Caffeine starting to be sold in Brigham Young University’s cafeteria

RNS photo courtesy iStock Photo

(RNS) — Move over, caffeine-free soft drinks: Your caffeinated counterparts are now available at a prominent Mormon university.

“I have been told the students are lining up,” Brigham Young University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said of the campus cafeteria after the school announced caffeinated beverages would be available starting Thursday (Sept. 21).

“It’s been very positive. The students have expressed great enthusiasm for the change.”

RELATED: BYU students pushing for caffeinated sodas

That change has been pushed by students for at least five years, after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a reiteration of its teachings on what liquids should pass the lips of its members.

A 2012 “Getting it Right” posting on the church’s website explained “the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.”

It added: “The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and ‘hot drinks’ — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee,” the document reads.

In the 1950s, the school’s dining services decided not to sell caffeinated soft drinks, and that practice held until Thursday.

At the time of the church announcement in 2012, Jenkins said the school didn’t sell caffeinated drinks because there had not “been a demand for it.”

But on Thursday, she said times have changed.

“We have clearly seen over the last several years more requests for caffeinated soft drinks,” Jenkins said.

The school, which was founded in 1875, will continue to offer the caffeine-free variety of Coca-Cola products. It has opted not to offer highly caffeinated energy drinks.

Jenkins noted that students have long been free to bring their own caffeine-filled beverages onto campus.

“Caffeinated soft drinks have never been banned from campus,” she said. “Dining Services just did not offer them.”

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • Given the lack of comments here, this one is a yawner. Still, it raises interesting questions about how cultural shifts impact religious practice.

  • Too bad their religious beliefs do not extend to prohibiting sugar-laden drinks that will adversely affect students’ health, lead to diabetes, weight gain, and sugar crashes. Maybe they put profit ahead of health.

  • I’ve been postponing discussing this very subject with Mormon missionaries where I am, even when I’d see them abstaining from pop drinks, tea or coffee at the restaurant I’d be treating them to for lunch. It’s such a trivia, I decided then. So now’s my time, I guess, sister Adelle M. Banks, even if it’s here at RNS, to finally go over “Doctrine and Covenants 89”, supposedly a “revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833”:

    “2 … [For] the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—… 4 behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: … 9 … Hot drinks are not for the body or belly. … 18 And all saints … walking in obedience … shall receive health … 19 and … wisdom and great treasures of knowledge … 21 And … the destroying angel shall pass by them … and not slay them.”

    So now – 84 years later! – freedom’s in the air at last, with every Mormon Millennials going with you, “Move over, caffeine-free soft drinks: Your caffeinated counterparts are now available at a prominent Mormon university”? And all this because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have only now decided that Pepsi Cola & Mountain Dew on the Rock aren’t really “Hot Drinks” after all?!

    WHAT?! Cool & refreshing beverages, they don’t fit the theological definition of “Hot Drinks”?! I beg to differ, and I protest religiously, and in the name of Religion! Because otherwise, then, what about this business with our “temporal salvation” that “Joseph Smith the Prophet” obviously cared so much about?! And what, then, about that, you know, “Destroying Angel”?! It has been instructed to stand down, I hope.

  • We live in a caffeinated world. A 20 oz bottle of Coke really is nothing on the caffeine scale anymore.

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