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Mormon Sabbath Worship
In the scriptures it is commanded that we “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (see Exodus 20:8). Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strongly believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy. Elder John H. Groberg stated, “There is a direct correlation between the proper observance of the Sabbath and true reverence for God, which includes obedience to His other commandments.” [1]

IIn 2015, Russell M. Nelson gave a general conference talk entitled “The Sabbath Is a Delight.” He said,

In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father.12 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.[1]

President Nelson’s April talk began a new emphasis on Sabbath observance. The purpose was “to help Latter-day Saints living in an age of doubt and fear increase faith in their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”[2]

During the ensuing eight months, Church leaders urged Latter-day Saints around the world to improve their observance of the Sabbath day. Training on improving Sabbath day worship and gospel learning in homes was given to General Authorities, Area Seventies, and general auxiliary presidencies during the week of last April’s general conference. That training was then extended to local congregations throughout the year.

The Church leaders emphasized that now is the time to focus on Sabbath observance—both in the home and in Church services.
Members will need increased faith in years to come, said Elder Marcus B. Nash.
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 20 years ago, he said, emphasizing its importance today. “I have a feeling that this emphasis on growing faith in the Father and the Son through Sabbath observance is the same. There is faith that must be developed now that we will absolutely need in the years to come.”[3]

What followed in January 2019 was a new curriculum that supported learning in the home on the Sabbath, as well as weeklong. "Come Follow Me" was part of an emphasis on home-centered, Church-supported gospel learning for individuals and families. Many members of the Church felt that the emphasis on Sabbath day observance and gospel learning at home prepared them to better handle the quarantine and isolation brought on by the global pandemic of the coronavirus in 2019–2020.

Sabbath Day Observance Overview

For the Strength of the Youth, a booklet of guidelines printed by the Church for its youth, states:

Many uplifting activities are appropriate for the Sabbath. Worship the Lord, attend Church, spend quiet time with your family, study the gospel, write letters, write in your journal, do family history work, and visit the sick or homebound. Your dress before, during and after Church meetings should show respect for the Sabbath. When seeking a job, share with your potential employer your desire to attend your Sunday meetings and keep the Sabbath day holy. Many employers value employees with these personal convictions. Whenever possible, choose a job that does not require you to work on Sundays. Sunday is not a holiday or a day of recreation or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or spend money on this day. Let your friends know what your standards are so they will not try to persuade you to participate in activities that are not appropriate for the Sabbath.

Other Church leaders have discussed how the Sabbath is a day for worship, rest, and time spent with family.

We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord.” [2]
  • The Sabbath is a day of rest:
The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. To fail to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side. [3]
  • The Sabbath is day for spending time with family:
To have a true, protected, spiritual Sabbath experience, why not plan a family Sabbath schedule and be prepared with activities that are in harmony with Sunday worship, asking ourselves how our activities will strengthen us spiritually and not only please the Lord but also make us happy and stronger in our relationship with the Lord. [4]

Blessings of Sabbath Observance

There are many promises and blessings that are given to those who remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Again from For the Strength of Youth comes this information: "The Lord has given the Sabbath day for your benefit and has commanded you to keep it holy. Observing the Sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and to your family. It will give you needed rest and rejuvenation."

Leviticus 26:2–6 tells more of the blessings given to those who keep the Sabbath,

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.

What day of the week is the Sabbath?

In the western world, where Christianity is adhered to by most citizens, and where the Sabbath day is traditionally honored on Sunday, Latter-day Saints follow the Sunday Sabbath tradition. However, Latter-day Saints in Israel honor the Sabbath on Saturday, the day of worship set apart by the nation; and in Muslim countries, Latter-day Saints worship on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath day. Thereby, Latter-day Saints keep the spirit of the law given by the Lord, and the letter of the law as dictated by the governments of the lands in which they dwell.


  1. Elder John H. Groberg, "The Power of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy," Ensign, November 1984, p. 79.
  2. Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 515
  3. Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, pp. 96–97.
  4. Charles Didier, “The Sabbath—Holy Day or Holiday?” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 26–27.

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