Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Caffeine Experiment

I wasn't even going to write a post on this because I didn't see it as a big deal, but I've seen several other forums discussing the issue of what really is the Church's stance on caffeine after the airing of Mormon in America as well as the subsequent response from the Church clarifying its position on caffeinated beverages.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I grew up in a non-caffeine-drinking family in Utah.  Up until 4th grade I don't really remember my friends' families drinking caffeinated beverages either, until Melissa's family.  I think I was a little surprised that they did as they were an active Mormon family also, but I must have somehow realized (maybe through a conversation with my parents?) it was okay and their choice if they wanted to drink it -- we just didn't in our family.

One day, as Melissa and I knew I'd never had a caffeinated beverage to my knowledge, we decided I should try some.  I felt okay about it as I knew it actually wouldn't banish me from the Saints.  Oh the anticipation to try a Pepsi!!  I took a sip, and it was okay.  I still preferred my root beer.

In fifth grade, after walking to the park, I had my first Dr. Pepper.  Wow, was that awesome or what.  I may have had one more Dr. Pepper some time in high school (ok, maybe more), but I really can't remember.  When I did my student teaching in Western Samoa, I did have a few Dr. Fia fia's (loosely translated:  Dr. Party) as there wasn't another drink option -- may as well enjoy it, right?

When I met the man I was to marry, I noticed he didn't tend to avoid caffeinated beverages like I did.  Although I was okay with others drinking them, I wasn't so sure how I'd feel about actually marrying someone who drank caffeine.  What kind of influence would that have on our children!!?  I'm sure we talked about it, and he seemed to not drink as much of it as he had because he saw it was important to me.

A few years later when we were at his company Christmas party, more than one person commented on his daily Dr. Pepper or his Dr. Pepper addiction.  What?!  My husband is addicted to Dr. Pepper!? Honestly, I was a little ticked and we had a talk in the car on the way home.  I told him he was probably addicted to the stuff.  He said he just liked the flavor.  I challenged him to a taste test.

We picked up some regular Dr. Pepper and some caffeine-free Dr. Pepper and went to work.  Guess what?  He liked the TASTE of the caffeine-free Dr. Pepper BETTER!  He couldn't believe it.  He stocked up on the stuff and kept it at work.  However, ironically, the cravings eventually went away and so did the caffeine-free Dr. Pepper because it just wasn't the same. After he realized how much power a bit of caffeine had over his thinking, he decided to drop caffeine altogether. He'll occasionally have a caffeinated drink now, but never frequently enough to cause addiction.

So I don't really know why I shared this story, other than it's kind of funny and now some of you know that there is another Mormon out there who (almost) never drinks caffeine.  I suppose I could add that I feel that if it's implied that Mormons don't drink caffeine, why try and find loopholes, why not try and actually not drink it?  (I guess its a little like the law of chastity.  For the Strength of Youth says to not lie down on a member of the opposite sex if you're not married to him/her, so why not try and not do it?  Why play how close can you go?)  I could also say, if you drink caffeinated beverages for the flavor, you may just be fooling yourself.  Go try a blind taste test.

And lastly, yes, I know the Word of Wisdom doesn't say a thing about caffeinated sodas or chocolate or  t.v. or the internet, or whatever else could be addictive, but I, too, probably like a lot of others am trying to live the principle taught of avoiding addictive things.  The important thing is that I'm working on the the Lord's short list appropriate for me.