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?