In James Ferrell's The Holy Secret (see my post summarizing the book), the mentor in the story juxtaposes the bread and water sacrament prayers and engages a textual analysis. Importantly, he notes that in the bread prayer one manifests that she is willing to:
1) take Christ's name upon her
2) always remember Him
3) keep His commandments.
In the water prayer, one manifests that she does:
1) always remember Him.
This difference between the two prayers is notable. We truly manifest our willingness, presuming we indeed are willing. However, it wouldn't be right to manifest that one does keep His commandments, since none of us actually do that, being instead quite full of sins of both omission and commission. However, in what way(s) do we always remember Him? We manifest in the present tense that we "do always remember Him." Is that true? Do I always remember Him? Am I falsely witnessing when I take the water? What does this affirmation mean? I'd better know, since I solemnly proclaim it each week. This post is my attempt to answer this question.
To start, let's take a look at each word.
Do : manifests a present, real-time reality
Always: an adjective meaning continuous and uninterrupted
Remember: a verb meaning, amongst other things, 1. To recall to the mind with effort; think of again: I finally remembered the address. 2. To retain in the memory: Remember your appointment. 3. To keep (someone) in mind as worthy of consideration or recognition
Insights From Relevant Church Talks
Elder Christofferson's 2009 Always Remember Him: "I would like today to elaborate with you what it means to “always remember him” (D&C 20:77, 79). I will mention three aspects of remembering Him: first, seeking to know and follow His will; second, recognizing and accepting our obligation to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action; and third, living with faith and without fear in the realization that we can always look to the Savior for the help we need." Elder Christofferson's BYU-I devotional address sheds additional light on how to apply the principle of always remembering him.
Elder Holland's 1995 This Do in Remembrance of Me: We can remember Christ's treatment of His friends, His foster father Joseph's humble service, the injustice He suffered, our blessings, His cheer, His miracles, His teachings, etc. Elder Holland's list is eloquent and applicable and I felt the Spirit reading it.
I printed off these two talks to ponder more during Sacrament Meeting tomorrow.
Now, I speculate.
The knee-jerk answer to the question of "how do I always remember Him" is to think frequently of His life, mission, teachings, and love. This answer is helpful, but doesn't qualify as always since we are mindful of Him much less frequently than we are mindful of the other things of daily life.
One scripture passage provides some insight. Hel 13:22 "Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting, and unto great swelling, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities." These people "always remembered" their riches- the evidence being swelling with great pride unto boasting, malice, etc. Thus, perhaps by our hearts swelling in Christlike charity unto service, mercy, compassion, and kindness, we always remember Him.
Another scripture says we should pray always. Perhaps if I can resolve what that means, I can resolve what it means to witness that I "always" remember Jesus!
The "I just remembered that I have to be at the school at three!" is the least helpful meaning of remember in resolving this question. On the other hand, the sense that you remember the sacrifice of the patriots who died in the Revolutionary War by promoting liberty and civic virtue and patriotic responsibility is more useful. We can remember Christ in this way by seeking the same values he espoused, e.g. liberty, salvation, and obedience. We can also remember Him in this way by reaffirming that we still value the objectives of our covenants with Christ (e.g. bearing one another's burdens, repenting, choosing Him as our Savior, etc.). Besides this second sense of remembering Him, there is perhaps a third meaning of "remember" that may apply-
Paradigms are "A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them." I think paradigms can be learned and chosen. Because a paradigm is a way of viewing reality, it is always in one's mind, and requires little present conscious volition. I think the primary way I can improve my integrity when manifesting that I "do always remember Him" is by choosing the Atonement paradigm. Christ had a very specific orientation toward people- some would call it "out of the box" (Arbinger Institute- Leadership and Self-deception), others the paradigm of truth (in that He views people as they truly are), and my favorite, the Charity Paradigm. I think they all mean essentially the same thing. The charity/truth/out-of-the-box/Atonement paradigm sees each individual as a beloved child of God, capable of becoming as He is in attributes such as grace, knowledge, mercy, glory, power, and justice. Thus, by viewing myself and others through this paradigm, I do always remember Him.
On the other hand, I don't do a very good job of viewing people through an Atonement paradigm- instead, I often view myself and other as objects (either means to an end, obstacles to an end, or irrelevant to an end)- thus, it is still dishonest for me to witness that I do always remember Him if I haven't substantively adopted the Atonement paradigm. Hmmm.
I'm still trying to figure this out- thus, I solicit your helpful insights.