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Always Remember Him!

Each week, we partake of the sacred sacrament ordinance. The bread and water are prepared, blessed, and passed to members of the congregation so that they can renew their baptismal covenants. What do we promise in this sacred relationship?[1] The blessings on the bread and water contain our three promises, all of which are centered on the Savior, Jesus Christ.

We promise to (1) Take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, (2) Always remember Him, and (3) Keep His commandments. Only one of these three promises is contained in both prayers: The promise to “Always remember Him!”[2]

The repetition of this single phrase in both sacrament prayers suggests its high priority in our covenant relationship with Heavenly Father. The Father always wants us to put Jesus Christ at the center of our covenant discipleship. And how are we to focus on His Beloved Son? The Father implores us two times, “Always remember Him!

The Importance of Remembering

Remembering is an act of mental recall, “to bring to one’s mind an awareness of someone or something.”[3] Why is the seemingly simple act of remembering Him so important for us as disciples of Jesus Christ and as members of His church? As I researched information on the power of remembering, I found two insights that helped me better understand why the Father would emphasize this particular aspect of our covenants as disciples of His Son.

First, Dr. Eve Marder, PhD, a noted biologist, shared the following story about the importance of remembering. Said she,

When I was young I had an outstanding memory. … [However], by the time I was a 4th year PhD student my memory was no longer as good as it was at 16. So, when I met Ted Bulloch, one of the greats in neuroscience, and I discovered that he seemed to remember every paper he had ever read, I asked how he did it. “You just have to decide to remember,” he answered. I still remember how taken back I was by his statement. … I suspect that there is a deep message in what Ted said, and that we would all be better … if we remembered to remember more. [4]

As we “decide to remember” or “remember to remember,” we will improve our recall. Remembering is a willing choice, and the more we do it, the better we become.

Second, researchers have tied remembering to the act of testifying. The authors of one study noted, “The ability to remember allows humans to distinguish knowledge about the past that they acquired on the basis of their own experience from that acquired in other ways. This ability constitutes the basis of testimony: An act of testimony is an account about the past that is claimed to be based on first-hand experience. … Remembering … is the cognitive basis of testimony.”[5]

Therefore, to remember Jesus Christ is to have experienced Him—personally and powerfully. In whatever way is customized in our lives, we experience His love, His redemption, His mercy, His deliverance, and His power. We will feel Him to our very core.

The temple is a great symbol of Jesus Christ and is a tangible reminder of Him. There, we experience Him via covenants--those promises that bind us to Him and create a new relationship with Him.

When we have powerful personal experiences with our Savior, we can testify of Him because the core of our testimony is not just what we know, but what we have experienced. Therefore, our agreement to “always remember Him” is the enabling act that allows us to “always testify of Him.”

We can only “stand as witnesses of [Jesus Christ] at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in”[6] if we always remember Jesus Christ. Remembering enables us to powerfully testify how we have experienced the Savior.

Of the myriad things pertaining to Jesus Christ we could remember, three stand out as ones we should remember: (1) Remembering His plan, (2) Remembering His lovingkindness and mercy, and (3) Remembering His Sacrifice.[7]

Remembering His plan

The Father’s eternal purpose is unchanging: To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children.[8] His plan enables His purpose—it is focused on our progression to become like Him.

The Savior’s plan is the same as the Father’s plan because He has always done the will of the Father in all things.[9] His plan is designed to guard our moral agency and provide opportunities for us to grow and progress by experiencing “an opposition in all things.”[10]

The phrase “an opposition in all things” is critical. Opposition is hostility to or disagreement with something. Certainly, we experience great opposition in this life.

However, the scripture says that there will be “an opposition in all things.” The preposition “an” in front of the word “opposition” suggests that we will have contrasting experiences, both of which could be bad or good, depending on what we choose to do with them.

When we remember His plan—with our moral agency and opposing choices—we will be more likely to bear our contrasting experiences with an eternal perspective. We will not be confused or spiritually disoriented when we face difficulty, doubt, trial, or sorrow. We will develop faith in Jesus Christ as we experience Him in profound ways.

My shift supervisor at the temple told me that when his children didn’t want to do something that he knew would be good for them, he would tell them, “Trust me.” Reluctantly, they would try the new experience. Afterward, they realized that it was good for them. As an adult, one of his daughters got him a plaque that reads, “Trust me,” with the signature “God” at the bottom.

We must remember to trust the plan and trust its Author and Finisher, Jesus Christ.[11] When we remember Him and His plan, we remember that “all things [in this life] will give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good.”[12] Remembering Him will give us peace amid pain, acceptance amid agony, and joy amid sorrow.

Remembering will provide purpose, even when His way is hard.

Remembering His Lovingkindness and Mercy

Remembering His plan naturally leads us to remember our Savior’s lovingkindness and mercy. In the Book of Mormon, this plan has nine different names. Among them are the plan of deliverance, plan of redemption, plan of salvation, plan of restoration, plan of happiness, and, significantly, plan of mercy.

Happiness, deliverance, redemption, salvation, and restoration are all acts of mercy. Mercy is the core of the plan, and it is a core attribute of the Savior. Without Him and His plan, we are subject to the full demands of justice. However, through repentance, His bountiful mercy is available to us.

Amulek taught, “Mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”[13]

In this verse, mercy is treated as a proper noun. We might ask, “Who is mercy?” Jesus Christ is mercy! He encircles us in His arms of safety. Of this mercy, we recently wrote,

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word often translated into English as “mercy” is hesed. More accurately, this word means “faithful and intimate, redemptive love.” It could also be translated as “unfailing, faithful, steadfast, or loyal love.” The word is “not merely an emotion or feeling but involves action on behalf of someone who is in need.”

Accordingly, when we speak of the “mercy” of Jesus Christ, it should bring into our minds His great act of atonement, His unfailing actions to faithfully invite us to partake of His protection, and His loving kindness in extending redemption, deliverance, healing, and strength to us despite our weaknesses.[14]

In the New Testament, we read of the Savior calming the storm. He was asleep on the boat while His disciples battled against the winds and waves. Afraid, they awoke him pleading, “Carest thou not that we perish?”[15]

Had they already forgotten His great love and mercy in healing the leper, casting out devils, and healing the centurion’s servant? Unfortunately, they did not remember. With great mercy and power, He commanded the storm and them, “Peace be still.”[16] Saddened by their fear and forgetting, He lamented, “O ye of little faith.”[17]

When their trials were most intense, His disciples had forgotten His abundant mercy. They had failed to remember that Jesus is full of grace and truth, and, consequently, they struggled.

Fortunately, when we remember the Savior’s lovingkindness and mercy, many positive things result. We will move forward in faith, even amid unknowns, doubts or difficulties. Like Nephi, we will testify, “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”[18] Remembering His mercy unlocks abundant blessings through His infinite atonement.

Remembering His Sacrifice

Finally, with the Savior’s plan and His mercy firmly rooted in our individual and collective memories, we will remember the act that made His mercy possible—His infinite and eternal sacrifice for us.

Remembering His sacrifice is a primary purpose of the sacrament ordinance. We should remember that He suffered so that we might not face the same degree of suffering if we repent. The Savior taught us,

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.[19]

As we remember His suffering and His subsequent victory over death and sin, we will grow in our love and gratitude for Him. We will come to understand that through His atoning sacrifice, He will make right every wrong and fix everything that is unfair in our life or in the lives of those we deeply love. To us He implores,

Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren [and sisters] that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.[20]

What love! What mercy! What sacrifice! What a marvel to remember!

Come Follow Him, Lest We Forget

Recently I heard a touching story of remembering. A classmate of mine told me that many years ago, her mother was diagnosed with liver failure. She had never drunk alcohol, so the reason she contracted this condition was a mystery. She was dying, and there was no cure.

Fortunately, her life was saved by a liver transplant. A young man was tragically killed in an accident, and his family made the difficult decision to donate his organs. Their sacrifice and his death preserved her mother’s life.

She spoke with great reverence for this young man and his family, even though this transplant occurred many years ago. Typically gregarious, she spoke in hushed tones when she told the story. When I noted that she spoke about the event as if it had occurred only recently, she remarked, “It is as real to me today as it was then. I will never forget what he did for our family.”

Her comment touched me deeply. If she felt that strongly about someone who saved her mother’s mortal life, should we not feel the same toward the One who saved our eternal lives? Like my friend, let us always remember Jesus Christ in every experience of our lives.

  • Remember Him, when we have doubts and questions.

  • Remember Him, when we receive blessings and good fortune.

  • Remember Him, when our hearts are breaking, and hope seems impossible to find.

  • Remember Him, when trials press down upon us, and our pain feels too hard to bear.

  • Simply, remember Him!

Always remembering Him is to always have faith in Him, despite life’s calamities and unfairness. Ultimately, remembering Jesus Christ is experiencing Him. And experiencing Him only occurs by coming unto Him and following Him.

May we always remember Jesus Christ. May we always experience Him. And may we always come unto Him and follow Him—whatever that means in our lives. For as we do, we will come to know Him, and He will come to know our hearts, for we will have given them to Him—willingly and fully. As we lay everything on His altar, He will give us all He has, and we will become all He is.

His plan is merciful. He is merciful, and He is mighty to save and succor. May we remember Him when we are in our most desperate and doubtful hour and when we are at the height of our greatest triumph. For when we consistently remember to remember Him, He will consistently and personally succor and celebrate us.

In remembering Him, we will find hope.

In remembering Him, we will find consolation.

In remembering Him, we will find joy.

In remembering Him, we will find our Jesus.

Notes: [1] Covenants are often described as two-way agreements, willingly entered into by both parties. This definition is accurate, but it is incomplete. Covenants also form a new relationship between two individuals—in this case, between our Heavenly Father and us. That new relationship governs what we do, how we interact with and feel about each other, and what we expect from one another. [2] See D&C 20:77, 79. [3] “Remember,” Oxford Dictionary of English [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010], 1502. [4] Eve Marder, “The importance of remembering,” eLife, vol. 6 e30599 August 14, 2017, doi:10.7554 / eLife.30599., text and emphasis added. [5] J.B. Mahr and G. Csibra, “Witnessing, Remembering, and Testifying: Why the Past Is Special for Human Beings,” Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(2), 428–443, 2020., emphasis added. [6] Mosiah 18:9. [7] Multiple scriptures affirm that all things point us to and remind us of Christ (See 2 Ne. 11:4; Mosiah 3:15; Alma 30:44; Hel. 8:24; Moses 6:63). [8] See Moses 1:39. [9] See John 5:30; 6:38-40. [10] 2 Ne. 2:11. [11] See Hebrews 12:2. [12] D&C 122:7, text added. [13] Alma 34:16. [14] Aaron and Julie Bujnowski, Discovering Your Temple Insights (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, 2023), 199. [15] Mark 4:38. [16] Mark 4:39. [17] Matt. 8:26. [18] 1 Ne. 11:17. [19] D&C 19:16-18. [20] D&C 45:3-5, text added.

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