exhaustedOver the weekend By Common Consent ran an important post by Ronan Head about Sunday rest. “Dear Church, We Need Our Sabbath Day Back” encapsulates the way Mormon Sabbath has shifted from a healthy blend of rest and worship (which Mormons define as “meetings”) to a ragged and unhealthy focus on meetings, meetings, and more meetings:

Most Sundays I really crave a Sabbath day, a day of rest. This is not a craving for a lie-in with the papers. I want to go to church but we have let it get out of control, building hour upon hour of talk upon talk as if it is some holy thing. It isn’t. I have noticed that for even the most pious of the Saints, their happiest Sunday is the Sunday they are given a guilt-free break from church: snow days, sniffly children, General Conference. Don’t say you don’t believe me.

Head’s post had me cheering so loudly he probably heard it from across the pond. Mormons are not honoring the Sabbath—not in the way the Bible clearly intended, anyway—and we need to start saying no to the craziness.

The Hebrew word Shabbat means “cease.” End of story. Full stop, literally. It does not mean:

  1. Go to church an hour early for a “State of the Ward” sort of meeting.
  2. Sit through church meetings for three full hours. Use the sacrament meeting time to prepare your lesson for priesthood or Relief Society.
  3. Stay for an hour after church for your ward’s choir practice.
  4. Grab a quick lunch at home because after all, you would never think of violating the Sabbath by buying a sandwich at McDonalds.
  5. Do your home teaching/visiting teaching in the afternoon.
  6. Pop back home to check on your children for a few minutes. Yes, they are still alive.
  7. Bundle the older kids back into the minivan for their Sunday evening fireside.
  8. Collapse into bed, relieved that tomorrow you can go back to your day job and stop working so hard.

There’s actually very little in the ancient Scriptures about what people did with their time, though there are rules upon rules about what they could not do. The reason there’s so little prescribed compared to what is proscribed is simple: “stop” was actually a pretty clear message, overall.

But we aren’t getting that message. Just stop.

In the post itself and in the comments are some worthy suggestions for how to make room for rest to counter the unhealthy, legalistic performance of our religion. Some of those suggestions include:

  • No more extra Sunday meetings, home or visiting teaching efforts, firesides, BYCs, PECs, or BYDs. (Perhaps the new rule should be that if it involves an acronym of any kind, it’s not for Sunday.)
  • Either move to a 2-hour block (eliminating Sunday School) or make the middle Sunday School hour optional so that people can take care of auxiliary meetings, welfare concerns, or choir practice during that time. As someone aptly pointed out, this would have the bonus effect of actually getting people to be involved in choir.
  • Emphasize that the Sabbath is not a day for emails, meetings, or productivity apps. On the other days, however, one’s devices can be a great way to reduce the inefficiency of calling all these in-person meetings. Why require people to travel a half an hour to a meeting they could easily Skype into from wherever they are?
  • Give more callings to women to share the burden of too much work shared by too few men.
  • Encourage members to stay with their children on Sundays whenever possible. For a church that emphasizes the importance of family so strongly, we sure do a poor job of showing it when we keep priesthood holders away from their families for the bulk of Sunday.
  • Make sacrament meeting focus on worship through music, prayers, Scripture, and more music—especially participatory music. There should never be more than two talks, and each talk should be a maximum of ten minutes. Testimony meetings can stay. Stake high council talks should quietly disappear.
  • Stop censuring the act of saying no. In our culture we have been told to never say no to a calling when it is offered, which is an untenable policy. If, after praying about a calling, someone feels it’s not the right time, there should be no “guilting into it.”

 

42 Comments

    • Well this is certainly a hot topic.

      I believe most of the issues with rest on Sunday is up to the individual. For example, home and visiting teaching. We take our kids to firesides because they want to go. The reason most of this stuff gets scheduled for Sunday is because it’s the only time on everyone’s schedule where it’s free and we can all meet. There is simply no other time to do it. Now the issue is, do we really need to do what we’re doing on Sunday?

      I really dislike the “State of the Ward” meetings. They are totally useless in most wards. Shortening those meetings is not necessarily the fix, but they can certainly be more productive. The one example that comes to mind is when we had all 8 full time missionaries show up. The entire hour was spent discussing every possible option for teaching opportunities. Nothing else was discussed and then the ward mission leader wanted to have his own meeting that same day after church which basically included everyone that was at the morning meeting and was designed to cover the same things we just discussed. I boycotted that meeting and was vocal about it in the first meeting.

      I agree with you on the point that there is not enough delegation. Sisters could be included in handling the work load (if there is one). But most of the time, I think we just make busy work, because if we’re not busy, then we’re being idol and that’s a sin.

      I use my Sunday’s after church for reading, watching what I call spiritually uplifting movies (my daughter abhors them because some of them are rated R), sleeping and blogging.

      I do like firesides. That one is a keeper.

  1. I like the idea behind this, especially the idea of making the middle hour more multi-purpose. Going early or staying later for choir are both difficult, even though I love to sing. Two hours instead of three? That would be heaven. Shorter talks … maybe. It depends. Sometimes people do talk too long, but there is something very sweet about someone who is so enthusiastic about a topic that the words just won’t stop coming. We recently heard from a young man who is 18 and about to go on a mission. He is a great young man, 18 years old, and he clearly was speaking from the heart, but he did run the meeting overtime by ten minutes. A counselor had to tell him to wrap it up. Some people left before he was done, but I loved the fact that he felt so strongly and wanted to talk to us at length. He said some great things, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of what he had to say. Banning long talks from people who have plenty of time to shine, though, would not be a bad thing. Home teaching on a Sunday can be good if it is limited; we never do more than two visits, and I try to keep it to one, but with our schedule, if we didn’t do it Sunday we would not be able to do it. The big problem with extra meetings and firesides is that they are too frequent and the ward meetings are usually poorly run. But I do remember really enjoying going to firesides when I was younger. It was a big part of my life.

  2. You are spot-on when you talk about divvying up the work more effectively and letting people say “no” without the guilt trip. In our ward, there are a lot of great men who have been quietly sidelined. I’d love to see them more involved, and of course, one problem area is how women are treated. Being treated as invisible is not really my idea of being valued. (While we’re at it, could we get some good biographies going on some of the great women of the church?) And I flat-out do not believe that every calling is inspired. I think we cheapen revelation when we pretend it is a constant. One of the things I respect about Joseph F. Smith is that when he testified in front of Congress during the Reed Smoot hearings, they asked him if he’d ever received a revelation. At that point, he hadn’t, and so that’s how he answered. I’ve respected him more ever since I read that.

  3. Funny, just this weekend I was speaking to a group (Presbyterian) about Sabbath-keeping and one person said how much better the Mormons were than the rest of us ;-)

    It seems to be a struggle everywhere.

  4. Now that Priesthood and Relief Society meetings on Sunday have become another generic Gospel Doctrine lesson with the same manual and no gender differentiation any more it has become pointless and could go, but i would much rather see a return to making the most of a male or female only space to meet the needs of each and their ministries specifically like the good old days. It drives me nuts that home teachers are given loads of guilt trips for not getting organised and planning visits when we are all in the same building for 3 hours every week wasting time on a lesson instead of being left alone to use some of the time to talk to each other and plan some ministering visits. Lots of talk about action, but not enough common sense to make the action happen. When I was Ward mission leader till recently Sunday was a gruelling working day of at least 4 hours of meetings that kept me away from home from 7am till about 4pm. Now I’m in primary and it is clear that 3 hours is far too long for the poor kids, awesome though it is. However, if the extra meetings have to happen I’d much rather we got it out of the way on a Sunday and keep the rest of the week free for family life and all the other stuff we have to do, and this has been the consensus amongst our ward leadership, but it is knackering, as we say in the UK.

  5. Good post, something to think about.

    I wish I could remember who spoke on it, but one of the twelve gave a talk about not HAVING to accept church callings if you don’t feel up to task. I wish I could find it, it was given about 5-10 years ago in General Conference.

    Another benefit of two hour churches: more wards could fit in the building, thus delaying the need to build several church buildings for a decade or so. The church could save a ton of money, maybe even cut our tithing back to 8% in the meantime (KIDDING!!).

    Also, the PRIMARY reason we physically go to church is for the sacrament. Everything else is secondary. So why does the primary purpose take 20 minutes and the rest of it take 160?

    “Emphasize that the Sabbath is not a day for emails, meetings, or productivity apps.”

    YES! While I like your emphasis on the word “cease”, I prefer to emphasis “rest”. It isn’t so much a rest as in taking a nap just before football. It is a day to take a rest from the activities of the world.

    My testimony on the Sabbath extends from my college days. Back then, I was working full time, raising an ankle biter, doing side-work to make ends meet, and was in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency (we met every Tuesday to discuss home teaching assignments and visit new families). The only time I could really concentrate on my homework was Sunday night.

    We had a lesson on keeping the Sabbath holy and I vowed to make time throughout the week to do my homework and observe Sunday as a day of rest. The result? I was more at peace, my life seemed to get more in order, AND (oddly enough) my grades went up a bit. I can’t explain how, but somehow God blessed me for my obedience.

    Granted, since then, I’ve slipped back to my evil ways and find it an excellent day to clear out some eMails and catch up on my Twitter feed. :( It might be time for a re-visit.

    The focus on Sunday should be on the Lord. After all, He rested after creating the world, and if He needed rest from his obligations, shouldn’t we as well? I’d really REALLY like to know what he was doing during that 7th day of rest. I doubt it was checking eMail, watching Football, and catching up on homework.

    What I wish the world would do is have three day weekends. On Saturday, we treat it like a P-Day (clean the house, do laundry, etc. etc.), Sunday is the Sabbath, and then Monday we actually spend the entire day with the family, instead of tromping off to work only to return home too tired to do a proper Family Home Evening. I bet productivity would go UP cutting the standard workweek from 40 hours down to 32.

    Oops, sorry for writing so much. Got a little excited there…

    • Jana Riess

      I love the idea of more wards being able to share the same building if there were only two hours of church. I never thought of that.

      I wonder if the talk you’re referring to is Boyd K. Packer’s 1996 talk “The Unwritten Order of Things”? This is what he said:

      “We do not aspire to calls in the Church, nor do we ask to be released. We are called to positions in the Church by inspiration. Even if the call is presented in a clumsy way, it is not wise for us to refuse the call. We must presuppose that the call comes from the Lord. The fifth article of faith tells us that we ‘must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’ If some circumstance makes it difficult for you to continue to serve, you are free to consult with the leader who called you. We do not call ourselves and we do not release ourselves. Sometimes a leader or a teacher enjoys the prominence of a presiding position so much that, even after serving for a long time, they do not want to be released. That is a sign that a release is timely.

      We should do as we are called. We should accept the calls and accept a release by the same authority.”

      In other words, OBEY AND DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS. Even if you’re the RS President and have several children under the age of six and are expecting another, it’s not your watch to know your limits and ask to be released? Even if you’re the EQ President and you never see your kids, you should just suck it up in silence? This approach feels very wrong to me. It’s certainly true that sometimes, a particular calling is exactly what we need at a particular time — a job that stretches us, teaches us. But it’s also true that sometimes, a particular calling is such a burden on a person that it makes for resentful service . . . or people leaving altogether because they are so burned out that the nuclear option seems the only escape.

      • Henry Eyring gave a talk at the women’s meeting in 2012. Here is the part that struck me, which is about knowing when to say when, and which I took as permission to ask for release from a calling that I had done for too long (although it still took another 9 or 10 months for the release to actually take place):

        “Even though extended and loving service to people is richly rewarded, you have learned that there are physical, emotional, and financial limits to what is possible. The person giving care long enough can become the one who needs care.

        “The Lord, who is the Master Nurturer of people in need, gave inspired counsel to weary caregivers in these words delivered by King Benjamin and recorded in the Book of Mormon: “For the sake of retaining a remission of your sins … I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.”

        “But then He goes on to warn those of you who might fail to respond to the evidence that you are pushing on too far and too long in your loving service: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man [or any caregiver] should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”

        “That counsel can be hard to apply when the choice seems to be balancing a desire to do all you can to help others with the wisdom to be prudent in meeting your own needs to retain your power to serve. You may have seen others struggle with such hard choices. One example is the choice to care for a person approaching the end of life at home or in a care facility when you may be close to exhaustion.

        “What you know of the plan of salvation can be your guide in such heartrending choices. That is one of the reasons why Lucy Mack Smith wisely said that the sisters were to ‘gain instruction.’”

      • Not sure how you get “OBEY AND DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS” from Elder Packer’s encouragement to consult if a calling poses challenges. As you quoted him:

        “If some circumstance makes it difficult for you to continue to serve, you are free to consult with the leader who called you.”

    • Jana Riess

      Well, several of them are ones I liked from the BCC post, with a few of my own. The elimination of stake high council speakers was mine, but if YOU had been in the high council in my stake instead of in Pasadena then I’m sure that every HC talk would be scintillating. ;-)

  6. Love these suggestions, especially the idea of making Sunday School optional! We used to hold YW Presidency meetings during the SS hour until we got a pharisaical secretary who insisted the young women would benefit more from our example of attending SS than tending to our administrative duties during that hour. Also, this secretary was married to the 1st Counselor in the bishopric so they made us have our meetings during the week. Blargh.

    I must quibble with the suggestion to have more music in sacrament meeting. I am not especially musical and the level of musical talent and participation varies greatly by ward. I think I don’t feel the Spirit through music as readily as some, so this would make what is already a long sacrament meeting even more torturous for me.

    • But what if the meeting were shorter? Say the block was two hours; 30 minutes for Priesthood/Relief Society, a 10-minute break, 30 minutes for class, choir, meetings, and visiting or home teaching, a second 10-minute break, and the remaining 40 minutes for Sacrament meeting or Fast and Testimony meeting. If the beginning of the meeting to the end of the sacrament took up 20 minutes of that, you’d only have 20 minutes left for music and talks. Two songs (4 minutes each) and one talk (another 8 minutes), and you’d still have 4 minutes for a closing prayer.

      Where do I sign up?

    • @GreenDavis, I’m a bit shock that you (or anyone else for that matter) don’t feel the Spirit through music. If God clothes himself in music and “the song of the righteous is a prayer unto Him,” then how can you not feel the Spirit? It’s either you have an awfully horrible sounding congregation, or else you’re deaf and therefore unable to feel the Spirit through it! For me, music is a huge part of feeling the Spirit, especially the sacrament hymns It helps me feel the Spirit before I partake of the sacrament every Sunday..

      • I know. It’s weird! Most people utterly dismiss my reaction to music, which is why I bothered to comment. I submit that some of us feel the Spirit differently than others, and for me, music is not the turnkey. I assume this must be the case for others too. Something to think about.

  7. Kathleen McFarlane

    Believe it or not, there used to be many more meetings. And, taking children to sacrament meeting in the evening was always challenging. There were monthly preparation meetings for each of the auxiliaries and that is just to mention one example. That said, I would love to have shorter meetings. Priesthood leaders and their families sacrifice enormously to serve. Decades ago , my husband was a bishop, so I know this first hand. Yesterday, I received a text message from my stake president regarding my being set apart for new stake calling. He had written it at 4:30 am.

    • I grew up before the consolidated schedule was implemented, and I remember going to church twice each Sunday and once during the week for Primary. When the three-hour block was put in place, a lot was said on cutting down on the time commitment, not to mention the time required to travel to and from meetings. But as you say, even with the consolidated schedule, it can be hard. We used to have a young family in our ward where the husband was called to a series of callings that took him away from home a lot. His wife was not happy about it, since she had several young children, and I did not blame her. It sounds as though your stake president is too burdened, too. Anyone who has to write a text that early in the morning might have too much to do. (You can’t rule out the idea that maybe he had insomnia and that a text written at that time of day was atypical.)

      • Susan part of that consolidation was the idea that all of our churching would be complete in those 3 hours. It meant attending Mormon church only on Sunday. No mid-week meetings of any kind. Problem was that plan only worked well in Utah and Idaho where large populations of members lived. For outlying areas, they began to loose members, especially kids to other programs, so back in went Young Men/Young Women’s back in went Scouts, Activity days, etc. Now we are 6 hours on Sunday and every other day of the week. I agree it’s nice to get it done in one chunk, but the original idea never got off the ground.

  8. I do understand that Sundays can become very overwhelming especially for leaders. I question why you are asking someone else to change the rules so your perception of what is required to be a “Good Mormon” is easier. Isn’t that up to you?

    You don’t have to do these things you can always say no. The only person that will care is you. Sure a Bishop may ask why or a bad one may try to guilt you into something but it is still your call. So spend the time with you family guilt free, you are free to do that.

  9. This past week, I had let myself get into a cycle of feeling frustration at my kids and husband over small things. I went to church in this mood. As I listened to the talks, my heart softened because of the things that were being shared by humble members of the ward who addressed how the Savior has helped them through challenging times. I moved over closer to my husband and apologized for some unfair things that I had said. I’m so thankful that we can learn from different ward members through talks that are given. What an egalitarian way to learn!

    As I’ve had callings that have given me the opportunity to attend Ward Council meetings, etc., I’ve always been struck by the love that is shown for those who are in need of help. The meetings are conducted with varying degrees of efficiency, but the motives have been to help and lift others. I’ve witnessed people going about doing good on the Sabbath in those meetings.

    I’m so thankful for Sunday School where we can study the scriptures together. As any study group, I benefit from a discussion about the curriculum I have read during the week.

    So much is in how we look at things. Changes have occurred in the past and will in the future as to how the Church programs run. I trust how the decisions are made. I love the Sabbath and find that it can be a day full of serving others and being lifted myself by the efforts of others.

  10. Last year in our ward we shortened our block a couple of times to facilitate more doing and less talking about doing. One Sunday the bishop cancelled the two hours following Sacrament Meeting and sent everyone out as families to contact 5 unknown people on the ward membership list. Another Sunday was designated as an “open house Sunday” with a shortened two-hour block to encourage members to invite friends. To make the experience more approachable, the third hour was cancelled and we gathered in the gym for food and socializing. This year, our ward plans to repeat each of these adjusted Sunday schedules once each quarter for a total of eight Sundays with shortened blocks. Again the emphasis is less talking and more doing, not just less time for less time’s sake (although I’m not opposed to that either).

  11. Brother Wayne

    Some helpful hints from the book Child Guidance:

    Make the Sabbath a Delight—All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. Yet they can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interesting our children. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can walk out with them in the open air; we can sit with them in the groves and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and can inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. {CG 536.1}

    Provide Special Treat for Mealtime—We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Overeating befogs the brain. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many have done more than they think to dishonor God. {CG 532.1}

    While cooking upon the Sabbath should be avoided, it is not necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather let the food prepared the day before be heated. And let the meals, though simple, be palatable and attractive. Provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family do not have every day.16 {CG 532.2}

    Out-of-doors With the Children—The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature’s God—back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children. {CG 533.3}

  12. Much of this could be solved or corrected locally. There is actually written guidance in Handbook 2 (the public one) about scheduling stuff on Sunday’s:
    Leaders should ensure that Sunday meetings are not so numerous that there is little time for parents and children to be together on that day. Where possible, leaders should avoid scheduling Sunday meetings other than those in the standard three-hour schedule, leadership meetings in the early mornings, and occasional meetings in the evenings. (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 18. Meetings in the Church)

    That same chapter also goes into a lot of detail about when and how often meetings should be scheduled. Basically, all the meetings that bog down the time on Sunday’s are optional, only being required to meet “regularly.”

    Going to the Skype calls, I’ve had that conversation with folks in leadership. It just wouldn’t work because many folks, even in leadership, do not have video conference capable equipment. A conference call might be able to work.

    As far as the three hour schedule and sacrament, in general I don’t mind that the way it is. For Sunday School and 3rd Hour meetings, the lesson is not *mandated* to be from the manuals. Obviously preferred, but I have asked several times about teaching something outside of the manual and the response I have always gotten is ‘if you feel inspired to teach on something specific, do it.’ But that’s up to the individual teachers and whether or not they want to think outside of the box/book. With Sacrament sermons (I refuse to call them talks) I am fine with 3 and I don’t see a need to limit them to 10 minutes. A quick look at a friend’s page where he publishes his sermons (he’s a Methodist minister) shows his sermons to be around 2,400 words or about 20 minutes depending on how fast he speaks. That’s been fairly standard in most other churches I have attended. So I really have nothing against a 5 minute youth speaker (they’re usually the best of the three anyway), a 10 minute speaker, and a 20 minute closing speaker. Or mix it up and have 6 speakers for 5 minutes each…1 speaker for 35 minutes…2 speakers for 15 &20 minutes each…and so forth. I think if the additional meetings were eliminated or reduced for leadership locally, it would make a huge difference. We act like these little changes have to come from SLC…they don’t.

  13. I agree with Peter’s comment when he says that the lessons presented in Relief Society and Priesthood meetings have become another Gospel Doctrine-type lesson. I would love to see those lessons offered as Sunday School lesson options so that, as Peter said, we could “return to making the most of a male or female only space” where women and men could once again address the needs and challenges that each gender faces. Speaking as a woman, I feel that women’s voices are lacking. The scriptures were written by men about men, and now the Relief Society manuals are focused on men. I would dearly love to spend that one hour in Relief Society focusing on women, their needs, their aspirations, their challenges and their female role models. What a concept!

  14. After reading the article and all the comments, I have considered the points made all day long. I think the first century and early second century saints faced the same problem and they came up with a plan that they thought would work for them. They decided to pay their ministers so they could leave their employment and serve God. They “contracted” out service to a professional class of clergymen. It was a step forward in the Great Apostasy.

    Today, Protestant churches pay their pastors, youth leaders, choir directors, soloists, organists, as well as secretaries, clerks, etc. Their tithing pays salaries and mortgages on chapels that are still owned by the bank. My former neighbor, an evangelical pastor, had a house fire that ruined his Jaguar, his Escalade, and his wife’s fur coats–all purchased for him by his congregation. In the LDS Church, if your bishop drives a Cadillac, you know your tithing didn’t pay for it. Our sacrificial service is a hedge against excessive worldliness.

    Cyprian, bishop of Carthage wrote in the 3rd century:

    “Each had been bent on improving his own patrimony; and had forgotten what believers had done under the apostles, and what they ought always to do. They were brooding over the arts of amassing wealth; the pastors and the deacons each forgot their duty; works of mercy were neglected, and discipline was at its lowest ebb; luxury and effeminacy prevailed; meritricious arts in dress were cultivated; fraud and deception practiced among brethren.”

    When faced between the inconvenience of attending meetings and making personal sacrifices for Zion’s cause, the primitive Church decided to employ hirelings and corruption swept through the entire Church.

    At times, I when I have struggled at making it through a three-hour block of meetings with a squirmy infant, I reflected that I was fortunate to not be meeting in some makeshift camp along the windswept plains in the freezing cold, with a distant Zion still hundreds of miles away. With our pioneer history, none of us should lose perspective on how good we have it today.

    • I don’t think the LDS church needs paid bishops and such. I DO think we could stand to have a paid executive secretary/clark position and that full-time person who could handle the administrative matters of the church would greatly reduce the burdens of the rest of the leadership.

      I also think you are incorrect about the vast majority of Protestant churches. Many of my friends in divinity school are currently serving as pastors in churches, one serves three separate congregations and makes a total of $35,000 a year plus his house. Certainly some churches are huge and, I might say, rather out of hand, but the great majority have no more than two or three employees. Everything else is done by lay persons, just like the LDS church does it.

  15. Just don’t forget that Saturday is a special day: a little prep then goes a long way to making Sunday more restful. And as for prepping lessons on Sunday, try putting *next* week’s lesson and scriptures on audio while resting Sunday afternoon. :)

    As for firesides, some of us single people are grateful for an uplifting activity when we’d otherwise be sitting at home lonely or watching TV.

    • Follower of Jesus

      “Just don’t forget that Saturday is a special day“.

      So true! In fact, you are paraphrasing the Fourth Commandment from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8):

      Remember (don’t forget) the sabbath day, to keep it holy (special).

      And if we are followers of Jesus, who certainly kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), we would keep Sabbath like His custom was (Luke 4:16) on the true seventh day of the week: Saturday!

      SMTWTFS

      Check it out:
      sabbathtruth.com

      “Just don’t forget that Saturday is a special day“.

      So true! In fact, you are paraphrasing the Fourth Commandment from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8):

      Remember (don’t forget) the sabbath day, to keep it holy (special).

      And if we are followers of Jesus, who certainly kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), we would keep Sabbath like His custom was (Luke 4:16) on the true seventh day of the week: Saturday!

      SMTWTFS

      Check it out:
      sabbathtruth.com

      “Just don’t forget that Saturday is a special day“.

      So true! In fact, you are paraphrasing the Fourth Commandment from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8):

      Remember (don’t forget) the sabbath day, to keep it holy (special).

      And if we are followers of Jesus, who certainly kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), we would keep Sabbath like His custom was (Luke 4:16) on the true seventh day of the week: Saturday!

      SMTWTFS

      Check it out:
      sabbathtruth.com

    • Follower of Jesus

      “Just don’t forget that Saturday is a special day“.

      So true! In fact, you are paraphrasing the Fourth Commandment from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8):

      Remember (don’t forget) the sabbath day, to keep it holy (special).

      And if we are followers of Jesus, who certainly kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), we would keep Sabbath like His custom was (Luke 4:16) on the true seventh day of the week: Saturday!

      SMTWTFS

      Check it out:
      sabbathtruth.com

    • As Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in “Spring and Fall,” “Now no matter, child, the name: sorrow’s springs are the same.” It is wonderful that thinking about your great-grandfather’s experiences at Martin’s Cove makes you feel grateful, but I suspect this is an orange-and-apples kind of thing. Why should something someone is feeling be discounted because it isn’t as bad as it could have been, or because it is a different type of trial? If Sunday observance is a problem for some people, I don’t think it should be dismissed just because it is not a pioneer experience. My daughter said to me recently that even though her problems might not be big to other people, they are big to her. I thought that was quite astute, actually. Problems are problems, just as sorrow is sorrow. You aren’t the first person to make this sort of comment, of course, but if someone hears what you said and is not comforted by what someone else experienced, the same way you were, that is still a perfectly valid response.

  16. “The Exhausted God”

    I am so tired of putting up with these mortals. They said they’d try their best, but it’s pathetic most of the time. I promise something, give them everything, and they throw it back and pretend I don’t exist. This lasts like thousands of years, many generations of them. I recommend the following:

    1.Only listen to prayers if they are given during a certain hour on a certain day each week.
    2. Only forgive them or remind them of the way to live better once (or twice if they had bad parents), after that it’s obviously such a waste, and I’m tired. I need more “me” time.
    etc etc
    End.

    The point, of course, is that it’s not about how tired you are, it’s about whether you have the strength to do more good. God obviously has unlimited strength and patience, so it seems silly to pretend that he would complain about having too much work trying to save all us humans. The same goes for us- it doesn’t matter how many hours (or days, or years, in many cases) you are at Church, or how you would prefer to be sitting on the couch. It only matters whether you have more energy to help people, and whether you have the perspective to see that Christ did way more for you than you could ever do for another.

    If you genuinely are having a less spiritual existence because of too many meetings and service, I’d bet that just about any Church leader would be more than happy to have you do whatever you need to do to be on the right track. Nobody can make you feel “guilty” about saying you are overwhelmed; only you can do that, and it happens when you know that you have energy left to serve but aren’t doing it. The scriptures make it clear that nothing is required of you beyond your capability, and saying no is fine if your no is intended to help you regroup and be better prepared to serve next time.

    The bottom line is that exhausted is GOOD if it means you have spent all your energy trying to do good things for others (and for yourself and your family). Exhausted is only bad if it means you are giving up because you are trying to run faster than you have strength, which God DOESN’T want. If you’re genuinely in that situation just say so and no leader I’ve met in the Church would say “I don’t care, exhaust yourself more”.

    Giving God and your neighbors 5 hours one day a week seems like nothing when most of us give 40-50+ trying to advance our careers, which matter little in the long run and which are possible only because of strength and talent God loans us in the first place. So I am going to be “that guy” and reinforce what the article speaks against- if you have more energy to serve, DO IT (and you’ll be more effective and happy if you don’t complain). If you truly can’t do it, then be comforted knowing that you aren’t expected to, and don’t feel guilty about anything that God wouldn’t want you to feel guilty about. We have our freedom, and we get to use it. Thank goodness for that.

  17. If you read left to right the seventh day (the last day of the week ) is Saturday.
    Sunday is the first day of the week on a calendar.
    Like the Sun rising at the start of the day. Sunday is the first day of the week.
    The last day of the week is Saturday, the day of rest.

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