Question: If Mormons don't drink coffee and tea because it contains caffeine, then why do they consume other products which contain caffeine?

Table of Contents

Question: If Mormons don't drink coffee and tea because it contains caffeine, then why do they consume other products which contain caffeine?

While avoiding caffeine is a legitimate reason for avoiding coffee and tea, it is not the only reason nor is it necessarily the reason the Lord had in mind in giving the revelation

It is claimed that "most Mormons" feel that coffee and tea are prohibited because they contain caffeine. However, it is irrelevant what "most Mormons" claim as their reason for avoiding coffee and tea. The Word of Wisdom itself gives no indication of the reasons these substances are to be avoided—it only states that they should be. While avoiding caffeine is a legitimate reason for avoiding coffee and tea, it is not the only reason nor is it necessarily the reason the Lord had in mind in giving the revelation.

A study printed in the International Journal of Cancer recently reported these startling findings: Drinking very hot beverages appears to raise the risk of esophageal cancer by as much as four times. The researchers analyzed results from five studies involving nearly three thousand people. The study found that hot beverages did increase the cancer risk. The study provided evidence of a link between esophageal cancer induced by the consumption of very hot drinks.[1] Another report by Swiss researchers found that a component in coffee (chlorogenic acid) actually destroyed much of the body's thiamin after one quart of coffee was consumed in three hours.[2] Other reported effects of drinking coffee are more controversial and have yet to be firmly proven.[3] At any rate, it is clear that just because "most Mormons" avoid coffee and tea due to concerns about caffeine, the presence of the stimulant is not the only reason the Lord may have invoked a prohibition against these substances.


Notes

  1. International Journal of Cancer, 88 (15 November 2000): 658–664.
  2. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutritional Research 46 (1976).
  3. An example of this is a study by Dr. Hershel Jick of Boston University Medical School. He found that drinking one to five cups of coffee per day raises the risk of heart attack by as much as 60 percent and drinking more than six cups per day raises the risk by 120 percent. However, other studies have failed to find a connection between heart attack and coffee intake. Other ongoing studies indicate a possible connection between coffee intake and bladder cancer. Coffee has also been tentatively linked to a rise in blood fats, increased adrenal activity, and blood cholesterol and heart action irregularity. Nevertheless, these studies are not conclusive and as such, cannot be authoritatively cited as evidence against coffee drinking. There are, however, other health concerns regarding the excessive or inappropriate use of caffeine. See: Thomas J. Boud, MD, "The Energy Drink Epidemic," Ensign (December 2008), 48–52.