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Gramps,

In Mormon doctrine by Bruce R McConkie he says that cards shouldn’t even be allowed in the home. Now I understand the situation of the time but is this still what the brethren want? Are we not worthy to participate in ordinances if we play cards? Now when I ask my question I am not asking about gambling. I know gambling is wrong but I am curious to the other card games we can play with playing cards like rummie, bridge, crazy 8 and so on..

Joshua

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Answer

 

Dear Joshua,

You are absolutely right about the gambling question. Gambling of any type is gravely wrong and our modern day prophets and apostles have told us such. One does not need to be a sociology expert to see that gambling causes many, many evils in our society like bankruptcy, family break up, and even crime. So you are correct Joshua, gambling is wrong and yes, a Latter-day Saint should not partake in any form of it.

Card playing is a bit different. I’d like to remind you and the readers that Ask Gramps is a team and we all have different interests in our personal lives. Some of us might like knitting, some of us might like hunting, and some might like playing card games with our families. While it’s true, the prophets and apostles have in the past cautioned us against playing cards, the main reason was because card playing back then usually revolved around gambling.

As far as what Elder McConkie had to say about this, I am sure he got the thoughts and information from his father-in-law Joseph Fielding Smith who got it from his father Joseph F. Smith.  On lds.org it has this to say:

CARD PLAYING.

 

See APOSTASY, GAMBLING, RECREATION. President Joseph F. Smith has stated the position of the Church with reference to card playing in these words: “Card playing is an excessive pleasure; it is intoxicating and, therefore, in the nature of a vice. It is generally the companion of the cigaret and the wine glass, and the latter lead to the poolroom and the gambling hall…. Few indulge frequently in card playing in whose lives it does not become a ruling passion…. A deck of cards in the hands of a faithful servant of God is a satire upon religion…. Those who thus indulge are not fit to administer in sacred ordinances.…. The bishops are charged with the responsibility for the evil, and it is their duty to see that it is abolished…. No man who is addicted to card playing should be called to act as a ward teacher; such men cannot be consistent advocates of that which they do not themselves practice.

 

“The card table has been the scene of too many quarrels, the birthplace of too many hatreds, the occasion of too many murders to admit one word of justification for the lying, cheating spirit which it too often engenders in the hearts of its devotees….

 

“Card playing is a game of chance, and because it is a game of chance it has its tricks. It encourages tricks; its devotees measure their success at the table by their ability through devious and dark ways to win. It creates a spirit of cunning and devises hidden and secret means, and cheating at cards is almost synonymous with playing at cards.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 328-332.)

 

Members of the Church should not belong to bridge or other type of card clubs, and they should neither play cards nor have them in their homes. By cards is meant, of course, the spotted face cards used by gamblers. To the extent that church members play cards they are out of harmony with their inspired leaders. Innocent non-gambling games played with other types of cards, except for the waste of time in many instances, are not objectionable.

Elder John A Widstoe said,

“It must be added that relaxation from the regular duties of the day is desirable and necessary for human well-being. Wholesome games of recreation are advocated by all right minded people. Moreover, the objections to card playing are not directed against the many and varied card games on the market not employing the usual ‘playing cards’. Most of these furnish innocent and wholesome recreation, and many are really instructive.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, 1943)

Brother Boyd Thomas (a former stake president) also said something interesting.

“My personal experiences indicate that our family has enjoyed many benefits from playing games with cards. At at time when amusements are generally enjoyed alone, for example TV watching and video game playing, we in our family like to play card games together.”  How should I feel about playing cards?

It’s important to ask yourself how you are playing cards. Are you using it bring your family closer together and to have a good time enjoying the company of one another? It’s an inexpensive and family friendly hobby, and by using it that way you should feel no guilt whatsoever in playing the occasional card game.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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