Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper


L. Tom Perry
(Adapted from an April 1996 general conference address. See Ensign, May 1996, pages 53–54, 59.)
That they may … witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments (D&C 20:77).

During World War II, on my first Sunday as a Marine, I ran into a very special missionary companion of mine at a Church service. Both of us had volunteered for the Marine Corps! When we completed boot camp, we were both assigned to the Second Marine Division.

After the battle was over on the island to which our division was assigned, we were able to obtain a tent for Church services. We made benches, a pulpit, and a sacrament table out of any pieces of lumber we could find. Under the sacrament table we placed a special green footlocker. We carried that footlocker with us from island to island as our division completed its orders. The contents of the green footlocker represented all we held dear: a wooden plate, a wooden sacrament tray, a card containing the sacrament prayers, and several boxes of small paper cups.

As President David O. McKay has reminded us, partaking of the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants we made at the time of baptism, which are that “We are willing to take upon ourselves the name of the Son. In so doing we choose him as our leader and our ideal. … We will always remember him. Not just on Sunday, but on Monday [and the other days of the week]. … We promise to ‘… keep his commandments. …’—tithing, fast offerings, the Word of Wisdom, kindness, forgiveness, love.” (Gospel Ideals, page 146.)

As we gathered each week on the Lord’s day, we opened our footlocker and used the contents to prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament. It was a spiritual and uplifting experience that renewed our faith and gave us hope for the days ahead.

Eventually our tent chapel was filled with many holes caused by shrapnel tearing through it. When frequent tropical rains made it uncomfortable to sit in a tent with so many holes in it, we determined that our meetings deserved better quarters. We finally obtained enough material to construct a chapel. Now the green footlocker was placed beneath the table in a dedicated house of worship.

When our duties on the island were completed, we boarded a ship and moved out. Our footlocker remained in the chapel for others to use. I don’t know its final destination, but that old green footlocker will always have a special place in my heart because even in one of the most trying periods of my life, I was able to receive spiritual renewal for the days ahead as I partook of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

[illustration] Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett