dahlia

Fasting - some questions

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Learn about the principle of fasting. Here's what I've been able to gather so far:

 

1, fasting is a principle of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a principle of power.

There are some who do the whole 24 hr-2 meal fast, and yet are sacrificing very little for one reason or another. If your health or conditions are making you fast anyway, you should try to find a way to make your monthly fast a bit more special.

2, we deprive ourselves of food so that we may feast on the Spirit.

Throughout ancient scripture, food and the body have always been prominent teaching models. One of the most important lessons these scriptures offer, is that Man must give away their lives (bodies) in order to be saved. Put away the physical in favor of the spiritual. Fasting, in a small way, prepares us to make that sacrifice. Our bodies tell us to go eat something about every 3 hours. The act of deliberately ignoring our physical needs for a while is inherently spiritual.

3, obedience is the Spirit of the law.

One of my pet peeves is when people shout out "spirit of the law!" Whenever they are inconvenienced by a commandment or principle. I believe these sort are more like Pharisees than those who obsess over strict adherence. Fasting ought to be inspired by a deep sense of humility and meekness; to be born out of an ernest desire to serve and obey.

4, in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

That scripture in D&C provides a very singular take on fasting among Christians. What does it mean? I think it means that the days we fast ought to stand out from all other days. There are blessings, comforts, and joys which the faster is privileged to have access to. It is sin, I think, to not take advantage of them.

 

Well, That's fasting as I understand it. Even if you can't fast in the normal way, I bet it's still possible to abide by these principles.

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19 hours ago, Moonbeast32 said:

Learn about the principle of fasting. Here's what I've been able to gather so far:

 

1, fasting is a principle of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a principle of power.

There are some who do the whole 24 hr-2 meal fast, and yet are sacrificing very little for one reason or another. If your health or conditions are making you fast anyway, you should try to find a way to make your monthly fast a bit more special.

Which is greater, skipping two meals in fasting or following the Law of Sacrifice?

If one cannot fast but follows the Law of Sacrifice, who is the one actually following the Law?

If the Lord was NOT fasting on the Sabbath nor keeping the Law on the Sabbath as accused by the Pharisees when he and the apostles were eating on the Sabbath...who was keeping the Law and benefiting from it more?  The Pharisess or the Lord?

Who understood it more?

Quote

2, we deprive ourselves of food so that we may feast on the Spirit.

Throughout ancient scripture, food and the body have always been prominent teaching models. One of the most important lessons these scriptures offer, is that Man must give away their lives (bodies) in order to be saved. Put away the physical in favor of the spiritual. Fasting, in a small way, prepares us to make that sacrifice. Our bodies tell us to go eat something about every 3 hours. The act of deliberately ignoring our physical needs for a while is inherently spiritual.

3, obedience is the Spirit of the law.

One of my pet peeves is when people shout out "spirit of the law!" Whenever they are inconvenienced by a commandment or principle. I believe these sort are more like Pharisees than those who obsess over strict adherence. Fasting ought to be inspired by a deep sense of humility and meekness; to be born out of an ernest desire to serve and obey.

4, in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

It is tiresome, but I get the message.  People do NOT want to listen to the prophet nor general authorities on the Spirit of the Fast nor on disabilities.  I get it.  People with disabilities are looked down upon by many members in the Church.  They do not want those with Disabilities being able to gain the blessings (others are able to get with little or no sacrifice) and would rather have them die in order to get the same blessings.

Why people have this attitude...I'm not so sure.

BUT, if Fasting is but a principle of the Law of Sacrifice, you would think the Greater Law would subsume the Lesser Law.  If Fasting is truly a principle of Sacrifice, to them that sacrifice more to go to the Church and attend or do all other things, you would imagine go the greater blessings.

But I have found, that despite all that the Prophet or others have said on the matter, in the end many feel it is attendance to a the smaller sacrifice rather than the greater that truly matters.

If we discuss the Pharisees, once again, they condemned the LORD for eating on the Sabbath.  Who then followed the Law more exactly?  The Pharisees in their demand to follow the principle that was established, or the Lord who followed the Greater Law?

I think at the last day we may find that some of those who were disabled were some of the greatest among us, and we condemned them to our shame.

I have not given excuse to those able to fast, only explained about the Church's teaching regarding those who CANNOT fast (big difference there) for two meals (which does not obviate fasting by missing two meals on Fast Sunday, but fasting has not necessarily meant skipping two meals on fast Sunday only as some seem to indicate in this thread as their one and only belief).  This greater idea of Fasting (which can incorporate skipping two meals on Fast Sunday) actually encompasses FAR more than the smaller definition people have been using, and is the Spirit of Fasting. 

There's far more to Fasting or the Spirit of the Fast than the definition of skipping two meals on a Sunday.  The Lord also said for men to marry three wives according to older church texts, and those that did not, would not in anyway enter the Celestial Kingdom.  I don't see many doing that today, and if they try, most would be excommunicated.  This is because the actual LAW which it is attached to and we can follow is kept by keeping the Spirit of that Law, which is greater than the physical commandment given at an earlier date.

Quote

That scripture in D&C provides a very singular take on fasting among Christians. What does it mean? I think it means that the days we fast ought to stand out from all other days. There are blessings, comforts, and joys which the faster is privileged to have access to. It is sin, I think, to not take advantage of them.

D&C 59?  Yes, it is also talking about keeping the Sabbath Day holy...which is another thing which I see as an important thing to do (and could open another can of worms regarding those who feel the Letter of the Law supersedes the Spirit of the Law in regards to those who must work).

Quote

 

Well, That's fasting as I understand it. Even if you can't fast in the normal way, I bet it's still possible to abide by these principles.

That actually is what I've been stating this entire thread, but very few actually seem to actually agree with this idea.

 

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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I will put this here...from Howard W. Hunter...

The church is for all people

Quote

May I hasten to add that no blessing, including that of eternal marriage and an eternal family, will be denied to any worthy individual. While it may take somewhat longer —perhaps even beyond this mortal life for some to achieve this blessing, it will not be denied.

This was more addressed towards those unmarried women, but the principle holds true.  NO BLESSING will be denied to any worthy individual.  Just because one is handicapped or disabled does NOT make them unworthy.

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On 1/24/2020 at 12:45 PM, Jonah said:

Hi Anatess, we can agree to disagree; as we have different opinions.  A personal prayer or alms is
private in nature.  I don't observe a designated fast day sanctioned by the Catholic church.  I don't
see the early disciples fasting on a monthly basis.  The spirit of the law in regards to fasting, imo,
expands to non-food-eating activities.

I'm not talking about opinions.  I'm talking about Church teachings.  I'm trying to figure out the basis of your opinion because I don't know of a single Christian Church that teaches it, and especially not the Catholic Church for which you profess to belong in.

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2 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

It is tiresome, but I get the message.  People do NOT want to listen to the prophet nor general authorities on the Spirit of the Fast nor on disabilities.  I get it.  People with disabilities are looked down upon by many members in the Church. 

Did a strawman kill your parents? Is that why you're pummeling it so mercilessly?

2 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I will put this here...from Howard W. Hunter...

The church is for all people

Quote

May I hasten to add that no blessing, including that of eternal marriage and an eternal family, will be denied to any worthy individual. While it may take somewhat longer —perhaps even beyond this mortal life for some to achieve this blessing, it will not be denied.

This was more addressed towards those unmarried women, but the principle holds true.  NO BLESSING will be denied to any worthy individual.  Just because one is handicapped or disabled does NOT make them unworthy.

If President Hunter is contradicting what Vort is saying, then not only are righteous single women blessed with eternal marriage and an eternal family, these single sisters are also blessed to rear their own biological children in this life! Do you think that's what President Hunter is saying? Or do you think rearing your own children in this life is not one of the blessings of marriage in mortality?

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2 minutes ago, mordorbund said:

Did a strawman kill your parents? Is that why you're pummeling it so mercilessly?

I'm packing it up.  You just won the internet for the day.

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12 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

That actually is what I've been stating this entire thread, but very few actually seem to actually agree with this idea.

I don't understand. Why are you responding like this? Did I accidentally walk into an argument in progress? I only wrote all that to answer OP's initial question.

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Well, blessing or not? 

First, I'll say that I had a difficult time with the concept of blessing when I took lessons. Why do we need to be blessed? Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed? Shouldn't we do the right thing without wanting blessings? I still don't know how I feel about this, but I pray anyway. Moving on...

So, I did my fast. I finished the BOM. I did what I told myself I would do for me and for the person having surgery. Today, we got notices about the Iowa caucuses. I had to look up my precinct to find my caucus location and while I was looking for my voting card in my desk drawer, I came upon a check from the state. A big, big check. Long story short, after checking with my bank and the state, it looks like I put the big, big check in my drawer and forgot about it. This was just a few weeks before I retired, and perhaps my mind was elsewhere. 

Anyway, big money is coming my way! But here's the thing - I have been helping this person financially. Now that I'm retired, I have to think twice before I do this stuff, but I thought it was worth the sacrifice. And darned if the check isn't EXACTLY what I've paid for this person's bills and to help out! I did this over several transactions and when I added them up, OMGoodness! So what do y'all think? A fasting blessing? A 'Stupid, you forgot to deposit a big, big check? Are you senile?' kinda thing? It's weird, huh?

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4 hours ago, dahlia said:

Why do we need to be blessed? Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed? Shouldn't we do the right thing without wanting blessings?

That's kinda like questioning the morality of drinking a glass of water because it fulfils the selfish end of postponing dehydration.

Fasting, and ultimately prayer, is the act of manifesting the will of God in your own desires. The Lord wills to bless you, and sometimes a little faith is necessary on your part. Fasting helps with that. I believe a truly sanctified character often asks for things in fasting and prayer, but the things they ask for are always something that the Lord already wants to bless them with. This is true for all things, from finding lost objects, to the blessing of eternal life.

Now of course it's possible to miss the point with seeking blessings they could be sought out greedily or without real intent. Nevertheless, don't be getting in the habit of refraining from seeking blessings. I think everyone who hopes to attain eternal life will be doing a whole lot of that their entire lives.

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8 hours ago, dahlia said:

Well, blessing or not? 

First, I'll say that I had a difficult time with the concept of blessing when I took lessons. Why do we need to be blessed? Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed? Shouldn't we do the right thing without wanting blessings? I still don't know how I feel about this, but I pray anyway. Moving on...

These questions don't make sense to me.  Blessings are God's way of letting us know what we want aligns with His Will.  That's the objective of life.  So, do we need to be blessed is like asking "do we need to align our will with God's"... the answer, of course, is yes.  Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed - well, that's an easy answer.  Fasting is our way of exercising the power of our Spirits to overcome the trappings of the natural man and it is when the Spirit is unhindered with the natural world that it is best at seeing His Will.  Tithing is our way for our Spirits to exercise power over the natural trappings of wealth - being able to align our will to God's Will FIRST before our natural needs.  Just like the blessings of tithing is not getting rich, the blessings of fasting is not getting whatever it is we asked for.  The blessings of fasting is the "a-ha" moment that is our witness and testimony that what we wanted is in line with what God wanted for us... or that we were able to realize that what we wanted is not quite what God wanted and so we were able to align our will to His.  Without this, fasting/tithing/prayers hold no meaning for us.

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11 hours ago, dahlia said:

...Why do we need to be blessed? Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed? Shouldn't we do the right thing without wanting blessings?.... 

...So what do y'all think? A fasting blessing? A 'Stupid, you forgot to deposit a big, big check? Are you senile?' kinda thing? It's weird, huh?

I sometimes wonder the same thing. Is the ulterior motive for doing something spiritual or good just for a blessing/reward? Why can't something good and lovingly be done just because it's the right thing to do, and in @dahlia's case because she cares about the person? Everyone has their motives but to only focus on how one can be rewarded for doing a good thing seems a little selfish and a little less good.

As for your new found money - it was there before you started your fast, so I'll chalk it up to absent-mindedness. 😊

M.

Edited by Maureen

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6 minutes ago, Maureen said:

I sometimes wonder the same thing. Is the ulterior motive for doing something spiritual or good just for a blessing/reward? Why can't something good and lovingly be done just because it's the right thing to do, and in @dahlia's case because she cares about the person? Everyone has their motives but to only focus on how one can be rewarded for doing a good thing seems a little selfish and a little less good.

As for your new found money - it was there before you started your fast, so I'll chalk it up to absent-mindedness. 😊

M.

That doesn't make sense.  The way you know what you're doing is "good" is because you got blessed for it.  Otherwise, you're probably not doing something good.

Now, what I think is the disconnect here is our understanding of what a Blessing is.  So, here's an example from my own personal experience.  My dad had cancer.  I prayed that my dad will survive the cancer.  My dad died.  Some might say, I did not get blessed.  On the contrary, I did.  The blessing was not that my dad was spared the cancer, the blessing was that I was able to gain a testimony on true service and that I was prepared to accept my dad's passing... this made my will more aligned with God's will.  Without this re-alignment, there's no reason for me to pray because God is not going to spare my dad if it is not His Will to do so.

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2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

These questions don't make sense to me.  Blessings are God's way of letting us know what we want aligns with His Will.  That's the objective of life.  So, do we need to be blessed is like asking "do we need to align our will with God's"... the answer, of course, is yes.  

Thank you for that. I am not always the best Mormon, still don't know all the theology, and don't always think this way. I'd hear women talking in RS about a problem, then everyone would say they should pray,  and I'm sitting there thinking, "You need therapy."

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5 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

That doesn't make sense.  The way you know what you're doing is "good" is because you got blessed for it.  Otherwise, you're probably not doing something good.

Now, what I think is the disconnect here is our understanding of what a Blessing is.  So, here's an example from my own personal experience.  My dad had cancer.  I prayed that my dad will survive the cancer.  My dad died.  Some might say, I did not get blessed.  On the contrary, I did.  The blessing was not that my dad was spared the cancer, the blessing was that I was able to gain a testimony on true service and that I was prepared to accept my dad's passing... this made my will more aligned with God's will.  Without this re-alignment, there's no reason for me to pray because God is not going to spare my dad if it is not His Will to do so.

Thanks for your story.  I usually don't pray only for a specific result. Of course I pray that I or the other person be spared whatever calamity we're facing, but I also ask for the grace to deal with whatever comes. My will is not God's. I'm not always going to get what I want, and I'm not always going to be happy about it. Those are the times I need the grace to deal with it and to stay close to God instead of blaming and running away. 

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https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1984/11/why-do-we-serve?lang=eng

(Then) Elder Oaks gave six reasons why people serve in the church.  I think the reasons can also be applied to why people keep the commandments.  He says the second to highest reason is for the hope of an eternal reward.  The best reason is because we have become the kind of person who wants to, because we love other people and God.

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11 hours ago, dahlia said:

Well, blessing or not? 

First, I'll say that I had a difficult time with the concept of blessing when I took lessons. Why do we need to be blessed? Why should we do things like fasting or tithing so that we can be blessed? Shouldn't we do the right thing without wanting blessings? I still don't know how I feel about this, but I pray anyway. Moving on...

I'm in the same boat. Intellectually, I understand that one way to look at things is that we always act out of selfish motives, in the sense that we act according to what we value most. (If we value our child most, we will act to protect him or her. I suppose defining such a thing as "selfish" destroys the real meaning of selfishness, which is when you value your own comfort and well-being above all else.)

Using this view, we will only do something (drive to the store, go to work, obey God) if we perceive that it will further our values agenda. If we value ease and comfort above all, we will not obey God (or go to work, or maybe even drive to the store). So it sort of makes sense. But it still rankles.

I remember reading an article in a Church-oriented magazine decades ago. The author was positively (and unabashedly) Pavlovian in describing the ministration of the Spirit. At one point, he wrote about choosing to do something or other that was good, and then described "oh, the sweet, sweet communion with the Spirit" that followed. The description frankly struck me as almost pornographic. I recoiled at the sentence, and do so now just remembering it. I have long wondered whether my very negative reaction to this man's well-meant article showed a deficiency in me or in his writing. Maybe both. And that's sort of similar to what seems to be going on here.

Anyway, Dahlia, I suspect that people like you and me need to somehow look past what appears to be an appeal to favor-currying with God and instead understand the underlying idea that we are always blessed when we obey, and at times we perhaps obey only because we have faith that we will be blessed for so doing.

That's my take, anyway.

11 hours ago, dahlia said:

So, I did my fast. I finished the BOM. I did what I told myself I would do for me and for the person having surgery. Today, we got notices about the Iowa caucuses. I had to look up my precinct to find my caucus location and while I was looking for my voting card in my desk drawer, I came upon a check from the state. A big, big check. Long story short, after checking with my bank and the state, it looks like I put the big, big check in my drawer and forgot about it. This was just a few weeks before I retired, and perhaps my mind was elsewhere. 

Anyway, big money is coming my way! But here's the thing - I have been helping this person financially. Now that I'm retired, I have to think twice before I do this stuff, but I thought it was worth the sacrifice. And darned if the check isn't EXACTLY what I've paid for this person's bills and to help out! I did this over several transactions and when I added them up, OMGoodness! So what do y'all think? A fasting blessing? A 'Stupid, you forgot to deposit a big, big check? Are you senile?' kinda thing? It's weird, huh?

I don't know if it's a blessing from fasting or faith or what. At times like these, I sometimes think that analyzing such an event (like I usually do) may be counterproductive. Maybe it's best in such cases just to thank God for his tender mercies and rejoice in the piece of silver you recovered.

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23 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

That doesn't make sense.  The way you know what you're doing is "good" is because you got blessed for it.  Otherwise, you're probably not doing something good....

Most people know right from wrong, good from bad because they are human beings, they have a moral compass.

M.

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35 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Most people know right from wrong, good from bad because they are human beings, they have a moral compass.

M.

Yeah.  That would be the humanist view of things.  This leads to moral relativity which is not what we, as LDS people, are going for - we're going for God's morality.  You might say we're going for orienting that moral compass to God.

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On 1/20/2020 at 6:49 PM, Maureen said:

I know this is your opinion but, the 2nd greatest commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself. On a plane, you are instructed to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others. As a parent, if you want to be there for your children you must take care of yourself. There are so many things in life where being kind to yourself makes it easier to be kind to others.

M.

I do not disagree - but it is a matter of focus.  It is true you cannot help other accomplish things you cannot do for yourself.  There is however, a matter of purpose, focus and desire.  When the focus is for the benefit of self - then by definition that is selfishness.   Taking care of self for the benefit of others is the first act of heroism and sacrifice; which is the foundation of of stable society and the beginning of peace.   My parents said that what defines a person is what they do when they do not have to do anything.  So with this understanding a kind person is not just a person that is kind - a kind person is kind when there is no pressing need and no one expects them to be kind.  Anyone can be kind to their friends or those that appreciate it - but only a kind person is kind to their enemies and those that have no expectation for kindness. 

 

The Traveler

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55 minutes ago, Traveler said:

...When the focus is for the benefit of self - then by definition that is selfishness... 

That is a very black and white way of looking at it. @Traveler, you like to ski and cycle; those activities are a benefit to you both physically and mentally and I'm guessing you do both because you enjoy them. And I believe that doesn't make you selfish for enjoying them. Those activities benefit you first and foremost and there is nothing wrong or selfish about that.

 

1 hour ago, Traveler said:

...a kind person is not just a person that is kind - a kind person is kind when there is no pressing need and no one expects them to be kind.  Anyone can be kind to their friends or those that appreciate it - but only a kind person is kind to their enemies and those that have no expectation for kindness. 

I agree totally.

M.

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3 hours ago, Maureen said:

That is a very black and white way of looking at it. @Traveler, you like to ski and cycle; those activities are a benefit to you both physically and mentally and I'm guessing you do both because you enjoy them. And I believe that doesn't make you selfish for enjoying them. Those activities benefit you first and foremost and there is nothing wrong or selfish about that.

M.

Interesting - I am impressed you remember my love of skiing and cycling.   I began cycling as a youth delivering daily news papers.  I stuck with cycling into my marriage because it was cheaper than taking a car to work.  Since I only had one car - I left that one for my wife and kids.  However, I was raised with the idea that joy come not so much from doing what we want as it is from learning to love what we are doing.  Never-the-less - you are more correct than I would like to admit.  For many years my bicycle cost more than our family car.  Currently my car is over 26 years old - my bicycle is much younger.

On the other hand skiing is pure pleasure for me and I have no excuse but selfishness.  Though I usually ski with brothers - I do spend many a day on the slops by myself - especially on snow days when the visibility is low - I am often by myself and I have no excuse - it is an act of selfishness.   Maybe not so much that my wife does not complain that I am there and not bothering her.  Her favorite activity is shopping - and try as I will - she does not enjoy shopping so much when I am with her.

 

The Traveler

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