By Jana Reiss
It’s Fast Sunday tomorrow, and I’m genuinely looking forward to it.
I have an alert in my phone to remind me to skip my breakfast cereal.
I have a personal situation to pray about that has reached St. Jude-like levels of desperation.
And I am excited that this Fast Sunday happens to fall on the first day of Ramadan, which means that in my own tiny way I can experience solidarity (and mutual bad breath) with my Muslim brothers and sisters around the world.
All systems would appear to be “go,” except for a nagging sense that something is missing. So what don’t I have as I prepare for the fast?
Oddly enough, I’m feeling a bit bereft of my Latter-day Saint community.
All Mormons are instructed to fast on the first Sunday of every month, praying more fervently and donating the money we would have spent on our own food to the poor. It’s a tradition that extends in some form to the earliest days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though in the nineteenth century our fast days occurred on a Thursday, not a Sunday.
But the reality is that I haven’t heard much about fasting from Mormon leaders or members in a good long while. It’s been four years since the last major General Conference talk that was devoted to the topic, though it’s mentioned occasionally in passing.
But even those brief mentions are occurring less often than they used to in recent LDS history, as seen in this index of General Conference references to fasting: