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Saturday, October 08, 2005 

Trudging slowly over wet sand...

After reading my cohorts' posts on the subject and all the comments, I think it's safe to say that everyone hates Mormon Sundays.

Sundays from my childhood were invariably headache days. The combination of getting up early, having only one big meal, and being cooped up in the house always gave me a headache. My parents never let us play outside on Sundays (with all of the other Mormon kids), so my siblings and I always associated Sunday with being miserable and stuck in a stuffy house playing game after game of Mastermind.

Like Kaycee, when I went inactive, I was amazed by this entirely new day that lay before me, ripe with possibilities: Saturday II. Instantaneously, my weekend doubled. That's tough to compete with. It'll be years before we're able to squeeze another day off into the week.

When trying to decide what feels right to do on Sundays, I think it's important to look back on the origin of Sabbath observance. The Sabbath was instituted after the Israelites were freed from bondage in Egypt. They went from having to work seven days a week (being slaves and all) to having a rest day. In fact, not only did they not have to work, they were prohibited from working on pain of death. As we can see, it was a pretty sweet deal for them. All they had to do on their day off was to remember who freed them from the Egyptians.

Think of how great those first Sabbaths must have been for the Israelites; the only time that came close for me was those first couple of Sundays with limitless possibilities. I think every Sunday should be more like that: a day of joy, feeling happy to be alive. I don't think we're doing the Lord any favors by dedicating a miserable day to him. I know this point often gets obscured in church, but God actually wants us to be happy. It's silly and counter-productive in my opinion to wear our suffering like a badge to prove how dedicated we are. Go out, have fun. Drive around. See a movie. (Trust me, no matter how many Mormons there are, the movies will always be open on Sunday. You're not making the projectionist work any more than s/he'd already have to.) Enjoy your free time, and thank God you're not making bricks for some guy in a silly headdress. That's what the Sabbath was originally about.

Whatever you do, don't force your kids to stay inside and play board games in their Sunday clothes. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Great post (again) Ned. I want to bring up the opposite POV - that Mormon Sundays don't HAVE to be miserable, if we treat them as a day to be free AND to recharge.

The idea of a Second Saturday is not at all appealing to me. When we're both working full time, Saturday is a frantic day of trying to catch up on everything we think needs to be done before the next week starts. If we added Sunday to our available days, we wouldn't cut Saturday work in half - we'd just spend twice as much time frantically catching up.

Conversely, on Sunday, we try to keep meals simple, keep the noise down, and enjoy each other's company. I rarely nap on Saturdays (too busy) but on Sunday, it's pretty much a given. Day of rest and all. We read. We play Scrabble. We WIND DOWN. Life is so tense and frantic and anxious and high-charged and stressful, it's good to have a day where we have no other obligation except to go to church (I'm on the one-hour block, which works well for me) and to rest.

That said, being free to choose how to spend Sunday is very important. Spending the day doing church stuff is not exactly restful to me. I often go grocery shopping on Sunday, because I can do it at my leisure while the rest of the family is still at church. Often, DH prepares for work the next day. I don't think these things necessarily detract from the overall tone of our day - which is to slow down, quiet down, and RELAX!

We each must decide what is right and appropriate for ourselves. The church does give some guidelines, but they don't spell it all out and it is mostly left up to us to choose what is appropriate. I am glad because that means we can each keep the Sabbath day holy in the way we are best able to. Our choices may not be the same, but we can still all be striving to obey the same commandment.

I for one, LOVE "Mormon Sundays" as you put it. I have never felt miserable. And when I keep the Sabbath holy I DO feel recharged and the rest of my week goes ten times better.

Did I say I didn't like Sundays? If I did, I didn't mean to. I like Sundays. Except for Sunday nights. Even though it has been a few years since I had homework, I still get that tight stomach anxiety about what might be "due" on Monday...

Sorry, Carrie Ann; I didn't mean to misrepresent your post. The part about everyone hating Mormon Sundays was tongue-in-cheek, since I was surprised by the number of people who had similar experiences as me.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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