It is a sign of whether we are Christians in very deed, or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of his atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us… I bear you testimony that to properly observe the Lord’s holy day is one of the most important things we can ever do. It is an essential step toward our eternal salvation.”
Mormon Beliefs: Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy
I remember jogging around the Washington Memorial or along neighborhood streets in suburban Virginia on Sundays, before joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sunday was then but another day, a free day. Catch up time. Now, Sunday comes in a different package.
As a “Mormon” Woman (“Mormon” is a nickname for members of the Savior’s re-established Church), I look forward to the Sabbath for different reasons. I see it as the day of spiritual rejuvenation and re-commitment to Jesus Christ that it is; a day to offer up our Sacraments—to receive His emblems and make covenants to stand as His witness; a day to be with my family and to contemplate my life’s mission in light of the Savior’s will and His Spirit. To me, it’s a day of alignment, a day of worship, a day of service, a day to refine my focus, a day of covenant-making (Exodus 31:16-17), a day of cleansing.
To walk away from Sacrament service is to walk away as clean as when we were baptized, if we sincerely partook of the blessed bread and water, and are without the sexual sins that require full confession to the Lord’s authorized servant before partaking. Mormons believe and attest that the Sacrament is conferred by those who have received the priesthood of God, restored in our day, and because of that direct line of authority, the ordinance holds its full divine power; that means that we can be forgiven of our sins each Sunday as we partake of the Sacrament in His Church (often errantly called by the media, “The Mormon Church”).
Sometimes, when we see others taking out their boats or picking up golf clubs on a bright sunny Sunday, Mormons or other Christians may ask if our efforts to align ourselves with the Sabbath are worth it.
I testify that they are not only worth it; they reflect our view and vision of Christ. I remember when a child asked me why a neighboring teen could watch all kinds of videos, play in recreational sports on Sunday. Was this other teen who was striving to honor the Lord by setting those aside for other family and spiritual moments and activities losing out? We often see the immediate without seeing the eternal. It is the one who temporarily has ‘fun’ or pleasure at the lake by deliberate choice who forfeits a closeness with the Lord that is eternally sweeter than a Sunday at the lake. Once we really taste the blessings of the Sabbath, it is no restriction; it is the best refreshment for our souls. It is not a day of forfeiting pleasure but of feeling God’s.
A late Mormon apostle (apostle called by Jesus Christ) taught: You who make the violation of the Sabbath a habit, by your failure to keep it holy, are losing a soul full of joy for a thimble full of pleasure.” I love that. I testify that it’s true.
On the Sabbath, we can increase our personal power. Ordinances within the Church of Jesus Christ (“Mormon Church”) allow us that opportunity. Fasting allows that opportunity, and for one Sunday a month, Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in fasting and gifting to the poor a generous offering. It’s not only an indicator of spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, it is a day of increasing our ability to serve Him. Another of the Lord’s leaders stated it this way:
Who wouldn’t look forward to more one-on-one time with God, with our family; preparing meals in advance to simplify one day a week; learning more of our genealogy; resting and meditating; contacting relatives who don’t live nearby; reaching out to those who need us; serving in callings (Church assignments that are given by revelation and inspiration; Mormons have a lay clergy), once they feel the joy that comes from building the kingdom and glorifying God in this way?
As Mormons and other Christians regard the Sabbath as they do the Lord, it becomes easier to leave out overworking on Saturday that depletes an ability to do anything meaningful or attend meetings alert on Sunday; filling Sunday so full of meetings that there is not time for prayer, family, meditation, family counseling; or doing gardening; shopping; going to movies. It becomes easy to set those aside for other days. As we obey the Sabbath, I testify that we are able to see the hand of the Lord move more dynamically across the pages of our lives and to feel His love and presence more intimately every day of the week.
Exodus 20:8-11 and D&C 59:9-12