Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mormonism is Why I'm Not Rich and Famous

Okay, not really.

But I'm gonna go ahead and just blame the church's hyper-restrictive Sabbath Day observance for the fact that I am not currently an insanely rich soccer superstar, rolling in money and surrounded by beautiful women.  Obviously that's not true.

But when I played community intramural soccer as a kid, I was pretty good.  Probably not the best on any of the teams, but probably above average.  I wasn't really a glory seeker and I wasn't great at shooting, so I took pride in my ability to set up the plays.  I considered myself the one who got all the assists instead of the one who got all the goals.  I played from the time I was little--about six or seven, up through middle school.  And I loved it.  But I could only play during the fall season because during the spring season all the games were on Sundays.

Then something horrible happened around eighth or ninth grade--the league changed their schedule so that both spring and fall seasons had games on Sundays.  So, being the dutiful Mormon lad that I was (and not that I'd have had much of a choice anyway, because of my parents) I stopped playing the sport that I loved.

The next year, the schedule was inexplicably altered again so that the fall season games were on Sundays but most of the spring season games had moved to Saturdays.  I was overjoyed--I could play soccer again!  But because of the scheduling weirdness, it had been a year and a half since I'd last played a real game.  And when I triumphantly returned to the field, it felt like everybody else had gotten a year and half more skill than I had.  Suddenly, I was solidly below average instead of solidly above average.  I discovered I did not enjoy the sport nearly as much when I was getting schooled all the time instead of doing the schooling.

As best I remember, I'd quit soccer by my junior year of high school.  My year and a half hiatus had ruined my ability to become a superstar.

But I really don't understand the point of "keeping the Sabbath Day holy."  It seems to be, at best, a nice sentimental tradition in remembrance (is "in remembrance" used by anybody outside of Mormondom?) of the seventh day of the creation.  But it's entirely absurd to make it a doctrinally mandated practice.  I came up with a few of the usual reasons for keeping the Mormon Sabbath holy.  I'm sure this list is incomplete.

To Demonstrate Obedience - Didn't the whole obedience-for-obedience's-sake thing go out with the end of the Mosaic Law?

To Rest From Your Labors - Sure, taking a break and unwinding is important sometimes.  But it's impractical, in the modern world, to expect everyone to take a break on the same day of the week--Sunday, for example.  Plenty of jobs require flexible schedules, often necessitating work on Sundays.  And besides, as a kid, the day I rested from my labors was Saturday anyway.

To Focus on the Savior - One day a week, you can spend all day being super-religious just to make sure you don't fall out of touch with your religiosity.  But I'm going to use the argument my mother made about Easter--you shouldn't need a forced reminder to worship what you believe in if it's really that important to you.

I really don't see what tangible reason there is to keep a kid from playing soccer--or any other healthy activity--on a Sunday.


  1. Great points.

    God forbid if you ever played on Sunday and got hurt. That would have been a sign and punishment for your disobedience. I'm curious if the injury statistics, especially for the Mormon kids, were higher when the league was on Sunday.

    For a Mormon, especially, ward and stake leadership, Sunday is no rest from labor. Many times meetings start at 5 am. They often can't even make it home to eat. I think it's rest from their regular labors so they can labor for the church.

    Shouldn't it be a day to focus on the creation myth? That's why it was originally set up. Maybe they should all wear fig leaves, eat fruit, and spend the day multiplying and replenishing the earth.

    1. Yes! Then Mormons can have a special day set aside for procreative purposes! That...actually sounds like something that could happen, sadly enough. Feels like "no sex except for on the sabbath" is a rule Brigham Young might have instated.