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Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 01 Jun 2015, 23:14
by hawkgrrrl
Scrupulosity is the modern-day medical diagnosis that corresponds to a traditional use of the term scruples in a religious context to mean obsessive concern with one's own sins and compulsive performance of religious devotion.

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 04:44
by nibbler
I believe that we create our own symbols.

Our way of blessing and administering the sacrament is very different from other churches but each method for performing the ritual is rich in symbolism. For instance, some people highlight the fact that the bread was blessed before it was broken. Breaking the bread before it is blessed might "destroy" the symbolism people find in blessing the bread before it is broken.

Most churches use grape juice and some have argued that using water removes many symbols from the ritual.
1) Supposedly grapes can only survive because they hang together on the vine in bunches, grapes wither and die if they're on the vine in isolation.
2) There are many references in the bible to fruit of the vine, the vine symbolism isn't retained when we use water. There are even some mentions of the "blood of the grape:"
Genesis 49:11 wrote:Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Deuteronomy 32:14 wrote:Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
Sirach 50:13-15 wrote:All Aaron’s sons were in their glory, and they held the Lord’s offering in their hands in front of the entire assembly of Israel. When he was finishing his service at the altar, after he had arranged an offering to the Most High, the almighty, he stretched out his hand for the cup used for drink offerings and he poured a libation of wine. He poured it out at the base of the altar, a pleasing aroma to the Most High, the king of all.
3) The interesting thing about wine... you have to be moderate when consuming it. A little wine, no biggie; a lot of wine, inebriation. Perhaps a hidden symbol warning against fanaticism?

Some churches will administer the sacrament by dipping bread in grape juice, where both emblems are taken at the same time. Some churches have the congregation approach the sacrament as opposed to passing. Some churches make it a point to use unleavened bread because leaven symbolizes sin. Different symbols can be found in different practices, that's not to say that any one way is wrong and another right, we're cafeteria symbolists after all. ;)

According to the D&C the lord doesn't have a problem with people creating their own symbols.
For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.
Perhaps a person that is left handed finds more meaning in using their dominant hand to take the sacrament, thus creating their own symbol.

We're going to destroy or create our own symbols no matter how we end up performing the ritual. Perhaps that's another casualty of correlation. We miss out on new symbols and meaning by insisting on homogeneous worship.
LookingHard wrote:This week I intentionally took the sacrament with my left hand - not to be a rable-rouser, but just to make myself think more about what I was doing.
Me too. ;) I took it a step further, I watched other people that were in my line of sight take the sacrament. :think: Not counting myself one other person took the bread with their left hand (DW, and she didn't know I was keeping score. It was one of those situations where the tray was passed and secured with the right hand and the left was the only free hand). There were 5 people that took the water with their left hand. Nothing major, I just thought I'd play the part of social anthropologist.

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 06:36
by nibbler
I should back up a step. We don't really have a say in whether the bread used is leavened, broken pre-blessing, or whether we use wine/grape juice. We do get to decide which hand to use and if someone finds more meaning in exclusively using their right hand then there's nothing wrong with that. For me the rub is when we start to decide what actions other people should be taking and what meaning they should be deriving from those actions... said in the context of an ordinance which is largely defined for us. ;)

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 13:38
by Heber13
Why do we put our right hand over our heart when we pledge allegiance to the flag?

I never understood why...but I was always told to do it. I think it has become etiquette, hasn't it?

Isn't that the same discussion as the sacrament? Or different?

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 13:50
by On Own Now
For perspective... I get a lot of my Catholic understanding from an faithful and active Parishioner who I work with. We've had a number of chats over the years, and it's been very enlightening. It's always so interesting to hear the parallels. Anyway, I asked him about this topic... here is an abridged version:

On Own Now: In my "congregation" recently, we've been talking about which hand to use for different things, like the Sacrament, and I wanted to get your take on it.
Catholic Friend: Sure, no problem.
OON: So, you always make the sign of the cross with the right hand?
CF: Yes.
OON: What if you walk into the church and you are holding a baby in your right arm, do you just do it with your left hand?
CF: No, I switch the baby to the other arm.
OON: Why do you use the right hand?
CF: I don't know, it's just the way we do it. It's kind of like saluting with your right hand or shaking hands or covering your heart. We just always do it with the right hand. I suppose the reason probably has something to do with Jesus being on the right hand of God or something along those lines.
OON: Do they teach you to do it that way?
CF: Yes. From the time you are little.
OON: So, if you noticed that one of your kids was doing it with the left hand...
CF: We'd show them the right way to do it. Or maybe we didn't notice, but they were in Sunday School and they did it wrong, someone might let us know so we could correct it.
OON: How about Communion, how does that work? Does the priest place it in your mouth?
CF: They no longer do that as much. Nowadays, they place it in your one hand and you use the other to take it and put in in your mouth.
OON: Which hand do you use for that?
CF: You use your dominant hand. They put the wafer in the other hand and you take it to your mouth with your dominant hand. In my case, I'm left-handed, so I take it with my left hand. My wife is right-handed, so she takes it with her right hand.
OON: So, are you supposed to use the dominant hand all the time, or can you just use either-or?
CF: Well, that's the way I was taught... to use the dominant hand... all that long time ago, but it's not like any one is following you around and watching. There're not going to say, "Hey wait a minute, I saw that man signing a check with his other hand. What the hell?" [then my friend mimics taking the guy out back for a punching out].

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 16:28
by Curt Sunshine
As I like to say regularly, our issues are not our issues only.

We like to think we are truly unique in many ways, but we aren't. In a few ways, we probably are - but they are far fewer than most members think.

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 02 Jun 2015, 21:54
by Heber13
On Own Now wrote:There're not going to say, "Hey wait a minute, I saw that man signing a check with his other hand. What the hell?" [then my friend mimics taking the guy out back for a punching out].
Mormons would never do that.

They would be way more passive aggressive and have the member of the bishopric talk over the pulpit to not name any names but to point out that everyone in the congregation should listen to a lecture on taking the sacrament with the right hand because a few people occasionally take it with their left...but not pointing the finger or naming names...just vaguely and indirectly guilting everyone in general about the critical nature of this being the "most important thing you could ever do", and that if it is not corrected to take the sacrament with exactness, next you know it we'll be having donuts and coffee...because it is a slippery slope, some story about white water rapids and the strong currents, and then a scientific fact about boiling frogs slowly. :twisted:

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 04 Jun 2015, 18:33
by journeygirl
I'm probably too late to this party, but it actually affects half my family. I'm ambidextrous, so honestly I never think about which hand does what unless someone points it out to me. I usually take the bread and water with whichever hand is closest or most accessible, as I often do with other things. My son is left-handed. I don't want to make him feel like being left-handed is something negative (which I know could come up in school anyway), so I definitely don't plan to ever tell him to use his right hand instead. I was never taught to use my right hand but heard it once, and thought it was some rumor type of thing. I didn't know there were so many quotes supporting it.

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 06 Jun 2015, 18:02
by Katzpur
An update from me...

Last Sunday was the 5th Sunday of May, and whenever we have a fifth Sunday, we meet as a combined Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society. Sometimes the bishop or someone in the bishopric teaches the lesson, but this time it was a member of the High Priests group leadership. And guess what the lesson was on? The sacrament. I leaned over and whispered to my husband that if one single solitary word was said about the sacrament having to be taken with the right hand, I was going to get up and walk out. I just didn't think I could deal with it actually being taught to essentially all of the adults in the ward as "official doctrine." As it turned out, the teacher gave an outstanding lesson and didn't even allude to which hand was the "acceptable" one with which to take the sacrament. Whew!

Just before the meeting started, I'd seen the bishop in the hall and was about to mention the whole "discussion" my husband and the High Priests' counselor had had the week before, when who should suddenly appear right next to the bishop but the Right-Hand-Police-Chief himself. So, I never got to mention it to him at all. I am hoping the whole thing blows over and nothing more is said about it.

If the Right-Hand-Police-Chief knew that my husband and I are going to be marching with "Mormons Building Bridges" in Salt Lake's pride parade tomorrow, the whole sacrament issue would probably take on a whole new lack of significance. :lol:

Re: Taking the Sacrament with Your Right Hand

Posted: 07 Jun 2015, 10:38
by Roy
Katzpur wrote:my husband and I are going to be marching with "Mormons Building Bridges" in Salt Lake's pride parade tomorrow
Good for you Katzpur! :thumbup: