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Green Tea & Green Tea Extract

green tea extract wisdom

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#1 ChristopherMills

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:23 AM

I am really interested in getting some feedback on this. This thread is inspired from the recent popularity of Green Tea and its health benefits that are advertised.

From what I understand, "hot drinks" in Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 has been interpreted specifically to be coffee and tea. I have heard and read from other LDS members that believed that "tea" refers to "Black Tea" simply because the "hot drinks" of Joseph Smiths day were in fact coffee and Black Tea. Herbal teas have been deemed permissible. I have spoken to a few LDS who were under the assumption that Green Tea is classified as an herbal tea and that drinking it does not violate the Word of Wisdom.

A fact that some may not be aware of is that Green Tea is produced from the Camellia Sinensis, which is the same plant that Black Tea is produced from. White Tea and Oolong Tea are also products of this plant. The difference from one Camellia Sinensis tea to another is dependant upon how the leaves are processed. Although each come from the same plant, they are not the same product.

My question is this: Should we avoid Camellia Sinensis altogether or only the Black Tea that is produced from it? I am not aware of any statement from a General Authority on this issue. I am curious if anyone else could shed some light on this.

Another topic in question is Green Tea Extract. I have done a limited amount of research on this product. As I understand it, there are various methods of obtaining the extract. Would certain extracts be a permissible way of consuming the antioxidants, vitamins and obtaining other health benefits associated with Green Tea (some use it as a weight loss supplement)?

On a BYU website, the Word of Wisdom is defined as follows:

word of wisdom - a name given to Joseph Smith’s revelation on health, contained in D & C 89. Past and present prophets of the church have clearly stated that the following are proscribed by this revelation: alcohol, tobacco, coffee, black tea, and illegal drugs. Following the word of wisdom is a requirement for obtaining a temple recommend as well as for being baptized.
source: Glossary

A few other of many sources defining "tea" as "Black Tea":

Teas | Times & Seasons, An Onymous Mormon Blog
LDS FAQ: Fulfilled Prophecies of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet
JENNIFER
DIANE
Mormon Family
The Freelance Observer: Breaking Rules or Breaking Babies: LDS vs. FLDS Mormon Church

As of yet, I have not read any official statement from a prophet defining "tea" as "Black Tea" but it is obvious that many members have interpreted it to be so under the fact that "Black Tea" was the tea of Joseph Smith's era and herbal teas are ok.

I have also found a quote from Victor L. Ludlow, a BYU religion professor who states:

“The Word of Wisdom counsels against drinking “hot drinks,” which have been identified by early Church leaders as coffee and tea. “Tea” refers to the standard tea derived from the tea plant, sometimes called black tea or green tea. The Word of Wisdom has not been interpreted as proscribing herbal teas, stating that “all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man (D&C 89:10)” (Victor L. Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, p.434).

As it seems, there is some confusion among LDS members regarding this matter. This was what inspired me to post this blog.

I have been curious of the health benefits associated with Green Tea Extract but have decided to avoid it simply because it is produced from Camellia Sinensis. Until an official statement is made, I feel that tea is tea if it comes from the "tea plant". I am intersted in any facts, quotes, opinions, etc. on this subject.

Thanks,
Chris

Edited by ChristopherMills, 22 May 2009 - 09:19 PM.


#2 Moksha

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:42 AM


I have been curious of the health benefits associated with Green Tea but have decided to avoid drinking it simply because it is produced from Camellia Sinensis. I am interested in any facts, quotes, opinions, etc. on this subject.

Thanks,
Chris


Considering the health benefits of green tea, this is a bit of a conundrum. If you are like me, you want your health code to make sense. Here is what I have come up with as an explanation for our obedience to this portion of the health code: In the war in Heaven, the tea and coffee plants sat too close to the fence and were thus considered less valiant.

The rest of the word of wisdom health code is self explanatory.



BTW, did they ever discontinue selling hot drinks at the Red Brick Store?
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And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
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#3 hordak

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:05 AM

I wouldn't get too caught up on the "same plant same thing" idea. Some of my favorite foods are poppy seed chicken, and muffins.
"There are not enough general authorities to do all the thinking for the membership of the church." J. Golden Kimball


"I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord." Elder Oaks

#4 Hemidakota

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:12 AM

We had issue with those who love to eat seeds prior to a 'urine test'. :lol:

#5 Dravin

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:19 AM

My opinion on the matter is that we've not been told why exactly we are to stay away from hot drinks (interpreted coffee and tea (I've never heard a distinction between white, black and green, only between the tea plant and infusions)) so I'm not inclined to take an extract not knowing what it is I'm supposed to be avoiding. As far as anti-oxidants there are surely other ways to obtain these things (though in cases of things like pomegranate and wild blueberry may be more expensive).

I repeat, this is my opinion and not a statement of Church policy or the doctrines of Christ.


P.S. For what its worth when a missionary I knew asked the Mission President he was told there was no policy on extract and to pray about the matter and do what he felt right. Of course Mission Presidents are not arbiters of doctrine or Church Policy (though in my experience are decently well informed, at least mine was) so take it with as much salt as you please.

Edited by Dravin, 22 May 2009 - 10:59 AM.
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#6 Moksha

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:25 AM


Some of my favorite foods are poppy seed chicken, and muffins.


Poppy seed bagels!!!
Jesus said, "The first in importance is, love the Lord God.'
And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
There is no other commandment that ranks with these."


Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace


#7 Wingnut

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:49 AM

From what I understand, "hot drinks" in Doctrine and Covenants 89:9 has been interpreted specifically to be Black Coffee and Black Tea.


Please provide a reference for this. I have always read that it has been interpreted as coffee and tea. The way you have written it, in fact, makes it perfectly permissible to drink coffee, so long as I throw in a little sugar and cream.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#8 ChristopherMills

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 12:15 PM

I apologize for the misunderstanding. My reference to "Black Coffee" was intended to be directed towards the product itself (whether with or without the sugar and cream). "Black Coffee" as opposed to the not so popular Green Coffee or Green Coffee Extract. I did not mean to imply that drinking coffee in any form is acceptable according to the Word of Wisdom. When the Word of Wisdom was given, black tea and coffee were the popular "hot drinks". Recently, Green Tea has become quite popular and there are some LDS who feel that it is ok to drink because of the advertised health benefits. To me, coffee is coffee and tea is tea if it comes from the same plant. However, Green Tea is not the same product as Black Tea, due to the processing that takes place. So, is it the plant or the product that we should abstain from? That is the question.

Edited by ChristopherMills, 22 May 2009 - 12:35 PM.


#9 Maureen

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 12:27 PM

The way you have written it, in fact, makes it perfectly permissible to drink coffee, so long as I throw in a little sugar and cream.

Because of the LDS church's non-coffee drinking stipulation, many members are not familiar with the scripture: "And it came to pass, that on the one millionth, three-hundred and eighty-seventh thousand day, God created cream and sugar." :)
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#10 Wingnut

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:46 PM

I apologize for the misunderstanding. My reference to "Black Coffee" was intended to be directed towards the product itself (whether with or without the sugar and cream). "Black Coffee" as opposed to the not so popular Green Coffee or Green Coffee Extract. I did not mean to imply that drinking coffee in any form is acceptable according to the Word of Wisdom.

When the Word of Wisdom was given, black tea and coffee were the popular "hot drinks". Recently, Green Tea has become quite popular and there are some LDS who feel that it is ok to drink because of the advertised health benefits. To me, coffee is coffee and tea is tea if it comes from the same plant. However, Green Tea is not the same product as Black Tea, due to the processing that takes place. So, is it the plant or the product that we should abstain from? That is the question.


I'm still wondering if you can provide a reference that specifies black tea, but either explicitly or implicitly excludes green tea. I have always only ever heard "coffee and tea."
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#11 ChristopherMills

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 08:56 PM

I'm still wondering if you can provide a reference that specifies black tea, but either explicitly or implicitly excludes green tea. I have always only ever heard "coffee and tea."


Sure, I have actually been doing further research on this and have found some more information. Mostly, I have only heard and read from other LDS members that believed that "tea" refers to "black tea" simply because the "hot drinks" of Joseph Smiths day were in fact coffee and black tea. For example, herbal tea is acceptable and it is a hot drink and a tea. Green Tea has recently become popular and I have heard some of my LDS aquaintances classify it as an herbal tea and that it is "healthy". The issue that I have with green tea is that it comes from the same plant as black tea. Here are a few references that I came across that specify black tea:

On a BYU website, the Word of Wisdom is defined as follows:

word of wisdom - a name given to Joseph Smith’s revelation on health, contained in D & C 89. Past and present prophets of the church have clearly stated that the following are proscribed by this revelation: alcohol, tobacco, coffee, black tea, and illegal drugs. Following the word of wisdom is a requirement for obtaining a temple recommend as well as for being baptized.
source: Glossary

A few other of many sources:

Teas | Times & Seasons, An Onymous Mormon Blog
LDS FAQ: Fulfilled Prophecies of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet
JENNIFER
DIANE
Mormon Family
The Freelance Observer: Breaking Rules or Breaking Babies: LDS vs. FLDS Mormon Church

As of yet, I have not read any official statement from a prophet defining "tea" as "black tea" but it is obvious that many members have interpreted it to be so under the fact that "black tea" was the tea of Joseph Smith's era and herbal teas are ok.

I have also found a quote from Victor L. Ludlow, a BYU religion professor who states:

“The Word of Wisdom counsels against drinking “hot drinks,” which have been identified by early Church leaders as coffee and tea. “Tea” refers to the standard tea derived from the tea plant, sometimes called black tea or green tea. The Word of Wisdom has not been interpreted as proscribing herbal teas, stating that “all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man (D&C 89:10)” (Victor L. Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, p.434).

As it seems, there is some confusion among LDS members regarding this matter (As evidenced in others blog comments). This was what inspired me to post this blog.

#12 john doe

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:15 PM

I'm going to repeat a Mormon Urban Legend here. I have a co-worker who told me that the people who created the Green Tea HP that is sold in SLC area malls live in his stake and are current temple recommend holders. He takes that to infer that green tea (or some forms of it) is probably okay under the Word of Wisdom. Also, my bishop spoke about this a couple months ago and basically said that this is one of those gray areas where each individual should make the decision for themselves. That's the way I choose to deal with this situation. Since there is no commandment for this, study it out in your own mind, pray about it, and if you feel that it is okay for you to partake in it, then you are free do so. If not, then don't. But don't condemn someone else who may choose differently. If the church comes out and makes an official statement later, you can adjust your behavior accordingly then.
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#13 Wingnut

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:18 PM

As of yet, I have not read any official statement from a prophet defining "tea" as "black tea" but it is obvious that many members have interpreted it to be so under the fact that "black tea" was the tea of Joseph Smith's era and herbal teas are ok.


This is what I was looking for. I appreciate that you took the time (or already had available) references for me to look through (and I did read each one). In each case, the phrase "black tea" was always used as conjecture. In fact, in your third reference, the author states:

The Word of Wisdom has been interpreted to include hot coffee or black tea. Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet Joseph Smith was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the "Word of Wisdom," when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: "I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said 'hot drinks' in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said 'hot drinks.'(Johnson, J. H., A Voice from the Mountains, p. 12)

Anything besides coffee and black tea is left up to the judgement of the individual.

...

Just to make life easier on myself, I avoid all forms of hot or cold, regular or decaffeinated, coffee and black tea, and caffeinated soft drinks. But this my own opinion about how I have decided to live the principle.


She gives the exact quote from Joseph Smith, and then interprets it. I don't know about you, but I don't usually take conjecture from single-named-otherwise-anonymous-online people as doctrine, but I do appreciate that she acknowledged that it is her own opinion.

This and the above quote (also found in Witdsoe, Word of Wisdom, pp. 85-86) are what I have always been taught and what I daresay are most widely known among the general populace of the Church:

And again, "hot drinks are not for the body, or belly;' there are many who wonder what this can mean; whether it refers to tea, or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea, and coffee. (Hyrum Smith, "The Word of Wisdom," Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, p. 800)


Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#14 Wingnut

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:18 PM

I'm going to repeat a Mormon Urban Legend here.


Isn't that against site rules? ;)
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

If we're going to be stupid about this, we're going to be stupid on my terms. -- my husband

#15 ChristopherMills

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:29 PM

Wingnut, I do not disagree.

#16 Moksha

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:13 PM

As far as heath codes go, it might have made sense to strike that part about hot drinks completely, once later 19th Century science determined that the hot temperature of drinks being harmful was a myth. Saying it really meant something else was rather like apologetics.
Jesus said, "The first in importance is, love the Lord God.'
And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
There is no other commandment that ranks with these."


Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace


#17 ChristopherMills

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:43 PM

I'm going to repeat a Mormon Urban Legend here. I have a co-worker who told me that the people who created the Green Tea HP that is sold in SLC area malls live in his stake and are current temple recommend holders. He takes that to infer that green tea (or some forms of it) is probably okay under the Word of Wisdom. Also, my bishop spoke about this a couple months ago and basically said that this is one of those gray areas where each individual should make the decision for themselves.

That's the way I choose to deal with this situation. Since there is no commandment for this, study it out in your own mind, pray about it, and if you feel that it is okay for you to partake in it, then you are free do so. If not, then don't. But don't condemn someone else who may choose differently. If the church comes out and makes an official statement later, you can adjust your behavior accordingly then.


I'm in no position to condemn anyone. :) Thanks for your comments.

#18 hordak

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:52 AM

As far as heath codes go, it might have made sense to strike that part about hot drinks completely, once later 19th Century science determined that the hot temperature of drinks being harmful was a myth. Saying it really meant something else was rather like apologetics.


The temperature of drinks being harmful is not a myth. Though i do agree making coffee and tea the "bad guys" was like apologetics.

Actually I have found the WoW, as given to Joseph is pretty accurate. If read literally it matches up with modern science pretty accurately. IMO
"There are not enough general authorities to do all the thinking for the membership of the church." J. Golden Kimball


"I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord." Elder Oaks

#19 john doe

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:53 AM

Isn't that against site rules? ;)


Well, I was forthright and honest about what it is, so I think it's okay.
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#20 Maureen

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 08:35 PM

The temperature of drinks being harmful is not a myth. Though i do agree making coffee and tea the "bad guys" was like apologetics.

Actually I have found the WoW, as given to Joseph is pretty accurate. If read literally it matches up with modern science pretty accurately. IMO


Can you provide a source for your statements? What harm does temperature in drinks cause? What scientific information can you provide?

M.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)




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