Is it true that caffeine was banned by the Mormons until the church bought stock in Coca Cola?

I heard this once. I forget where, I heard it and I doubt they had a source, but is there any truth to this?

Snopes thinks it’s false.

:slight_smile: An oldie but a goodie. But no, it is not true.

Similar wild accusations are made against Catholics. Mormons have my fellow-feeling over this story.

I think this is right up there with meatless Fridays for Catholics because of the need to support the Italian fishing industry.

I lived in Utah as a teenager and this myth, along with several others, was commonly spread by non Mormons in the area. I wish to publicly apologize to my Mormon brothers and sisters for also spreading slander against them. I blame my youth, but I find that I must constantly keep guard in order not to bear false witness, not only against Mormons, but against other religious groups as well. These days Muslims are frequently slandered. I pray that the Holy Spirit may always guide us in seeking the truth in fraternal love.


So then does that mean the mormons never banned caffeine? or did they at one point in their history?

As I see it, caffeine came under scrutiny by conservative Mormons as they began to think about the reasons why coffee and tea must have been against their Word of Wisdom. Mormons view this as a law of health, so what is it that is “unhealthy” about these drinks? I remember, as a Mormon missionary, explaining the caffeine connection to investigators, although it wasn’t part of the literature. That seemed the most plausible reason why the Lord would have made coffee and tea off-limits when there were questions about the teaching. Indeed, very devout Mormons would avoid anything with caffeine in it, and you couldn’t buy a caffeinated soda, say, on the BYU campus or at the Missionary Training Center owned by the Church. That seemed like endorsement enough for the caffeine rule.

Anyway, the Mormon “Word of Wisdom” does not specify even coffee or tea, but speaks of “hot drinks” in general. Mormons understand this to be coffee and tea–black and green tea, but not “herbal” tea–and this clarification, at least, is specified in the missionary training material I used.

As it stands today, the Word of Wisdom forbids the following: Alcoholic beverages (some Mormons eschew the use of alcohol in any other food preparations as well), coffee, black and green tea, tobacco whether chewed or smoked; and illegal drugs of any kind. I’m not exactly sure what Church leader enumerated this modern list of prohibitions. When interviewing for a Temple Recommend, however, it is understood that compliance to the Word of Wisdom means avoiding those particular things.

The original Word of Wisdom was also a positive law, meaning it talked about things we ought to do, such as consuming healthy grains, herbs, fruits, and vegetables and avoiding meat except in certain circumstances. Mormons rarely think of these things in connection to the Word of Wisdom and they are not to be found in our modern, semi-canonical version of it which only declares the negative law.

While the Word of Wisdom was not originally given as a strict commandment to Mormons, it was accepted as such in the early 20th century in a conference of the church. Since the doctrine was never very formally canonized (we still find the original Word of Wisdom in our Doctrine and Covenants today, which bears little resemblance to contemporary understanding and practice), some confusion has been propagated as to what exactly constitutes the doctrine, particularly for those outside of the church who wish to understand what it means.

I hope this is helpful.

So you don’t want to buy fish from me on Fridays anymore? Do you want to send me to the poor house? I will send Giuseppe, Francesco, Maria, Elena, Giovanni, Cristina, Luca, Pio, Carmine, Carmelo, and Monica at your house for dinner and I will call the Curia to get on your case! :mad:

Caffeine was never specifically banned. “hot drinks” were banned

I read somewhere, on these forums I think, where Joseph Smith added the rule of not drinking hot beverages as a way of getting back at Emma for being upset with him for drinking and smoking in the house. As in, if he couldn’t drink and smoke cigars and what not while enjoying time with his friends, she could not have a cup of tea with hers.
Not sure as to the accuracy of this story.

Hmmmm, now continuing other Mormon myths, I heard that smith also allowed polygamy because he wanted to be with another woman other than his wife, but still wanted to stay with her? I know these are on the forum somewhere but i don’t want to take the time to find them

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to appear as if I believed it or was spreading the myth. It was just something I read here or somewhere else. For all I know, it is just another myth started by someone, much like us worshiping Mary and idolatry and such. I’ve heard of the polygamy thing too. I just know that it was a ban on hot drinks, the most common denominator in most hot drinks is caffeine, that I know of anyway.

I for one believe in my Catholic faith, although I fall short many times. I certainly am not perfect and do receive many reminders of that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sadly that statement sounds like the typical wish of a lot of cheating married men.

The LDS church never defined caffeine as what is meant in the WoW. There are, however, many Mormons who chose to avoid caffeinated drinks…but it was never a must.

If caffeine had been banned, Mormons wouldnt be eating chocolate ANYTHING.

Depends on which Mormon you ask and when. I was raised, as a Mormon, to understand caffeine was banned. I knew some Mormons growing up who drank caffeinated sodas. That would never happen in my very large extended family…hundreds of Mormons.

Mormons today, for the most part, don’t view caffeine as banned. Including the very same members of my family who once viewed caffeine on par with alcohol…NO TOUCHY!

Which is why it’s quite easy to imagine a Joseph Smith who is sexually licentious. But Smith wasn’t necessarily the innovator in this area; at least one other movement had come up with a similar take on the marriage arrangement, based on some biblical interpretation or spiritual revelation or what-have-you. Mormonism is very much a survivor of that tumultuous American religious revival which saw a lot of surprising innovations. Whether or not Joseph was using polygamy as a way to exercise his lust, at least he seems to have been one to stick to his own rules and didn’t take well to others who clearly did see polygamy as simply a way to satisfy themselves. Anyway, polygamy was too radical for the culture at the time and remains so today. I’m willing to say that mainstream Mormons (not the fundamentalist ones) have a greater aversion to polygamy than many non-Mormons. It isn’t something Mormons wish would come back.

Might be believable were he not caught having affairs and used the law of polygamy to cover it up…AND had he not tried to get William Law and his wife to spouse swap

Well it would go against there whole family first thing as well. I mean its hard to have a family, let alone two or three. Thats good that many mainstream LDS’s see that as bad, now if they’d only get the whole trinity thing right :shrug:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit