A friend just shared this article with me and I must say I am fascinated. This happens to be a subject that has riddled me for many years. I say riddled because I felt that I had a pretty good understanding of it, but when I asked pretty much any LDS person about this subject I was generally met with shock, and almost a defensive attitude, like “we are LDS we don’t do that!”. In fact I may have even heard that exact response.
I’ve asked Missionaries, Seminary Teachers, Bishops, Various Leaders, regular people that are LDS, I’ve asked a lot of people about this subject over the years and I have never been given a straight answer. I always just figured one of two things, either they just didn’t understand what I was saying, or I just wasn’t articulating my question properly.
Well this article shows me that I am not alone, I haven’t been alone in this all along. I think it is wonderful that LDS people are embracing this tradition. What is the harm?
Giving something up for Lent is an observance. LDS people have many observances, there are some that don’t make a lot of sense to the rest of the world or seem contradictory. Like the no coffee or tea but caffeinated soda is ok, drink away. I’ve had it explained a million different ways, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense, at least it never has to me. The point however is that we are told not to drink those things so most of us don’t. I have known many people who are actually prescribed coffee for headaches, mostly people in Utah.
So back to what I am talking about, giving something up for Lent is about personal sacrifice, it is about becoming closer to Christ and gaining a better understanding of his sacrifice that he made for us. This article points out that often the LDS jump straight to the resurrection, I agree with this assessment.
I have observed the tradition of giving something up for Lent my entire life. You choose what you are going to give up and it is an introspective process, it isn’t a bad thing. We have fast Sunday monthly where we fast, generally for a specific purpose, we fast and pray for a family with a sick parent, or a soldier. What is the harm in selecting something in your life that you can sacrifice, give up, and give it up. Focus on those forty days, pray during the process and improve yourself.
I think it is a good thing. I have a lot of other thoughts on cross overs and other things that seem to frighten a lot of LDS people, I will save those for another time.
In the end I think that it boils down to a lack of understanding. I just had another thought on this, we celebrate Easter, and Christmas, we have kids re enact the nativity, why those “observances” but not Lent? I wonder if this is one of those times when it just boils down to culture. There have been a lot of discussions as of late about the intersection and sometimes clash between culture and doctrine. Maybe this is just one of those, there isn’t necessarily a reason why, it is more of a cultural thing? These are questions that I have, I don’t know what the answers are if there even are any.
Then again I could just be weird, I am ok with that. I make a King Cake for Mardi Gras, I make Challah bread and serve apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah, not because I am Jewish but for me the way that I see it Christ celebrated that holiday in his life, probably in that way. It is also educational, our kids get the meal and the treat and usually a little history lecture, I think they are the better for it. One year Fat Tuesday fell on Jordan’s birthday, I made a big meal and we celebrated big! I like to celebrate stuff…
Ok, enough the link is below and it is just fascinating!