How to make a home-centered church?

Jorge M. Alvarado
Elder Jorge M. Alvarado

Brothers and Sisters of the Caribbean Area, this month I would like to invite you to prayerfully consider the following passages of scripture, and to then use them as a basis for personal and family scripture study and discussions. 

¨What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.¨ 

Doctrine and Covenants 1:38

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets”  Amos 3:7

Have you ever wondered what secrets God is communicating to President Nelson and the other 14 men that we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators?

President Russell M. Nelson has said: “As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of ‘church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for a home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”

I remember in my childhood singing the Primary song:

Saturday is a special day.

It’s the day we get ready for Sunday:

We clean the house, and we shop at the store,

So we won’t have to work until Monday.

We brush our clothes, and we shine our shoes,

And we call it our get-the-work-done day.

Then we trim our nails, and we shampoo our hair,

So we can be ready for Sunday.

Since 2015 the Lord’s prophets have been inviting us to make our homes the optimal place to:

• Learn about and honor the Sabbath as a sign between God and His children throughout the generations.

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.   Exodus 31:13

And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.   Exodus 20:20

• Learn about and honor the Sabbath as a way of remaining unspotted from the world.

And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;   

For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High.   D&C 59:9-10

• Learn about and experience the Sabbath as a delight.

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.   Isaiah 58: 13–14

Surely these prophets of old saw our day!

With this home-center approach, we are better prepared to face the challenges presented in life. 

With the recent announcement that all church services are suspended within our Church buildings, the importance of following the prophet as he has counsels us to make our homes places of worship becomes so much more clear.

In 2018 we were asked by the prophet to remodel our homes and make them into sanctuaries of faith.  Now is the time to act, and to make our homes into these sanctuaries, worthy to serve as centers of worship for our families.  

As we ponder our Sabbath observance, we must consider ways to improve that full day of worship experience.  Unquestionably, the most important thing we do is to partake of the Sacrament.

The Savior introduced the ordinance of the Sacrament at the Last Supper.

He took bread, blessed and broke it, and passed it to His disciples saying;

“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Then He took the cup, offered a blessing of thanks, and then passed it to those gathered saying;  “This cup is the new testament in my blood” (Luke 22:20),  “which is shed ... for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Jesus also instituted the Sacrament when He visited the Nephites as recorded in 3 Nephi Chapter 18;   Verse 5: The sacrament shall be given “unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.”

Verse 10: “...this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.”

Verse 11: “And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”

Have we fashioned our homes into sacred places where the Spirit the Lord can be enjoyed?

My testimony grows as I have seen the Lord’s hand in this work.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is a God of deliverance, and that He is present in the details of our daily lives. He always keeps his promises. We have living prophets to guide us in these latter days. He has promised that prophetic council will all come to pass.  Let us follow their council and make our homes into sanctuaries of faith where our families can escape from the fiery darts of the adversary.  “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”!