Thursday, April 06, 2006

Coffee Talk

What do you know about Mormons? If you know anything, then you probably know that they don't drink alcohol, coffee, or tea and they don't chew, smoke, or snuff tobacco. Most drink Coke and don't believe that all caffeinated beverages are off limits, however their prophet has said on national TV that it is wrong to drink Coke or Pepsi so the best Mormons either don't drink them or else wrestle with the guilt on Sunday while deciding whether or not they are worthy to take the Sacrament. This is all part of something called the Word of Wisdom and it has become a litmus test for practicing Mormons. Sort of like a behavioral yamulka (did I spell that right?). It makes them stand out, it makes them a little strange (but not too strange), and they are proud of it. They may be otherwise despical human beings, but if they keep the Word of Wisdom, go to church regularly, and do whatever their leaders ask (even if they do it poorly) then they consider themselves worthy and righteous.

I always wondered about this emphasis on the Word of Wisdom. It comes from a revelation given to Joseph Smith. You can read it here. It's not too long and not too ridiculous. Go ahead and give it a spin.

Note that the second verse says, "To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint."

You should understand that this is God talking through his prophet, Joseph Smith. Not by commandment or constraint. Hmmm. What could that mean? Sounds like advice. Sounds like you can take it or leave it. It promises blessings if you obey, but no penalty if you don't.

Most Mormons don't know that Joseph Smith Sr., the prophets father, was at best an immoderate drinker if not an alcoholic. They also don't realize that the prophet was known to drink, even after the above revelation, and later prophets such as Brigham Young also drank. Journals of the pioneer members of the church also reveal that they regularly drank coffee and tea. The church somehow fails to mention this in its regular church lessons on the Word of Wisdom. I wonder why. I've also never seen a Mormon stock tobacco in their first aid kit to treat bruises. Never seen a doctor do it either.

So what happens when people don't voluntarily follow the Lord's advice? Apparently the Lord gets pissed and changes it from advice to a commandment. Sometime around the 1920s Heber J. Grant decided that disobeying the Word of Wisdom made a member unworthy to enter the church's temples. They're nice on the outside, but I assure you they have a gooey, yucky center. But, you have to understand that the church's highest saving ordinances are done in the temple. You can't be saved if you can't go to the temple. So, this essentially makes the Word of Wisdom a key to salvation (exaltation in Mormon-speak). Practically, if not theologically, it puts drinking Pepsi up there with adultery as things that will keep you from going to heaven. You can be the nicest, most saintly person in the world, but if you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning you're screwed. Plain and simple.

Why am I telling you this? Because I was raised Mormon. So was my wife. We got married in the temple. I'm not so Mormon anymore. I decided to try out coffee. It started out at McDonald's in the morning. With enough sugar it was good. Then I tried the Starbucks lattes and really liked them. So, I decided to try brewing my own coffee so I could sample the different types of coffees. I bought a brewer and brought it home.


My wife saw it and has been speaking to me in short, cold, polite sentences ever since. Nooky? Cuddles? Forget about it. You gotta love a religion that causes a wife to give the cold shoulder over coffee. It's been a week and counting and I'm wondering when or if this one will blow over. To her this is just another part of my "secret" life that I've been leading. You know, the one she won't talk to me about. Last night she commented that she was thinking about all of the topics that are off limits. ???? I never put them off limits. She did. She doesn't want me attacking Mormonism or her testimony of it. All those facts just confuse her and make her feel bad. So we don't talk about anything Mormon related. Her choice, not mine. She'd rather think badly of me and refuse to confront the shakey foundations of her own faith. Things had been pretty peachy recently until the coffee brewer incident.

So, when considering whether Mormonism is a cult remember that it can cause the purchase of a common kitchen appliance into a major sin worthy of shunning. At least in my house.

On a more serious note, I hate the coffee that I've been brewing. Is it supposed to have this strong, nasty taste? I got "bold" coffee at the local Exxon and I thought that it was just crap coffee. It turns out to taste exactly like the Starbucks Komodo that I brewed this morning. I'm sorry, but even with a lot of sugar I find the tast unpleasant. I like the McDonald's stuff. Maybe I just don't like the dark coffees. Any advice? I'm going to be really pissed if I discover I'm not getting laid over a beverage that tastes like something left over from producing polyethylene.

Any recommendations?


Joseph's Left One said...

Try Sumatra (Starbucks is good). It's excellent. If you like flavored coffees, Community Coffee's Pecan Praline is pretty good.

I don't like the dark roasts very much, like French or Italian Roast.

Just experiment a little. I've kind of settled on Sumatra, but I'm still trying out stuff.

Kristin said...

Do you have to like coffee? Are you trying to like it because you've been told you're not supposed to drink it? I don't drink coffee, but not because my religion "prohibits" it, I just can't stand the smell of it or the taste of it.

Sideon said...

Sumatra is a great start. Try adding a little milk or cream - it takes that bold edge off.

Who knew kitchen appliances could create such dire consequences?

Great start on the blog.

Equality said...

Dig the new blog. One texan to another. Hook 'em. Do you ever post at the Foyer or New Order Mormon site or RfM? I was on the FAIR board a couple months ago and some TBM started a thread about whether it was OK to divorce her husband for bringing a coffee pot into their home. Lots of TBMs thought it was perfectly justified. I posed as an uber-TBM to see if anyone would disagree with outrageous statements I made about how evil coffee was and how satanic the guy was for doing it. I got very little pushback from anyone. On coffee, personally, I prefer a Cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks. I'm too lazy to brew my own.

Bull said...

Nope, I don't have to like coffee. I just had to try it to see whether or not I like it. I do like some, just not the stuff I picked up with the brewer. But point well taken. I sometimes feel like a teenage kid trying out things just because I've been told my whole life I can't.

I do lurk and sometimes post on RfM as, surpise, bull.

I stay away from FAIR. Leaves me feeling unclean.

I've read a bit from the FARMS site just to make sure I had both sides of the story on Mormonism. I found them, ummm, less than compelling.

La said...

I still get tinges of guilt when I'm trying something "new". Stupid mormons. Divorce over coffee? Are they DUMB? I can't even imagine that.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

You know ... if you want to talk about coffee... talk to the expert. I have been drinking it for 15 or more years and I still need cream and sugar. Or use those specialty creamers...

AND yes, it is supposed to taste like that... but your coffee will grow on you. AND there are beneficial uses for coffee. If you drink one or two cups aday, you are a happier person. If you drink more than that you will probably get high blood pressure.

SO drink up.

OH... and I also went on a mission... and then promptly left the church... it has almost been 20 years. LOL

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Experiments???? WOW... I remember when I tried my first white wine. I spit it out. LOL

Well, life's hard. I am not allowed to drink alcohol because of my disease and medication. VICARIOUS... is a good word... I'll watch you do it. ROFL

Anonymous said...

Coffee is basically an addictive form of drinking hot dirt. I'm not mormon but I have a hard time kissing my wife after she drinks coffee.

People always say "it's an acquired taste." Why would I want to acquire a taste for THAT!

It's certainly a benign thing to part with a religion about, but not all that satisfying if you ask me.

lma said...

I say, if you like it, fine. Drink it. But if you don't like it, don't drink it. It isn't like it's a requirement or anything.

I don't drink coffee. Didn't like it before I was a Mormon, and I don't see why I should drink it now. Anyway, I figure I earned by stripes just by drinking Pepsi (one of the four basic Okie food groups, by the way :) - so being half Okie, I had to drink it) the two months I lasted at BYZoo. You would have thought I'd had my way with the entire basketball team or something, the way people reacted to that.

And as far as talking divorce over coffee - can I just say that some folks could use a reality check from time to time. And people wonder why we call it a cult.

Rat's Arse said...

Been drinking coffee for about 40 of my 55 years. Can't start the morning with outit. If you have a Costco near you, you can grind your own. They all have different tastes. My wife and I like Costa Rican; Colombian; Java; Sumatra. Freshly ground also makes a difference.

On the more serious note, If you keep the basic precepts of humanity, do no evil, help others when in need because it is the right thing to do not because you'll gain heaven or or go to hell, you will find happiness. I wish you luck with your home situation.

Coffee girl said...

McDonald's coffee is good, called Seattle's Best. If you like that, you have good taste.

Anonymous said...

Coffee makes me sick. The smell made me hurl while pregnant. The acids and bitterness makes my stomach churn. And the smell now is of betrayal because I feel betrayed by all your years of silence. The coffee incident wasn't about coffee really, it was about your inability to communicate.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't ingest any addictive products...I don't want to be a slave to anyone or anything.