Well something changed in the 70’s and 80’s. Little by little the standard eroded… soon the avoidance of cold caffeinated beverages was no longer frowned upon within the church…consuming cold caffeine became a personal choice. Soon active church members everywhere were seen in public ordering and consuming cold caffeine laden cola drinks.
I consumed my first caffeine beverage, a Dr. Pepper, as an adult in my mid 20’s. This soon morphed into experimenting with other previously forbidden caffeine drinks such as the formerly evil Coke and Pepsi. I eventually settled on my cold caffeine beverage of choice…Diet Pepsi.
Jump ahead 20 years…
I’m on a vacation to visit a never-Mormon cousin back east. While out for dinner he takes note that I ordered a Diet Pepsi. Knowing that I was LDS, this seeming compromise of his perception of LDS standards came as a complete surprise to him. It took him a few days to even get the courage to broach the subject. But finally after watching me drink Diet Pepsi on several other occasions he finally asked me a simple question. “Craig, I’ve noticed that you drink Diet Pepsi…but you’ve refused my repeated offers for some coffee at breakfast… (then he dropped the bomb)…why is it ok for Mormons to consume cold caffeine but not hot caffeine?”
He caught me completely off guard, I didn’t have a good answer for him…and I kind of stumbled in trying to offer him a less than adequate answer…suggesting that I hadn’t really thought about it and that although it used to be outlawed…it is now ok. This answer was unsatisfying to both of us. Rather than being a missionary moment for me…his questions began a spiral into cognitive dissonance for me.
Prior to his question, I had never analyzed the inherent conflict of the LDS position regarding caffeine consumption. If caffeine is the problem…then way isn’t caffeine to be avoided in all of its forms…no matter the temperature? But…on the surface…it appeared that it wasn’t the caffeine but its temperature that presented the problem.
I had simply accepted that the church no longer found evil the consumption of cold caffeine and filled that exception in the Word of Wisdom by drinking Pepsi products when it was no longer prohibited, ignoring the obvious double standard.
My cousin’s question exposed the conflict in the Word of Wisdom that had prior to that very moment totally escaped my conscience.
So can anyone help me understand the inherent conflict apparently created by the cold vs hot caffeine dilemma?
Edited by Craig Paxton, 22 June 2011 - 03:03 PM.