Keeping the Sabbath, When and How

“Anyone can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy takes the rest of the week” – Alice Walker

elder-nelson-sabbathYou can’t pick up an Ensign these days without hearing much about the need to keep the Sabbath day. This is a good thing. I hope that the Church isn’t just focus-grouping this topic as a sort of “this year’s theme,” or to just amp up the attendance numbers, but see an honest need for people to remember the Lord on a weekly basis. The Church must have data that shows how much it is in disrepair among Latter-day Saints. So it got me thinking . . .

How exactly does the Lord want me to keep the Sabbath day, and keep it holy?

President Nelson’s talk in April is a good resource. I’ve read it a couple of times and I find it to be a great discourse on the subject, as far as some basic concepts:

  • Attend church to offer up sacraments, taking upon us the Name of Christ
  • Rest from your labors
  • Pay devotions to the Most High
  • Serving others–family history is an option, visiting the lonely and sick, etc.
  • Strengthen family ties
  • Preparing food with “singleness of heart”
  • Don’t do your own pleasures, but the Lord’s pleasure

When I was “active,” I enjoyed the gentle call of the Spirit to attend services. When I attended all three hours, I felt a better sense of renewal than I did when I just went to Sacrament meeting. I have not been back to an LDS service in some time, my Sabbath schedule interferes with attending my ward Sunday services, since one of my Sunday fellowships happens over the top of my ward schedule. There are times when I miss that interaction, and I’m challenged to fill my Sabbath worship other ways.

Among folks in this movement, the Sabbath day has also been a hot topic. I thought I would spend some time to break down some of the theories and ideas and hopefully present some ideas on what it means to keep the Sabbath day. I really don’t have a theory on the best way to do it, so maybe you have some better research or revelation as to tell you how to live it best.

Day of the Week

Does it matter? For some of our more Torah-oriented fellowship groups, this is a critical thing. The day is of a vital importance, and as with Jews, the Sabbath should be celebrated from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. They also include festivals and other holy days celebrated anciently. I’m not sure it matters. I think if the exactness of observance is done in a way that causes a greater remembrance of the Savior, it can be a good thing. If it becomes a rallying point, or a brand, or a system that sets certain people up as have the best understanding of “the way,” I think it creates more pride than it does anything. For me, I’m inclined to keep my Sabbath worship on Sunday out of convenience, knowing that for me, it’s not so much the day as it is the fact that I’m reserving one day (or more) out of the week to honor the Lord. Furthermore, I’ve read some interesting ideas that ancient Jews followed the lunar calendar, so what we deem as Saturday, the day of rest, was a roaming date that depended on the cycles of the moon. It would be quite a feat for someone to come up with THAT Sabbath schedule. Maybe someone should. I’m open to being taught more on this subject.

Thou Shalts and Nots

When I was a youth, my mother would note to me that we would never watch NFL football on Superbowl Sunday (we never watched it on any other day, but that’s beside the point). When Superbowl Sunday came round the first of the year, our family made it a point of pride that we would skip out on such an event. It was the hallmark of how closely we kept the Sabbath. We also stayed in our church clothes most of the day, listened only to uplifting Sunday-oriented music, and couldn’t watch TV–that is, until the sun went down, then on popped the ABC Disney Sunday Movie! There was no systematic approach to Sabbath worship in our home, it was all based on how she grew up and her cultural understanding. These days I watch the Superbowl, not because I like NFL football, but that it gives my wife’s family time to get together and deepen relationships–another critical element of Sabbath worship, strengthening family bonds. Sure, we could do other things, but I won’t quibble. I understand the nature of the get together at least in my mind.

Our scriptures say very little about what you can and can’t do on the Sabbath although some general guidelines are offered up in D&C 59. I have highlighted some things that jumped out to me as well as comments in parentheses.

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; (I believe the house of prayer here is very simple, no need to go to a chapel)

10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

12 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. (See my post on confession, how could we better confess to our Brethren and not just to a church leader?)

13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full. (Maybe we should be skipping the pot roast)

14 Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

15 And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—

Much of what we get on the topic also comes from the New Testament when the Savior was constantly testing the Sabbath cultural rules that He thought were either nonsense or looked past the mark. The point is, “to keep it holy,” and not get caught up in rules and customs that must be kept.

As I began thinking about this, I’ve applauded that the Church has avoided a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts. What President Nelson states is pretty much the sum total and it comes primarily from our own modern scriptures. In the past decade, there was a big push back in the Hinckley era to get people to stop shopping on the Sabbath. I think this is a good albeit somewhat inconsistent application of the term, “shopping,” since gas purchasing, eating out, online shopping, and other types of shopping were sort of isolated from the more leisure shopping as outlined in those discourses. My wife worked at a Mormon-owned restaurant chain in Provo and in the afternoon, the suits and ties littered the place by people who needed to eat–perhaps they were staying in town–or just didn’t want to cook but wanted the fancy meal. The point is that we could understand the need for meals for visitors who were from out-of-town, but for people that just wanted to “rest” on the Sabbath, but have the big meal, it seemed like they were passing on the sin to my wife and her co-workers, who were pretty much forced to work Sundays. Perhaps this is meant by singleness of heart–keep it simple, you don’t need pot roast every week. I think what it comes down to is how much charity do we employ towards others in our day of rest? Does it cause others to have to work harder so we can enjoy our Sabbath? Do we accelerate the engines of Babylon with our Sabbath habits or calm them down? How much does charity play in our activities? Are we using the Sabbath day to do more with the encompassing commandments to “Love the Lord Thy God, and Love Thy Neighbor?” If not, perhaps we need to repent.

The Sabbath is only the beginning

I return to the statement I quoted at the beginning. “Anyone can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy takes the rest of the week.” Perhaps the best use of the Sabbath is to set ourselves up so that we can find more ways the rest of the week, to keep it holy as well. For me, movies, TV, video games, shopping, leisure, have taken a back seat to spending time reading and pondering the gospel in my free time. I don’t say this to boast. I’ve always been a gospel hobbyist and so for me, I have to use my idle time to do more than argue about church matters on Facebook. Taking time to watch an uplifting program with my wife may be a better use of my time.

What has whispered to me as I’ve written this is that all of the debate about the right day to worship is sort of a Telestial affair. In Zion, the Sabbath day will be everyday, not just one day in the week.

I leave my post with the lyrics to Take Time to be Holy by William D. Longstaff

“Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.”

On TBMs, Parables and Dreams

Guest post: A young reader of the blog came for a visit recently. Carol and I enjoyed having him stay overnight. He introduced us to a new phenomenon called “couch-surfing.” You probably know all about it but we had never heard of it. Now we know. You want to come visit us here by the beach? The couch is available. He asked if he could share a few thoughts on the blog. With his permission, I have edited and combined a bit:

Part 1 – On TBMs

TBM meaning - what does TBM stand for?

TBM means – True Blue Mormon

Today I ended a two week road trip and am going to write of something, a new thought brought to my attention by a new friend. This merry little remnant group often uses the acronym of TBM. I’m not sure how often I have used it myself, not sure if I even have. Either way, TBM sounds like a damn mental disorder or STD. Seriously folks, is there anything in the medical world that is good that has been given initials? Where did this term come from? It really doesn’t matter, what matters is the fact it is used.

The remnant, as it likes to call itself, doesn’t use the term Mormon. So why do we need to call Mormons TBM? Or why can’t we just say LDS? Never mind the fact I think both groups got it wrong with the whole name thing: “8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.”

If we call ourselves Mormons, we are a part of the church of Mormon and as Jesus so bluntly states it, that means we belong to the church of Mormon and not the church of Christ. So we have between the remnant and TBM….Latter-day Saints, Mormons, remnant, and TBMs…..just about everything except Christian or “Follower of Christ.” Hilarious irony somewhere in there. One thing I think we should work on: there is power in a name and probably a reason Christ says to call yourself the Church of Christ.

A Derogatory Term

tbm2But back to my point, this merry little remnant group has decided to use this name for a group of people, and use it in a somewhat negative manner. I suspect they mean to say “HAHAHAHA STUPID TBMs.” I have noticed that condescending attitude on the day of my rebaptism, and only one fellow (the guy who did the baptism) told them to knock it off. I enjoyed that day and at the request of the guy who re-baptized me, wrote down my thoughts to remember my feelings. Here are a few of them:

“I noticed in talking with people an ever so subtle Denver Snuffer worship that persisted. I also noticed an ever so subtle spirit of contention.” Indeed….perhaps I do agree with this new friend more than I think, but just happen to think rebaptism was what I really needed. I don’t regret it. It was for me the right thing to do, but I can certainly see and even did pen it down, that the remnant does possess a very subtle spirit of contention. It’s odd I noticed it because I also wrote: “I seemed completely at peace.”

Perhaps that’s why I noticed the subtle disturbance. Or perhaps my Satan detector is very finely tuned. Anyone that has visited the comments section of Facebook or any of the various LDS-themed blogs knows that contention is opening billion dollar businesses there. A bunch of folks shouting, “I have had revelation. No, I have had opposing revelation. No, I have had yet more revelation…”

Revelation Takes Time to Master

Well isn’t that a fine pickle we’ve got ourselves into? Sounds like we’ve just crossed into the Brigham Young succession crisis the lot of folks were upset about in the first place. We’re doing exactly what we claim the LDS church does – contradicting itself. If we all actually got revelation on the matter, we’d be in agreement. But we’ve taken a whole bunch of rookies, who’ve probably gotten less than three revelations in our lives, and suddenly we’re all masters. I have some bad news. Revelation takes time to master. It’s a gift from God.

But back to that TBM STD term, the more I think on it, the more I see this new friend is right. TBM is a damn STD or mental disorder. It’s as idiotic as any of those other racial slurs we’ve invented. No one, and I do mean no one I have ever seen uses TBM as a good thing.

I have a very simple piece of advice for you. I’m going to quote some general authorities here: Dieter F. Uchtdorf says: Stop it. I’m also going to quote some random folks from the scriptures too: Repent! So to summarize and put this together: Just Stop It and Repent! Of the general authorities I have always enjoyed Dieter the most. He seems a cut above the rest.

Many of you may now be left without a way to refer to one another. How about brother and sister? But I know I’ve offended you….so without TBM as a term how else will you:

14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.

27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

Ah yes, without the term TBM, how else will we do the highlighted things? You know what? Maybe me and my new friend don’t see eye to eye on the whole thing, and truth be told I’d like to ask this person a thing or two more about some stuff….but you know what? Charity is the greatest gift of all and I do not sense any bad intentions. And I think that counts for something, and this person showed plenty of charity.

We Ought To Be Much Kinder

You know….I don’t claim to get it right 100% of the time….but this past two weeks on the road with zero plans, I’ve seen more random acts of kindness, and participated in more random acts of kindness and felt closer to Christ than I have in a very long time. I’m a guy that has had visions since I was a child.

One time I had just finished eating and was daydreaming and thinking to myself, man they’ve gone and overcomplicated those stupid soda machines with a thousand flavors, as soon as I thought that some old guy walked up to it and couldn’t figure it out. Poor guy only wanted a simple old fashioned coke; taking five seconds to help him brought a smile to his face.

Another story: I was in a bar, and we were leaving. It was me and five other guys and we had all just met that night. Two of us just met two minutes previously. Someone spots two cops waiting for us across the street. One guy then invites us into his home (his apartment was next door to the bar) so we could avoid the cops. But somehow I am sure someone here is still throwing stones because I was at a bar.

Another point: I met a homeless guy….just passed him by at the Wal-Mart. I stopped and chatted for ten to fifteen minutes. In that time I was one of two people of at least one-hundred that actually stopped and looked at him much less chatted. Freaking random acts of kindness people.

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Ministering to the Homeless

I wonder…are angels masquerading as homeless people? Are they reporting back to God telling Him all about how we keep driving right past them? Interestingly enough he and this homeless guy I just mentioned talked about that very thing….He claims he was named Gabriel and I am named Adam….some hilarious irony there.

We need to get off our damn phones. I saw the other day there are tons of these remnant Facebook groups with the same folks posting over and over and over on each group all the day long. We need to put down the damn phone and go help the beggar ten feet outside our door. We’re all so obsessed with achieving what Denver Snuffer acquired (bear in mind if his story to be believed it takes him a good twenty to thirty years), an audience with Christ, that we’ve forgotten Christ helped the most wretched and pitiful of souls.

He helped the drunks at the bars, the whores, the hookers, the sick, the possessed, and even the freaking dead. Christ even showed pity and mercy to the legion of devils He let go into the herd of swine. If Facebook and all that crap existed in His time I doubt He would be on it. I suspect He’d be out there helping the aforementioned and calling us out on how we waste our time. I met no TBMs this week…I met people. And I’m from the damn place that started the civil war.

I’ll close by repeating this: Just Stop It and Repent!


Part Two – A Parable

apple-pie.jpgI shall tell you a story…A Parable even. There was a man who had an apple tree and it produced much good fruit. It was very delicious to the taste. The man took the fruits of this apple tree and one day learned to make an apple pie. This was the only apple pie around then. You see people were still learning how to till the ground. This man however soon after some years learned to truly perfect this apple pie. This man took great care of his apple tree as he wanted to pass it on to his descendants. He taught them all he could about making apple pies but soon grew old and passed on.

This special apple tree however lived on and his descendants went on making apple pies. His son had learned firsthand from his master father and to most they could not tell the difference but he was not quite as good as his father. He then had sons and they too learned how to make apple pies. This continued on for many, many generations.

One day many years later a stranger was passing by. He had heard of the legendary apple pie and decided since he was so close by he would try this famous apple pie. He soon arrived with much anticipation but immediately noticed the house was falling apart and the trees of the yard did not look well taken care of. However he had heard the stories and figured what does he know? He comes from a land that doesn’t even have an apple tree so perhaps this is just the way it looks. He however craved good food and had heard the stories and the legends of this famous treat. You see in his homeland you do not get to eat such good food, the food is stale, dry, and often rotting or close to rotting. His people simply cannot seem to learn to cook.

The Legend of the Great Apple Pie

He knocked on their door and was invited to come in. He asked about the origins of this apple pie and was told all the stories. As he had listened with great anticipation and even hearing new stories he had not heard before he soon realized these descendants did not even know as much as he did. But he figured, “No matter at least they can bake a delicious apple pie.”

The man had become so overwhelmed with excitement he barely gave heed or notice to the fact the place smelled very similar to home. He figured all food looked terrible having never seen good fruit before. After some time the baked apple pie came out and he had it in front of him, ready to taste and eat.

He looked on with great anticipation exclaiming “I AM HERE, I AM FINALLY HERE LORD” as this was the place of legends. He took his fork to the pie and brought it to his mouth. He noticed it looked familiar. He asked the bakers about this before he took a bite and they said “This is how all food is, don’t you know that?”

He then proceeded seemingly satisfied with the answer. He took his first bite and noticed this was nearly identical to the food he was used too. He wondered could it be….could the stories all be a lie. He took another bite to be sure, and sure enough the pie tasted similar to his homeland’s rotting food.

Not All Pies Are the Same

He then recalled a story as he looked around. He recalled hearing how the original owner of this place would spend 4 hours a day cleaning and grooming and tending to the apple tree outside. He remembered thinking how clean this inside had to have been, which cleanliness made him different from his friends and family. He then asked the bakers how often they cleaned the apple tree to which they replied “Why should we clean it? It has always been that way and always produced this same fruit just as it did for our father and his father before him, we have always had this same fruit and this same tree.”

The stranger finally understood….the poor descendants had lost their way. They were stuck in their methods of baking and while this may have once been a legendary place all it was now was a story. The stranger explained this to the bakers but only one of the six bakers listened and so he and the stranger finally convinced the others to leave and let them be while they cleaned up the place and did things as close to the stories they had told them to do.

They worked hard and long as they had to plant completely new soil and build much of the house anew. It was tiring and time consuming but after several years they finally finished. The other five bakers repeatedly called them crazy but had agreed to this….in the meantime they opened up shop.

The Great Apple Pie is Restored

The stranger and the one baker finally opened….and this time it was good apple pie….the stuff of legends. In time the five grew angry at the stranger and the one baker but what could they do? They had a plan they thought. They would encourage the stranger to return to his homeland knowing a partner is needed they will pay someone to sabotage the new place.

And so they went to work on their plan and it succeeded. Soon a generation or two later passed and you could barely tell a difference between the two, yet strangely some folks swore one place was better than the other yet they were nearly identical in origin and story and taste.

As we near the end of our story one last stranger appears….it is the son of the original stranger from just two generations ago. He noticed this was wrong and told them of the apple pie stand in his homeland that he learned from them, but both stands laughed at him and would not heed his warning calling him crazy.

The Restored Pie is Rejected

He was cast out, but determined to try and get them to see reason, he went back to his homeland and brought with him the fruits of his labor. He soon returned and showed them proof of his claims yet he was still mocked and laughed at. His father had warned him this might happen, but he tried anyway. Sadly, he was fighting a lost cause. The people had their apple pies and could not fathom there being another apple pie, they presumed they had a monopoly on apple pies.

The poor stranger returned home, defeated and sad as the place truly was now nothing more than a good story, a legend, but a farce claiming to be what it once was. As he lay on his deathbed he died asking “How could a place with good food learn to enjoy eating rotten food? We once ate rotten food and now eat good food, yet strangely some among us prefer the rotten food? How can this be?”

To all who read this parable I say this….The meaning is not just the most obvious meaning, it has many meanings. I was foolish and did not write down all the meanings I have heard. THIS IS NOT JUST A PARABLE ABOUT THE MODERN CHURCH! Either way I’ll leave it to those that: 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: If your eyes are opened and your ears are listening, you’ll figure it out.


Part Three – A Dream

I once somewhere read of a dream by someone. Perhaps the dream is real or perhaps not. I don’t know. In this dream, a man was looking for Christ in church. He looked and looked but could not find Him. However, he happened by a boy who was in need of comfort because his parents had gotten divorced (I can’t remember the exact reason). He noticed the boy was all alone, but there was an old man sitting there in the room with him but not saying anything.

He briefly talked to the boy and found out what was wrong but soon enough left him in his search for Christ leaving the boy with the quiet old man. Some years later in the dream, he saw the boy again but with friends and noticed was even worse off. He asked the boy about it and the boy who was now a teenager explained that no one came to help him. The dream ended.

The explanation given by the author of the dream was this: do not get so stuck on your desire to see Christ that you forget to minister to the poor around you. He suspects had he ministered to the boy then and there that Christ was actually the old man in the room and would have revealed Himself, but because he did not, he failed to minister to Christ, and thus was unworthy of His presence. So do not forget the poor, the homeless, the sick, the needy, and so on, for by ministering to them, you minister to God Himself.


Confession Time


My mother (bless her heart) has been posting these new “helpful” videos put out by the Church that promotes the Church’s 12-step program, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. The Church’s program is targeted toward those with drug or sex addictions, and some with eating disorders.


I like what AA has done for people. I think the 12-step program is a GOOD program, at least its principles are good, even inspired. The videos are good. I thought it was very brave for a person to get up and tell their story that way, until I noticed that the people confessing on camera also had a camera following them around showing us their sinful ways and the repercussions of their sins. Yes, they were actors. I wonder of that sends the wrong message. I get that people are ashamed, but I also wonder how powerful it would be if a real person said these things, raw, in front of a camera, then stated . . . and I’m a Mormon.

Full disclosure, I have had a mild addiction to pornography. The joke is . . . who hasn’t, at least among us men. I get a little sensitive to people (like my mother) who have no such addictions, being pre-occupied with such things, worrying about the beams in others eyes. OR . . . a Church full of men who have never made the kinds of mistakes that would embarrass the Church (the shameful “heinous” kind), having been fully vetted, now setting themselves up as a light to help heal those of us that have as if they have it all figured out. None of them have had sex or drug addictions. They were able to escape such holocausts, or hide them enough to escape the Church vetting process. Can they really help us bear that burden? I don’t think we contemplate enough the mystery of how Christ can succor our pain. Perhaps there is more to this than we think, being the only perfect being, yet feeling the weight of every sin upon His shoulders.

It made me think about sin in general and how it relates to shame, to culture, to the idea that in the LDS world, we rank sins according to their heinousness through a misapplication of Alma 39. One wonders why we don’t have 12-step programs for anger, indifference, pride, arrogance, vanity, selfishness, greed, or self-righteousness. What does it say about the state of the Church that the very things that are keeping us from Zion are the very things that we care little about in terms of repentance? What does it say about a church that keeps tallies on its members to vet them so that they won’t get into the kinds of leadership positions that would embarrass the Church, as a missionary, or for a future leadership assignment.

We all know certain priesthood leaders that take their calling this way–spending more time worrying about “protecting the flock” than saving the stray sheep, but again, only from certain “heinous” sins. Come, confess to the bishop . . . share your pain and lighten your burden with a servant of the Lord . . . , to disallow you the opportunity to serve, or deny you ordinances because the Lord needs you to suffer and scrub your heart completely clean (on only some sins) before you can have that temple recommend back, or so we can quietly annotate your record if you have crossed certain lines. Talk about ulterior motives. No Alma the Youngers allowed. Do you think that encourages MORE repentance, or less, especially among men who subconsciously rank their righteousness with how many priesthood keys they hold? I believe this to be anti-Christ and an abuse of the priesthood that God has given men. It’s no wonder signs and miracles are not seen in our day . . . too many of our priesthood holders have had it “amened” quietly by the Lord, and they have not repented in order to get it back; they feel they are justified by a secret handbook that has no power to save. They heap judgments upon their brother, many against their own promptings, but feeling they have to be obedient to the handbook. They then rush to give the widow a blessing, but there is little power in this blessing. Why have miracles ceased, says Moroni, because of unbelief (unbelief in God’s ways, belief in man’s system of obedience to handbooks or the written order of things).

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. Moroni 7: 37-38

Then there is this guy, confessions of a Mormon bishop . . .

I enjoyed reading his perspective. It was a good read. I wonder if he has been unwittingly placed in a position he is not supposed to be placed. I wonder if one of the problems we have in the LDS community is caused by “confession” to a bishop or stake president.

Confession in our culture, is upheld often as the most necessary part of repentance. We have this shame and guilt of sin, we are told to bear it to our “judge in Israel” and we feel lighter. I understand this is a cultural understanding and not a doctrinal one. The Church’s official position would disallow such things. Nonetheless, when we go the bishop, we often feel we are forgiven, particularly if he is sympathetic and kind, like this good man. I wonder if this is a false forgiveness–all of those who leave the bishop’s office feeling better. And . . . since we only confess “heinous” sins, one wonders if we don’t get ENOUGH repentance. We stop short of what is required of the Lord, to give away ALL our sins to know Him. I get that confession can help, so who better to confess to, than your own spouse! If we would also spend more time in our closets crying unto the Lord for forgiveness and a change of heart, instead of crawling to the bishop, perhaps we would qualify for that mighty change of heart, and lose the disposition to sin. I know in my life, as I have cried unto the Lord, and have taken the time to give away all my sins, and have received the Baptism of Fire, that I lost the disposition to sin entirely. That’s not to say that I’m not perfect, but that I am a changed being. The light is quicker to embrace, and it’s quicker to return. I know the Lord and that He is quick to forgive, so in turn, I am quicker to forgive myself and worry less about the guilt and shame, and worry more about embracing the light. It’s changing me for the better.

Let’s give bishops less sleepless nights and rely more upon the Lord!