Liturgical year

Edit: 18/xi/13

With Advent, and thus the beginning of the Christian year fast approaching, now is a good time for our annual liturgical year post. In years past I have attempted to create a Mormon calendar, but given the hassles inherent in the moveable feasts, I will simply suggest here some resources for fashioning your own:

1. The LDS Sunday curriculum readings make an excellent lectionary. As a supplement suited to the rhythm of the Christian year, I recommend the readings found in both CommonPrayer.net and Oremus (both of which can be downloaded to your electronic device). The aesthetic is Anglo-Catholic.

2. You can also follow the Christian calendar via the above resources. Both offer prayers and thoughts appropriate to the day.

3. A Mormon holiday supplement would be good, and might include General Conference, April 6, the restoration of the priesthood, the birth and death of the Prophet, Pioneer Day, and the visit of Moroni. The marking of national holidays can also be appropriate, provided they are not excuses for jingoism — in our family, the liturgy there is to make such days Flag Days. When I remember, I try to mark the holidays of other major religions, not as a religious tourist, but as a way to educate my children. Family Home Evening is perfect for this kind of thing.

4. What I don’t have, and would like, is some kind of musical resource tailored to the calendar. Kristine Haglund is excellent at suggesting music. What I need is some kind of Kristine-app to automate the selection!

Last year’s discussion of the Christian calendar and its Mormon iteration follows:

 

I understand why Mormonism does not follow the Christian liturgy. The low church of Yankee America from which Mormonism sprang was rightly suspicious of the cadences and rituals of old Christianity, associated as it was with so many ecclesiastical abuses and the poisonous elitism of medieval European religion. Mormonism has a rich tradition of worship on which to draw, and many Saints are satisfied with their own cycle of worship, from the Sunday block and Firesides to Family Home Evening and daily study.

However, believing that we can learn from other traditions and recognising that some people are interested in a more formal cycle of worship, I try to follow a Mormon liturgical year of sorts, inspired by Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals. Two quick points:

1. Mormons have an aversion to so-called “vain repetitions” widely understood to refer to set prayers. It has to be said, however, that Mormonism does indeed have set prayers of its own and even our informal prayers often fall into “vain repetition,” so the reluctance to say things like the Lord’s Prayer is both somewhat illogical and a fairly new tradition in Mormonism. Written prayers can often provide a source for meditation and can easily flow into something more personal.

2. It strikes me as somewhat unfortunate that in abandoning, for the most part, the Christian calendar, Mormonism loses a link with an ancient cycle of worship that goes all the way back to the temples of Israel. We of course do follow a calendar — a secular one — and are happy to both commercialise what could otherwise be important feasts, e.g. Halloween, and mark the seasons laid down by the Caesars rather than the Bible. Our year is thus more pagan than Christian. I believe that the Christian calendar can help us enter a new time in which God’s work in the world is remembered both weekly — from the Lord’s Day along the daily path of creation and atonement — and annually from Advent to Easter.

I am moved by liturgy and think it need not dishonour the Mormon tradition.

Comments

  1. David M. Morris says:

    This sounds like an exciting project. Having grown up in a military background, much of the year was governed by significant Christian festivals and services. I miss those celebratory event. I felt it gave more of a contextual meaning to Easter, Lent so on and so forth. I look forward to it.

  2. We have incorporated Santa Lucia day into our own family liturgy. We love it. (We are mostly Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas people but want maybe 3 more feast days in our year)
    I don’t know whether your liturgical calendar will be hagiolatrous. If it is, I would like more female Saints for the calendar. The trick of course is avoiding looking down the nose at the low church LDS, but I think with a modest liturgical calendar you could pull that off. I love the idea.

  3. I love this idea, RJH. I am woefully ignorant of the Anglican calendar, but have felt the lack of liturgy enough to want to visit other church on holidays. I’m looking forward to following this project.

  4. I also enjoy St Lucia – though more as a self-selected nod to my Scandenavian heritage and to the coming Solstice than as a religious observance.

  5. RJH, I like your take on a liturgical calendar and I’m happy to find something like this to follow.

    I recently created my own liturgical calendar, but it’s uniquely mine since a large number of my “saints” are my female ancestors, along with many women from the scriptures. It also incorporates many Christian and non-Christian religious observances.

  6. Love it! I dip into Bach’s Liturgical Year pretty frequently for organ preludes and postludes in sacrament meeting. I doubt that anyone else notices, but it makes me happy.

  7. I grew up in mostly Catholic countries and even went to a couple of religious schools, so growing up we sort of following the liturgical calendar just to keep up with the neighbors. We celebrated several holidays as well. I loved it and plan on continuing it with my family.

  8. Whatever you do, PLEASE include something big for Holy Saturday/the Harrowing of Hell. There’s no tradition that has more scripture and practice (i.e., all of proxy temple ordinances and family history) organized around Christ’s liberation of the spirit captives. (The Orthodox celebrate it very uniquely: http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2012/04/harrowing-of-hell-holy-saturday.html )

  9. I am so excited about this. I’ve wanted to do something similar myself – this might solve my quest. Under Major Holidays for other religions, can I put in a plug for Obon? It nestles nicely between what Pioneer Day ought to be (ie more than just bonnets and fireworks) and what the Halloween season used to be.

    sba, I love that idea. Passing that along to my accompanist-inclined siblings.

  10. KerBearRN says:

    Oh, Ronan, I am so excited that you are doing this!! I have just this year begun reading about the ecumenical calendar and also the daily offices of prayer (I even downloaded an app LOL). (i have even going so far as to pick up some side-by-side English-Latin, which I adore, and also some Latin primers to try to get my Latin up to usable speed). I love the concept of daily prayer as poetry, being directed and according to seasons and history (many of the offices, at least the Catholic, use the Psalms as their base). One particular author that piqued my interest described them as a “woven tapestry that has continued through many people,places, and hundreds of years”. I just feel like we miss out on so much of the beauty and richness of our Christian tradition. Thank you, THANK YOU for doing this!!

  11. Sharee Hughes says:

    I read a book some years ago by a woman who said she liked to celebrate all religious holidays in some way, of all religions, not just Christian. She said if a day was considered sacred by some people, there was a reason for that, so she kept it sacred as well. The book was Fire in the Soul by Joan Borysenko. So maybe you could include some holidays celebrated by Muslims, Buddhists, etc,

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    I assume Smithmas will make an appearance on your calendar… Seriously, though, great idea!

  13. Don’t forget all the Mormon stuff happening on Sept. 22.

  14. Such a good post, Ronan. You know that I endorse this wholeheartedly and I look forward to seeing what comes of this fun project.

  15. Rechabite says:

    Huzzah! I love the liturgical year!

  16. Cool idea, Ronan

  17. Awesome! I love the idea of a somewhat ‘mormonised’ liturgical year. I love the concept of liturgy. I’ve even recently begun incorporating prayers from the Book of Common Prayer into my spiritual practice. I don’t see anything wrong with it – indeed, I think that Moroni 7:16 would even endorse and prescribe spiritual practices from other religious traditions for Latter-day Saints if they feel it brings them closer to God and persuades them to do good and become more Christ-like.

  18. I have zero experience with liturgy, but I like the idea of “a more formal cycle of worship”. Can you help me understand how I might implement your liturgy? Can you explain in a little more depth what is meant, for example, by the line “Silence, Hymn, New Testament, Prayers, Our Father” in the Evening Prayer section of your document?

  19. I don’t know exactly how this would work, but I love the idea. I grew up with Catholic friends and envied the preparation they had each year for Easter. What passes as a celebration of Easter in our ward is inexcusable most years and hardly anyone can tell you more than one paragraph’s worth of the story.

  20. I don’t know how to remove my own post, so at this point I can only say, Sorry, that was too negative.

  21. Meldrum the Less says:

    Generally I agree with the direction and tenor of this discussion. Perhaps this is mere quibbling but…

    “many Saints are satisfied with their own cycle of worship, from the Sunday block and Firesides to Family Home Evening and daily study.”

    Call for reference? How many?

    I know that most members of the church are inactive. Perhaps satisfied but not with our cycle of worship any more.

    I know that most of the active people in my ward go more out of a sense of duty than any sense of deep satisfaction. They look for just about any credible excuse to miss a few meetings.Even the Bishopric perpetually absent themselves from Sunday School. If it was that good they would find a way to attend.

    Home teaching? Temple attendance? Conversions that stick? Vibrant youth programs? Not commonly happening.

    i estimate (WAG) less than 10% are satisfied with the “cycle of worship.” More like a grind stone.

    I’m for trying anything to improve the status quo. I think our problems are deeper than liturgical though.We do need to do something.

  22. The Other Clark says:

    I really like the idea, and my suggestions for Mormon feast days are pretty much the same ones you chose. (One exception is Epiphany. Is there a Mormon connection I’m not aware of?)

    My additions would be:
    1) Restoration of the priesthood (May 15th) traditionally celebrated with a father/son camping trip

    2) The current prophet’s birthday. (Aug. 21) This is a recent invention, I think, but has become regularly noted in Utah http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/765597772/Gala-celebrates-LDS-Church-President-Monsons-birthday-in-song-and-story.html.

    3) Something more to commemorate the publishing of the Book of Mormon (March 26 is what the Church News suggests)

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CD8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ldschurchnews.com%2Farticles%2F47009%2FFirst-printing-of-Book-of-Mormon-175-years-ago.html&ei=RhhzUK3uE6S2iwKj4IDIDg&usg=AFQjCNG_cfx4By2QoOvbM_9HMll_Z0Kgqw

    My favorite non-mormon religious holiday is Passover, but with the more important holiday of Easter scheduled on the same dates, I can see why it might not fit.

  23. Meldrum the Less says:

    Fanny Alger day?

    (Sound of iron frying pan crashing against thick Meldrum skull)

  24. Wonderful, thank you!

  25. RJH, this is slightly parenthetical to the post, but have you read anything else by Shane Claiborne. A friend of mine lent me the Irresistable Revolution some time ago and its attempt to grounded Christian ethics in an immediate response to poverty and alienation has influenced some of my thinking since then.

  26. No, but it looks good.

  27. We celebrated first advent by attending BYU’s yearly Adventsingen, which was nice. It used to be held in the Provo Tabernacle until it burned down and so this year it was held in the DeJong concert hall. Though it was a nice selection of German Christmas readings and hymns, it of course did not conform liturgically to first Advent material. Still really enjoyed it.

    We also read Isaiah 7:14 and sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel for our little family advent celebration at home before heading out so it looks like we were on the same wavelength.

    Love this project of yours and look forward to its continued development.

  28. I love this idea and appreciate the links. As for anohter addition, for a few years my family celebrated Joseph Smith’s birthday. It wasn’t especially liturgical, though. We mostly ate cake and perhaps read some Joseph Smith–History together (sadly, the cake stands out more than the reading in my memory).

  29. I always choose hymns that are appropriate for the liturgical season, to the extent that is possible in mormonism (e.g. “For all the saints” on all saints day). I seriously doubt anyone in the congregation notices except me.

  30. Kristine.app. I love it! Will she be releasing this any time soon?

  31. Glad you’re taking up the torch on this, Ronan, but I confess that this post frustrates me. As one very familiar with the Christian calendar, I have found meaning in partaking in liturgical events. However, translating that into a Mormon milieu, even just with our own children, is endlessly exhausting. How to convince others that liturgy “need not dishonour the Mormon tradition”? It’s a tough swim, decidedly against the cultural current. (Mostly it’s a time thing, I suppose.) I’ve finally mostly given up that struggle in place of quietly partaking in Advent and Lent services with our own family. If others want to come along, great. But my missionary zeal for sharing the gifts of our Christian brothers and sisters has definitely ebbed.

  32. Just live it Hunter — it doesn’t matter what others do. And you’d be surprised how many Mormons in some way feel the need for a liturgical approach and find our creedal Christian extended family’s thousands of years of tradition and experience with the liturgical calendar and observances inspiring.

    Ronan, we’re gearing up for the liturgical year as well. Thanks for this framework.

  33. Hunter,
    The simplest thing to do is simply get the Oremus calendar set up and just pay attention to where we are in the year. Sometimes you’ll want to mark some holiday or another, sometimes you won’t.

  34. Thanks, John and Ronan. Good advice.

  35. Thomas Parkin says:

    I’m not sure why it is Christian tradition we need to draw closer to, since we are to look everywhere for our good. Me and my family are going to draw closer to the annually recurring pagan traditions that are more to our taste. It is so exciting to have Winter Solstice coming up. We are going to wait for the rising sun on that good day, then slaughter some squealing pigs in the cul-de-sac in hopes that the spirits of of the woodland will be appeased and cause the world to keep spinning for one more year.

  36. Thomas Parkin says:

    Oh, and we will also do some chanting and some playing of Clannad at very high volume.

  37. This is lovely. Thank you for this. And I second the need for a Kristine-app! I do love her music choices. I, for one, would gladly shell out $2.99 to put that on my phone. :)

  38. I love the liturgical year. Society in general has lost something in abandoning the traditional rhythms the liturgy set for everybody. Since marrying my wife, a Catholic, I’ve kept Lent, and observed Advent, and in general we have added a little bit more of the liturgical calendar to our family life each year (which I think does a good job at blending mainstream Christian tradition with the teachings of the church). It’s made our life richer. You expressed many of the thoughts I’ve had about the traditional Christian liturgy, and I thank you for it.

  39. Antonio Parr says:

    Would love to see aspects of Lent – most importantly, Holy Week – be a part of LDS communal worship. The last 7 days of Christ’s life mark the difference between life and death, and it would be impossible to overemphasize the significance of the great intercessory prayer or the washing of Peter’s feet or the Last Supper or Gesthemane or the Cross or the Empty Tomb.

    Christ is risen.

    Not so keen on the dangers of excess arising out of the creation of a liturgical calendar focusing on the events in the life of Joseph Smith. A prophet’s calling is to point us to Christ, and we honor Joseph Smith most fully by redirecting our focus away from him to the one who saves us from sin and death.

  40. I love this too! Last year I took a job singing at an Episcopal Church, so our family has been attending double-church since then (our ward meets late in the afternoon, so it’s convenient for us to do both). It has been wonderful to be more aware of and involved in the liturgical seasons and to really focus on the different aspects of Christ’s life and ministry. Compared to the somewhat haphazard assemblage of sacrament meeting talks and random topics of each week’s RS/EQ lessons, the strict adherence to the liturgy has helped me take a more focused approach to my worship. It has been wonderful.
    I echo Antonio’s comment that a greater focus on Holy Week would be especially nice. The Episcopal Maundy Thursday service I participated in last year was without a doubt the most spiritually fulfilling, thought-provoking, soul-sanctifying religious rite I have ever experienced. Which made me a little bit sad, since I have been baptized, endowed, sealed to my family, and participated in a couple of temple dedications standing inches away from prophets and apostles. But the clearing of the altar as the sanctuary became ever quieter and darker, every worshipper leaving that church in silence, thinking of Christ being deserted by his companions at his most vulnerable moment truly touched my soul in a way that none of my experiences with Mormon ordinances has. A few days later we attended sacrament meeting in our own ward on Easter Sunday. There was no program, not even a special musical number. Out of three talks, only one of them was about the atonement and resurrection. That’s when I got REALLY sad considering what our worship services so often lack. And don’t even get me started on comparing the music!

  41. I also think Smithmas would be a wrong move in establishing a liturgical calendar.

  42. Leslee,
    Amen. Advent in my local Church of England is the highlight of my religious year.

  43. I too have no appetite for Smithmas, but therein lies the Mormon ignorance of the liturgical calendar perhaps.

    In the English church, today is the feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (680). She will by no means be a focus of today’s services (Christ is forever the focus). But the collect does contain these words:

    “Strong, sovereign God, you build your church through women and men who hear and heed your call: we praise you for Hilda and her leadership in the British church.”

    Such a prayer acknowledging Smith would be entirely appropriate for December 23rd, I think, especially given that Joseph Smith means more to Mormons than does Hilda to Anglicans.

  44. (Our worry, of course, is founded on the experience of bombastic renditions of Praise to the Man, kitschy paintings of Joseph’s tears, and dubious hagiographic tales. We don’t always manage the subtly of the prayer quoted above.)

  45. Antonio Parr says:

    Leslie: An Easter Sunday without a focus on the atonement of Christ and His triumphant victory over sin and death is a scandal. Were I in your Ward, I would speak with the Bishop about your very justified concerns, in order that there is no repeat of this neglect on future Easter Sundays.

  46. Fr. Ronan, thank you for the links. I had been looking out for your finalized Mormon liturgical calendar for a while now, but this post confirms that it is a do-it-yourself from here.

  47. Great point Ronan, and something that was not lost to me as I wrote my above comment. The substance of much of the liturgical year is veneration or at least remembrance of particular saints. So there is no reason that Smithmas shouldn’t be included from a Mormon perspective. I just have concerns about how that would look — I wouldn’t want to risk including something that distracts from a focus on Christ and the Atonement.

  48. Leslie, I agree with Antonio but advise doing so in an unsigned, anonymous letter. Our culture is not famous for receiving grassroots feedback with grace and dignity. Unfortunately, this is especially so if you’re a woman giving such feedback to a Bishop about a meeting he has planned.

  49. You know what – I think I’m going to work on one of these of my own. We can compare notes later.

  50. Balwearie's wizard says:

    Sounds like we have growing number of “saints” who anxiously want to Catholicize, Anglicize, and Protestantize the Church. Meldrum may be right, we may well be headed for 10 percent activity for the younger generations. But for the moment, the Latter-day Saint activity percentages are, in reality, noticeably higher than the other aforementioned divisions of Christendom. Evidently, their believers aren’t quite so enamored by liturgy and/or liturgical calendars. I am very familiar with both Catholicism and Protestantism and they hold neither charm nor romance for me either. Best wishes to all, as for myself I will remain with “Mormonisn” and all of it’s ‘boring’ accoutrements.

  51. Antonio Parr says:

    Balwerie: A heightened focus on Jesus Christ does not “Catholicize , Anglicize and/or Protestantize” the Church, but, instead, can assist in fulfilling the mandate to talk of Christ and to rejoice in Christ and to point our children to Christ as the source of their salvation.

    I am not particularly interested in all of the accouterments of the Anglican liturgical calendar, although I can appreciate that some find clue in its structure. Recognition and observance of Holy Week, on the other hand, seems to me to be all but a condition precedent to being a Christian, as that week is at the heart of the life and ministry and atonement of Christ. Elder Holland recently walked through Holy Week on a General Conference address, which gives me hope that my grandchildren might one day experience the power of Holy Week observance with fellow Latter-Day Saints.

    Ignoring Easter during an Easter morning Sacrament Meeting will be an absolute deal killer for many, many potential investigators. (My Ward always has beautiful Easter Sacrament Meetings, for which I am most grateful.)

  52. Antonio Parr says:

    Yikes! Darn auto-complete function + poor proof reading gives us “some find clue”. Meant to write “some find comfort.”

  53. Balwearie's wizard says:

    Antonio; Even the terms, “Holy Week”, “Lent”, “Advent” are an artificial constructs that were created long after the apostasy was well under way. If the Savior thought that it would have made the Saints more mindful of Him and His message, I believe that He would have made a point of including them as part of the Restoration. If we wish to “…fulfill the mandate to talk of Christ…rejoice in Christ…and point our children to Christ as the source of our salvation”, then it might be helpful to turn off the video games and make Scripture study, family prayer and teaching by the example of our own lives. The “calendar” itself is quite likely utterly inaccurate in and of itself, so we are attaching real events to spurious points in time. Finally, there is the problem that such blending will give your children the idea that Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism, Congregationalism, etc. are just acceptable variations of the Restored Church. Latter-day Saints should vigilantly guard their identity from modern “Hellenization” lest we also fall victim to the loss of identity that has occurred to modern Judaism.
    By the by, I don’t believe that Elder Holland’s intent was to give the Saints an open invitation to create a panoply of new Mormon traditions with the intention of assuaging the vitriol of the denominations who label us a cult. Rather, I felt that Elder Holland was emphasizing the deeper and profound meaning a series of sacred events during the mortal life of the Savior. We don’t need all of the extraneous attendant folderol to increase our focus on Christ, His teachings and His ministry, we just need to do it. (And quit all the insufferable whining about callings and the three hour block of Sunday services. We all need to get over ourselves and heed Christ’s call to forget ourselves and serve others. The day is likely soon coming when we will need to do just that for each other or we will disappear.)

    Post Script:
    I’m with you entirely on the pressing need that Sacrament meetings should definitely reflect in sermons, music and songs the major events of the Savior’s life and ministry to impress upon both children and adults the implications of those sacred events to our own salvation.

  54. I respectfully disagree with much of what you say. One particular point is this: you seem to suggest that Mormons should live their devotional lives unsullied by “apostate” notions such as Holy Week, but by that logic we should probably follow the JWs and ignore Christmas and Easter altogether. More pressing, however, is the fact that we happily celebrate all manner of secular, similarly “apostate” traditions. It seems bizarre to me that our chapel car parks might be full on Halloween as we celebrate ghouls and eat rubbish, but empty on Maundy Thursday when we could be celebrating Christ and eating the Lord’s Supper. I take your point that neither Halloween nor Maundy Thursday are strictly part of Smith’s Restoration, but we have already ignored that for so many other things.

    By the way, no-one here is suggesting the church officially follow the Catholic calendar. Some members might privately derive some meaning from it. That is all.

  55. Further examples . . .

    As an active and life-long Latter-day Saint I have celebrated the following at Mormon chapels: an Easter egg hunt, Halloween trunk n’ treat, Guy Fawkes night, St. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Sunday. There are probably more.

    None of these are mandated by the Restoration.

    Nor is Good Friday, strictly speaking. I would rather celebrate the latter, however, much as I have enjoyed the former. Our ambivalence towards much of the Christian year is a product of our low church cultural heritage as much as anything else. If a Mormon wishes to privately and carefully express a different heritage, especially if it brings them closer to God, they should go ahead and do it.

    MCSJ.

  56. “If the Savior thought that it would have made the Saints more mindful of Him and His message, I believe that He would have made a point of including them as part of the Restoration.”

    It strikes me as presumptuous to assume from His silence the Lord’s position on a particular issue. But if all we need is nothing in order to find divine support for our musing, then we are on equally firm ground in saying that:

    “If the Savior thought that hewing to a liturgical calendar would have made the Saints fall victim to the loss of identity, I believe that He would have made a point of including a prohibition as part of the Restoration.”

  57. well said Ronan (and Peter).

  58. What frustrates is that a Good Friday service in a Mormon chapel need not look Anglo-Catholic in any way. Mormons can honour such a day entirely within their own tradition. And yet we don’t (but we might search for plastic eggs on the chapel grounds the next day). Last Good Friday, our stake centre pounded to the beat of the music of a YSA dance. I would have been disgusted if I had thought the scheduling was deliberate. It was just clueless.

  59. yes, clueless is the key word here

  60. Definitely incompetence, not deliberate antipathy.
    I love the idea of adapting the liturgical year for LDS, but then, “high church” really appeals to me. I went to Evensong at Westminster at least 2x a week when I was in London, and a few times I went from Evensong at Westminster to Evensong at St. Martin in the Fields.

    “It strikes me as presumptuous to assume from His silence the Lord’s position on a particular issue.” Indeed.

  61. Balwearie's wizard says:

    Presumptuous, is it then? Please tell that to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who appear to feel that the Lord’s silence on the matter of gay marriage is very indica-tive of His seeing no need for a change in that doctrine. Those two august councils seem to feel that the Lord’s silence is so germane and definitive on a matter of serious doctrinal importance that, for some Saints, has become the linchpin of their continued faith and membership in the Church that they unswervingly maintain this position despite knowing that it will continue to cost the Church tens of thousands of members. Silence or a “stupor of thought” can evidently be considered as a genuine answer to prayer as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants 9:9. Presumptuous, indeed.

  62. You think they’ve made serious inquiry about the liturgical year, then, but the heavens are silent? They’re spending as much time reflecting and praying on that pressing global issue as on gay marriage?

  63. Thomas Parkin says:

    I’ve been thinking about things like this from a perspective that is … not new, but a new wrinkle on the way I’ve always been. I guess.

    What I get from the church is the spiritual path that leads to knowledge of God (gnosis rather than ‘propositional knowledge.’) I don’t really get this from the church, exactly. I get it from the first principles and ordinances, extended outward. So long as I’ve kept my focus on these (the meaning of a focus on Christ), there has been no lack of knowledge building ‘spiritual’ experiences. (The Holy Ghost is ultimately an agent of knowledge, not of faith.) They have been more or less constant. I seem to bounce in and out of the church like a tennis ball – but I root myself in these knowledge related experiences, and ultimately they tie me to the church for the sake of the ordinances. Because of them, the church remains my destiny although I think there is nothing at all eternal about the church organization itself.

    What I don’t really get is holy envy. Why be envious. Go out and add that thing that speaks to you to your life. Reality is full of things that augment our being and add substance to our passing through. If a person finds that sitting in a cathedral and listening to boy’s choirs adds to their experience, then by all means they should make that a part of their lives, here and there or all the time. If adopting the religious calender of some other body adds something substantial to your life, don’t resist it just because you don’t get it at church.

    But don’t let them distract you. All the problems with spiritual experience are a matter of signal to noise.

  64. Antonio Parr says:

    Balwearie’s wizard:

    There is an additional aspect to Holy Week observance.

    We have an immense missionary force that is going throughout the nations with the message that we are the restored Church of Christ, i.e., that our Christianity is purer than the Christianity of other Christian denominations. That message will likely fall flat if an investigator foregoes a Palm Sunday service or an Easter service to attend an LDS service and the message is one that, unlike their services, does not talk about Christ’s atoning sacrifice. If we talk about pioneers each July, why would we not talk about Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday or His sacrifice and ensuing victory over sin and death each Easter Sunday? These are holy days that are worthy of our meditations and focused worship.

  65. Perhaps someone here has already mentioned this idea. However, we’re supplementing the liturgical year with events our own family calendar. I’ve been keeping a “one line a day” 5 year journal which we’re using to document important and memorable dates that we’ll use in the future for our celebrations, i.e. we just blessed our first child on Saturday- now the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we will have a blessing celebration in honor of him. We also looked up our ordinance dates and will be commemorating them as well.

    When my son is older, we’ll read this to him:

    And he can add to our calendar.

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