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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

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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

 

 

 

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