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Anddenex

Sabbath Keeping - How Important is it?

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I have to make this correction:

We have a GA that USED TO... LONG TIME AGO... play professional sports on Sunday.

I don't think the correction is necessary since my original post stated "played" which implies he "USED TO..." play professional sports. The point is that he played, the time doesn't really matter -- at least to me. :)

And here is how I see things (just my opinion).

Okay, after that... there's Family Home Evening on Mondays, right? So, what makes FHE? Because we spent the time with the family? Or that it is Monday? My family don't do FHE on Monday. We do it on different days depending on what works best for all of us.

Same thing with the Sabbath. Except... Sacrament meeting is held on Sunday. It's just a practical matter for the Sabbath to be a Sunday so that everybody can reserve that specific day to worship God in communion. Before the resurrection, Sabbath was a Saturday...

So, just because you work on a Sunday doesn't mean you can't keep the Sabbath holy. You can still reserve one day to dedicate to the work of God and still find a way, to the best of your ability, to join in that communion.

Now, of course, the ideal is that you reserve Sunday. Because then you can join all the other believers in communion who reserves Sunday for that activity. And that's what all those videos are for - to strive for the ideal. But just like the church gives allowances for a career-woman in a marital union, the church gives allowances for those whose lives veer towards a career Sunday... you do the best you can to labor in God's Kingdom.

Now, the transgression occurs when you didn't even try to find every way possible so you can keep Sunday holy... like, knowing full well that you're not going to be trying out for the MLS yet you skip out on Church because of a soccer game...

Excellent question and thought, however my first thoughts would suggest that the Sabbath is a little different than FHE since it is connected to the Lord resting after the creation. FHE can be done on any day of the week, the Sabbath, well not so much ( at least in my opinion ) because a member couldn't say to the Bishop, if asked if you keep the Sabbath holy and the reply is, "Well, yes of course, as a family our Sabbath day is now Wednesday." Sunday is reserved because that is the day the Lord established since the New Testament ( Sunday that is ).

Anatess, thank you for your last paragraph, and I think self contemplation is very important in any decision if a person chooses to work on the Sabbath.

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Let me preface my question with what I was taught in my youth, what I taught ( and others ) on my mission, and what I taught while I was teaching seminary.

In my youth I was taught to keep the Sabbath day such that, until I was a teenager, any soccer, basketball, and wrestling tournament which played over Sunday we never attended. Mission life we taught families to keep the Sabbath day holy and to not work on Sunday's. Some friends mention, on their mission, that they were told to invite brothers who were barely surviving to quit their jobs and find new jobs that didn't work on Sunday.

While teaching seminary, especially on the topic of Sabbath keeping, we were invited to share a story about this story BYU football player who decided not to go into the pros because he was taught to keep the Sabbath day holy ( shared in the Ensign )

We have a wonderful video by the Church regarding the rugby player who would not play on Sunday's, so much so, that the professional league changed their schedules so he could play.

Spencer W. Kimball once declared, as the prophet, "The failure to keep the Sabbath holy is evidence of man’s failure to meet the individual test set for each of us before the creation of the world, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Abr. 3:25.)

Yet, we have a newly called GA who played professional football and did not keep the Sabbath day holy, but broke it.

On one hand we are teaching keep the Sabbath day holy. The Church provides wonderful videos of people who have kept the commandments, while on the other hand we are teaching by example that it appears breaking the Sabbath is not so bad. By precept we teach keep, by example it appears we teach it is ok to break it.

What are your thoughts on this subject matter?

I'm late to the conversation and haven't read through the posts.

The thoughts I have are;

1- We don't know the whole story about the newly called GA. Has he repented? Does he keep the Sabbath day holy now? My guess is that he does or he wouldn't have been called. If that's true then the lesson here is about repentance.

2- My mother is an RN. As a young nurse she asked her father what she should do about keeping the Sabbath day holy. He advised her to donate her wages for that day to the church. I know there were times she didn't. I know she wishes she had.

There are professions that require working on Sunday. We have to provide for our families. The Lord understands these things. But when we make the sacrifices necessary to not work on Sunday we are blessed. There are too many stories for me to not believe its true. Personally, I know we were blessed when my husband stopped working on Sunday. The other blessing was he stopped shopping on Sunday. He won't even shop on holidays. My husband often reminds us that if nobody shopped on Sunday then stores would close and employees wouldn't be required to work on Sunday.

Then there is the "ox in the mire" situation. :o:)

I feel that what it all boils down to is that we must do all in our power to keep the commandments of the Lord. But only the Lord and us as individuals can judge if we're keeping the commandments. We cannot judge based on outward appearances someone else's level of obedience.

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Here are a couple of thoughts. What is the principle behind keeping the Sabbath? Is it a day to worship the Lord? A day of rest? A day to honor the covenant?

Now this scripture from Romans 14 (Not to condemn the interesting question Anddenex, just for consideration). Paul tells us to not pass judgment on disputable matters or those who are weak in the faith. One man considers one day more sacred than another, another man considers every day sacred. Who then honors the Lord? Moreover he asks, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. " (Rom 14:4) The other man is not our servant but God's. To his master (i.e. God) he stands or falls, not to us.

I can conceive of a man changing over the years. The lesson for us could be that, if we give our hearts, the Lord accepts us where we are at and over time will convert us.

Thank you james for sharing this verse and you definitely make a valid point. I also am familiar with other scriptures that mention for us to judge righteously and that after we have remove our beam we can see clearly to remove a mote, which implies the judgement is still there.

I truly appreciate your last paragraph.

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I don't think the correction is necessary since my original post stated "played" which implies he "USED TO..." play professional sports. The point is that he played, the time doesn't really matter -- at least to me. :)

Excellent question and thought, however my first thoughts would suggest that the Sabbath is a little different than FHE since it is connected to the Lord resting after the creation. FHE can be done on any day of the week, the Sabbath, well not so much ( at least in my opinion ) because a member couldn't say to the Bishop, if asked if you keep the Sabbath holy and the reply is, "Well, yes of course, as a family our Sabbath day is now Wednesday." Sunday is reserved because that is the day the Lord established since the New Testament ( Sunday that is ).

Anatess, thank you for your last paragraph, and I think self contemplation is very important in any decision if a person chooses to work on the Sabbath.

Sabbath is a little different than FHE because in FHE, all you have is your spouse and kids to agree on the day.

Sabbath is different because you have the entire Christian population to agree on the day. So, like everything else that goes with entire Church stuff - it has to be a revelation through the Prophet that we reserve what day.

But, for those who can't do it (example: Deborah who has chemical allergies among all the other challenges of Sabbath observance) they need to do the best they can under their own particular circumstance. The Lord will know what is in their hearts. We don't have that capability or authority.

Oh here's another example: We teach our children to go on a mission... and President Monson joined the military instead. Is that then a conflict of what we are teaching to the example we have? Of course not.

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Another thought that came to my mind on this subject is that - keeping the commandments can be as easy or as hard as week let it - I decided long ago that I wouldn't shop on the Sabbath - but obviously that is hard if you are new to the church and grew up shopping on a sunday. However if you make a decision - it is made and doesn't have to be made again! I know that might be idealistic.

But Heavenly Father didn't say that keeping his commandments would be easy only that in the end the reward will be worth it!

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And you're saying that we are teaching the opposite of this by example because a GA USED TO IN THE 70'S play professional sports for 6 years?

No. I am asking a question if we are sending mixed messages to our youth about keeping the Sabbath day holy.

The Church has been consistent with its teachings by precept, however by example are we teaching a mixed message with a GA who broke the Sabbath willingly, not because there wasn't any other profession he could choose.

The Church publishes and shares stories about keeping the Sabbath day holy. The Church shares the story of Eli and the rugby player. The rugby player who was so good at rugby that other teams, and in part the association, changed games from Sunday so that he could play. That is a wonderful example of keeping the Sabbath holy.

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Oh here's another example: We teach our children to go on a mission... and President Monson joined the military instead. Is that then a conflict of what we are teaching to the example we have? Of course not.

No. I don't see this within the same principle. Judging two different time periods, which would be similar to judging our day for not having animal sacrifices, although a different time period did.

Now, if a GA is called who didn't serve a mission, I think it would be a conflict, a mixed message.

Edited by Anddenex

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I was interviewed by the mission president before I was baptized. One of the issues we talked about was my working Sundays. He said that as long as I was faithful to the commandment to the best of my ability then that satisfied him. I asked if I changed my hours around to attend my meetings and then work afterwards and continued to pray for a resolution to this situation he said the definition of "To the best of my ability" was between Heavenly father and I. This is what I did. Soon after my employer changed the requirements of the position I was in to not having to work on Sundays company wide. This was an important faith rewarding experience and has stayed with me since.

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High Priest's instructor said he was talking with a non-member about keeping the sabbath day Holy and used the concept of "Ox in the Mire." The non member did not understand the term Ox in the Mire" so he explained.

Sitting at far end of the room, with my hearing aid battery dead, I also did not understand; why were we discussing Oscar Meyer weiners? (humor:Ox in the Mire sounds like Oscar Meyer)

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I was interviewed by the mission president before I was baptized. One of the issues we talked about was my working Sundays. He said that as long as I was faithful to the commandment to the best of my ability then that satisfied him. I asked if I changed my hours around to attend my meetings and then work afterwards and continued to pray for a resolution to this situation he said the definition of "To the best of my ability" was between Heavenly father and I. This is what I did. Soon after my employer changed the requirements of the position I was in to not having to work on Sundays company wide. This was an important faith rewarding experience and has stayed with me since.

Thank you for sharing a faith promoting experience McLainDow.

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I think it's important to note that the Sabbath is not Sunday for all people. Even if we all refused to work on the Sabbath, some of us would be working on Saturday, and some on Sunday depending on culture or religion and even sometimes by law. So, if someone has to work on Sunday, I have no problem with them taking another day of the week and dedicating it to the Lord.

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So, I can see where the mixed messages can come from. This is what I think about it. If we look at those examples of sports players who chose not to play on the sabbath, one thing that I think can definitely been seen is their intent/desire to keep the Sabbath. That is wonderful for teaching youth and others the importance of the Sabbath. It's so important to individuals that they made this choice or sacrifice because of what they believed. I don't think it is saying that it is totally wrong to play on the Sabbath.

As far as I am aware of, but please correct me if I'm wrong, no prophet has specifically said that it is against the Sabbath to play sports, and some of the other activities suggested in this thread. Here is something close from Preach My Gospel though, "We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath." Note the word "should," which indicates that it is probably ideal, but because of various circumstances we can participate in those activities. The Spirit should be guiding those decisions.

If these individuals feel the Spirit telling them to play sports then we can look at the positives of what them playing means. It gives non-members an opportunity to see Mormons and for them to hopefully see good works in the public, the teammates hopefully have a good example when the entertainment world desperately needs them, and it allows us as members an opportunity to learn about the Sabbath more as we ponder and discuss the principle like we're doing.

So, as said by pam i think, it isn't a black and white issue. We could have the same discussions about personal entertainment thru movies and games and books and so on. At what point are we as individuals keeping the Sabbath or not keeping it. It is something that we need to follow the Spirit and find out for ourselves what is appropriate, and hearing stories about sports and work give us ideas that we should personally test out and see if it is what the Lord wants us to do.

I personally also think it contributes to desecrating the Sabbath when we are not willing to learn and grow in this way. Maybe for a period of time you feel its okay to watch tv, but then eventually you decide I could use my time more wisely. This type of change depends on what the Spirit tells an individual. However if we shut the Spirit out because we want to watch our sunday football, then I'd say we are hardening our heart and that leads to a loss of the Spirit and then we will never engage in activities that are really keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Short and simple, we should follow the Spirit. Use examples given at church or conference as ideas for us to test. We should be active in improving the quality of our worship on the Sabbath as much as we can. As we do so we will be blessed the way the Lord wants to bless us and we will have nothing to be ashamed of or regret. As we teach, examples are to show that we are blessed when we make the effort to sacrifice and keep this commandment, not necessarily how to keep it.

Sorry thats long and may not be clearly focused, but there are some ideas.

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Andennex, it bothers me that you don't think my husband would qualify for GA even if he did everything he could do to be on the path to perfection AFTER he was already 25 and missed his mission age because he went through a period of testimony building when he's supposed to be on a mission.

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Andennex, it bothers me that you don't think my husband would qualify for GA even if he did everything he could do to be on the path to perfection AFTER he was already 25 and missed his mission age because he went through a period of testimony building when he's supposed to be on a mission.

I am sorry you feel bothered by my personal thoughts; however, I wouldn't consider myself worthy to be a GA if I didn't server a mission and I willingly chose an occupation that broke the Sabbath.

At the same time I appreciate others thoughts regarding this issue that I am contemplating.

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As far as I am aware of, but please correct me if I'm wrong, no prophet has specifically said that it is against the Sabbath to play sports, and some of the other activities suggested in this thread. Here is something close from Preach My Gospel though, "We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath." Note the word "should," which indicates that it is probably ideal, but because of various circumstances we can participate in those activities. The Spirit should be guiding those decisions.

Short and simple, we should follow the Spirit. Use examples given at church or conference as ideas for us to test. We should be active in improving the quality of our worship on the Sabbath as much as we can. As we do so we will be blessed the way the Lord wants to bless us and we will have nothing to be ashamed of or regret. As we teach, examples are to show that we are blessed when we make the effort to sacrifice and keep this commandment, not necessarily how to keep it.

Sorry thats long and may not be clearly focused, but there are some ideas.

Thank you THIRDpersonviewer for your thoughts and your willingness to address my question. I appreciate the last paragraph regarding following the spirit, because that truly can not be argued with. If a person was commanded by the Lord to work on the Sabbath, then I would agree. When the author commands we should follow.

In relation to no prophets speaking specifying that it is against the Sabbath to play sports, this is what children are taught in the Strength of Youth pamphlet:

"Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day" ( emphasis added ).

It seems pretty clear to me that our prophets have specified recreational activities and athletics events are not Sabbath activities.

Thanks again for sharing.

Edited by Anddenex

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When I look at the phrase: "Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day", I differentiate between seeking entertainment and/or doing one's job. I see a professional athlete as doing one's job, not seeking entertainment. To me, there is a difference between doing one's job, whether it be in the sports industry, health field, or retail, etc. than openly participating in shopping, attending a sports game, or going to the doctor for a non-emergency situation. So, I don't feel that the church is sending out a mixed message. I don't think Gifford Nielsen even needs to repent. What did he do wrong? He had a job that required working on Sunday. For me? End of story. Who am I to judge?

No where, have I ever heard or read that it is a sin to work on Sunday when your job requires it. But, this does not discount the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy, I believe, it is more than just important, but critical to our spiritual development. And we need to pray to receive individual guidance on the matter, and learn what the Lord wants for us individually.

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Anddenex do you not consider Elder Nielsen worthy to be a general authority because he played professional football for 6 years?

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Anddenex do you not consider Elder Nielsen worthy to be a general authority because he played professional football for 6 years?

I think this declares a mixed message to our youth and to honest church members who are seeking to honor the Sabbath and have turned down good jobs to keep it holy.

Worthiness is determined by the Lord; as I shared with Anantess, I would not consider myself worthy if I took a job on Sunday when other jobs were available.

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No where, have I ever heard or read that it is a sin to work on Sunday when your job requires it. But, this does not discount the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy, I believe, it is more than just important, but critical to our spiritual development. And we need to pray to receive individual guidance on the matter, and learn what the Lord wants for us individually.

When we transgress any of God's laws we are in sin. We are commanded six days we labor on the seventh we rest.

Spencer W. Kimball, and again as taught to our youth, " It is a day when animals may be turned out to graze and rest; when the plow may be stored in the barn and other machinery cooled down; a day when employer and employee, master and servant may be free from plowing, digging, toiling. It is a day when the office may be locked and business postponed, and troubles forgotten; a day when man may be temporarily released from that first injunction, ‘In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.’ (Genesis 3:19.) It is a day when bodies may rest, minds relax, and spirits grow. It is a day when songs may be sung, prayers offered, sermons preached, and testimonies borne, and when man may climb high, almost annihilating time, space, and distance between himself and his Creator" ( emphasis added ).

If being a professional sports player were the only job available then I would agree; if not, then choosing to work on Sunday is transgressing this law of God. With regard to parsing jobs and recreation, there is only one purposes for professional sports: entertainment. Professional sports being a job doesn't change the nature of what the job is -- athletic entertainment.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts because I am grateful to read others thoughts and how they view the situation.

Edited by Anddenex
added "athletic" to entertainment.

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I think this declares a mixed message to our youth and to honest church members who are seeking to honor the Sabbath and have turned down good jobs to keep it holy.

Worthiness is determined by the Lord; as I shared with Anantess, I would not consider myself worthy if I took a job on Sunday when other jobs were available.

Is it not wrong though to give our youth the perception that those who have chosen to work on Sundays are somehow not as worthy as those who have not? It's a personal choice and many times something that is discussed with leaders. And there is nothing that says one can't work on the Sabbath. It's only suggested that one should try not to.

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Is it not wrong though to give our youth the perception that those who have chosen to work on Sundays are somehow not as worthy as those who have not? It's a personal choice and many times something that is discussed with leaders. And there is nothing that says one can't work on the Sabbath. It's only suggested that one should try not to.

pam thank you for this question, and I agree with it whole heartedly; yet where then would we draw the line between unworthy and worthy?

I would agree church members should be taught to have charity for all. I would also agree that children need to know the difference between worthiness and unworthiness, such that they know to choose to be worthy.

We are told repeatedly that we do not pick and choose which commandments we obey and which we disobey, we are to live all the commandments and repent when we have broken them.

My concern, why do we place emphasis on some commandments as "not worthy" and others as "still worthy"? In other words, if a person decides to break the law of chastity, do we not consider this person "unworthy"? Sabbath honoring is one of the ten commandments instructed to the House of Israel by Moses. Why do we consider not honoring the Sabbath as a lesser sin?

If our Savior would have had the same choice which choice do you think he would have made?

Thank you for the question, because I would agree that we should still love our brother/sister who chooses to break a commandment, but breaking a commandment as David O McCay taught, "You cannot transgress the law of God without circumscribing your spirit."

As you can tell, this truly bothers me. We have good members who have chosen to keep the law at their expense ( monetarily ). This creates discord within teaching my children to honor and keep the Sabbath when a GA willingly chose to disobey it.

Thus I fall back to Vort's response, "I don't know." I really wish I understood more, but I don't but what I do understand this doesn't make sense ( Abraham 1: 2, one of my favorite verses in scripture ). I hear we are not to pick and choose which commandments we are to obey, we obey them all, but sometimes it appears it is ok to decide not to live some, as long as you are a good person.

Sorry pam, that was longer than intended.

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When we transgress any of God's laws we are in sin. We are commanded six days we labor on the seventh we rest.

Spencer W. Kimball, and again as taught to our youth, " It is a day when animals may be turned out to graze and rest; when the plow may be stored in the barn and other machinery cooled down; a day when employer and employee, master and servant may be free from plowing, digging, toiling. It is a day when the office may be locked and business postponed, and troubles forgotten; a day when man may be temporarily released from that first injunction, ‘In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.’ (Genesis 3:19.) It is a day when bodies may rest, minds relax, and spirits grow. It is a day when songs may be sung, prayers offered, sermons preached, and testimonies borne, and when man may climb high, almost annihilating time, space, and distance between himself and his Creator" ( emphasis added ).

If being a professional sports player were the only job available then I would agree; if not, then choosing to work on Sunday is transgressing this law of God. With regard to parsing jobs and recreation, there is only one purposes for professional sports: entertainment. Professional sports being a job doesn't change the nature of what the job is -- athletic entertainment.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts because I am grateful to read others thoughts and how they view the situation.

Is it a sin that a dairy farmer has to milk their cows day and night, including Sunday? Yes, there are other jobs they could have chosen to do. Milk isn't necessarily a life or death situation. But, a cow needs to be milked. Are all dairy farmers breaking the sabbath?

I do not discount the decision of any person who chooses not to work on the Sabbath. For them, that may be absolutely the best decision and perhaps even critical for their spiritual growth. But, I also don't judge a person as sinning when their job requires them to work on the sabbath. Where do you draw the line? Because you are in the sports industry, your job has no value, it's only for entertainment, hence you should not use your skills/talent in this field?

I see Gifford Nielsen, and other LDS sports players, musicians, actors, etc. as being a tool in the hand of the Lord. With their name in the spot light, doing the best that they can, not only in trying to observe the sabbath in spite of their career, but they are promoting the Lord's kingdom by their example in all aspects of their life. I look at Nephi when he killed Laban. Did he murder? Was he sinning? Is this teaching our youth to pick and choose which commandments they should obey? No. This teaches our children to be close to Lord, and to listen to the Spirit. All of us needs to be doing and going where the Lord wants us. If that means working in the sports industry, or any other field, we ought to be making that decision with the help of the Lord.

Edited by classylady

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My concern, why do we place emphasis on some commandments as "not worthy" and others as "still worthy"? In other words, if a person decides to break the law of chastity, do we not consider this person "unworthy"? Sabbath honoring is one of the ten commandments instructed to the House of Israel by Moses. Why do we consider not honoring the Sabbath as a lesser sin?

But where is it said that one who has a profession that requires them to work on the Sabbath is committing a sin? I think that's what it comes down to.

Why can those who work on the Sabbath still get a recommend for the temple when one of the questions asks if they attend their meetings?

Again I say it is about intent. The Lord knows what is in their heart. It is not our place to put a title of worthy or unworthy on them.

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