See also: D&C 59:9-13; Exodus 31:17
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 not he 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. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, January 1978, p. 4
In our time God has recognized our intelligence by not requiring endless restrictions. Perhaps this was done with a hope that we would catch more of the spirit of Sabbath worship rather than the letter thereof. In our day, however, this pendulum of Sabbath day desecration has swung very far indeed. We stand in jeopardy of losing great blessings promised. After all, it is a test by which the Lord seeks to “prove you in all things” (D&C 98:14) to see if your devotion is complete. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1991, p. 35
Among the admonitions President Hinckley gave . . . was not to shop on Sundays. “Let this day be a day of meditation, of reading the scriptures, of talking with your families and of dwelling on the things of God. If you do so you will be blessed. . . .
“It just appalls me to see the Latter-day Saints who shop on Sunday. I cannot understand how they can go in the face of the direct word of the Lord that ‘thou shalt keep the Sabbath day holy.’ Shopping is not a part of keeping the Sabbath day holy, my brothers and sisters.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley speaking at regional conference in South Jordan, Utah, March 2, 1997. Church News, March 8, 1997, p. 4
There is no need for people to shop and desecrate the Sabbath day by buying things on Sunday. That is not the time to buy groceries. You have six days of the week and you all have a refrigerator. You do not have to shop on Sunday. Do not buy furniture on Sunday, buy it the other days of the week. You will not lose anything if you do your shopping the other days and do not do it no Sunday. Let this day be a day of meditation, of reading the scriptures, of talking with your families, and of dwelling on the things of God. If you do so you will be blessed. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Jordan Utah South Regional Conference, 3/2/97
Don’t you be the means of causing someone to work on Sunday because you patronize their establishment. — Elder Earl C. Tingey, Ensign, May 1996, p. 11
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 predominately 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. He has so very clearly spoken anciently and again in modern revelation. We cannot disregard with impunity that which He has said. (October 5, 1997 General Conference)
The Lord expects us to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I can’t understand why anyone thinks that he or she has to shop on Sunday. We have refrigerators. . . . You don’t need to buy meat on Sunday. You don’t need to buy milk on Sunday. None of these things. You don’t need to buy furniture on Sunday. You don’t need to buy automobiles on Sunday. You don’t need to do any of these things on the Sabbath Day. The Lord, from the time of Sinai has declared unequivocally that we should keep the Sabbath Day holy. It is just that simple, but He has said again…that we will be blessed if we do so. — Sandy Utah Central Regional conference, January 25, 1998. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, March 14, 1998, p. 14
We constantly talk about the worldliness of the present day and speak of the fact that our young people face more serious temptations than did those of a generation ago, and this is probably true. Also, more parents seem to be caught up in the worldliness of today than was the case a generation ago.
What can we do to protect ourselves under these hazardous circumstances? How can we better help our young people to remain unspotted from the world?
The Lord gives us the answer, and says that it can be done by sincerely observing the Sabbath day. Most people have never thought of it in this way, but note the words of the Lord in this regard: “That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world” – note these words – “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.” (D&C 59:9)
Think about that for a moment. Do we really believe in God – sincerely? Are we convinced that he knows what he is talking about? If we are, then will we take him and his word seriously? Or will we further trifle with divine revelation?
The Lord does know what he is talking about. Sabbath observance will help us to more fully remain unspotted from the world. If we are serious about avoiding the contamination of worldliness, shall we not take his word at face value and believe it and practice it?
We should be willing to admit that we are surrounded by nearly every form of seductive worldliness. We should never close our eyes to this fact. — Elder Mark E. Petersen, “The Sabbath Day,” Ensign, May 1975, pp. 47-48
Ken Macey, chairman of the board of directors [of Macey’s grocery story] and the son of founder Walt Macey, knows well how the store went from open to closed on the seventh day.
“Joseph Fielding Smith shopped at our Rose Park store for awhile – but he didn’t know we were open on Sunday at that time,” Macey said. That was 1960. Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later a church president, found out. He asked to see Walt Macey, then the co-owner. “I didn’t realize you were open on the Sabbath,” Smith told him. “I won’t be back.”
“That brought everything to a halt in the store,” Ken Macey recalled. But nearly four years passed before Macey’s closed on Sunday. Walt Macey and his partner, Dale Jones, disagreed on the policy and decided to divide the stores, with Macey taking one and Jones taking the other three. “He thought my dad would be broke pretty soon,” said Ken.
But it was Jones’ stores, open seven days a week, that went out of business a few years later. Macey’s expanded, and President Smith resumed his shopping there. — “Closed Sunday – quite happily,” Deseret News, July 22, 2000, p. A1, A7
Let us not be like the Church member who partakes of the sacrament in the morning, then defiles the Sabbath that afternoon by cleaning the house or by watching television or by choosing an afternoon of sleep over an afternoon of service. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Example of Abraham,” Ensign, June 1975
Let us ask ourselves how important the Lord’s atonement is to us. How dear to us is the Lord Jesus Christ? How deeply are we concerned about immortality? Is the resurrection of vital interest to us?
We can readily see that observance of the Sabbath is an indication of the depth of our conversion.
Our observance or nonobservance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering in Gethsemane, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead. It is a sign of wheth2er we are Christians in very deed, or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of his atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us.
Do we realize that most national holidays are observed more widely than is the Sabbath, so far as its divine purpose is concerned?
Then have we put God in second or third place? And is that what we want to do? Is that where he belongs?
I bear you testimony that to properly observe the Lord’s holy day is one of the most important things we can ever do. It is an essential step toward our eternal salvation. — Elder Mark E. Petersen, “The Sabbath Day,” Ensign, May 1975, p. 49
Over a lifetime of observation, it is clear to me that the farmer who observes the Sabbath day seems to get more done on his farm than he would if he worked seven days. The mechanic will be able to turn out more and better products in six days than in seven. The doctor, the lawyer, the dentist, the scientist will accomplish more by trying to rest on the Sabbath than if he tries to utilize every day of the week for his professional work. I would counsel all students, if they can, to arrange their schedules so that they do not study on the Sabbath. If students and other seekers after truth will do this, their minds will be quickened and the infinite Spirit will lead them to the verities they wish to learn. This is because God has hallowed his day and blessed it as a perpetual covenant of faithfulness. (See Ex. 31:16.) . . .
What is worthy or unworthy on the Sabbath day will have to be judged by each of us by trying to be honest with the Lord. On the Sabbath day we should do what we have to do and what we ought to do in an attitude of worshipfulness and then limit our other activities.” — Elder James E. Faust, “The Lord’s Day,” Ensign, November 1991, pp. 34-35
The Lord has given the Sabbath day for your benefit and has commanded you to keep it holy. Observing the Sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and to your family. It will give you needed rest and rejuvenation.
Many uplifting activities are appropriate for the Sabbath. Worship the Lord, attend church, spend quiet time with your family, study the gospel, write letters, write in your journal, do family history work, and visit the sick or homebound. Your dress before, during, and after church meetings should show respect for the Sabbath.
When seeking a job, share with your potential employer your desire to attend your Sunday meetings and keep the Sabbath day holy. Many employers value employees with these personal convictions. Whenever possible, choose a job that does not require you to work on Sundays.
Sunday is not a holiday or a day for recreation or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or spend money on this day. Let your friends know what your standards are so they will not try to persuade you to participate in activities that are not appropriate for the Sabbath. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-13) — The Strength of Youth, pp. 32-33
The Lord’s commandments don’t change. And yet, some view as a flexible commandment the injunction to keep the Sabbath day holy. The thinking seems to be that it’s OK to bend, if not break, this commandment while on vacation or because of any number of so-called special occasions. Modern-day prophets have expressed their concern with this illogical approach.
“Strange as it may seem, some Latter-day Saints, faithful in all other respects, justify themselves in missing their church meetings on occasion for recreational purposes, feeling that the best fishing will be missed if one is not on the stream on opening day or that the vacation will not be long enough if one does not set off on Sunday or that one will miss a movie he wanted to see if he does not go on the Sabbath. And in their breach of the Sabbath they often take their families with them,” stated President Spencer W. Kimball. (Ensign, January 1978) — Church News, July 6, 2002, p. 16
But, as President Kimball noted, ‘We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord.” (Ensign, January 1978.) — Church News, July 6, 2002, p. 16
The Sabbath involves much more than refraining from inappropriate activities. The Lord’s prophets have provided ample instruction on how to keep the Sabbath day holy. They include such tings as reading the scriptures, conference reports and Church publications; studying the lives and teachings of the prophets; writing in journals; praying and meditating; writing or visiting relatives and friends; listening to uplifting music; family gospel instruction; family councils; genealogical research; fellowshipping neighbors and those of other faiths; and setting aside time for wholesome family activities.
The Sabbath should be a day of joy, a day in which one’s spirit is lifted, in which the feeling of being a child of God touches the soul. And it will be for those who keep the Sabbath day holy. [See Joshua 24:14-15 and D&C 68:29.] — Church News, July 6, 2002, p. 16
The Sabbath breaker shows early the signs of his weakening in the faith by neglecting his daily family prayers, by fault-finding, by failing to pay his tithes and his offerings; and such a one whose mind begins to be darkened because of spiritual starvation soon begins also to have doubts and fears that make him unfit for spiritual learning or advancement in righteousness. These are the signs of spiritual decay and spiritual sickness that may only be cured by proper spiritual feeding. — Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 179
Sunday is more than a day of rest from the ordinary occupations of the week. It is not to be considered as merely a day of lazy indolence and idleness or for physical pleasures and indulgences. It is a feastday for your spirit bodies. The place of spiritual feasting is in the house of worship. . . .
You who make the violation of the Sabbath a habit, by your failure to “keep it holy,” are losing s soul full of joy in return for a thimble full of pleasure. — Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 178
President Brigham Young said to the saints in anticipation of the arrival of more of our members walking across the plains on the Sabbath Day:
“When those persons arrive I do not want to see them put into houses by themselves. I want to have them distributed in this city among the families that have good, comfortable houses; and I wish the sisters now before me, and all who know how and can, to nurse and wait upon the newcomers, and prudently administer medicine and food to them. . . . The afternoon meeting will be omitted, for I wish the sisters to go home and prepare to give those who have just arrived a mouthful of something to eat, and to wash them, and nurse them up. . . . Prayer is good, but when (as on this occasion) baked potatoes, and pudding, and milk are needed, prayer will not supply their place. Give every duty its proper time and place.” — Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:100-101
The Spiritual renewal we receive from our sacrament meetings will not exceed our preparation and our willingness and desire to be taught. — Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Holy Place, Sacred Space,” Ensign, May 2003, p. 72
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that “Sabbath observance was a sign between ancient Israel and their God whereby the chosen people might be known.” — Earl C. Tingey, Ensign, May 1996, p. 10
[The Lord] asks us to rest from daily work. This means we should perform no labor that would keep us from giving our full attention to spiritual matters. The Lord told the Israelites, “thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, they manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor the cattle” (Exodus 20:10). Our prophets have told us that we should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sports events, or participate in similar activities on that day.
President Spencer W. Kimball cautioned, however, that if we merely lounge about doing nothing on the Sabbath, we are not keeping the day holy. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts. (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , p. 170) — Gospel Principles, p. 141
We mention another matter of importance. We note that in our Christian world in many places we still have business establishments open for business on the sacred Sabbath. We are sure the cure of this lies in ourselves, the buying public. Certainly the stores and business houses would not remain open if we, the people, failed to purchase from them. Will you all please reconsider this matter. Take it to your home evenings and discuss it with your children. It would be wonderful if every family determined that henceforth no Sabbath purchase would be made. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1975
It may be of interest when we think of the desecration of the Sabbath day in our own land – I speak of the land of America – a day that has been set apart by many people for their vacations and for their pleasures, notwithstanding there thundered down from Sinai one of the Ten Commandments that we should honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. One of the first sermons that was preached in this valley was by President Brigham Young, and he warned the people to honor the Sabbath day and to keep it holy, and no matter how difficult their circumstances they were not to go out and do manual labor on the Sabbath day. From that time on, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has encouraged its people to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy because it is pleasing to our Heavenly Father that we do so. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1948
Eric Liddell was the son of a Scottish missionary to China and a devoutly religious man. He infuriated the British leadership of the Olympics by refusing, even under enormous pressure, to run in a preliminary 100-meter race held on Sunday. Ultimately he was victorious in the 400-meter race. Liddell’s example of refusing to run on Sunday was particularly inspiring.
Depictions and memorials in his honor have referred to the inspirational words from Isaiah, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31; see Robert L. Backman, “Day of Delight,” New Era, June 1993, 48–49.)
Liddell’s admirable conduct was very influential in our youngest son’s decision to not participate in Sunday sports and, more importantly, to separate himself from unrighteous and worldly conduct. He used the quote from Isaiah for his yearbook contribution. Eric Liddell left a powerful example of determination and commitment to principle. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012
Now, remember, my brethren, those who go skating, buggy riding or on excursions on the Sabbath day – and there is a great deal of this practiced – are weak in the faith. Gradually, little by little, the spirit of their religion leaks out of their hearts and their affections, and by and by they begin to see faults in their brethren, faults in the doctrines of the Church, faults in the organization, and at last they leave the Kingdom of God and go to destruction. I really wish you would remember this, and tell it to your neighbors. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:83
The Lord has directed his people to rest one-seventh part of the time, and we take the first day of the week, and call it our Sabbath. This is according to the order of the Christians. We should observe this for our own temporal good and spiritual welfare . . . six days are enough for us to work, and if we wish to play, play within the six days; if we wish to go on excursions, take one of those six days, but on the seventh day, come to the place of worship, attend to the Sacrament, confess your faults one to another and to our God, and pay attention to the ordinances of the house of God. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:81
My belief is that it is the duty of Latter-day Saints to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy, just as the Lord has commanded us to do. Go to the house of prayer. Listen to instructions. Bear your testimony to the truth. Drink at the fountain of knowledge and of instruction, as it may be opened for us from those who are inspired to give us instruction.
When we go home, get the family together. Let us sing a few songs. Let us read a chapter or two in the Bible, or in the Book of Mormon, or in the Doctrine and Covenants. Let us discuss the principles of the gospel which pertain to advancement in the school of divine knowledge, and in this way occupy one day in seven. I think it would be profitable for us to do this. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 242-243
Ever since Adam’s day the divine law of the Sabbath has been emphasized repeatedly over the centuries more than any other commandment. This long emphasis alone is an indication of its importance. In Genesis, we learn that God himself set the example for us in the creation of the earth:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
“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 created and made.” (Gen. 2:1-3)
In biblical times this commandment to rest and worship was so strict that a violation of it called for the death penalty. (See Ex. 31:15) — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1991, p. 33