Sacrament institutes ‘spiritual feast’: ‘An intensely personal experience’

"The Lord instituted the sacrament, as we know it today, during what we commonly call the Last Supper. In one sense, it was the last supper, but in another, it was the first supper – the beginning of many spiritual feasts," said Elder John H. Groberg of the Seventy during his April 1989 general conference address.

Accounts of the Last Supper are recorded in Matt. 26:20-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:14-23. In these accounts the Savior instructed His apostles that the broken bread symbolized His body and the wine His blood.The Book of Mormon gives further information pertaining to the sacrament, which the resurrected Lord instituted among the Nephites. Jesus told the multitude: "Behold, there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it . . . and this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, . . . and if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you." (3 Ne. 18:5-7.)

The Savior then instructed that His disciples should take of the wine "in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you." (3 Ne. 18:11.)

Elder Groberg said: "The moving tenderness and deep significance of this transcendent event are still available to us today. But we must do as they did and follow the doctrine of Christ, which is to believe in Jesus, rely on Him, repent of our sins, take His name upon us by being baptized in His Church, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and faithfully follow Christ all of our lives.

"He knows we need much help to do this, so He provides that the ordinance of the sacrament be repeated often.

"This invitation of the Savior to come unto Him is issued regularly and is universal. Everyone is included – men, women, and children. Old and young alike participate. None are barred except by themselves. . . .

"If we desire to improve (which is to repent) and are not under priesthood restriction, then, in my opinion, we are worthy. If, however, we have no desire to improve, if we have no intention of following the guidance of the Spirit, we must ask: Are we worthy to partake, or are we making a mockery of the very purpose of the sacrament, which is to act as a catalyst for personal repentance and improvement? If we remember the Savior and all He has done and will do for us, we will improve our actions and thus come closer to Him, which keeps us on the road to eternal life.

"If, however, we refuse to repent and improve, if we do not remember Him and keep his commandments, then we have stopped our growth, and that is damnation to our souls.

"The sacrament is an intensely personal experience, and we are the ones who knowingly are worthy or otherwise."

(Additional information)

Love, as encouraged by Savior, requires action by individuals

When the Savior issued a new commandment, "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. . . ." (John 13:34), He used the verb "love" in an active, not passive sense.

Speaking in the April 1980 general conference, Elder Marion D. Hanks of the Seventy explained, "We have the testimony of scriptures that the Lord God weeps when we do not choose Him or truly love each other. The saddest circumstance any of us can envision, indeed, the only evil that ultimately can really harm us, is in not choosing Him and thus to be separated from Him. But the companion tragedy – one that also brings suffering that makes Him weep – is to fail in our affection for each other, affection expressed in unselfish efforts to give . . . Christian service to the hungry, the naked, the oppressed, those who are cast out, the widow, the orphan, the afflicted, the broken hearted, the bruised, the abandoned, the elderly, the sick and the imprisoned.

"We have two great challenges, you and I, and the challenge never ends as long as breath lasts: to choose Him and to love each other. Then we may be sure we will know Him in this world and at last in that kingdom which is not of this world."

(Additional information)

Mission of Holy Ghost: Lead in truth and righteousness

The Savior warned Peter that "Satan desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:31-32.)

"Conversion," states the dictionary in the LDS edition of the King James Bible, "denotes changing one's views in a conscious acceptance of the will of God. If followed by continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands, conversion will be complete, and will change a natural man in to a sanctified, born again, purified person – a new creature in Christ Jesus. Complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing."

Elder James E. Talmage, in Jesus the Christ, observed that "The first of the apostles, the Man of Rock, yet had to be converted, or as more precisely rendered, `Turned again'; for as the Lord foresaw, Peter would soon be overcome, even to the extent of denying his acquaintanceship with Christ." (p. 600.)

In Doctrines of Salvation, then-Elder Joseph Fielding Smith noted the importance of the Holy Ghost in conversion.

"The mission of the Holy Ghost is to lead those who are entitled to the gift, which is conferred by the laying on of hands, in all truth and righteousness. The Savior told His apostles that the Comforter would dwell in them and testify of the Father and the Son; would guide them in all truth, and show them things to come." (p.47.)