Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

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Joni
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Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by Joni » 23 Apr 2017, 07:07

My son is turning 12 this week. He has an uneasy relationship with the church (largely because of the church's treatment of women/blacks/gays) but he is on board with being ordained to the priesthood. He's not happy about the idea of passing the sacrament every Sunday. He is a smart, non conforming kid and "because I said so" doesn't usually work. He is also high functioning autistic and has ADHD.

Husband is very upset about this , he says there's no point in being a deacon if you don't pass the sacrament.

Thoughts?

amateurparent
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by amateurparent » 23 Apr 2017, 08:49

I'm sitting here remembering and grinning. When my Aspie daughter turned 12, she was asked to be the Beehive secretary. She refused because she did not think that she was up to the challenge. There was lots of eye rolling from leadership. We sat down with the manual and went over the list of requirements. She decided to try the position with the understanding that she could request to be released if she felt overwhelmed.

She was the best secretary they ever had. The president would show up to council meetings and DD had made sure the meeting minutes and Beehive Class History were current and up to date.

YW leadership were actually stunned at DD's level of detail and effort. DD was thrilled to recognize that she was up to leadership positions. She realized that she could handle ANY of the positions.

Maybe tell your son that it's okay to try passing the sacrament. Have him come up and practice his route. Make sure he has an assigned route. As he gets more comfortable, his anxiety will decrease and he might decide that he wants to continue doing it .. or not.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Apr 2017, 11:08

1) Your husband is wrong. If someone in a wheelchair is worthy of being ordained a deacon (or any other office in the hierarchical Priesthood) but unable to participate in ordinances, he shouldn't be kept from being ordained. For example, if someone is paralyzed from the neck down but understands everything well enough, he shouldn't be kept from being a Deacon, Teacher, Priest, Elder, or High Priest. Someone with a severe stutter that keeps him from speaking in public still should be able to be a Priest.

2) These situations are so individual and personal that they have to be evaluated at that level. I would encourage him to be ordained, since he is fine with it, and encourage him to try passing the sacrament after observing closely one particular "route" for a few weeks (length determined together). He needs to be able to try it and continue or stop, based on his own wishes - and that ability to continue or stop should continue throughout his life. I would tell the leadership exactly what the plan is and insist on it being followed.

I think setting this pattern (choosing what to do and how to do it, with the chance to step in and out based on his own choice) will serve him well - and, for your husband, it can be framed as teaching him to be "an agent unto himself".
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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nibbler
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by nibbler » 23 Apr 2017, 11:24

I'd try to accommodate your son's wishes. He's on board with receiving the priesthood but doesn't want to pass the sacrament. He can do that.

I think sometimes we tend to view things backwards at church. In this case... we're ordained to be a deacon... but only when we're ready... except that's not how it works. I think we're ordained to be a deacon, then grow into the "responsibilities" of being a deacon. We become fathers, then grow into the role and responsibilities that come along with being a father. Etc.

So your son wants to be ordained. If he goes ahead and gets ordained now he's ready to go the instant that he feels comfortable to pass the sacrament. Maybe the ordination is what it takes to serve as a catalyst to passing the sacrament.
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dande48
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by dande48 » 23 Apr 2017, 14:20

I agree with much of what has been said before. Let him be ordained, but don't force passing the sacrament. Passing the sacrament is the responsibility of the priesthood as a whole. I am sure your husband doesn't pass the sacrament, and he is under just as much obligation as your son.

There are plenty of valid reasons for refusing to pass. He wants let someone else have the opportunity. He doesn't feel worthy. He has a health problem which prevents it. He has social anxiety. His consience is against it. He simply doesn't want to. They are all equally valid reasons for not passing the sacrament. If your husband is against it, let someone else ordain him.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Apr 2017, 15:53

My son refused the sacrament due the fact that he doesn't like being at church, and if he accepted the priesthood, he would "only get in deeper". We didn't push him and prepared ourselves that he may appear unordained on the Ward records for the rest of his life. With my current issues with the church, I stopped really being concerned about it, and didn't even mention the priesthood when he turned 14 and was teacher age.

At 14, the Bishop asks if he can be approached about being a teacher. My wife, much to my surprise, tells me a major reason for my son is that he didn't want to pass the sacrament. Bishop says fine, he'll coach my son on how to assert himself with the other boys, and that passing won't be expected.

With his sacrament-passing concern resolved, my son agreed to be ordained a teacher. So, the concern about passing is apparently not unique to your son. Respect it.

I think your husband is wrong, like Ray does. Ultimately, let your son decide for himself, and love the heck out of him no matter WHAT he decides. I think the space we gave him was part of the reason he was so willing to be a teacher. He still hates going to church, but he is a teacher now, and willing to prepare the sacrament if people ask him to. He can be a teacher and not pass the sarament if he's not comfortable doing so. Tell your husband that if your son gets the priesthood, he can pass instantly if he feels ready. If he does not receive the priesthood, then he'll have to wait until he gets it.

Plus, in some cases (in my experience), deacons can go hometeaching, which might be a point in favor with your husband if the Bp allows it.

And deacons receive all the "rights priviledges and powers" associated with the office of a deacon. Look them up and see what those are -- being a deacon also means you are a messenger for the Bishop. They can also collect fast offerings, and we did this at church rather than driving them around the Ward...Further, he can be a deacons quorum president or counselor and get leadership experience.

It's also an opportunity for your husband, if he can ordain, to give advice that seems to come from God, which is a source of influence on your boy. The scriptures say that in the ordinances of the gospel, the power of god is manifest. So, in receiving the ordination, your son gets the opportunity to have a spiritual experience, potentially.

Bottom line, let your son have space, and love him, accept him, no matter what his choices. Prepare yourself to accept and love him even if he goes the rest of his life unordained. You can also feel at peace about it. Tell your husband there's more to being a deacon, and participating in ordination than passing the sacrament.

When he's 14, ask again and see what he thinks...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

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DarkJedi
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Apr 2017, 07:54

In our ward we have a mentally handicapped guy who was baptized a couple years ago. Although an adult, he was ordained a deacon because he is clearly unable to bless the sacrament. He does pass, but even though he has been doing it for over a year (he's not there every Sunday) he needs someone to help him remember his "route." He has also been to the temple to do baptisms. He is a deacon and participates as he desires and is able.

I agree with what others have said. The point of being a deacon (or teacher, priest, elder, etc.) is not necessarily just to pass the sacrament. It's bigger than that. Passing the sacrament is not a saving ordinance (neither is serving a mission).

Your son may eventually change his mind, perhaps only because of pressure from his peers or leaders. But either way, I see no reason he shouldn't be ordained just because he doesn't want to pass.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by Roy » 24 Apr 2017, 10:17

Also, the D&C does not mention passing the sacrament as part of the responsibilities of the office of Deacon.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

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SilentDawning
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by SilentDawning » 24 Apr 2017, 13:49

Roy wrote:
24 Apr 2017, 10:17
Also, the D&C does not mention passing the sacrament as part of the responsibilities of the office of Deacon.
Even further, holding the priesthood has the implicit imperative to live worthy of it. So, someone who is unable to serve in ANY WAY in the church, would feel the need to live their life cleanly in order to be worthy of it. I guess it creates a role for them to fill, and the sense that they are authorized to act in the name of God. Whether they do act in the name of God, or not, due to whatever circumstances face them, they do have that sense that they need to be worthy of the mantle....another benefit of being ordained even if no sacrament passing is in the cards for the moment.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Joni
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Re: Son doesn't want to pass the sacrament

Post by Joni » 26 Apr 2017, 03:03

Thanks, everyone. We had the Priesthood Preview last Sunday (there are only two 11-year-old boys in our ward and their birthdays are three weeks apart). The Deacon's quorum president sort of inadvertently made my point for me: he listed about six or eight responsibilities of a deacon, and only one of them involved passing the sacrament. We talked about that on the way home. Arguably, the most important responsibility of a deacon is to stand as a witness of God... which is funny... because my fourteen year old daughter stands up every Sunday and pledges to do that very thing.

I did have to do a little bit of debriefing with DS because several of the speakers mentioned the importance of wearing a white shirt and tie and the church isn't emphasizing that as much (especially since Packer has passed, I think). My own husband who is pretty orthodox has passed the sacrament in a yellow shirt and nobody leapt up to stop him.

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