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Why Is There Never Any Coke At Mormon Parties

July 26, 2021

First, two clarifications. First: We are talking about Coke a Cola. And by extension, any soft drink containing caffeine: Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew, Barq’s Root beer (true,) Sunkist Orange (also true.) Or any other soda’s containing caffeine. Second, Mormons don’t like to be called Mormons anymore. The term is “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, that was a little long for a title.

You may not have noticed, but Mormons (oops, let’s call them “members,”) don’t serve Coke at their parties. If you’ve never been to a Mormon (this is really taking some getting used to) party, you wouldn’t know. Even if you have, you might have thought it was an oversight. They just forgot.

Nope.

We also have to clear up something. Members (see? I’m getting better) drink plenty of Coke. But, there’s a social stigma that unless you grew up in the Church, you’ve probably never considered.

You probably know that your M. . .ember friends don’t drink coffee or tea. It’s forbidden in a scripture referred to as “The Word of Wisdom,” found in Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants. A book of supplemental scripture in addition to the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon that members also follow.

The pertinent section of the Word of Wisdom is verse 9

9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

That’s it. That’s the commandment that keeps Coke out of the party.

Doesn’t really make sense, does it? Nah. Doesn’t to a lot of people.

“Hot drinks” was interrupted to mean coffee and tea. But, there’s a lot of confusion around tea, especially. Herb tea is okay. Iced coffee is not. Caffeinated tea is out. So is decaffeinated coffee.

If you sift through the yeas and nays, you come up with one common denominator: Stuff called “tea” that contains caffeine, or anything called “coffee” is not allowed.

Okay. Great makes sense. Caffeinated drinks are out.

No. Well, not anymore.

For a long time members shunned caffeine. At least publicly. Brigham Young University did not sell any caffeinated soda on campus. The church has many businesses that support the church. They also didn’t serve caffeinated sodas in their cafeterias. There’s a little store across the street from the BYU college dorms where I lived many years ago. That little store sold wall-to-wall Coke and Pepsi products. I spent many late nights studying with a bright red can of inspiration by my side.

The unofficial “frown” on drinking caffeinated sodas extended to many members private lives as well. It was understood that church sponsored functions did NOT stock caffeinated sodas. And if you brought your own, you would have to endure the withering glare of the silver haired church ladies.

As far as private parties went, it was a mix. It was considered slightly scandalous to serve Coke or Pepsi at your birthday party. And if you did, you had better make SURE you have some Sprite and root beer for the “good kids.” (But, not that Barq’s stuff!)

And then in 2012 a man named Mitt Romney changed all that. See, Mitt was a member. And he was also the Republican nominee for president. I have no idea if Brother Romney believes in drinking Coke. (I hope he’s not a Pepsi guy.)

But, Romney’s candidacy brought additional attention to the church and it’s members and their drinks of choice. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to the caramel colored drink.

The church didn’t make any formal announcement. They simply updated their website.

The church revelation spelling out health practices. . .does not mention the use of caffeine.

Oookay. That’s not exactly enlightening. What it really means is that the church announced it did not have a policy on the consumption of caffeine.

Does that mean that drinking Coke is okay?

The church revelation spelling out health practices does not mention the use of caffeine.

Ah. . .okay. Thanks

So, suddenly Coke and Pepsi was off the hidden banned list. You might be wondering why, if the church has no policy on caffeinated soda, BYU didn’t sell it on campus. . At all!

Well, no one has ever asked for it to be sold on campus.

As a former BYU alum, I can say that statement that the school offered is 100% false. False by a lot.

And now people can freely consume their Diet Coke, or Coke Zero, or Cherry coke, or Vanilla Coke, or Orange Vanilla Coke, or Monster, or 5-hour energy, or decaffeinated-iced-coffee. . .Whoa! That one’s still off limits.

But, there still exists a strong prejudice against drinking any caffeine. So, if you attend a birthday party for your. . .member friend, you might want to pick up a six pack of Coke on your way over. Chances are they won’t have any.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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