How to Prepare for the Sacrament

From the October 2008 general conference address “Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament” (Ensign, Nov. 2008, 17–20).


Dallin H. Oaks

How to Prepare for the Sacrament

The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church. It should focus our attention on the Atonement and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I sense that some in the rising generation and even some adults have not yet come to understand the significance of this meeting and the importance of individual reverence and worship in it.

I begin with how members of the Church should prepare themselves to participate in the ordinance of the sacrament. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “We commemorate His Atonement in a very personal way. We bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit to our sacrament meeting” (“Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting,” Ensign, Aug. 2004, 26).

We are seated well before the meeting begins. “This is not a time for conversation or transmission of messages but a period of prayerful meditation as … members prepare spiritually for the sacrament” (Ensign, Aug. 2004, 27).

How we dress is an important indicator of our attitude and preparation for any activity in which we will engage. If we are going swimming or hiking or playing on the beach, our clothing, including our footwear, will indicate this. The same should be true of how we dress when we are to participate in the ordinance of the sacrament. It is like going to the temple.

During sacrament meeting—and especially during the sacrament service—we should concentrate on worship and refrain from all other activities, especially from behavior that could interfere with the worship of others. Sacrament meeting is not a time for reading books or magazines. Young people, it is not a time for whispered conversations on cell phones or for texting.

The music of sacrament meeting is a vital part of our worship. How wonderful when every person in attendance joins in the worship of singing.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “This is an occasion when the gospel should be presented, when we should be called upon to exercise faith, and to reflect on the mission of our Redeemer, and to spend time in the consideration of the saving principles of the gospel, and not for other purposes” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:342).

When we do this, we are qualified for the companionship and revelation of the Spirit. This is the way we get direction for our lives and peace along the way.

Share Your Experiences

Share your experiences in applying these principles and read the experiences of other youth by visiting lds.org/go/212.

How Have You Applied This?

“Throughout the week, I try to keep in mind the moment that I’ll take the sacrament tray in my hand.”

Cristian T.

“I sometimes look up the scriptures that are listed in the hymns sung that day. When I understand the words as I sing them, I can sense the Spirit much stronger.”

Elizabeth C.

“I dress according to the For the Strength of Youth guidelines.”

Veronica H.