Neil and Craig discover a dark secret about Miss Robinson

Or do they? Watch this Mormon video. At first you’ll wonder what dreadful Mormon horror is going to be revealed — do Neil and Craig share the love that dare not speak its name? Is Miss Robinson stalking the boys to exploit their youthful lubricity? — and you expect the cheesy boom-chika-chika-wow music to start up. But you don’t know Mormons.

Oh yes, when I lived in Mormonville in the late 80s I remember well how all the kids regarded coffee and coke as the Devil’s brews. It’s one of the reasons I could never be a member of their religion…in addition to the fact that it’s bugblatting coocoo.


  1. says

    “And here’s to you, Miss. Robinson.
    Jesus loves you more than you would know.

    Hey Hey Hey

    God Bless you please, Miss Robinson
    Heaven holds a place where you will go

    Hey Hey Hey
    Hey Hey Hey”

    From Simon and Garfunkel.

  2. Trickster Goddess says

    Miss Robinson is going to hell for helping Mrs. Olsen commit the sin of drinking coffee. Isn’t that how it works for issuing same-sex marriage certificates or filling birth control prescriptions? Why should caffeine be any different? I’m surprised she even dared to touch the impure coffee pot!

  3. blf says

    Coke® is too awful to be any magic sky faerie’s brew — it/he/they/she simply don’t have the imagination, skill, persistence, or sadomasochism to devise anything so disgusting. She/they/it/he are more into boiling vats of shite, “angels” singing with harpoons (disguised as harps), eternally same boringness, and many other fantasies dreamt up by three-year-olds.

    But coffee? Do they really want a caffeinated mildly deranged penguin to visit (usually entering via the wall with the help of trebuchet), explaining not only the errors, but also demanding cheese? And MUSHROOMS!?

  4. borax says

    I was gonna convert to Mormonism, but I’m not giving up my hot tea. You can pry my tea from my warm dead hand.

  5. says

    Is “wanna come down to the dark room and see how I develop these pictures” the grandparent of “let’s Neflix and chill”?

    Besides, it’s quite telling how something that is apparently a Mortal Sin™ becomes “ah, OK” when it’s about somebody else. I mean, if there’s something I consider to be bad, I consider it bad for everybody. If that cup had straight Bourbon in it it wouldn’t matter much if the teacher in question was atheist, Mormon, catholic or muslim…

  6. says

    I have so many questions.

    Like, if they were getting people to voice act it, why did they tell the story in still photos? Was it just cheaper or did they think it added some sort of artistic gravitas to their tale?

    I’d also like to know who was in charge of editing the script, because they really need to be fired. There were so many places it needed tightening, it could easily be at least thirty seconds shorter.

    I suppose the message is all right, leaving aside the silliness of coffee being evil, the idea that you might want to talk to someone and make sure you didn’t misunderstand their supposed transgression before you go spreading rumors is not a bad lesson.

    But dang was it poorly made and written.

  7. says

    A Morman co-worker of mine would drink diet coke all day, but if you offered him coffee he would say “I don’t drink coffee” in a tone that made it sound like he thought coffee was evil. I didn’t hang around him very much.

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 6:
    same here. Completely puzzled, asking “what point was that video trying to make? it said nothing.”
    At first, I thought it might be advocating “enabling”. IE: If coffee is so evil but it is okay to give a cup to another person who wants it, then that is the role of enabler.
    Realizing even Mormons wouldn’t do that, I’ve settled on rejecting the ‘coffee is evil’ bit, onto ‘coffee is a crutch’. Mormons want to be better than needing a crutch but won’t deny crutches to those who need them.
    Still, too much puzzling involved for a simple message video. Still puzzled.

  9. says

    Anyone remember the Colin Farrell SWAT movie? There’s a scene in it where it’s revealed one of the supporting cop characters has converted to Mormonism, as his wife is a Mormon. But he keeps Doctor Pepper at the station where the SWAT guys are based, because he doesn’t want to give it up, but he also doesn’t want to piss off his wife. It struck me when I saw the film as proof it was originally written as a pilot for a new TV series, where that bit would be some sort of ongoing subplot.

  10. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    It’s really cool that they used a sign language interpreter. If only what they were making accessible to deaf people wasn’t complete shit.

  11. kiptw says

    This was all just acting?

    Wow. I thought I was just watching a slice of real life that had somehow been caught by the filmstrip camera. Well, I guess I’m relieved. I was thinking those people had actually handled real coffee. It was Mrs. Olson who was the real pusher, just like in all those ads she made.

  12. says

    Anecdotal, I know, but every last of the dozen or so of the Mormons I’ve met across my years were either alcohol, drug, or sex addicts in a way that Kieth Richards would gasp at, but all of them refused coffee.

    Maybe the sex booze and coke were see as a Catholic problem and not warned against?

    Anyway, I’d go all Bundy Ranch is someone tried to take my coffee from me.

  13. blf says

    I’d go all Bundy Ranch [if] someone tried to take my coffee from me.

    You’d act like a clewless eejit?
    (Stops and thinks about that for a second…)
    Actually, yer probably right: If some tried to take my coffee from me, I’d probably act like an clewless eejit.
    (Which does not mean I don’t act like a clewless eejit when caffeinated.)

  14. raven says

    When I was in college, the Mormon kids wouldn’t get near a cup of coffee. They all used caffeine tablets, No Doz and other brands.

    Humans are good at finding loopholes in their religious rules.

  15. says

    My experience as a high-schooler in the 70’s leads me to two observations:
    1. The still-picture format was likely made to be presented as a filmstrip. The sign-language was added later when it was converted to video. Too bad the audio doesn’t still have the beeps to signal it’s time to advance the filmstrip. Those clever Mormon sound editors must have deleted them.
    2. You can’t say the writers didn’t have a sense of humor: coffee? Mrs. Olsen? It must be Folger’s crystals.

  16. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    Yes, there are Mormons who make an exception for cola, but many don’t. My brother had a contract job in Salt Lake City a while ago, for some Mormon-connected organization, and they wouldn’t let him have coffee in the office.

    He went to a fast-food place for lunch one day, and didn’t finish his soda, so took it back with him. They stopped him at the door because it was in a paper cup that said “Coke” in large, trademarked letters. He had to open the lid and show them that it was Sprite before they let him take it back to his desk.

  17. says

    The Seventh Day Adventists have the same silly rule. The last time I saw one of my cousins was when he was 16, and my uncle read him the riot act, at great length and volume, because I was visiting and he went out and bought me a Coke, even going so far as to bring it into the house. He left home shortly afterwards, and his family never mentioned him again. I’ve asked for his whereabouts, and only get a shrug; “Who knows? Who cares?”

  18. Al Dente says

    The commandment in Mormonism is against “hot drinks”, not caffeine. Tea and coffee are forbidden to Mormons because they’re hot. Mormons are divided on hot chocolate, some eschewing it and others chewing it (sorry, couldn’t resist). Soup is acceptable.

  19. WhiteHatLurker says

    I might like Ms Robinson too, were she not so religious.

    The important question on the hot beverages – is mulled cider on the prohibited list? Trying to find this out, I stumbled on the fact that this is part of the “Word of Wisdom” of Mormonism. And beer is okay! (If it’s barley based.)

  20. woozy says

    Well… that was unanchored from any reference point…

    What the heck is so dang important about getting those photos developed? Is someone blackmailing you? Do they contain evidence of where you hid the bodies?

    Anyway… so we have no idea what this filmstrip was for originally and in what context. Do you think maybe it was a filmstrip about interacting in non-mormon settings. I mean, there’s that business about Miss vs. Sister Robinson and … where the heck does this take place? A soccer clubhouse? A school? a church? And who is Miss Robinson? A teacher? A secretary? And older student? A guidance councilor?

    Anyway, so obviously they are in a place where non-mormons have positions of authority and can ask younger … whatevers… to bring them coffee. So maybe that *is* the point of the strip. The boys go to a public school where the interact with a fellow Mormon both in a secular setting and then alternatively in the church setting and how do you keep them apropriate? Oh, I don’t know.

  21. Hatchetfish says

    I can’t bring myself to push play on this. I’m concluding from the preview frame it actually has no point to make relating to coffee, but is instead part of the secret origin story of Bubbles. Pretty sure that’s him on the left, as an (even more) awkward teen.

  22. says

    Like, if they were getting people to voice act it, why did they tell the story in still photos? Was it just cheaper or did they think it added some sort of artistic gravitas to their tale?

    I was about to say it was produced as a filmstrip, but the soundtrack didn’t have the gong sound to tell the teacher to advance the slide. It’s much, much cheaper to produce something with a still camera and an hour doing voice recording at the local radio station, than it is to get a crew of 10 people, shoot sync sound, light it and then edit it. Also a filmstrip of still photos requires no SAG residuals…

    The commandment in Mormonism is against “hot drinks”, not caffeine.

    But the term “hot drinks” has a figurative meaning that predates Mormonism by at least 200 years. The Pilgrims at Boston called beer “hot drink,” though they drank a lot of it.

  23. quotetheunquote says

    @Marcus Ranum #17.

    Too true; I think that Mr. Cruz can safely be assumed to be not guilty on this charge.

  24. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    Miss Robinson… Mrs. Robinson

    Mrs. Robinson…. Joe DiMaggio

    Joe DiMaggio… Joltin’ Joe… Mr. Coffee….

    The road to perdition is paved with free associations

  25. says

    Weird. I just googled it, and apparently the Church clarified their stance in 2012. The prohibition is against “hot drinks,” which has traditionally interpreted as referring to coffee and tea, which in turn has led many mormons to conclude that it is because they contain caffeine, and so they avoid other caffeinated beverages like colas. But, as of 2012 the church made it explicit that the prohibition is ONLY to coffee and tea, and not caffeine or caffeinated beverages in general.

    Which seems silly to me. It would at least make a certain amount of sense if caffeine was prohibited, since it is an addictive chemical. Whether in the interests of keeping the body “pure” or avoiding having ones free will “compromised” by addiction, either way at least there is some rationale for that, weak though it may be.

    If it’s not the caffeine that’s objectionable, then prohibiting two out of the many possible hot beverages is about as arbitrary and purposeless as the Mosaic prohibition against pork or shellfish. IOW, it stands revealed as just another way of separating the in-group from the out-group.

  26. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    ROFLMAO … When I was a repair engineer for a medical lab equipment company, my territory included Utah, and I occasionally did work in Los Angeles.

    I walked into the lab of a small rural Utah hospital (one of the rivets holding the buckle on the Mormon belt) and could SMELL the fresh brew! Not a coffeepot in sight in lab or break room. With the same sotto voce murmur and body language that would be used to offer me a joint in LA one of the techs offered me a cup of coffee! The EVIL brown brew of sin!

    They had the entire apparatus concealed in a cupboard. Should have used a fume hood instead.

  27. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    The ban on “hot drinks” was initially based in the popular medicine of the day, which believed that hot liquids would cause illness and weaken you.

    The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee. Tea and coffee ended up specifically mentioned because they were imported and sold at GREAT cost to the Utah colonists. Brigham Young wanted money flowing to the colony (he had no problem with selling alcohol or tobacco to non-Mormons and owned a bar) and not out of it.

    Other hot beverages made from local herbs and plants they grew themselves, were OK.

  28. porlob says

    @Al Dente #24. I’ve spent my entire life in and among Mormons in Utah, and I’ve NEVER known a single one to pass up hot cocoa. Nothing could be more wholesome for the whole family than cocoa for all, preferably Utah’s own Stephen’s brand hot cocoa, which you can expect to get about twelve canisters of as gifts each December.

    While the prohibition is against “hot drinks,” it is typically interpreted to mean coffee and tea, which is extended by many (but certainly not all) Mormons to mean anything containing caffeine. Of course this is presented right next to the bit that says you should rub tobacco on cows, that beer (“mild drink”) is A-OK, and that you should only eat meat in times of famine (which gets conveniently ignored).

  29. se habla espol says

    ***Goes to the pantry, looks back in the back in the corner in the dark, and finds…***
    A 32.5 ounce package of “Brigham Creek Farm Hot Cocoa Mix”. On the back it says “Distributed by Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah”.

    Not only does the Mormon church accept hot cocoa, they distribute it.