I know there are at least a few Mormons who look in on my blog from time to time. I’ve got a question for y’all.
Up front: I’m not a Mormon, but I’ve found them, over the last decade living in distinct Mormon Country, to be decent enough folks. Much of their theology strikes me as downright silly, though (don’t go feeling superior, those of you who believe that small carbohydrate crackers are regularly transformed into meat by means of prayer). Some of the silliness is hard to tell whether it comes from misunderstanding by outsiders, or it is, in fact, silly.
I was reminded of this today in a book store. I wandered past the religion section ( I kinda had to, as it was on the other side of the aisle from History), and for whatever reason one particular kids book caught my eye. It was a large-format illustrated work with the odd title “The Not Even Once Club.” That’s not a title that immediately explains itself. I thought it might be some horribly uncomfortable book about sexual assault, or some lame book about how naughty it is to bully other kids, or some such. But a quick glance at the cover showed that it was actually about a group of kids banded together to never violate any of God’s commandments. Ummm… sure. Why not. That interested me… I wanted to see how the author & illustrated dealt with convincing kids that they really shouldn’t aughtta commit murder, perjure themselves, make sculptures or pick up sticks on Sunday. Never not once ever do any work on Sunday at all, which would be a neat trick since work is defined as force over a distance, which is accomplished by, oh, I dunno, walking your butt to Church. But I digress.
A quick flip through the book made it clear that I still didn’t have the right idea. The kids in the book were shown having a tree/clubhouse that was packed to overflowing with jars of candy and other goodies. A new kid in the neighborhood is brought in and given a test: would he drink alcohol? Not. Even. Once. How about coffee? Not. Even. Once. How about tea? Not. Even. Once. How about lemonade? Sure, that’d be awesome. Since he passed the test, and was given some sort of loyalty oath to sign, he was inducted into the group, and, presumably, lived happily ever after.
The message I got from this was that it’s bad to drink booze. Sure, I get that. And that it’s ok to drink lemonade. Sure, I get that, too. But where I get fuzzy: it’s not only bad to drink coffee, it’s also bad to drink tea. Bwah? And Tea-Drinking-Is-Teh-Evil seemed to be a bit more important for this group of kids than Murder-Be-Bad.
The book, by the way, was published by Deseret Book Company, a Mormon propaganda firm.
So, for all y’all Mormons out there, explain this to me: Coffee? Tea? Bad???
Is this standard doctrine, or is the author on the loopy end of the Mormon bell curve?
I have heard conflicting things about coffee. As goes at least one story, it was Officially Bad because the caffeine serves as a stimulant, and thus that’s downright druggie. But then the LDS church holds, or at least held (I dunno) a whole lot of stock in Coca Cola… which has a lot of caffeine. So then coffee=bad because it’s a hot drink (which didn’t really clear that up for me). But that doesn’t explain tea, as it’s more like served cold than hot. So… WTF.
And I guess the lesson here is that while caffeine is bad, sugar is AWESOME, and kids need to be bribed with as much of it as can be shoved into them, and that giving in to peer pressure is to be encouraged. Or something.
And because why not: