Fasting

Fasting was practiced anciently and continues currently among the world religions whose adherents comprise most of the world's population.

In Christianity, fasting is practiced as abstinence from certain foods or practices at certain times in Catholicism. It is practiced as a monthly 24-hour period of zero intake in my own heritage, LDS Mormonism. In the mainline Protestant half of Christianity, fasting is not widely taught or practiced.

In Islam, fasting is practiced as zero intake during daylight hours throughout the month of Ramadan.

In Hinduism, I understand fasting is practiced.

My first experiences and awareness of fasting came as a boy younger than eight when my parents asked me to skip breakfast and not eat until after sacrament meeting (around noon) on the monthly LDS Fast Sunday. When I was around 12, I decided to attempt to fast 2 meals (24 hours). At my first attempts I experienced nausea and didn't complete the fast. But before too many months I was fasting 24-hours each month in the LDS style, trying to choose a spiritual purpose and pray over it during the fast. In the LDS style, I would also specifically pray
to begin and end the fast.

When I left the home of my parents, I began to follow the LDS custom of giving a fast offering for the poor in conjunction with my monthly fasts. At about this age (around 18 to 25 years old) I began to sometimes feel my fasting was too commonplace, and I wondered if perhaps there ought to be more to it. I considered fasting longer. I may have tried fasting a bit longer a time or two, but I generally decided I needed to simply dedicate myself more to prayer during my fasts.

Fasting brought me many blessings as a young man. I knew by repeated and common experience that the spirit me could withstand and overcome flesh appetite. I at times experienced higher spiritual attunement and vision through 24-hour LDS fasting. And I had the opportunity to remember and consider the poor monthly.

I was aware from my childhood of the 40-day fast of Jesus, and of his teaching to wash and anoint "when you fast" so that you won't "appear to men to fast". I sometimes wondered, in the context of my LDS tradition of fasting as zero intake, what exactly Jesus did for 40 days. I was aware that he was in the desert, and I didn't think the Son of God probably had zero intake for 40 days. Since I didn't have additional information, I surmised that perhaps he either ate once a day or drank water during the fast. As for his teaching about washing and anointing, it didn't really occur to me that I was without any specific understanding of what he meant.

In my late 30's, I experienced significant spiritual awakening amid significant life difficulties. I began to seek and find answers to the questions I had always had about ancient fasting. I began to practice some of the principles I learned. For my own clarity and that of my people, the Latter-day Saints, I began to think of fasting in terms of the Spirit of Fasting, LDS fasting, and Ancient Fasting. Here is a summary of what I learned:

The Spirit of Fasting


1.1. The Spirit of Fasting is simply the spirit of denying flesh appetites. Any denial of any flesh appetite for any period of time observes the Spirit of Fasting and accrues heavenly blessings.

1.2. Like all things, the Spirit of Fasting is subject to the Spirit of Love as expressed by the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.

1.3. All accountable people old and young, rich and poor, male and female, well and sick may be blessed by observing the Spirit of Fasting.

1.4. Various religions that codify the Spirit of Fasting do so to the blessing of their adherents. Most of the major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism equal 67% of world ) except for Mainline Christian Protestants codify the Spirit of Fasting in some way.

LDS Fasting


2.1. An LDS fast consists of a monthly 24-hour total abstinence from intake.

2.2. To avoid constipation and extreme thirst in an LDS Fast, it helps to hydrate very well previous to the last pre-fast meal, hydrate very well previous to the fast breaking meal, and go light on both those meals.

2.3. An LDS fast is a good way to observe the Spirit of Fasting in a minimally disruptive, maximally fool-proof, and maximally intense way. If I were the president of an authoritarian world-wide church (responsible and legally liable), I might codify the LDS fast.

2.4. An LDS fast should NOT be extended more than 24 hours.

Ancient Fasting


3.1. An Ancient Fast is my name for a 40-day or less (I believe there are reasons to call 20 days a minimum) abstinence from all intake other than water. After 31 years of wondering, I finally have settled my mind about this and can now see that the scriptures and ancients indicate this in many ways.

3.2. An Ancient Fast brings blessings in addition to an LDS Fast, including additional ponderings, additional appetite denial, additional health, additional vision and awareness of the mortal condition, and additional compassion.

3.3. An Ancient Fast is an art that must be understood and approached properly to be a safe blessing. There are gallons of water to drink, enemas to take, rest to observe, washing and anointing to do, and bodily conditions to expect.

3.4. Hunger and deprivation are not part of an Ancient Fast. The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

My Fasting Plans


As I continue to fast, I am intending to keep in mind the following safety rules so that my fasting glorifies the Father rather than becoming an embarrassment:

4.1. No LDS fasting over 24 hours. Water is essential to life.

4.2. No Ancient fasting over 40 days.

4.3. No sleep deprivation while fasting. Observe regular bedtime and adequate sleep.

4.4. No gluttony in association with fasting. Tapering intake is kind to the body.

4.5. Drink gallons of water with electrolytes. I'm not sure yet what I will do for electrolytes in a long fast, whether lemons, salt, or spring water.

4.5. Clean my large intestine with enemas, psyllium husk or other method. Entering fasting constipated is toxic.

4.6. Keep quiet about fasting and wash (toxic smells) and anoint (dry skin) per Jesus. Glorify the Father instead of alarming or impressing people.

4.6. Do good per Isaiah 58:6-7. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, liberate the captive, be there for my family.


The original document is available at http://www.hawsedc.com/thomas/tiki-index.php?page=Fasting