Saturday, August 21, 2010

"that they do always remember him"

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
Him: Christ 

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.


  1. Here are 5 idea/possibilities I thought about--

    1. The behavioral backdoor-- If you "do A = get B", then "I have B= I must have done A". The water prayer says 'that they do always remember him, that they may have his Sprit to be with them'. Maybe it is better to approach it backwards. If you can live and act in a way that the Spirit can always be with you, then it likely means that what you are doing to acheive that could be considered "remembering him always".

    2. Always as in 'once a week'-- Maybe it means 'always' as 'consistently each week'--At the judgment it could go: 'How did you do with the sacrament during earth life? Did you always deeply ponder (remember) Him during the sacrament?' 'Oh yes, I always took it and remembered. For 90 whole years I always did that during the sacrament'. And maybe that is acceptable if the sacramental type of 'remembering' means deep, weekly pockets --so special and unique a moment each week that the chain holds the time togetherRather than a constant awareness or shallow layer of remembering. At the judgment we can show that always (for 90 years/til death on earth) we weekly remembered Him intensely during the sacrament. L. Tom Perry--“And Why Call Ye Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?” said "Each member of the Church covenants to always remember the Savior as he or she partakes of the sacrament. Weekly we should each seek a personal experience, a closeness to our Lord and Savior, which, when remembered each week, will help us to become more like Him. We have His example always before us.

  2. 3. The similarity to "pray always" -- H. Verlan Andersen-- (1st Quorum 70) Always Remember . "In his infinite wisdom, the Lord has asked us to make covenants while we are remembering our great debt to him, and the making of these covenants is one of the most important things we do in life. One of the sacrament covenants we make is that we will “always remember him.”
    Some may have difficulty understanding how it is possible for us to do this. Should we have our Savior on our minds while we are studying our lessons, working at a job, playing, or attending some sporting event? Perhaps we can better understand what is required of us if we note some things the scriptures say about the commandment to “pray always.” The prophet Alma discussed this problem with the poor Zoramites who, because of their poverty, were not allowed to pray or worship in their synagogues. They came to him for advice as to what they should do.
    Alma told them they did not need a synagogue in which to offer prayers. He said they could pray any place and at any time—in their fields, at home, or in the wilderness. He said they should pray daily over their families, their crops, their animals and other possessions. Then he gave this very important counsel: “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you” (Alma 34:27). If we follow these instructions will we not at the same time be keeping our promise to “always remember” the Lord?"

    4. Just DO it--its not impossible. I still think that it is humanly possible to think about someone nearly all the time. Romance is the best example--when interested, me and other girls I've talked to. are able to care for that person's well being/want to share with/ wonder about their happiness or even just have a shadow of their thoughts cross our brains multiple times in a minute all day long. Almost like the computer running another program in the background. Ask me how many times I thought about you in the last hour. Just ask. None! Ha! 50! 1000! zero! I'm not telling.

    5. Last the best of all the game-- I like Elder Christofferson's answer the best so far. It makes me think that if we become like him, and act like him and love like him, we ARE remembering him. You don't have to 'remember' someone that you are with. You are with yourself all the time. If you are like Him and He is with you, either way, no rembering is need.

    Those are my thoughts.


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