My awesome friends are telling you not to watch the Super Bowl

Some of my favorite friends on Facebook are posting quotations from the prophets today reminding people not to watch sports on the Sabbath. I think that is awesome.

I live in Colorado so, like almost every other person here, I will be watching the Super Bowl with my wife’s family. But I am always happy to hear what the prophets have to say, and the gentle reminder is a good one.

What can I say? I usually don’t watch the NFL on Sundays, but today is the Super Bowl, and the Broncos are playing, so I will be watching.

You can make your own choice about what you will be doing today, but thanks to my friends you will know where the prophets stand on this issue.

“My behavior on the Sabbath constitutes my sign to the Lord of my regard for Him and for my covenants with Him. If, on the one hand, my interests on the Sabbath day turn to activities such as pro football games or worldly movies, the sign from me to Him would clearly be that my devotions do not favor Him. If, on the other hand, my Sabbath activities focus on the Lord and His teachings, on the family, and on folks who are sick or poor or needy, the sign would likewise be evident to God. I have concluded that our activities on the Sabbath will be appropriate when we honestly consider them to be our personal sign of commitment to the Lord.”
~ Russell M. Nelson [Hope in Our Hearts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2009), 154]

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

16 thoughts on “My awesome friends are telling you not to watch the Super Bowl

  1. Game is boring, especially for Denver fans. Better idea is to watch “About Time” again. lol

  2. I wouldn’t skip a meeting to stay home and watch football, but if I truly don’t have any other plans, I’m not sure if there is a difference between watching a game as opposed to Downton Abbey. I would like to say that I spent all day Sunday visiting the sick and afflicted, doing family history, and so forth. But Sunday evenings are usually spent together as a family watching a little TV and playing games. This evening was no different.

  3. I listened/watched a few minutes. I usually waste far more time every sunday mindlessly surfing the interwebs.

  4. Could it be Elder Nelson was talking about actually attending a football game in person as opposed to watching it on TV? I know some people do no watch any TV on Sundays. Others will only watch church produced movies. Still others will expand there viewing to G rated media. And then the rest of us pretty much watch anything on TV that we would have watched on any other night of the week. I consider watching a decent movie or show on Sunday no different than reading a decent book on Sunday. Different media, same result.

  5. I wondered if a post on this subject would ever come up! As a kid, I used to live in Ft. Collins and watch the Broncos at CSU during their summer training camps, and got their autographs (Randy Gradishar, Lyle Alzado, Craig Morten, Jim Turner, etc) when they were the vaunted Orange Crush. I have been a devoted fan and follower ever since. My family regularly and unreservedly watched football on Sundays, but we always attended church.

    Then I got married and my football-watching habits changed. My wife hates sports with a passion. After many arguments, I gave in (for the record, I’ve never won an argument in my marriage) and decided to record Sunday Denver games and watch them the next day. The effect was that games became less immediate, and thus less important, and keeping the Sabbath held much greater value. (Not to mention precious time saved by speeding through commercials, halftime and timeouts, etc.) Along the way, we’ve been the recipient of many blessings from obeying the 4th commandment, which, IMO, is probably the one most frequently broken of the Ten.

    A quote from Pres. Monson has long resonated with me: “The Sabbath is a holy day; not a holiday.” Super Bowl Sunday definitely has the feel of a national holiday. Another quote from the teachings of Pres. Snow, Ch. 21, states: “We have got to…reach a higher plane; we have got to love God more than we love the world.” With those quotes in mind, it’s not a difficult decision to forego the Super Bowl today and arise early tomorrow with an invigorated mind to glimpse the game on my DVR. Though I know the game has no relevance whatsoever, the kid in me still wants to shout, “Go Broncos!”

  6. Well, the horrific game reminded me why I stopped watching the NFL in the first place. And I am not much of a Broncos fan, I just am along for the ride this season. (I guess the game was not so horrific if you are a Seahawks fan). In any case, I was left with an empty feeling after watching the first half. So perhaps the prophets have a point.

  7. Prophets do have points, though not usually the points the self righteous wet blankets like your FB friends were trying make with prooftexts. I suspect that more than a few of the Brethren watched Steve Young torch the Chargers in 94 en route to winning the MVP. And there were more than a few of the Brethren who did not care and didn’t watch the game or particularly support Brother Young. If there were a highly visible Mormon on either team this year there would have been more people who found convenient reasons to watch and enjoy-though I agree this year’s game and commercials were disappointing. And Seahawks OC is not a highly visible Mormon, at least not yet.

    After all President Hinckley once ended a General Preisthood meeting early b/c of a scheduling conflict with a BYU football game-2004 if I recall correctly. Perhaps it was a coincidence the meeting ended about 20 minutes early and the BYU kick off was scheduled when the meeting was supposed to end. (I suspect whoever scheduled that game and the accompanying TV obligations got an ear full.) The priesthood session of GC is not the Sabbath, but I hear over and over again that GC is scripture and we were deprived of the prophet no less b/c some dummy in the BYU athletic department scheduled a football game to start the moment the priesthood session ended.

  8. Geoff, I personally blame YOU for the Broncos having such a terrible loss! Had you obeyed the prophets, they invariably would have had a much closer game, and would not have been so humiliated. What’s worse, you not only humiliated all of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain west, but Indiana is suffering from seeing their star player (on loan to Denver) take such a beating.

    I hope this is a lesson to you, and that your soul is tormented for the rest of your miserable mortal life! ;)

  9. Using Elder Nelson’s quote was not a prooftext.

    It is a quote that goes against some people’s actions.

    Own your own life, be proud to go against an apostle.
    Don’t just claim it was taken out of context.

    FTR: I don’t partake in worshiping the false god of football. I don’t partake of meat offered to that idol.

  10. So h_nu you honor Elder Nelson by disobeying Elder Uchtdorf? (Judging-Stop It; don’t judge me b/c I sin differently than you etc.) FTR. lol

    I don’t think I sinned by watching the game but to make my rhetorical point I will concede to perhaps violating the spirit of the Word of Wisdom as I gorged on all sorts of unhealthy food and thus “sinned” kinda sorta. Imbibing of caffeinated products was not the sin, it was the gluttony in which I, and my family, conspicuously indulged.

    Confession is good for the soul. I have confessed a weakness: spending time with my family next to a warm fire eating way too much junk food on a Sunday night in early February. Now name your sin and which Apostolic counsel you have blithely ignored. And, don’t say pride. That’s too easy of a cop out. We’re all guilty of that.

    FTR, given the quality of the game and commercials our family time would have been much better spent watching Sherlock.

  11. As a Seahawks fan in Seattle, I watched the game with my husband and kids. I tend to weigh the benefits of doing something vs. the benefits of doing something else. For Halloween, for instance, the benefit of going outside, walking around the neighborhood, meeting people and feeling like a part of the community far outweighs the benefit of staying home. The benefit of watching football together far outweighs the benefit of my husband playing xbox and my older kids doing homework and my younger kids playing by themselves. Football on Sunday is ok with me as long as there aren’t angry feelings and it is something that people are doing together and it never is more important that church or a family meal.
    My older two kids still remember our Super Bowl loss 8 years ago. It is a treasured family memory and my youngest two were raised to resent the Steelers like proper Seahawks fans. I had a fantastic party at our house for the NFC championship game two weeks ago, but for the Super Bowl it was just our family (which meant I could concentrate on the game) and I know it will be a family memory for all of them forever, complete with going outside after the game and shooting fireworks and hearing cheers all around us.
    It’s been pretty awesome to feel this sense of community because of the Seahawks.
    I am always supportive of friends who choose not to do something on the Sabbath. I felt bad for those who felt torn about whether to break their rule because of the game’s significance and probably felt bad whether they chose to watch or not watch.

  12. Football has become more barbaric and violent as the sport moves from just a game to marketing enterprise. The culture surrounding the Super Bowl is now decidedly heathenistic. Do we observe the Sabbath in our hearts in a God-pleasing manner anyway? Catholic Bishops changed the Biblical Sabbath to accommodate Roman-heathen tradition. The Bible says “put nothing evil before your eyes”, and the Kingdom of God emphasizes the spiritual over materialism and greed, but we sit before our televisions soaking up the debauchery often in a drunken stupor. No, I think we “choose this day whom we will serve” freely, and the choice is not for the LORD. Maybe God winks at our actions. But maybe we are subtly, if not completely rebelliously, inviting his wrath. Pardon me, I think my hypocrisy is showing.

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