The Word of Wisdom has been in the news again, triggered by a claim about caffeine made on a network news show, which led to an official LDS Newsroom statement clarifying the church’s position, which led to fascinating discussions and events, including hilarity at BYU over its policy of serving only de-caffeinated drinks, as well as some church members exulting that now they have an official statement that they can use to tell others to back off when they try to force their “spirit of the law” Word of Wisdom interpretations on them. What is it about the Word of Wisdom that makes it both so central to Mormons as an identity marker as well as such a divider? Is it primarily a “commandment” or the “Lord’s Law of Health”? Is it a “sin” for a Mormon to break the Word of Wisdom (requiring “forgiveness” through Christ’s suffering), or more a rejection of teachings that lead to blessings?
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