The Green Tea Question

by
April 9, 2011

We occasionally get the following question:

Is green tea against the word of wisdom?

A simple yes or no question, right? Here are a couple more in the same vein:

Do you have a statement that has been issued by the First Presidency regarding the usage of decaffeinated green tea either as a drink or in a vitamin formula.

I’m a little confused about Green Tea. Some members say they avoid it as it is breaking the Word of Wisdom. Yet others say it is totally fine, a much healthier alternative to soda. I’ve seen other members drinking those popular tall green cans, including my bishop. I’ve wanted to ask him about it, but didn’t really want to put him on the spot. I found this site and thought it a perfect opportunity to ask. What do you think?

Because this website is devoted to answering questions posed primarily by non-latter-day saints, we’ve generally kept ourselves out of debates that take place within the Church. For one thing, if it’s an unsettled issue among Mormons, that usually means there isn’t a definitive answer. We also strive to represent ourselves as “typical” Mormons, which means when we pick a side on some issue, we might be misrepresenting faithful Mormons who believe differently.

Since this is a persistent question and it pertains to the requirements for baptism, I’ll do my best to clear out some of the weeds surrounding this issue, but keep in mind that the truly “perfect opportunity” to discuss it is, in fact, in counsel with your bishop.

Hot Drinks and the Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom refers to the dietary restrictions the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith in D&C 89. It includes a prohibition against tobacco, “strong drinks” (alcohol), and “hot drinks,” as well as recommendations for eating herbs, fruits, grains, and meat (sparingly).

Following this revelation, there was some dispute among Church members about what exactly was meant by “hot drinks.” Tea? Coffee? Soup? Eventually, in 1842 Joseph Smith’s brother and fellow Church leader Hyrum Smith gave a sermon and clarified the matter in this way: “And again ‘hot drinks are not for the body, or belly;’ there are many who wonder what this can mean; whether it refers to tea, or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea, and coffee.”

Modern Church leaders have not offered any more definitive interpretations on which kinds of tea might be permissible. The most recent handbook just says, “The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee.”

This open-endedness has led Latter-day Saints to speculate about what exactly is in tea and coffee that is harmful. Is it the caffeine? The tannic acid? The high temperature? If it is the caffeine (a common speculation), then should we also shun colas, energy drinks, and chocolate? Is decaf okay?

The First Presidency gave a statement on cola in 1973, “With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.”

Why it Matters

Latter-day Saints know that typically, where there is no specific direction on a given subject, we are left to our own judgment, guided by principles instead of rigid rules. This idea can be seen in the cola policy above; it’s not about setting and enforcing unyielding boundaries, but keeping ourselves un-addicted and healthy.

This would normally be a non-issue, then. Each member has access to personal revelation through the gift of the Holy Ghost and to scriptural principles that would guide them to a self-imposed standard that may legitimately vary from person to person.

But tea is not an entirely personal decision. In preparing to be baptized or to enter the temple, a priesthood leader interviews you for worthiness. One of the questions is about your understanding of the Word of Wisdom and whether you are living by it. A wrong answer could keep you from baptism or temple worship or perhaps make a liar out of you. Additionally, depending on your location, green tea may be a huge part of your culture and a cherished tradition. Abstaining could have significant ramifications on personal and business relationships. It is a pivotal decision for some, and wondering about green tea isn’t necessarily just “straining at a gnat,” as those who dismiss the question might uncharitably assume.

Our task, then, is to discover for ourselves a personal rubric for tea-selection, which must be in line with Church guidelines (note: there maybe more than one rubric that is acceptable, there are definitely many that are unacceptable, and we are not charged with creating a rubric for all members). Developing our rubric involves getting educated: learn what makes tea tea, read this article, study other relevant materials. It also involves searching for eternal principles upon which to build your decision, which can be found in scriptures and conference talks and in personal prayer.

The Practice

In the absence of authoritative direction, I thought I would try to see what Latter-day Saints actually do and learn about their guiding motivations for their tea selections. I created a survey, and asked a sample of 86 people who ran across this site or who are my friends on Facebook to take it (we can therefore extrapolate these findings to the general population of people who frequent this site or who are my friends on Facebook).

I listed as many different kinds of tea as I could think of (with the help of Wikipedia). Here are a few of the statistics. The following were asked of latter-day saints:

The first chart shows those teas that Church members believe to be prohibited for temple worthiness, the second chart shows teas that are believed to be expressly permitted. The clear front-runners to avoid are black, green, and iced teas, while peppermint and chamomile rank pretty high on the allowed list. The lesser-known ones (white, oolong, masala chai, yerba maté, rooibos) were a mixed bag, probably just because they are less familiar. Many surveyees added the write-in candidate “herbal tea” as a permitted type, which actually includes peppermint and chamomile (I couldn’t include all herbal teas in my list because there are infinitely many).

Exactly half of the members I surveyed were returned full-time proselyting missionaries. Missionaries have the unique responsibility of ushering converts into the church and they probably deal with this question of tea-types more regularly than any bishop or stake president. I asked them which types of tea they taught their converts they needed to avoid and which were allowed:

Basically, the same trends as before, but these answers look a little more confident.

Next, I asked how much allure tea had for them:

This is the sentiment that (in my experience) most Mormons have about tea. They just don’t give it much thought. It isn’t on their radar.

I also asked the ten non-Mormons who took the quiz a few questions. The sample size isn’t large enough to draw many conclusions, but I’ll post the results here for your interest.

I also asked members what their guiding philosophy was for selecting the tea that they did. This is where the real insight came. Since this was an essay question, I extracted the basic gist of their reason and categorized them into the following groups:

One thing you might notice from this is that the first two categories (made from the tea leaf and herbal tea) essentially draw the same line in the sand. Of the teas I listed in my survey, black, green, white, oolong, and iced teas are made with the leaf of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). All the rest are “herbal teas,” according to Wikipedia’s (somewhat limey) definition: “A herbal teatisane, or ptisan is a herbal or plant infusion and usually not made from the leaves of the tea bush. Typically, herbal tea is simply the combination of boiling water and dried fruits, flowers or herbs.”

I got a lot of good, thoughtful responses for this question. I’ll provide a few of them here.

Jethro: “I am not very critical about it, I guess. I generally stay away from hot teas, and ice teas unless they are prepared by a trusted (usually Mormon) lady, who usually accompanies the tea with some kind of reassuring “here, this will make you feel better”.”

Steve: “I just don’t drink tea.  I even avoid wearing tea-shirts.
“I did some searching on LDS.org for green tea and I only found one article from 1985ish.  It was a story of some missionaries in Japan looking for an apartment to rent.  Spoiler Alert:  They found one.”

Anonymous: “I was told once by someone or other that tea is only forbidden if it’s made with tea leaves; herbal teas and the like are fine. However, this came from a layperson, not from anyone in authority, and trying to pinpoint the forbidden ingredient in tea seems rather like the stance some people take that because coffee has caffeine, caffeine must be forbidden in all its forms. It’s entirely possible that this is true, of course, but the fact is that we simply don’t know. So for me, I drink herbal tea very occasionally when someone else is offering it, when it’s an innocuous-seeming variety like blueberry, and when it would be rude to refuse, but that’s all. My refusal is made easier by the fact that I do not like the taste of any tea I have tried.
“From what I have seen of other people’s tea drinking habits, I’d say a fair number also draw the line between herbal tea and tea tea. I don’t think that any type of tea has been explicitly allowed.”

Orpha: “It must be an herbal ‘tea,’ (which is not actually a tea), which means it will be caffeine-FREE, ingredients clearly listed. I drink herbal tea occasionally, sometimes in spurts, but especially to soothe a sore throat, help clear congestion, or to help me warm up after being outside in the cold.”

Nefi: “If the tea is herbal it is ok.  ’Herbal’ means if it has a cute teddy bear in pajamas and it says something like ‘sleepy time’ on the box then it is ok. If I have not heard of the name or it sounds oriental with kanji on the box and no cute pictures then it is not ok.”

Willie: “I can’t claim to know which sort of tea is acceptable or not according to the standards.  I have never read the standards.
“As for me, I just stay away from all teas and then I’m sure that I’ll be just fine.  I’ve been healthy enough this far into my life that drinking tea for any ‘health benefits’ isn’t going to sell me on it either.”

Andrew: “I try to follow the promptings of the Spirit. If the tea makes me feel uncomfortable, then I don’t drink it. When I was in Japan I drank a tea that a member said was okay to drink and it felt wrong to me. I took a look at the ingredients and one of them was Green Tea powder, so I stopped drinking it. Following the Spirit has always served me well.”

It was interesting to see the variety of opinions on this, as well as the emergent themes. None of these opinions are authoritative, and they each spoke only for the bar they set for themselves, not what they would impose on the whole Church.

I can’t draw any firm conclusions from this data on how to construct your rubric. As one respondent put it, “popular opinion does not a standard make.” Still, I think it is a good idea to take inventory of this issue once in awhile, and it would be good to use the data in drawing your own personal conclusions.

The Principles

As I mentioned earlier, in the absence of specific proscriptions, we must learn all we can about the issue and be guided by principles instead of governed by rules. Here is a short list of some principles to keep in mind when selecting which teas to avoid and which to accept:

  • Avoid addiction. This isn’t just a good idea, it’s fundamental to the purpose of life. We cannot hope to overcome the tests of life if we have already sacrificed our free will to some unholy Mammon. Bear in mind also, that the addict rarely recognizes his own addiction.
  • Health. This is one of the promised blessings for those who obey the Word of Wisdom, and as I quoted the First Presidency saying earlier, “Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.”
  • Covenant. Another of the blessings promised is that the “destroying angel will pass by them and not slay them” (D&C 89:21). This is a reference to the first passover in Egypt when the Israelites publicly displayed their covenant status and their faith in Jehovah by painting their door posts with lambs’ blood; then the destroyer “passed over” them (Exodus 12:23). Maybe, like painting your house with blood, certain tea restrictions don’t make intuitive sense. And maybe there is something grander at work here.
  • Obedience. The Lord is more interested in seeing our willingness to follow Him than in seeing how smart we think we are (2 Nephi 9:28-29).
  • Sustaining local leaders. If you are concerned about where to draw the line, talk to your bishop about it at your next temple recommend interview. He is a judge in Israel and his judgment is authoritative. Follow his counsel.
  • Unity in Zion. Be careful making yourself the exception. Remember that there are thousands of Japanese converts who took a leap of faith by abandoning a cherished cultural practice (and identity) to qualify for baptism. “For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things” (D&C 78:6).
  • Personal revelation. If you have been baptized and confirmed, you have the gift of the Holy Ghost who “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26). Live up to your privilege and ask for revelation!

The great thing about principles is that they are widely applicable! This means you can also use these and other principles to help you in deciding what kinds of restaurants to eat at, clothing to wear, whom to vote for, and what to do with your free time. The Lord has withheld specifying rules in many cases so that we can learn to identify and adopt principles, thus becoming our own governors — becoming free. It also helps us draw closer to Him in prayer, knowing we need His personal guidance; we can’t just flip open the code book and have every eventuality spelled out for us.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

63 Responses to “The Green Tea Question”

  1. Bob

    I was in the process of writing a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune when I wanted to confirm my impression that green tea is forbidden to LDS (myself not being LDS). The general opinion I see in the comments and in the survey in the original article is a pretty clear “yes, it is forbidden”. The reasoning seems to be of two types: 1) avoid what’s bad for us, and 2) trust, obey, and uphold church authorities. Now, green tea has been consumed for thousands of years in vast quantities by literally billions of people. All the known evidence says that not only is it not harmful, but is beneficial to both mental and physical health (and it’s hard to see how there could be much more evidence than there already is, apart from studying its individual constituents, as is in fact being done). So, the prohibition would seem to be based only on the second type of reason: to trust, obey, and uphold. But, given agency, is that a good enough reason to forgo the evident benefits?

    Abraham generally is admired for his obedience in obeying God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. When at the last second it was clear that Abraham was going through with it and had passed the test, God stopped him. But there is another interpretation of this story that rings true to me. The test was of Abraham’s own agency and compass, a test he failed by being willing to commit an act that was manifestly horrific. God stopped him to prevent that act.

    In light of the recent explanation from the LDS church that the exclusion of blacks from the priesthood was a result of racism rather than revelation, and that church leaders are indeed fallible, what is the best basis of choice: 1) what seems clearly right to oneself after careful consideration of facts of benefits and harms, or 2) obedience contrary to one’s own judgment?

    And I must add, the explanation about blacks is among the most courageous and remarkable things I have seen come out of the hierarchy, truly commendable because they did not have to do it. It has the potential, I think, to shift LDS views about the responsibility and authority for moral judgment more toward individual members (the true locus of agency) and less toward church officers (where, it seems to me, the current emphasis is). Time will tell, but that would be a massive change.

    Considering the sizable minority of rank and file LDS favor gay civil marriage (temple marriage – I haven’t seen any polls about that), based on the most fundamental and eternal command – to love – and their own best judgment based on what they themselves have experienced about the reality of love between two people of whatever gender, and the fact that the shift in views is generational… Well, the direction of history is clear, it bends toward justice (from the bottom up, when necessary), even in highly institutional, authority-based religions, where change is slow and hard.

    I’m not going to say anything about green tea in my letter to the Trib.

  2. Adam Gale

    The Church will never recognize gay marriage. To do so would actually be contrary to God’s word. Sizable minority? Less than 1 percent of LDS members support gay marriage, if that is sizable, then so be it.

    The Church bends towards morality, not justice. There is nothing moral or right about same sex marriage.

    As far as those saying that we should open the barn door so the tractor can get out, yeah, except when you do that, you let the tires out of the tractor, ie, you abandon the principles and commandments you have covenanted to keep sacred.

    “False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.”
    -M. Russell Ballard-

    With gay marriage, and green tea, members will try to justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws by saying it’s an agency issue, rather than a morality and obedience issue.

  3. Rich Henkle

    To Adam Gale,

    Thank you very much for writing regarding the folly of so called same sex marriage. I am glad for what Elder Ballard has said and glad that we are publishing that to the world and reaffirming it.
    Thanks for sending that section.

    Rich

    —-Apart from that.

    Dear Brothers and Cisterns,

    Come on. Come the farking hail on and stop being dumm IceHoles. This very, Ridiculous attitude, is what I am talking about! People, Utahns, wherever you are that come up with this stuff–Don’t even try to compare the use of Tea, Green Tea, Coffee, Coffee Ice Cream, Iced Tea, or HOT SOUP to the sins of the extreme of the folly and falsehood of same sex “marriage”. Dear golly you get swept into comparing the vile with insignificant. You have to be kidding me! Where do you BYU kids come up with this horse malarkey??? I don’t give a flying leap what Hyrum said in 1842 about coffee and tea; he likely was so doggone tired of being bothered about it he had to come up with some kind of answer to satisfy the fearful fanatics! There was no need. Just read the scripture there. This is NOT ancient Hebrew, nor scripture that was written to deceive and confuse mankind. It is super simple. Go back and re-read the 89th Section over and over again and cross reference it. Then you can stop overkilling animals and stop stuffing your bellies and colons of excessive Meat! But I have seen so many born mormons who are walking meat processors it’s nuts.

    Stop fretting and bothering over all of these little, minor, trivial matters like Coffee and Tea. Abstain from it as much as possible, but if so, start doing the same with all the Trash that most ALL of you are pouring down your fellow church member gullets. Even the Prophets of old have written that They did not know all things! So why bother them, or the Lord over such matters.

    That is the kind of thing the Lord despises. He does not like it when man must wait to be commanded in all things and cannot use his own brain. I assure you that the coffee plant has many good uses and SAVES THE LIVES OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS AND MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS MORE WORLDWIDE EVERY SINGLE DAY. So start getting your hearts and minds straight. Use your God Given Brain and stop being a mindless following blather of a people. The Lord does not need nor want such kinds of brain sleepy followers. He wants people who can READ, figure out what is there, Live the most important commandments, have strong influence from the holy spirit and be a SELF REGULATING person who does not engage in serious sin and is COMPASSIONATE and loving to ALL. Our sin of incompassion in this church is heavy. We need Help. We need to repent on the matter. We are pitiful in our support of the disabled and the truly poor. Stating how LAX we are as a people in those areas is almost unheard of–yet we folly in wasted effort on Coffee and Tea. We hear little to nothing about our weakness in this.

    And I do mean LAX. Truly LAX. We are as a people and church.

    Now to address the awful inclusion of the mention of an abomination like same sex marriage and worries over coffee or tea in the same sentence of discussion…Well, First of all, there is no such thing as marriage for those of the same sex. It’s only a creation of people’s minds and a paper trail. Marriage is ONLY given and ordained by God. Man and governments copied it since that time.

    As for Tea. My writings about Tea are to emphasize quite strongly that our church is patting itself on the back far too often and firmly. We have severe problems of adulteries, fornications, divorce setups and arrangements right within wards. It is sickening. The fact that we even put Tea on the same PLANET OF DISCUSSION when we have so many other constant serious sins I have and am witnessing that ARE taking place and that are NOT being repented of and NOT being corrected even by church leaders is a travesty.

    You all can keep worrying all you want about green tea and cold coffee, or Milk with a touch of coffee as I know it. However 2 of my Veteran’s Administration doctors, knowing of my brain injuries and danger on the road PRESCRIBE it to me. They KNOW I am LDS and they know many LDS and in my case they ordered me to do it or have my license taken away.

    SO PISS OFF YOU STUPID FANATICS WHO WOULD RATHER WITNESS ADULTERIES WITHIN THE WARD AND DO JACK–Nothing–but shake in your bones over some green or other tea or 2 cups of prescribed coffee.

    Cold at that! I do my very best. Work hard to keep it all from being hot.

    The Lord is looking at all this and probably remarking: Didn’t I give Joseph words that focus upon Evil, designing men, Alcohol and Tobacco. Who are the evil impoverished coffee and tea growers in our 3rd world? Where are those coffee growers and poor bean processors who are trying to control and take over the world and destroy people? IT ISN’T HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!
    Wanna know an evil company ruining people’s health? Look no further than diabetes causing, teeth falling out, Coke and DIET Coke that 2 out of 3 LDS women I know are downright addicted to! And, I kid not whatsoever. 2 out of 3. Wasting money on that trash like it’s going out of style. Cokes, Pepsi’s, Dr. Pepper, and every style of Diet drink that fizzes away that tooth enamel.

    17 months of hospitals after the war medevac. 33 months and extensive physical brain treatments over 22 years. PRESCRIPTION, 2 cups of coffee before driving. Daily well brushed teeth. I tell the Bishop, but I don’t need his permission, nor any of your’s, and it isn’t about free agency! It is about staying ALIVE, and keeping you and your loved ones ALIVE on the road. Soooooooooo,

    KISS MY ASS. And wake up and stop punishing good people in China and all over the world who drink a little purified Tea with their meals instead of Cess Pool impure water. Wake the hell up!
    Coffee and a wee bit of Tea might help you do that. Explanations of these matters to the brethren who must be able to see the inflexibility of not advising thought, prayer and moderation is proper.

    You are all looking beyond the mark. We have all taught beyond the mark regarding Coffee and Tea and it is Ridiculous.

    STOP committing fornications and adulteries and then I’ll work with you on getting rid of dangerous drinks. I’ll start with Alcohol, then go to “soft” drinks. Let your Teeth fall out in the meantime from all that caramel color, phosphoric acid, and you name it. At least with my glass of milk with coffee…my neighbors get to joke that I’m “Mormon Legal”. And all of them have interest in the church because of their relationship with me.

    They won’t attend though because of those local members they know who break those other REAL commandments I spoke of and haven’t missed a heartbeat of church attendance. It is true, and they have witnessed it happen. Abstinence from coffee and tea won’t be saving them! What those hypocrites have done is severe enough to have pushed many in a certain area out of the church, and cause others who were considering it to stop considering the church.

    Focus on the REAL commandments and get our LDS heads out of our asches over coffee and tea. “Cool it” on that matter. Don’t add any sugar! Why Otherwise, then you’ll have Coke, the Artifical coffee! OH DEAR. Stay Natural!

    Kona, Colombian, or Guatemalan, hahahahaha. See you on the other side for certain!

    Love,

    Richard Henkle
    richhenkle@aol.com

  4. Russell

    Thaddeus, I know it’s been a while since you wrote this, but thanks anyway. I’m moving to Japan and was curious about how to handle situations where I might be offered green tea.

    The article helped me focus my thoughts for further contemplation and the comments gave me a good chuckle.

  5. Debra Crowder

    Well said Rich Hinkle! I was beginning to wonder if LDS members have lost all common sense.
    We as members have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost and should spend more time listening to the still small voice than obsessing over what to drink. I bet the General Authorities get bombarded daily with things we should be asking from The Lord.. And how can we be truly loving one another if we are so wrapped up in striving to obey the letter of the law? Our focus should be more on charity and the love of Christ.

  6. Kate

    I know I’m coming to the party a little late but I’d like to share my experience regarding tea.
    I have chronic arthritic pain, blood sugar swings and horrible migraines. I also have back pain and neuropathy of the leg. When I wasn’t a member I drank green and white teas a couple times a day, and most of my joint swelling went away. When I came back to the church, I stopped. My pain became significantly worse, and I had a harder time concentrating for long periods of time (migraines make everything fuzzy). After significant thought, prayer and finally discussions with my husband, my father in law (who was serving in the stake presidency) and my bishop, I made the decision to start drinking tea again. I don’t drink black or grey because those teas use fermented tea leaves, but I do drink green, white, rooibus and other herbals. My pain and swelling is decreased and my immune system functions better. You need to make this kind of decision between you and the Lord. All of my local priesthood authority told me the same thing (but surprisingly said it in a very nonjudgmental way). Two of them even said that green/white tea were not specifically mentioned in the handbook and that, outside of Utah/US, they don’t always encourage members to give those up. I am ok with my decision. I much prefer the small amount of caffeine in a green tea drink than what is given in Excedrin, Pamprin or soda. And the health benefits make my quality of life significantly higher.
    Just some food for thought.

  7. Richard Henkle

    I strongly agree with Kate’s comments. Lesser types of tea are used in many lands and nations. These are usually referred to as agua aromatica, herbal teas and tinctures, and shai teas. Chinese traditional tea is one of these, green tea and so on.

    We focus so much on the bad aspects of harder fermented teas that we miss out on the good aspects of so many normal teas, some of which are little more than leaves of quality grasses heated and leeched. My feeling is that as long as you are not drinking any of these hot or too hot, there isn’t any damage going on to your esophagus…and certainly not to your spirit.

    Clear to me is the dividing line between using tea and coffee as a heavy stimulant to go beyond our proper endurance; and using these plants for their medicinal purposes. As much time as I lived in the Middle East, I feel fairly confident that Jesus drank some tea, so chill.

    We have a lot more to worry about like the slap on the wrist so many are getting for adulteries…with members…marrying the persons in question right in the church and breaking up their original families. I have seen this so many times now that it sickens me and breaks my heart to know that we waste our time on coffee and tea, yet we rubber stamp affairs and marry the same, destroying families right within our wards as long as the offenders keep on attending and paying their tithes and offerings.

    We need to be better than Baptist Mormons. Confession and some kind of discipline is in order…yet I see little…over and over again and I have example after example.

    Still we waste our breath on Coffee and Tea. It appalls me. I know too many effected from these other tragedies. Salt Lake has much more to address than the time waste on this matter of coffee and tea. It makes a lot of good members like me just want to walk as we see nothing done regarding such serious cases over and over. Pitiful.

  8. John

    Thank you for your post Kate,

    I’m sorry to hear of your condition and hope things continue to improve. In my opinion you have shown an excellent example of the proper steps to take to receive revelation for our own personal needs. You also bring up a good point, I remember on my mission in Brazil we taught that as far a tea was concerned, only black tea was prohibited. (I don’t recall a ‘grey’ tea being available) When we were offered coffee or black tea as a refreshment by non members, we would even suggest green or white tea instead. Also when interviewing for baptism, (questions we had to basically read word for word from a church published manual) black tea was specifically named along with coffee, alcoholic drinks etc. Additionally we drank a lot of soft drinks since much of the water there was unsafe, and yes, Coke was allowed by our Mission President. While I am not advocating that any of these drinks are good for you, I do believe that they are a personal choice, the drinking of which will not necessarily put anyone in danger of hell fire.

  9. Wendy Ballantyne

    I discussed the issue of drinking iced green tea, 8 oz 3x/day, per my physician’s written orders as he prescribe for my chronic health problems.

    I had completed all the home education lessons, read the book of Mormon and was already well educated in Christianity, both old and new Testaments of Holy Bible, and was Baptized as an infant. I had attended LDS church over 6 times and donated in a lump sum over 10% of my income to Deseret Industries in anticipation of becoming a LDS Church member.

    The missionaries have avoided making Baptismal arrangements for me, do not return phone calls, and have not showed up to home visit appointments that they made.

    Apparently following my doctor’s orders for my health and wellness makes me “unworthy” of baptism.

  10. Rex

    So we don’t have an answer.

  11. Robin Marsden

    I am just loving reading these comments! I have been a member of the church for 40 years now, and when I converted to the church I was in love with my “Constant Comment” tea and iced coffee. Giving that up was harder than anything else! But I wanted to do what I felt was right before the Lord, because the gospel meant more to me than anything in my life. I found there were a lot of other great things I could drink and I enjoy all kinds of non-caffeinated herbal teas! So far I have had good health, and I attribute so much of it to what I have gratefully learned from the Word of Wisdom. I love learning about herbs and plants. There are many health benefits from the wonderful plants that the Lord has provided for us upon this earth, yet it is good to study and learn what one can about them. I have experienced a few hard lessons, though, concerning just taking any herbs…(they can have strong medicinal properties)…Once I took kelp and lost all my nursing milk for my baby. Another time, I miscarried a baby from taking some strong herbs that I did not know were not safe for an early pregnancy. At other times, these same herbs were very helpful. In the Word of Wisdom we are told to use prudence (ie. temperance, moderation)… This last summer I tried a special herbal formula I ordered without looking at all the ingredients. All night my heart raced, so later I read the ingredients and saw green tea extract. I learned that it does have caffeine in it. I have become very sensitive to caffeine (even chocolate effects me). My husband can take it with no effects. Perhaps down the road, long term effects may be manifest from it…I do not know.. Some say there are formulas that have only the beneficial good parts of the green tea and no caffeine…I am still trying to learn more because so many members of the church are also not sure.

    Above all, we should study things out. We have been given the Holy Ghost to know for ourselves if something doesn’t feel right for us. Perhaps one needs to test his body to see how he feels and then ask the Lord. I also believe that each person has a conscience before the Lord and the Lord knows our hearts and what we are trying to do. Our love for the Lord and our desire to find healthy remedies will be resolved as we pray and feel the Lord’s spirit and direction in all we do. I know that if I chomp down brownies and ice cream and my blood sugar levels go haywire, I am crossing the line with what I know will make me feel sick, and THE LORD KNOWS THAT I KNOW better for me! Perhaps this is not so with another person. Let us be tolerant with another and cease to decide what is right for another person. There are many different interpretations of the different parts of the Word of Wisdom. The Lord means to help us not confuse us. (I personally find it is more clearer than ever as I see how our food is slowly getting corrupted…I am gaining a testimony of it and love it more and more!) Each is accountable before the Lord with his own views and the Lord understands his heart and knows his desires. Green tea or not? I personally don’t do well with it, but I will never judge another who feels it is benefiting their health. Some feel that it breaking the Word of Wisdom to drink it. That’s OK, too. It is everyone’s free agency to follow their conscience (and they MUST!) Personally if I felt doubt, I’d put obedience to the Lord first, rather than trust my own earthly wisdom (what do I know compared to Him who made me?) But if we are trying our best to improve our health, even with what limited knowledge we have, it is better than not trying. For now, until more specifications are given to us concerning green tea, especially from our church leaders, let us keep trying to gain more insight and knowledge…..usually time gives us more answers…..

    But, please let us all stop bickering! As Richard Henkle shared, there are a lot more serious problems we need to be focusing on within our wards and with others. We have much good work to do for the Lord. We should not be wasting our time trying to pick the motes out of each other’s eyes…. With all my heart I mean this. May we feel unbiased love for one other and a close, personal relationship with our Savior. We are so blessed with the gospel and we must focus on the big picture…loving people and helping them have happier, better, and good lives….healing lost souls who have had really serious trials, and bringing the light of Christ to all who hunger for it….. Let’s not worry too much about the green tea for now…..

  12. Richard Henkle

    I’m not going to give another answer to this. When your VA doctors and nurses, four on a severe treatment care panel, tell you that you WILL have 2 cups of coffee before ANY driving of a vehicle so that you do not die behind the wheel or kill anyone else due to your severe war incurred brain injuries, “regardless of whether you are mormon or not”; all of the huff and puff about coffee, tea, grean tea, and its requirement as part of the word of wisdom or a temple recommend interview goes out the window. Any other thought or statement to criticize this actual meeting and factual comment of mine is the stuff of fanaticism. Use your brains. The Lord made certain a panel of doctors told me what to do to be able to drive again and live. It isn’t an exception, it is MY rule, it shows that the substances are there for our wise use–just like medical marijuana for severe pain and seizure treatments. The Lord specified tobacco and alcohol abstention, these other substances we have become far too fanatic of a people about and need to worry about severe sins right inside of our wards and realize coffee and tea is so ridiculously minor now compared to what is going on with people and couples within the walls of our wards.

  13. Adam Gale

    All I hear is empty justifications for the rejection of God’s word. There are alternatives to taking coffee and tea, that’s what this boils down to, regardless if a physician prescribed it or not. Your war addled brain could take caffeine pills, and avoid the whole coffee issue altogether, but you CHOOSE to reject the Word of Wisdom and supplant it with your own interpretation.

    The road to apostasy isn’t one big leap, it’s tiny little steps at a time. Keep rejecting God’s word and justifying it, and you are on that road.

Leave a Reply