READER SUBMISSION: Many of my Mormon sisters will be fasting for 10 days from social media in order to focus on gospel learning. They were invited to do so by the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson. My beloved sisters and friends who are fasting, God be with you. Fasts are such a special set-apart time to be close to God, to rest in God’s love, and to rededicate ourselves to being Light.
I understand that some men have expressed concern that some women may not be fasting as they were expressly invited to. It is to them, and all the men of the church, that I address my next words. How I hope to impress upon your minds the deep need the sisters have for you!
Because President Nelson has not asked the men of the church–our husbands, sons, brothers and priesthood leaders–to commit to an equivalent fast, I invite LDS men to commit themselves to doing all they can for the sisters in their lives over the next ten days.
Men of the church, husbands and fathers, you can manage housework and child care as your wife undertakes this fast. President Nelson said that this is a time to “unleash the power of families.” What a blessing for you to unleash the power of yours by ensuring a serene sabbatical for your wives!
President Nelson also asked that women avoid impure thoughts, so please respect this sacred time and space for your wives by giving them rest from daily burdens and wifely duties that sometimes vex them. Brothers and sons, help your mothers and sisters. Ask “What can I do to support your fast?” Then listen carefully to their requests. The male youth of the church may remember when the church asked them to fast from media for seven days and can use this experience to show appreciation to the women in their families who have been asked to do without for an even longer period. Young men, assure the women around you of your respect and affection for them as they seek to sit at the Savior’s feet.
Church leaders, the president of the church has asked women to set aside ten days to choose the better part, and you can support them in this! This is a wonderful time to make church callings a little lighter. In the story about Mary and Martha, we learn that Martha was “much encumbered” while Mary “chose the better part.” It would be an act of faith and obedience to refrain from encumbering the women in your circles of stewardship.
Please find ways to ensure that women find rest, renewal, and rejuvenation through spiritual supplication and with your support. Lift their callings for the next ten days. Many wards organize a similar show of thanks on Mother’s Day; just approach this as though it’s a week of Mother’s Days. Remember, this invitation to fast is for the purpose of spiritual replenishment is from the prophet; to sustain your leaders, you should support women in their holy fast.
Church leaders, President Nelson also asked women to attend the temple; this is a wonderful opportunity for the men in your ward to show their devotion to the prophet by organizing child care for their own families, so women are fully supported in doing as the prophet invites. Men of the church, you can help protect this holy time for your sisters in Christ, and provide room for women to sit in peace and commune with God.
Instead of expressing your concern to women, or to women’s husbands or fathers, that they’re not properly fasting, you have the opportunity to instead share your willingness to serve the sisters you are so concerned about. Offer to take on some of their encumbrance so that these women feel supported by the priesthood in entering into a fast. This would be a powerful way for you to protect and provide for the people around you, and true ministry.
~Rebecca Sachiko Burton~
Rebecca homeschools her seven children in the land of the radioactive tumbleweeds. She calls herself a “Japanese redneck” and enjoys writing and exploring new books.
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