Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
The Word of Wisdom is the LDS’s health code. It prohibits the drinking of alcohol, tea or coffee as well as smoking, and recommends eating meat sparingly. At one stage the drinking of Coca Cola was forbidden, but that ban was later lifted.
Joseph Smith maintained that the Lord promised health, protection, knowledge and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom. And breaking it is a sin. This is how the 10th LDS President and Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith puts it:
“Oh, a cup of tea is such a little thing. It is so little; surely it doesn’t amount to much; surely the Lord will forgive me if I drink a cup of tea. If you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea, or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fullness of glory?” (Doctrines of Salvation 2:16)
Although conforming to a healthy lifestyle makes good sense, it is unlikely that drinking tea or coffee in moderation would have any negative effects on our health. And it certainly wouldn’t affect our spiritual well being. As Christ pointed out, it is not what goes in our mouths or down into our stomachs that defiles us or makes us unworthy, but what comes out of our hearts. According to His teaching, keeping the LDS’s Word of Wisdom would not contribute one iota towards our worthiness. Conversely, not keeping the Word of Wisdom would not defile us.
“And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man …” (Matthew 15:16-29, KJV)
Paul pointed out that we should not judge one another concerning what we eat or drink, because the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:13-18).
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