Mitt Romney, consumer of sinful ice cream

As all loyal GetReligion readers know, sometimes we see things make it into news print that are simply too good, too strange, too funny, to make up. When this happens, the best course of action is simply to share the love and laughter.

In this case, here is what we need.

I'm calling out Jettboy (who provided the tip) and company. We need our Mormon readers to join us in, uh, consuming this delightful little Associated Press story about Mormonism and cold caffeine.

We will NOT get into a discussion of Mormons and their potentially sinful addiction to ice cream (which is another part of life in which they have a lot in common with Southern Baptists). Anyone who has ever been to urban Utah knows that, where New York City has world-class coffee shops and bars, the streets of Salt Lake City -- at least as I remember them from the 1980s -- offer a stunning number of fine ice cream shops.

With no further ado, dig into this sweet little number:

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) -- Mitt Romney joins other observant Mormons in shunning alcohol and coffee. He apparently draws the line at ice cream.

The Republican presidential candidate ordered coffee ice cream at Millie's restaurant in Nantucket Saturday when he bought treats for his staff and mingled with diners. His aides selected flavors including vanilla, rocky road, butter pecan and birthday cake ice cream.

It's not clear that Romney took more than a bite or two as he shook hands and posed for pictures in the crowded and buzzing vacation eatery. Mormons traditionally avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Romney aides shrugged off the selection, saying the candidate can have whatever kind of ice cream he likes.

Where to begin when tackling this complex doctrinal issue? How about a quick insight on this Mormon-menu topic from

Like many aspects of the LDS religion, the duty to maintain good health has its roots in revelation, in this case a section of the Doctrine and Covenants that Mormons call the Word of Wisdom. The legend surrounding its origin is that Joseph Smith and other early LDS leaders used to chew tobacco during Church meetings, spitting juices on the floor. Joseph's wife, Emma Hale Smith, was disgusted by this act, and her complaints led the Prophet to ask God whether tobacco use was really appropriate for Latter-day Saints.

The Lord's response, contained in D&C section 89, covered far more than just tobacco; it also restricted the consumption of wine, liquor, meat, and hot drinks (today interpreted to mean tea and coffee of any temperature). Although many Mormons understand this scripture as suggesting that all caffeine is bad and should be avoided, this idea isn't official Church doctrine; the Church allows members to decide that issue for themselves, and some members choose to drink cola.

So is coffee-flavored ice cream simply coffee at another temperature?

Speak out, readers.

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