John Perry, KSL TV

Latter-day Saint magazine clarifies Word of Wisdom on coffee, tea, vaping and medical marijuana

By Carter Williams, | Posted - Aug. 15, 2019 at 9:33 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — In a recent edition of the “New Era” magazine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified its stance on modern drinks and products tied to substances banned by the religion.

The church oversees the “New Era." Its August edition addressed body wellness with topics such as mental illness, weight and chastity. One particular article clarified the church's stance on vaping or e-cigarettes, anything with coffee in it, products containing black or green tea and unprescribed drugs.

The religion teaches that tobacco and “hot drinks” — tea and coffee — are forbidden through divine revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom. But as the world changes and new drinks and products emerge, it may be difficult for some to define where things like vaping, lattes and prescription drugs fall within the church's health code.

The article points out that “most vaping pods contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and all of them contain harmful chemicals.”

As for coffee, it advises that it may be difficult to know which drinks in a coffee shop have coffee in them so “if you’re in a coffee shop (or any other shop that’s well-known for its coffee), the drink you’re ordering probably has coffee in it, so either never buy drinks at coffee shops or always ask if there’s coffee in it.” It adds that drinks with names that have 'cafe' or 'caffe,' 'mocha,' 'latte,' 'espresso' or end with '-ccino' typically contain coffee and are in violation of the Word of Wisdom.

Green and black tea are made from leaves of the same plant, the article reads, so anything with green and black tea, including iced tea, are against the Word of Wisdom, as are any drinks that have tea in them. It urges members to "always check the ingredients."

The article ends by clarifying that marijuana and pain medications, such as opioids, “should be avoided except under the care of a competent physician, and then used only as prescribed.”

A statement released Thursday from the church reads: "The Word of Wisdom is a law of health for the physical and spiritual benefit of God's children. It includes instruction about what foods are good for us and those substances to avoid. Over time, church leaders have provided additional instruction on those things that are encouraged or forbidden by the Word of Wisdom, and have taught that substances that are destructive, habit-forming or addictive should be avoided.

"In recent publications for church members, church leaders have clarified that several substances are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, including vaping or e-cigarettes, green tea, and coffee-based products. They also have cautioned that substances such as marijuana and opioids should be used only for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a competent physician."

Carter Williams

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