When the Savior introduced the sacrament in the New World, He promised, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled” (3 Ne. 20:8). The meaning of that promise is evident: “Now, when the multitude had all eaten and drunk, behold, they were filled with the Spirit” (3 Ne. 20:9).
. . . Without some provision for further cleansing after our baptism, each of us is lost to things spiritual. We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and at the final judgment we would be bound to be “cast off forever” (1 Ne. 10:21). How grateful we are that the Lord has provided a process for each baptized member of His Church to be periodically cleansed from the soil of sin. The sacrament is an essential part of that process.
We are commanded to repent of our sins and to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament in compliance with its covenants. When we renew our baptismal covenants in this way, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. In this way we are made clean and can always have His Spirit to be with us. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, November 1998, p. 37
Long, long ago, there were some of the wards who refused to permit anyone other than a member of the Church to partake of the sacrament, with the thought that they were taking it unworthily. . . .
If a person, not a member of the Church, is in the congregation, we do not forbid him partaking of it, but would properly advise that the sacrament is for the renewing of covenants. And, since he has not made the true covenant of baptism or temple covenant, he is exempt. However, his partaking of the sacrament if he is clean and worthy and devout would not bring upon him any condemnation as it would for those who have made solemn covenants and then have ignored or defied them. — Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 226
I recently read the account of some deacons who got a little careless in their attitude towards passing the sacrament. They began to think of it as a chore, something that no one else wanted to do. They often came in late, and sometimes they didn’t dress appropriately. One Sunday their priesthood adviser told them: “You don’t have to worry about the sacrament today. It’s been taken care of.”
They were, of course, surprised to hear this, but as usual, they were late for sacrament meeting. They slipped in casually during the opening hymn and sat in the congregation. That’s when they noticed who was sitting on the deacons’ bench – their adviser and the high priests of the ward, who included men who had served as bishops and stake president. They were all dressed in dark suits with white shirts and ties. But more than that, their bearing was one of total reverence as they took the sacrament trays from row to row. Something was deeper and more significant about the sacrament that day. Those deacons who had become so perfunctory in their duties learned by example that passing the sacrament was a sacred trust and one of the greatest of honors. They began to realize that the priesthood is, as the Apostle Peter called it, “a royal priesthood.” — President James E. Faust, Ensign, May 2006, pp. 50-51
With so very much at stake, [the sacrament] should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to get over so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. — Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Conference Report, October 1995, p. 89
No wonder we sometimes shrink. A little voice may say, “I’d rather not do that. I’m not sure I can carry it through.” But this is the very nub of our stumbling block. Until we covenant, which is more than a casual New Year’s Resolution, He cannot bless us to keep our covenants. Without exception, the Lord appends a divine blessing to every covenant we make, guarantees a response from on high, and gives a promise and blessing. In the church our duties expand into privileges, and our privileges expand into higher duties. The most inclusive attendant blessing of the sacrament is His Spirit. And His Spirit, like He, himself, is not sent into the world to condemn the world, but to lift us. He is not committed to putting us down. The gifts and the fruits of the Spirit engulf all our deepest needs, whatever our present desires: insight, flashes of guidance, energy, all the virtues that center in Christ, and through them, all the fire that purifies our feelings and our aspirations. Yes, we come to the sacrament to renew covenants but we also come to be renewed – to be renewed with a divine infusion and then we increase in our strength to honor our covenants with Him and with each other. — Truman G. Madsen, “The Savior, the Sacrament, and Self-Worth,” BYU Women’s Conference, 1999
It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so. . . . The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.
What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred possibilities, one concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other – closely related – concerning exaltation in the celestial kingdom. . . .
Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Conference Report, April 1985, pp. 102-3
Then the method to obtain forgiveness is not through rebaptism; it is not to make confession to man; but it is to repent of our sins, to go to those whom we have sinned or transgressed and obtain their forgiveness, and then repair to the sacrament table where, if we have sincerely repented and put ourselves in proper condition, we shall be forgiven, and spiritual healing will come to our souls. It will really enter into our being. — Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Improvement Era, October 1919, pp. 1026-27
“No man goes away from this Church and becomes an apostate in a week, nor in a month,” observed Elder Melvin J. Ballard. “It is a slow process. The one thing that would make for the safety of every man and woman would be to appear at the sacrament table every Sabbath day. We would not get very far away in one week – not so far away that, by the process of self-investigation, we could not rectify the wrongs we may have done. If we should refrain from partaking of the sacrament, condemned by ourselves as unworthy to receive these emblems, we could not endure long, and we would soon, I am sure, have the spirit of repentance. The road to the sacrament table is the path of safety for the Latter-day Saints. — Elder Melvin J. Ballard: Improvement Era, October 1919, p. 1028
The sacrament of the Lord’s supper has been provided as an ordinance whereby at frequent intervals we can testify unto the Lord that we are still under the covenant that we have made with him by baptism, even witnessing unto God, the Eternal Father, that we do always remember his Son, our Redeemer; that we still bear his name; that we desire and intend to keep the commandments which he has given unto us – and all for this great purpose, that we may always have his Spirit to be with us. Thus we may retain the blessings that we have hitherto received, making them ours throughout time and for eternity. — Elder James E. Talmage, Conference Report, April 1921
We are all church workers; those with specific assignments and those with none are required by revelation to go to the house of prayer weekly to offer up their oblations. We then renew our pledges to remember him who is our Savior and to keep his commandments, the second one of which is to remember to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Having entered into this covenant, it is our responsibility to seek diligently to show this love through our deeds. — Elder S. Dilworth Young,” Ensign, December 1971, p. 67
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 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. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Source: “The Sabbath – A Delight,” Ensign, January 1978, pp. 4-5
Each of us should apply that principle to our attitudes in attending church. Some say “I didn’t learn anything today” or “No one was friendly to me” or “I was offended” or “The Church is not filling my needs.” All those answers are self-centered, and all retard spiritual growth.
In contrast, a wise friend wrote:
“Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors, . . . to volunteer for an assignment. . . .
“In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people’s lives. Consequently, my attendance at Church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.”
All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Unselfish Service,” General Conference, April 2009
Worship 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. . . . 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. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, January 1978, p. 5
Prelude music, reverently played, is nourishment for the spirit. It invites inspiration. That is a time to, as the poet said, “go to your bosom . . . and ask your heart what it doth know.” Do not ever disturb prelude music for others, for reverence is essential to revelation. “Be still,” He said, “and know that I am God.” — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign, November 1994, p. 59
Our sacred music prepares us to be taught the truths of the gospel. This is why we are selective in the kinds of music and the kinds of instruments we use in our worship services. This is why we encourage our choirs to use the hymn book as their basic resource. We can make selective use of other music that is in harmony with the spirit of our hymns, such as Charles Gounod’s marvelous “O Divine Redeemer,” sung at the funeral of President Ezra Taft Benson. But a hymn book’s hymn is often the most inspiring and appropriate musical selection for a choir, a vocalist, or an instrumentalist (see Michael F. Moody, Ensign, Aug. 1994, p. 79). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Conference Report, October 1994
We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer. — President J. Reuben Clark Jr., Conference Report, October 1936, p. 111
In the sacramental prayers, God promises to send the Holy Ghost to be with us (see Moroni 4:3; 5:2; D&C 20:77, 79). I have found in that moment that God can give me what feels like a personal interview. He brings to my attention what I have done that pleases Him, my need for repentance and forgiveness, and the names and faces of people He would have me serve for Him. — President Henry B. Eyring, “He is Risen,” Ensign, April 2013
President David O. McKay said, “I feel impressed to emphasize what the Lord has designated as the most important meeting in the Church, and that is the sacrament meeting.” — David O. McKay, in Conference Report, October 1929, 11
Heavenly Father has given a simple pattern for us to receive the Holy Ghost not once but continually in the tumult of our daily lives. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer: We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that if we do that, we will have His Spirit to be with us (see D&C 20:77, 79). Those promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise. — President Henry B. Eyring
Ancient people of God, in whose hearts was enkindled the flame of inspiration, looked forward to that memorable event when the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world would offer himself as a sacrifice, whilst we look back to the same thing. We break bread and eat, and we drink water in the presence of each other every Sabbath day, and we do it in remembrance of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and this we will continue to do until he comes again. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 111-12
. . . when we partake of the sacrament, we witness that . . . we will always remember him. Surely those who keep the promise to always remember the Son of God would not profane his name or use words of vulgarity or coarseness, or deliberately expose themselves to surroundings or influences that are inconsistent with always remembering the Son of God. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, March 1997, p. 9