This Sunday was fast Sunday. I remember as a young boy, asking my parents, “Why do they call it fast Sunday when it goes by so slow?” I can imagine my parents trying to instil some understanding of fasting into a young boy who thought he was dying of starvation. But I guess it worked because now I have at least a basic understanding of fasting. It is one of the principles I have the strongest witness about.
But alas I did not fast this Sunday. I actually find it more effective to fast on a day that I feel I need to fast. Instead of on a once a month schedule. I was considering going up to give my testimony, but I just couldn’t get my feet to move. And since I didn’t I want to share it with you.
I want you all to know of my witness that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. Through Him and only Him can we get salvation. It we obey His commandments to us personally we will not be lead astray.
Our daughter needed a diaper change so I went out and changed her. When I came back our Stake President was speaking. He was speaking about, of all things, fast offerings. He explained a little bit about the history of fast offerings. Basically that the food we don’t eat while fasting we are to give to the poor, or the bishop. I will be researching the history of fasting here so I might have a future post about that topic.
One thing that stood out to me was that he kept saying we need to “pay” our fast offerings. But if it is an offering is it something that we must “pay?” Or is it something we “give.”
My WordPrefect 12 dictionary says pay means to, “give (someone) money due for work, goods, or an outstanding debt,” or to, “give (a sum of money) thus owed.”
It says give means to “freely transfer the possession of; cause to receive or have.”
By, intentionally or unintentionally, telling us to pay our fast offerings to the Church, it implies that our fast offerings is money owed to the Church. We owe it to them and we must pay it. But If it is money owed then it is not really an offering then is it? An offering is something not required but given or offered of owns own will.
Now I also wondered about if the offering should be given in currency or in goods. The church no longer accepts -in-kind offerings. I wonder what would happen if I showed up at the bishop’s office with a box of cereal and some other food products. Or maybe if I left them anonymously at the Bishops house. If an can’t make in-kind donations, and I don’t trust the church to use my fast offering money correctly, could I just go out and give my food so someone I see on the street? These are questions I have that I need to study more.
Our Stake President further told us that our Ward has the lowest ratio of fast offerings to tithing in the Stake. What was cool though is he asked a brother a question from the pulpit. Instead of us all sitting there like sheeple, we actually had some interaction.
Our Stake President then went on to describe the City of Enoch and their Zion society. He read from Moses, in the Pearl of Great Price. I don’t have that on my laptop right now so I just quoted the same verse from the Inspired Version of the Bible.
23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.
There were four things he pointed out:
1. The were of one heart – This meant that the hearts of their children were turned to their fathers and the hearts of their fathers were turned to their children. Meaning they did genealogy.
2. There were of one mind – This means they did missionary work(Yeah I don’t get it either).
3. They dwelt in righteousness – They did their Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching(It gets better).
4. There were no poor among them – They paid their fast offerings.
I don’t want to dismiss the teachings of my Stake President outright. It’s very possible he has some spiritual insight that I don’t have. But it seems to me that his interpretation of this verse is way off. And it’s more of an effort to get the members of our ward to do modern church “duties,” by wresting the scriptures and saying if we want to be Zion we must do those things.
To me being of one heart means that all the people were emotionally unified. They were not just unified geographically, but they loved each other. They cared about each other. They had each others best interests at heart.
As far as doing genealogy, I wonder if this was even important or possible until after the Saviour was resurrected. Wasn’t it the Saviour who made work for the dead possible? I’m not ready to discuss the ability the people of Enoch to do genealogy. I have some slight musings that the people during Enoch’s time may have been much more advanced than we give them credit for. But I haven’t really formulated any theories yet. When I do you’ll see them on my God Species blog.
I honestly don’t know how being one mind means doing missionary work. But I doubt the City of Enoch way of being missionaries was the same as ours. I can see it now, the City of Enoch Missionary Training Center. Would Missionaries have been sent around the world? I need to reread the Inspired Version of Genesis and also read the Book of Enoch. Did the City of Enoch have much interactions with the outside world? I would think becoming a society capable of being lifted to heaven would require separating yourself from worldly influences
But Being one mind means not necessarily they all thought alike but that for the most part they were on the same page. They worked together, had the same goals in mind. They learned together. Just some thoughts.
Dwelt in Righteousness
I really don’t believe that the City of Enoch had the Home Teaching program. They probably had some from of knowing and meeting the needs of people. But it was probably closer to the community just being and existing together. They walked and talked with each other. They communicated freely and hence understood each others needs. I doubt there were once a month visits, where they read the monthly message from Enoch and his two councillors.
I don’t think they had a Relief Society to do Visiting teaching. They may have had a similar organization but it was probably very different. And then maybe even unnecessary when they got closer to being lifted to heaven.
There Were No Poor Among Them
This seemed the closest one. But I think this would have primarily been towards the beginning of the Enochian Zion. After everyone’s needs were met through consecration there would be little need to give fast offerings, since there would be no poor. The people of Enoch’s Zion would have given all they had to each other. Thus they would have all received the bounty of all their property.
A poor person can only exist in relation to someone who has more than them. Likewise a rich person can only exist in relation to someone who has less than them. If all people have everything in common there are no rich and no poor, because all are equal. Does that mean that everyone is middle class, not quite rich or not quite poor? No, In fact a society like Enoch’s that could successfully live the Law of Consecration would eventually become very wealthy. The society would gain increases, and riches from the earth. Wealth and fine things would abound yet no one would be rich and no one would be poor. They would all share the riches equally with no one having more or less than another person.
After sacrament meeting I went to Sunday School. And we received the Stakes of Zion Enlarge your tent lesson. I wished I had paid more attention when I read WeepingforZion’s A Thought On Timing post.
Eventually we read in the scriptures:
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
I commented that originally Stakes of Zion were Cities. For example the Stake of Kirtland was the City of Kirtland. The Stake of Nauvoo was the City of Nauvoo. Etc. We are supposed to gather to these Cities. Today we no longer do that. The actual City of Zion must be built before the Saviour returns.
Or something to that effect. That verse in Isaiah offers some interesting ideas. First that Israelites will inherit the Gentiles. We are the Gentiles. We are sinning against the Gospel. We are doing this be perverting it with philosophies of men. We tack programs and projects onto the gospel and then parade the resulting monstrosity around as it if came straight from heaven. Because of our faithlessness and wickedness the Gospel will be given back to the Israelites. Those few righteous gentiles will be able to join with the Israelites. And thus as that verse says, the Israelites “shall inherit the Gentiles.”
Together they will make the desolate Cities inhabited. Together Zion, Jerusalem, and the Stakes of Zion will be cleansed and purified. They will be rebuilt according to the patterns God has given. They will before this have been considered desolate and after their redemption will be inhabited.
My comment was largely ignored. But our teacher did comment that the cities being desolate mean that they were desolate with the Gospel. This means that the Church would send missionaries to the cities with out the Gospel and they would inhabit the cities.
Towards the end of the lesson my wife can in with our daughter. Our daughter had been crying and my wife needed to teach nursery. I took her and we went out. I realized later why she was crying. It was because of daylight savings time. So my daughter’s internal clock was an hour ahead and it was her nap time. Eventually she calmed down and we went back inside.
Just a slight aside about Daylight Savings Time. One of my favorite quotes, given by some Native American chief is this:
Only a white man would think he could cut a foot off the bottom of a blanket, sew it on top of the blanket, and think he had a longer blanket.
So it is with Daylight savings time in my view. Benjamin Franklin did have a lot of good ideas, but Daylight Savings Time was not one of them.
Anyway, we went into Elder’s Quorum and stood in the back. Our Stake President was giving the men who hold the Priesthood a strong rebuke. At least I think it was a rebuke. Apparently at some point the duties of the Priesthood had been compared to football. And for those of you who know me, what I know about football you could probably fit into a thimble. You could probably even put your finger into that thimble and not even get it wet.
So I managed to catch a few things, mostly about how we are not doing our home teaching. But I’m not really sure, most of what I got was about how we are left-field-right-handed-block-tackle-runners. And we aren’t making our blocks to defend the single adults and widows who are the back-field-pass-jumpstart-kickers. And they can’t make the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder-left-handed-tackle-pass because we aren’t doing our job right. But since we are left-field-right-handed-block-tackle-runners, we get paid the most and have already signed the contract.
Hey, your guess is as good as mine.
P.S. And don’t worry, my concluding post to Plural Marriage Month is almost done.