The Seven Deadly Sins (for Mennonites)

While many are familiar with the Catholic church’s list of seven deadly sins (sloth, gluttony, and so on), fewer people are aware of the Mennonite church’s list of sins. The list was compiled by Menno Simons and Conrad Grebel at a meeting in a Zurich pub back in 1526. This list of sins has been the foundation of Mennonite teaching on morality and ethics ever since.

  1. Failure to finish Grandma’s platz – Mennonites are not against gluttony. In fact, we highly encourage it. When you’re at Grandma’s house and she points out after the third helping of vereneki that “there’s more, Junges, there’s more,” you are obliged to consume every last perogy. Anything less is a grave violation of this basic principle. Finish your food, fatten up, or expect the wrath of Grandma and the elders.
  2. Having a small family – Mennonites encourage copious levels of intimate behaviour between married couples. As long as the goal is procreation, you can come together as often as you like. A minimum of 12 children is required or all that recreation will be classified as “fornication.”
  3. Insufficient self-righteousness – While the Catholic list prohibits vanity, the Mennonite list actually encourages it. The humbler and more self-righteous you are, the better. Sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong and gossiping about the neighbour’s daughter is also highly encouraged.
  4. Greed  – While many Mennonites have abandoned our collective ways and accumulated massive quantities of personal wealth, this is only considered “greed” if the tithes are not large enough. Pay for a new church gymnasium and you can live it up in the Cayman Islands all you want.
  5. Envying your neighbour’s cattle – There’s an old Mennonite saying, “Be content with your cow, your mare, and your sow.” The Lord, and possibly the Credit Union, has entrusted you with your cattle, whether a small amount or large. Be good stewards of your livestock and keep your eyes on your own udders.
  6. Wrath – Here, we agree with the Catholics. At no point can a Mennonite get angry or resort to violence. The only exception is the EMC hockey tournament or the annual MB crokinole competition.
  7. Sloth – As Mennonites we work hard, not to accumulate wealth, but to stay out of trouble. The only instances where sloth is acceptable is if you’re ever asked to dance. In that case, you must politely reply, “no thanks,” and let that Englisher assume you’re just too lazy to get up on your feet.
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