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).