Mormon Ethics

Drinking and Smoking in Mormonism

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a reputation for a strict - some would say "legalistic" - approach to food and drink. It may be the case that the most-talked about rule discussed by non-Mormons concerns the supposed prohibition of caffeine. Can Mormons drink caffinated beverages, like coffee and soda, or not?

Elements of the so-called "health-code" in the LDS church have been around since Joseph Smith founded the religion in the 1820's.

This kind of religious practice isn't uncommon among the world's faith, as examples of dietary prohibitions can be found in other religions (e.g. Judaism and Islam). Still, there is a uniqueness to each religion's guidelines, including the LDS church's. The reasons for these prohibitions vary, but often include protecting the person from certain illnesses and disassociating the person from negative symbolism contained in consumption.

Do Mormons drink caffeine?

"Word of Wisdom"

The health code that devout Mormons adhere to is called "the Word of Wisdom." These guidelines were articulated by Smith in 1833, a decade after the religion was established. According to Mormon beliefs, God promises great physical and spiritual blessings to those who follow the Word of Wisdom.


The Word of Wisdom prohibits the following: 1. Smoking or any use of tobacco 2. The use of illegal drugs 3. Drinking coffee or black tea 4. Drinking alcohol


Contrary to popular belief, the Word of Wisdom does not prohibit the use of caffeine. However, many Mormons regard this as the intent of the prohibition of coffee and tea so they also avoid caffinated sodas.


    - "The Word of Wisdom."

Article Info

TitleMormon Ethics
UpdatedNovember 10, 2015
MLA Citation“Mormon Ethics.” 10 Nov. 2015. Web. Accessed 21 Oct. 2016. <>