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Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Official Answer

Our body is a precious gift from God. To help keep our bodies and our minds healthy and strong, God gave a law of health to Joseph Smith in 1833. This law is known as the Word of Wisdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-21).

In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of:

  • Tobacco.
  • Alcohol.
  • Coffee and tea.
  • Illegal drugs.

God promises great physical and spiritual blessings to those who follow the Word of Wisdom. Today, the scientific community promotes some of the same principles that a loving God gave to Joseph Smith nearly two centuries ago.

  • This is a question that people ask us as missionaries quite a bit. A lot of people are looking for a specific answer such as "because they contain caffeine" or "because they are addictive", but the real answer is, we do not drink coffee, tea, or alcohol, because our Heavenly Father has commanded it. We have been given our bodies as a gift from God, and while we control them, we are his children. He wants us to stay as healthy and happy as we can and gives us these commandments so that we can do just that. Sometimes we do not understand the commandments of God, but we must follow them, so that one day, we can be worthy to return to live with him and have eternal happiness for forever. Show more

  • God gave us the ability to choose. There are substances in coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs that limit our ability to choose. The intent of the law of health we follow is to preserve our ability to make good choices. This law of health is called the “Word of Wisdom”. It not only guides us regarding the substances to avoid, but also those to include in our diet. We are told to eat fruits and vegetables in their season, include grains, and eat meat sparingly. We are promised that if we follow these guidelines we will be healthy, able to learn and accomplish all that is required of us by our various roles in life. I am grateful for the blessings I receive from following the Word of Wisdom. As a Dietitian I especially love this law of health because as I’ve seen the US guidelines for nutrition develop they are now aligning with what the Lord told us many years before. I believe that the guidelines set forth in our law of health are the minimum requirements for good health. It may be necessary for some people to avoid certain foods or eat a lower fat diet, or avoid caffeine entirely, but these specifics are not mentioned in the law of health and are to be determined by each individual. Show more

  • For me, the law of health, usually called the Word of Wisdom, is important for two reasons. First, our bodies are gifts. When you look at how complex and how interactive the cells in our bodies really are, you kind of gain a new appreciation for how fragile they are, too. So why would anybody put anything into your body that is so harmful to it? Secondly, tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal substances, are all psychoactive drugs, whichever way you cut it. They all alter your consciousness to some degree, which makes it understandably difficult to listen to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost isn’t very good at shouting. Show more

  • Mormons don't drink coffee, tea, or alcohol because we believe that these things are harmful to our bodies. Most importantly, the Lord revealed a commandment to the Prophet Joseph Smith that we should not partake of these substances, along with tobacco and illegal drugs. When a prophet of God receives revelation from God, it is like God has spoken. We can know that this commandment is important if we know that God really called Joseph Smith to be a prophet. The only way to know is to ask through prayer. I have seen the blessings of keeping this commandment in my life and I know that this is really a commandment from God. We can be healthier, happier, and more in tune to the Spirit if we keep this commandment. Show more

  • It's cool to see the difference between the Lord's wisdom and our wisdom. Sometimes they match and sometimes they clash. I can imagine that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with two stone tablets and proclaimed they came from God, there was probably lots of speculation whether it really was or not. Bottom line is, God keeps giving us commandments and to keep our bodies healthy by telling us to avoid tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea and any other harmful substance. Show more

  • I choose not to drink or partake of things that can harm my body because 1) I respect my body. I want to have complete control of myself and my actions and 2) I don't use tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea or illegal drugs because I believe that it brings unhappiness. Drinking and drugs causes so many problems in families and marriages. I don't want any of those problems and heartbreak that comes with that. Show more

  • In 1833, God provided a health code, known as the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs, to us. It also encourages us to keep our minds and bodies strong through proper eating. We are promised many blessings, including increased mental ability and knowledge, improved physical health, and spiritual strength. Show more

  • We do not drink coffee, tea, alcohol, use tobacco, or illegal drugs because of a commandment known as the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom was a commandment revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith in 1833. It tells us the importance of keeping care of our bodies because they are temples. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) We know that while from the outside it may seem restrictive it really gives us freedom it blesses us physically and spiritually. The things that we are counseled to stay away from in this law from our loving Heavenly Father help us keep our agency. When you are addicted to something you have given up some of your agency, it controls you. Satan tries to use addictive things to bind us down so we cannot focus on our relationships with the Lord. In addition to us keeping our agency we are promised these things in the Word of Wisdom: "all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments... shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures... And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen." (D&C 89:18-21 So those who keep the commandment are able to be in tune with the Holy Ghost more. That is a great blessing because it is the Spirit that helps us stay on the path to eternal life and teaches us all spiritual truths. Show more

  • The Mormon Church's law of health and diet is laid out in what is called the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom is the Lord's Commandment to us through the prophet to take care of our bodies! The bodies we have are sacred, given to us by God so that we can become like Him. Things like Alcohol and coffee inhibit us in the fact that they are addictive, and we do not want to be subjects to addiction, we need to be in control of our body and appetites. The commandment to not drink alcohol or stay away from drugs like tobacco also have an additional blessings - they allow us to keep the Spirit in our lives as well as allow us to keep our free agency intact, or ability to choose the right. The Word of Wisdom also lays out the kinds of foods that one should eat - herbs, grains, fruit, and meat. This is something I personally struggle with. I used to be very overweight, and I have lost the weight but my body still craves the foods I know that I shouldn't eat. In this I am subject to the addictions of my body and it is only through the Atonement of Christ that I am able to overcome those struggles little by little. I am weak but with the strength of the Lord I know all things are possible so every day I pray for strength beyond my own to resist the temptation. I do this because I know that by following the Word of Wisdom I will have promised health, and added spiritual strength. And I need that Spirit in my life! Show more

  • The Lord's law of health, also known as the Word of Wisdom, is a gateway to enriching every aspect of life. We believe that some substances are harmful to the body, including coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. This belief stems from guidance Joseph Smith received, that includes beautiful promises to those who keep this law of health (D&C 89: 18-21): "And all . . . who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; "And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; "And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. "And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them." In addition, the Church's doctrine concerning health is not simply prohibitive (D&C 59:18-20): "Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; "Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. "And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion." As I have followed these practices, I have found a greater ability to enjoy the world around me, think clearly, and feel closer to God. Show more

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