At the age of 39 Sister Josephine Kennedy finally felt ready to go to through the temple. She had passed the interview with the Bishop and completed the temple preparation course. She was hoping to be at her sister’s temple wedding two weeks from now. Yet when I met with her the spirit warned me that something very serious was amiss. In our discussion on the question of obeying the Lord's law of health I was horrified to learn that she regularly partook of Green Tea. She claimed that just as members are now permitted to decide for themselves whether to drink Coca Cola she too, as a grown woman, should be able to decide for herself whether or not to drink green tea. She also said that according to her research and her doctor it was in fact a very healthy habit.
From this month’s *Ensign we learn that "Those who struggle with sin sometimes rationalize in an attempt to minimize the consequences of their behavior. But somewhere inside themselves, they are aware of what they have done and know they are in spiritual bondage. Almost everyone I have met struggling with addiction suffers from a terrible sense of shame and a belief that he or she is broken, defective, and beyond the love and grace of God.”
I assured Sister Kennedy that she could overcome this addiction and warned her that the leaves used to make green tea are the very same ones as in regular tea and thus carry the very same danger.
Sister Kennedy tried to tell me that it wasn't an addiction but a conscious health choice but I assured her that it takes faith, hope, and time to heal from the patterns of self-deception that accompany such addictions.
Sister Kennedy asked whether the Saviour would still consider her worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom if she continued to drink green tea. I told her that in most cases it will be the little things that keep people from the highest degree of glory. Drinking green tea is in fact not little though, I explained, it renders one unclean and unworthy to enter into the holy temples where sacred covenants, essential to one’s salvation, are made with the Lord.
Sister Kennedy, who was probably fearing that the Lord would cast her out for her disobedience, humbly accepted my offer of a priesthood blessing. Through me, an authorized servant of the Lord, she was blessed with tenacity, courage, and a strong desire to be clean as she marched toward recovery. She was counseled to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope. She was warned that she must not give up or decide that because temptations and cravings return, there is no hope; there is always hope in Christ and He is the hope of recovery.
After the blessing I encouraged her to report back to me in three months with regards to her progress, at which point I am hopeful that the Lord will consider her to be both clean and worthy to enter into His house and make sacred eternal covenants. I also lovingly assured her that her sister would completely understand.
I am thankful for the gospel and the way in which it helps each child of our heavenly father strive to become more like the Saviour, and I leave these thoughts with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.