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Sister Cheryl A. Esplin: 'The sacrament — a renewal for the soul'

Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, said she wishes she had known more about the sacrament when she was a young girl.

“I wish I had understood the sacrament in the way that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described,” Sister Esplin said during the Saturday morning session of general conference. “He said, ‘One of the invitations inherent in the sacramental ordinance is that it be a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul.’ ”

She asked how can one have that kind of an experience each week, and further said, “The sacrament becomes a spiritually strengthening experience when we listen to the sacrament prayers and recommit to our covenants. To do this, we must be willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.”

This includes always remembering Him.

“As we partake of the sacrament, we witness to God that we will remember His Son always, not just during the brief sacrament ordinance,” Sister Esplin said. “This means that we will constantly look to the Savior’s example and teachings to guide our thoughts, our choices and our acts.”

The sacrament prayer is also a reminder to keep the commandments, said Sister Esplin.

“The sacrament gives us an opportunity for introspection and an opportunity to turn our heart and will to God,” she said. “Obedience to the commandments brings the power of the gospel into our lives and greater peace and spirituality.”

Sister Esplin shared the words of Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873-1939), who said, “There is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load being lifted. Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food.”

Sister Esplin said the bread and water in the sacrament not only heal wounded souls but also are a reminder that the Savior “will always be our bread of life and living water.”

“The promised blessing of the sacrament is that we will always have his Spirit to be with us,” Sister Esplin said.

“May each of us come to sacrament meeting prepared to have a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul,” she said.

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