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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 shows our commitment to honor and worship God and keep our covenants. It will bring us closer to the Lord and to our family. 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

What scriptures and other resources will help the young women understand the importance of the Sabbath day and of keeping it holy?

Genesis 2:2 (Origin of the Sabbath day)

Exodus 20:8–11; 31:13 (Keep the Sabbath day holy)

Isaiah 58:13–14 (The blessings of observing the Sabbath)

Luke 23:55-24:1 (The women who anointed Jesus’s body after His Crucifixion waited until after the Sabbath to do so)

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

Mosiah 13:16–19 (We are commanded to obey the Sabbath day)

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”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

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

  • Ask the young women to list the blessings that they have received from observing the Sabbath. How do they keep the Sabbath day holy?

Learn together

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

  • Invite each young woman 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 women compare their lists and share what they found. Read together President Eyring’s invitation at the end of his talk, and challenge class 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 women 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 women 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 women into pairs. Invite one young woman 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 woman 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 class to discuss why the Lord gave us the Sabbath day. Ask each young woman to think of something she can do to ensure that the Lord’s purposes for the Sabbath day are accomplished in her own life.
  • Ask the young women how they determine if an activity is appropriate for the Sabbath. Invite them to look in D&C 59:9–13 and in For the Strength of Youth (pages 30–31) for principles that might help them. Invite each young woman to think about her own Sunday activities and determine for herself whether they align with these principles. Encourage the young women to make whatever changes they feel are necessary.
  • Provide the young women copies of For the Strength of Youth, and ask them to search the section titled “Sabbath Day Observance” for why and how we observe the Sabbath day. Ask them to think about and share how these things apply to their lives. Invite them to share an experience with keeping the Sabbath day holy. Encourage them to imagine that a friend invited them to participate in an inappropriate Sunday activity. How would they help their friend understand the meaning of the Sabbath day and the reasons they choose to keep it holy?
  • 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 women learn about the importance of observing the Sabbath from this story? Give the young women 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.

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

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Write in their journals one change they need to make in order to better keep the Sabbath day holy.
  • Write the words “Does this activity bring me closer to Heavenly Father?” on a piece of paper and place it in a prominent place in their homes as a reminder for Sabbath day activities.