This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thinking About Better Observance of the Sabbath Day

n the Ghana MTC, we have stopped the practice of having announcements at the beginning of Sacrament meeting.  The missionaries all come to Sacrament meeting 15 minutes early, and quietly listen to prelude music as they prepare for the Sacrament meeting experience.  With this example, we hope that they will be wonderful resources to the local leaders throughout Africa as they help them redefine what it means to have a reverent Sacrament Meeting Experience, where the Spirit is felt and member's minds are focused upon the Atonement.
This effort is consistent with a recent news article about Sabbath Day observance, published this week. (
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 includeSunday 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.”
A couple of additional thoughts about the Sabbath: In his writings on the doctrines of salvation, President Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that we partake of the sacrament as our part of commemorating the Savior’s death and sufferings for the redemption of the world. This ordinance was introduced so that we can renew our covenants to serve Him, to obey Him, and to always remember Him. President Smith adds: “We cannot retain the Spirit of the Lord if we do not consistently comply with this commandment” (Doctrines of Salvation,comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:341).  We would like missionaries to be converted to the importance of never missing Sacrament Meeting and to teach this principle to their investigators and new converts.

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