Fasting has been observed by followers of Jesus Christ since ancient times. Moses fasted while receiving the Ten Commandments. Alma the Elder fasted and prayed for Alma the Younger when the latter was struck dumb. During the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Himself said the following in Matthew 6:17-18:
“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
The tradition of fasting has continued into the modern Church with regular fast Sundays and President Russell M. Nelson calling for a fast on Good Friday last year. Starting Fall 2020, BYU-Idaho has held a special one-meal fast, as opposed to the traditional two meals, at the beginning of each semester, along with a break the fast meal. This semester, the tradition continued.
According to an email sent out by BYU-I on April 20, “In today’s devotional address, President Henry J. Eyring invited the BYU-I community to join in a special one-meal fast this Sunday, April 25, 2021. In support of this invitation, the university will provide a discussion guide and meal for students living in the Rexburg area to share with their roommates and families as they conclude their fast.”
With this tradition having gone on for three semesters, Scroll was curious to see what students thought.
“I really enjoy Break the Fast,” said Kendall Dezember, a ward pianist in the Rexburg YSA 34th Ward. “I think it’s a good way to get everyone involved and not only get people to listen to devotional, but kinda get together as a ward and get together as apartments…get together and enjoy something that’s spiritual and something that is important to the school and important to them as students.”
Other students shared Kendall’s enthusiasm for this event.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Aaron Graves, a freshman majoring in biochemistry. “I think that doing that school-wide brings lots of blessings. Like, it says in the Bible that when we get together and we fast like that, then it opens the gates of heaven.”
According to an article by Stephen R. Covey, the benefits of fasting include increased self-control, increased spiritual humility, and an increased connection with the Lord. Given this and the positive response from students, this new tradition is a great opportunity to bring the BYU-I community together.