The sacrament: an instrument for spiritual rebirth

Visiting the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere, the newly resurrected Christ revealed to them the manner in which the elders and priests of His church should administer the emblems of His flesh and blood. The prayers, which should be offered to the Father in Christ's name, were thus given:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

— Moro. 4:3


O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

— Moro. 5:2

In this dispensation, the prayers were revealed with nearly identical wording to be used in the administration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper. (See D&C 20:77-79. As recorded there, the word has is used in place of the word hath in the prayer on the bread.)

Contemplated within those revealed prayers is the covenant necessary to enable God's children to do as King Benjamin enjoined, to put off the natural man and become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ. (See Mosiah 3:19.) Listed in order, those elements are taking upon oneself the name of Christ, always remembering Him and keeping His commandments. His side of the covenant is to provide His Spirit to be with those who keep the covenant.

This covenant relationship begins with baptism, when one's sins are washed away. It culminates with the reception of the Holy Spirit to the point that one becomes a "new creature," as Paul expressed it. (See 2 Cor. 5:17.)

Undoubtedly because He knows of the propensity of mortal beings to backslide, the Lord has provided the sacrament as a weekly means of renewing that covenant and of recommitting oneself to following it. Thus taken seriously, the sacrament is an instrument for spiritual rebirth.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: "We were born again when we entered into a covenant relationship with our Savior by being born of water and of the Spirit and by taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We can renew that rebirth each Sabbath when we partake of the sacrament.

"Latter-day Saints affirm that those who have been born again in this way are spiritually begotten sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. (See Mosiah 5:7; 15:9-13; 27:25.) Nevertheless, in order to realize the intended blessings of this born-again status, we must still keep our covenants and endure to the end. In the meantime, through the grace of God, we have been born again as new creatures with new spiritual parentage and the prospects of a glorious inheritance." (Conference Report, April 1998.)

The articles that follow focus on the individual elements of the covenant made with Christ at baptism and renewed each week with the partaking of the sacrament.

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