Satan wants YOU … to watch the Superbowl on Sunday!

This Sunday is Superbowl Sunday. What this means is that lots of otherwise devout Mormons will flippantly ignore the covenants they have made with the Lord, and instead of keeping his Sabbath day holy, they will plant themselves in front of the Boob Tube and imbibe unhealthy victuals, while watching pointless acts of violence on the screen and behaving like a rabid mob. Why do they do it? Why can’t they see how offensive this is to all right-thinking people? I have finally come to a belated, but obvious conclusion: It’s because they just aren’t as spiritual as people like me. Many are tempted by the wiles of Satan, but there are a few hardy souls like myself who are able to resist the buffetings of the Adversary and who are able to maintain an eternal perspective. For this, I think I deserve to be congratulated.

(Of course, it also happens that I have absolutely no interest in the outcome of the Superbowl. This, in turn, stems from my complete disinterest in professional sports generally. How does the game affect my life in any meaningful way? It doesn’t. I live in Seattle, so my indifference is somewhat heretical, but the fact remains that I would probably rather watch C-SPAN, or even QVC, than watch football.)

But while I could attribute my refusal to watch T.V. this Sunday on my personal disinterest in the game, I would rather cast it as an act of valiant righteousness. And so I do. Who are you to say otherwise?

Some would say that we all have “favorite commandments” whose relative importance we like to inflate because we happen to be good at keeping them. If we can focus on the importance of avoiding temptations that we really don’t experience that strongly, and downplay those that actually are a problem for us, we’ll end up feeling relatively good about ourselves and confident in our standing with the Lord. Thus, for example, many wealthy Church members extol the virtues of tithe-paying, and those fortunate enough not to have ever tried cigarrettes or alcohol are sure that their doing so would be the end of their relationship with God. Meanwhile, short shrift is given to injunctions to love thy neighbor, or to impart one’s substance to the poor.

I don’t know what to make of all those arguments, but I do know that they certainly don’t apply in my case. As for me and my house, we will avoid watching the Superbowl this Sunday because we are just incredibly righteous.

Aaron B


  1. Well, I watch football every week, so I’m really evil. But not as evil as Geoff J. who is going to skip Stake Conference. So, Aaron, why are you so righteous, do you think? Good upbringing? Righteous wife? What is it?

  2. I too count myself with the righteous masses (few?) who will not be watching football on Sunday. I think I watched a football game… once, no maybe not. Nope, I hate football.

    Meanwhile, short shrift is given to injunctions to love thy neighbor, or to impart one’s substance to the poor.

    You make a good point. Sometimes we tout how good we are at keeping commandments, but only the ones that are easy for us.

  3. Harry the Pharisee says:

    Aaron B., you are to be commended for your scrupulous observance of the Sabbath (even if you do it on the wrong day) and for your wanton disregard for the instructions of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 7:3. Nice work

  4. Sultan of Squirrels says:

    YOU LIVE IN SEATTLE AND DON’T CARE!!! as a fellow washingtonian (puyallup actually) and as a seahawks fan you better hope I don’t find out where you live.

  5. I suspect that the habitual use of “disinterested” when lack of interest rather than impartiality is intended is as serious a transgression as spending the three hours in front of the Boob Tube this Sunday.

    As Henry Higgins said:

    By law [h}e should be taken out and hung
    For the cold blooded murder of the English tongue.

  6. they will plant themselves in front of the Boob Tube and imbibe unhealthy victuals, while watching pointless acts of violence on the screen and behaving like a rabid mob.

    Whoa there Aaron B does not your description of a football fan describe those who would watch C-SPAN and QVC

    …but the fact remains that I would probably rather watch C-SPAN, or even QVC, than watch football

    I too watch C-SPAN and there can be some pretty pointless acts of violence on the screen there too. As far as QVC goes you will have to ask my wife, she watches JTV.

  7. You are righteous, Aaron. I’m more of a typical Mormon that uses this as an excuse for a break, even if I may not actually watch the Superbowl (though commercials are a different story), sort of like Stake Vacation. Ok, maybe that’s not typical, what do I know?

  8. Aaron Brown says:

    In my defense, Mark B., I cite the infallible oracle that is

    “In traditional usage, disinterested can only mean “having no stake in an outcome,” as in Since the judge stands to profit from the sale of the company, she cannot be considered a disinterested party in the dispute. But despite critical disapproval, disinterested has come to be widely used by many educated writers to mean “uninterested” or “having lost interest,” as in Since she discovered skiing, she is disinterested in her schoolwork. Oddly enough, “not interested” is the oldest sense of the word, going back to the 17th century. This sense became outmoded in the 18th century but underwent a revival in the first quarter of the early 20th. Despite its resuscitation, this usage is widely considered an error. In a 1988 survey, 89 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence His unwillingness to give five minutes of his time proves that he is disinterested in finding a solution to the problem. This is not a significantly different proportion from the 93 percent who disapproved of the same usage in 1980.”

    So, you’re right, but at least Mr. Dictionary says I can consider myself “educated,” notwithstanding my disapproved usage. :)

    Aaron B

  9. I’m reminded of a girl who skipped half a day of school to attend the broadcast of President Hunter’s funeral. She was mostly inactive and rarely came to anything except for the more fun mutual activities. From the way she was talking it was obvious that she didn’t want to be at school and had jumped at the chance to miss it. Perhaps my distain for people missing church for the superbowl stems from the fact that I see a similar attitude behind their behavior. It’s also highly probable that I can’t imagine football being that important to anyone so it feels like they’re faking.

  10. I’m going to fall right into Aaron’s trap and proclaim that in 1993 I made a decision not to watch sports on Sunday, even though (at the time) I loved watching every kind of professional sport on that day. Thus, “keeping” the Sabbath has to be way up there on my list of important commandments, and now I don’t miss those games at all, and have greatly enjoyed the huge blocks of Sabbath time I have to “contemplate” neighborly love and substance impartation, and sometimes actually do something about it.

  11. I am compelled (is that word used right?)to agree with you Andermom. My father-in-law used to find any exuse possible to skip church. If he couldn’t find a good excuse, he would just go. Strangely enough, when they moved to Utah, he quit looking for reasons…

  12. Yeah, um… the Seahawks are in the Superbowl, my childhood ages 7-14 were centered around the Seattle Seahawks and I truly never believed this day would come. I’ll be sitting in front of the tube enjoying every last second of this game. The Seahawks winning would be a truly spiritual experience… definitely Sabbath-worthy :)

  13. There comes a time when we all have to face the decision to put our own desires on the alter to sacrifice it to find out if there is an ounce of truth to the promises made.

    Unfortunately, some may choose not to try.

  14. Not to be too snarky, Nathan, but what about those that have tried and received less than an ounce?

  15. Great post! I have always been intrigued by the tendency of members of the church to pick and choose which commandments they will obey, and how those particular commandments have, in many ways, come to define us as a church.

    However, I disagree with your conclusion that those commandments are chosen for emphasis because “because we happen to be good at keeping them.”

    I beleive that we are so obsessed with appearances and being judgmental in this church that we choose to follow the commandments that are visible to others. We don’t go shopping on Sunday for fear that someone from the ward will see us turn into the parking lot. We don’t drink or smoke because people could see us at the bar and judge us. We only do service projects when we can post photos of our good works on the ward bulletin board. We reluctantly pay the minimum tithe because otherwise we would not be able to get a recommend and attend so-and-so’s wedding.

    And yes, I know I am being judgmental – or is it just introspection?

    Incidentally, I wish we had more posts like this about the day to day challenges of living the gospel. Enough already on the unknowable and impractical, such as speculation about whether women will be given the priesthood. Of course maybe you are all like Aaron B and don’t have any difficulties with the day to day stuff. . .

  16. When I sit in front of my new 50″ HDTV this Sunday watching the Seahawks win, of course I’ll be thinking about the game as a parable…so I can make it a personal religious experience. The great coach in the sky, the prophet…quarterback, and me sitting on the sidelines watching….just like I do as a member of the church. What great lessons can be learned from the super bowl.

  17. For me, Sunday is NOT a day of rest. I’m running around trying to get the family ready for church, stressing about the lesson I have to teach, fighting a toddler all the way through sacrament (during what would normally be lunch & naptime), and then coming home to wrestle over-tired children through lunch and down for naps ALL ALONE while my husband stays for a presidency meeting. So shoot me if stake conference comes around and I consider it a church vacation day!
    Inactivity looks pretty awesome some Sundays…

  18. Aaron:

    It’s nice that agrees that even educated people use words in ways that are disapproved! I’d be interested (hmmm) to know what “interested” meant in the 17th century–my guess is that it was much more likely to refer to a financial or other interest, and not just curiousity.

    Back to football,though:

    You can apply the BYU rule to the game Sunday: if a former BYU player or coach is involved, it’s like fellowshipping your brethren to watch the game. Now, I know Coach Holmgren of the
    Seahawks is not LDS, but he was the BYU quarterbacks coach during the Steve Young–Robbie Bosco years. And, Pittsburgh has three ex-BYU players. (Back in their glory years in the 1970’s, they had at least one–Gordon Gravelle–who played in their first two Super Bowls.) So, you’re good to watch the game.

    Besides, my daughter moved to Pittsburgh last summer, and my 3-year-old grandson says “The Steelers are great!” so I gotta watch the game.

  19. Here is another Seattle local that does not care about the game. Cheers!

  20. I realize that going to church on Sunday is better then not going to church on Sunday. But I also think that not going to church to watch the Superbowl is better then not going to church because you don’t like attending.

    “It’s because they just aren’t as spiritual as people like me.”

    wow, was that a joke or do you really believe you are better then other people?

  21. Aaron Brown says:


    Maybe we should get together on Sunday, NOT watch the game, and wallow in our smug, self-righteousness as we condemn our fellow Saints for their Sabbath non-observance and general worldliness. You bring the jello, I’ll bring the shaved carrots!

    Aaron B

  22. Aaron Brown says:

    “It’s because they just aren’t as spiritual as people like me.”

    wow, was that a joke or do you really believe you are better then other people?


    It’s not that I “believe” that I’m better than other people. It’s that I indubitably AM better than other people. “Belief” isn’t relevant when we’re dealing with objective, incontrovertible facts. As evidence, I submit to you that I’m a permablogger at BCC, which by itself is divine confirmation of my heightened spiritual and religious awareness. :)

    Aaron B
    (but you can call me “Oh Enlightened One”)

  23. Well, I just had to post. Not that it will matter.

    I believe that for anyone to seriously think if one chooses to sit home or visit a friends to watch a football game on television has anything to do with one’s relationship with God, is a very sad thing indeed.

    Besides, if you were there in the morning, what is the need to go back in the evening?

  24. Anyone notice that there is a CES fireside on during the game? The topic is avoiding temptation.


    I’m one of those people who thinks that the Lord is going to come during the last half of the second Saturday GC session, or during the “adults-only” Saturday night meeting of a stake conference, or he’ll appear during the stakewide 6:30am Saturday morning temple session…

  25. I prefer to think that rather than any of those three alternatives, he would make his first appearance at either a soup kitchen, a veterans’ hospital, or perhaps a prison.

  26. Did you also notice that the original speaker for the fireside, Elder Ballard, was replaced within the past few weeks by Elder Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy?

    Makes you wonder what scheduling conflict arose at the last minute for Elder Ballard, doesn’t it? :)

  27. I tried to bring this point up at Geoff’s blog, but it was pretty much dismissed. I’m with you Aaron. It is E-vil.

  28. Aaron, I’m picking up your sarcasm. ;)

    I break the Sabbath every week by not going to the synagogue on Saturday, by eating pork products, and by watching football.

    If I go to heaven, it will be in spite of the many hours I’ve logged watching such a wonderful and awe-inspiring game as football. Hockey is pretty rad too.

  29. I’ve never watched a Superbowl in my life.

    But I have played Age of Empires on Sunday before …

    But hey, at least it wasn’t that evil Superbowl!

  30. I just want to know, what’s the difference between: a) sleeping through 3 hours of church on Sunday, b) thinking about the Superbowl for 3 hours of church on Sunday, and c) spending 3 hours (after church, for us) building family unity by watching the Superbowl for 3 hours on Sunday. ;)

    Not that I’m a huge fan of football (give me futball instead), but still….

  31. The super what? 8-)

  32. Tanya Spackman says:

    I couldn’t care less about football (well, I’d care less if it was something even more boring like baseball), but I’m really looking forward to the commercials. I have $4.00 riding on the game, though. Yes, I’m going to hell. And I’m okay with that.

  33. You know what? As newbies, if staying home to watch the Super Bowl makes my husband happy and more willing to go next week, let it ride. He’s not drinking coffee, beer or swearing anymore, we have FHE, we just got our Recommends, (although some of you would seem to think we shouldn’t) and if watching some dumb game makes him happy, woo-hoo!

    I get the sarcasm, but underneath it there really is a layer of condemnation that doesn’t help new people like us. If we’re going to hell for that, I’m with Tanya!

  34. I could swear I saw Marie Osmond dolls for sale yesterday on QVC.

  35. Space Chick says:

    Artemis, I like your option c). We compromised– my non-LDS teenage stepsons politely endured 3 hours of church with no complaints (even sang during the hymns) for yet another month (including a 2-hour drive each way) and in return I watched the game with them last night. Since we normally watch NO pro football, on Sundays or otherwise, we decided a family bonding event was an acceptable use of the Sabbath. Especially when banning said event would NOT increase household harmony but only result in shutting me out and convincing the boys that all Mormons are Pharisees.

  36. Mike Sperry says:

    Just yesterday I was talking to someone, and I mentioned some of my views on this topic. I lived in a predominantly Mormon area for a good portion of my life. I attended 4 different wards within this same community. I recalled and related to my friend that on Super Bowl Sundays, most of the congregation was pensive and preoccupied, including the bishopric, my priesthood quorum, scout troop, etc. Furthermore, lots of football innuendos and jokes would go around, the meetings were rushed, and as soon as we ended our last meeting(s), everyone got the heck out of there, the chapel(s) were empty ASAP. I presume, just as the nation is consumed by the Super Bowl and football in general, Mormons are just as human in spite of religious and doctrinal beliefs.

  37. If the worst thing I ever do is watch the super bowl on Sunday, I’m all good. Of course, it’s not the worst thing, but I think it’s much ado about not too big a deal.

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