Subject: Do you remember when drinking Coke was a terrible sin?
Date: Nov 07 11:44 2003
Author: Deconstructor
Mail Address:

Does anyone remember when drinking caffeinated soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi was a Word of Wisdom taboo akin to drinking coffee?

Today's TBMs still consider drinking coffee a sin but TBMs all around me drink Coke like they can't get enough.

I remember back in the 1970s that no real TBM would ever be caught drinking Coke, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper. Growing up at that time, I was taught that drinking Coke was as bad as drinking coffee.

In the mid-1990's Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes mentioned Mormons eschewing caffeinated beverages, including soft drinks like Coke, as part of the Word of Wisdom. President Hinckley nodded in agreement. Yet rank-and-file believing Mormons don't seem to feel this prohibition anymore.

But back in the 1970s, Mormons obsessed over Coke like they obsess over R-Rated movies now.

Anyone else remember this?

Subject: Yes, and when you ask any TBM about this....
Date: Nov 07 11:48
Author: Perdition's Advocate
Mail Address:

they will invariably deny that it was ever a rule, official or unofficial, of the church.

Subject: I remember
Date: Nov 07 12:02
Author: happy
Mail Address:

- this was certainly the case when I was growing up. Most TBMs I know now still stick to it though. Some drink coke, some drink decaffeinated coke saying that's o.k, some drink Pepsi but not coke... Where I'm from, mostly drinking coke or Pepsi is still frowned on.

Personally, even though I'm out of the church, I stay away from the stuff because from my research into health, it basically rots your guts and does damage.

Subject: Yeah, and when you're like, "Uh moron, I was a Mormon too. I knew the rules then and I know the rules now," they respond
Date: Nov 07 12:11
Author: 2 lazy 2 log in
Mail Address:

"It must just have been your own family or your own ward's rule."

Yeah, because for some illogical reason, my mom and my bishop decided that Sprite was chill but Pepsi was the devil.

Subject: This caused contention at family reunions in the 1970s and early 1980s
Date: Nov 07 12:00
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac
Mail Address:

Grandma would preach against the evil of coke, and abstaining from its caffinated goodness was a way to show your obedience.

I also wonder if it is a regional thing. Danish members could drink de-caff coffee but a coke in a mishie's hand was looked upon like a fifth of vodka.

"How are you going to get blessings from the lord if you are drinking Coke, elder?"

Which reminds me of a faith promoting story.

At the end of a long day, Elder Smith and I were waiting for our bus back home. As a joke, I faced the heavens and said, "dear heavenly father, I wish I had a Coke"

Just then, a young female student sat on the bench with us and open a coke, then decided she didn't want it and started to dump it, to which I explained, "if you don't want it, I'll take it!!"

So how do you explain that?

Did elohim bless me with an answer to my prayer or was it that I was praying to the god of this world and got what I was asking for?

Either way, I got the rest of her coke.

Which, by the way, was the closest I would get to female contact for that two years. My lips touching the very same bottle her lips had touched just seconds before.

The only thing more evil than coke would have to be Pepsi.

Subject: The "letter of the law" Mormons stuck to the idea that caffeinated drinks like soda's
Date: Nov 07 12:07
Author: SusieQ#1

were the same as coffee and if consumed were breaking the letter of the law of the WofW.

The rest of us knew better!

Mormonism is made up of a lot of busy bodies who can't get enough control so they keep tightening the screws and focusing on their interpretation of the "letter of the law" and not the intent, so they will feel more special and chosen by Heavenly Father!

Anything that fell in the category of "it is not meet that I command in all things" became fodder for more rules, regulations and greater spirituality for the Mormon fanatic.

Subject: Anything good comes from God...
Date: Nov 07 13:57
Author: Dent
Mail Address:

anything bad comes from the devil. I'm sorry Insomniac, you were visited by Satan that day. Satan figured he would either get you to have sex with this girl or have you drink Coke, both the same kind of sin. You were evil.

Subject: In 2001, my brother dated a Bountiful Bench princess...
Date: Nov 07 12:03
Author: Fly

...and her family took the 2-liter Coke he brought for the family barbeque, and dumped it down the sink.

They didn't give polite "No thank you's," they didn't give it back or even leave it sitting harmlessly on the picnic table. They opened it up and poured it down the sink.

Needless to say, the relationship ended shortly thereafter.

Subject: Oh my heck! Whatever happened to free agency? What a cult this is.(n/t)
Date: Nov 07 12:20
Author: MySongAngel
Mail Address:


Subject: Re: In 2001, my brother dated a Bountiful Bench princess...GREAT title!!
Date: Nov 07 13:19
Author: SusieQ#1

Mormon fanatics are rude and would earn a 15 watt "Dim Bulb" award in my book for gross stupiditis!!

Subject: Does BYU still sell only caffeine-free Coke on campus? <nt>
Date: Nov 07 12:05
Author: chanson
Mail Address:


Subject: yes
Date: Nov 07 19:51
Author: boggs
Mail Address:

I'm a huge BYU football fan. I attend most of their games and you can only buy caffeine free coke in the stadium. I've usually had several beers before I arrive so a real coke is the last thing I want at that point.

Subject: kind of
Date: Nov 07 12:12
Author: tbm eavesdropper
Mail Address:

But I don't recall it being a big deal. Anytime anybody ever brought this up, I would remind them that they were making their own rules, as the W of W never mentioned soft drinks. The theory was and is still for some people that if coffee and tea are prohibited then so to must caffeine laced soft drinks. Problem is, they are assuming caffeine is the reason coffee and tea are prohibited. You'll have to prohibit a lot more things if you take that stand.

But you are right, many tbm's in an effort to go the extra mile decided that to be worthy, they would stop drinking coke, Pepsi etc. That's ok, until some started to preach to others that they were in violation of the W of W if they didn't abstain also.

Subject: what ! ?
Date: Nov 07 12:56
Author: stepping
Mail Address:

If caffeine isn't the reason coffee and tea are prohibited, then why can someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee or tea get a temple recommend?

Subject: explain to me how the WoW relates to Matthew 15:11
Date: Nov 07 13:00
Author: then again
Mail Address:

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

It's not what you eat/drink but what you say that makes you unholy. Isn't there a clear disagreement here?

WoW is just a control mechanism.

Subject: The only time anyone ever said anything to me...
Date: Nov 07 12:18
Author: MySongAngel
Mail Address:

was in Seminary. Kids had been bringing in caffeinated beverages on a regular basis. I think some were getting spilled, so they toughened up on "no drinks in class". They then started saying that we shouldn't be drinking caffeine anyway, and went on about it for about a week. I was eighteen, and this was the first I'd heard about it. I didn't drink caffeine for about a year after that.(What a good little robot I was).

ALSO - I had a friend who was shocked when she saw me drinking Coke. She said that you can't go to the temple if you drink Coke. Her sister, who had just been married in the temple, was sitting right there. She said "I drink Coke and I go to the temple." My friend seemed very confused and frustrated. Get this - her TBM mother frequently drank decaf coffee. My friend said that was okay because it had less caffeine. I was like "huh?" I think the WoW gets really confusing. I mean, they're not really even going off of what's in the D&C anymore. It's all just interpretation.

Subject: My family is still of the "Coke is O.K." variety
Date: Nov 07 12:43
Author: Dave II

My extended family will still guzzle down Coke like it's going out of style.

My parents were married in the '60's. Before they got married, they asked their bishop whether or not Coke was OK. The Bishop replied that the W of W did not say anything about caffeine, and subsequently invited them to have a Coke with him. My parents had stuck to this bishop's "ruling."

But I had conflicts with that because what we were being told in church was often different than what my family believed. Coke was bad.

Subject: Nope, I grew up in the 60's and 70's
Date: Nov 07 13:06
Author: tanstaafl
Mail Address:

(well 50's too, but I don't remember the 50's at all, I spent the whole time OD'ed on lactose ;-)) and drinking coke was never a major sin. For some it was a minor sin, for others no sin, but I don't ever remember it was a terrible sin. But I grew up in the mission field, I imagine it depended on where you grew up.

Subject: The chaos and confusion over the WoW are intentional...
Date: Nov 07 13:07
Author: Schiavona
Mail Address:

After all, if you spend all your time stressing about piddly little stuff like whether drinking some soda will make you unworthy for the temple, and therefore unworthy of the CK, then you certainly won't be asking larger questions.

Questions like: Why are there at least 3 versions of the First Vision story? Why is there NO archaeological support for ANY BoM story, person, place, etc. ? Why has the morg LIED about the practice of polygamy in its history?

You see the pattern here? Church leadership is DELIBERATELY vague about doctrinal points like this. It gives them "plausible deniability".

Subject: Good point!
Date: Nov 07 17:31
Author: Breeze

The secrecy, the rituals, the checklist of good deeds to perform

Lists and lists of things to keep you feeling inadequate and distracting you from thinking much about yourself, your family, your god, or your church:

individual constant prayer
couples prayer
family prayer
meal prayer
travel prayer

scripture study
couples scripture study
family scripture study
lessons scripture study

Sunday meeting attendance
temple attendance
activities attendance
callings meeting attendance
children's' activities attendance
tithing settlement attendance
temple recommend interviews
worthiness/masturbation interviews for teens
general conference broadcast sessions attendance
stake conference additional sessions attendance
stakewide organizational meetings attendance

callings teaching
visiting teaching
home teaching
family home evening
bring up your young by teaching them the gospel

No smoking
No coffee, tea, and possibly other evil forms of caffeine...but Mountain Dew is okay because it's light and delightsome! And forget about giving up chocolate!!!
Homemade bread
No alcoholic beverages
But too much meat is fine
And too much sugar seems to be doctrine because for some reason adult onset diabetes may be seen as a test for the valiant

And let's not forget food storage:
Is it 2 years or 1 year?
Is it grains or canned goods?
Is it fabric for sewing our own clothes?
Is it toothpaste and soap?
Is it money, too?

No oral sex (to be? or not to be? They really won't tell us, will they?)
No anal sex
No homosexual sex
Sex is for reproduction
Birth control, a gray area
Is god in the bedroom or not?

I will suffer my life to be taken if
I don't want to give everything I have to The Church
I laugh loudly
Fornicate or am unchaste
Tell somebody that my new name is Abigail
Reveal some lame handshakes and talk about green aprons, bad actors and baker's caps
The women in the room will veil their faces

Funny panties and tops

And not last, and never least:

Just bow your head and say, "Yes."

Who has TIME to even think about doctrine? I know I eventually barely had time to be with my baby girl after they called as YW Pres when she was 2 months old, how was I supposed to question doctrine and history?

Subject: Re: Do you remember when drinking Coke was a terrible sin?
Date: Nov 07 14:12
Author: Yvette
Mail Address:

I remember in RS in the early 70s they went on and on about Postum ,if you can believe it, because it looked and tasted like coffee ( well, with a lot of imagination). Then some years ago a bishop actually told our daughter decaf is O.K. They can keep their petty little problems, Starbuck is our hotspot now.

Subject: Re: Do you remember when drinking Coke was a terrible sin?
Date: Nov 07 14:19
Author: Ladybug
Mail Address:

Sure, I do. I remember talking about it at girls camp. Not drinking caffinated beverages was a way we could show love and obedience to the Lord.

An interesting recent story about caffeine and obedience...About the time I was leaving the church my SIL was thinking about reactivating. I had tried to tell her the things I had been reading but she decided she needed to give it one more try. She decided to get her patriachical blessing. When she talked to the bishop about it he asked her several questions and one regarding the WOW. She said about every other week or so she had a cappuccino. She said she was not addicted to coffee or anything but she liked it and had been drinking a couple a month. She went on to tell him that her addiction really is to diet coke. That she couldn't go without one for a day. The bishop told her it was not good to be addicted to anything but that the coke would not keep her from getting her blessing. However the coffee would. He told her to stop drinking coffee and come back in a few months. His point was that she had to show obedience to the WOW. A quote from him was something like "if you have difficulty with the little stuff how will you respond to the big temptations?" Well, she was insulted, thought the whole thing was stupid, and after a couple of weeks never went back.

Subject: One of the first steps in me leaving Mormonism was over this issue.....
Date: Nov 07 14:23
Author: Exmormon Robertson

I was 7yo and this was at the time this had just came out. Trying to be a good kid one day I bought a root beer instead of a cola. My family had this big debate over whether this broke the new commandment or not. I clearly remember thinking how totally stupid the whole topic was. My Dad who was at the head of this now drinks Diet Pepsi everyday.

Subject: From my observation, among Idaho Mormons, "No Coke" is still a rule. 

Subject: I had a TBM Molly condemn me at a restaurant for drinking Dr. Pepper.
Date: Nov 07 15:55
Author: TheMollusk

I was seated with my soon to be wife, and two other couples in a nice Mexican restaurant. They brought me the Dr. Pepper, and this self-righteous zealot gets up and moves to another table because I'm drinking "alcohol".


Subject: Lips that touch coke will never touch mine....
Date: Nov 07 16:55
Author: Maureen
Mail Address:

was the famous saying around the Mormons I hung out with in High School (in the '70's). My LDS friend's kids don't mind drinking coke or Pepsi if there is nothing else to drink.


Subject: '70s here, too. And yes I remember it well. In fact, it was kind of a joke...
Date: Nov 07 17:00
Author: Abalone

... in our ward that every time we had a picnic, ward dinner, or something to that effect, there would be a cooler full of 'Cragmont Soda', which I believe used to be Safeway's house brand.

As far as I could tell, Mormons were the only people to ever drink Cragmont brand soda!

Subject: according to Hinckley (8 Sept 1998) caffeine IS a sin;
Date: Nov 07 17:08
Author: O. Ediface Wrecks

As interviewed on the Larry King show [aired September 8, 1998].....

Gordon B. Hinckley [responding to phone caller's question about WoW and eating too much meat]: Oh, I don't know. You've read a part of the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom covers many things. It covers the excessive use of meat, as I see it. It covers, in a very particular way, the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Larry King: By saying no?

Gordon B. Hinckley: By saying, by proscribing those things.

Larry King: No to caffeine?

Gordon B. Hinckley: No to caffeine, coffee and tea.


So, it's not just the hotness of them; it's the caffeine.

Subject: I remember even as late as after my mission
Date: Nov 07 17:39
Author: activejackmormon
Mail Address:

in 1984 being chastised by a date for drinking a coke. "How could someone who served a mission now drink caffeine?"

Ironically, my family though quite strict on most things was pretty loose on the caffeinated beverages thing. They were both closet coffee drinkers and open coke and pepsi drinkers. They drank alot of RC Cola too (remember that stuff?).

I cannot believe how much good stuff I missed as a youth. Iced tea, coffee, hot tea, green tea, cappucinos, etc. are so good now, and there is no evidence that they do any harm to anyone.

Subject: card playing and cola drinks
Date: Nov 09 13:48
Author: Boggs
Mail Address:

the recent posts on card playing and cola drinks took me back to my childhood. We were not allowed to have either in our home and this was only 25 years ago. One of the books on my bookshelf is called His Servents Speak. It is a compilation of statements by church leaders that was put together by R. Clayton Brough and published in 1980. I have put together a few of the highlights from this book. On card playing.
"Card playing is a game of chance, and because it is a game of chance it has its tricks. It encourages tricks; its devotees measure their success at the table by their ability through devious and dark ways to win. It creates a spirit of cunning and devises hidden and secret means, and cheating at cards is almost synonymous with playing at cards." Joseph F. Smith
"It is not easy to imagine that leading men in the Church would find any pleasure that was either inspiring or helpful at the card table; indeed the announcement that a president of a stake, bishop of a ward, or other leading official of the Church was fond of card playing would be a shock to every sense of propriety even among young people . . . . Such a practice would be looked upon as incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of a religious life." Joseph F. Smith
"It is an easy matter for every bishop to know through the medium of the ward teachers, whether there are any practices in the homes of the people inconsistent with the mission of 'Mormonism,' and card playing is certainly inconsistent with that mission. No man who is addicted to card playing should be called to act as a ward teacher, such men cannot be consistent advocates of that which they do not themselves practice." Joseph F. Smith
"Members of the Church should not belong to bridge or other type of card clubs, and they should neither play cards nor have them in their homes." Bruce R. McConkie

On Cola drinks
"I say to the Latter-day Saints, and it is my right to say it (he then says because you have sung and quotes from 'We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet). Now, if you mean it--I am not going to give any command, but I will ask it as a personal, individual fabor to me, to let coca-cola alone. There are plenty of other things you can get at the soda fountains without drinking that which is injurious. The Lord does not want you to use any drug that creates an appetite for itself." Heber J. Grant
"I have the statement on the examination of a capable chemist that cola drinks contain caffeine, the element that is so prevalent in coffee and other stimulants. There is one thing that I do know, however: this stimulating drink is not served in my home, and no matter where I am I personally avoid it." Joseph Fielding Smith
"Caffeine is a drug. It is classed as a narcotic. Constant use of caffeine, whether in coffee, tea or soft drinks, can have only a dangerous effect upon the human system.
"Studies even now are showing that coffee may be attacked as vigorously as tobacco now is when the scientists studying it assemble all their data." Church News editorial, April 25, 1970, p.16.


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church -   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page