LDS Sabbath In Israel | Israel Revealed

"We especially enjoyed hearing of Daniel's life story and conversion to Christianity. Additional we enjoyed the Mormon discussions presented by an ethnically Jewish Christian! Perfect tour for us!"

Toni & Steven Caplin (Santa Clara, UT)

LDS Sabbath In Israel

Since the very early days of the Israel Group, the Saints had been holding their Sabbath services on Saturday. This arrangement had been conducted with the tacit approval of the Switzerland Mission president and visiting General Authorities, but once the Jerusalem Branch was organized its leadership sought to obtain official sanction for the practice. As explained by first counselor John Tvedtnes: “. . . in Israel, there are six working-days per week, and Saturday is the only day of rest. The majority of our branch members [are] unable to observe Sunday (as the Sabbath) because of work and school obligations on that day . . .” The group leadership/branch presidency brought the matter to the attention of Pres. Harold B. Lee during his September 1972 visit and asked for his approval, making it clear to him that the desire was not to have Saturday recognized as THE Sabbath, but to have Church blessing given to celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday in Israel.

Furthermore, it was pointed out, even if meetings were held on Sunday it would be impossible to otherwise observe it as a day of rest, given the other obligations. Saturday was the one day of the week when members could both attend meetings and also observe the spirit of the Sabbath. Consideration also had to be given to the fact . . . that Sunday observance of the Sabbath would be next to impossible, since just about everyone in the country had some sort of responsibility on that day.

In his letter, Bro. Tvedtnes anticipated the question of how other Christian churches dealt with the issue. He mentioned that they generally held their services on Sunday, but that the Western churches often operated for the benefit of the diplomatic corps, whose embassies were closed on Sunday. The Latin and Eastern churches were attended mostly by Palestinians, who often lived in closed communities with few ties to the Jewish workweek. He went on to say that those few Jewish converts to Christianity (Messianic Jews), such as Shlomo Hizak’s group, always held their meetings on Saturday.

With this information in hand, the matter was taken up by the Brethren, and in early December letters were received from both Pres. Lee (writing to Pres. Galbraith . . . and Elder Richards to Bro. Tvedtnes) advising that Church approval was given for Saturday observance of the Sabbath in Israel (this was subsequently to include Friday observance, in Islamic countries).

From the book, Grafting In, A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Holy Land, Principal writer: Steven W. Baldridge, Chief researcher: Marilyn M. Rona, Published by the Jerusalem Branch, Chapter Four, Pages 23-24.

What makes us exceptional?
Compare us to other LDS tours.

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. To read more about our cookie policy . Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.