Why Mormons Do Not Believe In Ash Wednesday And Lent

Why Mormons Do Not Believe In Ash Wednesday And Lent

Why Mormons Do Not Believe In Ash Wednesday And Lent

 My uncle is Catholic and many of my friends and coworkers are Catholic, and I’ve lived in the inner cities on the East Coast where there are large Catholic populations. So a common question I get asked is. “Do Mormons believe in, and observe Ash Wednesday and Lent?” The short answer is. “We do not.” But the reasoning behind it is very important. But first, what is Ash Wednesday and Lent?
(This is not meant to be a complete history of Ash Wednesday and Lent, but a crash course. If you want a full history you should ask a Catholic)

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It was established many years ago, the exact date this practice started has been lost. It goes back at least to the 10th Century. The Catholic Church  realized that many Catholics were not going to confession, they wanted to change that. The reasons why they wanted people to go to confession is debatable. Many scholars say it was for money, others say it was out of concern for the welfare of souls. Personally, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Either way, the Catholic Church decided on the first day of Lent to be the one day a year that everyone would be required to go to confession. After confession they will receive an ash Cross on their forehead, this mark on your forehead was a way to distinguish a believer who had gone to confession, and a believer that has not. It also served as a reminder to everyone that they need to go to confession.

(The ashes come from burned palm branches from Palm Sunday the year before, and the use of ash is symbolic of “repenting in sackcloth and ashes”.)

Today it has evolved, but that is how it started. The mark on the forehead has become a point of persecution for many people. They act like if you don’t have the cross on your forehead, it means you’re not Christian. Many Christians do not believe in Ash Wednesday, as it lacks any biblical support, and it started in the 5th century, years after the death of the last Apostles.


Lent pays tribute to the 40 days that Jesus Christ fasted in preparation for his ministry. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Holy Week, to prepare for Easter. A common practice is “giving something up for lent” just like Christ fasted, often times it is something that is a vice, or a sin. Sometimes it is something that they personally want to give up to be a better or healthier person. My Catholic coworker once gave up sugar and sweets. Many Catholics give up meat for the 40 days of lent. But as soon as lent is over, most of my friends go right back to what they gave up. Much like how many Mormons eat a huge meal after they end their fast on fast Sunday.

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Jeremy Goff was born in Denver and raised in Orem, Utah. He served a mission in the Manchester New Hampshire Mission (’12-’14). He is passionate about many things: he blogs, loves food, family, politics, and religion. He travels for work and loves to visit temples and share the gospel along the way! Follow Jeremy’s journey on his blog www.mylifebygogogoff.com

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