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Dear Gramps,

I know many Mormon’s do not drink caffeinated drinks. I have heard no prophet has ever said anything against it. Is this true? What is the Church’s stance on caffeine?





Dear Justin,

It is not true that no prophet has identified caffeinated drinks as being against the Word of Wisdom. They all have! Just two cases in point. One is by Elder Richard L. Evans of the Seventy, who for many years was the spokesman for the Sunday morning Tabernacle Choir broadcasts. The other is a quote from Elder George F. Richards, president of the quorum of Twelve Apostles.

“The pleasures of vice are mere illusions, tricks of the nervous system, and each time these tricks are played it is more and more difficult for the mind to tell the truth. Such deceptions come through drunkenness and narcoticism. In greater or less degree all nerve-affecting drugs produce it: nicotine, caffeine, opium, cocaine, and [all] the rest, strong or weak. Habitual use of any of these is a physical vice. A physical vice becomes a moral vice, and . . . to cultivate vice is to render our minds incapable of normal action. . . . One and all, these various drugs . . . tend to give the impression of a power or a pleasure . . . which we do not possess. . . . One and all their function is to force the nervous system to lie. One and all the result of their habitual use is to render the nervous system incapable of ever telling the truth. . . . Indulgence . . . destroys wisdom and virtue; it destroys faith and hope and love. . . . Whatever you do, count all the cost.” (Elder Richard L. Evans, Conference Report, October 1969)

“Some of our people quibble over the matter of tea and coffee, and say there is no mention of tea and coffee in the Word of Wisdom. I want to say to you that from the beginning of this Church, in the days of the Prophet Joseph, down to the present time, the leaders of this Church have interpreted the Word of Wisdom to include tea and coffee and all drinks that are habit-forming because of the caffeine and drugs they contain. We, as Latter-day Saints, who by our uplifted hands sustain the prophet in our day and time, President Grant, are under obligation to accept the interpretations that are made by him and by his predecessors with respect to this matter, that the Word of Wisdom that has come to us from the Lord includes tea and coffee among those things which we should not partake of. This is the will of the Lord (Elder George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1938 ).






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