Archive for February, 2010


The Sin of Not Rejoicing


     “Rejoice in the Lord alway:  and again I say, Rejoice.”  (Philippians 4:4)  Here we are commanded to rejoice always.  That means that when we are not rejoicing, we are not doing what God commands.  We are sinning. 

     That’s not a sin we talk about very much.  In fact, some people might think that I’m being extreme in calling it a sin.  But this is clearly a command.  And sin is breaking one of God’s commands. If you didn’t know God told you to rejoice always, you do now.  Therefore James 4:17 applies every time we aren’t rejoicing:  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

     When you think about it, it’s understandable why this is a sin.  God has so richly blessed us!  For us not to rejoice is like a child who has everything pouting because one of his toys broke. 

     I don’t know about you, but there’s many a time I’m not rejoicing.  Sometimes it takes only one little cloud in the sky to make me feel overcast.  No matter how much I fight it, I often find it easier to complain than to rejoice.

     This once again demonstrates to me how impossible it is for me to forsake this or any sin.  There is no way that I can do what True to the Faith says in its discussion of repentance.  “Maintain an unyielding, permanent resolve that you will never repeat the transgression.  When you keep this commitment you will never experience the pain of that sin again.” 

     Rather than trying to maintain a permanent resolve never again to repeat the sin of not rejoicing – something that is beyond my ability, I’m going to rather maintain the confidence that God forgives me freely through Jesus.  And you what?  That gets me closer to rejoicing always more than anything else.



      Over the years it has been interesting to hear Mormons talk about fast Sunday.  For those who don’t know, the LDS Church has designated the first Sunday of the month as fast days.  This is what Gospel Principles says:  “One Sunday each month Latter-day Saints observe a fast day.  On this day we neither eat nor drink for two consecutive meals.  If we were to eat our evening meal on Saturday, then we would not eat or drink until the evening meal on Sunday.”

     As I said, the way various Mormons have described their fast practices has been interesting.  I remember one individual talking about how his family would have a very late lunch on Saturday and a very early lunch on Sunday.  But there have been others who have told me that they were very conscientious about keeping the fast.  Just this past week, a LDS man talked to me about the benefits of fasting.

     But the thing that I just noticed and something I never caught before, was that the church manuals like Gospel Principles and True to the Faith describe fasting as not eating or drinking.  The reason that caught my attention was because this man was telling me how important it was for him to drink a lot of water when he was fasting or else he got bad headaches.  But, according to the church manuals, that wouldn’t be a true fast would it?

     I bring this up, because as a non-Mormon observer of Mormonism, this is an example of the problem I often encounter when having discussions with Mormons.  I suspect many Mormons brush off this restriction about drinking as a non-essential aspect of fasting.  When that happens, that puzzles and confuses me.  If it isn’t to be taken seriously, then why is it being taught?  And if I don’t have to take the restriction against drinking seriously, then why not brush off the restriction against eating?  Isn’t the entire command to fast one that Mormons need to obey in order to be worthy?  And if they don’t obey it by drinking during their fast, isn’t that something they need to repent of and never do again?




     Chapter 24 of Gospel Principles, the LDS basic manual, deals with the Sabbath.  Following are a few excerpts.

      “Our prophets have told us that we should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sports events, or participate in similar activities on that day. . .we can keep the Sabbath day holy by attending Church meetings; reading the scriptures and the words of our Church leaders; visiting the sick, the aged, and our loved ones; listening to uplifting music and singing hymns; praying to our Heavenly Father with praise and thanksgiving; performing Church service; preparing family history records and personal histories; telling faith-promoting stories and bearing our testimony to family members and sharing spiritual experiences with them; writing letters to missionaries and loved ones, fasting with a purpose; and sharing time with children and others in the home.”

     This is consistent with other things I have read in other LDS manuals.  That brings me to the question:  how many Mormons watched the Super Bowl yesterday?  If so, is their watching consistent with the advice given by their prophets?  “We should not attend sport events or participate in similar activities” to me appears pretty clear cut. 

     That brings me to my next question.  If watching the Super Bowl is not in keeping with the prophets’ counsel, does watching the Super Bowl on the Sabbath demand repentance?  And isn’t one part of LDS repentance “abandoning the sin”, thus demanding that the repentant person never watch a sporting event again on Sunday?

February 2010

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