Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I like acting in plays, especially with our community theater, but some performances are scheduled for Sundays. Should I give up participating so I won’t have to perform on Sunday?

New Era

At first glance, this seems like a pretty cut-and-dried question. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a commandment given by a loving Heavenly Father. Observing the Sabbath by doing things that make Sunday a day of worship, rest, and service is important to our salvation, and it’s possible that the only way you can keep this commandment is to end your participation in community theater.

But that needn’t be your first solution. Of course Heavenly Father wants us to honor the Sabbath, but He also wants us to develop our talents and make the world a better place by contributing to all sorts of projects, including the arts. Here at the New Era, we often receive letters from readers who are facing this sort of problem in all sorts of activities: athletics, dance, and music. Even people who participate in student government, academic competition, fine arts, and school clubs sometimes find that activities and competitions are held on Sunday. But leaving behind an activity you love may not be the only answer.

First, ask if there is a way you can participate without disrupting the experience for others. For instance, is there someone you can share a part with? Be sure to find out this information when you try out. You must make it clear to the people in charge that you won’t be participating on Sunday so that they can decide whether they can work with you or not. It’s not fair to the directors or other participants if you do not let them know you won’t participate on Sunday until after parts have been cast and rehearsals have begun.

Another option is requesting that rehearsals or performances not be held on Sunday. Do you have LDS friends or friends of other faiths who would be grateful to have the Sabbath to spend in worship? Their support will strengthen your position. Even people trying out for the play who are not religious might be happy to have Sunday as a day of rest. If you feel that it’s appropriate, let them know why you don’t want performances to be scheduled for Sunday and see what they say. You might be surprised at their reaction.

Finally, and most importantly, make this a matter of prayer. The Lord loves you and wants you to be in places where you can develop your talents and let your gospel light shine. He also wants you to keep the Sabbath holy. Make a prayerful decision that is based on gospel principles. Then ask Heavenly Father to strengthen you in your resolve to keep His commandments. He will guide you in your decision to either participate on your terms or find other activities that are more suitable.

Readers

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Yes, you may have to give up the community theater, but think of a pleased Heavenly Father who will bless you and appreciate that simple sacrifice because He loves you.

Mindy Barran, 15 El Socorro, Trinidad, West Indies

Try to work out a deal with your play director. Some people will understand and be willing to compromise. I’ve found that if you put your trust in the Lord, things will generally work out for the best.

Tiara Lusk, 18 Sugar City, Idaho

Talk to the director and see if the schedule can be changed. If not, it’s your decision, but make that decision with the Lord’s help. The Lord has said to keep Sundays free to do His work. He also gave us agency. If you pray about it, you’ll know what the right choice is.

Heather Hollingshead, 14 Jamestown, New York

We should use the Lord’s day as a time to grow spiritually. As we keep the Sabbath with the proper attitude and engage in activities appropriate for the Sabbath, we keep ourselves unspotted from the world.

Hans A. Akosah, 19 Accra, Ghana

This could be a difficult problem. Discuss your situation frankly with the play director and explain why it’s important for you to be absent from participation on Sunday. Then plan to go to church meetings and spend the day with your family.

Elder Ibeakalam Mbibi, 19 Port Harcourt, Nigeria

I really enjoy acting in school plays, but there was a conflict with church and the practice schedule. Luckily, the director was able to adjust the schedule, and I only missed a few practices. I have found that when we let our standards be known, people generally appreciate our values and they don’t hassle us too much.

Heather McKnight, 15 Canton, New York

It’s great to work at something fun, like acting in plays. But in the long run, breaking the Sabbath won’t help you. Talk to the manager of the play and explain your beliefs. Who knows? It might inspire him to investigate the Church.

Robert Hanson, 12 Cedar Hills, Utah

Don’t give up something that you love; find a way to make it work. Pray for help from Heavenly Father. He loves you and wants to help you. You just need to ask.

Inga Hovhannisyan, 17 Yerevan, Armenia

I don’t think it would be right to participate in a play on Sunday. The Lord promises us that if we keep the commandments, He will bless us. The Lord doesn’t lie. That means He will provide something better for our lives.

Candace Tucker, 12 Santa Fe, New Mexico

[photo] Photography by Welden Andersen; posed by model

[illustration] The scriptures tell us that on the seventh day, the Creator of heaven and earth rested (see Gen. 2:2). And He commanded that we should also rest on the Sabbath. No matter how much pleasure our own creative talents bring us, we need to remember that the One who gave them to us is also the One who gave us the Sabbath for our blessing. (Detail from mural painting at the Washington D.C. Visitors’ Center, by Dan Baxter.)