Mormons set aside one day each month to abstain from food and water for two meals and then donate what they would have spent on food and water to the poor. As a Mormon I’ve always heard fasting should be both food and water. However, I came across an interesting quote today.
President Heber J Grant stated in an official declaration:
When fasting, members of the Church are advised to abstain from two meals each Fast Day . . . also by prayer in connection with fasting to develop spiritual power. No direct instruction is given in the Doctrine and Covenants regarding abstaining from water while fasting. In the Bible there are three references in connection with fasting and abstaining from water. These are: Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 9:9-18, where it states that Moses “did neither eat bread nor drink water”; and Esther 4:16, where Esther asked the Jews to fast for her and to “neither eat nor drink.”
The spirit of fasting is the main thing to encourage. Too much stress should not be laid on technical details, but the self denial of food, striving for spiritual strength and donating for the benefit of the poor should constantly be in mind. (Published statement from the First Presidency of the Church, March 26, 1932) MOFP5:307-08
For people of other faiths this may sound trivial, but as long as I’ve been LDS I’ve always heard fasting should be both food and water and it isn’t complete without both.
Personally I feel the same way that President Grant does. It’s really between us and God and if we feel good about our fast we shouldn’t worry. I feel that our fast shouldn’t be merely for medical purposes but for coming closer to God.
I’d love to hear your thoughts though.
Do you feel that a fast can be complete without abstaining from water? What do you do to make your fast complete? What are your thoughts on the scientific studies?