The Word of Wisdom is a short description of how to live a healthy life. It was written by Joseph Smith (claimed to be from revelation) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While it originally was just for the High Priests it was later established as a commandment to the entire Church. In particular it bans the consumption of wine and strong drink, hot drinks, tobacco and excessive meat. It also promotes the eating of grains and vegetables.

"Hot Drinks" has been defined by the church as "coffee and tea". With tea, it specifically refers to drinks made from the tea plant, so herb tea is not included. It's also fine to drink hot chocolate, wassail, cider, etc. And no, it's not ok to drink cold coffee or iced tea.

Update, June 9 2002
Ok, "hot drinks" was actually a common term when the Word of Wisdom was written. At the time everyone knew what Joe Smith meant: coffee and tea.

Here's the text: Doctrine and Covenants, Section 89
1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days
3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 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;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 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. Amen.

The thing about the Word of Wisdom is: it all boils down to blindly doing what you're told. sfc mentioned above that iced tea is proscribed because it is a "hot drink". If this doesn't evidence the Mormon attitude of obedience-over-thought I don't know what does.

Once you get among some Mormons and start trying to figure out the practice of the Word of Wisdom, you'll see what I mean. It's a very tangled web and isn't observed at all how it's written. For instance, the part about not eating much meat is routinely ignored.

Also: Mormons have been advised that coffee and tea are bad for the body and should be avoided. The rational next step in the thought process is to wonder what it is in these substances that is supposed to be detrimental to health. Though the text says "hot drinks", it's not the heat that is the problem, since Mormons consume hot chocolate like water and shun iced tea or coffee. "Hot drinks" is a term that has been redefined by those who rule the church and has nothing to do with temperature.

So what do coffee and tea have in common? The obvious ingredient is caffeine.

However, you won't find any good Mormons drinking decaf. And you will find many of them consuming copious amounts of Coke or Dr. Pepper.

So what is it Mormons fear in these drinks? In fact, it's the word "coffee" or "tea" they're afraid of. Most give very little if any thought to the contents of coffee or tea; they simply don't drink them because they've been told it's bad for them, and the words "coffee" and "tea" and "alcohol" have come to represent an evil thing in their minds.

Some attempts have been made to discredit coffee by saying it contains tannins that harm the body. Whether this is true or not, and to what degree, the fact remains that all the benefits of coffee, tea or wine that science can drag up are routinely ignored by Mormons, who tell themselves that the blessings God will give them for obeying must surely outweigh the benefit they'd receive from moderate consumption.

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