News Story

Canadian Mormon Youth Follow Counsel to Better Observe Sabbath Day

This is the second in a four-part series addressing more purposeful Sabbath day observance.

Youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across Canada have found strength and renewal by applying recent counsel to better observe the Sabbath.

In April 2015 President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked Church members, “What did the Savior mean when He said that ‘the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’? I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal” (“The Sabbath is a Delight,” April 2015 general conference).

The Sabbath can be a real respite from the hectic schedules of today’s youth. Emmara Mamic (15) of Prince George, British Columbia, feels that having a day to take a break, focus on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, renew covenants and have a fresh start to the week is an amazing blessing. She says, “I love being able to feel the Spirit through taking the sacrament, reading my scriptures, praying, serving others and spending time with my family.”

Emily Ripley (17) of Port Elgin, Ontario, thinks of the Sabbath as an opportunity to rest and recharge for the week ahead. She tries to focus on what she can do on the Sabbath rather than on what she cannot do. She likes to spend time with her family, invite others over for supper, sing Church songs and read uplifting books. She tries to limit her technology use on the Sabbath by using it only to research family history, watch Mormon Messages on the Mormon Channel and study Church-related materials.

Limiting technology use on the Sabbath — which can be quite a sacrifice for such digitally connected youth — is also important to 16-year-old Wyatt Stoodley of Smiths Falls, Ontario. Wyatt has noticed that in making such changes, his faith and testimony have increased, his ability to resist temptation is greater and his marks in school have improved.

The understanding and commitment of these youth to observe the Sabbath is remarkable and will set a pattern for the rest of their lives. That pattern has been influenced largely by the examples of loving parents and leaders.

Elder G. Lawrence Spackman, a member of the Seventy for the Church in Canada, shares how his father’s example impressed him to observe the Sabbath early in his life: “When I was a young man, I remember my father deciding to not renew his long-held seasons tickets for our local football team when they announced they were going to start playing some of their games on Sunday. He loved our football team, but he loved the Lord more. That was a sign of faithfulness that has strengthened me ever since.”

As it was with Elder Spackman, a strong habit of appropriate Sabbath observance was instilled in Kristalyn Goth (16) of Lethbridge, Alberta, when she was young. To Kristalyn, properly observing the Sabbath is important because “Sunday is a day that is set aside for us to remember our Saviour. When we do activities that help us remember Him, we become more like Him.”

By observing the Sabbath with reverence, these Canadian Mormon youth are trying each day to become more like Jesus Christ. They have noticed they are kinder and more empathetic toward others and that their families are experiencing more peace and joy. “The blessings don’t affect just me,” says Emily Ripley, “but everyone around me. They have a happier attitude towards the Sabbath and everything they do. … It is a ripple effect of blessings and happiness.”

“We know that wherever we live we are to be examples of the believers among our families, neighbors, and friends,” states President Nelson. “True believers keep the Sabbath day holy” (“The Sabbath is a Delight,” April 2015 general conference).

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