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I'm a recent convert. I gave up tea and coffee about 5 months ago. I used to love coffee but haven't missed it much since giving up. Yesterday I was in a cafe and had a craving for coffee so I ordered and drank a decaf coffee, which was just so nice to drink.  I'm now wondering if this is the sort of thing I'm supposed to confess to the bishop? I don't plan on drinking a coffee again and don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee. 

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10 minutes ago, Smallfootsteps said:

I'm a recent convert. I gave up tea and coffee about 5 months ago. I used to love coffee but haven't missed it much since giving up. Yesterday I was in a cafe and had a craving for coffee so I ordered and drank a decaf coffee, which was just so nice to drink.  I'm now wondering if this is the sort of thing I'm supposed to confess to the bishop? I don't plan on drinking a coffee again and don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee. 

I only wish to point out that the Word of Wisdom prohibition against coffee and tea was not established because of caffeine, so the "decaf" part of this scenario is irrelevant.  Whether you had a cup of caffeinated coffee or decaf, it's the same violation of the Word of Wisdom.  Beyond that, you'll have to figure out how you want to handle this, particularly if you have a worthiness interview wherein keeping the Word of Wisdom is discussed.

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1 hour ago, Smallfootsteps said:

I'm a recent convert. I gave up tea and coffee about 5 months ago. I used to love coffee but haven't missed it much since giving up. Yesterday I was in a cafe and had a craving for coffee so I ordered and drank a decaf coffee, which was just so nice to drink.  I'm now wondering if this is the sort of thing I'm supposed to confess to the bishop? I don't plan on drinking a coffee again and don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee. 

Welcome to the forum and to the Church!

Regarding whether to confess the decaf coffee to the bishop, some good advice is, if anything is bothering you, you should just talk with the bishop about it, even if you think it is silly.  You will find that the Lord often communicates and teaches through the bishop, especially if we are too close to a situation to see things clearly.  The bishop knows you are a new convert and you are still learning things and learning to live without coffee, and he will understand!  He is also entitled to revelation from the Lord about situations that ward members may find themselves in, so you may be surprised and learn a thing or two from him!  Besides, if something is bothering you, you will feel so, so much better after talking with the bishop about it.  Just something to keep in mind!

Another good reason to go to your bishop may be to discuss some solutions for any recurring cravings for coffee and tea.  I am no expert in this area (so forum members, correct me if I am wrong about any of this), but it is my understanding that decaf coffee (and tea) is still against the word of wisdom.  However, my understanding is that herbal tea, which does not actually contain tea leaves, is OK, so you can get your apple cinnamon and ginger fix through that.  I have also heard that chicory is OK as a coffee substitute (but I am not 100% sure on this one - this is a good question for your bishop - can anyone confirm this?)  I have also seen Mormons who miss their coffee use hot chocolate instead as well.  Just some ideas to throw around for next time you have a craving!

Anyhow, best of luck to you!  

UPDATE: there has apparently been some considerable discussion on "chicory" on this forum, and you can search "chicory" and see what others had to say about it.  

Edited by DoctorLemon

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you know as a recent convert myself, I know how hard it can be to resist temptation. For me, I don't like coffee so I can resist it. where I'm tempted by tea (raised in a southern household - tea was always on the table.  We will make stumbles along the way. I wouldn't make a point to go to the bishop right now unless convicted by the holy spirit BUT I would be honest if the Bishop asks you where you are struggling.

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1 hour ago, zil said:

I only wish to point out that the Word of Wisdom prohibition against coffee and tea was not established because of caffeine, so the "decaf" part of this scenario is irrelevant.  Whether you had a cup of caffeinated coffee or decaf, it's the same violation of the Word of Wisdom.  Beyond that, you'll have to figure out how you want to handle this, particularly if you have a worthiness interview wherein keeping the Word of Wisdom is discussed.

Hi, what's a worthiness interview? I mean to say, worthy for what and what is the interview? 

Edited by Smallfootsteps

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57 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

Welcome to the forum and to the Church!

Regarding whether to confess the decaf coffee to the bishop, some good advice is, if anything is bothering you, you should just talk with the bishop about it, even if you think it is silly.  You will find that the Lord often communicates and teaches through the bishop, especially if we are too close to a situation to see things clearly.  The bishop knows you are a new convert and you are still learning things and learning to live without coffee, and he will understand!  He is also entitled to revelation from the Lord about situations that ward members may find themselves in, so you may be surprised and learn a thing or two from him!  Besides, if something is bothering you, you will feel so, so much better after talking with the bishop about it.  Just something to keep in mind!

Another good reason to go to your bishop may be to discuss some solutions for any recurring cravings for coffee and tea.  I am no expert in this area (so forum members, correct me if I am wrong about any of this), but it is my understanding that decaf coffee (and tea) is still against the word of wisdom.  However, my understanding is that herbal tea, which does not actually contain tea leaves, is OK, so you can get your apple cinnamon and ginger fix through that.  I have also heard that chicory is OK as a coffee substitute (but I am not 100% sure on this one - this is a good question for your bishop - can anyone confirm this?)  I have also seen Mormons who miss their coffee use hot chocolate instead as well.  Just some ideas to throw around for next time you have a craving!

Anyhow, best of luck to you!  

UPDATE: there has apparently been some considerable discussion on "chicory" on this forum, and you can search "chicory" and see what others had to say about it.  

Thanks. Unfortunately I'm allergic to chocolate (including hot chocolate), I don't like the chicory drink at all and can't stand herbal teas. I don't really miss coffee and tea all that much, it was strange how the recent craving for a coffee just hit me out of the blue. 

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1 hour ago, Jsmith85 said:

you know as a recent convert myself, I know how hard it can be to resist temptation. For me, I don't like coffee so I can resist it. where I'm tempted by tea (raised in a southern household - tea was always on the table.  We will make stumbles along the way. I wouldn't make a point to go to the bishop right now unless convicted by the holy spirit BUT I would be honest if the Bishop asks you where you are struggling.

He already knows I'm struggling because I stopped going to church for a while and he got in touch. I started going again but still have feelings of confusion. And I haven't felt the spirit even once since being baptized. It's all been really tough so far. Given everything that's happened so far I think me drinking coffee would be the last thing the bishop is worried about. It's good to hear you sound so positive, thanks for your advice. 

Edited by Smallfootsteps

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3 hours ago, zil said:

I only wish to point out that the Word of Wisdom prohibition against coffee and tea was not established because of caffeine, so the "decaf" part of this scenario is irrelevant.  Whether you had a cup of caffeinated coffee or decaf, it's the same violation of the Word of Wisdom.  Beyond that, you'll have to figure out how you want to handle this, particularly if you have a worthiness interview wherein keeping the Word of Wisdom is discussed.

And to also point out.  Decaf still has caffeine.  Unless is uncaffeinated there is still caffeine in it.  But as you said, it's not the caffeine that is the issue.

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It was only one time...right? On something that small, I probably wouldn't bother the bishop with it, unless it turns into something that is recurring.  I'd only say talk to the Bishop is if it REALLY is bothering you and keeps bothering you, then you might want to discuss it with the bishop.

I don't think drinking decaf is really what one would want to do if they wish to keep the word of wisdom, even if it is decaf. However, though not necessarily with the Word of Wisdom, we all mess up in small, minor ways, sometime or another.  For minor slip ups like what you described, unless it is really bothering us, the bishop does not need to hear every single thing that we have done wrong. 

I know how hard it can be at times to feel the spirit.  My solution, typically, is to turn to the Book of Mormon, especially books like Mosiah, or 3rd Nephi.  I find reading from the Book of Mormon can bring the spirit in a very recognizable form.  Another book that I also think brings the spirit immensely is reading from the New Testament, especially the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.  I hope that you can find a way to feel the spirit strongly again, and am glad it sounds like you are going to church.  That can be hard for many at first, and so it's a pretty significant step in and of itself.  For that, and having the courage to strive to do good and find the spirit, I think should be admired.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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Okay, drinking coffee in this case is not the problem.  The problem is the - " don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee " and the " I haven't felt the spirit even once since being baptized" which is an explanation of the no guilt feelings.

It seems like you don't need to work on avoiding coffee.  Rather, you need to work on building up your testimony.  The usual answer to this is Pray, Scripture Study, Sabbath Observance, Tithing, Diligence in Callings (HT/VT/etc.), etc.  Are you keeping up on those things?  Are you going through the new member discussions?  Are you seeking God?

Do those things and the rest will follow.  Remember, faith is an ACTION word.

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13 hours ago, Sunday21 said:

.unless you are planning on adding a little bourbon and a cigarette to your coffee break!

Enough about how I spend my weekend, okay @Sunday21?

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46 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Okay, drinking coffee in this case is not the problem.  The problem is the - " don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee " and the " I haven't felt the spirit even once since being baptized" which is an explanation of the no guilt feelings.

It seems like you don't need to work on avoiding coffee.  Rather, you need to work on building up your testimony. 

I very much agree with this.  @Smallfootsteps: you know where God is.  Are you still working on coming to Him and walking with Him?

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18 minutes ago, Smallfootsteps said:

How do I do this? Since joining the church I've felt overwhelmed and very isolated. I don't even understand what a testimony is, sorry. 

Speaking as a convert, I understand totally. It's like being the last person in a party where the conversations are already going on and you are just standing there. :(

Edited by MormonGator

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58 minutes ago, Smallfootsteps said:

How do I do this? Since joining the church I've felt overwhelmed and very isolated. I don't even understand what a testimony is, sorry. 

As a new convert, I would recommend that you focus on attending all 3 hours at church (Sacrament, Sunday School, and Relief Society (or Priesthood if you are male)), praying daily, reading scriptures daily, and keeping the commandments as best you are able at this time (things like pay tithing, be kind to others, serve other people as you can, no smoking, no drinking alcohol or tea or coffee, etc.). 

If you have never received new member discussions (very similar to the discussions you had with the missionaries before being baptized, but these are given after baptism), then speak to the bishop about having them. It'll likely be done by members of the church rather than missionaries (although they may be done with missionaries). 

Also, I would recommend that you speak to the Relief Society President (if you are female) and ask about having visiting teachers and becoming a visiting teacher. That will not only help you to serve others, but it will also allow you to build some friendships with other people.

Good luck.

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Also, one thing to keep in mind, you will always learn something new. Sometimes these new things to you may be old news to others. But, we are all in this together. So, if you find that you drink coffee and start to feel guilty and not want to go to church because of that, go anyway. If you find out later that something else you've been doing may not be a good thing to do, it's ok. Chalk it up to you learned something new. Remember, just try a little harder to be better today than yesterday. Little steps. We are all taking little steps, even people who you may think as taking big steps....they are not big ones, but little ones for them. 

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3 hours ago, beefche said:

As a new convert, I would recommend that you focus on attending all 3 hours at church (Sacrament, Sunday School, and Relief Society (or Priesthood if you are male)), praying daily, reading scriptures daily, and keeping the commandments as best you are able at this time (things like pay tithing, be kind to others, serve other people as you can, no smoking, no drinking alcohol or tea or coffee, etc.). 

If you have never received new member discussions (very similar to the discussions you had with the missionaries before being baptized, but these are given after baptism), then speak to the bishop about having them. It'll likely be done by members of the church rather than missionaries (although they may be done with missionaries). 

Also, I would recommend that you speak to the Relief Society President (if you are female) and ask about having visiting teachers and becoming a visiting teacher. That will not only help you to serve others, but it will also allow you to build some friendships with other people.

Good luck.

Thanks for replying. What's a visiting teacher? And I've never heard of lessons after being baptized. 

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4 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Speaking as a convert, I understand totally. It's like being the last person in a party where the conversations are already going on and you are just standing there. :(

I know. It's been real hard so far trying to fit in. I still don't feel like it's "my" church yet. I feel like I don't belong and I still get nervous going there. I'm wondering if this is normal and how long it lasts for. I read that when new converts stop going most stop within 2 months. I can kind of understand why because for me it's very hard joining this church and sometimes I just miss my old life :( 

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13 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Okay, drinking coffee in this case is not the problem.  The problem is the - " don't feel overly guilty about drinking the decaf coffee " and the " I haven't felt the spirit even once since being baptized" which is an explanation of the no guilt feelings.

It seems like you don't need to work on avoiding coffee.  Rather, you need to work on building up your testimony.  The usual answer to this is Pray, Scripture Study, Sabbath Observance, Tithing, Diligence in Callings (HT/VT/etc.), etc.  Are you keeping up on those things?  Are you going through the new member discussions?  Are you seeking God?

Do those things and the rest will follow.  Remember, faith is an ACTION word.

I get the gist of what you're saying but I don't understand some of it. What's sabbath observance? I don't have a calling so can't be diligent about it. I do go to Sunday school at church but that's about it for scripture study. And tbh I have little understanding what a testimony is. Everyone keeps talking about a "testimony" but no-one explains what it is :(

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1 minute ago, Smallfootsteps said:

I get the gist of what you're saying but I don't understand some of it. What's sabbath observance? I don't have a calling so can't be diligent about it. I do go to Sunday school at church but that's about it for scripture study. And tbh I have little understanding what a testimony is. Everyone keeps talking about a "testimony" but no-one explains what it is :(

A testimony is a personal knowledge or conviction in principles of the gospel and other gospel-related things (e.g., faith, tithing, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel, the scriptures, and so much more). Do you remember if the missionaries asked you during your time with them before you joined the church about taking time to read the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it? If you read it and had an impression or whatever you want to call it that this book was true, that was you gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. 

Sabbath Observance is using the Sabbath Day (Sunday) as a day of rest from the world and "earthly" things (e.g., work, spending money, etc.). It is the same sentiment as "keeping the Sabbath day holy". We cherish that day as one centered around the Savior and God, and this leads back to the creation of the world where on the 7th day (Sunday) Christ rested from his labors of creation. So we follow in His footsteps and rest from our labors on that day and "observe" it as one where we focus on growing our testimony on other gospel related things, going to church and worshipping God, etc.

I am far from a "knowledgeable" person about the gospel, there are so many people on this forum with an extensive knowledge of the scriptures, and I've been a member my whole life. But that is what @beefche was saying. We all take baby steps each and every day to become better followers of Christ. I may not know everything about the gospel, but I do have a testimony of its truthfulness which is why I will always be a member. Please feel free to continue asking questions if you feel you don't understand what some of us are saying. As I said, there are so many knowledgeable people here who can help explain things for you. We all want you to continue to grow your testimony in the gospel, so don't give up if you're feeling "behind". We're all walking along this path of life together. Not one of us is closer to the finish line than the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. 

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58 minutes ago, BeccaKirstyn said:

A testimony is a personal knowledge or conviction in principles of the gospel and other gospel-related things (e.g., faith, tithing, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel, the scriptures, and so much more). Do you remember if the missionaries asked you during your time with them before you joined the church about taking time to read the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it? If you read it and had an impression or whatever you want to call it that this book was true, that was you gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. 

Sabbath Observance is using the Sabbath Day (Sunday) as a day of rest from the world and "earthly" things (e.g., work, spending money, etc.). It is the same sentiment as "keeping the Sabbath day holy". We cherish that day as one centered around the Savior and God, and this leads back to the creation of the world where on the 7th day (Sunday) Christ rested from his labors of creation. So we follow in His footsteps and rest from our labors on that day and "observe" it as one where we focus on growing our testimony on other gospel related things, going to church and worshipping God, etc.

I am far from a "knowledgeable" person about the gospel, there are so many people on this forum with an extensive knowledge of the scriptures, and I've been a member my whole life. But that is what @beefche was saying. We all take baby steps each and every day to become better followers of Christ. I may not know everything about the gospel, but I do have a testimony of its truthfulness which is why I will always be a member. Please feel free to continue asking questions if you feel you don't understand what some of us are saying. As I said, there are so many knowledgeable people here who can help explain things for you. We all want you to continue to grow your testimony in the gospel, so don't give up if you're feeling "behind". We're all walking along this path of life together. Not one of us is closer to the finish line than the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. 

Thanks for all your help. I actually haven't read much of the book of Mormon, maybe just the first 20 pages. My missionaries said that's ok as it wasn't required in order to do the lessons with them and get baptized. So do you think I should start reading it and that may help? Where can I order a copy? I don't think I have a testimony as yet, it sounds like most people in the church do though. Thanks for explaining about Sunday too. Not shopping or cleaning up my place on Sundays is still a bit strange to me. Can I still catch up with friends or family on Sundays? Or play sport? (Because church only takes up 3 hours at the most). Thank you for your help :)

Edited by Smallfootsteps

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6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

So do you think I should start reading it and that may help?

Yes, immediately!

6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

Where can I order a copy?

The missionaries should have given you one!  (Bad missionaries, if they didn't!)  Ask any member of your ward to help you with this - they should just give you one.  You can also go to http://mormon.org and I'm sure they can hook you up.

6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

I don't think I have a testimony as yet, it sounds like most people in the church do though.

IMO, whatever prompted you to get baptized (assuming you did that because you felt it was what God wanted you to do) is testimony.  Be careful comparing yourself to "most people in the church" - there is no guarantee most people in the church have a testimony (I couldn't begin to say, though I hope so), but more importantly, you may not be able to tell who does and who doesn't, and either way, the comparison can lead to discouragement, unrealistic expectations, etc.  Where others are in comparison to you doesn't matter.

6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

Not shopping or cleaning up my place on Sundays is still a bit strange to me.

Try it (that is, not doing those things), and you'll find that Sundays really are a rest and refresh your spirit to make living the Gospel easier.

6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

Can I still catch up with friends or family on Sundays?

Yes, that's one of the best things you can do.

6 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

Or play sport?

In my personal opinion, no.  I would also recommend you not watch sporting events on TV (I know, some people think the Super Bowl is sacred).  I strongly recommend reading and pondering every link under the heading of "Sabbath" in the Topical Guide, including the "See also" items at the top - I found it a valuable and enlightening exercise.

I would also recommend you visit with the bishop or Relief Society (RS) president in your ward, and say something like, "I feel a little lost and would like someone to help me learn more about the church and what's expected of me, and available to me, as a member."  E.g. someone from the RS should have visited with you to invite you to be a visiting teacher and to receive visiting teachers, and if they haven't, they need to.  Visiting Teaching is where sisters are assigned into companionships of two sisters, who are then assigned to go and "Visit Teach" other sisters in the ward (2-4 is common).  Every sister is expected / invited to participate in this.  Similarly, we have Home Teaching, where priesthood holders (men) are assigned to visit each family in the ward.  (You should have home teachers assigned, who can also help you learn all this stuff.)

If you don't have home and visiting teachers, you could add to above sentence, something like: "My online friends say I should have Home and Visiting Teachers, but I'm not even sure what that means."

Please keep asking questions so we can help in this process, but we can't take the place of your ward - you need them, and if they're not coming to you for all this, then I think you should go to them.  (It's their duty to come to you, so if they're not, something is not right and needs to be fixed.)

At the beginning of Sacrament Meeting, near the doors, their should be a program.  On the back of that program should be names and phone numbers.  Among them will be the bishop, his executive secretary (who sets appointments for him), the ward clerk (who can get you manuals, a copy of the Book of Mormon (I assume), tell you which classes you go to, etc.), and the Relief Society president.

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9 hours ago, Smallfootsteps said:

I know. It's been real hard so far trying to fit in. I still don't feel like it's "my" church yet. I feel like I don't belong and I still get nervous going there. I'm wondering if this is normal and how long it lasts for. I read that when new converts stop going most stop within 2 months. I can kind of understand why because for me it's very hard joining this church and sometimes I just miss my old life :( 

Most converts DO stop going to church within a few months. That makes lifelong members borderline suspicious sometimes of the ones that have stayed in the church. Think converts have to accept that we'll probably never 100% fit in-some lifelong members will always view us as "lesser" in some way. Should you stop going to church? No, but in all honesty I haven't gone in several months so if I told you to go I'd be both a liar and a hypocrite. 

Edited by MormonGator

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