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Oct. 18th, 2013 at 11:50 pm
I was listening to This American Life, a National Public Radio show you should be paying attention to and I heard this:
It made me think about a lady I knew years ago. She told me that on Fast and Testimony Sundays she started fasting at sundown on Saturday night and didn’t break her fast until sundown on Sunday. She was so scrupulous in her fast she didn’t even take the Sacrament for fear of canceling out her fast. I was so shocked by her interpretation of what fasting meant, I was speechless. If I remember right, my response was something like, “Uhhhh….” I didn’t know about the whole 24 hour part but I was dang sure that not taking the Sacrament was kind of missing the point of the whole thing.
I’ve known other people in the church who have also struggled with the letter of the law kinds of interpretations of gospel principles. I once had a family in my office who were the saddest people I had ever met. The mom and dad and their three little kids (all under school age) lived the most righteous lives they could. They played with church related board games and scripture related toys. They read only church related materials. The kids had all the children versions of the scriptures memorized and could tell me whole stories just by glancing at a picture. The only things they watched on tv were church movies. The parents enforced reverence within their home and the children practiced sitting in silence. The rigidity of their daily lives was oppressive. Don’t get me wrong, they were doing good things and from the outside looking in their lives were impressive.
But they were not happy people. The parents were consumed with being parents without fault, making sure they raised children unspotted by the world. It took a while for me to understand the depth of their fears and we made a major breakthrough when I reminded them of the scripture “Men are that they might have joy.” After a while, the parents loosened up enough to watch a Disney movie in my office with their kids. It was amazing to see the kids reaction to the slapstick comedy and it changed everything. The last time I met with the family they were working on expanding their G-rated video library and were shopping at garage sales for regular toys. I was so happy for all of them.
I thought this article, referenced in the radio clip above Library : Scrupulosity And How To Overcome It – Catholic Culture was interesting because it explains a program within the Catholic Church to help people who struggle with scrupulosity. Apparently the rumors about Catholic guilt are true. It is enough of a problem they have a whole program to address it.
Have you or anyone you know ever struggled with LDS Scrupulosity? I bet it is something a lot of missionaries struggle with due to the intensity of their circumstances.
Scrupulosity. What a great word to explain the pain of trying too hard.