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I have heard it said many times that the hot drinks mentioned in the Word of Wisdom refer to coffee and tea. Alright, except...

WHO said that though? And when? I have looked in many books now (although to be fair, none that are specifically focusing on the Word of Wisdom) and I keep hearing the same thing repeated over and over that hot drinks are authoritatively interpreted to mean coffee and tea. But they never ever give a source for this!! This is getting very frustrating now and I'm beginning to think that the hot drinks supposedly referring to coffee and tea is just another Mormon myth. If a very large one.

Does anyone have a source for hot drinks authoritatively being interpreted to mean coffee and tea? Because the only thing I did find (which wasn't much) was one thing on Fair Mormon here:

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/publications/word-of-wisdom-caffeine-and-hypocrisy#en1

But I don't have the book to check its source either!

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You could start at this citation index entry for verse 9, and work your way up the list of entries.

Opinions and observations follow (nothing to do with the source of that explanation):

The wording of verse 9 (had to go find out which one it was) struck me this morning (not for the body (which I think of as external) or the belly (which I think of as stomach)).  In a RS lesson a few years back, a sister who worked for a doctor (I think a coroner or forensic doctor, but definitely a medical doctor) described what he told her about the damage done by ingesting things the temperature of coffee and tea (obviously not iced).  It was quite disturbing.  Enough to make me wonder if we should only consume lukewarm soup.

Of course, I'm reasonably sure it's not only the heat that's the problem (or the Lord would have said to not drink them hot).  Both have other bad stuff in them*(**), and the wise thing seems to stay far from them in all their forms (iced or ice creamed or added to chocolates or whatever); and also to make sure that whatever else you're eating or drinking has cooled down to a temperature that isn't going to burn your mouth.

*I know it's been said caffeine isn't the reason, but simply learning the way caffeine works (and how your body works very hard to make up for what it does) is more than enough argument for me to avoid caffeine.  Seems to me if avoiding caffeine wasn't the intended reason for not consuming "hot drinks", it's a nice extra benefit.

(**) and even if they don't, avoiding them because the Lord said to seems like a good idea. :)

FWIW.

Edited by zil

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9 hours ago, Awakened said:

I have heard it said many times that the hot drinks mentioned in the Word of Wisdom refer to coffee and tea. Alright, except...

WHO said that though? And when?

The first was Hyrum Smith, who, as Assistant President of the Church and Patriarch to the Church in Nauvoo, was a prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ. He spoke it in General Conference with Brother Joseph on the stand. I'd look up the date, but it's not that important to me. You are welcome to search it out. It was obviously before 1844 when he died, and after 1839 when he arrived in the City of Joseph

Since that time, of course, there have been a myriad, perhaps two, of official pronouncements on the matter. Brigham was the first in Salt Lake City, and it's been every prophet and every Apostle from that time until today. So one is left wondering why this is an issue.

Lehi

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8 hours ago, zil said:

You could start at this citation index entry for verse 9, and work your way up the list of entries.

Opinions and observations follow (nothing to do with the source of that explanation):

The wording of verse 9 (had to go find out which one it was) struck me this morning (not for the body (which I think of as external) or the belly (which I think of as stomach)).  In a RS lesson a few years back, a sister who worked for a doctor (I think a coroner or forensic doctor, but definitely a medical doctor) described what he told her about the damage done by ingesting things the temperature of coffee and tea (obviously not iced).  It was quite disturbing.  Enough to make me wonder if we should only consume lukewarm soup.

Of course, I'm reasonably sure it's not only the heat that's the problem (or the Lord would have said to not drink them hot).  Both have other bad stuff in them*(**), and the wise thing seems to stay far from them in all their forms (iced or ice creamed or added to chocolates or whatever); and also to make sure that whatever else you're eating or drinking has cooled down to a temperature that isn't going to burn your mouth.

*I know it's been said caffeine isn't the reason, but simply learning the way caffeine works (and how your body works very hard to make up for what it does) is more than enough argument for me to avoid caffeine.  Seems to me if avoiding caffeine wasn't the intended reason for not consuming "hot drinks", it's a nice extra benefit.

(**) and even if they don't, avoiding them because the Lord said to seems like a good idea. :)

FWIW.

http://scriptures.byu.edu/#:t1d4d9$88932:c12e599 Found it!

5 hours ago, LeSellers said:

The first was Hyrum Smith, who, as Assistant President of the Church and Patriarch to the Church in Nauvoo, was a prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ. He spoke it in General Conference with Brother Joseph on the stand. I'd look up the date, but it's not that important to me. You are welcome to search it out. It was obviously before 1844 when he died, and after 1839 when he arrived in the City of Joseph

Since that time, of course, there have been a myriad, perhaps two, of official pronouncements on the matter. Brigham was the first in Salt Lake City, and it's been every prophet and every Apostle from that time until today. So one is left wondering why this is an issue.

Lehi

It's not anymore. I found the authoritative source and that's all I wanted to know. Thanks, everyone! :) 

Edited by Awakened

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1 hour ago, Awakened said:

I found the authoritative source and that's all I wanted to know.

It was earlier than Brigham Young, fer shure.

Quote

Joseph Smith “defined ‘hot drinks’ as tea and coffee, the two common household beverages of the day. Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the “Word of Wisdom,” when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said ‘hot drinks.’ ” [John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1937), 85-87.]

And here is Hyrum's statement:

Quote

Times and Seasons – “Truth will prevail.”

[Vol. III. No. 15.] CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. JUNE 1, 1842.

The Lord has told us that “Strong drinks are not good,” who is it that will say they are? when the Lord says they are not. That man who says “I can drink wine or strong drink, and it will not hurt me” is not wise. But some will say, “I know it did me good, for I was fatigued, and feeble, on a certain occasion, and it revived me, and I was invigorated thereby, and that is sufficient proof for me:” It may be for you, but it would not be for a wise man, for every spirit of this kind will only produce a greater langor [languor] when its effects cease to operate upon the human body. But you know that you are benefited, yes, so does the man who has mortgaged his property, know that he is relieved from his present embarassments [embarrassments]; but his temporary relief only binds the chords of bondage more severely around him. The Lord has not ordained strong drink for the belly; “but for the washing of your bodies.” And again “tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly; and it is not good for man; but as an herb for bruises, and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.” Tobacco is a nauseous, stinking abominable thing, and I am surprised that any human being should think of using it-for an elder especially to eat, or smoke it, is a disgrace to him;-he is not fit for the office, he ought first to learn to keep the word of wisdom, and then to teach others. God will not prosper the man who uses it. 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. Why is it that we are frequently so dull and languid? it is because we break the word of wisdom, disease preys upon our system, our understandings are darkened, and we do not comprehend the things of God; the devil takes advantage of us, and we fall into temptation. Not only are they injurious in their tendency, and baneful in their effects, but the importation of foreign products might be the means of thousands of our people being poisened [poisoned] at a future time, through the advantage that an enemy might take of us, if we made [page 800] use of these things that are thus spoken of as being evil; and be it remembered-that this instruction is given “in consequence of evils that do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men.”

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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1 hour ago, LeSellers said:

It was earlier than Brigham Young, fer shure.

And here is Hyrum's statement:

Lehi

Well, the problem with that passage of Hyrum's is that it sounds dangerously like just his view on it and not actual revelation. Notice that he says, "I say". BY's talk on it seems much more authoritative.

And as for the above, again, I don't have The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation so I can't check where John Widtsoe quoted Joseph Smith for that.

Edited by Awakened

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12 hours ago, zil said:

In a RS lesson a few years back, a sister who worked for a doctor (I think a coroner or forensic doctor, but definitely a medical doctor) described what he told her about the damage done by ingesting things the temperature of coffee and tea (obviously not iced).  It was quite disturbing. 

Just a couple weeks ago there was a news story splashing all around the headlines about hot coffee and tea causing cancer due to temperature.  I think it was something like any hot beverage 150 degrees or hotter if I remember correctly.  That story was all over for about a week and then seemed to disappear as many health/medical stories do. 

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21 hours ago, Awakened said:
23 hours ago, LeSellers said:

It was earlier than Brigham Young, fer shure.

And here is Hyrum's statement:

Lehi

Well, the problem with that passage of Hyrum's is that it sounds dangerously like just his view on it and not actual revelation. Notice that he says, "I say". BY's talk on it seems much more authoritative.

And as for the above, again, I don't have The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation so I can't check where John Widtsoe quoted Joseph Smith for that.

Elder Wdstoe's book is not the only source for this quotation.

As for Hyrum's statement, keep in mind that Joseph was sitting right behind him (and had no qualms about correcting errors on the stand). Further, Joseph was the editor of the Times and Seasons. Had he disapproved of the pronouncement, it would have been left out of the printed record.

You're perfectly within your rights to discount this evidence. But it's as valid as any other you've seen.

Lehi

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Joseph Smith has also been quoted as clarifying the phrase "hot drinks".

Quote

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. …

“Tea and coffee … are what the Lord meant when He said ‘hot drinks.’” (In Joel H. Johnson, Voice from the Mountains [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881], p. 12.

 

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22 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

The real kick in the pants is that all the way up until 1918 you could still drink tea and coffee and still get a temple recommend.

And why is this a "kick in the pants"?

Lehi

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6 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Because our observance of the word of wisdom is a matter of policy not doctrine.

Oh?

Lehi

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D&C 89 you know what it says....

 

2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—

 3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

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10 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Because our observance of the word of wisdom is a matter of policy not doctrine.

Never knew that. Very cool to learn. 

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Read the history found in this chapter.  Looks like a commandment to me.  If a prophet's saying so isn't good enough, I recommend re-reading those scriptures about how it doesn't matter whether the Lord says it personally or through his servants.  What's more, I don't comprehend how there can be any doubt about these things - it's a no-brainer that they aren't good for you.

Baffling.

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On 7/23/2016 at 0:30 AM, Awakened said:

Does anyone have a source for hot drinks authoritatively being interpreted to mean coffee and tea? Because the only thing I did find (which wasn't much) was one thing on

https://history.lds.org/article/doctrine-and-covenants-word-of-wisdom?lang=eng

Pay attention to footnote #19.

This was not some people trying to fit the background to a pre-determined narrative.  There was a lot of background and historical content that goes into this understanding.  "Hot Drinks" specifically meant coffee and tea per the vernacular of the day.  

If I said that gal was a "fox".  Would you really mean that I was referring to a female as a canine?  That actually has a bad connotation.  But the meaning per our language (at least the language I grew up with) would mean that was a compliment.  It's a matter of historical linguistic study, not doctrinal interpretation.

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35 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

D&C 89 you know what it says....

2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—

 3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

Omega,

I'm not quite sure if I'm on the same page as you.  But I do see an aspect of this that is correct.  

There is no moral compunction against the consumption of coffee and tea.  But it is part of our covenant for this dispensation.  It is not sinful for anyone outside the faith to have their morning joe.  While we can argue health effect until we're blue in the face, the moral aspect of the word of wisdom is not so strong as we often characterize it.

I do have a problem wth the wording of "policy vs doctrine".  I don't see it that way.  The doctrine of the faith has not changed.  It is still against the word of wisdom as it always has been.  But the strictness with which we follow it vis-a-vis a temple recommend is a matter of policy.  And it is THIS policy which has changed over the course of a century and brought us to the current status.

Perspective.

Edited by Guest

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On 7/23/2016 at 1:30 AM, Awakened said:

I have heard it said many times that the hot drinks mentioned in the Word of Wisdom refer to coffee and tea. Alright, except...

WHO said that though? And when? I have looked in many books now (although to be fair, none that are specifically focusing on the Word of Wisdom) and I keep hearing the same thing repeated over and over that hot drinks are authoritatively interpreted to mean coffee and tea. But they never ever give a source for this!! This is getting very frustrating now and I'm beginning to think that the hot drinks supposedly referring to coffee and tea is just another Mormon myth. If a very large one.

Does anyone have a source for hot drinks authoritatively being interpreted to mean coffee and tea? Because the only thing I did find (which wasn't much) was one thing on Fair Mormon here:

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/publications/word-of-wisdom-caffeine-and-hypocrisy#en1

But I don't have the book to check its source either!

Although others have provided earlier references I think it's worth reminding everyone that the teachings of modern prophets are also authoritative.  You can find the teaching at mormon.org, "True to the Faith", "For the Strength of Youth", "Gospel Principles", etc.  You can also find references in general conference talks.  As President of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson taught it in April 1983: 

Quote

Hot drinks [defined as tea and coffee] are not for the body.

 

Perhaps you wonder if it's like the priesthood policy and is a mistake.  If so, you'd be fooling yourself if you think you can make that decision.  Follow the prophet and you'll be blessed.

 

13 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Because our observance of the word of wisdom is a matter of policy not doctrine.

It is a matter of both policy and doctrine.  The policy part pertains to which substances we currently abstain from.  Obviously, the Lord's law of health has changed throughout the history of mankind.  He has his reasons.  The doctrine part was stated in a famous talk by Ezra Taft Benson in 1981:

Quote

The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.

That is doctrine.  Our observance of the word of wisdom and the manner in which we observe it is based on that doctrine. 

Another doctrine of interest as stated by President Benson:

Quote

The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

And another:

Quote

The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

 

Our observance of the word of wisdom is a matter of both policy and doctrine.

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6 minutes ago, zil said:

Read the history found in this chapter.  Looks like a commandment to me.  If a prophet's saying so isn't good enough, I recommend re-reading those scriptures about how it doesn't matter whether the Lord says it personally or through his servants.  What's more, I don't comprehend how there can be any doubt about these things - it's a no-brainer that they aren't good for you.

Baffling.

Yeah not doctrine,  I agree that we have been commanded to abstain from the items listed by our leaders but it is not doctrinal.

 "Although the Word of Wisdom was received on 27 February 1833, its acceptance by individual members of the Church was gradual. On 9 September 1851, some eighteen years after it was given, the Patriarch to the Church, John Smith, delivered a talk in general conference on the Word of Wisdom. During his address, President Brigham Young arose and proposed that all Saints formally covenant to abstain from tea, coffee, tobacco, whiskey, and “all things mentioned in the Word of Wisdom” (“Minutes of the General Conference,” Millennial Star, 1 Feb. 1852, p. 35). The motion was accepted unanimously and became binding as a commandment for all Church members thereafter."

This hardly solidifies it as doctrinal BY made a big push to solidify the WOW https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/8943/8592 

It didn't stick

Our policy of observance of the WoW is rooted in the cultural leanings of the church and people in the early 19th century....think prohibition, it was easy at that point for the leaders to latch on and formalize the policy and make it stick. Heber J. Grant made it part of the temple recommend interview process in the 1920's....no small coincidence that this lined up perfectly with prohibition.

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12 minutes ago, Rhoades said:

It is a matter of both policy and doctrine.  The policy part pertains to which substances we currently abstain from.  Obviously, the Lord's law of health has changed throughout the history of mankind.  He has his reasons.  The doctrine part was stated in a famous talk by Ezra Taft Benson in 1981:

You mean the talk he did BEFORE he was prophet? 

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As I understand it, the "policy versus doctrine" distinction is intended only to give us some guidance as to what Church practices hypothetically may change in the future--or have changed in the past.  It does not serve to justify noncompliance with a current divinely sanctioned Church practice.  I can canker my soul by violating a policy just as effectively as by violating a doctrine.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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