Why Mormons don’t practice Ash Wednesday

Photo:Dale W. Eisinger/IBTimes

Throughout the day I witnessed many faithful with the print of an ashy cross on their foreheads as part of Ash Wednesday – a ritual practiced by Catholics and various denominations in observance of the start of Lent as well as the approach of Easter. Ash Wednesday, which fell on Feb. 18 this year, is meant as a sign of mourning and repentance as many place ash on their foreheads, which is typically gathered from the previous years Palm Sunday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not officially recognize Ash Wednesday or practice Lent. A reason being that it is a ritual that was created during the Great Apostasy, a dry spell between the death of Christ, his Apostles, and the restoration of the original Church of Christ.

According to lds.org:

“The Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth.“

However, the Mormon Church does not officially prohibit the practice of Lent or Ash Wednesday, but it does encourage fasting throughout the year along with sacrament participation every week for the remittance of sin and repentance.

According to About.com:

“The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19;Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.”

Roman Catholics and other denominations argue, the Great Apostasy, by saying that they are in harmony with the teachings and practices that Christ gave his Apostles.

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5 Comments

Filed under Mormonism

5 responses to “Why Mormons don’t practice Ash Wednesday

  1. Why was there this “dry spell,” in your estimation? Remember Matthew 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Did not the Apostles and Mary receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, after Christ’s death, and then go forth preaching to all the nations? What about St. Paul, who received a vision of Jesus years after His ascension? Thank you for your post, I’m just curious what you think of these things.

    • mormonminute

      Chris, you are absolutely correct. The Great Apostasy does not start until all of Christ’s Apostles are gone. Since there is no longer a prophet to teach the word of God then the “dry spell” begins. All others after that, until Joseph Smith according to Mormons, do not have the priesthood or the keys from God to teach.

      • So what about now? Is there a prophet or is there an apostasy in the Church of Latter Day Saints right now as well? And what about the Jews before Jesus? Was there apostasy then?

        God would have founded a Church that could stand the test of time, right? And He did! What’s the need for prophets if He sent the Holy Spirit, God, to be with us starting at Pentecost?

      • mormonminute

        Chris, you seem to have a lot of valid questions. May I suggest you contact Mormon missionaries for further questions. http://mormon.org/missionaries?gclid=CI2-7ce7s64CFQV_hwodNkn1SA

        To try to answer your questions, in short, there is no longer an apostasy because there is a living prophet on earth who has been called on by God. There was not an apostasy before Christ because there were prophets called by God to lead mankind.

        I wish I could answer all your questions in detail, but I just don’t have all the answers. Thanks for your interest Chris.

      • You have a living prophet? How come I haven’t heard this before?! And I would counter your point about the Jews by saying that if you really look back, there were very long gaps between prophets back then, it’s not like there was a prophet for every generation or something.

        Thanks for your help. I’d encourage you to look further into these things if you do not know the answers. It’s important to test all things and keep what is good. God bless.

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