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Taking A "sabbatical" From Activity In The Church


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So a somewhat prominent Latter-day Saint is extolling the virtues of periodically ditching activity in the Church: A year off from Mormonism

 

I am having some mixed reactions to it, but mostly negative ones.  Some excerpts:

 

> This time fifteen years ago, I was getting ready for something new: a year-long sabbatical from Mormonism.

> I had been an active Mormon for seven years, most recently with a calling in the Relief Society presidency, and I was exhausted. I felt spiritually empty, and more prone to focus on the things that bothered me about my church than the many other reasons I had joined it in the first place.

==I can empathize with what I suppose can be called "Weary in Well Doing" syndrome.  The problem, though, is that we are are cautioned to not succumb to it, and by "succumb" I think I mean . . . do exactly what the author is advocating and ditching activity in the Restored Gospel:

 

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  (Galatians 6:9)

 

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.  Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."  (D&C 6433-34).

 

"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."  (James 5:11)

 

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb."  (1 Nephi 13:37)

 

"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."  (3 Nephi 15:9)

 

"And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."  (D&C 14:7)

 

"And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved."  (D&C 18:22)

 

"But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life."  (D&C 50:5)

 

"Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God."  (Alma 1:25)

 

"And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!"  (1 Nephi 2:10)

 

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."  (Luke 18:1)

 

"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."  (Romans 2:7)

 

"If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation."  (D&C 6:13)

 

"And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."  (D&C 59:9-12)

 

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."  (Mosiah 2:17)

 

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3:16)

 

==The idea being advocated in the linked article above seems to counter these exhortations.  Somehow, I just don't think the Savior said" "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint, except when they don't want to, in which case abandoning covenants and disregarding the commandments of God is just hunky dory!"  Or "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Unless, of course, doing so is bothersome.  Then feel free to ditch observance of the Sabbath, skip the Sacrament and the renewal of your covenants, abstain from receiving or providing Gospel instruction, stop serving in callings in the Church, stop attending the temple, etc.  Because let's remember, the Gospel is only worthwhile when its convenient!"

 

> I decided to take a leaf from the pages of the Bible (and from academia) and declare a sabbatical year.

> 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;

> 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. (Lev. 25:3-4)

 

==So here she uses the Scriptures to justify abstention from keeping covenants.  I think we've been cautioned about that sort of thing.

 

> So I told the Relief Society president that I wanted to be released for a year. I told a couple of ward members that I would be back the following September. (I did not have the guts to talk about it in advance with my bishop, which I regret.)

 

> And then I just stopped going to church.

 

==And now, many years later, she is bragging about it and encouraging others to do it.  Not cool.

 

> What struck me most about those first few months was how much more time I suddenly had. Church activity had become, for me, a quarter-time job: about four hours on Sundays and half a dozen scattered throughout the week when I was running errands, helping members, organizing or bringing meals, or planning lessons.

 

==Yes, it must've been nice to withdraw from the burdens of service in the Church.  Of course, doing so meant that other people in her ward likely had to take on the responsibilities she shrugged off for a year, and in doing so these others had to sacrifice even more of their family and person time to do so.

 

==What feckless advice this is.  Why stop with service in the Church?  There are all sorts of important responsibilities that, over time, can become taxing and difficult.  In the LDS paradigm, the most important responsibilities would be related to family.  Yet somehow I doubt we'll see Latter-day Saints encouraging others to take sabbaticals from, say, being a spouse or a parent or a breadwinner or a caregiver.  My sense is that, in the LDS paradigm, service in the Church is likewise fairly high up on the hierarchy of duties arising from sacred covenants.  

 

==There are all sorts of ways we can and should cope with "Weary in Well Doing" syndrome.  Utter abandonment of sacred duties and covenants is not one of them.

 

> I did little in my first few weeks of vacationland-nothingness. I would go to a Protestant church for an hour on Sundays with my husband and daughter, and then home for a relaxing (what a concept!) Sabbath day. I was in a women’s Bible study group on Tuesday nights. But other than those two things, I avoided organized religion entirely and instead just started to read and think harder about what I believed.

 

==I can and do respect the need for introspection.  But I reject the notion that such introspection requires abandonment and/or violation of sacred covenants.

 

> As the year went on I was conscious of it not just being a holiday, but a true sabbatical for intentional spiritual rest. So I read books on Sabbath (this one being the best), books on the Bible and the Book of Mormon, books on history. I tried different and fresh ways to pray, and began to feel more connected to God. I worked to be a better friend to the people around me, a value I’d too often neglected, ironically enough, when I was busy doing “the Lord’s work” at church.

 

> And at the end of the year, I went back to church a saner and more spiritually healthy person, ready to put my shoulder to the wheel.

 

==I don't get this.  Observance of the Sabbath Day is a clear commandment for the Saints.  I just find it hard to swallow that God would approve of His children taking a year-long sabbatical from obeying Him.

 

==How far does this rationale go?  If deliberate and calculated long-term disobedience to one of God's commands, then what about the others?  Should the Saints take "sabbaticals" from the Word of Wisdom?  The Law of Tithing?  The Law of Chastity?  Would such sabbaticals be okay as long as we justify them by quoting scripture, as the author did? 

 

> Over the years a number of people have asked me why I took a sabbatical and whether I’d recommend it for others.

 

> The first part of that question is easier to answer than the second:

 

==No surprise there.  The second question is essentially "Would you recommend that other Latter-day Saints disregard their covenants and obedience to God's commandments for a year of self-indulgent, do-what-ever-you-want livin'?"

 

> I did it because I felt utterly fatigued, because church had become such a draining obligation that I forgot why I had ever wanted to be Mormon in the first place.

 

> I took a sabbatical because I knew that if I didn’t, the alternative was probably to leave Mormonism for good.

 

==By this rationale a young father is free to go home one day and say "Sweetie, I've decided to quit my job and go on a year-long 'sabbatical' by touring through Europe and Africa.  I have to do this, you see.  I fee utterly fatigued because being a husband and father has become such a draining obligation that I have forgotten why I had ever wanted to be married in the first place.  So toodles!"  And if his wife protests, he can just say "Hush, now.  This sabbatical is a good thing.  I can even quote scripture to support it!  Plus, if I don't do this sabbatical, the alternative is probably to divorce you.  You wouldn't want that, wouldja?  I thought not!  See you in a twelvemonth!"

 

==Again, what an utterly feckless, self-indulgent thing the author is advocating here.

 

> While I was away I began, once again, to be able to focus on what was lovely and right about my religion – things that had become impossible to see when I was struggling to keep my head above water.

 

==I think there are many ways Latter-day Saints can reinvigorate their faith and testimony without abandoning sacred covenants.

 

> As for whether other people should consider a sabbatical, I would say that if doing so would not drive a wedge in the family, and if they approach it with up-front honesty about their plans, they might find it a restoring and live-giving spiritual practice.

 

==And there it is.  The author is openly encouraging other Latter-day Saints to abandon their covenants.

 

> Part of that rejuvenation is simple rest. In the Hebrew Bible, the idea of the sabbatical year was one of release, of allowing things to lie fallow and trusting that God would provide nourishment no matter what. In Mormonism, we don’t have a very good tradition of allowing much of anything to lie fallow (metaphorically speaking).

 

==I think this reflects a very shallow, first-world perception of the Restored Gospel.  I just can't get on board with the idea that spending 4-8 hours of time in a week for religious devotion is exhausting.  I also can't agree with justifying disobedience to God's commandments regarding Sabbath observance by saying things like "(we should be) trusting that God would provide nourishment no matter what."

 

> Our eternal progression is all onwards and upwards . . . until for some people it’s not, and their crisis is severe enough that they worry they have to leave the Church forever because of the despair they’re feeling right now.

 

==I don't think we help people who find themselves in such crises by encouraging them to disobey God's commandments regarding the Sabbath.

 

> A sabbatical is a middle ground, a chance for the exhausted or the doubting to step back and regain some much-needed perspective. It’s a leave-taking, yes, but it’s not necessarily forever. When I came back to church, I had a renewed love of my ward and a better understanding of the gospel. I was also ready to help others again. Soon enough, I was called as Gospel Doctrine teacher, and a couple of years later I was ready to go to the temple – a step I would not have been ready to take without my year-long respite.

 

==Again, I'm just not buying this.  I don't thing God wants us to deliberately disobey Him for long periods of time.  Ergo, I do not think Latter-day Saints should encourage other Latter-day Saints to disobey God for long periods of time.

 

> Would I do it again? Absolutely, if I ever need to.

 

==I hope and pray the Saints collectively never grow this feckless and indifferent to their covenants.

 

> But now that I’m in my mid-40s, I’m just more comfortable in my own skin than I used to be. I rarely experience that core despair I felt at 30 in the church, as a bone-weary alien in a community so filled with the happy and the unquestioning.

 

==And yet here she is, in her mid-40s, bragging about a year spent deliberately abandoning covenants and openly encouraging others to do the same.  At the end of her "sabbatical" she landed on her feet, and I'm glad of that.  But I think there would be many people who, having followed her advice and abandoned their covenants for an extended period of time, would not be so fortunate.

 

> But my comfort now comes in part from knowing that if I ever need it, the possibility of another sabbatical is out there, like food storage, patiently waiting to help me in my time of need.

 

==She takes comfort in the idea that she is free to once again abandon her covenants and thereafter publicly congratulate herself about it.  The mind reels.

 

==I reject the notion that God wants us to disobey Him when the going gets tough, or when we're just not in the mood to be obedient, or whatever.  IMO, the article above includes bad, bad counsel for the Saints.

 

Thanks,

 

-Smac

 

P.S. I was reluctant to post anything about this article, as doing so only gives further attention to the article.  However, I think there are times when a person has to stand up and counter unsound counsel.  I think and hope this is one of those times.

This attitude is clearly at odds with the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets. I believe such thinking falls in along somewhere on the continuum of behaviors that lead one down carefully to hell. The source of the problem is likely a lack of the Spirit and living the Gospel by the letter rather than by the spirit of the law. It is that same lack of Spirit that would cause someone to want to take a vacation from the source of life, light and true happiness. Another likely cause for this foolish attitude is not being familiar enough with the scripture because they clearly warn it's a bad thing to forsake associating with the saints and being fully active in the Church.

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This just defies the whole point of service not to mention probably violating covenants.

 

Imagine taking a year off of parenthood and feeling like it was the right thing to do.  Others are depending on us and to leave them in the lurch for selfish reasons to me is.........   not good.

Edited by mfbukowski
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She reminds me of the women who decide that motherhood and marriage just aren't "doing it" for them any more, and abandon their families to do all those other oh-so-important things in life they think they are missing out on.  The mindset involved in such selfishness is much the same.

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13 times you talked about her abandoning her covenants, even using the word utter to qualify how deep her abandonment was. I read the article and it seemed that she just stopped going to meetings. IMO there are far more serious covenants to keep than attending meetings. It seems that she kept those.

Her's a way to cut to the chase on this issue: What do you think any member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve would have to say about the kind of attitude exhibited by this woman?

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13 times you talked about her abandoning her covenants, even using the word utter to qualify how deep her abandonment was. I read the article and it seemed that she just stopped going to meetings. IMO there are far more serious covenants to keep than attending meetings. It seems that she kept those.

So we are justified in violating covenants as long as we can point to more important ones that we haven't violated? Is that your point?

And what about the attendant consequences of deliberate inactivity? Failing to keep the Sabbath seems like a biggie (it's one of the Top Ten, ya know). Temple worship is also out. Taking the Sacrament is out. Accepting and magnifying most callings in the Church is out.

But hey! She didn't commit adultery, right? So it's all good!

:sad:

Thanks,

-Smac

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I did this in a sort of way. I almost left the church about two years ago. Was really down. I ended up going back home, but still went to my home ward. At first, it was nice just to see old friends at church, but I still did not care too much. Over the course of five months, I enjoyed the summer and I did my classes online the next semester.

 

I started to feel the spirit again as I came to church and even my online classes. Months later, I was back in it to win it.

 

I think it pretty much is noticing the difference between having the spirit with you and without you. Mind you, I did not turn into this terrible person when I was away, but there was a sense of "this is much better than without it" kind of a thing.

 

I have a roommate that has a hard time with the church on and off, mostly off, but he was here at BYU-I for about a year. I am hoping that he will feel the same way when he goes home.

 

I can honestly say I am "bubble-ized" right now. I notice so much difference when I leave Rexburg. Which is funny, because it is just a town right? But I notice a different atmosphere. Not really an evil one by far, but different.

 

To this end, this is why I say going away may not be such a bad thing, unless you stray so far away from the bubble your bubble pops.

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People in the church take sabbaticals all the time. It's called going inactive. Sometimes the sabbatical lasts 30 years, sometimes 30 days. Former Bishops and Stake presidents have done it. They get overwhelmed and discouraged trying to do all that is required. 75 years ago it was not uncommon for a man to be a bishop for decades ,particularly in rural communities. Today that is unheard of. We are told to not run faster than we are able, but then are prodded to lengthen our stride and quicken our pace. To me, the woman did what she needed to do to preserve her membership. She returned, and good for that. That she is advocating such for others is problematic, but we all do that. If a new shampoo works for us we tell others to try it, even though some of them might get green hair.

   Some people , and yes I will say it, a lot of women, get so hung up on doing everything perfectly and by the book , that they neglect their own personal spiritual journey.

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This just defies the whole point of service not to mention probably violating covenants.

 

Imagine taking a year off of parenthood and feeling like it was the right thing to do.  Others are depending on us and to leave them in the lurch for selfish reasons to me is.........   not good.

Yet we live in a society (in America) in which people do not take vacations.  We are alone in the advanced industrial world in our lack of standard annual vacations.  In other countries, the accepted norm is a 4 to 6 week vacation every year, without fail.  Americans in general (and Mormons in particular) just don't understand why a vacation is important.  Why are Americans working more and enjoying it less?  Why has income remained stagnant now for decades?  Except for the very rich.  Perhaps we can reach a point of diminishing returns in any area of life, including religious commitment.

 

And in the academic world, a sabbatical is virtually guaranteed.  Would anyone begrudge Hugh Nibley for the sabbaticals he took at Johns Hopkins University, and at U.C. Berkeley?  BYU was without benefit of his extraordinary skills for a year in each case.  Others had to fill in for him then, just as they do now permanently -- since he has left us for that great Roundup in the Sky.  Giddiyup hoss !!

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So we are justified in violating covenants as long as we can point to more important ones that we haven't violated? Is that your point?

And what about the attendant consequences of deliberate inactivity? Failing to keep the Sabbath seems like a biggie (it's one of the Top Ten, ya know). Temple worship is also out. Taking the Sacrament is out. Accepting and magnifying most callings in the Church is out.

But hey! She didn't commit adultery, right? So it's all good!

:sad:

Thanks,

-Smac

 

You need to realize that your ranting is justifying her point.

 

3 Hour Block

Auxiliary Meeting

FHE

RS Activity

Temple

YM/YW

Ward Activity

Get Ready For Sunday

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

 

"Honey, let's get away for the weekend. I need a break."

"OK. Where do you want to go?"

"Any beach. I just want to relax."

"OK. Remember to bring your church clothes."

"What?"

"Yes. We have to go to sacrament meeting on Sunday We'll find the closest ward."

"And then back to the beach?"

"No. The beach is not appropriate for Sunday."

"Never mind."

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I think it is better to learn how to say "no" at times than give up altogether even if only for a year.

Can you imagine God or the Holy Ghost taking a vacation from their awareness of us? If we are to become like him, it seems to me intelligent, thoughtful people can figure out a better compromise if one needs rejuvenation time and have the personality where that means one needs alone time (which category I fall into).

Right now I can hardly make it to church. But I do the bulletins for the last 2 and maybe a half years, maybe longer. Missed only once, can't remember why. For the kids, I use a coloring page on the ward monthly theme rather than a black and white version of a picture we seen a thousand times over the years. A member last week at the ward party was kind enough to say when I sighed about difficulty of getting there, that I was present among them through the bulletin I do. I liked that idea. For someone who is going to meetings as well it might be a burden, for me it is something to keep connection going so a win-win situation.

I think you have hit the nail on the head. In any church setting it can be easy to be almost serial volunteerers, and wind up doing any number of callings and the result could be burn out. Saying no, sometimes is the wisest way of preserving yourself and I don't believe it is being selfish. It is probably more honest. Sometimes we don't discern the particular charism that the Holy Spirit has graced us with, and maybe we then take on a calling for which we are not suited. The result can be festering resentment or outright rebellion, but perhaps after years of doing something for which we are not gifted. Having the courage to say no, and avoiding being placed in a bad situation to start with while a period of prayerful discernment could lead you to a calling for which God has given the wherewithal to serve well in it.

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I hadn't seen this article but I was thinking about this last night. I just feel exhausted by church. I feel disconnected from God and I feel that much of that disconnection matches the disconnection I feel from the church as if they are the same thing. In the ARP group my wife and I lead we were talking about doing whatever it takes to build a personal relationship with God even if that thing seemed hard. Well, maybe taking a break from church could rejuvenate my enthusiasm for church and even increase my hope that there may be truth in the church's claims.

 

After 40 years of ultra orthodox/orthoprax activity where I've held many leadership positions I feel empty. I've always been fully active, family home evenings every week, family and personal scripture study & prayer every day, study for sunday lessons, etc. and yet I don't feel fulfilled by the church. Doing it now feels like I'm just going through the motions. I don't feel closer to God even though I try doing all the things I'm told I should.

 

I give this as background to my question; What am I supposed to do? Keep doing the same thing and hope for a different result? Should I expect that I will suddenly feel connected to God again by simply doing the same things? It's kind of a checklist mentality. Or should I try something different? Should I seek for a better way to connect with God even if it means I take time away from church exploring other options or should I stick with the status quo and hope that something magically changes? I can understand how this woman feels because it's what I'm feeling now.

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I hear what she's saying, even Jesus needed a break from people! I have heard a term "people fatigue" I felt like that on sunday-we had two sacrament mtg talks ALL about that Treck event and I just don't care and I don't think anyone else cared, based on facial expressions. I felt bad for people the missionaries brought, like is this a Church or what?

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As I see it, going to Church isn't productive to most people's goals. People want to help others and enjoy others. Going to Church and being actively involved is time consuming, often promotes bad attitudes about others and causes many to spin their wheels doing busywork.

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I have to say that I don't understand the point of these threads. Is it just to tell us how unfaithful or "dumb" this person is? Thank you for showing empathy and thinking of solutions rather than condemnation.

I don't know about "these threads" (I'm not here enough to know about that), but what prompted a response from me on this thread was the ridiculous "feel" the thing has. It reminded me exactly of a recent article (I think it was in the New York Times magazine) advocating open marriage. The guy who wrote it described his wife's rampant sleeping around, and his own, to a lesser extent. He insisted that their arrangement deepened their own marriage and intimacy in a way that monogamists can't possibly imagine.

 

The tone and approach was very similar to what I paraphrased above ("I attended a Protestant church for an hour on Sundays and a Bible study group on Tuesday evenings, but I felt so much more invigorated and refreshed than when I was an active Mormon.") Someone who is burned out with the responsibilities of a RS counselor is not going to attend Protestant church meetings *and* during-the-week extra-curricular Protestant activities. Those who say "But, you see, that's the point. Mormon meetings are so oppressive and not fun ---- other churches' meetings have an 'invigorating' effect!" don't work with real inactive Mormons. It's a cardboard cutout caricature.

 

We do have many people who burn out and pull back of their own accord to varying degrees (one example of many is mothers who take 2-3 months completely off from church when they have a baby). But, they don't act like or think like the person in the blog post represents. 

 

I'll say again that this particular thing strikes me as made-up, insincere NOM/Middle Way troll bait. It was written to elicit exactly the reaction it is getting (on both sides).

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Those who say "But, you see, that's the point. Mormon meetings are so oppressive and not fun ---- other churches' meetings have an 'invigorating' effect!" don't work with real inactive Mormons. It's a cardboard cutout caricature

Maybe it's a caricature for some. And for me at least, it's not necessarily that I would say protestant meetings are inherently better than LDS meetings (I don't have the experience to know) but sometimes a fresh perspective on things can invigorate and energize the imagination. I don't know if going to a different service would help or not. What I do know is doing what I'm doing now isn't helping so why not try something different and then judge the fruits. Right now I don't even have the ability to compare the fruits of one denomination against another because I can only count on one hand the number of times I've been to another denomination. If I'm already feeling disconnected from God will it really hurt to try to invigorate that by taking a break and trying a new approach?

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I can empathize with what I suppose can be called "Weary in Well Doing" syndrome.  The problem, though, is that we are are cautioned to not succumb to it, and by "succumb" I think I mean . . . do exactly what the author is advocating and ditching activity in the Restored Gospel:

 

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  (Galatians 6:9)

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.  Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."  (D&C 6433-34).

"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."  (James 5:11)

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb."  (1 Nephi 13:37)

"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."  (3 Nephi 15:9)

"And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."  (D&C 14:7)

"And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved."  (D&C 18:22)

"But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life."  (D&C 50:5)

"Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God."  (Alma 1:25)

"And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!"  (1 Nephi 2:10)

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."  (Luke 18:1)

"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."  (Romans 2:7)

"If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation."  (D&C 6:13)

"And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."  (D&C 59:9-12)

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."  (Mosiah 2:17)

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3:16)

 

The idea being advocated in the linked article above seems to counter these exhortations.  Somehow, I just don't think the Savior said "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint, except when they don't want to, in which case abandoning covenants and disregarding the commandments of God is just hunky dory!"  Or "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Unless, of course, doing so is bothersome.  Then feel free to ditch observance of the Sabbath, skip the Sacrament and the renewal of your covenants, abstain from receiving or providing Gospel instruction, stop serving in callings in the Church, stop attending the temple, etc.  Because let's remember, the Gospel is only worthwhile when its convenient!"

Jesus went in the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days. During this time he was not attending synagogue, teaching the people, or healing the sick. She didn't stop praying. She didn't cut God out of her life. She didn't ditch Sabbath day observance. As for the Sacrament, you realize that during Joseph's life weekly taking of the sacrament was not a thing right?  

 

 

So here she uses the Scriptures to justify abstention from keeping covenants.  I think we've been cautioned about that sort of thing.

 

I see. So you using 16 scriptures to pass harsh judgement on a Sister, a fellow saint is A-okay. You put yourself in God's shoes and judge her to be a covenant breaker. But her likening the scriptures to her own situation, following the spirit as it spoke to her is wresting the scriptures for her own destruction. Got it.

 

 

Yes, it must've been nice to withdraw from the burdens of service in the Church.  Of course, doing so meant that other people in her ward likely had to take on the responsibilities she shrugged off for a year, and in doing so these others had to sacrifice even more of their family and person time to do so.

So I take it you have never asked someone to sub for you in a class? You've never gone on vacation? My wife's uncle was a bishop in a poor ward when he found a better job. After prayerful consideration he took the better job and moved to a more affluent area that had less need of him. Other people in the old ward had to sacrifice more because he left. Do you condemn him too? When you moved into your current location did you make sure to find the smallest ward that had the most need and then move there? 

 

 

 

What feckless advice this is.  Why stop with service in the Church?  There are all sorts of important responsibilities that, over time, can become taxing and difficult.  In the LDS paradigm, the most important responsibilities would be related to family.  Yet somehow I doubt we'll see Latter-day Saints encouraging others to take sabbaticals from, say, being a spouse or a parent or a breadwinner or a caregiver.  My sense is that, in the LDS paradigm, service in the Church is likewise fairly high up on the hierarchy of duties arising from sacred covenants.

Attending and serving in the church are not in any way comparable to the legal and moral obligation we have to our children. That being said, parents of children with severe disabilities, especially foster parents of such children often take use of respite care. I would never judge such parents as unfaithful in their duties.

 

 

 

I can and do respect the need for introspection.  But I reject the notion that such introspection requires abandonment and/or violation of sacred covenants.

Which covenant exactly did she break exactly in your informed opining?

 

==I don't get this.  Observance of the Sabbath Day is a clear commandment for the Saints.  I just find it hard to swallow that God would approve of His children taking a year-long sabbatical from obeying Him.

Who says she didn't observe the Sabbath? Is it really your call to make? Who said she wasn't obeying God? There are all types of circumstances where people cannot attend sacrament meeting or fulfill church callings. Are you saying in all cases these people are not observing the Sabbath? That they are disobeying God? Really? If someone were to ask to be released from a calling to care for a sick loved one, would you condemn them? What if someone can't attend due to illness? Do you condemn them? Or is it just not obeying God when someone doesn't go to church or fulfill their calling for a reason that you don't approve of?

 

It must be great to be in a position where you have no beams left in your own eye to see clearly enough to remove the mote in the eye of your fellow latter-day saints.

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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