Apostle once drank Coca-Cola to prove Church’s caffeine stance


drink-a-cokeThis 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.”

Apostle drinks Coke

6 thoughts on “Apostle drinks Coke

  • April 5, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    The Polynesan Cultural Center in Hawaii has been serving Coca Cola there since at least the 1970’s. Since the PCC is a church-affiliated entertainment venue, I was shocked to see this, as I had been taught to refrain from colas.

  • March 20, 2020 at 5:28 am

    In “The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,” he is quoted as saying that he doesn’t drink colas and hopes that other members of the Church similarly would not drink colas. Of course, that’s not a prohibition, but it is a recommendation of good counsel.

    In Japan, where I served my mission as a new convert, the Word of Wisdom was defined nationwide specifically with reference to caffeine because there are so many kinds of tea in Asia and almost no alternative drinks, other than juice, which is typically for children. Accordingly, members drink barley tea, both hot and cold. I’m sure it’s similar in Korea. I can’t remember the guidelines for Taiwan, since I was there for less than a month, but having lived in Japan from 1987 to 2002, I’m more familiar with the Japanese official interpretation of the Word of Wisdom.

    Despite what others claim, I’m certain I saw Coca-Cola machines containing Coke on the BYU campus when I was in the MTC in 1986.

  • April 30, 2018 at 9:07 am

    One thing one has to understand about the Word of Wisdom, is that Coffee and Tea, as Tobacco, are actually plants the beverages are made out of.
    There has been a lot of research on the ill effects of Coffee on the human body aside from caffeine.
    However, as sugar, caffeine is an addictive substance and one of the tasks of the Word of Wisdom is to protect us from addictions.
    Now – are caffeinated sugar bombs in cans explicitly stated in the Word of Wisdom? No.
    Do we have a profound understanding of this covenant (that’s actually what it is) if we include these worthless overpriced items into our daily diet? No.

  • April 21, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Henry D. Moyle did something similar.

  • October 14, 2017 at 1:44 am

    BYU now sells caffeinated soda on campus!

  • June 14, 2017 at 7:05 am

    In a recent conference talk either in October of 2016 or April of 2017, President Dieter F. Uctdorf mentions staying up late and drinking “a soda that shall not be named”. It is strongly implied that the drink that he was consuming was a caffeinated beverage and that the apostle did not want to put out there that he had caffeine.


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