Sodas, Slushies, and Spiritual Consequences


This object lesson will freeze your family in their tracks.
pouring soda

Photographs by John Luke and Eldad Carin/iStock/Thinkstock

It’s a magic trick. It’s an object lesson. It’s a family home evening treat! The five-second slushie might not yet be considered the Eighth Wonder of the World, but it’s well on its way.

With a little preparation, you can share an inspiring object lesson at your next family home evening that’s both delicious and fun. All you need are some 20-ounce plastic bottles of soda (any flavor), a freezer, and a few hours to let chemistry run its course.

The five-second slushie offers a way to talk about spiritual deception. It shows how our choices have consequences, even if those consequences may not seem visible at first.

Shaking Things Up

Remember how Mom and Dad have always told you not to shake soda bottles before you opened them? It’s time to ask for an exception to that advice. Leave the lids on and shake those bottles to your heart’s content. Then place them in a freezer.

Freezing times will vary, but you’re aiming for around three hours before you teach the lesson. It’s a good idea to buy a few extra soda bottles so you can experiment with several freezing times in the days before family home evening. (Don’t leave them in too long, though—the plastic containers could pop open if the soda freezes solid and expands. You may want to place them inside a plastic bag just to be safe.)

After about three hours in the freezer, the soda temperature will drop below freezing. But the soda will remain liquid because shaking the carbonation prolongs the freezing process.

More Than Meets the Eye

So, what is this soda sensation all about? This activity is a lesson about deception. Nobody works harder at deception than the adversary, and one of the ways he deceives us is to convince us that our actions have no consequences. The prophet Nephi taught: “And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance” (2 Nephi 28:22).

To begin your lesson, you might consider reading the above verse from 2 Nephi to talk about deception. Or you can find another scripture you prefer. The point is to teach that we need to guard against deception.

Now it’s time to bring out a soda from the freezer. Handle it carefully without jarring or shaking it, which could result in premature freezing. Ask your family if they notice anything unusual about this soda, which should appear perfectly normal if you found and used the right freeze time.

Very slowly, remove the lid. Ask them again if it still looks like a regular soda. (It should.)

Here’s the jaw-dropper. Slowly pour the soda into a chilled cup. As your soda leaves the bottle, the below-freezing beverage finally has a chance to freeze. It turns into an instant slushie as soon as it hits the chilled cup—completely unlike the liquid it had been only seconds earlier. It’s something you have to see to believe.

Looking Beyond the Exterior

Tell your family that the soda had been sitting in the freezer for several hours. You can point out that while at first it didn’t appear as if the soda had changed in any way, its time in the freezer had a definite consequence.

In a similar way, consequences from not keeping the commandments aren’t always immediately visible. For example, if somebody you know starts secretly breaking the Word of Wisdom, you might not notice a visible difference in them right away. But we shouldn’t be deceived. Spiritual consequences are real whenever we break—or keep—the commandments.

Perhaps here you could ask your family to list some of the unseen dangers of breaking the commandments—and even some positive consequences of keeping them.

After the discussion, you might end with the following quote from President Thomas S. Monson: “My young friends, be strong. The philosophies of men surround us. The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that” (“Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign, May 2008, 65).

In this life, we’re free to make choices but we’re not free to choose the consequences that follow (see For the Strength of Youth [2011], 2).

Science Never Tasted So Good

Lucky for you and your family, the consequence of placing a soda in the freezer for several hours is a delicious one! The five-second slushie works with any flavor of soda. So pick a favorite to start with, and once the lesson is over, you’ll have a built-in treat to share with your family.

That’s a magical consequence we can all enjoy.