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Why are we commanded to keep the Sabbath day holy?

The Lord has given the Sabbath day for our benefit and has commanded us to keep it holy. Observing the Sabbath day will bring us closer to the Lord and to our families. It will give us an eternal perspective and spiritual strength. The Sabbath also allows us to rest from our physical labors and worship the Lord.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study the following scriptures and resources, selecting those that best apply to the young men to teach them about the Sabbath day.

Genesis 2:2 (Origin of the Sabbath day)

Exodus 20:8–11 (Keep the Sabbath day holy)

Mark 2:27 (The Sabbath is made for man)

D&C 59:9–13 (Observing the Sabbath helps us stay unspotted from the world)

Henry B. Eyring, “Gratitude on the Sabbath Day,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 99–102

Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 129–32

Kevin S. Hamilton, “Continually Holding Fast,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 99–101

Sabbath,” True to the Faith (2004), 145–47

Sabbath Day Observance,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 30–31

Videos: “He Learned Compassion in His Youth,” “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” “Upon My Holy Day—Honoring the Sabbath,” “Upon My Holy Day—Rest and Renewal”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to review last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Show the young men a picture or object from last week’s lesson, and invite them to explain how it relates to what they learned last week.
  • Ask the young men if a friend has ever invited them to do something on Sunday that was not appropriate for the Sabbath. How did they explain to their friend why we keep the Sabbath day holy? Share with the quorum the paragraph at the beginning of this outline for other suggestions on how to explain the importance of the Sabbath to others.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young men understand the purpose of the Sabbath day. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your quorum:

  • Invite each young man to search President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “Gratitude on the Sabbath Day” and make a list of things that President Eyring says we can be thankful for on the Sabbath. Let the young men compare their lists and share what they found. Read together President Eyring’s invitation at the end of his talk, and challenge quorum members to act upon it.
  • Divide President Russell M. Nelson’s talk “The Sabbath Is a Delight” into three or four small segments. Invite the young men to read the segments, either in small groups or individually. What insights do they find about how to make the Sabbath a delight? How will the young men ensure that their behavior on the Sabbath will lead to joy and rejoicing? As part of this activity, you could show one of the videos in this outline.
  • Divide the young men into pairs. Invite one young man from each pair to read D&C 59:9–15 and list what we are asked to do on the Sabbath. Ask the other young man to search verses 16–19 for the blessings promised when we keep the Sabbath day holy. Ask them to share their findings with each other and talk about why it is important to honor the Sabbath day. Invite the quorum to discuss why the Lord gave us the Sabbath day. Ask each young man to think of something he can do to ensure that the Lord’s purposes for the Sabbath day are accomplished in his own life.
  • Ask the young men how they determine if an activity is appropriate for the Sabbath. Invite them to look in Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13 and in For the Strength of Youth (pages 30–31) for principles that might help them, and ask them to write what they find on the board. Invite each young man to think about his own Sunday activities and determine for himself whether they align with these principles. Encourage the young men to make a specific goal to make any changes they feel are necessary in the things they do on the Sabbath.
  • Show or relate the story about Elder Kevin S. Hamilton’s father in the first two paragraphs of his talk “Continually Holding Fast.” What do the young men learn about the importance of observing the Sabbath from this story? Give the young men copies of the paragraph from Elder Hamilton’s talk that begins with the phrase “We each have many choices to make.” Ask them to read the paragraph and work together in pairs to make a list of “good,” “better,” and “best” Sabbath activities. Invite them to share their lists with the class.
  • As you read “Sabbath” in True to the Faith, ask the young men to listen for examples of appropriate Sunday activities. How does the world’s idea of Sunday activities differ from what the Lord wants us to do? Ask them to think about how some activities might contribute to or detract from the spirit of the Sabbath. How do they know if what they are doing is keeping the Sabbath day holy or not? When have they felt that what they were doing was in harmony with the Sabbath day?

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand the purposes of the Sabbath day? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could:

  • Share his testimony of the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy and explain how his life is better as he does.
  • Invite quorum members to strengthen their families and those around them by setting a good example of keeping the Sabbath day holy.