Sabbath Day

father and daughter reading the scriptures

“Call the sabbath a delight” (Isaiah 58:13).

The Sabbath is the Lord's day, set apart each week for rest and worship. In Old Testament times, God's covenant people observed the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week because God rested on the seventh day when He had created the earth (see Genesis 2:2). After the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred on the first day of the week (see Mark 16:2), the Lord's disciples began observing the Sabbath on the first day of the week, Sunday (see Acts 20:7).

The Lord emphasized the importance of Sabbath observance in the Ten Commandments when He said, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (see Exodus 20:8–11). The Savior Himself kept the Sabbath day holy during his mortal life (see Matthew 12:9–13; Luke 4:16; John 5:9).

The Lord told Moses that Sabbath observance was a sign of the covenant between Him and His people and that if they would keep it holy they would know Him as their Lord and God (see Exodus 31:13; see also Ezekiel 20:20).

In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1831, the Lord commanded:

“That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; for verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High” (D&C 59:9–10).

In harmony with this revelation, Church members seek to keep the Sabbath day holy at church and at home. At church, members participate in the sacred ordinance of the sacrament, which Jesus Christ instituted at the Last Supper and when He visited the Nephites (see Matthew 26:26–28; Luke 22:19–20; 3 Nephi 18:1–12). At home, members participate in uplifting activities that help them learn the gospel, strengthen faith in Jesus Christ, build family relations, and provide service.

By participating in these activities at church and at home, members can establish family traditions that will help nurture multigenerational families who are faithful to the Lord and who call the Sabbath a delight (see Isaiah 58:13-14).

What should I do and what should I not do on the Sabbath?

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “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 make a decision whether or not 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” (“The Sabbath Is a Delight,” April 2015 general conference).

What is the purpose of sacrament meeting?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church. It is the only Sabbath meeting the entire family can attend together. Its content in addition to the sacrament should always be planned and presented to focus our attention on the Atonement and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ” (“Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament,” October 2008 general conference).


Scripture References

Exodus 31:16–17

Doctrine and Covenants 59:11–14; 68:29

Moses 3:1–3


Scripture Study Resources

“Sabbath Day,” Guide to the Scriptures

“Sabbath,” Topical Guide

“Sabbath,” Bible Dictionary


Prophets and Church Leaders

Prophets and Apostles

L. Tom Perry, “The Sabbath and the Sacrament,” April 2011 general conference


Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” April 2015 general conference


Other Church Leaders

Elder Larry Y. Wilson, “A Day to Play?” Friend, May 2013

Teachings of Presidents of the Church

“Honoring the Sabbath and the Sacrament,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, chapter 21


“The Sabbath Is a Holy Day,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, chapter 12


“Observing the Sabbath: That Your Joy May Be Full,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, chapter 26


“The Sabbath—A Delight,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, chapter 16



Learning Resources

General Resources

Sabbath Day,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Church Magazines

“Sabbath Day Observance,” Liahona, January 2014

Student Manuals

“Isaiah 58: Fasting and the Sabbath,” Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide


“Section 59: That Thou Mayest More Fully Keep Thyself Unspotted from the World,” Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual


Stay Informed

Viewpoint: Prepare for the Sacrament




Teaching Resources

Teacher Manuals

“The Sabbath Day,” Gospel Principles, chapter 24

Teaching Resources for Home and Church

“Sunday Activities”



“Jesus Heals a Lame Man on the Sabbath,” Bible Videos



“Keeping the Sabbath”




“Sabbath Day”