New Gospel Topics Essay

ZD is pleased to share this post from Moss.

In theology and practice, BYU Dining Services embraces the universal beverage spectrum. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes refreshment available to all. God created the many diverse drinks and libations and esteems them all equally. As the Book of Mormon puts it, “all are alike unto God.”

The structure and organization of BYU encourage a variety of beverages. Latter-day Saints attend eateries according to the geographical boundaries of their local ward, or congregation. By definition, this means that the culinary composition of Mormon diets generally mirrors that of the wider local community. The Church’s lay ministry also tends to facilitate integration: a Pepsi-drinking bishop may preside over a mostly Sprite congregation; a woman with a Dr Pepper in each hand may be paired with another woman who enjoys Coke Zero to visit the homes of a thirsty membership. Church members of different levels of caffeination regularly minister in one another’s homes and serve alongside one another as teachers, as youth leaders, and in myriad other assignments in their local congregations. Such practices make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a thoroughly hydrated faith.

Despite this modern reality, for much of its history—from the mid-1950s until 2017—BYU did not serve caffeinated beverages anywhere on its campus.

In the mid 1950s, the director of BYU Food Services publicly announced that caffeinated sodas would no longer be served to students or faculty on campus. Following the departure of that director, subsequent directors continued the practice. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the caffeinated soda restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

Nevertheless, given the long history of withholding caffeinated sodas from BYU students and faculty, Dining Services believed that a revelation was needed to alter the policy, and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done. Finally in 2017, Diving Services felt impressed to lift the ban.

Today, BYU Dining Services disavows the theories advanced in the past that Dining Services rarely received requests for caffeinated soda, or that such requests have clearly changed or increased. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all that nonsense.

Dining Services proclaims that one can enjoy a myraid of beverages on the conditions BYU has prescribed. It affirms that God is “no respecter of persons” and emphatically declares that anyone who is hydrated—regardless of caffeination—is favored of Him. The teachings of Dining Services in relation to sodas are epitomized by a verse in the second book of Nephi: “I’m a Pepper. He’s a Pepper. She’s a Pepper. We’re a Pepper. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?”

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I think that all soda violates the spirit of the law, to keep our bodies healthy. But if everybody around me wants to stay healthy they better not come between me and my cherry cola oh! And you better not drink Moss’ cola oh! either, or at least put another bottle in the fridge when you are done.

  2. No Emily U,
    Doctrine, defined as eternal truths, never change. Church policy does and MUST change to adapt to current needs. Although I think it’s pretty hardpressed to call caffeinated drinks a need. What BYU sells on campus is policy. An example of doctrine is Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind. Back to caffeine: We should all be honest about the negative effects of caffeine. But people can abuse their diet in many ways. Which is worse a caffeine soda a day, or a large fry and a burger every day? Both are bad for you. The word of wisdom essentially says eat healthy. If you think caffeine is healthy on a regular basis, you’re either ignorant or dishonest with yourself. nevertheless, there may be a good reason for taking caffeine on occasion. I think BYU is simply saying, we’re offering it, but it’s up to you to control your diet.


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