Do Actual Mormons follow their own rules? If not, what happens?

Ok I was walking and some missionaries with name tags saw me and started a convo.

They wanted to further talk to me about what they believe

I saw some old threads on here and found out that members of that exclusive, co-ed religious fraternity can’t drink alcohol, coffee, and must wear sacred underwear.

Does the prohibition on ‘hot drinks’ include herbal tea?

What if someone refuses to wear the undergarments? Would people know? Wouldn’t their spouse know? Would it be overlooked if you did everything else properly? I can imagine going on some church retreat and after drying off in the locker room people asking where your underwear is.

So what if a perfect mormon has only one flaw, daily coffee? Would that put him on the outs?

The LDS folk that I knew generally followed their rules as long as they were practicing members of the Church. They were as faithful in that way, as the Catholics I knew growing up. And maybe even more so.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few who transgress. I met a couple when I lived in SLC and was dating an LDS woman – they brought a bottle of whiskey to the party we were having. It wasn’t just being hospitable to me, the only “gentile” there, because a.) i don’t drink whiskey, and b.) they proceeded to drink it all.

It has also been noted when particular tenets become problematic (polygamy, blacks not being regard as equal for church offices, ‘saved’ Native Americans turning caucasian, etc.) the church hierarchy announces a ‘revelation’ and solves the problem.

This does cause some problems. As we have seen with the Fundamentalist LDS, they claim the rest of LDS changed and they are holding to the original doctrine. Obviously, the FLDS has a point, but I am not advocating polygamy either.

And, I hasten to add, other sects, religions and denominations have challenges in this regard too. For example, Martin Luther was less than enamored with Jews. The contemporary Missouri Synod branch I am familiar with does not seem to have a crematoria in their building (I have worked there) so, I would suspect their views have evolved somewhat. I note in my lifetime the Methodists have eased up on the their condemnation of (most) remarriages, this despite the relevant quotations from Jesus Christ on the topic remain unchanged in Holy Scripture.
For folks with a strict Biblical Literalist view, these ‘progressions’ of dogma are cause for alarm.

Before we were married, when Mr. Sali lived in an apartment, he invited a married couple he knew through work (he said they were Mormons) over to watch a movie with us on the new-fangled VCR and share a pizza. As the evening went on, without anything specifically done or said, I got an uneasy feeling about these people. Mr. Sali and I went to the kitchen to get another liter of Diet Coke and I said, 'what is it about this couple? I’m getting some kind of …signal. Am I nuts?" And Mr. Sali, who is about the most totally CLUELESS man on the face of the planet (he’s the type where you leave a sandwich in the refrigerator for him and you have to tape a post-it on it saying “SANDWICH”) looked at me, surprise surprise, and said, “I thought it was just me! Sali, I think they’re swingers, or wife-swappers!” … The evening ended without incident, nothing to see here, folks. But Mr. Sali later heard from others rumours that the couple were indeed wife-swappers! So I assume they were Ex-Mormons. and that’s all I got.

We’ve all heard the grandfatherly wisdom about “Take a Mormon fishing and he’ll drink all your beer…take two or more and you can have all the beer yourself”. The inference of course, being that a Mormon will gladly take a drink or three as long as there’re no others around to report on him. (Even my Mormon friends tell that joke).

Reminds me of a Muslim friend who admitted with a grin that he quite enjoys a few glasses of wine “when the imam isn’t watching”.

Actually, most of the Mormons I know (I live in a heavily LDS community and count many of them as friends) try to follow most of the rules most of the time, but don’t make a big deal of it.

And speaking of special underwear…One of my wife’s LDS friends confided the startling information that she had never seen her husband naked!!. Since they have been married for over 30 years and have at least 6 kids, I can only assume they must practice sex only under the covers with all the lights out…but still…:dubious:

Yes, believing Mormons in general follow their own rules.

No. It was clarified to mean caffeinated hot drinks. So herbal tea and hot chocolate (well, okay, I know chocolate is mildly caffeinated, but it’s still okay unless you’re being ultra-hyper about it) and hot water are all right.

Well, people wouldn’t in general know (in general I don’t imagine you’d be getting undressed in front of a bunch of people), but your spouse would, and if you were both believing Mormons that would probably lead to some friction.

I guess I would say that if you believe Mormonism, then you are happy to obey the rules because you think it is what God wants of you. If you don’t want to obey the rules, then in some sense you can’t call yourself a true Mormon.

Although I should also discriminate between not wanting to obey the rules and trying to obey the rules. If someone were addicted to tobacco and was having a hard time kicking the habit, but really wanted to stop, that would be different than someone who just happened to like coffee and drank it all the time even though they knew they weren’t supposed to.

You would be able to go to church, and you would be able to hold a calling and participate in the life of the church in most ways. However, you would not be able to get into the Mormon temples, which is the mark of a true believing Mormon.

(I also am not able to, even though I don’t drink coffee, because – as you might expect – in addition to rules about alcohol and so on, there are rules about what you must believe that I am not able to answer in the proper way. So in some sense I am an example of what you ask in your question – I go to church, I hold a calling, I’m in the choir, I visit teach another woman, I basically do everything another Mormon would do… except go to the temple.)

Actually, I haven’t. Your post is the first place I’ve encountered this.

I thought the prohibition was on **all **caffeinated drinks, contrary to the “scripture” ban on hot drinks. With that said, I used to work with a woman whose “vice” was Diet Coke. She’d duck and run at the grocery store if she had some in her cart and ran across a fellow TBM. Apparently, the caffeine-free stuff just wouldn’t do it for her.

She was unmarried & had not been on a mission, so had not been through the temple yet, so I can’t speak to that aspect.

I didn’t realize that the word has two 'm’s in it.

But is there no distinction between believing the fundamental part of the religion (whatever that is, I care more about the underwear issue) and obeying a (to me) a minor rule, which seems to me to be merely a custom (The underwear)?

So you can’t get into the Temple without wearing the underwear?

I ask because I am flexible spiritually but not fashion-wise. I can’t be crimped with extra garments in the heat of summer.

The wearing of the Garment, as the “underwear” is properly called, isn’t a custom. LDS folk take it seriously. I’ve seen plenty of LDS guys changing garments in the gym locker room.

That’s a matter of “personal revelation.” No higher authority has said that all caffeinated drinks are banned, and the bishop won’t ask you if you drink diet Coke or Mountain Dew when you’re interviewing for your temple recommend. However, there are a good number of Mormons who do believe those beverages are banned, and so they avoid them. If you get a good number of those people in one community, it can seem like drinking a soda is wrong b/c of peer pressure.

Actually, that’s the answer to the OP as well. There is a huge amount of peer pressure to conform in most LDS communities, and that’s what keeps them on the “straight and narrow.”

Incidentally, you don’t have to be getting married or going on a mission to do temple work. My sister goes to the temple all of the time, and she’s not married and has no plans for a mission.

Yes, there’s a distinction. Being baptized into the LDS Church and being confirmed a member does involve basic belief and so on (in my case, there was kind of an attrition… I did believe back when I was baptized), but does NOT involve the wearing of garments, which is a privilege (not a custom, or obeying a minor rule) for those who want to be even more dedicated to God.

You could go your whole life believing all the tenets of Mormonism but without taking that next step. (Unless you wanted to be married in the temple – married outside the temple, as I was, doesn’t require it – or go on a mission. But once we’re talking about dedicating two years of your life to God, an extra layer of clothing is rather less of an issue.)

(Though, as pepperlandgirl points out, the converse is not true; you can take that step regardless of your marital or missionary status.)

This is a straightforward thread about Mormon practices and beliefs, pls. avoid the snarky comments.


twickster, MPSIMS moderator

If only this were the pit.

I was a Mormon outside of Utah until age 13. In my family and my wards (congregation), caffeinated soda was taboo. I tasted cola exactly once, when McDo messed up my drink order. When I moved to Utah, I was surprised to see lots of Mormons drinking it. It’s really a matter of personal interpretation whether “hot drinks” includes cold soda, hot chocolate, herbal tea, and coffee ice cream. The official rule taught by missionaries is to abstain from coffee and tea.

How well a Mormon obeys the rules will certainly depend on the strength of his conviction and his peer influences. As a goody-goody believing teenager and young adult, I never touched alcohol or tobacco. I didn’t have sex, and I carried a load of guilt for any petting or passionate kissing. I paid 10% tithe without fail. I wore the temple garment night and day. I did not work for pay on Sundays except in a job that had to be performed 7 days a week (caring for lab animals), and I avoided any activities that enabled others to work on Sundays. I did not use the lord’s name in vain. To a faithful Mormon, not one of these rules is optional. All of my friends either followed the same rules or were wracked with guilt for any infractions.

I became an apostate at age 30, but still the only “sins” I commit are to not pay the tithe, to enjoy myself with my family (shopping, amusements, restaurants) on Sunday, and to wear normal underwear. Still, that’s pretty shocking behavior to anyone who knew me just a few years ago.

I asked a Mormon friend about this once. She said that the actual prohibition was on “the black drinks” which at the time it was said would have referred to coffee and tea. She said most Mormons are also extremely health conscious, and that “dependencies” of any kind were deeply frowned upon. One’s only dependency should be on God, Church, Family, not the Coca-Cola corporation.

She wouldn’t touch anything with caffeine in it because she felt it was bad for her. She was also very strict about her diet, not vegan but close. She once asked why I would allow myself to be controlled by a Snickers bar. She really has an excellent point there. ::chews thoughtfully::

Underwear-that’s-fun-to-wear, is the (wink) proper name for it.

When I was out in SLC there was a bumper sticker that read Welcome to Utah – Land of Funny Underwear

The prohibition is not on “black drinks.” Her seminary or Sunday school teacher probably told her that. The actual scripture for the “Word of wisdom” is as follows:

Incidentally, the origin for the “word of wisdom” is that Joseph Smith’s buddies would come over and be a huge pain in the ass while they sat around the house. You know, spitting tobacco juice everywhere, getting drunk, making a mess. Emma complained and lo! the word of wisdom! Mormons know this story but it doesn’t bother them.

Now clearly “hot chocolate” falls under the definition of “hot drinks” whereas diet Coke, being cold usually, would not. But since that makes very little sense, people are forced to conclude the prohibition is against caffeine. But if you’re sticking to the letter of the law, rather than the “how can we make sense of this” interpretation, anything warmed up above room temperature would be verboten.