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Sabbath Day Observance


LDSToronto

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I had an interesting discussion with my wife today about Sabbath day observance and 'rule breaking' and what was taught in Relief Society in our ward. Allow me to share.

My wife related how the sisters were going over the 'thou shalt not' list in RS, with respect to the sabbath - no shopping, no working, no sports, no parties, etc. when a sister raises her hand and tells her story. You see, this sister has a Chinese husband who is not a member. It is the tradition of her husband's family to meet once per month for dim sum at a traditional Chinese restaurant. Not wanting to break the sabbath, she has never gone, which as you could imagine, has caused some stress and bad feelings in her family over the years. A few months ago, she finally decided to join the family for dim sum, and expressed that her marriage and family happiness has improved remarkably.

My wife went on to say that the sisters then began to open up and relate their own stories about how following the sabbath had created a rift in family relations, and when they relaxed their observance, that joy re-entered their lives. In general, the RS sisters supported one another in their decisions to choose family happiness over Sunday holiness.

Let me say, first, that I agree, without reservation, that these sisters made the right choices. But, this leads to some interesting questions that my wife an I then discussed, and to which I'd like to hear some of your answers.

So I posed this scenario: suppose that the sister in question refused to participate in a traditional tea ceremony because of her observance of the Word of Wisdom, and this caused strife. After years, she decides to break the WoW, and partakes in the tea ceremony. She expresses that violation of the Word of Wisdom brought happiness to her marriage and family.

My question is this - if it is acceptable to break the sabbath in order to restore familial and marital happiness, is it equally acceptable to break the WoW to restore familial and marital happiness? And, to go further, or to generalize, when is it acceptable to 'break a rule' in order to restore important relationships, and when is it not? How does one discern?

One thing that my wife said was that you have to decide for yourself because each case is different. I countered by saying that, if each case is different, or exceptional, then why are there general rules? Why don't church leaders just say to us, "It's ok to break commandments if the conditions are such that following a commandment makes you or your family unhappy"? Going back to the Sabbath, I've heard GA's and apostles tell stories of kids who gave up state championships and birthday parties so they could avoid breaking the rules, and I've heard apostles tell stories of people who joined the church despite knowing that their family would disown them. Yet, when the stories hit home, it seems as though there is always a reason to ignore the rule (no Sunday shopping, unless your family hates you and you have to smooth things over, etc)

I'm less interested in hearing your thoughts on the sabbath, or on the WoW, and more on why violating one rule may be acceptable in our culture, but violating another may not be, and the circumstances where one should violate a rule set forward by our religion, and when one ought not to violate a rule.

H.

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I think that the familys came together because the one trying to live a higher life was no longer repesenting that the others were in a state of sin.

Like they say "if you cant beat them Join them".

Also when it comes to family issuse the lds member family should have understood her disire to live by some rules that she upheld as good and choose another day to have the meeting, and the lds lady should understand that her choice was breaking a long family tradition.

And the answer is, I am glad I am not in her shoes.

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I think that you can attend a family gathering at a restaurant without purchasing anything, and not break the sabbath. I also think that if Jesus were there and He determined that His presence there healed others, He would not consider that Sabbath breaking.

And I think that consuming tea is in a different category (like buying food might be) because that is not just supporting, it is violating one's own covenants, AND a truthful report of it will deny a TR.

There is lots of flexibility in our daily life, but those who are trying to compromise with family who believes differently, need to be careful not to compromise their covenants in doing so.

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In his book, Secret of the Millionaire Mind, T, Harv Ecker gives us a truth, one we read in Paul, too: the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Paul says if we are guilty of breaking one part of the Law, we are guilty of breaking the whole thing.

Another example is the (in)famous, and possibly apocryphal, story of Winston Churchill, who, having heard her say she would sleep with him for

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I think that you can attend a family gathering at a restaurant without purchasing anything, and not break the sabbath. I also think that if Jesus were there and He determined that His presence there healed others, He would not consider that Sabbath breaking.

And I think that consuming tea is in a different category (like buying food might be) because that is not just supporting, it is violating one's own covenants, AND a truthful report of it will deny a TR.

There is lots of flexibility in our daily life, but those who are trying to compromise with family who believes differently, need to be careful not to compromise their covenants in doing so.

I want to be clear - her presence at the restaurant required her to purchase food for her family. Not only was she attending, she was participating in commerce.

H.

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All of us make compromises on some commandments in our lives, and all of us do so on the basis of what is more (or most) important to us in that particular situation. The problem arises that, having broken one commandment to placate or satisfy someone else, we have established a precedent, and it is reasonable for the other to expect that we will do so in the future. Once the line is crossed, the next line is far too easy to ignore, and the next even more so.

This is the other side of the coin, isn't it? I've been called on this exact thing - once I've been observed breaking one rule, one can conclude, logically, that I should keep going (within the bounds of morality - I'm not talking about a drink of tea leading to sleeping around with married women)

Repentance is a divine precept, but obedience is easier in the long run. Why is it always the righteous who must make the sacrifice, and not the disobedient?

I used to think that obedience was easier in the long run, but no longer. Obedience is very difficult. Sacrifice, I think, builds character, but what kind of character, that's the question.

H.

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Why is it always the righteous who must make the sacrifice, and not the disobedient?

I have not seen that to be the case.

But in the examples given, the "righteous" individuals adopted new personal behavior that conflicted with long-standing family traditions. It is unreasonable to expect everyone to happily accept those changes, just as it would be unreasonable for an apostate like me to expect my lifelong LDS family members to sacrifice their long-held customs to accommodate any new practice I might adopt.

If I were to become a vegetarian, I should not expect my family to sacrifice their meat eating habits, even if I saw it as adhering to a "higher standard."

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If I were to become a vegetarian, I should not expect my family to sacrifice their meat eating habits, even if I saw it as adhering to a "higher standard."

If they were mad that you wouldn't eat meat with them though, do you think their anger would be justified?

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as for general rules. Elder Oaks gave a talk in which he stated some pretty heavy stuff for the audience he was speaking too. He also stated something along the lines of "Don't bother writing me about how you are the exception". I believe he admitted there were exceptions.

as for the Sabbath and WOW. I don't think the two compare, We are to spend time with family on the Sabbath, so I would say attending something with non-member family is ok.

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So I slept in today and didn't go to church. I neeeded to go shopping so I did, and after that I went to a bowling leauge to be with my disabled friends. Also last Wednesday I snuck a can of iced tea because I get upset that I feel left out that I can't drink iced tea and my friends can.

Sorry for the confession, but yeah, everybody thinks they are the exception. It's really hard to look Heavenly Father straight in the eye and tell him why you broke covenants and why you wish to be forgiven for an action that was clearly of your own design.

I think I understand why many people in the Church tend to only make friends within the Church, and really only deal in that small world. It's perhaps the only way that one can ensure they can avoid dilemmas like atending a tea cenemony, or a family gathering on Sunday at a resturant, or otherwise requiring them to make sacrifices in order to keep the peace. Perhaps if happiness comes from compromising one's convenants, it could be argued that the person may just not be cut out to be LDS in the first place. Of course what do you do when you believe the doctrines, but find difficulty in observance?

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I do not believe that going to a restaurant to be with nonmember family is breaking the sabbath in the least.

I am interested in hearing how you justify this response, given that we are not to engage in commerce on Sundays. I'm not judging you, as I feel the same way. I'm just curious what your justification is.

H.

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as for the Sabbath and WOW. I don't think the two compare, We are to spend time with family on the Sabbath, so I would say attending something with non-member family is ok.

This is interesting, because I happen to think they don't compare either, only I believe that the WoW is way down on the rule totem pole, and that Sabbath observance is much higher.

However, I am certain that if I told people that I went to a hockey game with my dad every couple of Sundays because we bought seasons tickets, I would get rationalizations such as, "well, you are spending quality time with Dad". But, if I went to my non-member wife's Japanese parent's home, and participated in the tea ceremony, I'd get a different response.

Unfortunately, I can't see how the two are different.

H.

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Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath

Indicating that we aren't owned by the sabbath, but it's made for us to enjoy.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We don't live under a set of rules, because they don't give life, the law is powerless to effect change in our hearts. Living by the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Following the letter of the law kills us, but following the spirit gives life.

Hoping these help.

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I think one shouldn't justify their actions they know that are contrary to the laws, but instead accept they are in fact sinning and at least have a desire to repent. Of course the thing about the WOW is that most people arn't in a situation where it's better to break it than not, and breaking it is giving into temptation.

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I think one shouldn't justify their actions they know that are contrary to the laws, but instead accept they are in fact sinning and at least have a desire to repent. Of course the thing about the WOW is that most people arn't in a situation where it's better to break it than not, and breaking it is giving into temptation.

I'd suggest that breaking any law of the gospel is giving in to temptation of some kind. I'd also suggest that, according to what we are taught in the church, it's always better to keep a law than break a law. So, frequency of being a situation ought not be a factor - I can think of lot's of times it would have made more sense for me to drink alcohol than to not drink it, and abstaining only brought grief.

H.

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... and that Sabbath observance is much higher.

...

Hi,

I would agree that the 10 commandments (and keeping the Sabbath is one of them) have a higher importance than other laws and instructions.

From experience, I believe that each family has the right to determine how they will keep the Sabbath, and others should not be judgmental at the decisions of other families. I have seen tension over the matter between families disappear by making this decision among themselves.

My experience is that the best way to get yourself to keep a good Sabbath is this: really work all 6 days before the Sabbath. And Exodus 20 speaks not just of resting one day, but also of working 6 days.

And having the Sabbath to look forward to is vital in motivating yourself to really work for those 6 days.

Richard

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Almost every commandment is going to be objectionable to some people and family members.

The one thing we have to remember is that we are all a part of the family of God. Earthly relatives may judge us negatively for keeping the commandments...but our Heavenly family -- our Heavenly Parents and our brother Jesus Christ -- will not.

Sometimes, keeping the commandements in spite of offending others is just what we have to do.

Six

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I'm less interested in hearing your thoughts on the sabbath, or on the WoW, and more on why violating one rule may be acceptable in our culture, but violating another may not be, and the circumstances where one should violate a rule set forward by our religion, and when one ought not to violate a rule.

It's more difficult when the marriage partners are unequally yoked. Someone usually has to give in.

Bernard

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I am interested in hearing how you justify this response, given that we are not to engage in commerce on Sundays. I'm not judging you, as I feel the same way. I'm just curious what your justification is.

H.

The Savior taught that the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath. When you have nonmembers in your family, sometimes you have to choose the activity that serves the spirit of the sabbath, rather than the law.

I see this example as pretty much the same as when the pharisees condemned Jesus for 'working' on the Sabbath.

Yes, technically, Jesus did perform work, but the problem was, the pharisees did not understad that it was possible for Him to do a form of 'work' and still not break the sabbath. They were so caught up in semantics that they missed the reality. Likewise, I think you can occasionally go to a restaurant on a sunday so as to bond with nonmember family and still not break the sabbath even though the action is technically 'engaging in commerce' on a sunday.

Does that make sense?

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Virtually - if not literally - every law may have to be broken depending on the context. The directives to follow the rules are given to us as though they were the only consideration when we all should know that no context is that easy. The sister in RS made the decision to compromise on one rule in order to better fulfill another (i.e., the honoring of her husband's family tradition). These are sometimes difficult decisions to make. In my own world, I have several times gone to the local convenience store on Sunday morning to buy my wife a large Coke in an effort to calm a migraine-like headache that has not responded to her medication. I do not look for those opportunities though I recognize that hanging in the balance may be whether or not the family unit is able to go to church or not and I would rather take a shot at gettting mom to church with the rest of us.

We cannot get bogged down in creating a litmus for behaviors that are acceptable or not on the Sabbath. I can only argue that nothing is an absolute and that we should make these decisions based on what we think will maximize our spiritual quality of life. To each his own.

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This is interesting, because I happen to think they don't compare either, only I believe that the WoW is way down on the rule totem pole, and that Sabbath observance is much higher.

However, I am certain that if I told people that I went to a hockey game with my dad every couple of Sundays because we bought seasons tickets, I would get rationalizations such as, "well, you are spending quality time with Dad". But, if I went to my non-member wife's Japanese parent's home, and participated in the tea ceremony, I'd get a different response.

Unfortunately, I can't see how the two are different.

H.

The only difference lies in how God views each activity.

If going to a hockey game with your dad isn't breaking the Sabbath in your Heavenly Father's eyes, then you have broken no law. However, if the WOW is of God, then drinking tea is going to be an act of breaking your covenants and isn't justifiable.

Under that scenerio, that is how the two are different.

I'm not saying that God agrees with my scenerio above, i'm only pointing out that it's hard to get to the right answer of any question if you don't recognize that you might be plugging the wrong numbers into the equation. If our assumptions are wrong, then our logic behind our actions is going to be flawed as well.

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There is no such thing as "breaking the Sabbath day". You can, however, forfeit the blessings available to you on that day. Some activities are bad, some are good, some are better, and a very few are the best. These categories (particularly the last) vary between individuals and circumstances.

Too many of us LDS members try very hard to avoid breaking rules in order to avoid divine punishment. This attitude shows lack of wisdom, and a sort of spiritual and intellectual apathy. We like having rules spelled out because we can then easily tick boxes and give ourselves a pat on the back. We also tend to react badly when things go wrong despite our "keeping all the commandments".

The OP's story of the sister who decided to honour a family tradition on the Sabbath is not one of Sabbath breaking, nor can it be generalised as an excuse for everyone to put their family's "happiness" before their obedience to an everlasting principle. The Holy Ghost will guide the diligent and wise disciple of Christ in which activities to have on the Sabbath. The problems start when we compare our Sabbath day activities with those of others.

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I'm less interested in hearing your thoughts on the sabbath, or on the WoW, and more on why violating one rule may be acceptable in our culture, but violating another may not be, and the circumstances where one should violate a rule set forward by our religion, and when one ought not to violate a rule.

H.

I think the question is often asked backwards. When people ask when is it okay to break the rule? They generally come up the pre-conventional moral reasoning (Kohlberg's stages of moral developement) that are used by children. Avoiding punishment or self interest.

The question to be asked should be "Why do i follow said rule?" If there is an exception to the rule i think it is easier to discover by asking what is the purpose to the rule. Otherwise you get into black and white thinking. You can follow the "letter" and still miss the "spirit". You can ignore the "letter" and still keep the "spirit."

Q: Is it ok to shop on the sabbath?

A: No, we have been council not to. Here is a list of "do nots" for Sundays.

Now people feel there is no acceptable reason to break this rule , feel bad if they do.

Q: What is the Sabbath for?

A: A day of rest, to be spent with family, to enjoy the blessing God has given and to give thank.

Taking the kids to the park for a picnic with stuff, *gasp* bought that day, might be the best way to keep the sabbath for many people though it will be an "exception" in many peoples book.

Same can be said of all rules really.

Q: Is it ok to run a red light?

A: No, Running a red is against the law and anyone who does so is breaking that law.

Q: Why do we have Red lights?

A: For the safety of ourselves and other drivers.

When that semi truck was barreling down on the unseen motorcyclist stopped at the red light and he pinned the throttle to get out of the way, he broke the law, but keep the purpose.

So we shouldn't seek to violate the rules, or find exception, but to live them FOR THEIR PURPOSE, and the circumstances and exceptions will be made clear.

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There is no such thing as "breaking the Sabbath day". You can, however, forfeit the blessings available to you on that day. Some activities are bad, some are good, some are better, and a very few are the best. These categories (particularly the last) vary between individuals and circumstances.

Too many of us LDS members try very hard to avoid breaking rules in order to avoid divine punishment. This attitude shows lack of wisdom, and a sort of spiritual and intellectual apathy. We like having rules spelled out because we can then easily tick boxes and give ourselves a pat on the back. We also tend to react badly when things go wrong despite our "keeping all the commandments".

The OP's story of the sister who decided to honour a family tradition on the Sabbath is not one of Sabbath breaking, nor can it be generalised as an excuse for everyone to put their family's "happiness" before their obedience to an everlasting principle. The Holy Ghost will guide the diligent and wise disciple of Christ in which activities to have on the Sabbath. The problems start when we compare our Sabbath day activities with those of others.

:P

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