Do Mormons Fast?

Contributed by Steve Hafen

Do Mormons fast?The simple answer to this is yes, Mormons do fast.  Mormons recognize one Sunday each month (typically the 1st Sunday) as “Fast Sunday.”  While it is ultimately up to the individual on the length of the fast, Church leaders advise that church members go without food or drink for approximately 24 hours.  In lieu of eating on Fast Sunday, a “offering” is paid to the church that is used for helping the poor or those with short-term needs.

Fasting is often also coupled with prayer during challenging times or when needing to make a major decision as Mormons seek to gain extra help or inspiration from a loving Heavenly Father.  Fasting is not easy and requires a great deal of faith.  Through prayer and fasting, Mormons find their faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel can be strengthened significantly.  Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, an Apostle of the LDS Church has said this: “We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation.”

Fasting also has been show to have health benefits.  Studies conducted by various sources have indicated benefits at varying levels which can include:  stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span.

As with most things, Jesus Christ led by example in showing the importance of incorporating fasting,  The Savior has said to those who fast properly “Thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”  (Matthew 6:18)

In summary, fasting has always been a core part of Mormon beliefs and has many physical and spiritual benefits to those who practice it.

When do Mormons go to church?

Contributed by Scott Lewis When do Mormons go to church?

When do Mormons go to church? That is a simple question, and the simple answer would be; Mormons go the church every Sunday for a three hour block.  However, that only answers part of the question.  Full participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involves much more. To give you a small glimpse into the expectations of a member of the church, let me quote from a recent talk given by  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency in General Conference October 2013.  Said he:

“Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy.

He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked, “What do you require of your members?”

We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”

The couple went on to explain about Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.

“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.

“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”

“Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.”

“Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.

“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”

“Three hours, every Sunday!”

“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”

“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”

All of this is affirmed in a nationwide study which concluded that active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper [20 percent] of religious people in America.” (Ram Cnaan and others, “Called to Serve: The Prosocial Behavior of Active Latter-day Saints” (page16) It is my belief that sacrifice of our time is a small price to pay for the blessings that are promised to those who serve others, obey the commandments and endure to the end.