Those who watched General Conference last weekend might have noticed some themes in talks: love, being guided by the Holy Ghost and virtue, among others. Among the talks, however, there weren’t any geared specifically towards Sabbath Day worship.
There have been plenty of talks and counsel given in the past about the topic; however, it all seems to follow one main guideline. True to the Faith counsels that “the Sabbath is a day of rest and worship.”
The authorities of the Church are careful not to give an extensive list of what and what not to do. The Sabbath is largely an individual day; one in which each member should govern themself and their activities.
In Old Testament times there was a detailed list of appropriate activities. Violations of the Sabbath even led to the death penalty. In New Testament times, the Pharisees used these guidelines to accuse the Savior many times of violating the Sabbath.
In the world today, it is difficult to distinguish the Sabbath from any other day of the week with all of the open stores, sporting events and work going on. Yesterday’s black and white Sabbath do’s and don’ts aren’t so clear when compared to the various gray shades of today’s Sabbath activities.
As Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”
Learning to govern one’s self is a lifelong quest. Everyone is different and all have different ways of observing the Sabbath and keeping that day holy.
Is it appropriate to travel on Sundays? Are hospital workers violating the Sabbath? Are there any occasions to make Sabbath day purchases? Is one violating the Sabbath when he makes a purchase at a vending machine? In a school setting, is it appropriate to do homework on the Sabbath?
The questions go on and on. The answers to these questions are given in the following quote by James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“What is worthy or unworthy on the Sabbath day will have to be judged by each of us by trying to be honest with the Lord. On the Sabbath day we should do what we have to do and what we ought to do in an attitude of worshipfulness and then limit our other activities.”
It is important that we, through the Spirit, find which activities are right for us, personally, and which aren’t.
Regardless of our own Sabbath standards, others can have different ones—and one might not be any more right than the other.
Perhaps an even greater and more common sin among Church members and BYU–Idaho students than pumping gas on Sundays is that of judgment.
Sabbath Day standards of observance are between the person and the Lord. A disciple always encourages others to have Sabbath worthy activities.
By constantly judging and accusing others of violating the Sabbath one goes from being a disciple to a modern day Pharisee.
A Church member should think twice before mentally stamping a “Void” on the temple recommend of the priesthood holder wearing a blue shirt or the centerpiece-less Relief Society teacher.
Learn your own correct principles, then govern yourself.
Whatever your choice of activities, all should remember the counsel of Elder Mark E. Petersen, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We can readily see that observance of the Sabbath is an indication of the depth of our conversion.”