I am the youngest in my family (age 14) and have been blessed to have righteous parents who have strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ. I was impressed at the opening session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference when President Russell M. Nelson announced: “It is time for a home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings” (“Opening Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2018). For this article I have been asked to provide a youth perspective concerning the following question: How can we observe the Sabbath day and support our families in the New Year with the 2019 Come, Follow Me resources?
Observing the Sabbath Day Will Bring Us Closer to Jesus Christ
One of the key commandments that both my father and mother have taught me is to keep the Sabbath day holy. It should be reserved for worthy and holy activities. Simply not going to work or attending sports is not enough. In fact, if we merely lounge about doing nothing on the Sabbath, we fail to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Each week we attend sacrament meeting as well as our other church meetings to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). As well, on the Sabbath we should focus on our Heavenly Father and Savior as they are the light of our life. We can do that by praying, studying the scriptures, listening to the teachings of the Latter-day prophets, reading wholesome material, and visiting the sick and distressed. If we do these things, we will use the Sabbath day to our benefit as planned. In the “Bible Dictionary” I read, “The existence of a weekly holy day is a most important safeguard; it leaves a constant reminder to the individual of his need for spiritual sustenance and his duty before God” (Sabbath). Heavenly Father wants us to use it to our benefit. Observing the Sabbath will bring us closer to the Lord and to our families.
Guidelines from Latter-day Prophets
At the October 2018 general conference David A. Bednar explained, “The Sunday meeting schedule was not simply shortened. Rather, we now have increased opportunities and responsibilities as individuals and families to use our time for enhancing the Sabbath as a delight at home and at church” (“Gather Together in One All Things in Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 2018).
These suggested changes at home and the adjustments at church provide a good opportunity for us to grow as individuals with the help of the new Come, Follow Me resources that we have been given and will begin doing in January 2019.
Before I had started preparing this article, I didn’t really know what the Come, Follow Me resources were all about. I questioned why the Church needed to replace all the current Gospel Doctrine manuals. Then, I began reviewing on LDS.org the “Handout for Individuals, Families, and Teachers” and read how it is to help individuals, families, and teachers:
“The purpose of this resource is to help you:
Increase the frequency and improve the quality of your efforts—as an individual and as a family—to live, learn, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Deepen your doctrinal understanding of the scriptures.
Enhance your experience learning the gospel at church….
Support and encourage gospel learning in the home.
Engage class members in meaningful discussions about the scriptures.
Help class members understand and apply the doctrine in the scriptures.”
After I had pondered these points, I knew that by using these resources at church and at home, my family and I will be blessed, and it will increase our understanding of the gospel.
Applying Proactive Strategies
Going back to Elder Bednar’s talk, he advised, “continuing conversion …cannot be obtained merely by performing and checking off all the spiritual things we are supposed to do” (Bednar, Ensign, Nov. 2018). When I read this in his talk, it reminded me of the Come, Follow Me proactive strategies that are designed to support gospel learning and teaching at home and at church. If we just look at it as another book to get through, will we get what it is truly intended for?
For us to support our families through this Church-supported plan, we need to focus on our Heavenly Father and Redeemer as we teach the restored gospel in faith—both at home and at church. It is important for us to be engaged in our learning because this will impact what we take from any lesson. This resource will greatly impact our lives: bringing families together, strengthening testimonies or creating them, and being strengthened as individuals.
Jesus Christ Must Be Our Foundation
In “The Family: A Proclamation To The World” it states, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” To me this statement means that when we study the teachings of Jesus Christ, happiness in the family will be accomplished. So if we faithfully study the new integrated curriculum of Come, Follow Me, happiness is promised to come to individuals and families.
The Savior is our safeguard, and I know if we use the home-centered and Church-supported resources of Come, Follow Me as intended, we will greatly benefit. This is a true blessing to have these new strategies to bring us closer to our Father in Heaven.
I know this gospel is true. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that He loves all of his children. I know President Russell M. Nelson is our living prophet on this earth today, and he receives revelation from Heavenly Father. I know the scriptures are true and that Joseph Smith translated them. I know Jesus Christ atoned for sins so we can repent and live with Him eternally. Finally, I know that if we use this home-centered, Church-supported approach to gospel learning, we will be greatly blessed.