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What’s the deal with Mormons and caffeine? Is it off-limits or not?
The Word of Wisdom, the health code followed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, does not specifically prohibit caffeine.
In response to a news report in 2012 which claimed that Mormons didn’t drink caffeine, the Church issued a brief clarifying statement: “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.”
The principle behind the Word of Wisdom is gratitude for and stewardship over our physical bodies as wonderful gifts from a loving God. (See this recent column for more information on the Word of Wisdom.)
Individual members of the Church run the gamut. I know lots of faithful, active Mormons who drink Diet Coke or Mountain Dew or other caffeinated beverages — some in moderation and some in amounts that boggle the mind. I know quite a few faithful, active Mormons who don’t drink any soda at all — caffeinated or not. Outside of the specific prohibitions listed above, we’re left to our own best judgment.
Emily H. Geddes was born to two physicists and grew up as a Navy brat. Born-and-raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she holds a bachelor's degree in theatre from Brigham Young University, and earned an MBA from Eastern Washington University.