The prophet and coffee

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DarkJedi
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Re: The prophet and coffee

Post by DarkJedi »

I don't drink coffee because I don't like it, but I do have the occasional hot or iced tea. I also regularly drink yerba mate which is apparently kosher, although it contains caffeine (which is partly why I drink it). I have never been much of a drinker, although I see absolutely nothing wrong with a glass of wine with a nice dinner or a beer on a hot afternoon. I do eat meat at times other than winter or famine, I eat meat most days. When asked if I live the WoW I answer yes unequivocally.

A couple things have long perplexed me about the WoW and the modern church's stance. First, the very first line of the section of D&C says it's not a commandment - yet it's treated like a major commandment by the modern church.

Second, we're a church that prides itself on "sharing the gospel" and "bringing people to Christ." I think we do that to some extent, as do other churches that don't have young men in white shirts and ties knocking on doors. But I bet we'd bring a lot more people to Christ if the WoW requirements were relaxed. As one example, in the baptismal interviews potential members are asked to commit to pay tithing, but not necessarily before they become members. Yet those same people are required to live the WoW before being baptized. Almost every missionary has encountered at least one individual who has accepted the teachings of the church but for whatever reason can't give up something (usually tobacco) to become members. Likewise, I think most of us know someone who joined the church believing they could live the WoW and then had difficulty and went inactive. I'm mostly OK with the WoW being used as a temple standard, but I fail to see its value as a membership standard.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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nibbler
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Re: The prophet and coffee

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Minyan Man wrote: 04 Jun 2022, 07:13 I recently ran across the following quote from Brigham Young:
The Lord gave me strength to lay aside tobacco, and it is very rarely indeed that I taste tea or coffee; yet I have no objection to aged persons, when they are fatigued and feel infirm, taking a little stimulus that will do them good. It is wrong to use narcotics, for the nervous system is destroyed or injured thereby; but we should maintain a healthy action of all the powers of the body, which should be devoted to the service of our Father and God in building up His kingdom on the earth.
JD 11:140-141, Brigham Young, October 9, 1865.

When I was a missionary, it was expected from our investigators to completely quit the use of tobacco & alcohol before they could be baptized.
I always wondered why don't we ask for a commitment to quit over time? Changing a habit is difficult to do. When you can't do it immediately,
you will, a lot of times say, what is the use? I tried to quit immediately & relapsed & feel guilty. I don't measure up to the LDS "standard" & never will.
Going back to this idea.

Which is preferable, having someone that struggles to live the WoW join the church and even receive temple blessings but the WoW isn't treated like a big deal. Maybe their children even struggle to live the WoW but they too are baptized and enjoy the blessings of the temple. Their grandchildren are able to live the WoW and their posterity lives the WoW from that point forward.

Compared to today's model where the person that struggles to live the WoW is never allowed to join the church, their children don't know a thing about the church because they never got exposure, their grandchildren don't know about the church either, and their grandchildren subsequently don't follow the WoW.

On the one hand there are three generations of people that enjoy the blessings of church membership and one of those generations lives the WoW. On the other hand there are three generations of people that never know membership in the church and none of them live the WoW.

And it's all down to gating fellowship via policy.
Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
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Minyan Man
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Re: The prophet and coffee

Post by Minyan Man »

nibbler wrote: 06 Jun 2022, 07:29 Going back to this idea.

Which is preferable, having someone that struggles to live the WoW join the church and even receive temple blessings but the WoW isn't treated like a big deal. Maybe their children even struggle to live the WoW but they too are baptized and enjoy the blessings of the temple. Their grandchildren are able to live the WoW and their posterity lives the WoW from that point forward.

Compared to today's model where the person that struggles to live the WoW is never allowed to join the church, their children don't know a thing about the church because they never got exposure, their grandchildren don't know about the church either, and their grandchildren subsequently don't follow the WoW.

On the one hand there are three generations of people that enjoy the blessings of church membership and one of those generations lives the WoW. On the other hand there are three generations of people that never know membership in the church and none of them live the WoW.

And it's all down to gating fellowship via policy.
I don't pretend to fully understand the gospel or church doctrine. In my mind, everyone has a role in helping new members develop into their
full potential.

- Missionaries: to encourage investigators to draw closer to Jesus Christ, encourage a commitment from their investigators to live the gospel,
accept Jesus, repent of their past lives & to live the gospel to the fullest as they understand it. WoW is only part of the journey.

- Bishop: to be a judge in Israel & help all members progress on their journey through life & eternity.

- Membership: to be supportive, be a resource when asked & not to pass judgement.

I'm not sure what "enjoying the blessings of the temple" means. Maybe you can explain more about what this means.
Again, IMO, by going through the temple doesn't mean that all promises & blessings will come true in the next life & eternity.
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nibbler
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Re: The prophet and coffee

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By that I meant that under current policy, a failure to adhere to the WoW serves as a barrier for people to join the church and for members to go to the temple.

My previous post was a mental exercise. What if the policy was different? What if people could join the church and attend the temple without being strictly compliant with the WoW?

In the case of someone that can't quit drinking coffee that wants to join the church, if the policy was changed that person could join the church and derive whatever benefits we believe people derive from being members of the church. Under current policies that person can't join the church and they would be deprived of whatever benefits we believe people derive from being members of the church.

In the case of a member that can't quit drinking coffee that wants to attend the temple, if the policy was changed that person could attend the temple and derive whatever benefits we believe people derive from attending the temple. Under current policies that person can't attend the temple and they would be deprived of whatever benefits we believe people derive from attending the temple.

My own personal opinion is that drinking coffee or tea has no bearing on someone's ability to follow Christ. Christ himself is attributed as saying, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." I don't understand why drinking an occasional cup of coffee or even an hourly cup of coffee should deprive someone of access to ordinances that we believe are required for salvation.

Christ himself drank wine. When we're teaching someone about baptism we often go to 2 Nephi 31 to say that if Christ was perfect and baptism was good enough for Christ, it's good enough for us. If Christ drank wine...

If the goal is to get incrementally better, line upon line, precept upon precept, preventing people from joining the church or preventing members from attending the temple serves as a barrier for them to take that initial step.

In my previous post I talked about the current policy's impact on generations of people. Line upon line, generation upon generation. Change the policy. Let the habitual coffee drinker join the church. Their kids become members and maybe the kids drink a little coffee but with the changed policy they don't feel like second class saints and stay. The children's children (grandchildren of the person that was originally allowed to join the church) are 100% compliant with the WoW, they had a generational foundation.

It's the same reason given for easing the saints into the WoW when it was first introduced. People have habits, don't block them from things that will help them, and maybe in time, even generations, their family line will have become free of the habit. We extended early saints that grace. We don't extend that grace anymore.

What is the difference between a member of the church with a coffee drinking habit in 1835 that was given 100 years to kick the habit (generational shift) and a person with a coffee drinking habit that wants to join the church in 2022? Why isn't the person that wants to join the church in the year 2022 allowed to join and why aren't they given a 100 year grace period (generational shift) to kick the habit?

Why don't we extend grace to more people in more ways? It feels like something Christ would have done. Under current policy the temple is a carrot on a stick to incentivize people to obey the WoW but under new policy the temple could serve as a testament of grace.
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Roy
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Re: The prophet and coffee

Post by Roy »

The temple recommend interview is such a strange gatekeeping process.

I agree that removing this as a requirement from pre-baptism and TR interviews would be a good first step.

The Seventh Day Adventists are similar to us in that they eschew caffeine. They also tend to be vegetarian.

In my discussion with this group these are not requirements but individual members may feel called upon by God/the spirit to make these changes. When God calls you to make a change then it does become a requirement in a way, but a personal requirement between you and God.

We could do similar, where we still teach the WoW but we just stop enforcing it.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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DarkJedi
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Re: The prophet and coffee

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Roy wrote: 07 Jun 2022, 09:16 The temple recommend interview is such a strange gatekeeping process.

I agree that removing this as a requirement from pre-baptism and TR interviews would be a good first step.

The Seventh Day Adventists are similar to us in that they eschew caffeine. They also tend to be vegetarian.

In my discussion with this group these are not requirements but individual members may feel called upon by God/the spirit to make these changes. When God calls you to make a change then it does become a requirement in a way, but a personal requirement between you and God.

We could do similar, where we still teach the WoW but we just stop enforcing it.
I don't claim to be an expert on other churches/faiths. Since you mention SDA, I do have an acquaintance who is SDA and is vegetarian. As you say that is their choice and their standing in the church is not based on whether they are vegetarian or not. Interestingly they've never mentioned caffeine, even knowing I'm Mormon. I was raised (mostly nominal) Catholic, and I did somewhat regularly attend just before joining the church. There are few things that keep a Catholic from full participation, and mostly they don't ask. Yes, Catholics believe baptism is absolutely essential for getting into heaven, but the unbaptized could fully participate and even take communion (even though they're not supposed to). Working closely with Jews for a few years, there is likewise little that keeps a Jew from full participation but there are also several sub-brands to choose from. Most Protestant sects are very open.

So as gatekeeping goes while we don't have a monopoly, we're certainly near the top of the list. The only other "mainline" religion I think comes close is probably the JWs, but even with them there seems to be quite a bit of leeway while one learns. There are of course exclusive cults and I think some of our stances are what earn us that label sometimes (and objectively it's not unwarranted). I'm a firm believer that the Gospel (capital G on purpose) is inclusive and not at all exclusive. I can't see in the pure Gospel any exclusion of anyone (as explained in the Bible or the BoM). I think the gatekeeping done by the church, and the associated fear and guilt, is just plain wrong.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Minyan Man
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Re: The prophet and coffee

Post by Minyan Man »

I found this today. It shows the requirements for attending the Endowment House in the 1850's.
This is prior to the Saint George Temple being open.
The persons who can get their endowments must be those who pray, who pay their tithing from year to year; who live the lives of saints from day to day; setting good examples before their neighbors. Men and women, boys and girls over 16 years of age who are living the lives of saints, believe in the plurality [of wives], do not speak evil of the authorities of the Church, and possess true integrity towards their friends, can come up after their spring crops are sown, and their case shall be attended to.
The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History . Signature Books. Kindle Edition.

Nothing is mentioned of WoW, coffee, tea, alcohol, etc.
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PazamaManX
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Re: The prophet and coffee

Post by PazamaManX »

Minyan Man wrote: 07 Jun 2022, 16:40 I found this today. It shows the requirements for attending the Endowment House in the 1850's.
This is prior to the Saint George Temple being open.
The persons who can get their endowments must be those who pray, who pay their tithing from year to year; who live the lives of saints from day to day; setting good examples before their neighbors. Men and women, boys and girls over 16 years of age who are living the lives of saints, believe in the plurality [of wives], do not speak evil of the authorities of the Church, and possess true integrity towards their friends, can come up after their spring crops are sown, and their case shall be attended to.
The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History . Signature Books. Kindle Edition.

Nothing is mentioned of WoW, coffee, tea, alcohol, etc.
I admit I'm a bit ignorant to the history of exactly when it went from being a wise suggestion to a commandment. At what point did the WoW become a requirement to go to the temple? The story I've heard is that it happened in the 1920s when Grant saw that more money was being spent on importing vices like alcohol and tobacco than was being tithed to the church.
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson
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nibbler
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Re: The prophet and coffee

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Here's a link to an issue of Dialogue titled "The Word of Wisdom: From Principle to Requirement"

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-cont ... N03_80.pdf
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DarkJedi
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Re: The prophet and coffee

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Wow, interesting article Nibbler, thanks for sharing. Very interesting was the earlier focus more on not eating meat as opposed to abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and coffee/tea. I, too, had always "blamed" Grant for making the WoW more of a commandment and that seems to not be entirely untrue although there was apparently some support for Grant's view even before he sat in the big chair.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction
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