(Photo taken by Marlith)
"With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided." (Priestood Bulletin, Febuary 1972, p.4)
The above quote is stated in Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier by David J. Ridges. And after this quote he states, "Drinking colas and other caffeine drinks are not grounds for withholding a temple recommend."
There has been a huge debate with members of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whether or not drinking Caffeinated soda is against the Word of Wisdom. It was a huge deal in the LDS community where I grew up in Porterville California.
One Seminary teacher told us that in meetings he would only drink milk, refusing root-beer because he wanted to avoid the appearance of evil. And a girl told my cousin, when he was drinking a caffeinated soda, "You might as well have a beer." The pressure was really bad at times and caused me many a moral dilemma. Of course, after much contemplation, and realizing that neither one of my Parents lost their temple recommends due to coca-cola, logic dictated the wonderfully cool, refreshing drink was okay in moderation.
Then I moved to Utah and suddenly I found myself in the presence of many saints who loved their Cola, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper. I was shocked! (Of course, you still can't get a caffeinated soda on BYU's campus. All the fountain drinks are caffeine free . . . I knew many students who found a way around that. Smuggling caffeine on campus! The horror!)
But with Mitt Romney, an active Latter-Day Saint, running for Presidential Political Office, a lot is being asked about the Church.
For the first time last week, a prime-time show, NBC's Rock Center, dedicated a whole hour on Mormonism, which you can still watch online. (I have, some of it is really nice, like what they said about Welfare Square and the Humanitarian system, which are amazing, and some of it disrespectful . . . ) But still, things are being said about my faith.
There was a woman by the name of Julean Jackson (don't know how to spell her name) being interviewed in the 3rd segment of the program. She was asked "Do you drink Caffeine?" and Julean mentioned she's only had one coke in her life, but doesn't drink Caffeinated Soda. On that point, I know missionaries personally who actually taught that along with giving up coffee, tea (from the tea plant, herbal teas are okay), alcohol, and tobacco, that caffeinated soda is not okay and must be given up as well. This isn't in Preach My Gospel (p.78), the book missionaries teach from, but a reflection of how they were raised. This topic has been a huge case of confusion.
So last Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, as reported by Peggy Fletcher Stack from the Salt Lake Tribune in Ok, Mormons, drink up--Coke and Pepsi are OK, the Church officially states on "The Newsroom Blog" in a post entitled Mormonism in the News--Getting it right that, "Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine. The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee."
It's nice finally having a clarification that it's okay to drink cola's and so forth.
It's truly a personally choice. Many members in my family drink Coke and Dr. Pepper (those are the most popular), but a long time ago, for health reasons, I personally chose to give up all soda (except for an occasional Ramune, Raspberry Sprite, or Ocean Water from Sonic), and fruit juice. But it's my choice, and we're all different.