The Sacramental Prayers
Moroni 4:3 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.
By partaking of the bread, we witness to God that:
1. We are willing to take upon us the name of the Son.
2. We are willing to always remember the Son.
3. We are willing to keep the commandments of the Son which he has given us.
We are willing to do all these things so that we are able to always have the Spirit of the Son to be with us.
Moroni 5:2 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 witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
By partaking of the wine, we witness to God that:
4. We do always remember the Son.
We do this so that we are able to always have the Spirit of the Son to be with us.
Let us examine these things.
Take upon Them the Name of thy Son
“Receive [the Holy Ghost], and take upon you the name of Christ.” (Alma 34:38)
2 Nephi 31:11-13
The Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
“He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me.” This is fulfilled in the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, wherin we can speak with the tongue of angels &c.
JST John 3:34-36
34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fullness.
35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands.
36 And he who believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and shall receive of his fullness. But he who believeth not the Son, shall not receive of his fullness; for the wrath of God is upon him.
“Even the fullness.”
That we can both be baptized and not take upon us the name of Christ is easily shown.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
These pollutions – “involuntary emissions of semen in sleep” – hypocrites – “one who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power” – teachers who sell themselves for that which will canker – riches (D&C 56:16) – have polluted – “defiled” – the holy church of God – which, after the Book of Mormon came forth, was the Church which became the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Non-members cannot defile the holy church of God by their presence.
3 Nephi 18:22-23
And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; but ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name.
Therefore Moroni is talking about baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4) who have defiled the holy church of God by their presence, and therefore we see that baptism is not whereby we take upon ourselves the name of Christ.
If it were by baptism one took upon oneself the name of Christ, then the sacramental prayer would be redundant, as it is to be administered to those who have been baptized.
3 Nephi 18:5
And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
The sacrament is forbidden to those who are not baptized.
3 Nephi 18:27-33
Behold verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you another commandment, and then I must go unto my Father that I may fulfil other commandments which he hath given me.
And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.
Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.
But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.
Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.
Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth.
From these two selections, we see that belief in Christ necessarily entails repentance. This link is explicitly made elsewhere.
“[I]f ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.” (Helaman 14:13)
Can you receive a remission of your sins except you repent from all of them?
“And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.” (Alma 11:34)
“And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.” (2 Nephi 9:38)
(How to render the teachings of the Book of Mormon compatible with D&C 138 is an exercise left to the reader.)
Repenting from all one’s sins is a prerequisite for baptism even today.
And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.
All of this necessarily precedes the sacrament:
A. Humble themselves before God.
B. Desire to be baptized.
C. Come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits.
D. Witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins.
E. Be willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ.
F. Have a determination to serve him to the end.
G. Truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins.
H. Then be baptized.
Hence Moroni’s cry.
See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.
Therefore it is not through baptism by water that one takes upon oneself the name of Christ, but in receipt of the Holy Ghost by fire, the prerequisite to which is to have repented of all one’s sins.
2 Nephi 31:17
Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 9:41
O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
How do we humble ourselves before God, and repent of all our sins, that we may obtain a remission of them by fire and by the Holy Ghost?
And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.
And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.
2 Nephi 25:29
29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.
And if not done?
And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
It is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul.
Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.
They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.
And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.
And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.
“And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
[T]he natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The carnal get the gospel wrong.
Behold, [Christ] was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them.
Looking symbolizes calling upon the name of the Lord for the remission of one’s sins.
And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
Illustrating this process was the point of including Enos’s struggle.
Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
And I said: Lord, how is it done?
And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
How great a burden rests upon parents.
And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.
Are you willing to do these things? Have you done these things? Do you teach these things?
This is, after all, what it means to “come unto Christ,” – to call upon the Lord until you have faith in Christ and receive of his Spirit unto the remission of your sins. Then are you worthy of baptism and a remission of your sins by fire and the Holy Ghost, wherein you take upon you the name of Christ.
3 Nephi 27:20
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
Always Remember Him
The scriptures are largely silent on this topic, except to promise that if you always remember Christ, you will have his Spirit to be with you.
Keep His Commandments Which He Hath given Them
In the interests of space, I will refer you to 3 Nephi 10 – 3 Nephi 15, wherein are found the commandments of the Savior. Whenever the Savior opened his mouth to teach during his mortal ministry, these were the things he taught. These are the precepts – standing orders pertaining to our daily walk – of the Lord; they start with coming unto him and being baptized by fire (3 Nephi 12:1-2) and from thence walking according to his commandments, abounding in good works. There are enlightening differences found in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible which deserves careful study.
There is one in particular, however, that needs to be mentioned.
“Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (JST Matthew 5:50)
“Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.” (JST, Matthew 16:27)
How do we keep that commandment?
“And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88:125)
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)
That They May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Them
Moroni 10:31; Moroni 10:32-33
And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
This is the endgame – “the” remission of your sins, rather than “a” remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.