We’ve discussed before how difficult it is to determine official mormon doctrine. Policies and guidelines seem to change with the generations, with geographical area or with personal revelation.
I’ve heard from two different sources that someone very high up in mormon priesthood and corporate leadership drinks coke on a regular basis. So since I’m not on the “up and up” with people working in the church office building in Salt Lake, my assumption is that it’s not a closet habit either.
With this post, I don’t mean to gossip over what beverages a person consumes. I firmly believe it is every person’s right – to drink what they want to drink.
But it must be confusing for your average mormon. Because a general authority (H. Burke Peterson)mentioned in 1975 that the Word of Wisdom applied to all caffeinated beverages (including coke and pepsi).
Afterwards, for decades, faithful temple-going mormons refused to drink coke, pepsi or other related caffeinated drinks. At least any of the faithful mormons I knew. And if they drank coke or pepsi, I certainly didn’t see it.
I myself remember telling some classmates in fifth grade that I didn’t drink coke or pepsi because
of my religion. I remember because of their response (anything that’s different when you’re a kid is magnified, right?). I also remember a big deal being made of a certain brand of root beer by the bishop’s youth council, which was rumored to have caffeine, and was therefore verboten.
For more of the debate, see this post by ask gramps for additional confusion. The BYU (Provo) honor code notably doesn’t mention coke or pepsi (just coffee, tea and alcohol). And Fair mentions here that it’s okay to drink coke – Mitt Romney does.
Which makes it odd, twenty some odd years later, to reconcile that apparently even people high up in the LDS leadership drink caffeinated beverages on a (seemingly) regular basis.
Over the years, I’ve realized that each version of mormonism is simply each individual’s interpretation. And whatever sacrifices an individual or family might make for their version of mormonism may not be necessary for someone else.
Perhaps a general authority drinking coke doesn’t do that for anyone else, but for me, it throws many things into question. Why not wear garments only when one feels like it? Why not attend church only when one feels like it, or wear flip flops? Why not bless your own children (for women) and wear the prom (or wedding) dress you want to? Why not skip early morning seminary or that mission? Why not give 10% to the charity of your choice instead of the LDS church?
Usually critics of former mormons say that they are angry (and that they can’t leave the mormon church alone).
I (personally) believe I have every right to be angry about this specific policy/former “doctrine”. It sucks that I thought I was “standing for something” and “being a witness of God at all times” by not drinking coke.
But apparently, that’s not a pillar of the gospel any longer – if it ever was (standing for something or following the word of wisdom). No wonder some former mormons are angry.
It’s natural to be angry when a person has a lot of time, money and energy invested in a belief system or organization only to find out that they were the only one not in on the joke.
Which leads me to the belief that everyone is human, and no one is better or worse than anyone else. In other words, no one is “closer” to God, or speaks for God than anyone else.
I suppose in the end, each mormon (even General Authorities) decide(s) what they will and won’t do. They each decide what counsel they will or won’t follow. Which is great. It should be this way for everyone.
But it is simply another example for me that all Brighamites (Utah LDS church) are cafeteria mormons. Each mormon picks and chooses what they believe. I don’t know how anyone could claim otherwise.