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Fast Offerings In The Shepherd Of Hermas


consiglieri

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I am sure it is common knowledge to those who frequent this board that the LDS have a practice of fasting one Sunday a month, and contributing the value of the meals skipped to benefit the less fortunate saints.

Coincidentally, this same practice is mentioned in The Shepherd of Hermas, a book written in the early second century, and considered by many early proto-orthodox Christians to be on a par with other scripture.

From the Book of Similitudes in the Shepherd of Hermas, V.30:

30. Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water; and computing the quantity of food which thou art wont to eat upon other days, thou shalt lay aside the expense which thou shouldest have made that day, and give it unto the widow, the fatherless, and the poor.

Any thoughts on how it is that the "fast offering" of the Latter-day Saints appears to match exactly the procedure set forth in this early Christian document? Any thoughts on how it became lost? Any thoughts on how it became restored once more in a church that claims to be a restoration of those things that were lost?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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consiglieri,

Any thoughts on how it became lost?

Clearly the practice of fasting is not "lost" in the Catholic Church (see link below):

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05789c.htm

The Catholic Church teaches:

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, [Cf. Tob 12:8; Mt 6:1-18] which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others.

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. [Cf. SC 109-110; CIC, cann. 1249-1253; CCEO, Cann. 880-883] These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

1969 The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the "Father who sees in secret," in contrast with the desire to "be seen by men." [Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18] Its prayer is the Our Father. [Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4]

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consiglieri,

Clearly the practice of fasting is not "lost" in the Catholic Church (see link below):

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05789c.htm

The Catholic Church teaches:

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, [Cf. Tob 12:8; Mt 6:1-18] which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others.

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. [Cf. SC 109-110; CIC, cann. 1249-1253; CCEO, Cann. 880-883] These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

1969 The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the "Father who sees in secret," in contrast with the desire to "be seen by men." [Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18] Its prayer is the Our Father. [Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4]

Dear Johnny,

I am glad that this practice is not lost in the Catholic Church. But does the Catholic Church precisely follow the description in the Shepherd of Hermas of calculating the "almsgiving" to match the expense of the meals skipped during the fast as as closely as does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

And if not, why was it left to Joseph Smith to restore what the Catholic Church failed to preserve?

All the Best (even with that pointed parting shot),

--Consiglieri

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consiglieri,

But does the Catholic Church precisely follow the description in the Shepherd of Hermas of

Does the LDS church believe the other teachings found in Hermas about Ex Nihilo(Create from Nothing)?

Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing)

http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/exnihilo.htm

Hermas,Shepard,1:1:1(A.D. 80),in ANF,II:9

"And as I prayed, the heavens were opened, and I see the woman whom I had desired saluting me from the sky, and saying, 'Hail, Hermas!' And looking up to her, I said, 'Lady, what doest thou here? 'And she answered me, 'I have been taken up here to accuse you of your sins before the Lord.' 'Lady,' said I, 'are you to be the subject of my accusation?' 'No,' said she; 'but hear the words which I am going to speak to you. God, who dwells in the heavens, and made out of nothing the things that exist, and multiplied and increased them on account of His holy Church, is angry with you for having sinned against me."

Hermas,Shepard,2:1:1(A.D. 80),in ANF,II:20

"First Of all, believe that there is one God who created and finished all things, and made all things out of nothing."

And if not, why was it left to Joseph Smith to restore what the Catholic Church failed to preserve?

Why doesn't the LDS church teach Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing) because clearly the Early Church taught Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing).

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consiglieri,

Does the LDS church believe the other teachings found in Hermas about Ex Nihilo(Create from Nothing)?

Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing)

Why doesn't the LDS church teach Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing) because clearly the Early Church taught Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing).

Perhaps that was the heresy that kept it from being canonized. :P

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Johnny,

Do you always answer questions with a question?

- - -

The LDS practice of fasting is private and so is the collection of fast offerings. No one knows if, when or how much- other than we do set aside a day to do it as a group.

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Where truth is to be found, Latter-day Saints should take hold of it and and adopt it as their own.

We, as a revealtory church, can learn alot from the some select practices of other churches.

It matters not if the idea is a shiny new concept packaged in gold from the Almighty, or a second-hand wrapped-in-newspaper idea that comes from a humble preacher. Truth is truth. The key is having the Holy Ghost to decipher the truth from the stories.

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consiglieri,

Does the LDS church believe the other teachings found in Hermas about Ex Nihilo(Create from Nothing)?

Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing)

http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/exnihilo.htm

Hermas,Shepard,1:1:1(A.D. 80),in ANF,II:9

"And as I prayed, the heavens were opened, and I see the woman whom I had desired saluting me from the sky, and saying, 'Hail, Hermas!' And looking up to her, I said, 'Lady, what doest thou here? 'And she answered me, 'I have been taken up here to accuse you of your sins before the Lord.' 'Lady,' said I, 'are you to be the subject of my accusation?' 'No,' said she; 'but hear the words which I am going to speak to you. God, who dwells in the heavens, and made out of nothing the things that exist, and multiplied and increased them on account of His holy Church, is angry with you for having sinned against me."

Hermas,Shepard,2:1:1(A.D. 80),in ANF,II:20

"First Of all, believe that there is one God who created and finished all things, and made all things out of nothing."

Why doesn't the LDS church teach Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing) because clearly the Early Church taught Ex Nihilo(Creation out of Nothing).

Dear Johnny,

Nice point, though I must admit it does not address the original issue.

Tell you what, I will admit that some early Christians believed the doctrine of creation ex nihilo IF you will admit that some early Christians believed (1) the practice of baptism for the dead; (2) Water could be substituted for wine in the sacrament; and, (3) The fasting procedure used was quite similar to the modern LDS practice.

Inasmuch as all four of these concepts are taught in the same Apostolic Father book of Shepherd of Hermas, it seems a reasonably bargain.

Are you game?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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30. Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water; and computing the quantity of food which thou art wont to eat upon other days, thou shalt lay aside the expense which thou shouldest have made that day, and give it unto the widow, the fatherless, and the poor.

Hey! They got to eat bread! :P

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As Pahoran has been kind enough to note in a companion thread, it is remarkable indeed that the method of fasting and the procedure for donating to the poor the money not spent on the meals not eaten matches exactly the practice of the Latter-day Saints.

Pahoran mentioned this in the thread dealing with the possible substitution of water for wine in the sacrament in the same passage from the Shepherd of Hermas, and I wanted to reiterate it here in the proper thread, in case anybody wishes to comment on it.

I mentioned in response that it seems that nobody who is not LDS wants to admit that these correlations are interesting, much less remarkable. Why is that?

My rating system for the correlations would be:

1. Baptism for the Dead in the Shepherd of Hermas--Remarkable

2. Fast Offerings in the Shepherd of Hermas--Remarkable

3. Substitution of water for wine in the Shepherd of Hermas--Interesting

4. The fact that these all show up in a church where the founder claimed to be restoring what was had anciently but was lost--Out of Sight.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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