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BONNIE - I have looked at some of the questions and answers on your
site about the word of wisdom. First of all who exactly was
it that determined
that "hot drink" was coffee and tea? I read where
David O. McKay said it was o.k. to drink Sanka coffee. I
have heard from different sources
that we can't assume it was just caffeine in the coffee
that was offensive. The theory that anything which is
addictive should be avoided makes
sense. So is de-caf coffee still acceptable? We are temple
worthy saints and we don't want to do anything that
would prevent us from being
able to attend the temple but we would really like to have
a cup of de-caf coffee once in awhile. Also, I have recipes
that call for coffe and if
it would be acceptable to use de-caf coffee I could resume
cooking these foods.
JOEL - 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)
This is the first reporting of the deffinition of "hot drinks".
A more modern statement is found in the Church Handbook of Instructions, which states:
"The only official interpretation of "hot drinks" (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term "hot drinks" means tea and coffee. Members should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs. Nor should members use harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician." (CHI, 2006)
Officially, decaffeinated teas and coffees, including Sanka, are not specifically forbidden. The decision to drink these things is pretty much left up to the individual.
"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." (D&C 58:26)
There was a letter from Joseph L. Anderson (Secretary to the First Presidency, dated 8 January 1965), who wrote to one member (as directed by President David O. McKay), in which he said,
"I am directed to tell you that the drinking of a beverage made from the coffee bean, from which all caffeine and deleterious drugs have been removed, is not regarded as a violation of the Word of Wisdom."
But even decaffienated coffee still contains small amount of caffiene and is known to cause some gastrointestinal disorders.
You are correct in that we should avoid anything that causes a dependence on the substance as indicated in the CHI statement above and in an earlier First Presidency letter which states the following:
"With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided." (August 28, 1968)
So as far as I know it's up to you whether or not you want to drink decaf coffee or use it in your cooking.