Each month The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints publishes an international periodical called the Liahona (formerly the Ensign). Because I have found it beneficial for myself and others, I plan to provide you with a digest version of each month’s content and ideas for using it in your witnessing to LDS members. This month I am focusing on one article; for it, I will unpack:
1. What it said
2. Why it matters
3. How to use it for witnessing, and
4. Provide links for further study
The Liahona’s monthly theme connects to an important topic to be discussed in LDS meeting houses and homes that month as part of their “Come Follow Me” focus. The April 2022 Liahona theme is “Always Remember Him.” This issue includes several articles exploring the Passover and Lord Supper accounts and several examining the relationship between doubt and faith.
The emphases of the April edition are:
- Remember the Lord always as you participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
- When you have doubts, rely on faith.
Always Remember Him
by Ulisses Soares, on print pages 6-9
The first article, in each Liahona, which expounds on the theme using stories of LDS members, Book of Mormons characters, or biblical examples, is usually written by a member of the First Presidency or a member of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
What it said:
All around the world, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, young and old, receive bread and water as part of their weekly sacrament meetings. In his devotional, quoting early teachings of Joseph Smith, Ulisses Soares summarizes the why, how, and what of the Latter-day Saint sacrament.
- Why: to “keep thyself unspotted from the world.”
- How: “thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness” with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
- What: to “offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren and before the Lord.”
Soares explains that these “vows,” “oblations,” and “sacrifices” are part of “acting in complete devotion to the Lord” and “upon things that will keep” one “on the path to righteousness.” According to Soares, “remembering the Lord” is always “knowledge accompanied by action,” that “doing is an essential part of remembering,” and that “the more we remember the Lord, the more power we will have to stay on the correct path, doing what He expects of us.”
In addition to espousing the remembering leads to action mantra, five separate times, Soares emphasizes the importance of feelings in connection to the sacrament and how emotions are to be acted upon as they influence memory. He explains this emotional connection stating, “We promise that we will keep in our hearts vivid emotions and feelings of gratitude for His sacrifice, His love, and His gifts for us. We also promise that we will act upon these memories, feelings, and emotions.”
Finally, Soares summarizes his article by stating, “happiness…in this life and in the world to come depend upon daily remembering the Savior and your covenants with Him.”
Why it matters:
Latter-day Saint teachings about the sacrament rightly focus on remembering Jesus. However, the focus is on recommitting to keep the covenants they have made to Heavenly Father rather than remembering Jesus’ covenant with his people through his precious body and blood given and shed on the cross. Although the LDS teaching on the sacrament provides lip service to the commitment of the Savior and his sacrifice for us, the real emphasis is on each member recommitting to keeping the covenants (promises) they have made with Heavenly Father. Like so much of LDS theology, the sacrament begins with an arrow pointing down from God to man; however, they flip the arrow quickly, focusing on the sacraments that man makes with God.
Like other LDS ordinances, the sacrament is filled with an emotionalism that focuses on feelings (nostalgia) and actions rather than on concrete facts of sins forgiven by the body and blood of Jesus. Whenever one is directed to look to themselves, their feelings, or the keeping of commands and commitments, doubt will remain because no sinner will ever be able to do what is necessary to atone for sins. Feelings are feeble and fickle; Christ is certain and confident.
When one correctly remembers what Christ has done in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the focus is on the completed work of Christ for sinners. Jesus wanted his followers to have the assurance that everything necessary for them to be made right with God was satisfied.
When a believer comes with empty hands to receive the bread and the wine—Christ’s body and blood—they remember what he has done for them. This remembering reassures believers that Jesus is for us and that because we are in Christ, we have already received all of his best blessings, including the reassurance of full and free forgiveness.
God can forgive us because the new covenant is based entirely on what Jesus did for us. This is what makes it new. The old covenant contained a lot of “ifs.” If you follow the commandments, you will be blessed. But that didn’t work because no one can consistently and continuously keep the commandments. So God sent his Son to keep them for us. Not only did Jesus do that, but he also paid for our sins with his death. Because of what Jesus did for us, God forgives us. And the sacrament is like God hugging us to reassure us of his forgiveness. It is truly his new testament, his new covenant. It truly is a source of great comfort.Mark Cares, God—The Ultimate Humanitarian Study Materials
The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is one of God’s most beautiful gifts to his people. With humble empty-handed reception of bread and wine, believers remember the work Jesus accomplished by giving and shedding his body and blood on the cross for the sins of the world.
How to use it for witnessing:
Bringing up or responding to the topic of the sacrament with Mormons can lead to fruitful discussions about the completed work of Jesus for us and how believers can be sure of forgiveness right now.
As you discuss, explore the sacrament’s why, how, and what, and share the accurate biblical answers.
First, ask them to tell you what occurs at a sacrament meeting. Do this curiously and honestly. Then ask, “What do you remember in the sacrament and why?” Don’t let them get away with saying, “We remember him or Jesus.” Instead, get them to explain what they are remembering and why.
Once you have listened respectfully to their answer, say something like, “Each time I receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I am reminded of Jesus’ body and blood given and shed to forgive my sins. Each week as I stand empty-handed waiting to receive the bread and the wine, I am aware that there is nothing that I have done to make myself right with God but that he has done everything necessary for me to be made right with him. For me, the Lord’s Supper is a most precious gift from God. Participation in it is not about me sending a message to God. Or about renewing my covenant with God. It’s not about what I do at all. It’s all about Jesus confirming that his new covenant of forgiveness applies personally to me. In the sacrament each week, Jesus is saying to me, “This meal shows you how much I love you.”
Questions to Ask As You Witness
Here are some questions to spark conversation with your LDS friends, family, and missionaries about the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and remembering the Lord.
- What messages are being communicated in the Lord’s Supper? By those receiving it? By God?
- Why does God invite us to his table in the sacrament?
- What is the significance of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament?
For further study:
Check out a Humanitarian by Giving Us His Supper, from the study of God—The Ultimate Humanitarian on BeYePerfect.org or chapter 16 of the book by the same name, available in our online store.
Other April 2022 Liahona articles of note and value to read, digest, and discuss for witnessing are:
- To Live, Look to God and Trust in Him by Jose. L Alonso, on print pages U2-5, tackles the snake on the pole incident in Numbers 21. The application made is that when we find ourselves in trouble, we can regain safety by looking toward, and then moving in, the direction that will bring us back to the Savior.
- I Do Not Know the Meaning of All Things and That’s Ok by Megan Thompson Ramsey, on print pages 26-29, teaches that in times of uncertainty, faith is trusting that “God will give one confirmations of truth” when one acts.
- Giving Faith the Benefit of the Doubt by Claire Kennedy, on print pages 30-31, provides five steps to help give faith the benefit of the doubt in the face of questions.
What questions and comments for witnessing do you have about these Liahona articles, the topic of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the April edition in general?
We would love to hear from you. Please contact us or share in the comments section below.