dahlia

Fasting - some questions

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Hey Strangers¬† ūüėĄ¬† -¬† ¬†I have a question about fasting.

I have been unable to do a full 1st Sunday fast since I joined the Church because I take insulin and my endo told me not to fast. OK. Fast forward a few years, my diabetes is better controlled, I do IF and skip breakfast anyway, and rarely have to take any insulin in the morning. I have been able to fast in the morning on Fast Sundays for months now. 

Because of these medical issues, I haven't fasted the way members say they do - like if there's a problem, or someone else is sick, etc. Since I'm retired, am at home, and have a bit more control of what I'm doing. Most people don't realize that medication dosing for diabetes entails a combination of food intake, activity levels, started blood sugar, etc. I don't want to fast if for 2 meals if I am running around town because I'll get scary low blood sugar, which has happened.  

Anyway, I'd like to fast for someone who is having surgery. I may have to drink some almond milk to get me thru, but I'd leave it at that and try to an all day fast - from after dinner to 5-ish the next evening.

Questions:

  • Is that enough?
  • Do you tell someone you are fasting for them?

Not being able to fast has caused me real concern over the years as I frequently felt not completely Mormon because I couldn't / didn't fast. I hope I can do a 'real' fast, but I might never be able to do so. I'm thinking I can struggle through a day, tho. Thoughts?

Off topic, how y'all are?

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Hi Dahlia, good to see you!

First and foremost, hooray for better controlled diabetes!

Regarding your question, I'd think you can attain every single spiritual goal of fasting without risking any negative health impacts.  It's ok to do less than a full day if that's what you can reasonably do and take care of your medical needs.  You'll probably be hard-pressed to find someone to tell you "you must ignore the realities of diabetes in order to fast right" - that's just not how it works. 

The chapter in the Gospel Principles manual on fasting holds a lot of comforting things about its spiritual nature - it has helped more than one person struggling with health problems.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-25-fasting?lang=eng

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If I don't eat I get severe sinus headaches that last 18-24 hours.  Fasting is out for me.  To participate in fasting I remove something from my diet that is noticeable.  For me that is any sort of flavored drink.  I notice if I don't drink something with flavor, which reminds me that I am fasting.  Perhaps something akin would work for you as well.

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2 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

¬† To participate in fasting I remove something from my diet that is noticeable.¬†ÔĽŅ For me that is any sort of flavored drink.¬† I notice if I don't drink something with flavor, which reminds me that I am fasting.¬†

That's actually a great substitute for fasting. Never thought of that. 

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I think the following from verse 3 of section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants might be applicable here:

3  Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 89:3)

I'm not trying to say you are weak. The point I'm trying to draw your attention to is that some principles might be adaptable, according to the capacity of the saints. However, I will add that cautionary note that we need to be very careful about deciding if and how we will adapt any principles to fit our own circumstances. Such decisions are best made in consultation with local Priesthood leaders.

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@dahlia  I would suggest that the primary element of a fast is physical discipline for a spiritual purpose.  You may consider a special diet for your fast.  For example you could abstain from sugars and carbs.  You could also limit your portions.   Again the purpose of a fast is spiritual - It is my personal opinion that putting yourself at physical risk is not spiritual.  So if someone is sick or injured - they should not fast (abstain) with the same methods as thought they were healthy.

I would also suggest that during a fast that it is good to also abstain from other worldly things besides food.  For example one could consider abstaining from various entertainments and recreations.  Anyway - the fast is an act of discipline (similar to a Sabbath celebration) and not just going without but also much greater effort of doing specifically that which draws one closer to G-d.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

I would also suggest that during a fast that it is good to also abstain from other worldly things besides food.  For example one could consider abstaining from various entertainments and recreations.  Anyway - the fast is an act of discipline (similar to a Sabbath celebration) and not just going without but also much greater effort of doing specifically that which draws one closer to G-d.

The Traveler

I like the idea of abstaining from other worldly things. I'm going to think about that. I have a pile of books I have been trying to work through since I retired. Maybe no social media and just reading is an idea. Doing housework would probably be a better idea, but let's not go crazy. 

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Thanks for the responses. Maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone said that it was OK or not to tell the person you are fasting for that you are fasting.

I read the recommended resources; thanks again.

Now I have another question - are there recommended sections of the BOM for people who are sick? I think I've seen a list of 'read X scripture if you have Y problem.'  If you know what I mean and can direct me to that, I can figure out the rest on my own. 

For some reason, I have been prompted to start reading the BOM again. I've been doing it during odd moments, but maybe I will make a concerted effort to finish it before this person's surgery. Can't hurt either one of us. 

Thanks again. 

 

Edited by dahlia

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3. Doing fine. It's great to see you again.

2. Tell them if you like. That's up to you. If you think it will benefit them to know, let them know.

1. I will voice the unpopular view.

 The blessings of the fast are found only through fasting, and in no other way. If you cannot fast, then so be it. Don't worry about it. Just do your best. But the blessings that pertain specifically to fasting won't come. That is not a punishment, just a fact of life.

I think the idea of sacrificing something in lieu of fasting is a worthy one. I think much good can be gained from following such a course. But it's not fasting, and it will not bring all of the blessings of fasting. So keep your expectations tempered.

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20 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

The chapter in the Gospel Principles manual on fasting holds a lot of comforting things about its spiritual nature - it has helped more than one person struggling with health problems.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-25-fasting?lang=eng

I read that chapter.

One Sunday each month Latter-day Saints observe a fast day.

On fast Sunday, members of the Church meet together and partake of the sacrament.

But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear 
not unto men to fast (Matthew 6:16‚Äď18).

Are the blessings the same for people participating in the church's public announcement of a
dedicated fast Sunday every month versus one's personal fast; when they don't reveal to 
others they are fasting?

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As a diabetic who used to not be able to fast, your plan sounds about like what I've been doing since starting using Lantus around 2003: fast completely if I can; use a not-particularly-enticing something to raise my blood sugar when I must.

I never have told someone I was fasting for them, but see no reason why you couldn't.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

1. I will voice the unpopular view.

 The blessings of the fast are found only through fasting, and in no other way. If you cannot fast, then so be it. Don't worry about it. Just do your best. But the blessings that pertain specifically to fasting won't come. That is not a punishment, just a fact of life.

I think the idea of sacrificing something in lieu of fasting is a worthy one. I think much good can be gained from following such a course. But it's not fasting, and it will not bring all of the blessings of fasting. So keep your expectations tempered.

Do you think fasting from when I get up to dinner is enough?

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32 minutes ago, dahlia said:

Do you think fasting from when I get up to dinner is enough?

Enough for what? Any sincere effort will bring forth the blessings of heaven. But if there are blessings associated¬†specifically¬†with a standard 24-hour fast‚ÄĒand I believe there are‚ÄĒthen the¬†only¬†way to gain those particular blessings is by doing a 24-hour fast.

If you are truly unable to fast for 24 hours, then don't worry about it. No, you can't claim the blessings specific to a 24-hour fast, the way a blind man can't claim the blessing of seeing a rainbow. But the blind man is not condemned for not seeing the rainbow, and you will not be condemned for not enjoying the blessings of a 24-hour fast. So if you're doing what you can, then good for you, and don't worry about the rest. Perhaps someday in this life, and certainly in the next, you will be able to claim the blessings of such a fast if you choose to.

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22 hours ago, dahlia said:

Hey Strangers¬† ūüėĄ¬† -¬† ¬†I have a question about fasting.

I have been unable to do a full 1st Sunday fast since I joined the Church because I take insulin and my endo told me not to fast. OK. Fast forward a few years, my diabetes is better controlled, I do IF and skip breakfast anyway, and rarely have to take any insulin in the morning. I have been able to fast in the morning on Fast Sundays for months now. 

Because of these medical issues, I haven't fasted the way members say they do - like if there's a problem, or someone else is sick, etc. Since I'm retired, am at home, and have a bit more control of what I'm doing. Most people don't realize that medication dosing for diabetes entails a combination of food intake, activity levels, started blood sugar, etc. I don't want to fast if for 2 meals if I am running around town because I'll get scary low blood sugar, which has happened.  

Anyway, I'd like to fast for someone who is having surgery. I may have to drink some almond milk to get me thru, but I'd leave it at that and try to an all day fast - from after dinner to 5-ish the next evening.

Questions:

  • Is that enough?
  • Do you tell someone you are fasting for them?

Not being able to fast has caused me real concern over the years as I frequently felt not completely Mormon because I couldn't / didn't fast. I hope I can do a 'real' fast, but I might never be able to do so. I'm thinking I can struggle through a day, tho. Thoughts?

Off topic, how y'all are?

RE: "enough":

Mosiah 4:24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I agive not because I bhave not, but if I had I would cgive.

RE: "tell someone": I think in this case, if you feel it would help them and if it suits your comfort level, by all means tell them.

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12 hours ago, dahlia said:

Now I have another question - are there recommended sections of the BOM for people who are sick?

I have heard many stories that if you will just open up the Book of Mormon and read - that you will get the answer to your question.  So I know this guy - it seemed that everything was going wrong in his life.  He lost his job and was having difficulty finding another job.  So he could not make his house payment, his car payment, his boat payment, his credit card payments, and just about every other payment.  His wife got tired of him not making payments and not getting another job so she moved out and threatened divorce.  His kids hated him because he could not buy them anything they wanted - he was unhappy and asked we what he should do.  I told him to just open up the Book of Mormon and read.  

About a week later he had a new car, was able to keep his house, his wife came back and he was able to buy his kids stuff so they were happy.  It was like magic.  I could not resist so I asked what scripture did he turn to.  He said he opened up the Book of Mormon and it said - "Chapter 11".

Okay - I am sorry.  I am sure a lot of people are serious about problems but I could not resist this little bit of sick humor.  (PS. the story is not true) - please, everybody, do not get mad.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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19 hours ago, Jonah said:

I read that chapter.

One Sunday each month Latter-day Saints observe a fast day.

On fast Sunday, members of the Church meet together and partake of the sacrament.

But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear 
not unto men to fast (Matthew 6:16‚Äď18).

Are the blessings the same for people participating in the church's public announcement of a
dedicated fast Sunday every month versus one's personal fast; when they don't reveal to 
others they are fasting?

I've couldn't settle on just one response, so I'll give you all of them and you can tell me which one you like best.

1. You read the chapter. What did you think of the portion that quoted the same scripture you did?

2. The dedicated fast Sunday is the first Sunday of every month except April and October. The next one will be a week from Sunday. Come and see. Come and see if you can pick out the people who are fasting from the ones who aren't. I'll raise the stakes. You have my permission to point the finger of scorn and shout "hypocrite" to anyone who appears to be fasting in the Matthew 6 sense.

3. As a Catholic, Are the blessings the same for people participating in the public announcement of canonical fast periods such as Lent versus one's personal fast; when they don't reveal to others they are fasting? If Catholics don't engage in personal fasts, then does that make all forms of fasting hypocritical as per Matthew 6?

4. I would say that there is a difference, though it is not rooted in Matthew 6. The difference is that on fast Sundays fasting becomes a form of communal worship where the faith of a single congregation becomes unified, while personal fasts are just that - personal. It is the same difference experienced when one engages in congregational prayer versus praying on one's closet.

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1 hour ago, mordorbund said:

I've couldn't settle on just one response, so I'll give you all of them and you can tell me which one you like best.

1. You read the chapter. What did you think of the portion that quoted the same scripture you did?

2. The dedicated fast Sunday is the first Sunday of every month except April and October. The next one will be a week from Sunday. Come and see. Come and see if you can pick out the people who are fasting from the ones who aren't. I'll raise the stakes. You have my permission to point the finger of scorn and shout "hypocrite" to anyone who appears to be fasting in the Matthew 6 sense.

3. As a Catholic, Are the blessings the same for people participating in the public announcement of canonical fast periods such as Lent versus one's personal fast; when they don't reveal to others they are fasting? If Catholics don't engage in personal fasts, then does that make all forms of fasting hypocritical as per Matthew 6?

4. I would say that there is a difference, though it is not rooted in Matthew 6. The difference is that on fast Sundays fasting becomes a form of communal worship where the faith of a single congregation becomes unified, while personal fasts are just that - personal. It is the same difference experienced when one engages in congregational prayer versus praying on one's closet.

I would add two more

5.  The designated fast Sunday (usually the first Sunday of the month) all members are encouraged to donate for the poor (mostly in their area) what they did not eat or a cash or other equivalent.  So this worship is rooted in remembering the poor and needy and making a sacrifice in their behalf.  As a parent I greatly appreciated the opportunity of reminding (teaching) my children (when they were young a living at home) when they complained of being hungry during the monthly fast of children that spend day after day - hungry and that they had an opportunity to not just make a gift but to understand what such a gift means to them.

6. Included with the fast worship - members come to church and share their personal spiritual experiences and testimonies of Christ; influenced because of their fast.

 

The Traveler

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On 1/18/2020 at 4:41 PM, mirkwood said:

If I don't eat I get severe sinus headaches that last 18-24 hours.  Fasting is out for me.  To participate in fasting I remove something from my diet that is noticeable.  For me that is any sort of flavored drink.  I notice if I don't drink something with flavor, which reminds me that I am fasting.  Perhaps something akin would work for you as well.

When I was pregnant or nursing and couldn't fast, I did something similar and I got answers to my prayers...so I'm convinced the Lord accepts a "modified" fast. 

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Hi @dahlia, you will be familiar with Fasting's brother - Abstinence.  They're not interchangeable - Fasting is one thing, Abstinence is another.

So, you can't really Fast by doing Abstinence - they're not the same.  But what you can do is this - you can dedicate an Abstinence to the health of your friend and tell him that you can't Fast because of your diabetes but you are doing Abstinence for him.

But what I would probably do is talk to the Bishop about Fasting in your condition in general so you can have something specific to look forward to doing every Fast and Testimony Sunday.

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7 hours ago, mordorbund said:

I've couldn't settle on just one response, so I'll give you all of them and you can tell me which one you like best.

1. You read the chapter. What did you think of the portion that quoted the same scripture you did?

2. The dedicated fast Sunday is the first Sunday of every month except April and October. The next one will be a week from Sunday. Come and see. Come and see if you can pick out the people who are fasting from the ones who aren't. I'll raise the stakes. You have my permission to point the finger of scorn and shout "hypocrite" to anyone who appears to be fasting in the Matthew 6 sense.

3. As a Catholic, Are the blessings the same for people participating in the public announcement of canonical fast periods such as Lent versus one's personal fast; when they don't reveal to others they are fasting? If Catholics don't engage in personal fasts, then does that make all forms of fasting hypocritical as per Matthew 6?

4. I would say that there is a difference, though it is not rooted in Matthew 6. The difference is that on fast Sundays fasting becomes a form of communal worship where the faith of a single congregation becomes unified, while personal fasts are just that - personal. It is the same difference experienced when one engages in congregational prayer versus praying on one's closet.

I'll combine #1 and #3 - I can understand our various church teachings on public announcements,
but in my opinion, I think a personal fast has more blessings. I don't like to advertise my alms.

In regards to #2, I don't like to criticize what people consider solemn.  In my church, the music is
very liturgical ... quite somber compared to what I see from the evangelicals.

In regards to #4, I feel corporate prayer is important, as long as it doesn't follow the pattern given by
Christ in Luke 18:11-14 and Matthew 6:5-6.

Cheers

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1 hour ago, Jonah said:

I'll combine #1 and #3 - I can understand our various church teachings on public announcements,
but in my opinion, I think a personal fast has more blessings. I don't like to advertise my alms.

In regards to #2, I don't like to criticize what people consider solemn.  In my church, the music is
very liturgical ... quite somber compared to what I see from the evangelicals.

In regards to #4, I feel corporate prayer is important, as long as it doesn't follow the pattern given by
Christ in Luke 18:11-14 and Matthew 6:5-6.

Cheers

As a person that has made a living as a scientist and engineer - and also to consider myself religious.  I am concerned with many in the religious community that see religion as an individual thing - So that religion is about their forgiveness from sin, their overcoming evil, their repentance, they resurrection to glory and their relationship with G-d.  Rather I believe true religion to be concern with others and a willingness to sacrifice self for the greater benefit of the community of the saints of G-d.  My opinion - personal anything for self is the definition of selfishness and is a lessor blessing than what come from love and concern for G-d and others.

 

The Traveler

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52 minutes ago, Traveler said:

...My opinion - personal anything for self is the definition of selfishness and is a lessor blessing than what come from love and concern for G-d and others....

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.

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Fasting is not so much the action (though it incorporates the act of fasting) as much as it is the attitude. 

For those who cannot fast, and there are many out there who cannot, they can at least try to have the attitude that goes with the Fasting.  That is the idea that sacrifice for something greater and for the Lord is worthy of the effort.

To those who can fast, it can be difficult to understand this idea.  When you do not have to worry about dying because you are fasting, it is not as great a sacrifice as asking someone to die just to fast.  The Lord does not want unnecessary hardship or harm to come upon someone because they are fasting.  IF fasting causes harm or worse (death) than the suggestion is to NOT FAST.

Instead, use the time to be as if you were fasting.  Make it a time of contemplative prayer and focus on the Lord.  Make it a sacrifice of time and choice to focus more on the Lord in sincere pondering and spiritual focus.  Even if one cannot physically fast, they can put themselves in the spirit of fasting.

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22 hours ago, Jonah said:

I'll combine #1 and #3 - I can understand our various church teachings on public announcements,
but in my opinion, I think a personal fast has more blessings. I don't like to advertise my alms.

This doesn't really jive with Catholic teaching so I'm not sure where this comes from - that idea that personal prayers/fasts/devotions/etc bring more blessings than communal ones.  Would you say that a prayer offering during Mass has lesser blessings than individual prayers because of its communal nature?  It doesn't make sense to me.

 

22 hours ago, Jonah said:

In regards to #2, I don't like to criticize what people consider solemn.  In my church, the music is
very liturgical ... quite somber compared to what I see from the evangelicals.

The statement was not about its solemnity.  The statement was a declaration that even though the service is called Fast and Testimony meeting, nobody in the congregation looks or acts any different to "display" their fasting.  Anybody who goes up to the podium to bear their testimonies don't announce if they're fasting or not.  They don't wear some symbol or do anything to indicate they're fasting to separate them from those who are not fasting.  Fasting remains a personal/individual observance even as the day is dedicated to a Fast.  There are times when the Bishopric would request that the congregation dedicate their Fasting on that Sunday to a specific dedication for the ward.  Each person who decides to fast can choose to dedicate their fast to what the Bishopric requested or they can dedicate their fast to their own specific needs, it's up to them.

 

22 hours ago, Jonah said:

In regards to #4, I feel corporate prayer is important, as long as it doesn't follow the pattern given by
Christ in Luke 18:11-14 and Matthew 6:5-6.

Cheers

Same with the LDS.

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