Updated: Aug 20, 2019
This post is meant to offer perspective and clarity to Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the specific use of Green Tea as well as an overall view from a health coach regarding this Word Of Wisdom given in 1833.
For those reading this that may not know, this Church (I will call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints further in this post as simply the "Church".) was organized in 1830 by a man named Joseph Smith who, in response to a prayer to know which church was right to join saw God and Jesus Christ in a vision, and claims they told him to organize a new Church after the manner of the ancient Church that Jesus Christ himself organized as found in the New Testament. A few years after this Church was established, Joseph and his wife were pondering on the habits of the day regarding the daily use of tabacco and alcohol and decided to inquire of God if it was something we ought to change to be a more holier people. In response, God answered and revealed what is written down as Section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants book of revelations that the Church has canonized. You can read the entire section HERE.
The highlights are these:
the revelation was given as a Word of Wisdom "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men"
wine and alcohol are not good for health when used daily, but pure wine may be used for Sacramental worship (the Church has used only water for symbolic Sacramental covenant making since 1906, but used wine and water before that time.)
"strong drinks" later clarified as alcoholic drinks, are "not for the belly" but are for the "washing of your bodies" clarified as an acceptable antiseptic medicinally
tobacco is not good for our bodies when used internally, but as a medicinal herb for physical ailments and only under trained "judgement and skill."
"hot drinks" later clarified as Tea and Coffee, are also "not good for the belly or the body."
"all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man"
"Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving"
animals and birds are for the food of man, but are to be used sparingly only during times of famine or excess of hunger
all grains and fruits and vegetables and legumes and tubers are for the use of man for food, and for feed for all living things on earth
if you follow these guidelines, you are promised good health and mental vitality unto the promise of possessing wisdom, understanding "treasures of knowledge," and protection from Satan
I personally feel that it is rather fantastic that this was given in the 1830's. SO little was known about how our bodies worked and what was truly healthy. The Prohibition Movement was decades away and the crack down on tobacco was a century away, and the long term negative affects of using stimulants and the addiction that follows from excessive coffee, sugary drinks, and some teas now has millions of humans feeling daily fatigue was unknown. I can only imagine that there will be a time when we will all finally wake up to the very real negative effects from the misuse of animals in our western food industry and stop consuming so much meat, cheese, milk, bacon, etc. One thing has kept happening though... this Word of Wisdom and its guidelines keep proving true as science and evidence catch up. Take note people.
As for the Green Tea I want to address specifically:
This Word of Wisdom does not anywhere specify what tea leaves or preparation methods other than "hot" to take precaution on. There are thousands of ways different herbs and tea plants are used for teas. In recent days some of the Prophets of the Church have clarified a few of the terms used in this Word of Wisdom, but I have done extensive searches and reading and have found ZERO evidence that Green Tea as a supplemental powder (non stimulant variety- purely cleansing) was singled out to leave alone. In fact, this Word of Wisdom does not instruct us to leave ANYTHING out that the Earth has brought us except the use of animals for food unless there is "times of famine or excess hunger." We have simply been instructed that "hot drinks" (brewed tea and coffee) are not good for the belly or body. The Word of Wisdom was given as a "principle." Meaning, that the principle governs. Not specifics.
Green tea is proven over 4000 years to be one of the most potent antioxidants in the world. Providing healthy effects to humans for thousands of years. What is really awesome, is the TINY amount that is needed to see an effect in the body. We only need a super tiny amount daily to see benefits. It's THAT powerful. We don't need it to be condensed or brewed "hot" to get benefits. A simple powdered compound for supplementation is a beautiful way to receive its benefits. You can find it in this form in almost all health food stores and herbal resource establishments. I believe, and it is shared throughout all Christian scripture, that everything on this Earth naturally produced is "pure" (see Romans chapter 14) and for our use and joy. It is our own judgement and decisions on how to use it that make something harmful or not (*SEE addendum 1 regarding New Era article from Aug 2019 and my personal visit with Priesthood leaders). Sure, green tea can be brewed in condensed amounts and create a stimulant affect. But it can also be used as an extract, taking the essential particles of polyphenols, chlorophyll and antioxidant rich material to be used as supplements for good health. It can also be harvested as a young plant and ground into a fine powder to be used as an excellent supplemental capsule, or drink if you want or added to other herbal teas as a way to get a more full bodied version of the plant, without much stimulant at all, but full of benefits. Of course, you can Google or look up in actual books, articles and studies that green tea, when consumed while enduring a certain disease or when consumed in large quantities can have negative affects. But I've found through my years that you can find just about anything you WANT to find. "Seek and ye shall find..." is just about the truest principle that God has taught from the beginning. When I search about green tea, it is about the integrity and usefulness of the plant. What it can do FOR me and how to use it wisely and prudently. I have been greatly blessed by its use in my life.
The principles laid out that we can derive from the guidance offered in this revelation are:
1) abstain from anything harmful to the body or habit forming (the guidance on alcohol, coffee, tea, and lack of prudent usage of animals)
2) limit use of animals to only times of famine or cold and even then, use them sparingly
3) all growing things are for our use, and use prudence, wisdom, and skill when doing so
The principle against Green tea: Green tea has been mentioned as something to avoid in certain articles reminding us to not take anything in that is habit forming or harmful. And we KNOW that Brewed green tea is not only an excessive use of the plant, but it is highly habit forming. So of course the leaders would make that clear. They have also made it very clear we are not to ingest alcohol. Yet, we take over the counter cough syrups and use baking and cooking ingredients and eat snack bars made with alcohols ALL THE TIME. Are these harmful or habit forming? No. They aren't. Just like a green tea powder supplement is not harmful or habit forming.
I wish to address something that I feel is important to step back and realize.
Members of this Church are guided through this Word of Wisdom to consume animals "sparingly" and to get their food mainly from plant life. I ask you, are you doing that? Because it is laughable to me how many times I have personally experienced a Member of this Church getting all up in arms about an incredible plant being used as a daily supplement, helping someone become healthy and vibrant and feel well, while they go and eat a fast food burger, followed by an ice cream sundae and the next night they'll be feasting on steak, cheesy potatoes and cheesecake when this Word of Wisdom plainly spells out that animals are NOT to be used in such a fashion. I just feel it is worth pointing out that we all have room to make changes and don't know the full story as to why one person or another has or has not chosen to interpret what God has offered as wisdom. It has been my personal experience (and I hear from my own amazing clients the same), that when I am weighed down by eating too little plant life and too much fat and cholesterol from animal based products or "food-like" substances our food industry experts create due to "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men" (Read the book Fat, Salt and Sugar How the Food Giants Hooked Us) I am less able to feel Spiritual things. I have experienced being stifled by sugar rushes, food "comas", and overcome with cravings from the addictive doses of dopamine that are released when I eat excess meat and eat and drink excess sugars.
I admonish you to be more wary of your animal food intake and sugar intake and up your intake of plant life, rather than turning a cold shoulder to the use of or judging others who intelligently and mindfully are supplementing with one of the most powerful antioxidant, body replenishing supplements on the Earth that God gave us in Green Tea.
I personally have seen the positive effects of limiting my use of animal products, sugar, and increasing my intake of plant life, all herbs, and being wise and "prudent" in my use of the tea plants, coffee fruit, and ALL growing things on the Earth that are shown to improve and sustain the vitality of this Temple, my body, that I get to experience through this life. I have never experienced any stimulation or habit forming from my personal use of these things, I've only felt refreshed and had wonderful results using what God has prompted me to use.
All my love and belief in your ability to change and experience these promised laid out in this Section of Doctrine-----
I really loved this article from a Latter-day Prophet, nationally recognized educator and orator, and recognized leader in the Church:
The Word of Wisdom, the Promise and the Principle by Boyd K Packer
"The Word of Wisdom was “given for a principle with promise” (D&C 89:3). That word principle in the revelation is a very important one. A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. That leaves you free to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as your anchor.
Members write in asking if this thing or that is against the Word of Wisdom. It’s well known that tea, coffee, liquor, and tobacco are against it. It has not been spelled out in more detail. Rather, we teach the principle together with the promised blessings. There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation.
Everything harmful is not specifically listed; arsenic, for instance—certainly bad, but not habit-forming! He who must be commanded in all things, the Lord said, “is a slothful and not a wise servant” (D&C 58:26)."
UPDATE: Another article surfaced the very month this article was published stating that green tea and black tea, being of the same species of plant, should be considered the SAME, therefore, both should be considered as "tea" in regards to the Word of Wisdom, in it's guidance that tea is a "hot drink" and that neither in that state (which other articles have clarified is a "hot" brewed state, in which it becomes a stimulant) are "good for the belly or body."
This article however, still does not state that we are to abstain from all supplementation of tea plants. For those interested, I have met with my regional Priesthood leaders and have asked about supplementation with certain plant life that God caused to be here that does great things for the body, and was counseled to abstain from habit forming uses of plant life but as for overall health, to use my own judgement, skill, and to be wise. JUST LIKE ALL other talks, articles, and the Scripture itself. Consider this: Why would God give us agency to choose all good things, and offer the opportunity to gain personal revelation regarding the meaning of His Word (in this context, my own Spiritual guidance on what is good for my health and understanding of His Wisdom here), if we are to only rely solely on articles, talks, and the interpretations of others? No one is perfect. But we CAN have a perfect understanding if we study, ponder, pray and "prove" the Lord in his commandments.
See this article referenced here:
LDSLiving ARTICLE 2019 recapping a page in the Aug 2019 New Era Magazine