What is a "Jack Mormon?"


Could someone please explain to me what the term “Jack Mormon” means? I heard it means a practicing Mormon who also drinks alcohol. Is it the equivalent of a cafeteria Catholic, or is it a lapsed Mormon? Does anyone know where the term comes from?





A Jack Mormon is an inactive Mormon who does not go to Church very often and probably does not obey many of the rules such as abstaining from tea and coffee etc. I don’t know how the word originated.



Here is a link to the Wikipedia article. In brief, it says that “Jack Mormon” is a term that these days means a person who is Mormon in name only. That is, they identify themselves as Mormon and have positive feelings towards the church, but do not follow its commandments nor engage regularly in its activities. The other, perhaps more common term is “inactive”.

You are correct, I think, in comparing a Jack-Mormon to a lapsed Catholic. But the term “cafeteria Catholic” does not compare closely. Many cafeteria Catholics are quite active, but still pick and choose which commandments they will follow.

It would be more difficult for Mormons to be cafeteria Mormons, because the members watch one another carefully and report to their superiors (and everyone else usually) when someone is suspected of being “unfaithful”. The leaders then call the person in for counseling and sometimes discipline. I had personal experience with this when my non-LDS parents came to visit. I went to the store to buy some coffee to serve them, and a member of the ward observed me. She reported to the bishop that I was breaking the “word of wisdom”. The bishop called me in to his office to investigate whether he should take away my temple recommend. I explained the situation to him, and he counseled me to make my parents go without their morning coffee as a “testimony” to them. I did not follow his advice.



Thanks Paul!

I read the article and clicked on the link at the bottom (on “Molly Mormons”) that says:

*These terms are occasionally used in a disparaging way by members of the Mormon church to refer to other Mormons who display or promote an ultra-conservative interpretation of their understanding of the church’s teachings. An example of a person that may be labeled this way is one who abstains from drinking caffeinated cola drinks (based on an interpretation of an ambiguity in the Word of Wisdom), won’t watch television on Sunday, and tells on her 15-year-old friend for dating before age 16, and who insists that others do so as well, perhaps claiming to be “setting an example”. Abstinence from these behaviors is not required by the church to remain as a member in good standing, but is often preached unofficially as interpretations of church teachings in lessons taught by members of the church’s lay clergy.[5]

*I thought Mormons were not permitted to drink caffeine of any type. I have many Mormon friends who do drink soda however. Is soda permitted?




I thought Mormons were not permitted to drink caffeine of any type. I have many Mormon friends who do drink soda however. Is soda permitted?



These days caffeinated soda is allowed, and my LDS relatives drink Diet Coke by the case. But when I was LDS in the 70’s and 80’s, it was not allowed, and under most bishops it would keep you out of the temple. I think soda is one of those things the LDS leadership caved on because so many members were breaking the rules. Same with artificial contraception and abortion.

God love you,



Don’t like what we deem a sin? Or a mandatory item of faith?

polygamy shmygamy!

Wait a few years, it will change. We always do."

Thanks Paul Dupre!



Thank you for taking the time to patiently answer my question. And congratulations on “Coming Home” to the Catholic Church!. I wonder why soda is okay but coffee is not. There are a lot of Mormons at my workplace and they were saying how it is hard at business meetings because only coffee or tea is offered.

Thanks again for your help!




I have heard that the mormon organization is a majority stockholder in PepsiCo, and when this happened, the prohibition on caffinated drinks was lifted. After all, all those mormons drinking Pepsi is good for the bottom line.


I had heard pretty much the same thing, only in my case it was Coca Cola stock.


I heard the same about Mountain Dew, but these are only rumors.

It comes down to a question of “by what authority” though. Who has the authority to change doctrine in the Mormon Church?

I admire the Catholic Church for not changing its doctrine, even when it is unpopular. When it comes to abortion and contraception, most churches have changed due to public pressure. But since the “gates of hell” will not prevail against the Catholic Church, we don`t have to worry about winning a popularity contest!

I admire Mormons and Adventists for some of their healthy lifestyle choices. But I view those choices as health choices, not as spiritual necessities.




American-originated sects which are offshoots of some mainstream Protestant group usually have to identify themselves as separate from their parent group by resorting to a charismatic leader (Jos Smith, Russ T Smtih, Mary B Eddy, Ellen White, Campbell, Miller et al) and a “plan” for financial (remember Russ Smith’s pyramid theories?) and health success.

Can you imagine Jesus as your ‘personal trainer’ with a no-load mutual fund and early retirement plans for those select few who get on board in the next 48 hours?



The guy or girl who shows up once a year to sacrament meetings (church service) and doesn’t follow the word of wisdom. When I was mormon I worked with a jack mormon. He smoked 2 packs a day and drank coffee like a fish.I become one when I started drinking beer, not tithing, and tearing up my temple recommend.


The term ‘Jack Mormon’ is very rarely used these days and I only heard it used in the 1970’s when I was out west. I think that the term has fallen by the wayside unless of course the western mormons still use it. But I doubt it.

Those who do not come to church or hold callings are usually referred to as ‘less actives’. In the past they were called ‘inactives’. Jack meant a whole different thing and usually meant problems with the word of wisdom.


You are quite right. That term is not commonly used in the Church any more. The only people who still use it are “Jack Mormons” themselves! Because they have been out of the Church for a long time, they are stuck in the past, and tend to use the old terminology they were familiar with, rather than keep up with the changing trends in the Church.



It seems, friend, that we have a lot of former ‘Jack’ Mormons on this site (who still live in the past) who have found the catholic faith. Hopefully, however, they have given up alcohol and tobacco. :slight_smile:


Oh, don’t make the mistake of calling them Jack Mormons! They are a completely different breed from Jack Mormons. A Jack Mormon would not fight against or attack the Church. He may be inactive and not obey all the rules; but he still calls himself a Mormon. He does not actively oppose the Church.



Just so you’ll know, whyme, I was a temple-worthy and very active LDS right up to the day I turned in my resignation letter to the bishop. I actually waited until I got my letter informing me of my cancelled membership before celebrating with a glass of iced tea. I was never a Jack-Mormon. I never had a “word of wisdom problem”. That’s just what you people tell yourselves to explain why anyone would ever leave your “true church”. When I finally let myself realize that the church was a sham, I left very quickly.



Don’t you mean “the ever changing theology of the church?”


I won’t go to hell for drinking a beer, but I will go to hell for worshipping false gods and following a false prophet. I’ll take my chances on the beer.


And a good cigar.


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