That Coffees' Gonna Kill Ya, Brother!

Oh, wait a minute... so, maybe it wasn't the... coffee... after all?

Hot Drinks Are Not For The Body, Brother!

OK, there we go, now we read it right!

Coffee, Deer Hunters, Science and Religion


If that title up there made you believe there is a conflict on these pages between deer hunters, science and religion, that was your first mistake today. Understandable, but a mistake.

But then on the other hand, especially if you are LDS like me, or if you have some LDS friends that you talk with a lot, thinking "conflict" was a logical mistake. We always pre-judge, don't we.

So you have a free pass on that. I gave myself a free pass on that subject a long time ago.

Let's start this Deer Hunt-religious-scientific review with an experience straight from my memory "Back In The Day". The Deer Hunt, a westerner's favorite time of year. Especially being on a deer hunt with your Dad. Prime time stuff for sure!

I can still see the people and hear their words. And I do mean; WAY back in the day. Like some people today would consider ancient history Like guys trudging along dragging their nuckles, wearing bear-skin wraps. But memory-wise it was just yesterday. So follow along, dear friend, you're in for a trip up to the mountains on a very cold windy morning. We're going deer hunting.

The Wasatch (you can spell it your way, no problem) Mountain Range in central Utah is a majestic, rough, rugged piece of the earth that was thrown up out of the ground millions of years ago. Some parts look like they are just emerging, and other fabulous areas are pushing eleven thousand feet above sea level. As rough as they are, they may have been tossed up recently (in geological terms, of course). These mountains still have some very sharp edges and not a lot of obvious erosion on the magnificent rock layers. To think all this was under the ocean at one time is scary. Sure glad I wasn't here when it got pushed up like it is today.

At any rate, they are at least older than that old ancient Lake Bonneville. Now, how do I know that? Because you can see the old shoreline erodes at several levels along the foothills. They were carved by the water's edge as the Lake receded, then stopped for awhile and wore another shoreline on the foothills. Several shoreline erosion ledges at various levels show that Lake Bonneville took quite awhile reducing itself to the present day Great Salt Lake. The old shoreline erosion levels developed for long enough that you can walk on them comfortably. Like walking on a nearly flattened-out trail. This Mountain range goes for at least a hundred miles on the old east side shores of ancient Lake Bonneville after it receded down to what is now central Utah. When it was a really big lake I believe it went clear up into Wyoming. I've gathered lots of fossils up there that came from big water.

We were at the Utah County top levels of old Lake Bonneville. Cold. Windy. Dark. Waiting for the sun to come up a certain amount, which would mark the legal hour for the deer hunt to begin. I was about eight years old, maybe a year or so less, and I was again being trained in the hunting and tracking skills known so well by Dad.

On our right, just a bit above us and to the North, but within talking range, were two of Dad's friends. They were taking Dad on his first Deer hunt. Dad was already an experienced hunter, and a dead-eye shot. He was mostly from Iowa, but had not hunted deer before. He had bagged loads of Pheasant, Rabbit, Squirrel, 'Possum, all the small game that flourished on Grandpa Hoskin's farm, but not deer. The rifle he packed today was a lot larger than the .22-LR or the .410 Single-Shot break action I had watched him bag dinner with many times before, back on the farm. And I still have the .410, so thanks, Dad.

But now we will leave the mountain for a bit, and take a trip back in time. Besides, it's cold as the North Pole up here, we're shaking in our boots, so let's warm up a bit down in the valley for a few minutes.

OK, here we are down in the valley at an earlier time.

Remember Dad's two hunting pals up there on the mountain? One is named Elder Adams and the other is named Elder Brown. That wasn't their actual names, but you know how that goes. People in a story need a name, and the subject of this event could be, shall we say, "sensitive", if one of them now has a son or grandson who is a Bishop or something. We don't want any of their kids having a conniption fit over something their Dad or Grandpa said, now, do we!

Back to the story. We're now back in time a couple years before that deer hunt I was telling you about. The two Elders are from our neighborhood. Back then the neighborhood was called a "ward". They are visiting Mom and Dad, bringing the message of The Book Of Mormon to my parents. Dad and Mom are not to be quickly converted to any religion, but they are listening. They are not agnostic or anything, but they are just a hard-sell no matter what is being sold. Everything is equally challenged when someone is selling something to Mom and Dad, no matter what it was. Go ahead, prove what you are trying to sell me is something I need and I better find it to be honest. Eventually, the Elders were able to relate the history and substance of the LDS Church to Mom and Dad. They gave us a "Book Of Mormon" and my parents read it so much they could recite it from memory. They had no further reservations or questions so they joined the Church. Mom and Dad were baptized, then married in the Salt Lake Temple and I was sealed to them for time and eternity. Poor Mom and Dad. That "white elephant" thing, you know. Then when I reached eight years old I got baptized also. As, eventually, were also my little brother and my two great little sisters who arrived on a later train heading to Planet Earth where we all met up with Mom and Dad.

And don't start lecturing me about where babies come from; at that point in my life I respected everyone's privacy. Besides, there were a whole lot of other things more important to me than where babies came from. Like marbles. Little toy trucks on a pile of dirt. A bicycle. Chasing piglets that got out of the pen. Carrying a long hooked-wire while chasing and hooking a running chicken that Dad was going to clean so Mom could prepare it for dinner. Keeping my eyes and ears tuned in to when Mom might be going to bake some more cookies. You know; important stuff.

But now that we're converted to the Church by Elders Adams and Brown, let's get back up on that cold old mountain. You had enough time to warm up while I was relating what had led to this adventure, so here we are back in the cold zone. Go ahead; shiver, you're in good company, because we are shivering also.

I can still see Dad shaking in his boots, just like I was. He brought out his thermos of water, poured water into the top cup and we both had a drink. It was cold, but not as cold as the frigid morning air. But when you're thirsty it really doesn't matter, does it.

Elders Adams and Brown were apparently observing us, and must have noticed both of us shivering after taking a drink of water from the thermos. Or maybe they noticed the clear liquid being poured into the cup, I don't know which it might have been. They exchanged a few words between themselves, then spoke up so we could hear them.

"Say, Harry, ... what is it that you have in that thermos?"

"Water, Brother, cold water."

Then the two Elders exchanged a few more words between themselves. They then stood up and declared the hunt was temporarily paused, so they could clarify an honest mistake. They opened their rifle chambers and walked over to us. Squatted down like we were, to get lower to the ground and out of the morning breeze. They laid their rifles aside and spoke to Dad.

"Brother Harry, we're truly sorry, but we obviously missed something that is fairly important. Especially when you're on a deer hunt and the weather is cold as a well-diggers' ass."

"Oh?" Dad responded, laughing with Brother Brown, "And what might that be, Brother Adams?"

"Let me ask you a question, Brother Harry; it's colder than the devil up here. Why do you have cold water in your thermos instead of what we used to call in the Army; "A Warming Drink", like maybe warm chocolate, tea, or maybe even coffee?"

"Well,", Dad replied; "We're not supposed to be drinking coffee, and I don't like chocolate or tea."

"Who told you that, Brother Harry?"

"Well, I thought you did, Brother Adams, when you were telling us about Brother Joseph Junior's inspirations and revelations and the Word of Wisdom, all that stuff. It sounded like we are not supposed to be drinking hot coffee."

"You are correct about drinking hot stuff, Brother. But didn't you used to have a morning cup of coffee before you went to work?"

"Yes, Brother Adams, I've enjoyed a morning cup for as long as I can remember."

Then Brother Brown asked Dad for his thermos cup which Dad handed to him. Then Brother Brown poured it half full of the dark liquid from his own thermos. It looked and smelled a lot like coffee. "Take a sip of that, Brother Harry."

Dad took a sip, got a pleasant smile on his face, and then took another sip, exhaled a slow "Ahhhhhh", and took another sip.

"Now, tell me, Brother Harry," Brother Brown asked, "is that fine coffee anywhere close to what you would call; "hot"?"

"Oh, No, it's not hot at all", Dad replied, "In fact, it's just pleasantly warming, and tastes really good. Better than what I remember coffee ever used to taste like."

"That is the secret that hides in plain view, Brother Harry", Brother Adams explained. "This fact is very much misunderstood by many of our good friends who simply absorb what someone else says instead of asking questions or verifying truth for themselves."

"OK, so.... what do you mean, Brother Adams?"

"The Prophet advised us against consuming, and I do quote his very words; "Hot drinks". Simply "hot" drinks. It's in the Word Of Wisdom, ninth verse. When people add "coffee" to his words as being a health culprit they simply change his words. It's not nice to change the words of the Prophet. And if he got those words by inspiration from the Lord, that's even more dangerous it would seem to me. I'm not sure The Lord has a sense of humor with people who change his words.

Anyway, to get back to the truth, "Hot drinks" is what he said, not "coffee", not tea, not chocolate, not anything specific, just "hot". Hot drinks are those which can scald your mouth, hurt your throat, your belly, and just in general be uncomfortable. Even to the point of destroying the good taste of the drink whatever it may be. Drinks that are hot in temperature are not good for you, according to the words of Prophet Joseph. And I'm sure that, as time goes on, this subject may be examined more closely by medical scientists. In the meanwhile, we abide by, and profit from, Prophet Joseph's admonition in the Word of Wisdom to "avoid HOT drinks!", and, again, he did not mention any specific drink including coffee. Anyone who later says he specifically meant coffee is changing his words. He said, and he meant, any drink that is "hot" in temperature is not good for the belly. But he did not tell you to avoid warm drinks. Just "hot" drinks. He knew exactly what "coffee" was, and if he had meant coffee he would have said coffee. So there you are, Brother Harry, that's the best we can explain it. And we do apologize if we left you before with incorrect teachings regarding the Word of Wisdom."

Dad was pleasantly relieved with this "next level of training" which the Brethren may have accidentally missed in their visits with our family. And he finished the rest of the cup.

The two Elders then divided up the warm coffee from their thermos jugs with Dad, and then the hunt was back on. And the shivers were not so noticeable nor so uncomfortable. And, since you were wondering; yes I did have some. Hey, don't tell me how old I was; it's the deer hunt.

And thanks to Brothers Adams and Brown for explaining the words of the Prophet when he offered us the Word Of Wisdom. The nice deer Dad harvested that day would have surely strolled safely down the mountain if Dad had been shaking like he was earlier.

From that day on, Dad always had his two cups of coffee in the morning. He would brew it, let the pot sit awhile, then when he poured his cup full he would pour some from that cup into a small white bowl. In that smaller bowl the coffee would cool even more until it was not "hot". He would sip (noisily, some might say) his coffee from the small bowl comfortably, without burning his mouth. Then he would refill his bowl from his cup until that cup was empty. Then he would start on the second cup, same process. He enjoyed his two morning cups of coffee. Thanks to the further instruction in the Word Of Wisdom in the early morning on that cold mountain side.

I never forgot that little lesson we were taught up on the cold mountain. And in the following years I also enjoyed a warming cup just like Dad did. But I didn't use the little bowl to cool it, just let it set until it was not hot anymore. Sometimes I took a ribbing from friends for "dilly-dallying" with my coffee, but that's OK, it wasn't "hot", and there was a lot more flavor and a lot less pain.

So now, dear friend, let's fast-forward to the present day. We finished discussing the Prophet's admonitions, clarified what he actually said, and witnessed Dad's further instructions from Brothers Adams and Brown.

Now it's time to resolve the scientific world's views on "hot drinks" with that of the Prophet's warning regarding "hot drink", back in the day, 150 years ago. Science and Religion; will they agree or will someone take a beating? Let's find out.

There is quite recently voluminous research from universities and hospitals on the subject of hot drinks, but they are much too technical for this discussion. Therefore, the following is a lot less technical, but still gives the same information:

And, like Brother Adams told Dad when explaining the word "hot", I do quote here: "According to The Burn Foundation, hot water causes 3rd- degree burns in one second when the water is 156 degrees F, in two seconds at 149 degrees F, in five seconds at 140 degrees F, and in 15 seconds at 132 degrees F."

So, just guessing here, the Prophet must have been correct, "back in the day", when he advised the members of the Church to "avoid hot drink". He was correct in his words but he has taken a lot of heat over the eventual misunderstandings when people changed his words to suit their own opinions. But, of course, that was not the only thing he took heat over that he was later proved correct about. But those are other stories.

Volumes of information on "hot drinks" (including specifically coffee, BTW) and health are at these links:

The Burn Foundation

Collective Wizdom dot-com

And what the Prophet Joseph Smith Junior actually said, you may review extensively at this link. And please notice; his word was "hot"; not "coffee" just like the Elders told Dad:

The Doctrine and Covenants

So thanks to that cold morning on the cold mountain with Dad, and our further instructions from Brothers Adams and Brown where they clarified the admonitions of the Prophet, I've always enjoyed what we still call in the Army; "Warming Liquids". Mine just happens to be good warm coffee most of the time.

Probably the tag-line to this story from up on the mountains might be something like... "If you are going to instruct someone on a subject, make sure they understand what you are saying. And if it becomes obvious the students missed part of a chapter in your lessons, be sure to correct it for them. Dad's two Missionary friends stood by that advice and Dad was a happy camper.

And please, don't be adding your own version of prophesy to the original words of the Prophets. Later valid science might uncloak your personal advice as somewhat less than reliable. We sure wouldn't want history to look back on us like present history looks back on the churches of the middle ages burning people at the stake for disagreeing with the Church, would we!

And today is the same as yesterday when finding "research" sources. Today we do have more control over "paid" research, reaching conclusions that benefit some business at the expense of the public. But today we do have the benefit of choosing only legitimate sources instead of "papers" written by some scientist being paid for the story he is telling.

As you know, it is very wise to investigate the origin of something you are told by people who may have a dog in the fight of the subject. The "internet" is full of opposite opinions on any subject you want to study further. Check out who is telling you the "facts" of the subject.

Oooops; Darn; Too late. But we'll give a pass on someone quoting that old "research" from back in the day. Luckily Elders Adams and Brown already instructed Dad and me regarding the proper wording of the Prophet's advice. Too bad all the rest of the good Brethren weren't up there on the deer hunt with us. They wouldn't have been believing all that make-believe research back in the day. You know; back when companies or other folks with greenbacks could direct the results of "research". Oh, wait, they still do that, and people still believe them. That old crow is hard to eat.

Now, One Example Of "Later Valid Science"

In March of 1990, the noisy news penned the following dire prediction of what happens to people who drink coffee, and apparently some of the Brethren believed it.

Coffee's gonna kill ya, Brother!

But then, in November of 2017, only twenty-seven years after the faulty research and coffee warning, The BMJ published this review of the conclusion of medicine's lengthy study of coffee on the human body

The Mayo Clinic Conclusion

The Science Daily

You can find a lot more references, just be careful you aren't being bamboozled by someone with a dog in the fight. Whether for one reason or another.

"But of course", you might ask, "what might have been the results' difference between modern day research (2017) vs faulty results 37 years earlier from the early 1980's".

The difference is not too deeply hidden, friends. Part of it is the different "habits" thirty-seven years before the present research. Think back to the coffee shops, the military, the local cafes, and what do you see rather faintly? Gaggles of guys (and girls!) slurping down hot coffee, and I do mean HOT coffee!

(Actually, that HOT thing is why McDonalds lost the massive burn lawsuit to the lady; 190-degrees was way above "Hot", and they had already paid off several burn lawsuits before. Some people just take a long time to get the message.)

And why do you see them faintly? It's because of the haze of cigarette smoke in the air. Remember that stuff? So here we have "the coffee drinkers" being studied, slugging down really "HOT" drink, (which happens to be coffee; it could have been fresh water), and plugging up their lungs with the burned remnants and added compounds (added nicotine creates new customers) of tobacco. You plug up those precious scilia with tar of any kind and all sorts of bad things happen.

Add the massive explosion of science and "tools" we have today that were not even widely known in the early 1980's, the galactic leaps of knowledge of how the human body works, and the ability to use distributed networking for reasearch, there is a knowledge galaxy between 1980 and 2017. Just think what we will have thirty-five years after 2017!

So there you go: Verse nine of the Word Of Wisdom said to avoid HOT drinks, and verse eight said that tobacco was not for the body.

But "back in the day" before people understood the Prophet's "words" like "hot" or even sorted out the nicotine and tar in the "studies", they laid the villian onto the coffee. Tsk, tsk, tsk!

Once again; "don't be adding your own words to those of the Prophet!".

And that's all for this subject. Now, where did that cup of coffee go?

Ah, there it is, I left it on the counter to cool.

As they say; "Later, Gator".