In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sunday is a sacred day. It is the Sabbath day, a day that we worship the Lord. We meet together with our congregation (ward or branch) for three hours. We spend the first hour in a sacrament meeting. In this meeting, we pray, sing hymns, take the bread and water in remembrance of the Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ; and we listen to each other speak on certain topics and bear testimony. The second hour for those 12 and up is spent with others our age in Sunday School classes where we learn about basic gospel principles. The last hour, for adults, is spent in Relief Society or Priesthood Meeting. Youth spend the last hour in Young Men or Young Women classes (ages 12-18) or in Primary (ages 3 to 11). (Primary also runs during the second hour — children are organized into younger and older groups, and each have a class time and a group singing and gospel discussion (sharing) time.)
Genesis 2:2-3 reads:
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God had created and made.
We believe that we are to make Sunday a day that is different from the other days. We are commanded to “keep it holy.” This can mean different things for different members. In our family, our children don’t attend birthday parties. We don’t play in or attend sporting events that fall on Sundays. We don’t shop at the store, or fill the car with gas. We do all we can to avoid working on Sundays. We don’t take our boats our to the lake. We don’t stop for dinner at a restaurant.
But there is more than just the “don’t”s. In a book called The Miracle of Forgiveness , Spencer W. Kimball says:
The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. To fail to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side.”
We take time to be with our families. We visit family and friends. We write in our journals. We read our scriptures. We pray. Some people nap. Some people play games. We try to take the day to be closer to the Lord. We plan out the rest of the week. We listen to hymns. We write letters. We work on our family history or genealogy. We give service to others. We perform missionary work.
Elder James E. Faust (then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) said:
Why has God asked us to honor the Sabbath day? The reasons I think are at least threefold. The first has to do with the physical need for rest and renewing. Obviously God, who created us, would know more than we do of the limits of our physical and nervous energy and strength.
The second reason is, in my opinion, of far greater significance. It has to do with the need for regeneration and the strengthening of our spiritual being. God knows that, left completely to our own devices without regular reminders of our spiritual needs, many would degenerate into the preoccupation of satisfying earthly desires and appetites. This need for physical, mental, and spiritual regeneration is met in large measure by faithful observance of the Sabbath day.
The third reason may be the most important of the three. It has to do with obedience to commandments as an expression of our love for God. ….
I am grateful that we have a day to be with our families. Sometimes my children may feel disappointment that they won’t be able to go to parties or sporting events that are held on Sundays, but I enjoy knowing that no matter what we have a day set aside to be together as a family and I like that it is never a question for them. They know that this is what we do (or don’t do) on Sunday. We are able to learn more about the gospel, and strengthen our relationshipes with each other, and with our neighbors.
To Mormon women: Please share with our readers how honoring the Sabbath Day has enriched your life. What things do you enjoy doing on Sundays to strengthen your spirit and relationships with loved ones in your life?
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