I overheard part of an interesting discussion this past Sunday when a member of our ward was discussing traveling to China. Knowing that “tea” would be served at practically every meal, this member wondered what kinds of teas were against the Word of Wisdom. I don’t recall the entirety of the answer, but I do remember one of the people involved in the discussion explaining that “tea” in Chinese could refer to anything from water to black tea.
While the Word of Wisdom has been interpreted differently since its coming forth in the 1830s, the current interpretation holds that “hot drinks” refer to “tea” and “coffee” (CHI, Vol. 1, 185). This seems, at least in the English publication of the Handbook, to be overly vague for application in the Chinese context.
Knowing a few people that served their missions in Asia I asked them how “tea” was understood there in terms of the WoW. Interestingly enough I got two different interpretations, and no one could provide an “official” source for their interpretation other than “this is the way we were told to teach it”.
So I’m wondering, does the Church have an “official” interpretation of the Word of Wisdom (tea in particular) as far as it should be applied in Asia? If so, what is it and where can I find it?