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Latter-day Saint magazine clarifies Word of Wisdom on coffee, tea, vaping and medical marijuana

In a recent edition of the “New Era” magazine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified its stance on modern drinks and products tied to substances banned by the religion.

The August issue of the magazine clarified the church’s stance on vaping or e-cigarettes, anything with coffee in it, products containing black or green tea and unprescribed drugs.

The article says it aims to clear up issues that could be confusing for young people within the religion’s Word of Wisdom, a set of rules about what foods and drinks are good for members and what substances they should avoid.

An official church statement said, “The Word of Wisdom is a law of health for the physical and spiritual benefit of God’s children. It includes instruction about what foods are good for us and those substances to avoid. Over time, Church leaders have provided additional instruction on those things that are encouraged or forbidden by the Word of Wisdom, and have taught that substances that are destructive, habit-forming or addictive should be avoided.”

The new instructions about coffee make clear that there’s no gray area allowing coffee infused drinks.

“The word coffee isn’t always in the name of coffee drinks. So, before you try what you think is just some new milkshake flavor, here are a couple of rules of thumb: One, if you’re in a coffee shop (or any other shop that’s well-known for its coffee), the drink you’re ordering probably has coffee in it, so either never buy drinks at coffee shops or always ask if there’s coffee in it,” the article said. “Two, drinks with names that include cafe or caffe, mocha, latte, espresso, or anything ending in -ccino usually have coffee in them and are against the Word of Wisdom.”

Church leaders provide additional instructions as needed to help guide members about the health code designed for the “physical and spiritual benefit of God’s children,” according to a statement sent by spokesman Eric Hawkins on behalf of the church. The church did not say why it decided to issue the new clarifications now.

An official church statement said, “In recent publications for Church members, Church leaders have clarified that several substances are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, including vaping or e-cigarettes, green tea, and coffee-based products. They also have cautioned that substances such as marijuana and opioids should be used only for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a competent physician.”

“Medical uses are being studied, but just like many pain medications such as opioids, marijuana is an addictive substance,” the article said. “Such habit-forming substances should be avoided except under the care of a competent physician, and then used only as prescribed.”

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