Apostle once drank Coca-Cola to prove Church’s caffeine stance
This legend starts out with a General Authority giving a talk (usually at BYU) on the Word of Wisdom. He then says that there have been a lot of questions about whether or not caffeinated beverages are against the Word of Wisdom and he would like to address these questions. The apostle reaches down and pulls out a can of Coke, pops it open, and begins to guzzle it down. He then asks, “Any questions?”
There is no documented proof that such a talk has ever been given by a General Authority. In fact, the Church has seldom even mentioned its stance on caffeinated beverages. The most official statement came in 1972 which stated:
With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.
Of course, if this legend were to occur at BYU, the apostle would have to smuggle the Coke into the meeting. No caffeinated beverages are sold on BYU campus.
Since posting this legend, many people have submitted stories that they claim to have seen a church leader (usually a member of the Seventy) drink a Coke as part of a lesson on the Word of Wisdom. These stories usually take place during the person’s mission, but no documented proof has been submitted.
There is a true story in which David O McKay asks to drink a Coke. The following is an excerpt from “David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism” (Pg. 23):
During intermission at a theatrical presentation, his host offered to get refreshments: “His hearing wasn’t very good, and I got right down in front of him and I said, ‘President McKay, what would you like to drink? All of our cups say Coca Cola on them because of our arrangement with Coca Cola Bottling, but we have root beer and we have orange and we have Seven-Up. What would you like to drink?’ And he said, ‘I don’t care what it says on the cup, as long as there is a Coke in the cup.'” McKay’s point was simple and refreshing: Don’t get hung up on the letter of the law to the point where you squeeze all of the spirit out of life.
In August, 2012 an episode of NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams focused on the Mormon religion. During the show, it was stated that Mormons are required to not drink caffeine. In response to this episode, the LDS Church released a statement on an online blog clarifying things that the broadcast was incorrect about. The statement included a clarification on caffeine. The post from the LDS Church stated: “the church does not prohibit the use of caffeine” and that the reference to “hot drinks” “does not go beyond tea and coffee.” The following day, the post was tweaked to instead say: “the church revelation spelling out health practices…does not mention the use of caffeine.”