Playing Cards



Growing up in the LDS Church, most of us were at some point taught that playing cards was considered evil, not all card games necessarily but ones that use faces on them such as the Jack, Queen and King. Here are some church quotes supporting this.

 

 

 

 

 

Are Playing Cards Evil?

This question was posed to the LDS apologetic site 'Ask Gramps' and the following answer was given:

By face cards, I assume you mean the regular deck that is commonly used for gambling. President Joseph F. Smith recorded the following counsel in 1903.

"While a simple game of cards in itself may be harmless, it is a fact that by immoderate repetition it ends in an infatuation for chance schemes, in habits of excess, in waste of precious time, in dulling and stupor of the mind, and in the complete destruction of religious feeling. These are serious results, evils that should and must be avoided by the Latter-day Saints. Then again, there is the grave danger that lurks in persistent card playing, which begets the spirit of gambling, of speculation and that awakens the dangerous desire to get something for nothing (Improvement Era, Vol. 6, August, 1903, p. 779)."

My assumption is that there has been no change in the position of the Brethren with respect to card playing from that time to this.

Reference: Ask Gramps

 

Other LDS References

Apostle Dallin Oaks said in the Ensign:

One type of gambling that has been vigorously criticized by our leaders is card playing. Cards may, of course, be played without playing for money, but the relationship between card playing and gambling is so close and the practice of card playing itself partakes of so many of the disadvantages of gambling that card playing has come under condemnation regardless of whether or not gambling is involved.

Elder Widtsoe criticized card playing on the grounds that it was habit forming and a waste of time. He declared:

“It has been observed through centuries of experience that the habit of card playing becomes fixed upon a person and increases until he feels that a day without a game of cards is incomplete.

“After an afternoon or evening at card-playing, nothing has been changed, no new knowledge, thoughts, or visions have come, no new hopes or aspirations have been generated, except for another opportunity to waste precious hours. It leads nowhere; it is a dead-end road. … Dull and deadly is a life which does not seek to immerse itself in the rapidly moving stream of new and increasing knowledge and power. Time is required to ‘keep up with the times.’ We dare not waste time on pastimes that starve the soul.”

Reference: Ensign, Nov, 1972, The Evils of Gambling

 

Bruce R. McConkie [emphasis added]:

"It follows that if members of the Church believe false doctrines; if they accept false educational theories; if they fall into the practices and abominations of the sectarians; if they use tea, coffee, tobacco or liquor; if they fail to pay an honest tithing; if they find fault with the Lord's anointed; if they play cards; if they do anything contrary to the standards of personal righteousness required by the gospel -- then to that extent they are in personal apostasy and need to repent. 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 waste of time in many instances, are not objectionable.

Also

"To the extent that worldliness false doctrine, and iniquity are found among the saints, they too partake of the spirit of the great apostasy. Speaking of men in the last days Nephi said: "They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Ne. 28:14.) It follows that if members of the Church believe false doctrines; if they accept false educational theories; if they fall into the practices and abominations of the sectarians; if they use tea, coffee, tobacco or liquor; if they fail to pay an honest tithing; if they find fault with the Lord's anointed; if they play cards; if they do anything contrary to the standards of personal righteousness required by the gospel - then to that extent they are in personal apostasy and need to repent." Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p 45, 271

 

Joseph F Smith was pretty aggressive at disavowing face cards. Here's one quote - there are at least several:

Card playing is an excessive pleasure; it is intoxicating and, therefore, in the nature of a vice. It is generally the companion of the cigaret and the wine glass, and the latter lead to the poolroom and the gambling hall. . . . Few indulge frequently in card playing in whose lives it does not become a ruling passion. . . . 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 ordinances. . . . 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; such men cannot be consistent advocates of that which they do not themselves practice.

 

President Brigham Young

"Burn up playing cards if you have any."


President Heber J. Grant

"The Church, as a church, requests its members not to play cards."

 

President Joseph F. Smith

"Let all chance games be banished from our families."


 

 

 

 

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