Is swimming on the Sabbath against the teachings of the church?
When the Lord gave Moses the ‘Ten Commandments’ He stated:
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20: 8-11)
Though the Lord spoke only against working on the Sabbath here, one needs to be mindful of the last line where He blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
Though sometimes it is necessary for us to work on the Sabbath, we should do all we can to keep from working on the Sabbath. If we own a business, we have been advised by our leaders to close the business on the Sabbath and have been promised by them that we will be blessed for doing so.
In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and recorded in D&C 59, the Lord states,
12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.” The last verse tells us that we are not to do “none other things” other than attending Church, confessing our sins and preparing our food with singleness of heart.
Several of our Church leaders have warned us that we need to be better in honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy. President Kimball gave several talks on keeping the Sabbath day holy. He stated:
“More and more, man destroys the Sabbath’s sacred purposes in pursuit of wealth, pleasure, recreation, and the worship of false and material gods. We continue to urge all Saints and God-fearing people everywhere to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Businesses will not be open on the Sabbath if they are not patronized on that holy day. The same is true of resorts, sporting events, and recreation areas of all kinds” He further stated: “There is no criticism of legitimate recreation—sports, picnics, plays, and motion pictures. All have potential for revitalizing life, and the Church as an organization actively sponsors such activities. But, there is a proper time and place for all worthwhile things–a time for work, a time for play, a time for worship.”
Yes, it would be improper for us to swim or be involved in any type of recreational activity on the Sabbath, including hunting and fishing. Participating in these types of activities on the Sabbath are not be in harmony with the teachings of the Church, nor would we honor the Savior and show Him the proper respect on His day if we are involved in these type of activities.