There is an old trial lawyers’ saying “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.”

The Church has picked up on this with a recent article in the New Era about the Word of Wisdom. With regard to vaping, they have the facts.

Most vaping pods contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and all of them contain harmful chemicals.

The New Era, Aug 2019

They even reference a Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use among Youth (2016). They pound the facts, vaping is bad for you. This is easy.

Next they talk about coffee drinks, and to be careful with drinks that have café or caffé, mocha, latte, espresso, in the name. They also say that green tea is against the Word of Wisdom.

Green tea and black tea are both made from the leaves of the exact same tea plant. The only difference is that the leaves in black tea are fermented and in green tea they’re not. They’re both tea and against the Word of Wisdom. Some drinks have tea in them but don’t advertise that fact, so always check the ingredients. Also, iced tea is still tea.

The New Era, Aug 2019

Here the facts are not on their side. Green Tea is good for you. In fact it was just in the news again this week! This is not a fact they reference. They only reference the handbook, that says “hot drinks” are not for the body. They then say that prophets have interpreted this to mean coffee and tea.

So without facts (which they had no problem referencing with vaping), they have to go to the law (D&C 89), but even that is not clear (hot chocolate is OK???). They reference revelation when the facts or the law don’t support them, which is the pounding on the table.

Jana Riess picked up on this when she reviewed the New Era article.

We can’t just use medical science when it supports the church’s position, as with vaping, and then ignore medical science in favor of prophetic authority when it does not, as with green tea.

Jana Riess, Religious News Service

So what do you think. Is it disingenuous to use science when it helps them, and then ignore it when it doesn’t? Are there other instances of the Church cherry picking the facts when it supports their cause, and ignoring them when they don’t?