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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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The scoop on coffee ice cream: Mormons, like Mitt, can indulge

First, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and now The Associated Press.

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Why, oh why, can't journalists wrap their minds around the fact that caffeine is not against the Mormon health code?

The most recent culprit is Charles Babington, an AP writer in Massachusetts, who wrote a whole story implying that Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney was a tad less religiously orthodox than his peers for eschewing coffee but having a few bites of coffee ice cream.

"Romney joins other observant Mormons in shunning alcohol and coffee," Babington wrote. "He apparently draws the line at ice cream."

In fact, the LDS Church’s health code, known simply as the "Word of Wisdom," forbids the use of wine, strong drink, tobacco and "hot drinks," which have been defined by church authorities as tea and coffee.

Nowhere does it mention caffeine. Or ice cream. Or Coca-Cola. Or Mountain Dew. Or Dr Pepper.

As former Utah Gov. Olene Walker, a Mormon, once told comedian Bill Cosby: "Caffeine is fine as long as it’s cold."

Apparently, more than a few Mormons are also confused about what is forbidden.

"I'm a practicing Mormon and I have my vices. I drink Dr Pepper," Von Fugal told The Salt Lake Tribune's Mike Gorrell on Monday. "I know I need to look at that."

No, he doesn't.

Peggy Fletcher Stack

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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