Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

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Minyan Man
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Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Oct 2018, 20:21

Ever since GC & the topic titled: Two Hour Church, I've been thinking about whether Church attendance should be considered mandatory or not for the general membership. Before my FC, I tried to attend all church meetings faithfully on a regular basis. While I was going through my FC my attendance made me feel depressed & everything felt BLACK. For me, there was no spiritual experiences or inspiration of any kind. So, I stopped going & didn't look back. In 2011, we came back & attended regularly most meetings. As a result, I thought everyone should have the chance to attend if you wanted to. I was assigned an older couple to HT. They lived in a nursing home & they were eager to go church & we were happy to take them. Recently, the Sister died & the husband moved to be closer to a son out of state.

Since General Conference & the changes made to the Sunday schedule, I've been wondering, is church attendance necessary for our salvation? This is assuming we are physically, mentally or emotionally able to attend. Tonight I was talking to a friend who is in the Elders Quorum Presidency & asked this question. He said it was an interesting question & hadn't thought about it before. The assumption is: we should attend all meetings because they help add to our understanding of exaltation & prepares us for the next life. Is that true?

Since returning to church, my beliefs about attendance have changed. If going to church brings depression or anxiety, we should do anything else. Hopefully something that does bring inspiration. Today, my belief is: everyone should have the opportunity to attend. If they can't or won't we shouldn't look at is as failure. Does this make any sense?

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dande48
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by dande48 » 13 Oct 2018, 23:02

According to the Church, I'd say Church attendance is required/mandatory for all who are able, to recieve exaltation. Heck, it's part of the temple recommend interview questions.

For myself, I've grown to love an an old Hindu/Buddhist saying that used to bug me SO MUCH on my mission. "There are many paths to God."
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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DarkJedi
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Oct 2018, 05:34

Church attendance is a temple recommend question, but as we know there is nuance and leadership roulette involved with those.

Necessary to salvation? I don't think so in the pure sense. For me, the sacrament has a deep symbolic meaning and I do feel I gain from regularly partaking. On the other hand, I can't say that also wouldn't be the case if I went to another church and took communion/Eucharist and I don't think taking the sacrament is a saving ordinance by itself (although I think it's meaning is often underrated and taken for granted in the church). For the most part I think we're OK not attending church. Conversely, Catholic doctrine is that attending mass is a requirement, and it is sinful not to do so. I would be disappointed should that become part of out theology or doctrine (any more than it already is).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Oct 2018, 17:22

No, and neither does the Church, unless we broaden it to be "as many Sundays as is reasonably possible for each person".
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Minyan Man
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by Minyan Man » 14 Oct 2018, 20:25

Curt Sunshine wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 17:22
No, and neither does the Church, unless we broaden it to be "as many Sundays as is reasonably possible for each person".
Curt can you explain your statement further? It sounds like it doesn't matter, once someone is baptised, if they show up again.
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The temple recommend questions include the following:
8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Oct 2018, 06:56

"Mandatory" means required. Many members have jobs on Sunday, for example, and can't attend church services regularly - for short and long periods of time. Many people are home bound and can't attend church at all. The Church's position is, essentially, attend when you can - and "acceptable" definitions of that have not been published, even in our rules-heavy handbooks.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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dande48
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by dande48 » 15 Oct 2018, 07:34

Curt Sunshine wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 06:56
"Mandatory" means required. Many members have jobs on Sunday, for example, and can't attend church services regularly - for short and long periods of time. Many people are home bound and can't attend church at all. The Church's position is, essentially, attend when you can - and "acceptable" definitions of that have not been published, even in our rules-heavy handbooks.
More specifically, "Mandatory" means "required by rule or law". Minyan Man specified that he was referring to those who are
Minyan Man wrote:
13 Oct 2018, 20:21
...physically, mentally or emotionally able to attend.
I think it's important with conversations like these, that we're all on the same page with definitions.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 06:56
The Church's position is, essentially, attend when you can - and "acceptable" definitions of that have not been published, even in our rules-heavy handbooks.
But it's still required, by the rules of the Church, for the membership to "attend when you can", is it not? Even if the exceptions are left very open to interpretation.
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Roy
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by Roy » 15 Oct 2018, 10:14

I agree with the stretchyness of the word mandatory.

We in the church seem to understand that it is a commandment to take the sacrament often. This interpretation comes from the BoM and the D&C. It is not clear from the bible itself that Jesus was instituting an ordinance at all in the last supper. Therefore, what is required for Salvation can vary widely depending on whom you ask.

Not much in church is truly mandatory if you do not hold a TR.

And - as has been discussed - there are understandable exceptions where a person can attend very infrequently but still hold a TR.

Leadership roulette can play a role. My grandfather owned a dairy farm and missed too many meetings due to "the milking". His Bishop refused to renew his temple recommend about the year 2000 due to his absences. My grandfather made a concerted effort to attend meetings until the bishop was satisfied.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Oct 2018, 15:51

dande48 wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 07:34
But it's still required, by the rules of the Church, for the membership to "attend when you can", is it not? Even if the exceptions are left very open to interpretation.
Only if you want a temple recommend, and even then there's leadership roulette and extenuating circumstances. We have several members of our ward who regularly work or otherwise can't attend every Sunday (and in some cases they aren't there most Sundays). However, in my view (and my bishop's) they're doing what they can do and that's enough because that's all any of us can do. It's also worth pointing out that it's likely far fewer people in your ward hold temple recommends than most of us think. Outside the Corridor only about 15% of members pay tithing (I don't know about inside the Corridor but I'd guess not much more than twice that). So, with about 35% activity, less than half of them are tithe payers and/or recommend holders.

So other than withholding a TR, how else is the church to enforce a policy of mandatory attendance? Don't call me as EQP?
Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Brer Rabbit. "Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch."
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Do you consider Church attendance mandatory for everyone?

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 16 Oct 2018, 17:03

dande48 wrote:
13 Oct 2018, 23:02
For myself, I've grown to love an an old Hindu/Buddhist saying that used to bug me SO MUCH on my mission. "There are many paths to God."
This reminds me of the saying I heard a lot in the South:

Person shows their arm and hand, and says that like the fingers point together to form the arm, all churches point to the same place.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

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