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.