Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are urging Mormons around the world to improve their observance of the Sabbath day. In local and regional leadership training meetings this year, leaders are receiving instruction on the topic of strengthening faith in God by observing the Sabbath day with greater purpose.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that Church leaders have felt the importance of encouraging families and individuals to rethink and refocus their efforts on what they do on the Sabbath day. “Our whole desire is that throughout the Church, we focus our Sabbath day worship on the Lord,” he said.
Recommendations include wider participation in planning worship services and holding these sacrament meetings (the main worship service) first in the weekly three-hour block of meetings, which also include Sunday School and other classes. Elder Ballard said the proposed changes are recommendations that may be adapted to local needs. “We have to maintain flexibility. The Church all over the world has different circumstances.”
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, general president of the Primary, sees the importance of holding sacrament meeting first. “From a mother’s perspective, it is so important. Children are fresh. And as we prepare our families, husbands and wives or single parents — any parent who is preparing their family to come to sacrament meeting on Sunday, that preparation happens … before we leave, before we walk through the door at the chapel, and it happens in the car sometimes on the way.”
A committee was appointed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that includes four apostles and seven presidents of the Seventy to focus on the issue, said Elder Ballard. He said that with the input from women leaders of the Church, “we felt that it was urgent that we strengthen the faith of our people. The world seems to be getting a little … more difficult. … We’re hoping that home activities will be more centered on learning and knowing more about the life and ministry of the Savior and the great plan of happiness that our Heavenly Father has given us to live by.”