Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

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nibbler
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by nibbler » 27 May 2015, 09:28

Ugh, in searching I found more support for using your right hand. One thing is for sure, it's not a subject that comes up officially very often.

In the spirit of knowing what you're up against:
George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1908 wrote:Our people have been taught to take the sacrament with the right hand; we believe that is appropriate, and proper, and acceptable to our Father. The sacrament should not be accepted with a gloved hand; nobody should receive it in that irreverent manner.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3 wrote:It is the custom to extend the right hand in token of fellowship. The right hand is called the dexter, and the left, the sinister; dexter means right and sinister means left. Dexter, or right, means favorable or propitious. Sinister is associated with evil, rather than good, Sinister means perverse. We take the sacrament with the right hand. We sustain the authorities with the right hand. We make acknowledgment with the right hand raised.
The quote from hawkgrrrl is also from Joseph Fielding Smith so there's a little contradiction, for me it's unclear what in his laundry list of customs represents things that should be continued as best practice and what is paving the way toward apostasy.

http://www.lds.org/liahona/1983/07/ques ... nd-answers

There's a general consensus, citing scripture, that the right hand is the "covenant hand." Many references don't come right out and say you can't take the sacrament with the left hand but they do lean heavily toward "Take the sacrament with your right hand. You know... if you want to show reverence."


Image
These aren't the quotes you are looking for. But you should probably be prepared for these points to be raised. You might get more traction by visiting the church handbook, which outlines the sacrament dos and don'ts and place the burden on the person attempting to institute additional rules.

Not to derail, but back in the day I wondered why deacons were necessary to pass the sacrament. If there's no problem with non priesthood holders passing the tray down the pew then why do we require a deacon to carry it from the table to the pew? Seems like anyone could perform that duty. I mean, if you want to get all technically bureaucratic about it maybe have the deacons shimmying down the pews or only have a priesthood holder hold the trays out for other people as the tray makes its way down the pew.

Another derail now that passing the sacrament is on my mind, I like some of the symbolism in the way other churches do their sacrament. People come up to the front of the church to partake in the sacrament. It's a real come unto Jesus moment. Our approach is to bring Jesus to the people (missionary theme I suppose). Each method has its merits and symbolism.

I'll occasionally take the sacrament and even do sustainings with my left hand, not out of defiance, either out of convenience or to remind myself that it's not the most important aspect of the ritual, at least for me.
It is the end of the world. Surely you could be allowed a few carnal thoughts.
― Connie Willis

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 May 2015, 09:37

I actually have had people say that the sacrament should be passed and taken with the right hand - not very many, but not just my father-in-law. I almost always have responded by saying:
So, if someone is missing their right hand, is that person not allowed to pass or take the sacrament?


Nobody agrees with that restriction, and only a one or two has tried to continue the argument. I simply smile and say to them:
So, we both agree that it is not eternal doctrine that the sacrament must or should be done with the right hand, and the handbook of instructions doesn't say it is required or even suggested. That means it is cultural and tradition, since the vast majority of people are right-handed. If you want to take it with your right hand because that adds meaning for you, I'm cool with that. Just don't tell my left-handed daughter that she is sinning or participating incorrectly just because she, like you, uses her dominant hand. You are doing the exact same thing, just with different hands.


Also, Deacons pass the sacrament because leaders wanted them to have something to do. The handbook makes it clear that the person who blesses the sacrament could hand it to anyone and it could be passed around the group in any way, as long as the process is respectful and doesn't detract from the sacredness of the ordinance. Every hand that touches it other than the one who blesses it currently can be female, and they can pass it among themselves in any manner - even having one of them do what Deacons do now.

Most members don't understand that simply because most members don't actually think about it in any depth.
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Katzpur
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Katzpur » 27 May 2015, 10:31

nibbler wrote:Ugh, in searching I found more support for using your right hand. One thing is for sure, it's not a subject that comes up officially very often.
I know. I was kind of surprised to find those when I was researching the subject last night. The quotes were troublesome, simply because there were quite a number of them. Still, it just doesn't make sense to me that we would not find this anywhere in the scriptures if it were truly doctrine. And when you hear talks in Conference about the Sacrament, never is this "rule" even mentioned.
In the spirit of knowing what you're up against:
George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1908 wrote:Our people have been taught to take the sacrament with the right hand; we believe that is appropriate, and proper, and acceptable to our Father. The sacrament should not be accepted with a gloved hand; nobody should receive it in that irreverent manner.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3 wrote:It is the custom to extend the right hand in token of fellowship. The right hand is called the dexter, and the left, the sinister; dexter means right and sinister means left. Dexter, or right, means favorable or propitious. Sinister is associated with evil, rather than good, Sinister means perverse. We take the sacrament with the right hand. We sustain the authorities with the right hand. We make acknowledgment with the right hand raised.
The quote from hawkgrrrl is also from Joseph Fielding Smith so there's a little contradiction, for me it's unclear what in his laundry list of customs represents things that should be continued as best practice and what is paving the way toward apostasy.
I ran across hawkgrrrl's quote last night on my own (the one from Joseph Fielding Smith that condemns legalism). Clearly, he felt one way at one time and another way at another time. Still "Doctrines of Salvation" is no more canonical than "Mormon Doctrine" or "The Journal of Discourses" is.
I'll occasionally take the sacrament and even do sustainings with my left hand, not out of defiance, either out of convenience or to remind myself that it's not the most important aspect of the ritual, at least for me.
Since I"m right-handed, I will typically take it with my right hand. However, let's say there was a big empty space in the pew between me and the people closest to me. I might slide across the seat and meet the person who was passing the sacrament to me midway. I'd probably take the whole tray with my right hand since it's heavy enough that I feel more confident that I won't drop it if I'm holding it with my right hand. Then, rather than change hands, I'll just take the Sacrament with my left hand.

The way I see it, people don't do a very good job of thinking of two things at once. I don't typically have to think about taking the sacrament with my right hand, but a left-hander (especially a child) would probably have to keep reminding himself that when the tray reaches him, he's got to take the bread or water with the right hand. If he's doing that, he's not going to be fully focused on what he's supposed to be focused on.

The funny thing is that in our ward this past Sunday, the Relief Society and Priesthood lesson was from the "Teachings for Our Times" lessons, i.e. the Conference talks. I taught the Relief Society one. Anyway, for all of us -- men and women -- it was the talk called "The Music of the Gospel." It was about how we need to concern ourselves less with the things we "do" and more with what we "are." The things we do were compared to "doing the dance steps" and what we are was compared to "hearing the music." So, what I'm getting out of this whole thing that came up in my husband's High Priests presidency meeting is that it's critical that we not mess up the dance steps. Hearing the music is clearly secondary.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Minyan Man » 27 May 2015, 10:42

I have arthritis in both hands. Sometimes I have to take the sacrament with both hands or I run the risk of dropping it.
Other than strange, what does that say about me? Frankly, I've never cared what others think about me or my personal customs.

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Heber13
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Heber13 » 27 May 2015, 11:59

Katzpur wrote:quite a few members took it with their LEFT HAND!!!!! :o He said that the members need to be informed how wrong this is.
I would have such little patience to have such a discussion about such a thing with anyone.

If this dude wants to stand before people and make his announcement about how "wrong" it is...I would let him, but I would never participate in such announcements and would probably use my left hand every week thereafter.

Some people really like nit-picky things as a sign of importance and devotion. Let them have it. If such a thing were doctrine...that would be a stupid doctrine to me.

(Hi Katzpur! Good to see ya :wave: )
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Katzpur
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Katzpur » 27 May 2015, 12:10

Heber13 wrote:(Hi Katzpur! Good to see ya :wave: )
Thank you! I didn't think anybody here even knew me. :P You know, I've been posting for six years, but don't have all that many posts. I do love this site, though. Sometimes when I get feeling so frustrated with the Mollies and Peters, and get to thinking that I must be a really bad person to feel the way I do about things, I know I can always stop by StayLDS and will find support from other "bad people" like me. I love you guys. :thumbup:
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

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mom3
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by mom3 » 27 May 2015, 12:54

Katzpur I totally remember you. I can even name off topics you have brought up - nylons, beards, Wow. It's always great when you drop by. You bring good discussions to the table.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Roy » 27 May 2015, 14:09

mom3 wrote:Katzpur I totally remember you. I can even name off topics you have brought up - nylons
Yup me too! Nylons were what came to my mind. Outdated rules about bare legs not being modest (as opposed to legs in nylons). Thankfully that is not the norm now.

We love you right back Katzpur! Keep keepin it real at church. :P
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“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

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 May 2015, 14:17

You didn't think anyone here even knew you?

It's terrible to have a bad memory. :P :silent: ;)
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Post by hawkgrrrl » 27 May 2015, 18:14

I suggest we forego hands altogether and just bury our faces in the tray like bobbing for apples.

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