The Message:

Always Remember

by Elder H. Verlan Andersen

Of the First Quorum of the Seventy

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    When the Lord came among the people following his resurrection, he told them he would accept no more of their sacrifices and burnt offerings (see 3 Ne. 9:19). What he required in place thereof was a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He instituted the sacrament as a means of helping us remember the most important event in the history of the world—his atoning sacrifice.

    If, as we partake of the sacrament, we are able to form a mental picture of the sacrifice of the Lord and what he went through for our sakes, that impression should sink deeper into our minds. When we recall that he suffered one of the most cruel, prolonged, and painful deaths ever devised, and when we also remember that he suffered spiritual anguish so exquisite that it caused him to sweat great drops of blood, these facts should impress us more indelibly than any other events possibly could.

    In his infinite wisdom, the Lord has asked us to make covenants while we are remembering our great debt to him, and the making of these covenants is one of the most important things we do in life. One of the sacrament covenants we make is that we will “always remember him.”

    Some may have difficulty understanding how it is possible for us to do this. Should we have our Savior on our minds while we are studying our lessons, working at a job, playing, or attending some sporting event?

    Perhaps we can better understand what is required of us if we note some things the scriptures say about the commandment to “pray always.” The prophet Alma discussed this problem with the poor Zoramites who, because of their poverty, were not allowed to pray or worship in their synagogues. They came to him for advice as to what they should do.

    Alma told them they did not need a synagogue in which to offer prayers. He said they could pray any place and at any time—in their fields, at home, or in the wilderness. He said they should pray daily over their families, their crops, their animals and other possessions. Then he gave this very important counsel: “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you” (Alma 34:27).

    If we follow these instructions will we not at the same time be keeping our promise to “always remember” the Lord?

    While the main purpose of the sacrament is to help us remember the Lord’s atoning sacrifice, there are many other things he does for us which should help us to always remember him. For example, King Benjamin told his people that the Lord was preserving them from day to day by lending them breath so that they could live and move and do according to their wills (see Mosiah 2:21). If you were constantly aware that you could neither breathe nor move without the Lord’s help, would not this thought help you to “always remember him”?

    The Lord has told us that he is the light and life of the world, and in a modern day revelation he gave us some explanation of what this means. He said that it is his light which is the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars. It is also his light which enables us to see and to think. It is his light or power “which is in all things,” which “giveth life to all things,” and “is the law by which all things are governed” (D&C 88:7–13). If as you study, work, and play you always have these facts in the back of your mind, would it be possible for you to forget the Savior?

    In addition to this, the Savior is our friend, and he is the best friend we shall ever have. He loves each of us very much and will do anything possible to help us. In the general conference of April 1988, President Benson said:

    “God our Father, Jesus, our Elder Brother and our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost, the Testator, are perfect. They know us best and love us most and will not leave one thing undone for our eternal welfare. Should we not love them for it?” (Ensign, May 1988, p. 5).

    Of course each of us must put forth an effort if we are going to keep our promise to our Heavenly Father to always remember his Son. Unless we study the scriptures which tell us the things about our Savior we should know, we are not apt to remember him. President Benson has asked us to read the scriptures each day both individually and with our families.

    Perhaps each time we partake of the sacrament we should resolve to read the scriptures every day during the coming week so that we will be more able to keep our promise to always remember our Savior.

    If we keep our sacrament covenants to always remember the Savior and keep his commandments, we are promised we will always have his Spirit to be with us. If we keep the commandment to “pray always,” we will be able to resist temptation. If we cling to the iron rod and search the scriptures, we will be able to reach the tree of life and partake of its fruit, which is the love of our Savior. We are told that this fruit is the “most desirable above all things,” and is “the most joyous to the soul” (1 Ne. 11:22, 23).

    If you are a Church member who attends meetings regularly, and if you live a normal life span, you will probably renew the sacrament covenant more than 3,000 times before you die. That covenant must be highly important to the Lord or he would not ask us to repeat it so often. But if we make the same covenant that many times and then fail to keep it, what will he say to us when we meet him? On the other hand, if we keep it, we will obtain those blessings which are “the most desirable above all things.”

    Photography by Craig Dimond