This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The longer presidential candidate Mitt Romney endures on the campaign trail, the more his religion becomes an issue.

If you haven't been paying attention -- and I can certainly understand why you wouldn't -- Mitt is a Mormon. Not a Mormon like me, mind you, but a good one. Mitt probably never sneaks home for a ham sandwich during priesthood meeting.

Never mind that. The point is that he's a Mormon. So, in addition to being yelled at by Christian hardliners and liberal screwheads alike, Mitt finds himself having to explain some of the more misunderstood parts of our faith.

For example, several weeks ago the Boston Globe reported that Mitt is strictly prohibited by Mormonism from drinking alcohol, coffee, tea and soft drinks containing caffeine.

I winced when I read this. Not for Mitt's sake, but rather my own. It's been a while since the last big (and pointless) caffeine-and-Mormons debate.

During one such debate several years ago, I received a letter from a group of Baptist seminary students demanding biblical proof for the LDS stand on caffeine.

I sent them Deuteronomy 25:13 and said, "I don't know how the Lord could possibly make it any clearer.ıı They wrote back that I was ³an unserious manıı and to enjoy myself in Hell.

The problem with Mormons and caffeine is that even Mormons don't agree. It's easy with tea and coffee. We have a major revelation on the books for those.

Cola is a tougher call because we've only been "counseled" not to drink the stuff. Considering that a single can of soda pop contains fewer health benefits than giving a pig a tongue bath, it's probably good counsel.

Still, the "official" Mormon obedience factor regarding caffeinated soft drinks depends on the Mormon. Liberal Mormons tend to think it's their own business. Conservative Mormons might drink a Coke in a pinch and repent later.

Orthodox Mormons put Pepsi in a subcategory of beer and won't allow it in their home. Nazi Mormons believe the Lord will give you a boil for simply watching a Dr Pepper commercial.

If Mitt gets elected (and monkeys fly from within), I can see this becoming the focus of a Senate hearing into the idiotic rumor that the LDS Church owns Coca-Cola. We also own Jack Daniel's distillery, in case you hadn't heard.

Sen. Wallace Butz: "I ask you again, sir. Are you now or have you ever been an imbiber of Classic Coke? And remember that you are under oath."

Mitt: "I respectfully decline to answer that question because you aren't my bishop."

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