Monday, November 2, 2009

Who can pass the sacrament?

Here’s a puzzler: Technically, it’s a deacon’s responsibility (or at least the responsibility of priesthood holders) to pass the sacramental emblems to the congregation, but obviously even a nonmember can pass the bread and water down the row to someone who wants to partake. Does this mean that a woman could take the sacramental emblems into the mother’s lounge? More generally, what is the role of the priesthood holders in the process?

And this becomes more interesting when you look at the scriptures, where one reading limits the distribution of the sacramental emblems to the priests*—and there’s no scriptural reason for the deacons doing it (though, presumably, it could relate to their responsibility to assist the bishop as needed), nor for restricting the preparation of the sacramental table to the teachers and not the deacons.

When it comes down to it, i’ve often thought that these policies were actually instituted as a means of making early-teen boys feel important, but that’s probably overly cynical for even me.

* See Doctrine and Covenants 20:46,58, where we run into the problem of what precisely administer means.


Butter said...

We were in a ward with LOTS of babies once and they had a woman meet the deacon at the door to the mother's room and she took it in and passed it around and then returned it to the deacon. It was viewed like passing it down the row.

velska said...

I am probably inviting controversy, but I'd say, that you're probably right on your thinking.

As far as I can see from the scriptures,preparing and passing the sacrament could be done by anybody, it's the blessing of the emblems that counts, that needs Priests of the Aaronic Priesthood.

If somebody can point something I overlooked, I'd appreciate.

BTW, lots of what is in the D&C is equivalent to our Church Handbook of Instructions, where we just have current practice defined.