When I first began trying to live the gospel as a new convert, I found the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy a real challenge. I wasn’t really sure what was appropriate. All I could think of to do was to read scriptures, and as much as I loved doing that, I didn’t want to do it all day.
Since then, I’ve learned there are many ways to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I found it helpful, in the early days, to keep a list I could refer to. This kept me from wandering into an inappropriate activity simply because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I also try to plan my Sabbath ahead to avoid temptation.
Sundays are ideal for more in-depth scripture study. Instead of just reading, consider keeping a scripture journal and recording what you’ve read for the week—not just the content, but your thoughts. It’s also a good time to prepare for the next week’s church classes by studying the assignments.
I often spend Sundays writing talks, even when I’m not giving one. I pick a topic, research it, and write a Sacrament Meeting talk on the subject. I find this helps me find out how well I understand the topic and to focus my thoughts on it. When I’m asked to speak in church, I go first to my files to see if I already have something on that topic.
The Sabbath is the perfect time to build meaningful relationships with your family through quiet conversation. It’s hard to find the time to talk during a hectic week, but a quiet Sabbath afternoon can provide the time to discuss family issues, hold a family council, or just talk. You can also use the time to visit those who are sick or alone, and to write letters to family, friends, and those who just need a cheerful reminder that someone is thinking of them.
President Spencer W. Kimball, a past president of the Church, said, “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.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, pp. 96–97.)
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.