The LDS Church is Not Amused

In today’s Deseret News there’s a story about a clash between the LDS Church and a coffee shop located in Taylorsville, Utah. The shop, Just Add Coffee, garnered the attention of the LDS Church when it began using a modified image of the angel Moroni in its advertising.

The LDS Church’s intellectual property office sent a letter to the owners of Just Add Coffee last week, informing them that the image of the angel Moroni is a registered trademark belonging to the Church.

T-shirts being sold at the coffee shop feature an image of the angel Moroni, the golden statue of a male figure in a robe blowing a trumpet that sits atop many LDS temples. In the Just Add Coffee version, Moroni’s trumpet is angled upward as coffee from a pot is poured into it.”It was a spoof,” [the shop’s co-owner] Beazer said. “It was meant to be fun.”

It apparently didn’t amuse the LDS Church, whose members are discouraged from drinking coffee.

The same image of Moroni has also been used by the coffee shop on greeting cards and, most recently, in a newspaper ad. The LDS Church has requested that the shop discontinue use of its trademarked image of Moroni.

Just Add Coffee has pulled the newspaper ad, but is continuing — for the time being — to sell the shirts. Shop owners have requested that the Church provide proof of its trademark claim before the shop decides to stop selling “the best-selling T-shirts” they’ve ever done.

I tried searching for the Moroni registered trademark on the United States Trademark and Patent Office Trademark Electronic Search System; I couldn’t find it. But the LDS Church holds a few dozen registered trademarks — I must have just missed it.

I did find, though, that on September 5th, 2002 the LDS Church filed for a trademark on the word “Mormon.” Initially denied, over the ensuing years the objections of the trademark office have been rectified. Last month the application was “published for opposition.” This appears to be the final step before the trademark is registered.

The LDS Church has been unhappy with polygamy-practicing fundamentalists referring to themselves as Mormons. What will happen once the word “Mormon” becomes a registered trademark of the LDS Church? Will the fundamentalist groups all receive letters from the Church’s intellectual property office requiring them to stop referring to themselves as Mormons? I wonder…

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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14 Responses to The LDS Church is Not Amused

  1. Interested says:


    I love this article! It reminds me of a couple who bought the house next door several years ago. They were a very nice Mormon family and we came to know each other quite well while building a new fence. I knew they had moved from SLC and were lifetime Mormon from a long line of Mormon families. I was surprised to learn that they drank coffee, beer and smoked little cigars; both of them! I asked them how their families dealt with that and they just laughed and said “they just keep praying for us.”

    I find it interesting that you said “It apparently didn’t amuse the LDS Church, whose members are discouraged from drinking coffee”. I thought it was actually forbidden.

  2. Sharon says:


    I’m sorry — I wasn’t clear in the way the blog post was formatted. The statement that “members are discouraged from drinking coffee” is actually a quote from the Deseret News article referenced at the beginning of the post. You’re right — drinking coffee is forbidden to LDS members who want maintain a good standing in the Church; it’s part of the Word of Wisdom.

  3. Andrew says:

    I laughed out loud when they described the shirt…. that is a funny mental image. I am going to have to stop buy that coffee shop tomorrow. I am sure they are getting swamped.

  4. Brett says:

    I think it’s interesting you can trademark an Angel? I wonder if anybody has Jesus trademarked yet?

    I gotta try and get some of these shirts–the mormon kid that works for me keeps “preaching” to me about coffee (as he opens his can of coke). I told him he needed to read his D&Cs a little closer that the original passage simply refers to “Hot Drink”, but he came up with some crap about a revelation from God and how it was meant to be coffee and tea–sounds like interpretation to me.

  5. mattmnelson says:

    Even though a mark is not registered with the USPTO it is still possible to have rights in the mark under state law or the common law. See

  6. Christi *** says:

    I heard a rumor that the LDS church is, or at least was, a huge investor in PepsiCo, and that the caffeine is the thing to avoid. Any truth to that?

  7. Neal says:

    Two quick things:

    1. Please dispel the urban legend that the Church is an investor in either Coca-Cola or PepsiCo. IT is not true.

    2. It is one thing to disagree over theology — even to do so vehemently. It is quite another to mock things that people hold sacred. Why is that funny or clever? Do you chuckle when non-Christians mock Christ, His teachings, the Bible, Christian values, morals or symbols? Why would anyone reading this blog feel justified to do that to anybody else? Feel free to be critical, to not believe, to be bugged, to express differences of opnion, etc. But to mock and belittle things that others hold sacred or important is demeaning and not worthy of humble followers of Christ.

  8. rick b says:

    Neil, The WoW says, HOT DRINKS. How do we define Hot drinks as coffee and tea, but not Hot Chocolate, warm milk, or even soup broth?

    Please dont say, Hot Chocolate was not around back then, because it has been around a lot longer than JS. Plus even if one were to claim, Hot Chocolate was not around back then, it’s around today. So how come your prophet can recive revelations to support things of these last few years, but we cannot recive an update on the WoW?

    And the Bible speaks on the sugject of food and drink, so if the Bible is Gods Word, why would God change this?

    Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:

    Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

    Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

    Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

    Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

    Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

    Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

    Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

    I see this greatly applying to the LDS Church, they lay rules on the People but claim it is justifed because “god” spoke them, Yet I see false humilty among the LDS. Look at us, were holy because we dont eat or drink certain things. Rick b

  9. Andrew says:

    Can’t groups take a worthy poke and think it is funny? As a Christian, I thought it was funny the first time I saw a Darwin fish with little feet. It WAS funny. I have seen plenty of intended slams over the years against my faith that, when looked at objectively, still qualify as funny. I differ with Mormons on theology. I love my mormon neighbors.

    It is a funny shirt.

  10. Neal says:

    OK Andrew — you got me on that one — a little bit! A kid can make fun of his own sister, but if his friend says something bad, the kid will defend his sister and beat the crap out of his friend! I still contend that we should treat things that are sacred to other people with respect. Intolerance starts so innocently that we need to be cautious. Having said that, I kind of laughed a the Darwin Fish, too. Looks like I have work to do as well!

    Now Rick B. — WHAT?? I confess I do not understand the issue you have with the Word of Wisdom. The revelation says (among other things) that we should abstain from Hot Drinks. The First Presidency of the Church clarified that as meaning coffee and tea. In our religion that is their right and obligation to make such clarification when necessary. all accounts show that at the time of hte revelation the general understanding of Hot Drinks as meaning coffee and tea was understood. As time progressed and questions were asked the clarification was given. I don’t get why this is stuck in your craw? What is it that you would WANT to happen?

    Also, if individual members of the church pridefully hold their obedience to those things they believe over others, I beleive they are wrong. Obedience is humbling, not puffed up. It doesn’t make the law, the commandment or the principle wrong — it simply means the person still has some humility to learn. Imagine a conversation between two college students — one Christian, the other, not. The non-Christian says “You believe in abstaining from sex before marriage and I don’t, so everytime I am around you I feel like a slut”. Do you imagine that the Christian will abandon their principle to make the non-Christian feel more comfortable? Why should it make one bit of difference to you if in our Church we hold a standard that you don’t believe is necessary? Why does that bother you? I have been around faithful Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and others who obediently to their beliefs abstain from certain things that for me are no problem. I don’t recall once ever feeling anything but admiration that they held fast to their beliefs and humbly obeyed. I may have theological disagreements, but I don’t express those disagreements by belittling, mocking or working to destroy their faith. Although (Andrew), I do recall in circumstances with close friends, sharing a few laughs — TOGETHER — at each others expense. We just never made it a public mockery.

  11. Mr. X says:

    I did a similar TESS search for all marks registered by Intellectual Reserve (so as not to miss any image marks) and came up with nothing.

    So either: (a) the LDS church lawyer misrepresented the facts in the letter to the coffee shop, (b) there is a Utah state trademark, or (c) the LDS church is trying to assert common law trademark rights.

  12. rick b says:

    Neil, This reply to you is long, but the reason why is it is filled with LOTS of Bible verses. First off, you said Why should it make one bit of difference to you if in our Church we hold a standard that you don’t believe is necessary? Why does that bother you?

    It bothers me for two reasons. 1. Is it is a different Gospel than what Jesus or the Bible teaches, Again, Gal 1:8-9. 2. It bothers me because According to the LDS Church, keeping the WoW is required for salvation. And If I fail keeping the WoW I have no salvation. This is why it bothers me, The LDS Church is putting a heavey burden and yoke upon people that they cannot even keep. Jesus spoke about how certain Pharises Made people a two fold Child of hell.

    I have been around faithful Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and others who obediently to their beliefs abstain from certain things that for me are no problem. I don’t recall once ever feeling anything but admiration that they held fast to their beliefs and humbly obeyed. I may have theological disagreements, but I don’t express those disagreements by belittling, mocking or working to destroy their faith. Although (Andrew),

    Ok, I gave a list of verses that show God, Jesus and the apostles Drank Wine and do not condemn the drinking of any beverage. For all the people that want to claim the wine Jesus drank was non-alcoholic
    then I must ask this, Why was Jesus accused of being a drunk? You cannot be accused of being a drunk if you drink grape juice. And I might add if wine does not contain alcohol why not simply call it grape Juice. Plus the fact Jesus used the example of new wine bursting old wine skins shows that the wine is fermennting, theirfore it does contain Alcohol.

    I would ask this also, Why would God or the Bible provide verses that allow people to drink and include wine, and never mention the fact that if you do this you cannot enter the 3rd heaven, But years later God changes his mind and will keep you out of heaven for drinking something?

    1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
    1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
    1Ti 4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

    Act 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
    Act 10:10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
    Act 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
    Act 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
    Act 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
    Act 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
    Act 10:15 And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.
    Act 10:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

    Mat 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

    Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

    1Cr 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

    1Cr 9:4 Have we not power to eat and to drink?

    1Cr 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

    Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

    Luk 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

    Mat 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

    Mar 2:22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

    Luk 5:37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

    Luk 5:38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

    Act 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

    Mat 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
    Mat 15:20 These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
    Mar 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
    Mar 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, [it] cannot defile him;

  13. Ginger says:

    rick b, I imagine that the long lists of scripture that you use in most of your replies to neal and me make complete sense to you. I assure you that they do NOT make sense to me! Not in the context in which you use them. They neither answer the question at hand nor support your point. I suppose that in your mind, every scripture that teaches against anything (especially if it’s directed toward the Pharisees) is meant in this day and age for the Mormons.

    Our physical bodies and our very lives are gifts from God. They house our immortal souls. The Word of Wisdom teaches us to honor this gift by eating healthy meals and avoiding addictive substances. Like neal, I wonder why this is a point of contention for you. If you don’t believe that the Word of Wisdom is God’s law, why is it such a big deal if others do? How is keeping your body healthy a bad thing? You should know that the LDS church does NOT teach that Jesus Christ and his apostles drank grape juice. Some individual members or even groups of members may. Some people need things simplified. Like you.

    Here’s something to think about: When Jesus Christ came, he abolished the Law of Moses. HELLO! BIG CHANGE! However, God’s plan wasn’t changed in the least. So, why can’t God make small changes to the Law and His plan still be the same? Isn’t it all about obedience in the end? God doesn’t operate on your terms or mine, only His own.

  14. rick b says:

    Ginger, Did you mis the part in my reply, you asked Why the Big deal, Neil asked the same thing. I pointed out two things, 1. It is a different Gospel. 2. you cannot be saved if you dont follow the WoW. Those were my points, Salvation comes from the fact Jesus shed His Blood for me, Not by the fact of what I do or Dont eat. Rick b

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