I spent my childhood in the 21st North Ward, Salt Lake Emigration Stake. There was a scripture printed on the back of every program. I confess, I spent many a sacrament meeting doodling on the back of the program and coloring in the o’s and p’s with a pen. But to this day, I still remember the scripture on the back cover. It was Doctrine and Covenants 59:9:
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.
“Thou shalt go” reminded me that partaking of the sacrament was a commandment. And one of the reasons, was to keep yourself “unspotted” from the world. This idea of avoiding the stains of the world reminds me of other verses of scripture which speak of being “spotless” or “without spot.”
A spot is a blemish, a stain, or a mark that isn’t supposed to be there. Throughout the Old Testament the children of Israel were commanded to offer up sacrifices using animals “without spot” (Numbers 28:3). Why? Because the animal sacrifices foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus, who was sinless and perfect and without spot. Happily, because Jesus shed His blood in Gethsemane and Golgotha, because of the miracle of the Atonement, we can also become clean and pure and without spot. The Apostle James taught that part of pure religion was to keep oneself “unspotted from the world”(James 1:27). Toward the end of Nephi’s record, he mentioned that he would meet many souls at the judgment seat of Christ. But a closer reading reveals that Nephi was referring to more than just a nice heavenly reunion. Notice the extra word—Nephi hoped to meet “many souls spotless at his judgment seat” (2 Nephi 33:7; emphasis added). Through Christ, we can become holy, without spot (excerpt from Sermons in a Sentence, 35).
The title page and the last page (Moroni 10:33) of the Book of Mormon also speak of being “without spot” and “spotless.” We are all grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, which acts as a cleanser and “spot remover” for all of us. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be as crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).