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CHRIS - Hi there! I'm not Mormon, but have studied a lot about your Church's history and beliefs. I see many parallels between the LDS faith and the SDA church (I converted from Catholicism). In recent years the Sabbath has become my favorite day of the week. I understand that you also observe the Sabbath, but that yours falls on the first day of the week instead of the seventh. My question is whether there has ever been any conflict inside the LDS Church over which day is the appropriate day?
My short answer to the question is, as far as I have observed there hasn't been any significnt conflict within the Church as to the day of week we sould observe the Sabbath.
Now for the long answer that explains why. Some church members may have questions about it based on what they read in the Old Testment, such as:
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:2-3)
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: (Ex 20: 8-11)
However, we believe that Jesus' fulfillment of the Law of Moses brought several changes, including the practice of meeting on the first day of the week instead of the last. Evidence of this is suggested by certain events of Christ's postmortal ministry.
For instance, it was on the first day of the week (Sunday) that he initially appeared to the apostles (John 20:19). It was also on the first day of the week that he reappeared to these same apostles (John 20:26). After Jesus' resurrection, it was on the day of Pentecost, a festival on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15-16), that the assembled Saints and others received their most essential guide to eternal life, the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-12). The early Christians understood the significance of this change in the day of their worship, as can be seen by their continued practice of congregating on the first day of the week:
"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them" (Acts 20:7)
"Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." (1 Corinthians 16:2)
The way I see it, why would our earthly calendar mean anything to God, whose measurement of time is completely different than ours:
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3:8)
To members of the LDS Church the act of worshiping and receiving spiritual edification is more important than what day of the week it happens on, so long as it happens one day out of seven. For example, for most of the world we worship on Sunday, but in Middle Eastern countries the LDS day of worship is designated according to local religious tradition: Friday in Muslim
countries and Saturday in Israel. So at least some of us are doing it right ;-)
"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:" (Mark 2: 27)
Here's a First Presidency Statement which describes how we feel about the Sabbath:
"Since the creation of the earth, the Sabbath day has been established by God for the spiritual well-being of His children.
Throughout generations of time, the sacred law of the Sabbath has been upheld by the prophets of God as a holy observance to help sanctify and bring joy to those who would keep the commandments of the Lord. So important is this matter that the observance of the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of the Lord on Mount Sinai.
Shortly after the restoration of the gospel, the Lord reaffirmed the importance of Sabbath day observance when He declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"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;
"For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
"Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
"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.
"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." (D&C 59:9-13.)
We sense that many Latter-day Saints have become lax in their observance of the Sabbath day. We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath.
We urge all Latter-day Saints to set this holy day apart from activities of the world and consecrate themselves by entering into a spirit of worship, thanksgiving, service, and family-centered activities appropriate to the Sabbath. As Church members endeavor to make their Sabbath activities compatible with the intent and Spirit of the Lord, their lives will be filled with
joy and peace." (Ensign, January 1993, p. 80)
All of this was probably more information than you needed, but for the above reasons there doesn't seem to be any conflict among members as to which day of the week we should worship.