Sunday, November 8, 2015

“Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?” By President Henry B. Eyring

Find this talk here.


  • "When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him." This really does mean anyone.
  • He read Matthew 25 incorrectly. The Savior separates sheep from goats not "after our life in this world is complete", but "when the Son of Man shall come in his glory" (Matt 25:31)
  • It's true we can all obey the law of the fast. Those of us who can do more shouldn't confuse "something we can all do" with "the only thing we personally should do". Pres. Eyring seems to make that incorrect conclusion later on. A local high councilor here made exactly that mistake.
    • Isaiah's description deserves special notice. We tend to read it and say, "yay, we're fasting", but going without food is hardly the full extent of Isaiah's description. My own experience is that most Church members frown on libertarian political activism, yet does that not fall directly under the heading of "break every yoke"? How can we "let the oppressed go free" without stirring things up a bit?
    • "Hide not thyself from thine own flesh" means, as I read it, to take care of your extended family.
  • "Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am." That's a blessing I want. There's far more there than simply warm fuzzy feelings when someone tells a touching story in testimony meeting.
  • "then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday" I imagine this is the sort of thing people meant when they said Joseph Smith's testimony was given with power, and when they lamented that without Joseph, there might be no one left with such power.
  • "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." As a would-be desert farmer, I love this imagery.
  • And now we get Pres. Eyring's description of what our fasts our like. It has very little to do with the fast described in the scriptures. No wonder we're always praying for rain and health, instead of getting made like watered gardens.
    • Writing a check to the Church and letting them seek out and deal with the needy hardly fulfills Isaiah's instructions.
    • It's sometimes reported that local leaders informally compete to see who can send the most fast offering money back to Salt Lake, and that they'll avoid using it locally for "better" numbers in that regard. Regardless of the reason, there are thousands of instances where Church members have failed to receive help from ward leadership when it was clearly needed. Of course mistakes will happen everywhere, but we absolutely must be willing to go beyond a simple fast offering, to fill needs around us.
  • The story of the war refugee paying her equivalent of the widow's mite is certainly a remarkable instance of obedience, but given the Church's profligate waste of tithing funds and abject unwillingness to follow scriptural direction to disburse funds by common consent and reveal tithing use to all members, it's heart wrenching.
    • Early church leaders' counsel regarding tithing was that it should be paid after all other needs were met. "Interest", as used in section 119, means not "income" as a First Presidency letter in the 70's (I think) claimed, but "surplus" (ref. Webster's Dictionary, 1828). Elder Holland deliberately misquoted James E. Talmage in a conference talk in Oct. 2001 by removing the parts of Talmage's quote that very clearly said tithing should only be paid by people who can afford it. (http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/mormon-tithing.htm for details)
  • Does anyone else wonder if Christ's 40 day fast (and that of Moses) were miraculously managed without any food or water for that whole period? 

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