24 January 2012

Fast Offerings

Mormonism has lots of unique ideas, or doctrines or principles or practices that while not necessarily completely unique, are at least unusual or unexpected.  One of my favorite of those is the fast offering.

We generally fast once a month, skipping two meals, usually on the first weekend of the month. Then we're encouraged to take the money not spent on those two meals and donate it, usually through the fast offering program of the church, although it doesn't have to go there.  The money is used to help both Mormons and people who aren't Mormons.  I have personally seen a very large amount go to a woman who, while technically on the records of the church, doesn't consider herself a Mormon; my family received food once through this program.  It's a simple, efficient, and brilliant way to help people in need. 

I also really enjoy the testimony meetings we have on the Sundays we are fasting.  We don't have a pastor who preaches every Sunday; instead, we all take turns speaking (in my family, that means we all speak about once a month, down to the four-year-old).  But on Fast Sunday, anyone can come to the microphone and bear her testimony.  Keeps things interesting, certainly, but it also helps keep things authentic too.  It's another way Mormons have to support each other.

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