In an effort to better understand my husband who is a Mormon, I was looking up the tea question. I am not a Mormon and I don’t plan on being one, but I do want to respect and understand my husband. There is nothing I can find that really backs up the Mormon claim that tea is bad and by this I mean not iced tea or sugar tea which is popular in the south. I mean any kind of tea–herbal or organic, green, white, red or black tea. Sincerely,
The proscription against drinking tea is found in a revelation on health given by God to the Prophet Joseph Smith on February 27, 1833. It is recorded in the scriptural book, Doctrine and Covenants, as Section 89. In this revelation the Lord reveals to the Prophet both things that are good for the body and things which are not. Among those things that are good for the body, the Lord says—
And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man–Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth (Doctrine & Covenants 89:10-14).
Concerning the things that are not good for the body, the Lord says—
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation–That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies. And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill. And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly (Doctrine & Covenants 89:4-9)
Thus, we are counseled by the Lord not to partake of wine, strong drink, tobacco or hot drinks. Hot drinks in the culture of the 1830s referred specifically to tea and coffee. So this Word of Wisdom from the Lord speaks against tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco. So let’s talk a little about tea since that seems to be your concern. The Lord does not mention the particular ingredients in tea that are judged by Him to be harmful, but it is the feeling of many people that the harmful ingredient in tea and coffee is particularly the caffeine that they contain, being a harmful, habit forming drug.
You mention the benefits in green tea for treating cancer. You are undoubtedly referring to the antioxidants that are one of the constituents of green tea. That is very true, and no doubt the antioxidants in green tea would be beneficial in their role of inhibiting the oxidation, and thus the breaking of cell walls by oxygen radicals in the system. However, there are multitudinous sources of the antioxidants that may be taken in much more powerful forms than what exists in green tea, so there is no need to get that benefit from tea when it can just as easily and more effectively be obtained from other sources.
Now, since the Word of Wisdom, as the revelation recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is called, is accepted by the Mormon Church as a commandment from God, it is enjoined upon all the members of the Mormon Church, and in common with all the other laws of God, obedience to the Word of Wisdom is a requirement for full fellowship in the Church. Thus, to support your husband in his religious beliefs, I would suggest that you would do well in supporting him in his desire to obey the Word of Wisdom.
Since I understand that he is a cancer survivor, let me recommend an alternate source of the antioxidants that would be beneficial to use. I am also a cancer survivor, and the following procedure was recommended to me by a holistic doctor 18 years ago, while I was under treatment for a non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I retain the regimen to this day–3000 mg/day Vitamin C, 25,000 IU/day Vitamin A and 800-1600 IU/day of DRY Vitamin E. The liquid vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, is such a dense oil that the liver cannot handle much more than about 400 IU/day, but the dry variety, d-alpha-tocopheryl succinate, has no such limitations, and the larger dosage is tolerated.