In April 2015 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a historic talk entitled “The Sabbath Is a Delight”. In his talk President Nelson invited Church members to better observe the Sabbath day:
“[Christ] wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.”
“In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to decide whether an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, ‘What sign do I want to give to God?’ That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.”
“Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath. Faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God. A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.”
Brother Bill Onofrychuk of Kanata, Ontario, says that in the past year he has changed the way he has observed the Sabbath by consistently reviewing his Sunday lessons in advance and by contemplating the Atonement throughout the week, enabling him to be able to focus on the Atonement and partake of the sacrament on Sundays:
“My wife and I have been reading and preparing lessons before Sunday so we are ready to focus on the spirit and not be so busy and rushed on the Sabbath. Taking the sacrament and focusing on the Saviour helps our whole family to remember covenants and strengthen our relationship with the Saviour and our Father in heaven.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has counselled, “For six days in the week we may, unfortunately, find ourselves pretty occupied with ourselves. The Sabbath helps us turn to the Lord, to our families, to those in need. Take advantage of this break from your routine. You need it. And others need you” (Upon My Holy Day).
Bill also values spending Sabbath time reading scriptures, praying and hearing gospel messages at Church meetings and participating in activities that help him to know God better. He indicates that proper Sabbath day observance also allows him to build a better relationship with his family:
“I look forward to the Sabbath day because I am so busy during the week I need to recharge both physically, mentally and especially spiritually. I do not have many days off, so you can imagine my time with my family is very precious to me. This is one of the reasons I love the Sabbath day because I get to spend time with my family. When we prepare for Sunday, we have all the chores during the week out of the way. I can go into a Sunday and not have to think about anything else other than contemplating my relationship with God and how I am doing as a husband and father.”
Other things that he does to focus more on his family during the Sabbath are phoning family members who live far away and researching family history with his wife and four children:
“I love to do family history and the kids love the stories about their ancestors. We also love to visit with family and friends and strengthen those relationships. We will often have people over for dinner or dessert or be invited to someone else's house. We will go for walks together or spend time outside. The main thing we try to do is make the Sabbath day different and special because it is a special day.”
Writing in his journal and playing music with his family also help to build family bonds on the Sabbath. “On Sunday we read scriptures, watch family videos or look through memory books. We love to play the different instruments that we have at home too. We have plenty of crafts and colouring books that keep us and the children busy”, says Bill.
Since Brother Onofrychuk has made these changes, he has seen more peace in his home. “I feel that I am all around a better person when I follow the gospel and observe the Sabbath,” he says. “I am closer to my family. … It is hard to be away from them when I am at work during the week. The Sabbath is a day I can reconnect with them to grow and strengthen our relationship. “I was taught by my mother as I grew up about the importance of the Sabbath day and the blessings it provides. We are not always perfect but we strive to keep this special day holy.”
Elder James E. Evanson of the Seventy feels that observing the Sabbath brings joy to his life, saying, “Isaiah [in the Old Testament] encourages us to delight in the Sabbath day. I love that word because it reminds me that Sunday is to be a day filled with joy. Joy in the Sabbath comes to me personally in four ways. First, I have the chance to put aside my worldly cares. Second, my family becomes the centre of the day in which we can share laughter, spirituality, service and time together. Third, the Sabbath is a great day to serve others and share testimony. And fourth, and most important, I am able to partake of the sacrament and feel the joy of the atoning sacrifice of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Truly the Sabbath is a delight.”