Tonight I will take my journey to that remote, dry desert place where no man treadeth without warning: Girl’s Camp. Should I not survive, go on without me in peace and posterity and please keep watching “So You Think You Can Dance” . . . for me.

People have been so kind. E-mails, phone calls, stop-bys “Is there anything we can do to help you get through your sojourn?” they ask. “Can we smuggle you in a Diet Coke?”

“No.” I answer firmly because I do not drink Diet Coke.

I drink Coke.

With lemon from a can, in a bottle, straight from the dispenser into my mouth. Not every day, but on occasion when I feel anxious, moody or in despair. And I wonder, what kind of Mormon does this make me? Not a super healthy Mormon, but still a righteous one?

I do obey the Word of Wisdom. I mean, I eat meat only in times of winter or famine (two things I don’t experience very often.) I seek out whole grains, I eat of the fruit of the vine and the vegetable of the earth. So what if I drink Coke to wash down my brussels sprouts every so often?

This morning as we put all the Young Women on the buses towards the land of barely-returns, my neighbor and bishopric member Brother B. was asking me what special thing he could bring up for me on Bishopric night.

“Nothing.” I said three times.

Then Sister B joined in.

“Diet Coke?” she asked, mentioning the year she went to camp and drank DC in the food tent when nobody was watching.

“Well”¦I like a nice Bourbon”¦if it’s from Kentucky.” I said after some slyly-held hesitation.

“Hmmm” said Brother B. thinking about the last time he gave me a temple recommend interview, “How about a Coke?”

My point exactly, I mean there are worse things I could be drinking.

I just love that kind of logic, don’t you?

But anyway, I am off. Coke-less. It does clearly state on the camp list that there is to be no caffeinated beverages. I think if I obey rules now-and-then I feel less guilty for having a cold one on a long and toiling day in the valley (something I experience all the time, I mean, in moderation.)


  1. Justine

    July 17, 2007

    Coke? I mean, really, if you really want to go straight to hell, just start sucking on coffee beans or something. None of this mamby-pamby meandering, wandering path to hell. Straight shot, honey. Give yourself a shot of Jolt (remember that stuff?) and be done with it. After all, caffeinated beverages are the elixir of Satan. You may as well go and do something really dastardly now, like armed robbery or viewing Michaelangelo’s David.

    I’m so sorry for your pending damnation.

  2. Maralise

    July 17, 2007

    did. justine. really. just. write. that. oh. my. and since it seems to be the word of the day. hell.

  3. Justine

    July 17, 2007

    you know me, nothing but letter o’the law here. You’d never catch me doing something so clearly a dereliction of duty as yelling at children, napping through VERY important meetings, speeding up through yellow lights, not making my son wear white shirts every Sunday. You know, weighty matters.

    Model of Mormonism — right this way…

  4. Wendysue

    July 17, 2007

    Or Justine–how about sipping on a coke whilst at an R-rated movie? Just make sure to invite me!!!

  5. Emily M.

    July 17, 2007

    You’re sinners, sinners all.

    I drank Coke on my mission, all the time, more as a missionary than before or since. People offered it to us, it wasn’t an official Word of Wisdom thing, and I didn’t want to get picky on non-official issues with investigators. So I drank it. But I confess I have never liked the stuff. I’m a tap water kind of gal.

  6. Anne

    July 18, 2007

    Wait, the list really specified that there were to be no caffeinated beverages? That’s hilarious. I drank Coke on my mission too–partly to make a point that Mormons do actually drink it. That probably seems super sassy of me. Oh well. I’m sassy I guess. And I love Coke.

  7. Leisha

    July 18, 2007

    Coke hurts my teeth…but Dr. Pepper? We call that the “nectar of the gods” around here. Good luck at girls camp!

  8. Wendy

    July 18, 2007

    I brought Coke to camp this year (I don’t drink it often, but it helps my tummy sometimes). I’d better do something to redeem myself I suppose. Nobody said anything about it, and I don’t remember it being on any don’t-bring list. But somehow I knew I was pushing the limit, and I kept it hidden in a bag by my sleeping bag. I felt sneaky every time I took a swig.

    It was kind of fun. I wonder what that says about me?

    (I’m with you on Dr. Pepper, Leisha. In the past, I loved it so much, I really didn’t dare drink it. I think it could be like heroin for me if I did!)

  9. Kiki

    July 18, 2007

    It was a rule in my mission to not drink caffeinated beverages. I was good about obeying that rule, too, despite my love affair with Dr. Pepper. I had three months left, and I was getting transferred to the ARMPIT OF THE WORLD after having served for 10 straight months in HEAVEN. (Also, I had just spent 6 weeks with one of the most awesome companions I’d ever had. OMG, we worked and laughed SO. HARD.) I was a little P-I-S-T about the drastic change, so after I got the call, I marched downstairs to the soda machine. (I’M SUCH A REBEL!) And I got a Dr. Pepper! And I! DRANK IT! On the way back to the apartment, I walked through the hottub, fully clothed. It feels good to be a gangstah! In the President’s interview following the incident, I fessed up, and Prez just chuckled and said I was “one. special. sister.” I’m not sure what he was actually thinking when he said that, but I took it to mean that he loved me.

    I haven’t had any caffeine in a couple of months. Apparently, stimulants now affect me in crazy ways.

  10. Melody

    July 18, 2007

    It’s always seemed hilarious to me that we talk about soda as if it were evil . . .

    I’ve thought a lot lately about how, even in our most rebellious moments, most Mormons are among the sweetest, most innocent beings on the planet. And that’s not a bad way to be.

  11. Dr. Pepper girl

    July 18, 2007

    Although I try to stick to the all-natural Izzes when I need a cold drink, my guilty pleasure is admittedly Dr. Pepper. Non-diet, because I want to enjoy it. In fact, I hear rumor that they marinate the pork at Cafe Rio in it (which must be why I love it so).

    I grew up in a family in which caffeine was taboo and considered serious sin. That didn’t sit well with me. But I do limit my intake and that of my kids because one). if you knew my kids you would know they do not need any form of stimulants and two). I got turned off on “the addiction” when I watched as a SIL pour a shot of her morning dose (we’re talking before breakfast drive to the market and pick up a 48-oz refill) into the baby bottle of her barely-there-one-year-old.

    As with all the rest of the “good stuff” I’m a firm believer in that lovely word “moderation.”

    Oh, and Justine: “You may as well go and do something really dastardly now, like armed robbery or viewing Michaelangelo’s David.” You cracked me up. I could tell you stories…

  12. Katrina

    July 18, 2007

    Very funny post and comments… Don’t you find it disturbing how seriously some Mormons take the “no caffeine” thing but then feel totally fine eating very unhealthily in other areas? Or how some of us will crank down the caffeinated beverages every day because as one of my co-workers said as she guzzled a caffeine over-dosed “energy drink”, “This is legal, coffee isn’t.” Oh my, I rather think a cup of coffee is better for you than that stuff! I just find it amusing how we pick and choose from the Word of Wisdom. Most of us totally ignore that meat only in winter and famine part. For the record, I used to drink Diet Coke every day. Now I just do it on occasion and my decisions about drinking it have nothing to do with the Word of Wisdom.

  13. Cari

    July 18, 2007

    There’s nothing wrong with an occasional caffeinated beverage. We all enjoy one every now and then. However, and I’m speaking from experience, I think it’s a problem when you can’t make it through the day (and I mean everyday) without one. Trust me, I know. It was really, really, really hard to stop drinkng Diet Coke everyday! But boy am I glad I did! I still enjoy one every now and then, but it’s nice to know I don’t have to have one everyday.

  14. Azucar

    July 18, 2007

    I don’t like Coke, but I lurve Diet Coke. Sweet, bitter elixir! How thy bite pleases me so! Social occasions (I’m a social drinker) just seem a little paler.

    In the name of sacrifice, I can’t have any right now. As much as I lurve Diet Coke, I love my baby more. Or maybe it’s that I hate having a hopped up baby. In any case, I’m off the junk. For now.

    (But there is still lust in my heart.)

  15. cori

    July 18, 2007

    DIET COKE IS sweet nectar fron the gods. i love it. cold from the can. you should give it another try. it is the cure for everything.

    don’t even worry about the mormon thing. mormons are judgemental. and that isn’t very mormon to me.

  16. Ethan

    July 18, 2007

    you drink coke! im not sure we can be friends anymore

  17. pflower10

    July 19, 2007

    Does anyone know exactly when the no caffiene thing started?? It’s not in the Word of Wisdom.

  18. pflower10

    July 19, 2007

    BTW….I’m a diet coke with fresh lime girl myself HOWEVER, I have been introduced to a little can of love by the name of DIet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. He works in a pinch too.

  19. Emmie

    July 19, 2007

    Kiki, that mission story is priceless!

    I, too, adore an ice cold Coke. Can’t stand Diet Coke, but I was hooked on Diet Pepsi for a time.

  20. Patata Brava

    July 19, 2007

    I was raised in a “no-Coke” sort of family. Everyone was really pleased when the caffeine free variety came out.

    My mission president (in South America) told us it was probably safer to drink Coke then drinking the water. From that time on, I guess that I’ve taken the position that if it was ok on my mission, then it is ok when I’m not carrying around the “White Bible”.

    Regardless, last Sunday a very good friend of mine was over at our house for dinner. We were talking about colas, and he talked about an experience he had on his mission. The area president (and I know and have spoken to this General Authority) was talking to the missionaries at a mission conference. He threw the floor out to questions. One of the missionaries, in that self-righteous voice that missionaries sometimes get said, “Some missionaries in the mission feel that it is alright right to drink Coke. Some of us feel that caffinated drinks are against the Word of Wisdom. What is your feeling about Coca-Cola?” The tall 6″5′ former Idaho potato farmer said, “Wait a second” reached down to his bag, pulled a red aluminum can out, popped open the top and took a nice long drink. He set the Coke can on the podium and asked, “Any questions?”

  21. Sam B.

    July 19, 2007

    In spite of having grown up with a diet Coke-chugging father, I don’t get the appeal. Of course, I don’t get the appeal of regular Coke, or most other soft drinks, either–they’re sickly sweet, with no flavor beyond the high fructose corn syrup.

    Izzy’s, on the other hand–pure manna. Not too sweet, 30% fruit juice, 70% sparkling water–it’s absolutely an adult soft drink.

  22. Katie

    July 19, 2007

    Not a pop fan, but I can feel your pain! BTW- (speaking as a convert, who lived a full life beforehand) bourbon is not that good. You should of mentioned vodka or even a nice white wine ; ) Just kidding!!!! Have fun my friend, have fun!

  23. Nick Literski

    July 20, 2007

    The best thing about this discussion is thinking about some LDS person pontificating on the evils of caffienated beverages, and how that Diet Coke will keep you out of the celestial kingdom…all the while contentedly sipping their hot chocolate. 😉

  24. Sam B.

    July 20, 2007

    But (the right) hot chocolate is a positive aesthetic choice (thinking about the super-thick chipotle hot chocolate I had at the now-closed @SQC), whereas, as I said above, there is absolutely no excuse for Coke, in its diet or sugared form. 🙂 (kind of)

  25. amelia bedelia

    July 20, 2007

    lol…I was raised in a no-caffeine house and when I was a teenager, I worked at Baskin-Robbins. All my co-workers knew that my family and I didn’t drink stuff with caffeine. My dad came into the store once and ordered a Root Beer Float (Barq’s brand, with caffeine). One of my coworkers was seriously worried about my dad’s salvation after that… 🙂

  26. adria

    July 29, 2007

    There have been conference talks about caffeine & soda.

    I drink a Pepsi on occasion & do feel guilty, primarily because I don’t want my kids to (having grown up in a caffeine-free home).

    My take on it is that the Word of Wisdom cautions us against tea & coffee (based on the Prophet’s clarification of hot drinks) and we’re assuming that caffeine is the reason. It may or may not be.

    On the other hand, I find caffeinated soda very addicting, and that – for me – is not in keeping with the spirit of the law.

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