I had the
privilege opportunity assignment to speak in church a couple of weeks ago. Whenever one of us speaks I like to include our talk and testimony on our family blog. So here it is.
What is THE most influential thing we can do to build our testimonies?
Elder Ballard said Brethren spent many months reviewing every bit of doctrine and every principle in the gospel of Jesus Christ trying to figure out the answer to that very questions. What singular thing we can focus on, individually and as a worldwide church, in order to build and increase our faith in God?
Do you think it’s diligent scriptures study and prayer? Repentance? How about temple attendance? While these are all very important and fundamental, the conclusion was that partaking of the sacred Sacrament ordinance and keeping the Sabbath Day holy, above everything else, are THE most influential things we can do to build our testimonies of the atonement and our faith in God.
Doctrine & Covenants 59:9
And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
Rob has a memory (one of his few) of when he was a young child. He remembers sitting in Sacrament Meeting, looking up at the ceiling and trying to figure out where the voice of the sacrament prayer was coming from. After a lot of thought, he concluded that it must be the voice of Heavenly Father coming down to him from heaven. It was perfectly logical. As he’s grown, he obviously knows it’s not Heavenly Father’s audible voice in our meeting but those prayers and the covenants we make were given to us by Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father has commanded us to listen and think about the atonement weekly. As we do, we will feel His spirit testifying to us that Christ died for us and that He lives so that we may live with Heavenly Father again.
During General Conference, the Brethren gave a training on Sabbath Day observance to all Stake Presidents with the request that it be passed down to ward councils and then to congregations.
In that training, Elder Nelson & Elder Ballard said that If the commandment of keeping the Sabbath Day holy is taken seriously and literally, members will remain active in the church and faith will increase around the world.
Elder Nelson tells us that if we do these things, keeping the Sabbath Day holy won’t feel like a burden, that it’s hard to do, or that we are missing out on any fun. But it will be a true DELIGHT.
Doctrine & Covenants 59:13 says that we do these things so that our joy may be full.
I have a lot good memories with my family when I was growing up. As I think about it I realize that manyof those good, joyful memories came from spending time together on Sundays. It was really the only day that we got to spend all together rather than separated off at work and school and with friends. There weren’t any distractions. Those Sundays really were a “true delight.”
Now, keeping the Sabbath Day is not a new concept or commandment. It was first implemented with the creation of the Earth when Jesus rested on the 7th day.
The children of Israel were commanded to observe the Sabbath. Exodus 31:16
Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
One of the last things Jesus taught and implemented before he was crucified was the sacrament. Then, it was one of the first things he taught and implemented after His death when he visited the people in the Americas.
I want to give a challenge to everyone. Offer a prayer and ask to know and feel of the importance of Sabbath Day observance and for the desire to improve how you spend your time on that day. Elder Nelson doesn’t want us to follow a do or don’t list. It’s not a one-size fits all answer. But are there simple, small, but long-term changes we can make in our Sunday habits in order to block out worldly distractions and add spiritual refreshment instead? I encourage you to hold a family council today or a Family Home Evening tomorrow and discuss this subject together. Rather than experiencing Sundays as just another day (on which we just happen to go to church) what can your family do to make Sundays more of a true delight and a blessing for yourself and your family?
One of my goals is to have church music playing in my home more often on Sundays. As I sat at my desk putting the final touches on this talk, I overheard my 7-yr-old daughter Madeleine in the next room singing The Holy Ghost, her new favorite primary song. Hearing that brought tears to my eyes as I felt the Holy Ghost uplift me on this Sabbath Day.
I know that as we try harder to follow this inspired counsel of the Brethren, our faith in Christ will increase, our testimonies will strengthen, and our families will be blessed. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.