Robert Kirby: The Word of Wisdom meets the golden ‘caff’

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Kirby

Whenever we travel to Canada to visit my wife’s family, we always break some law or rule upon returning home.

We stock up on items that aren’t available in the U.S. and sneak them back over the border. It used to be a type of aspirin laced with codeine called 222s. We’re over that one. There isn’t enough codeine in them to relax a mouse.

My smuggling efforts are strictly focused on a Nestle candy bar called “Coffee Crisp.” I first encountered this sin-laden treat in 1975, when my then-fiancee and I drove up to Calgary to meet her family.

Despite being home for only four months from my Mormon mission, I bought my first Coffee Crisp in Alberta and immediately began unraveling whatever righteousness the mission had instilled in me. The word “coffee” was right on the wrapper. What was I thinking?

One bite and I was hooked. It was (and remains) the best candy bar I have ever tasted. If it ever was illegal to smuggle this snack into the U.S., it no longer is. I can order the candy online.

There’s still a problem, though. Coffee Crisps are verboten.

That’s according to an article in a recent publication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story attempts to further clarify (but only muddles more) the reasons members are supposed to avoid “hot drinks” (interpreted as coffee and tea) even if they come by another name.

“The word coffee isn’t always in the name of coffee drinks,” the article states. “So, before you try what you think is just some new milkshake flavor, here are a couple of rules of thumb: (1) If you’re in a coffee shop (or any other shop that’s well-known for its coffee), the drink you’re ordering probably has coffee in it, so either never buy drinks at coffee shops or always ask if there’s coffee in it. (2) Drinks with names that include café or caffé, mocha, latte, espresso, or anything ending in -ccino are coffee and are against the Word of Wisdom.”

You missed “misu,” guys. The Italian dessert tiramisu also has coffee in it. It’s another delicious attempt by Satan to smuggle coffee into us and thereby cheat us out of a celestial glory.

I’m serious. Tiramisu, that foul but tasty concoction, is made from such things as egg yolks, mascarpone, cocoa and coffee.

Wait. There’s that strange mascarpone word. I have no idea what it is, but given that it starts with the letter “m” and rolls heathenish off the tongue, it may well be part of the marijuana family.

If we’ve learned nothing else from the recent article on coffee in milkshakes, we can’t be too careful when it comes to ferreting out sin. Nobody wants to go to hell by accident, but is it possible to overdo things?

Revisiting the Order of Obsession … I mean the Word of Wisdom … like this is reminiscent of the days when caffeine was determined to be the culprit because we were told to not partake of cola beverages.

What? Coke and Pepsi? Nobody in their right mind drinks those hot. So what could the possible connection be?

Caffeine! Of course. Coffee and tea are loaded with caffeine. There’s your villain.

We had to stop worshiping the golden "caff” in any form. Mountain Dew and Barq’s root beer weren’t colas, but they soon began disappearing from Mormon picnics and potluck dinners. Even chocolate became suspect.

As horrible as it supposedly was deemed, Diet Coke was never asked about when a church leader interviewed me about the Word of Wisdom.

I doubt I’ll get grilled about Coffee Crisp. Some of us have bigger problems when it comes to consuming sin.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.