I appreciate this explanation though, and everyone is entitled to their opinion so I respect that.

    1. I definitely appreciate your respect. For me, it’s a law of health, but it’s more than that.

      In the times of the Old Testament, God told Moses that His people should not eat meat from certain animals. Was health one of the reasons? Maybe so. But why did that change suddenly after Christ’s resurrection? Peter had a dream in which he was clearly told that the eating restrictions from the Law of Moses were not longer required of God’s people. Why the sudden change? It wasn’t that these meats had become less dangerous. They still didn’t have refrigeration.

      Often times, God gives us commandments without telling us why. In fact, that’s almost always the case. Sometimes, the reason is apparent. We don’t steal because that’s wrong, and if everyone steals then our society falls apart. It’s self-apparent. But a law of health, like the Word of Wisdom, isn’t entirely clear. If it was only about health, then I agree that we would be commanded to eat less sugar and that some things that aren’t listed specifically would be added. But it’s also about obedience to God’s laws and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you to live an even higher version of the law on a more individual basis when you’re ready.

      So, to enter the temples, members are expected to live the Word of Wisdom as it was revealed to Joseph Smith. But as a member with understanding of that law and if I have no issue with living the letter of the law fully, the Holy Spirit may prompt me to live the law more fully, by giving up other vices not specifically listed in the Word of Wisdom, such as refined sugar, soda, and other unhealthy substances. Through the Holy Spirit, God can guide each of us to live his laws more fully without expecting those who are earlier in their spiritual journey to live laws that would be overbearing.

      That’s my take on the subject anyway.

  17. Regarding coffee, in my personal experience when I began drinking coffee, it caused male-pattern baldness (I had full head of hair prior). After several years of drinking coffee, I did stop consuming caffeine for a month, my hair was growing back again! But coffee withdrawals were so strong I started drinking coffee again. It’s been 16 years of 2-4 cups of drinking coffee.

  18. Explicit intention of practice is not especially obscured… still and all… every single personal choice shall bring about personal results. That is the sensibility of the issue.

  19. I am not a Mormon. I belong to the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. We also believe Coffee and Tea, and alcohol are bad for your health. Many of the Seventh-Day-Adventist are Vegetarians. I am a retired RN after 42 years working in the field. I also have a Master’s Degree in Nursing. I have seen a lot, working in the field. During my early years of studying to become an RN, I drank a lot of coffee and messed up my stomach. I stopped after several years of drinking coffee. Later I went to tea, but did not consume as much. I eventually stopped the tea, and went clean from both coffee and tea. I am 75 years old. For the past two years I became addicted to McDonald’s Hot Latties/hot Mocha’s. I noticed I was having terrible heart burns. I would take Anti-Acids. Then the Anti-Acids would cause more problems. But I could not stop. But I have now quit all caffeine drinks. I believe the coffee beans that come from other countries are contaminated with poisoned sprays, which gets into the beans, causing havc on our bodies in many ways. I am a Virgo. Virgo’s illness tends to be the stomach and intestinal tract. I did notice I am not as hyper, nervous, and I am more calm since I stopped the Hot Mochas. I am not getting the skin rashes as I did. I am not getting the heart-burn that I did. I do believe coffee and tea can cause stomach cancer for some. I am hoping my joints will get better overtime, a flare-up from the caffeine. People with arthritis should lay off the caffeine. Caffeine does cause a multitude of problems, such as migraines, etc. However, that being said, a chocolate bar has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. All sodas are not good for you period. If you get off of all of the caffeine products, you will notice better health. Also look at the health aspects of your birth sign, that will be your weak area of your body, where the caffeine plays havc. Besides, your teeth will thank you.

  20. Iced coffee and iced tea are not hot drinks, so they must be okay? Heated or hot milk is a hot drink, so it must be not ok? What about warm milk? What is the cutoff temperature for “hot” in degrees Fahrenheit? Coffee ice cream? Vegan coffee yogurt?

  21. This was a very interesting discussion and I am glad I came across it and that it was still accessible. I wish you all health, fortitude and joy in your lives. Thank you.

  22. If the objection is about heat, rather than caffeine, what about soup?
    If Coca-Cola is OK because it is cold, what about iced coffee or tea? Surely the active chemical is caffeine. It is an addictive stimulant, while alcohol makes a person dull.

    That said, if someone is a vegetarian, I would not ask them to explain why; unless they tried to censure me for not practicing their beliefs.

    1. The advantage of drinks that start with boiling water is that your risk of water borne dysentery and parasites is much lower, than cold drinking water straight from a well; or a river . Something more prevalent 100+ years ago than today; therefore relevant.

  23. I have drank coffee and pop and caffeinated drinks all my life it keeps me alert it keeps me awake it keeps me going I’m the healthiest person in my family and the youngest in my family I’ve drank mountain dew all my life soft drink and I joined the church because I’m learning about the lamanites which is our modern day native American people my family have native American blood in our family and I was wanting to know and learn about the lamanites when I once I understood that they were part of the Mormon history and my church is asked me to get baptized but when they were the missionaries were letting me know about some of the questions that I’m going to be asked before my baptism and it came across that I couldn’t drink coffee no more or have hot drinks and I read that people can have hot chocolate but hot chocolate is bad for you too because that’ll make you fat but I’ve drank coffee and pop on my life and never had a problem with it and now it seems like every time I find a place where I like and I think I’m going to fit in they always have to have something that’s going to mess it up now I’m wondering where am I going to fit in I was Christian as a Protestant when I was a baby I don’t think I can let go with drinking coffee and caffeinated drinks that’s what keeps me going keeps me awake during the day and keeps my mind on what I’m doing in the house and fixing up my house I liked the thought of the Mormon church because the book of Mormons because most churches think that God and Jesus is one person and I know for a fact that they aren’t it’s just like Charles Watson was my father and I am his son it’s the same way with the Creator the all father and his son Jesus Christ now I’ve been through some tough times and I know that Jesus is carried me through like the footprints in the sand and we talk a lot of time not just out of prayer but just openly asking him questions where should I go I had to put my cat down he was my only companion here at home now the house seems so empty and I only know two churches that I’ve tried out that I both I like but there was certain things I didn’t like within them now I thought I bet felt really good joining latter-day saints LDS but when it came to where you guys don’t drink coffee and tea which I drink wholeheartedly a lot of cuz I can’t just survive on just water alone times have changed back when the Israelites back in Moses’s days they hardly had anything like we have today now I can see why health was an issue back then but times have changed most people need caffeine to survive and it’s what keeps me going I don’t have transportation where I can go to any old church in town I have to get a ride to where I need to go and I would rather have a ride from somebody that’s going to the same church I need the fellowship if Jesus Christ would come down right now and stand before me and talked about to me about this cuz I’ve been praying I’ve been asking but I haven’t heard of anything I haven’t had him come to me in a dream or anything I don’t know what to do. Maybe I should just stay on my own path for the great spirit which is the creator and his son on my own like I have been doing for years and just stay alone with my savior because my mom didn’t know she was going to have me she carried a tumor in me together and I figured that Jesus put me here for a purpose to show brotherly love on My own and I have I never ask for money to do things for anyone cuz I won’t I don’t want it I’m showing them brotherly love mow their lawn I don’t want no money for it I’ve been nice to all my neighbors all my life never asking anything in return because that’s the that’s what Jesus wanted me to do for him helping me be here in this world with to have life and to feel good about it, but that’s fine if some people don’t want to drink coffee or tea it should be a choice but it shouldn’t have anything to do with the belief of Jesus and the Creator it’s a choice of the individual it doesn’t make you a heathen it doesn’t make you a non-believer but it keeps people awake in a sermon or at church lots of times I see people dozing off and going to sleep in church that’s cuz they don’t have any caffeine in their system to keep them awake to listen to the religious words and the prophets and everything in life it keeps us alert it keeps us going the people that can’t take the caffeination of these drinks then then maybe they shouldn’t drink it it’s just my thoughts I think it should be re-advised I mean The book of Mormons and the LDS is set in their ways but I’m trying to find a place where I can be happy and have some fellowship and be part of a family and feel good about myself and I guess I’ll just have to wait until Jesus comes down from heaven in a dream and let me know where I fit in because my mom raised a rare gem in today’s world I don’t watch the news I don’t care about politics I don’t care about the war as long as it stays out of my yard I don’t care what happens I feel sorry for the people that get hurt and lose their homes and but that’s just life nowadays because people have forgotten how to be free and be brothers and sisters and take care of each other and it’s not the people the normal people it’s the governments that are corrupted all the governments want to do is fight and complain and never want to just put all our differences aside and go on I feel sorry for our humankind it is so sad how mankind turned out all these years we all follow Jesus in the first place and understood everything he said and followed him the world would be a totally different place if I was Jesus I’d cry my eyes out because we are all so divided..

  24. I am LDS and I don’t think the prophet was correct when years after Joseph Smith wrote the Words of Wisdom, he suddenly “decided” it meant coffee and tea. I firmly believe that “hot drinks,” as originally written, meant hot alcoholic drinks. I study languages and writing and am also a scientist. As the “hot drinks” wording was included closely with the alcohol drinks sentence, it would indicate that it, too, meant alcohol drinks.

    The reason I believe what I believe, is because at the time Joseph Smith wrote the Words of Wisdom in 1833, the Irish immigration was 1/3 of all the immigrants coming to America, and when they came, they brought their “hot toddies” with them. Until then, hot alcoholic drinks were not well known, and most ale, meads, and distilleds were served at room temperature and wine was stored in a cool cellar and brought to room temperature.

    When the Irish came, they introduced hot alcoholic drinks such as hot fermented cider, and hot buttered rums and many more. It was believed that these drinks could be drank in larger quantities without worry bc it was assumed much of the alcohol portion evaporated from the “hot drink,” and left only the remaining flavor of the spirit, ie rum. And to a great extent, if swirled and sipped slowly, this was true, as alcohol evaporates at 95°F. Unfortunately, that’s not how many pub drinkers drank them, and far too many were being consumed under the false belief that one could drink as many of them as desired with no ill effect.

    I absolutely believe that when Joseph Smith wrote no alcohol, including no “hot drinks,” he was making sure that the church members knew that not only were the standard cold alcoholic drinks forbidden but THE HOT ALCHOLIC ONES AS WELL! I believe that the early church members knew what Joseph meant, and “hot drinks” was all that was needed for clarity, bc that’s what they were called in the pubs, and that’s how they were listed on menu boards. One old medieval menu board back in the old country says: “Serving: Ales, Meads, Hot Drinks, Coffee, Tea, Fresh Milk.” Now, if Hot drinks meant coffee and tea, coffee and tea would not have been listed twice.

    This is one area where the proof that our prophets are human and fallible shines forth. And that’s ok. And even fabulous. They aren’t Christ who was perfect, and they are going to get it wrong sometimes. I do hope someday a courageous new prophet will study history very indepth, pray, and correct what I believe to be an error. But maybe I’m wrong? But for now I think if coffee and tea were not allowed by Joseph Smith, there sure was a lot of it listed in the early travel supply logs to Salt Lake on the wagon trains. But for now, it is what it is, and the church does not believe one should be drinking it.

    I do also disagree with the posters reasoning, that coffee and tea are addictive. Nothing is addictive when used in proper portion. As we say in Pharmacy, “Life versus death is in the dose.” As the Apostle Paul stated when he stated that nothing is forbidden, but for each person nothing should gain a mastery. Current science has shown that coffee has a definite protective effect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but too much raises blood pressure. Tea has definite researched cardiovascular and vessicular protective effects. Coffee and tea are more beneficial than they are harmful if drank in moderation. I also believe that the LDS is crossing dangerously over into treating rhe WOW as though it were doctrine, and it is clearly stated, that it is not doctrine, and I absolutely think that denying someone a Temple recommend it to even be baptized bc they drink coffee is a travesty that makes the Heavenly Father grieve. Bc. Salvation is in the Son, not the percolator, and the Son said that no sin is greater than any other as the same Father wrote them all. If you break one, you have broken them all.

    I remember during my baptism question years ago, I was asked if I had ever engaged in a homosexual act. I was gobsmacked. I said, “No, I haven’t, but I have fornicated, lied, stolen money out of mom’s purse when I was a kid, had lustful thoughts, sworn, been rude to my parents on occasion, and probably taken the Lord’s name in vain, and not honored the Sabbath.” Utter silence. It was comical. I made my point. And they understood my point. That picking and choosing which sins to hold higher than others is a mockery of Christ’s death, resurrection, grace and forgiveness.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT telling, advising, nor teaching others to disobey church decision as it currently stands.

    1. Craig,

      You make several good points.

      I would add that God, the Son and Holy Ghost made the framework for human living. Obedience and accountability for our decisions and actions thus belong to God. Not a human prophet. God seeks obedience to Him; not to a human. So, all adults must figure out what God wants from them, directly. He tells them in His Word. The role of a prophet is to point people to God, not to the earthly prophet.

  25. Hi all. I’ve been following this post for a while. Lot’s of accounts of how bad coffee can make you feel. My question is Monster Energy drink – why has that always been allowed while cold brewed coffee wasn’t?

    1. Good question. It seems to me that the church drew a bright line with coffee and tea. I don’t really know why, but have satisfied my testimony of the prophets and so it is not difficult for me to follow. Why not monster drinks? Why not sugary peeps on Easter that are terrible for our health? I don’t know, but we are taught to live in moderation and perhaps for some, those too would cross the line.

      It seems the Lord helped us to draw a few lines, but does not command in all things.

      1. Yes to zero in. You could drink cold coca-Cola but could not drink cold brewed COFFEE, hot was never an option. So why was caffeine okay in an aluminum can okay and caffeine in a bottle from Starbucks not? No ‘moderation’. The molecules that make up caffeine are exactly identical from each delivery system. So speculate why did God draw that VERY specific line?

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