I enjoy the smell of coffee. When I’m studying or hanging out with friends at coffee shops, I sometimes look with curiosity at all the varieties you can order. Though my friends have patiently attempted to explain, I have to confess that I still don’t understand what all the different words mean (espresso, cappuccino, etc.) But some of the flavors and combinations sound rather enticing.
However, not only have I never so much as sampled the stuff, I’ve never really been all that tempted to do so. It’s one of the ways in which my behavior is surprisingly orthopractic. (Surprising to me, I mean, when I think much about it. And sometimes surprising to others as well.) Even with those nebulous, gray area issues that I don’t necessarily see as involving a moral decision, you might put me on the (gasp!) conservative end of the spectrum–I don’t drink caffeinated soft drinks, I’ll watch an R-rated movie once in a great while but I generally avoid them, and I do my best not to study on Sunday. I have exactly one piercing in each ear, and when I’m upset I usually use such shocking phrases as “gosh darnit!”
(I mention all this, by the way, because I’m trying to make sense of where I am–not because I see myself as some model of virtue in contrast to all the rebellious bloggernaclers out there who are addicted to Mountain Dew. Actually, my addiction of choice is chocolate. And in the interest of full disclosure, let me add that I have a hard time going to all three hours of church, and I keep skipping bits of it. Also, I can’t remember the last time I went to Enrichment, and I haven’t done any visiting teaching in years.)
I do sometimes wonder, though, about the fact that I don’t drink coffee. The thing is, when it comes to LDS teachings, I’ve ended up agnostic on quite a number of questions. While I sincerely believe there is truth in the Church, I’m rather skeptical about the One True Church idea, and about the necessity of ordinances. I still don’t know what I think about Book of Mormon historicity. When it comes to stuff like teachings on gender roles or patriarchy, I just flat-out disagree. With all that, you might think it wouldn’t be much of a step to ignoring (or at least creatively re-interpreting) the Word of Wisdom, too. But I find that I have no desire to go there.
I don’t entirely know what to make of that. Perhaps it’s that my identification with the LDS community is more a matter of behavior than of belief, making it easier to challenge doctrine I find troubling than to disregard behavioral norms. I can disagree with some of the views expressed in a particular First Presidency statement, for example, without experiencing too much cognitive dissonance. But to choose to take up smoking, or to decide that I no longer intend to live the law of chastity–I suspect that would require a serious re-thinking of my religious identity and commitments.
Or maybe I’m just a confused soul. But no matter how much I’m feeling mired in doubt when it comes to matters religious, I find that I keep on passing up those exotic-sounding coffee blends and ordering hot chocolate.
- 12 November 2006