Sabbath day observance

(also see “Guilt, shame, and anxiety” and “Obedience”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many believers cherish the Sabbath as a time to relax, regroup, and spend time on what’s important. The week can get so busy with school, work, and various activities that it can feel like there is hardly time to breathe. Sunday provides a day of rest where we can renew our covenants with the Lord and feel the spirit. Some things, like visiting the sick and engaging in service, often do not happen unless we make time for them; the Sabbath provides for a weekly opportunity to do good and important things that we otherwise might not do. Many believers do not view the Sabbath as a sacrifice, but rather as a welcome sanctuary from the world. Some consider the sacrament to be the most important part of our church participation. Joseph Fielding Smith said: “In my judgment the sacrament meeting is the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church.”
 
Keeping the Sabbath day Holy is one important way for believers to prove to God that we love him. Bruce R McConkie said: “the matter of Sabbath observance remains … as one of the great tests which divides the righteous from the worldly and wicked.” Preach My Gospel says: “Our Sabbath-day behavior is a reflection of our commitment to honor and worship God.”
 
In addition to the spiritual benefits of Sabbath day observance, coming together on Sunday as a community is very valuable to many people. Participation in Sunday church services is at the heart of the community in Mormonism. For many people, being a valued member of a community can provide immense personal satisfaction and fulfill social needs.
Many nonbelievers still attend church on Sundays because they still have positive experiences overall with the Mormon community. Coming together on Sunday as a community is very valuable to many people. Participation in Sunday church services is at the heart of the community in Mormonism. For many people, being a valued member of a community can provide immense personal satisfaction and fulfill social needs. This is such a powerful pro that many nonbelievers who leave Mormonism seek community elsewhere, by joining other churches or even trying to find a secular community as a replacement.
 
Some nonbelievers agree that Sabbath day observance helped them find time to do important things. Some things, like visiting the sick and engaging in service, often do not happen unless we make time for them; the Sabbath provides for a weekly opportunity to do good and important things that we otherwise might not do.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many believers find it a challenge to keep the Sabbath day holy. While there is some room for individual discretion about what is and isn’t appropriate, the church has been fairly clear on some things.
 
For the Strength of Youth says: “Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day.” D&C 59 says that aside from worship, prayer, and fasting, “on this day thou shalt do none other thing.”  All things considered, this leaves less room on the weekend for fun things, which can be a con for many believers.
 
The actual structure of Sunday services can be a con for many people, both believer and nonbelievers. A 3-hour block of nonstop church can be tiresome for anybody, especially families with small children. At times it seems puzzling that a church so focused on the family would design a 3-hour block that is so unfriendly towards families. When you add in other church meetings and events, Sundays can become very tiring days with little time to do much of anything else besides attending to church obligations.
Many people who leave the church are not shy to admit that one of the best things about their new lifestyle is that they now have a full weekend. They have the freedom to do what they want to do without guilt or shame, whether it be working or shopping or playing or sleeping or so forth. Nonbelievers, who do not anticipate any spiritual blessings from God because of Sabbath observance, might see the meeting requirements and activity restrictions on Sundays to be a huge con in activity and membership in the church.
 
For the Strength of Youth says: “Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day.” D&C 59 says that aside from worship, prayer, and fasting, “on this day thou shalt do none other thing.”  When you take belief out of the equation, there seems to be little reason for anyone to abide by these restrictions.
 
The actual structure of Sunday services can be a con for many people, both believer and nonbelievers. A 3-hour block of nonstop church can be tiresome for anybody, especially families with small children. At times it seems puzzling that a church so focused on the family would design a 3-hour block that is so unfriendly towards families. When you add in other church meetings and events, Sundays can become very tiring days with little time to do much of anything else besides attending to church obligations.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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