Why Mormons Don’t Drink Coffee

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 1:45pm
John Kushman

Why Mormons Don’t Drink Coffee

There’s a joke going around about Mormon missionaries these days: How many missionaries does it take to convert a Jew?  Answer:  It’s a trick question.  Mormons are Jews.  Technically.  

It can be complicated, just like this business with the coffee.  It’s a revelation from God in the “Word of Wisdom” regarding health.  But fewer things are surefire true than the fact that we’re all getting older every day and we only have so much time to get it right.  Some of us never get it right.  What happens to them?               

Getting old is no fun.  No matter how hard you work against it, procrastinate, postpone, no matter how hard you fake it or how much you lie to yourself, you can’t cheat time.    

The eternal pessimist says you start dying the moment you are born, that life itself is a preexisting condition.  The infernal pessimist says the only gold in the “golden years” is the urine.  My octogenarian next door neighbor once told me that, we both laughed, but he was sure he had point.  Maybe he did.  Because there is no clearly optimistic view of this life perspective that wouldn’t be based on wishful thinking, pioneering hope or blind faith, and not on the biological certainty of it all.  A cheerful disposition notwithstanding.

Comedian/philosopher, Woody Allen, has a thought about reversing time: 

“In my next life I want to live my life backwards.  You start out dead and get that out of the way.  Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day.  You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.  You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.  You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school.  You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play.  You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born.  And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila!  You finish off as an organism!”                        

The fact of the matter is, time is never on your side.   

The only thing on your side is love.  Love is all you need.      

If you have love in your heart, time is of no consequence.  You’re ahead of the game and ready for whatever comes.  Time being relative, love being irrespective of it.  You are only as old as time says you are.  It’s measured by one rotation on Earth’s axis, 24 hours, and one revolution around the sun in one year, 365, 24 hour periods.  Days.  Years.  If the rotation time changed or the earth’s revolution around the sun time changed, irregardless of the physical change it would have on the Earth, you’d be as old as those new times calculated.  1,000 years could be one day, one day could be an eternity.  A 50 year old person could be only 6 months old, or 6,000 years old.  It’s all relative.  Time.  

But the love in your heart, or lack thereof, or the love of which you are capable, is a constant and maybe a better measurement of time in the long run.  The question of time  then would be, how long does it take to gain love in one’s heart?  

Because love is the answer. 

So, the most significant elements of a person’s life are time and love.  Both equally exquisite, both equally inexplicable.  As simple or complex as drinking coffee.       

What is love?  Is it a person, a thing ..a feeling?  Where does it come from?  How do you get it?  Can it be lost?  

We must be born with it, it’s already in us, it’s essence.  Just as the capability to hate is born within us.  It‘s up to each individual to work it out.  It’s a matter of attrition losing, a matter of cultivation growing and distributing either one.

How can there be such extreme hate in our world, and at the same time such extreme love?  Does one balance out the other?  Is love relative to hate and vice versa?  Can’t have one without the other?  Good vs. evil.  I think we’d all agree that we’d like to see hate and evil eliminated and love perpetuated.

Good luck with that.  No, really, good luck with that.

If we could put love in a trust fund for future generations as beneficiary, maybe somehow our world as we know it now, and as it has evolved, would have a better chance to be a more logical, safer place for those to follow.  

I know that sounds like a pipe dream, and that we have all accepted hate and evil as part of our lives and our world, especially these days, whether we like it or not, it’s a constant battle.  Just turn on the news.  Just look around you.  What little love we can garner is a breath of fresh air, and we are depleting that also.  

We are a botched species.  

Maybe we’d all be bored to death if we loved one another all the time.  It would be like reading a newspaper or watching cable news with stories about love only and human kindness.  We’d all much rather see a war, murder or a train wreck and complain about the evil in the world.  Because that is the reality.  It’s our nature.  

But it is also our nature to love.  So, go figure.  Who’s holding the cards?  

Coming of age, maturity, growing up doesn’t seem to have a bearing on love.  In fact, we seem to illogically move farther from it as we grow and learn when you’d think moving forward we’d see and appreciate the difference between love and hate, and choose love.  Not just say it for the television cameras, but really mean it, and do it.  

But how do you recognize love ..how do you recognize hate?  Sometimes the devil comes as a man of peace.

John Wayne may have said it best.  In the 1961 film ‘The Comancheros’, when explaining to a greenhorn who asked how to recognize a Comanche warrior from a peaceful Indian, Wayne pointed to a nearby snake in the sand and said, “You see those dark markings?  A cross patch over light.  It makes him look like a rattler.  But you can see a thousand like him.  But when you see your first rattlesnake, you’ll know the difference ...and just like your first rattler, one look and you’ll know.” 

Probably the same with love.  One look and you’ll know. 

So, why don’t Mormons drink coffee?  Doesn’t matter.  They can drink whatever they want.           

John Kushma is a communication consultant and lives in Logan, Utah.