“The Word of Wisdom, section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, remains as to terms and specifications as found in that section. There has been no official interpretation of that Word of Wisdom except that which was given by the Brethren in the very early days of the Church when it was declared that ”hot drinks“ meant tea and coffee.
With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.”
The Priesthood Bulletin, Feb. 1972, p. 4.
“The Church has never included soft drinks in the letter of the Word of Wisdom. But it does expect that members of the Church will have sufficient wisdom to avoid narcotics and stimulants of all kinds.
Except for medicinal purposes, drugs are very dangerous, especially when administered by untrained and unskilled persons...Caffeine is a drug. It is classed as a narcotic. Constant use of caffeine, whether in coffee, tea or soft drinks, can have only a dangerous effect upon the human system...”
Church News of the Deseret News, Jan. 20, 1968, p. 5
“Caffeine has many pharmacological actions which are harmful to a number of body systems. The list of actions of caffeine is moderately long. Symptoms related to acute or chronic high caffeine intake includes irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, dry mouth, ringing in the ears, twitching of the leg muscle, aches, palpitations of the heart, mood disturbances, sleep disruptions, etc.
“Some investigators indicate that some coffee drinkers exhibit common signs of a drug dependence, i.e.: they self administer coffee for the effects of caffeine, have withdrawal symptoms on cessation of caffeine, and experience adverse effects from caffeine intake.
“Understandably, not all caffeine ingestion comes from coffee. A few examples of sources of caffeine are as follows:
Brewed Coffee: 8 oz = 100-150 mg of caffeine
Tea: 8 oz = 60-75 mg of caffeine
Cola drinks: 12 oz = 40-60 mg of caffeine
Some cold preparations: 30 mg of caffeine in one tablet
Scientific Support for Scriptural Stories, 1992, p. 204
“Wisdom goes beyond the letter of the law. Generally when we speak of the Word of Wisdom, we are talking about tea, coffee, tobacco, and liquor, and all of the fringe things even though they might be detrimental are not included in the technical interpretation of the Word of Wisdom. I never drink any of the cola drinks and my personal hope would be that no one would. However, they are not included in the Word of Wisdom in its technical application.
I quote from a letter from the secretary to the First Presidency, 'But the spirit of the Word of Wisdom would be violated by the drinking or eating of anything that contained a habit-forming drug.' With reference to the cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken any attitude on this, but I personally do not put them in the class as with the tea and coffee because the Lord specifically mentioned them [the hot drinks].”
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.202
“We are consistent and in harmony with the spirit of the revelation in affirming that hot drinks as specified in the Word of Wisdom comprised the common beverages then and, less exclusively, since, taken hot. The commonest of these were and are tea and coffee, but the inhibition applies further to the drinking of any liquids at a high temperature.
It should be remembered that the Lord's warning against the use of these drinks antedated by many years the discovery of the really injurious nature of thein and caffeine, which are the poisonous alkaloids present in tea and coffee, and of the specific physical derangements from divers other physiological effects of these beverages.”
Mormon Doctrine: G-P HOT DRINKS. , 369
“In greater or less degree all nerve-affecting drugs produce it: nicotine, caffeine, opium, cocaine, and [all] the rest, strong or weak. Habitual use of any of these is a physical vice. A physical vice becomes a moral vice, and . . . to cultivate vice is to render . . .our mind incapable of normal action. . . . One and all, these various drugs . . . tend to give the impression of a power or a pleasure . . .which we do not possess. . . .One and all their function is to force the nervous system to lie. One and all the result of their habitual use is to render the nervous system incapable of ever telling the truth. Indulgence . . .destroys wisdom and virtue; it destroys faith and hope and love. . . Whatever you do, . . . count all the cost.”
Conference Report, October 4, 1969 Richard L. Evans , 8
“And one of the most damaging sins and one that gives greatest strength to our death instinct is the violation of that great revelation given 132 years ago called the Word of Wisdom. Some violators of this law tend to excuse themselves because it appears to be such a small thing. It seems like just a little disobedience, a little caffeine a little nicotine, a little friendly indulgence in alcohol. Yet these are the springboards to disease, broken homes, immorality, disloyalty to God, physical death, and the death of many of our eternal interests.”
General Priesthood Meeting, 1965 Sterling W. Sill , 20
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant (D&C 89:2-3); wherefore he receiveth no reward. Among other questions received we find such as this: ”Why does not the Lord give us further revelation to cover the many other stimulants and drinks and the proper foods for the body?“ The answer is because such revelation is unnecessary. The Word of Wisdom is a basic law. It points the way and gives us ample instruction in regard to both food and drink, good for the body and also detrimental.
If we sincerely follow what is written with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord, we need no further counsel. Thus by keeping the commandment we are promised inspiration and the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord through which we will know what is good and what is bad for the body, without the Lord's presenting us with a detailed list separating the good things from the bad that we may be protected.
We will learn by this faithful observance that the promises of the Lord are fulfilled. We will learn more nearly the value of our mortal bodies. They have been given us as eternal tabernacles for our spirits.
“A safe guide to each and all is this: If in doubt as to any food or drink, whether it is good or harmful, let it alone until you have learned the truth in regard to it. If anything offered is habit-forming, we will be safe in concluding that it contains some ingredients that are harmful to the body and should be avoided.”
Answers to Gospel Questions Vol 1: Chapter 48 197, Heading
“In the organized stakes of Zion, as well as in the mission field, there is altogether too much laxity in regard to the observance of the Word of Wisdom. Too many members move along the lines of least resistance and yield to a craving of appetite developed by disobedience to the Word of Wisdom Code, thus depriving themselves of spiritual as well as physical strength.
To the prevalence of such indulgence President Grant referred in his opening address at the recent semi-annual conference of the Church. He warned the people against such practices, emphasized the blessings promised to those who observe the Word of Wisdom, and concluded that part of his sermon by the following testimony:
“There is a substance in tea and coffee which when taken into the human system, tends to increase the beating of the heart; which in turn increases the rapidity of the circulation of the blood and of breathing. This causes the body to become warmer and more exhilarated.
After a time, however, this temporary enlivenment passes off, and the body is really in a greater need of rest and recuperation than it was before the beverage was taken. Stimulants are to the body what the lash is to the lagging horse—it causes a spurt forward but gives no permanent strength or natural nourishment.
“Frequently repetitions of the lash only make the horse more lazy; and the habitual use of strong drink, tobacco, tea, and coffee, only tends to make the body weaker and more dependent upon the stimulants to which it is addicted.
“The Lord has said in unmistakable words that these things are not good for man. Science declares the same. God's word alone should be sufficient for every true Latter-day Saint.”
Heber J. Grant
“You have been counseled repeatedly to 'live in the world, but not be one of the world'. Sometimes some of our members want to live as close as they can to worldly standards and yet qualify for a temple recommend. Live by the covenants you took in the temple: do not live on the fringes.
You will be judged by the kinds of movies you attend, by the way you dress, and by the music to which you listen. Some years ago one of our teachers told his students that he used cola drinks and that it did not prevent him from holding a temple recommend. This was an indication of poor judgment on his part, and it illustrates what I mean by living 'on the fringes.' Live the spirit of the commandments.”
Ezra Taft Benson, The Gospel Teacher and His Message, p.15