How do I keep the Sabbath Day holy and honor my parents?

How do I keep the Sabbath Day holy and honor my parents?

Question

Gramps,

Sometimes on Sundays, my parents ask me and my siblings to do chores and sometimes we go get food even if we have enough food. So I am just confused. Although I do all of my chores on Saturday, I am just not sure what to do. I was thinking Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ come first, but I don’t want to make my parents mad by not listening to them. So what do I do?

Jaidyn

 

Answer

Jaidyn,

First I want to commend you for even asking the question. It shows you care about the gospel and obedience to its principles, and it also shows that you care about your parents and your family relationships.

It can be a challenging thing when loved ones act differently than we feel is appropriate in the gospel. Perhaps loved ones use language we find inappropriate. Perhaps they watch movies or TV shows we find offensive. Or perhaps, as in your question, they do not keep the Sabbath as holy as we think they ought to. This can be challenging. And when we are dependent children of those who may be doing such things, we can be caught up in it, and perhaps even, to an extent, forced to be involved. But even when we are grown, the actions and choices of others affects us, and we can get into situations where the principles we would prefer to espouse are unavailable for one reason or another.

Let me talk a bit about Agency. One thing that often gets confused is the principle of Agency as compared to Freedom. In order to alleviate this a bit, we often hear Agency referred to as “moral agency” and our leaders have all but dropped the term “free agency”. You see, freedom, unlike agency, can be taken away. An easy example of this would be if someone were to bind us somehow. You can literally have your freedom taken away. You can be tied up, locked up, injured, and even killed. All of these things, and many more, take away our freedom. But none of these things take away our agency.

Another way our freedom can be taken away is in our living, work, or social situations. For example, if others whom we live or work with use bad language, we lose our ability to be free from hearing bad language. We can only control this to an extend. Sure, we can leave a room — sometimes. But we don’t always have the option to go away, and in many cases it would be inappropriate to do so.

In the case of your question, you may not always have the choice to exercise your freedom to keep the Sabbath holy.

So what can you do?

Well, you still have your agency. Agency, or “moral agency” is the right to choose between good an evil. It is the right, thereby, to choose salvation or damnation.

When we get into situations where we are forced to choose between the lesser of two wrong things, we must listen very closely to the Spirit. Through study, prayer, and thought, we can still do our best to choose the right, even though that right may not seem entirely black-and-white from an outside perspective.

Applying that specifically to your situation — can you simply disobey your parents and dishonor them in doing so without sinning? Both keeping the Sabbath holy and honoring your parents are part of the Ten Commandments. So which do you choose? I would suggest that directly disobeying your parents is not an option, and will hurt your family situation. So does that mean you must, therefore, break the Sabbath? Not necessarily.

What other options might there be? Think about it. Pray about it. Study your scriptures and look for solutions and examples therein.

Here are some suggestions: You could try getting your chores done on Saturday so there was nothing, relatively, to do on Sunday. You could offer to cook meals so there was a tasty and healthy option preferable to going out. You could discuss the issue respectfully with your parents and let them know how important it was to you, offering alternatives that work for all involved. And, if appropriate, you could abstain from eating any food that was purchased on Sunday, thereby setting a respectful example for others.

There are, perhaps, many other potential solutions as well. And the Spirit can guide you as you seek for them.

In the end, all these efforts may fail. You may end up deciding that it is best for you to simply bide your time, living in harmony with your family, and then change how you live and how you keep the Sabbath when you become an adult and are free to make those clear choices.

I hope these thoughts are helpful. Best of luck.

 

Gramps

What if I have a health issue that can limit my ability to fast?

What if I have a health issue that can limit my ability to fast?

Question

Hi Gramps,

I’ve always learned from your answers and think you can help me with a concern of mine. For health reasons I am unable to miss even one meal. A counselor in my ward Relief Society presidency told me that fasting doesn’t necessarily mean skipping meals. I can just cut back on what I normally eat during the day and that counts too. Is she correct?

Diane

 

Answer

Hello Diane,

The best way to discover an answer to our questions is to first seek out two sources: scripture references and modern day words from our prophets.  In relation to what a fast is, let’s review together the following sources.

Bible Dictionary

“Fasting, a voluntary abstinence from food, is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ for developing spiritual strength; it has always existed among true believers.”

Howard W. Hunter

“Members of the Church may fast at any time as they have a need, but the fast contemplated on the day referred to as fast day, as defined by President Joseph F. Smith, “is that food and drink are not to be partaken of for twenty-four hours, ‘from even to even.’” From even to even has been given the meaning of going without two meals—from the evening meal on the night before to evening meal on fast day.”

Church Manual

“To fast is to go without food and drink voluntarily for a certain period of time. Fasting combined with sincere prayer can help you prepare yourself and others to receive God’s blessings.”

As pertaining to this question, I believe this answers our question pertaining to the definition of a fast, and what a fast actually means.  At times, in order to not offend, we may soft-coat a principle of truth which doesn’t do us, nor the hearer, any favors.

However, what about your circumstance?  What does a member do when they are in a position that fasting harms more than it helps, and they have been counseled by doctors not to fast?  In these cases, I love the Prophet Joseph Smith’s quote, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”  We have been taught a principle, by which we govern ourselves.  We know what the doctrine and principle are, and we know that we have the wonderful opportunity to approach a loving Heavenly Father ourselves with our current situation.  Instead of speaking with the counselor, counsel with the Lord yourself, and then act in accordance with the feelings the Lord presents you with.

Gramps

How do I resolve the conflict within myself regarding the Sabbath Day?

How do I resolve the conflict within myself regarding the Sabbath Day?

Question

Gramps,

Our granddaughter’s birthday is on the same Sunday as the upcoming General Conference.  I am uncomfortable for a few reasons in going to the party.

  • It is on the Sabbath Day
  • It is General Conference
  • The party is at an amusement environment

My husband does not want to cause any problems in the family by not going. I am struggling on what to do. I know in my heart that Our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ comes first. I would like to hear your point of view giving up the Sabbath.

Louann

 

Answer

Louann,

The commandment from the Lord in this matter is to keep the Sabbath day holy. Generally speaking it can be very hard for us to do this. To help us we sometimes come up with lists of ‘things’ that we should or should not do. We hope that if we do everything on the to-do list and avoid everything on the don’t-do list we have kept the Sabbath day holy. It is a good start, but keeping the Sabbath day holy is much more then just checking off a list.

In Christ’s lifetime, He was accused of dining with publicans and sinners. This accusation came about, because the Hebrews had put so many other restrictions around the commandments so that they could have their ‘lists’ and claim to be ‘holy.’ But Christ was the real thing. He was holy. And He was about his Father’s business among those who needed it most, thus those ‘lists’ did not matter in the least.

I can’t give you an answer because it entirely depends on you. Keeping peace among the family is also extremely important as well. Can you keep focused on keeping the Sabbath day holy while you are within an amusement environment for your granddaughter’s birthday? Only you can answer that question. I would encourage you to pray and ask God if his purposes would be better served by your attendance or your absence from the party.

 

Gramps

 

How can I teach my children to make the right decisions regarding the Sabbath?

How can I teach my children to make the right decisions regarding the Sabbath?

Question

Dear Gramps,

We moved to the UK, and my daughters have been training for a dance program for 3 months and we have just learned the program will be on a Sunday. Turns out virtually all sporting games, swim meets, competitions in general are held on Sunday. Do we ask them to train hard only to tell them that they can train but never compete or perform? Or do we just tell them too bad kids you cannot take part in sports or dance? How can we tell them to develop the gift the Lord has blessed them with when due to the area we live in they cannot use them unless they do so after church?

Concerned (more…)

Why was the Sabbath Day changed to Sunday?

Why was the Sabbath Day changed to Sunday?

Question

 

Hi Gramps,

My Mormon friend directed me to your website for answers. So I have had a look at the rich repository to many of my questions. I noted your answer in two similar questions to “Why was the Sabbath day changed from Saturday to Sunday?” and you quote a first day meeting Paul had with the disciples and mention that the Sunday is kept in honor of the resurrection. I then did a study in the book of Acts and found nine instances where Paul regularly met with the Jews and Gentiles alike on the Sabbath day for worship in the synagogue by the river. Would not have Paul at least met with the Gentiles on a Sunday? Such a a big change to one of God’s commandments, I am sure, would have been preached by Paul and recorded somewhere.

Blessings,

Peter (more…)

Bare feet in the church?

Bare feet in the church?

Question

Gramps,

My bishop recently said he’d like me to wear shoes during church because it’s respectful, but he won’t try to make me. I won’t fight with the church, so if that’s his wish, I’ll comply. But I’ve read in the scriptures about shoes not being respectful and that not wearing them can also be a sign of humility. In Matthew 10:10, in Christ’s instruction to the apostles to preach, he mentions that they’re not to bring shoes. And Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15 state that shoes shouldn’t be worn on holy ground. So why would my bishop see it as respectful to wear shoes when, not only are they unhealthy, but the Lord also says not to wear them on holy ground? What do you think? Also, can a person go on a mission barefoot? Or at least with barefoot sandals?

Thanks!

Barefoot Girl

 

Answer

Barefoot Girl,

Well, my young friend, I hope after my response to your question you will still love my answers and continue reading them. I recognize you have a heart desiring and seeking to keep God’s commandments, and this is a wonderful attribute. In scripture, we do find evidence of God asking people to remove their shoes from off their feet — Moses is a good example. However, in scripture we also receive no evidence that the Lord commanded Moses to keep his shoes off. I would assume Moses probably put his shoes back on before he traveled back to Egypt.

I also recognize, the current philosophy presented by different organizations speaking out against shoes and how they are unhealthy. I, personally, find shoes to be very comfortable when I walk and run. However, I have also worn shoes which were not comfortable and unhealthy creating sever pain in my ankles.

In light of these thoughts, please take a moment to ponder this thought; I don’t believe, think, we can separate the wearing of shoes from our current culture. Let me explain, the Church exists within a culture. There was a time when a professional man wore a hat. During that time, hats were a part of the uniform for missionaries. That culture has changed, and so if we want our missionaries to look professional, we must change the uniform as well. In today’s (Western) culture, shod feet are a sign of presentability and respect. When I was a child, I would run around the house barefoot. But when company came over, I was instructed to put on shoes to be presentable. It is no different than combing your hair to present yourself as someone who values and respects, not just the particular guests, but also yourself.

With these thoughts in mind, I wouldn’t recommend the desire to not wear shoes while on a mission. At Church, wear your shoes while you are walking around church halls and between classes. When you are attending class, sitting down, feel free to remove the shoes from off your feet (if you want), and then place them back on your feet when you need to walk the halls of the building. I don’t see anything wrong with this idea.

Gramps

 

Working and the Sabbath Day

Working and the Sabbath Day

Gramps,

It’s been told to me that part of the reason we don’t buy things, engage in certain hobbies/entertainment, etc on the Sabbath is because we are, in effect, causing someone else to work on the Sabbath, which is supposed to be a day of rest. My place of employment requires me to work every 12th Sunday. It’s not something I look forward to, but I know when it’s coming. If I try and get one of the other employees to cover my Sunday shift, would that not, in effect, be causing someone else to work on the Sabbath? Even if I quit my job and they replaced me… again, would I not, in effect, be causing someone else to work on the Sabbath? It seems to me like I’ll be breaking the law of the Sabbath one way or another no matter how I try to get around this. I’ll either be working on the Sabbath myself, or I’ll be causing someone else to work on the Sabbath in my place.

JonG (more…)

The Earth’s Creation

The Earth’s Creation

D&C 77:12 says the earth was sanctified on the seventh day of creation just as it will be sanctified for the millennium. Does this mean that the earth was changed from Telestial (when prehistoric life could live and die – see Abr. Chp. 4) to Terrestrial before Adam was created on the seventh day? Abr. 5:5 says the Gods caused it not to rain while they counceled on the sixth day to finish their work on the seventh day (see Abr. 5:2 & 4:26). Does this mean that the Gods caused the 10,000 BC mega fauna extinction to eliminate all (not just mega) prehistoric fauna? If so, does this mean we know when prehistoric life was on the earth and what happened to it?

Steven (more…)

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