Hi brothers and sisters. I’m an active member of the church, converted four years ago. I have a question. Is it a sin to drink coffee? I hear a lot of people say that the word of wisdom is not a recommendation, but a commandment. Is that true?

Hmn from México,
(Comment originally posted in Spanish)

2 Responses to “Is drinking coffee a sin?”

Vicente Cruz
December 8, 2013

Hi Hmn. Some foods and drinks are obviously evil. For example, thanks to simple common sense, even people who don’t belong to the “Mormon Church” can recognize that cocaine is evil. Similarly, given how much damage it does to our society, I don’t know how anyone can morally justify purchasing alcohol, even if they themselves drink responsibly. Even responsible drinkers support (with their money) an “institution” that contributes to rape, abuse, crime, lethal accidents, and even murder.

Coffee is different, though, because coffee is not obviously evil. I’m not confortable calling a person who knows nothing about our church and has never heard of the “Word of Wisdom” a “sinner” just because they drink coffee.

On the other hand, we Mormons know about the “Word of Wisdom,” and when we were baptized we promised God that we would try our best to keep His commandments. For us, the Word of Wisdom is a commandment, not a suggestion. Regardless of whether or not coffee is good or bad for our health, God has commanded us not to drink it, and we should try our best to obey Him because we love Him.

Certainly people who drink coffee (even members of the church) are still welcome to worship with us in our chapels every Sunday. However, to qualify themselves for the higher forms of worship that take place in our temples, they’ll need to abandon coffee as a sign of their faith and dedication to God.

I hope this answer helps.

Pamela Bonta
March 31, 2014

The Word of Wisdom specifically cautions us to avoid “hot drinks,” and we have been told that specifically means tea from from the camellia plant (tea leaves) and coffee. In order to receive a temple recommend, one of the questions that must be answered includes following the Word of Wisdom. As one of our church leaders replied when a member asked if he was going to let a little cup of tea keep her from getting her temple recommend, “Surely *you* are not going to let a little cup of tea keep you from getting a temple recommend.” 🙂 I would imagine the same response would have been given if it had been a little cup of coffee that the sister asked about.

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