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Law of the Word of Wisdom

By October 10, 2007

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We strongly believe in keeping our bodies and minds healthy. To help us do so we follow the Word of Wisdom (found in Doctrine and Covenants 89) which is that we will not use or intake tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, or harmful drugs. This law also instructs us on the good foods and substances we should use. In return the Lord promises us the following:
"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them" (D&C 89:18-21)
Visit the Health and Word of Wisdom category to learn more.

(Photo: Public Domain, Agricultural Research Service)
October 11, 2007 at 12:37 pm
(1) Sue Gamangasso says:

I want you to know that I am amazed at your site. Your doing a wonderful job. I admire you and your insite. I am inspired by you. Thank you

October 11, 2007 at 4:57 pm
(2) Rachel Woods, About.com LDS Guide says:

Thank you Sue for your compliments. It’s always great to hear from site visitors and know they have enjoyed the site and found it useful!

May 27, 2008 at 11:26 pm
(3) Ginger says:

I don’t understand where the prohibition of coffee, caffeine, etc. came from. According to the quotes from Joseph Smith, only “hot drinks” is listed. Is there an easy explanation for this?


September 4, 2008 at 11:51 am
(4) Rachel Woods, About.com Latter-day Saint Guide says:


Thank you for your comment and question. Prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have only stated that “hot drinks” means tea and coffee. Other than that there isn’t an official explanation detailing which exact substances are or aren’t okay. I’ve updated my FAQ article regarding
Herbal Teas with a section at the bottom that clarifies how the Word of Wisdom is a personal commandment which I’d suggest you read.

March 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm
(5) M. Palmer says:

Dear Mormon Friends:


I am impressed with your zeal for what you believe to be the truth regarding God and His Son, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.

The sad thing is that the Kingdom of God is not one of what one does/does not eat, drink (to drink coffee or not to drink coffee?), etc.,

It is about being declared righteous by God on the basis of the Salvation He Himself has provided, and that is only through the blood shed for us all, on Calvary’s Cross by His Only Begotten Son, Jesus.

If justification (i.e., being declared righteous)could be obtained by abstaining from the drinking of hot/cold liquids that contain caffeine (for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God-Romans 3:23), then why would God allow His Only Begotten Son to be nailed to a cross in full payment our sins?

The truth is that we human beings are so prideful and arrogant that we want to take the credit for our own righteousness. That is why so many work oriented religions like Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness,etc., are attractive to so many of us. That is because essentially we like to “justify” ourselves before God and others. In short, we feeling good about ourselves-even if it means rejecting God’s own Salvation, found ONLY in Jesus Christ.

In closing, I know it is very painful to read these words but,
when you get down to it. Human nature is corrupt and full of self-centeredness. That is why God in His Love for our sin sick world set Jesus to die and pay the price for us all. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Amen!

April 27, 2009 at 9:25 pm
(6) Betsy says:

Dear M. Palmer,
Thank you for sharing your heartfelt testimony with us. While there are differences in many of us in this life, we are able to celebrate and hold fast to the one true God and his son, Jesus Christ, and know that we speak of salvation. Our guidance in this life is meant for our own health, well-being, and cleansing of our bodies for the sake of long life and good service while here on earth. Again, I thank you for taking the time to visit and comment on this site. I feel that Rachel does a great job of explaining things and making our commitments to what we believe clear and concise. Thank you for sharing your beliefs, too.
A friend in Christ

June 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm
(7) Karla says:

Thank you Rachel for your entry.
I have to say that obeying the word of wisdom has helped me to keep mybody more healthy.I understand M.Palmer comment about Jesus Christ which is only through him that we can return to live with God one day, in the other hand one of the promisses of the word of wisdom is that the Spirit of God will be with us to guide us and by having any substances in our body, we will not be very receptive to the spirit and receive guidiance from God. Thanks again for your comments.

October 24, 2009 at 3:17 am
(8) Lena says:

Thank you M.Palmer, I believe too that the Atonement of Christ was for all mankind, but it is up to the individual to apply the atonement of Christ in their lives by living righteously to the best of our ability. I believe that my body is a temple of God, it belonging to Him so I believe that the Word of Wisdom is guidlines to helping me respect and maintain this temple the best way I can, it is the least I can do. I love hearing you acknowledge the love that the Saviour and Heavenly Father have to give us the opportunity to return to live with them.Thanks to Karla and Betsy aswell for their comments.

December 13, 2009 at 9:00 am
(9) chiru says:

Hi sister Rachel I want you to know that I am amazed at your site. it as alot of information about lds and Your doing a wonderful job. I admire you and your insite. I am inspired by you. it give’s me more information about all thing’s if i need some help scriptures plz help me…Thank you

February 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm
(10) Gabe List says:

Hello, I figured (after having read the article and comments) maybe I could share a little about the word of wisdom, atleast to the extent I can grasp and proffer.

I personally feel and know to be true, the gospel of Jesus Christ, extending from the Old Testament down through the New Testament, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Convenants, The Pearl of Great Price, the articles of faith and other publications of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. I believe that because the Savior has impressed so vividly the word puritfy it would only be natural to live life as such.

The Word of Wisdom is one of many steps to achieving this. Not only does the Word of Wisdom speak of hot drinks, but it has a meal plan as well. I’m paraphrasing here but, we should eat grains (wheat), fruits and vegetables of the vine both above ground and beneath it, followed then by meat.
(Keep in mind, this was implented through Joseph Smith in 1833, the USDA food pyramid was established in 1994 stating the same principles)

March 19, 2010 at 6:41 am
(11) Kathi says:

All hot drinks were a NONO because you could draw in demons Thats what I was told when I asked the elder teaching my brothers and me about Mormonism. I was 11 at the time didn’t understand what I was doing I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses

March 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(12) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Kathi: Thank you for your comment, but that statement isn’t true LDS doctrine. I’ve never heard or read anything about drawing in demons by drinking hot drinks. That is not something we teach or believe.

November 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm
(13) Laurie says:

I know this is way after other comments on this have been posted, but hopefully you are still actively answering, as I have enjoyed reading on this site. I am back to church after 20 years of being inactive, and I have found the WoW bewildering on a few points. I am working on going to the temple for the first time, so I am very conscious about obeying the laws that I need to in order to answer my questions for my recommend, but I wonder: WofW says “hot drinks”, modern prophets say that means tea and coffee. Why? Is it the caffeine? If not, why not hot cocoa and wassail, and if so, why not pepsi and coke? What about decaffeinated coffee? I know it seems like nitpicking, but I want to be able to enjoy my taste of coffee if at all possible, but also be able to answer in good conscience when I am asked if I am obeying the WofW. I have not had coffee or vaffeinated drinks for 7 months now, but I am now in a job where coffee and decaf are readily available, and I am back to craving and being tempted.

April 28, 2011 at 4:17 am
(14) Letty Rosendale says:

I understand the coffee and tea thing being hot drinks. However, my question is, what is the Churches standing on decafienated iced tea (black or green)? I have stopped drinking coffee (it was only one cup in the morning) and started drinking iced tea. Since I started going to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have changed to decaf iced tea. I cannot find any comments regarding this. Thank you.

May 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm
(15) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Members of the Church sometimes focus on not drinking anything with caffeine in it, but the Law of the Word of Wisdom does not specifically state anything about caffeine.

The Church has stated that in obeying the Word of Wisdom we do not consume/use tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, or illegal drugs. People often try to figure out what is in those items that is “wrong” or makes them against the Word of Wisdom; this way if the ingredient is not present in a certain product then it is “okay” to consume/use it. The Lord has not gone into detail to explain every aspect of the Word of Wisdom.

To learn more I would suggest reading my FAQ article about herbal teas, especially the quote from the Church (pasted below) and the last section about the Word of Wisdom being a Personal Commandment:

“The best course is to completely avoid the substances that the Lord prohibits in the Word of Wisdom.”
From the Church’s Gospel Topic About the Word of Wisdom:

June 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm
(16) kay says:

Chocolate has caffeine as well. So I guess that’s out as well.

August 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm
(17) Barb says:

I think the habit it applies to the ritual of coffee and tea. One thing for sure to ask your self, Is this healthy enough for my kids to drink? Also, do I need it to sustain life? Is it providing nutrition for me and my children? Can we afford coffee over bread, meat, and grains? What if I took that $7-$9 for a bag of coffee or $3-$5 a day for a latte for twice a day and added it up over a year $10 a week x 5= $50.00 x 4= $200 x 12 months = $2400!
You would be saving by not drinking just coffee alone! Caffeine has been noted to decrease you Vit. C and increase you Cholesterol. Then there are the cigarettes! $11.00 a pack x 2 a day is $22.00 x 5 = $110 a week x 4 = $440 a month x 12 months = $5280 per person a year! For some that is 2 semesters of school, 2 years of food storage. this not even including the cost to one’s health and the devastation it has on families. Cancer of lung, mouth, lip or COPD dependency of oxygen. So add up the cost of a common addiction for one person, coffee$2,400 + $5,280 = $7,680 for one person! $15,362 for 2 persons in a house hold for cigarettes and coffee. If people could sit down and do the math, they could see how much they could save money wise, spiritually it is priceless what they could earn for their salvation. I am eternally grateful that I went through treatment with my Mother and my son, so that I would understand their addiction and how families are affected and that there is peace through treatment. They still need to be loved and supported, but not enabled and be accountable for their behavior changes. The gospel is the way to truth, healing, and forgiveness and He will polish you to a pristine white soul. I have seen many people reach the bottom before they climb back up with help on the way.
That is shocking to some people

October 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm
(18) Kaelyn says:

Hi, I have been reading all the comments on Word of Wisdom. I am doing a lesson on this subject for the YW. As I have been preparing, the lesson has a qoute on hot drinks and also caffine.
it states;
” with reference to cola drinks, the church has never officially taken a postion on this matter, but the leaders of the church have advised, and we do now specifically asvise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit forming drugs under circumstances that would result in aquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body shoud be avoided”. young womens manual 3.

As I have been studying this topic, I came to relize that the word of wisdom is for our own good. I have been told what is bad in coffee and tea is tar. with chocolate, I understand it has caffine in it, but we are also taught moderation in all things. I feel if I do my best in living the word of wisdom and trying everyday, then my Heavenly Father knows my heart. I believe we all over indulge in many things but if we do our best we will be blest.

April 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm
(19) aposale paul says:

they want you to save your money you would use to buy coffee and tea and give it to the church..drs.are now saying coffee and tea are good for your health,,they need all they can get

April 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm
(20) Bob Pierce says:

Thank you for all the work involved in this site, its been very helpful. As an agnostic for most of my 67 years I am literally soaking up information and find this journey of learning about my chosen faith to be so very rewarding.

April 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm
(21) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Bob: You’re very welcome. Let me know if you’re looking for an article/resource on a specific topic and I’ll see what I’ve got. Thanks for visiting the site!

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