“Always Remember Him”, Liahona, Apr. 2022.
We learn in the scriptures about the cycle of prosperity and pride that has affected God’s children throughout human history. When people remembered the Lord, they prospered. But when they forgot Him, they fell into a cycle of pride because of their riches, technological advances, and educational opportunities. As a result, they became a people who rejected the Lord and His covenants.
Let us consider one of the covenants we make each week when we partake of the sacrament—the covenant to “always remember him,” the Savior (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79). This covenant is repeated in both sacrament prayers. An important word of this covenant is remember.
The word remember appears hundreds of times in the scriptures. In ancient Israel, remember was used in many instances to help the Lord’s people to remember what He had done for them in times past. It was even more commonly used in the context of covenants the Lord made with His people.
The children of Israel, like many today, had a difficult time remembering the Lord and His commandments, and because of their forgetfulness, they often suffered painful consequences. That is one of the reasons the Lord used the word remember. For example, the journey to Israel from Egypt began with a commandment to “remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place” (Exodus 13:3).
The English word remember comes from the Latin word memor and means “to be mindful of.” In this context, the word remember means to have in mind or to be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past. 1 There is a strong correlation between the emotion felt and the resulting memory. Thus, the stronger the emotion, the more vivid and influential is the memory. In the Hebrew context, the word remember involves a knowledge that is accompanied by appropriate action. Thus, doing is an essential part of remembering.
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 this sense, when we partake of the sacrament, we witness unto God, the Eternal Father, that we will remember the Savior in our minds and in our hearts at all times and in all places. 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.
A year following the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord gave to Joseph Smith a revelation that gives a broader dimension to the covenant to always remember Him:
“Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; …
“Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
“But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:8–9, 11–12).
Through this revelation, the Lord taught us about the why, the how, and the what to do to always remember Him.
The why: to “fully keep thyself unspotted from the world.”
The how: that “thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness” with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
The what: to “offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.”
This scripture mentions the word oblations. In the scriptures, oblation implies a full devotion to the Lord, offering Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It also means any sacrifice we make for the Lord. Thus, the covenant of always remembering Him relates to sacrificing everything for the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. All this confirms that remembering the Savior is to act upon the things that will keep us on the path to righteousness.
What a priceless gift has been given to us as we partake of the emblems of the broken body and the shed blood of the Master on His Sabbath day. As we partake of the sacrament, we eat the broken bread in remembrance of His body. We drink the water in remembrance of His blood, which was shed for us. And we covenant with the Lord that we will always remember Him.
Then we receive the marvelous promise to “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77; see also verse 79) if we act upon our covenant. Partaking of the sacrament is regarded in such importance by our Heavenly Father that we are admonished to partake of it every Sunday.
My dear friends, the covenant to always remember Him should influence and inspire us in every decision and action in our lives. King Benjamin taught:
“Therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. …
“And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression; therefore, take heed that ye do not transgress, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts” (see Mosiah 5:8, 11).
Thus, remembering the Savior every day affects every single decision we make. It affects, for example, how we speak; what we choose to do, to watch, to read, and to listen to; and how we treat one another. I can assure you that the Lord Himself will inspire these decisions, guide us in our challenges, and assure that the harvest will be positive.
Given the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life has eternal and divine possibilities for those who always remember Him. It is of central importance to remember the feelings we have when we partake of the sacrament. We are preparing for eternal life and exaltation as we partake of the sacrament and promise to remember the Savior in our hearts and minds, knowing that remembering Him will help guide us in every decision and action.
I invite you to join me in reflecting on the impact this important principle can have in our personal lives. Please consider some of the things we can do to always remember Jesus Christ every day. The Savior said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).
Our Savior Jesus Christ was motivated by His commitment to always remember the Father and to always do God’s will because of His infinite love for God and for us. His sincere prayer in Gethsemane still echoes in my mind: “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).
I stand all amazed that for me He was crucified, that for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, He died, and He was resurrected. And He promised me that if I have a contrite spirit, acknowledging my sins and shortcomings, and if I am willing to repent, loving God’s children as the Savior loves them, the Lord will guarantee my forgiveness and my place at His side.
Always remember and recognize the Savior in your lives. Always remember to come unto Him, to allow His influence to guide your thoughts, your feelings, and your decisions, and to always follow Him. Always look to Him in moments of distress, in moments of difficulties, in moments of depression, and in moments of challenges. Feel of the Savior’s love and His real concern for your well-being.
I plead with you to remember that you are precious children of our Heavenly Father, reserved to come to earth at this point in history. Remember that you were chosen by the Father to come at this time because you have the power to face the challenges of this era. Please remember that happiness and peace in this life and in the world to come depend upon daily remembering the Savior and your covenants with Him.
From a devotional address delivered at Brigham Young University on February 5, 2019.