Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Face Cards?

Three times in the last month my children have had to turn down playing face cards with their friends.  My younger kids didn't even know what they were.  Leader asked permission before he played them because he didn't know.  When he told his friend, "no thanks," his friend was quite upset and berated him about it.  We've never had face cards in our home.  So we've had to talk about it.  Here's our story....

Early in our marriage my husband and I were given counsel to not have face cards in our home.  That was a new concept to us.  We'd both enjoyed playing cards when we were little with our grandparents.  Rummy and Kings on the Corner were favorite games.  Those were some of our fondest memories with our grandparents.  So we did some research and found this quote in Mormon Doctrine,
"President Joseph F. Smith has stated the position of the Church with reference to card playing in these words:
"Card playing is an intoxicating and therefore, in the nature of a vice.  It is generally the companion of the cigaret and wine glass.....A deck of cards in the hands of a faithful servant of God is a satire upon religion...Those who thus indulge are not fit to administer in sacred ordinance...The bishops are charged with the responsibility for the evil and it is their duty to see that it is abolished...No man who is addicted to card playing should be called to act as a ward teacher.....Card playing is a game of chance and because it is a game of chance it has its tricks.  It encourage tricks....(Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 328-332) 
"Members of the Church should not belong to bridge or other type of card clubs, and they should neither play cards nor have them in their homes.  By cards is meant, of course, the spotted face cards used by gamblers.  To the extent that church members play cards they are out of harmony with their inspired leaders.  Innocent non-gambling games played with other types of cards, except for the wast of time in many instances, are not objectionable."  Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, 2nd edition, under 'card playing' pg. 112-113.
That is some very strong language!  I remember when we read that, which was after counsel to not play them, we said, "okay!"  We were young and newly married and we wanted desperately to obey in everything we could.  Since then we've never thought much about it.  We just didn't have them and we didn't play them.  Every once in a while we would hear it mentioned as counsel, but it was something that wasn't mentioned much.

So the point.  It seems silly you know? Are times different now?  Are face cards not as threatening as they were then?  I don't know.  But I know this.  If it's another way that I can bring the Spirit in more fully to my home then sign me up!!!  And for us it was really easy to give up cards. Really.  We've never thought about it since.  (Expect when Leader was accosted by a six year old to play "Go Fish" with face cards I guess).   So it's like a freebie.  Give up the cards and get the spirit a little more.  In the process I have thought, "I am sure hoping that some of the other vices (that aren't near as easy for me to give up) that I have can have some grace (aka extra help) bestowed." 

I am trying to review the counsel I have been given to see if there are things that I can be more obedient in.  So the more I can live the gospel and keep the commandments the more I can have the Spirit. And the more I have the Spirit the more I can be a mother who knows.


Megan said...

I have read things that President Smith said before about women wearing cosmetics or shortening their skirts above the ankle that seemed to me to apply to the saints of that time (though the principle of modesty is the same). I think in our day certain card games are innocent when played by friends or family enjoying time together away from electronic media. I wonder what President Smith would have thought of games like Uno or Phase 10- both games that do not use traditional face cards, but could be played with the face cards he was familiar with. On the other hand, I have seen one extended family member get into real gambling from the "innocent"first step of having a non monetary poker night with work friends. Certainly the principles behind President Smith's counsel still apply in our day- we should always avoid the appearance of evil and be wary of worldliness. Now we're more likely to waste time on video or internet games or social networking sites instead of bridge clubs, but the principle is still important. We play cards on the rare occasion in our family, but I think you will be blessed for being obedient to your leader's counsel instead of shrugging it off as extreme.

Megan said...

Oh, I read the quote more carefully and see where President Smith talks about other types of card games.

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

Very nice modern day correlation. Thanks Megan. And thanks also for recognizing the principle that I was exploring.

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

I also want to add that Phase 10 and Skip-O are some of our favorite games. They are not 'face cards' and so we have felt comfortable playing them. We do not play them often, but they have been a good way to teach simple math to our children and so have served a purpose.

The Lazy Organizer said...

We used to play other types of card games when we were first married but my husband likes to change rules so they always ended in a fight. We had to stop in order to save our marriage! Silly!!

Now he can play with the children and change all the rules he wants because they can't divorce him. Ha!!

Misty said...

I agree with you--if there is any way to get the Spirit a little more, especially something that's relatively easy, sign me up!

I love the quote by President Smith...I wonder what his quotes on cosmetics, shortening skirts, etcetera are? I would probably agree with them. :)

Cousin Ribby said...

This made me wonder what the origin of face cards are. I think it makes a difference; I really liked what you shared from President Smith: "...and because it is a game of chance it has its tricks. It encourages tricks...."

If their origin involves trickery and deceit, why would we want them in our home?

If something doesn't 'feel' right, I like to find what the origin is. It can be pretty surprising.

Thank you for sharing this. You are obviously a part of the "new celestial culture developing in homes" that Elder Sitati talked about at last November's conference.

Cherie said...

I read this last week and have thought about it a bit in my grand scheme of things that have to go around my house (even though we never play the cards, just having them here isn't good). I created a link for your post over on my blog since I started thinking about it even more after Sunday School today, thanks!