Different religions can have unique rules and guidelines for their followers that prohibit eating or drinking specific things.
When it comes to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, you might want to know: Can Mormons drink caffeine?
Yes, Mormons can drink caffeine. The commandment that Mormons follow known as the Word of Wisdom states that alcohol and “hot drinks” are not permitted. Caffeine itself, however, is not expressly forbidden.
Prophets of the LDS Church have since taught that this phrase specifically refers to coffee and tea.
Read ahead to find out more about what Mormons are not allowed to drink, and why.
What Are Mormons Not Allowed To Drink?
The rules for what foods and drinks Mormons are allowed to consume are mostly derived from the Word of Wisdom.
This is a section of the Doctrine and Covenants that the LDS Church views as a sacred text, which was received by the Prophet Joseph Smith on February 27, 1833. The Word of Wisdom can specifically be found in section 89.
In this part of the text, God makes specific declarations about what foods are healthy and recommended for Mormons:
- Fruits and vegetables (or “wholesome herbs”) should be eaten “with prudence and thanksgiving”.
- Meat from birds and animals should be eaten “sparingly”.
- Grains, like oats, rice, wheat, etc. are the “staff of life”.
Within the Word of Wisdom, God also revealed substances that are harmful and considered forbidden to Mormons. These include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Tobacco products
- Hot drinks (interpreted to mean “tea and coffee” by later leaders of the Church)
In more recent teachings, latter-day prophets have instructed that Mormons should not consume illegal drugs or abuse addictive substances.
Can Mormons Drink Soda And Caffeinated Drinks?
The issue of whether or not Mormons can consume caffeine of any kind has actually been a subject of quite some debate within the LDS Church over the years.
The Word of Wisdom does not explicitly mention caffeine as a forbidden substance, and instead refers to “hot drinks”.
In more recent years, the Church has specified that tea and coffee are not permitted (whether they are hot or not) but the rules are a little less clear about other hot beverages or cold drinks that contain caffeine.
In 1918, a Mormon professor named Frederick J. Pack published an article arguing that Mormons should abstain from drinking Coca-Cola since it contained caffeine, and many followers have supported this interpretation over the years.
The Church itself, however, has never officially taken a stance on whether caffeinated drinks, like sodas, are allowed. Instead, the LDS Church advises that eating or drinking subtances that can be harmful to the body is probably against the message expressed by the Word of Wisdom.
To understand the Church’s position, many refer to a statement within the Priesthood Bulletin of February 1972.
In this statement, it states that Church leaders advise Mormons not to consume any drink that might contain habit-forming drugs, which includes caffeine, because it could harm the body. It should be avoided, but it is not completely forbidden.
Do Mormons Drink Caffeine?
According to the Next Mormons Survey, the majority of Mormons do actually drink caffeinated drinks, with many even consuming tea, coffee, or alcohol.
- Around 70% drink soda that contains caffeine (which is not explicitly forbidden within the church)
- 55% of Mormons said that they do not completely abstain from all substances forbidden in the Word of Wisdom.
- 35% said that they drink coffee
- 25% said that they drink tea
- 25% said that they drink alcohol.
This means that many Mormons do drink caffeine in some form or another – whether that’s in cold drinks that are technically allowed, but frowned upon, or in tea and coffee which is supposed to be avoided.
So, can Mormons drink caffeine? Technically, caffeine is not explicitly forbidden for Mormons and it is not spoken about directly in the Word of Wisdom.
Mormons are not permitted to consume “hot drinks” (which has been clarified to mean tea and coffee), alcohol, tobacco, or illegal substances.
Some Mormons believe that any caffeine should be avoided while many believe that it is a personal choice.
The Church does not have an official stance on the matter but does advise against the consumption of any drink that could be harmful to the body.