Are LDS allowed to drink Verve energy/nutrition drinks?
Thank you for your question regarding energy/nutrition drinks.
As I have thought about your question, several potential responses came to my mind, varying from perhaps a good, better or best answer. I feel a “good” answer would have only dealt with one specific drink. A “better” answer would have dealt with “energy drinks” in general versus a specific product. The “best” answer to this question, in my opinion, is to instead focus on the principles governing how we should take care of bodies.
Simply providing a yes/no answer to one specific product, is actually doing you and others a disservice. By only answering yes/no, you are left to perhaps wonder what the correct answer would be the next time a different energy/nutritional drink were to hit the market. What about the time after that, or perhaps the time after that as well? Instead, let us turn to the words from Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, Watching with All Perseverance, where he says:
Giving a man a fish feeds him for one meal. Teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime. As parents and gospel instructors, you and I are not in the business of distributing fish; rather, our work is to help our children learn “to fish” and to become spiritually steadfast. This vital objective is best accomplished as we encourage our children to act in accordance with correct principles—as we help them to learn by doing. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God” (John 7:17). Such learning requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception.
This is a case where we will focus on learning to how to fish, rather than simply passing out a single fish (yes/no answer). To learn how to take care of our bodies and understand what we should or shouldn’t put in them, we will be referencing the Latter-day Saint’s health guide found in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 89: The Word of Wisdom. By reading the scriptures, we can learn, as Elder Bednar mentions, correct principles. By understanding correct principles, we are able to make correct choices ourselves when faced with life’s many questions and not become confused.
I will make brief mention regarding energy drinks and then we will compare that to the principles taught in the Word of Wisdom. Energy drinks have existed since the birth of soda pop. Products such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola were originally marketed as energy boosters and stimulates. Prior to federal intervention, Coca-Cola originally derived it’s stimulating power from coca leaves (coca = cocaine). In essence, energy drinks have existed for a long time. As another example, coffee is an energy drink that has existed for centuries. Over the years, new brands, new logos, and new claims have continued to emerge, attempting to entice the public to purchase what some consider to be modern day snake oil, instant “healthy/nutritional” energy without side effects. Here is an article on lds.org with further information regarding energy drinks: The Energy Drink Epidemic
The Lord has warned us to be on the look out during our day and age:
D&C 89:4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and fore warn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
Hearts of conspiring men are always active in producing creative, new, fresh ways to separate us from our money. High dollar advertising budgets are dedicated to push flashy new fads as the next best thing. It becomes our job to recognize this conspiring craftiness for what it is and hopefully avoid it.
The Lord has already given us the Word of Wisdom, which outlines the ways we should actually seek energy for our bodies. Not only does the Word of Wisdom give us the keys to having energy, it also gives us a promise if we follow it – a promise more powerful than any supposed claim found on an aluminum can.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
Rather than rely on the next non-medical powder, drink or pill (many of whose statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration), perhaps we should do a personal assessment on how well we are already following the Word of Wisdom. If we need more energy, are we:
1. Eating the good foods already outlined?
2. Avoiding the harmful ones?
3. Getting enough rest to begin with?
D&C 88:124 – … retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
With the combined counsel already found in the in the scriptures, we should have sufficient energy to successfully do what is required of us. These promises of not being weary and having invigorated minds are promises we can lay claim to. I have enjoyed reading a short, but wonderful, talk by President Thomas S. Monson called, Principles and Promises where he shares:
may we care for our bodies and our minds by observing the principles set forth in the Word of Wisdom, a divinely provided plan.
Rusty, I would invite you read or reread Section 89 and allow the Spirit to help guide you in your choice as to whether or not to consume energy drinks. The principles learned, along with Spirit’s guidance, are more than enough to help you learn “to fish” for the rest of your life.
Thank you again for your question.