Seventeen Tips For A Spiritual Sabbath

Josh Tenes
6 min readMay 25, 2020

I’ve had some church friends (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) bend the rules recently on Sundays. I’m not judging but I think it’s pathetic. It’s their salvation though, or lack of.

For me, Sunday’s are the days when I’m the most happy. I love everything about them.

So I thought it might be worth sharing some tips and rules I’ve heard to really make the Sabbath Day special.

Here goes.

  1. Don’t spend money. If you’re out of gas, cancel that family visit, or trip to the hospital to visit the terminally ill friend. If your baby is crying and needs food and you forgot to pick up groceries on Saturday, do not be tempted to feed it. god will provide. And if you do have to pick up food, wear a cap and sunglasses and get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, safe in the knowledge that if anyone sees you they’re also heathen sabbath breakers.
  2. Don’t watch sport. Sunday is a day to focus on spiritual things not physical. While it’s true that you’ve already paid for your ESPN subscription and while it’s also true that watching sport might make you happier and be one of the few bonding exercises you have with your children, do not be tempted. It’s much healthier to read scriptures together or write to missionaries following your 2–3hrs of church services.
  3. Don’t play sport or work out. You may think that exercise and socialising with family & friends would be the perfect thing to do on your only full day off work but don’t be fooled. That’s nonsense. Focus on your spiritual fitness. Flex those eternal muscles. And don’t even think about playing competitively – this is forbidden unless you happen to be freakishly athletic or talented (and thus the church can benefit from your image). Sadly we can’t all ball like Jabari. You may ask ‘but who knows if I’ll ever make it if I never get to play & train on Sundays?’. I’d suggest not thinking about those kinds of questions – it will only lead to confusion and a loss of the spirit. NB: You may very gently play sport with young children in the yard but as soon as you get close to breaking a sweat, call it a day.
  4. Do not work on Sundays. This is a straightforward one. It’s a day of rest. Away from your labours. That is unless you’re a doctor, nurse, police officer, paramedic, firefighter etc. If you’re not saving lives (and if you haven’t made it as an international superstar) and have simply been forced to work a Sunday shift or over a weekend to be able to pay your bills and feed your children don’t do it! By working you may well be keeping your heating on but the warmth of the spirit will more than compensate for the cold.
  5. Don’t watch TV. In some cases a Disney film is acceptable or a show about trees will be ok but why you’d want to watch anything but movies produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (TCOJCOLDS) is beyond me. There are endless seminary films, Mormon messages and animations (that although romanticised and historically inaccurate) will edify and elevate your sabbath experience.
  6. Take care of all of your church meetings. Sundays are a day not only of worship but a day of rest, to be with families and recharge for the week ahead. The reality however is that we’re often too busy during the working week to fulfil all of our virtual or physical meetings, lesson planning, interviews and ministering. So it’s a really good idea to spend literally the whole day doing all of this. Ok you might not actually see any of your family or get any mental or physical respite but you’ve got them for eternity. So don’t stress.
  7. Remember to smile. As you drag your kids kicking and screaming out of the house, as you rush to prepare and eat breakfast, to iron shirts and dresses and get ready yourself, as you argue with your partner about who had the car keys last and hurriedly cram for your sacrament talk or Sunday school lesson, don’t forget to smile. This is the plan of happiness. This IS making you and your family happy, and is what god wants from you on this holy day of rest.
  8. This ones for the guys. Wear a white shirt. We dress as the Brethren dress. If you’ve forgotten to wash or iron one the night before, it might be worth calling in sick. Wearing a pastel colour will hardly be conducive to the spirit. And naturally you may be judged and stared at during Sunday meetings.
  9. Church doesn’t have to end when church ends. This is one of my favourites. After 2–3 hours straight of doctrine, scriptures and lessons why not drive home and hold your own family church. An opportunity to read more scriptures, pray together more and really make the most of your limited weekend time together. What’s more, you can all keep your comfortable Sunday best on.
  10. Pot lucks. The Prophet reduced church to two hours but why not extend it again with a pot luck supper. Not a drop of alcohol, tea or coffee in sight. A chance to get together and talk of spiritual things with good wholesome food like funeral potatoes, donuts, ice cream, soda and more.
  11. Accept every Sunday assignment. One way to get more from your Sabbath experience is to contribute. Never mind that a talk or lesson could dominate your whole week at the expense of family or personal time, it will all be worth it when come Sunday you get the wonderful experience at the pulpit.
  12. Volunteer for every prayer. The more prayers the more blessings. Hands up people.
  13. Take a short nap. Make sure it’s really short though and avoid any inappropriate dreams. It’s the Sabbath after all.
  14. Sunday is Arts and Crafts day. Paint pictures of white Jesus or if you really want to use the whole color pallet why not paint the diverse leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (TCOJCOLDS) and memorise their names. And middle initials.
  15. Have a family Book of Mormon-athon. Learn about the horses of the ancient world and the wicked Lamanites cursed with blackness. And other edifying stories.
  16. Create a wall of your favourite General Confefence quotes. There are so many to choose from. Why not start with some of Brigham Young’s classics.
  17. Finally, turn those frowns upside down. Don’t ask what church can do for you on a Sunday, ask what you can do for the church. You see all those miserable faces around you, sitting on pews or in their living rooms on Zoom. Tired, hungry, depressed. Cheer them up, offer them a compliment. Give them a virtual high five. And in doing so you’ll forget your own Sunday misery.

I’ll leave it there but as you can see Sunday’s really are such a special day. A joyous time where we all feel relaxed, at peace and constantly uplifted.

Throughout this pandemic I’ve really missed physical Sunday services. I’ve hated the lie-ins every week for the last three months, not having to wash and iron clothes, attend endless meetings. It’s not made me happy in the slightest.

And like all of my fellow members, I too was devastated (heartbroken even) when President Nelson cut church from three hours to two. That didn’t evoke feelings of joy at all! Because I just love church – but when a Prophet speaks we must follow even if we don’t love the command.

I love the Sabbath day and can’t imagine how uninspiring and dull it is for those who have the freedom to do whatever they want. Ugh.