“They Observed to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy Unto the Lord”

K. Douglas Bassett

Mosiah 13:16-19; 18:23; Ex. 20:8-11; D&C 59:9-13; Neh. 10:31; Isa. 58:13-14; Moses 3:3; Gen. 2:2-3

“We have become a nation of pleasure seeking sabbath breakers.” (Ezra Taft Benson, A Nation Asleep, p. 44)
“There isn’t anybody in this Church who has to buy furniture on Sunday… . There isn’t anybody in this Church who has to buy a new automobile on Sunday… . There isn’t anybody in this Church who, with a little care and planning, has to buy groceries on Sunday… . I don’t think we need to patronize the ordinary business merchants on the Sabbath day. Why do they stay open? To get customers. Who are those customers? Well, they are not all nonmembers of this Church.”

(Gordon B. Hinckley, Heber City/Springville, Utah, Regional Conference, Priesthood Leadership Meeting, May 13, 1995)

“The Sabbath of the Lord is becoming the play day of the people. It is a day of golf and football on television, of buying and selling in our stores and markets. Are we moving to mainstream America as some observers believe? In this I fear we are. What a telling thing it is to see the parking lots of the markets filled on Sunday in communities that are predominantly LDS. Our strength for the future, our resolution to grow the Church across the world, will be weakened if we violate the will of the Lord in this important matter.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1997, p. 69)
“What fits the purpose of the Sabbath? Here are a few suggestions: Activities that contribute to greater spirituality; essential Church meetings in the house of prayer; acquisition of spiritual knowledge—reading the scriptures, Church history and biographies, and the inspired words of the Brethren; resting physically, getting acquainted with the family, relating scriptural stories to children, bearing testimonies, building family unity; visiting the sick and aged shut-ins; singing the songs of Zion and listening to inspired music; paying devotions to the Most High—personal and family prayer; fasting, administrations, father’s blessings; preparing food with singleness of heart—simple meals prepared largely on Saturday… . I don’t believe that it is possible to keep our spirituality on a high plane by spending our Sabbaths on the beach, on the golf course, … or in our own homes … looking at television.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 439)
“The Lord said: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy’ (Ex. 20:8) and made Sabbath day observance a sign between Him and the people to indicate their obedience. (See Ex. 31:13-17). That commandment and sign have never been rescinded. In our day, standards for keeping the Sabbath day holy are lowered a little at a time by some individuals until practically anything seems to become acceptable. The sign between the Lord and His covenant people is trampled underfoot as Church members skip Sunday meetings to seek recreation at lakes and beaches, in the mountains, at sports arenas, and at theaters. Parking lots at supermarkets and discount stores often are full on Sundays. Many store owners feel compelled to open their doors on Sundays because of the demand for the merchandise and services. The people who misuse the Sabbath lose the blessings of spiritual food and growth promised to those who keep this commandment.” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, Mar. 1993, p. 71)
“In Hebrews the term Sabbath means ‘rest.’ … The Sabbath day is given throughout the generations of man for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between the Lord and his children forever… . It is a day not for lavish banqueting but a day of simple meals and spiritual feasting; … a day when maid and mistress might be relieved from the preparation… . A day when employer and employee, master and servant may be free from plowing, digging, toiling. It is a day when the office may be locked and business postponed, and troubles forgotten… . A day to study the scriptures, … a day to nap and rest and relax, a day to visit the sick, a day to preach the gospel, a day to proselyte, a day to visit quietly with the family and get acquainted with our children, a day for proper courting, a day to do good… . The Savior … recognized also that the ox might get into the mire or the ass fall into the pit; but neither in the letter nor in the spirit did he ever approve the use of the Sabbath for ordinary and regular work or for amusements and play.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 215-216)
“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognize Sunday as the Sabbath in commemoration of the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on Sunday, and the Apostles commenced meeting thereafter on the first day of the week (see John 20:1-6; Luke 24:1; Mark 16:1; Matt. 28:1; Acts 20:7)… . Let’s not shop on Sunday. One way we avoid this is by planning ahead. Fill up the gas tank on Saturday. Acquire the needed groceries for the weekend on Saturday. Don’t you be the means of causing someone to work on Sunday because you patronize their establishment… . The justification for and reason often cited by the owners and operators of such businesses is to be competitive, to conform to corporate policy, and so on. I well remember an interview President Spencer W. Kimball once had with a faithful Church member. It went like this: ‘What is your occupation?’ And [the man] said, ‘I operate a service station.’ And I asked, ‘Do you operate on the Sabbath?’ His answer was, ‘No, I do not.’ ‘Well, how can you get along? Most service station operators seem to think they must open on the Sabbath.’ ‘I get along well,’ he said. ‘The Lord is good to me.’ ‘Do you not have stiff competition?’ I asked. ‘Yes, indeed,’ he replied. ‘Across the street is a man who keeps open all day Sunday.’ ‘And you never open?’ I asked. ‘No, sir,’ he said, ‘and I am grateful, and the Lord is kind, and I have sufficient for my needs’ (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 227). What are the promises and blessings of the Lord to those who honor the Sabbath day … ? The fulness of the earth is yours, the land will be blessed with rain and will yield its increase, there will be peace in the land, and God will magnify His faithful people, have respect for them, and establish His covenant with them (see D&C 59:16-19; Lev. 26:2-6, 9).” (Earl C. Tingey, Ensign, May 1996, p. 10-12)

Latter-Day Commentary on the Book of Mormon