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

Well, if you’re sticking to the letter of the law, I’m fond of reminding Mormons of God’s Revealed Word endorsing beer, from the same revelation: (bolding mine)

It’s official scripture; despite the LDS taboo against beer, God says it will make your belly button healthy.

I am a practicing, believing Mormon, and yep I do all of those things. Except for my personal vice, which is Diet Dr. Pepper–I drink about half regular and half caffeine-free. As has been explained above, that isn’t against the rules, though many people do it and I should too, only I like Dr. Pepper! Coffee and tea are against the rules, though, and I’ve never had them (nor ever wanted to, coffee being IMO a horribly stinky beverage. I don’t even like coffee ice cream. Bleh).

If I stopped wearing my underwear, it would mean that I had repudiated my entire religion. No one would likely know except my husband (who, yes, does notice what underwear I wear), but it would become pretty obvious by some other behaviors like resigning from the church. Or if I started wearing tank tops, I guess.

Herbal tea is OK.

Regarding caffeinated drinks, at a recent Mormon event they served Mountain Dew for the guys and Diet Pepsi for the women (yes, really - don’t get me started), so I just assumed that they were OK with caffeine. It surprised me, because my friend, the one I was attending the event with, had always turned down offers of caffeinated soda.


What did you find so offensive about her post?

I posted that about the so-called Mormon swingers, and I, too, am wondering. Did I say something wrong?

O, waitaminnit, they were recruiting only ME?

Then you probably ought to move it to a forum that doesn’t have the words “mundane” and “pointless” in it. Just a thought.

Another active member of the LDS Church checking in:

No, it doesn’t - it gets a little complicated because there are hard and fast rules and then rules of advice on how to avoid problems. The Mormon dietary rules are:

  1. No coffee (either caffinated or decaffinated).
  2. No “Black Leaf” Teas. There are a number of LDS members in good standing who sell Green Tea as a wieght loss product around here, and if you are under the weather, you’ll often get herbal teas to sooth you as gifts.
  3. No use of tobacco.
  4. No alcohol unless as part of a legal medication (Nyquil is ok).
  5. No use of illegal drugs or recreational mind-altering substances.

Individuals personally believe (and sometimes advocate) more than these rules, but they are their own opinion. Church leadership has recommended (i.e. "its a good idea, but is not a requirement to enter the temple or hold any office) a number of other dietary rules:

  1. Excersize
  2. Eat fruits and vegitables, and meat sparingly (this is not very well followed, as there are large rural ranching lds families that thrive on hunting and beef, but at least one President of the church was a strict vegetarian).
  3. Avoid substances that may lead to a dependancy (which is where many people get the caffine restrictions).
    Unfortunately, some members use these suggestions as a hammer to play “Holier than thou.”

As a general rule, no one except your spouse would know, but that also depends on fashion. If someone were to wear tight t-shirts (and you saw no garment hems or markings) or sleaveless shirts or above the knee shorts (exposing areas where garments are supposed to be worn), people would know. As far as locker rooms, etc. are concerned, we are instructed not to put the garments in a place that will expose them to ridicule, so many members will not wear them to locker rooms, doctor offices, etc.
You are asked about if you faithfully wear your garments as part of the interview for a temple recommend (which allows a member to enter a temple), but no one checks up on you.

It depends on what you call “On the outs”. Can they get a temple recommend or a leadership position? No. Will they be shunned or something like that? Hopefully not, but there are small minded people in and out of the church. My Grandmother drank coffee every day of her life (she said it was for her heart, but I don’t know), and she was never ostracized.

Hold on, “magic underwear”?? I thought I knew a lot about Mormons, and have learned even more as a Doper with the not infrequent Mormon threads that pop up and contributed to by current ad ex-Mormon Dopers, but this is the first I heard about “special underwear”.

What’s that about? What does it look like? What is the reasoning behind it?

(So Mormons never go commando? Ignorance fought.)

My impression has always been “yes. Yes, they do.”

My friend Michael is a wonderful drink mixer and spent several years working as a bartender. I have never seen him drink alcohol or coffee. I would be stunned to learn he does so even in private. He does love his Pepsi though.

I’ve never seen a Mormon missionary be anything other than cheerful and polite. I most definitely HAVE seen other missionaries be angry and rude. In general, I’d be willing to bet the average Latter Day Saint is considerably more observant than the average Jew (The presentation of us Hebrews on such shows as The Nanny and Seinfeld is sadly accurate).

Magic underwear.

Protects them from Satan, dark magic, fires, herpes, the usual.

You’ve never heard of the Garments? They bear special, sacred symbols and IIRC represent a series of extra oaths betwixt the wearer and The Lord. They are worn under the clothes so, among other things, Garment wearers don’t become swelled-head hypocrites showing off their holy standing.

That would be the rude term for it, rather like calling a kippah…um, something really rude.

Mormons who have made covenants as an adult (sort of a further step after baptism) wear a particular kind of underwear as a symbolic reminder, similar to how Catholics might wear a scapular or Jews cover their heads/wear a prayer shawl. It’s not terribly exciting-looking–Marky Mark was selling something pretty similar for Calvin Klein a few years ago.

I am very very surprised to hear that; AFAIK green, white, and black teas are equally not OK.

I was wondering about it, too, so here you go. :slight_smile:

That’s some complicated underwear.

Well, the wearer of the male example definitely looks like he’s gone through an “endowment ceremony” all right, by the looks of it!

There is no doubt that very few would appreciate the irony of the modern practice of prohibiting members from temple attendance for breaking the “Word of Wisdom” (WoW). There is a connection between the WoW and the temple, which even those within the Mormon church, rather especially many of those within the church are not aware of. The temple, with its secrecy and hidden practices including wearing the garments, which is related to a dark side of Mormon history.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but some background information is necessary. The WoW has become a defining point for Mormons, allowing easy differentiation from other Christian sects. “We do not drink alcohol or coffee or smoke tobacco,” is a clear external practice which allows Mormons to visible show they are the chosen people, as they preach, and hence is taken far more seriously than the early Saints, who were clearly different than their neighbors and didn’t require the external trappings.

Even the official history of the Mormon church, as well as recorded teachings and journals of early leaders show the disregard for this advice by the faithful, especially Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith held to be the prophet who revealed this word of God.

There are numerous recorded incidence of Smith drinking wine and beer. He opened a bar in his own home, a boarding house / hotel and called the “Nauvoo Mansion” with a friend as bar tender, and only shut it down when his wife discovered it upon return from a trip. She objected to the bar on grounds of it being unseemly for the leader of a religion, and because she didn’t want her children growing up with drunks in the house, and not because it was prohibited by God.

Even to the end, when Smith and his close associates were held in the Carthage jail, they drank wine on the eve of Smith and his brother Hyrum’s final day when they were killed by a mob.
Now for the garments, as the special Mormon underwear is called, you must appreciate the seriousness which Mormonism takes the temple and the hidden ceremonies and ordinances which are performed within it. Mormons believe that they have the fullness of the gospel which no other religion has, and through the secret ceremonies within the temple obtain the keys to an eternal life as a family and the ability to become gods and goddesses themselves.

To be a Mormon then, is to strive to live strict lives and to frequent the temple, in order to be with your family in the next life. There is no other way. Hence, wearing the garments and abstaining from alcohol, coffee, tea and tobacco is a small price to pay for an eternal salvation.

Now, what is the connection which I alluded to above? None other than polygamy, or in the case of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other early leaders, some of whose polygamous relationships were also polyandrous, in that they married women who were concurrently married to other men, as well as marrying girls as young as 14 to 16 years old.

In the early days, Smith and other leaders practiced polygamy in secret, and kept it a hidden teaching even from most Mormons, even going as far to publicly deny the practice. He couldn’t keep the secret from his first wife, Emma, especially with his first plural wife, a 16-year-old girl who living with his family.

Eventually, Smith required a revelation from God in order to justify the repeated practice. Polygamy was revealed as necessary to obtain exaltation, and the select few who were taken into the inner group were initiated with the secret temple ceremony and given these special garments which where made according to Smith’s instructions. Initially then, the temple, its hidden ordinances and the sacred garments were inseparable from polygamy.

The origin of the Mormon legends of them being “magic” (although Mormon’s themselves never refer to them with this term) is tied directly to Smith. In the Carthage jail, with Smith, was his brother and two others: John Taylor, who would go on to become the third president of the church, and William Richards.

Smith, seemingly eager to hide evidence of polygamy removed his garments before surrendering himself in Carthage, and ordered the other three to do so as well. Hyrum and Taylor did so, Richards refused. In the attack, where Smith and his brother were killed, Taylor was also wounded but Richards was left unscathed, which then became the myth that the garments would serve to physically protect the wearer.

The strict emphasis on the WoW did not occur until well after the Mormons arrived in Utah. Some scholars believe it served as a public replacement for the symbolic nature of polygamy of the separateness of Mormonism.

Some other notes. Early Mormonism did teach about not drinking hot chocolate or soups, and it wasn’t until later that this was clarified as being limited to coffee and tea which contains caffeine.

While the church has not held an official stance on the “coke” question, it certainly did give hints that members were encouraged to refrain from that as well. We were prohibited, as missionaries in the early 80s, from drinking coke and other caffeinated beverages.

No offense, but you got a source for that? In the 30 odd years I was active in the church, I never heard a list quite like that one, specifically your exceptions for green teas and medications with alcohol.

There is no difference between black and green teas except how the tea leaves are processed. And therefore the distinction was no teas, but herbals “teas” (which are really properly referred to as infusions because they contain no tea) are OK.

Green is not allowed in Japan. Or at least was not when I was on my mission.

At least at the temple in my area of Tucson, given my Mormon friend’s descriptions, the caffeine (read: cold caffeine, like Coke) thing is often just recommended. Many of my Mormon friends won’t touch the stuff, but at least a few will drink a little Coke if they have headaches, and from their and my other friend’s descriptions nobody really says anything about it, nor cares. I think that some of it is definitely regional, what is technically WoW but secretly THE UNBREAKABLE LAW depends on the views and zeitgeist of your local priesthood.

The thing is, both hot tea and hot chocolate have caffeine in them. I know. I have to avoid caffeine for medical reasons, and I can’t drink any of those.

Hot tea is not the same thing as herbal tea, which isn’t really tea at all.

Suppose you get a revelation from Joseph Smith-who tells you “Drink Moxie”!
Would it be OK?