Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Infallible Authority, Chapter Six

The True Sacrament
by J.J. Dewey
(For the previous chapter, click here. To start this series from the beginning, click here.)

The next terrible step the Nephites took was to “deny the more parts of his gospel.” Now the Church today isn’t doing that, is it?

Is it? Think again. When people deny the truth, do they ever admit that they are denying it? All people at all times maintain they are right - especially religious people. So what parts of the gospel are denied?

To get a clear picture, let us ask ourselves what the Nephites denied? Do you suppose that the Nephites denied that Christ ever came or that revelation was received in the past? A few probably did, but most insisted they were true believers. That was too basic. Do you suppose they denied that the early saints had wrought many miracles and that angels appeared unto many? No. Do you suppose they denied that revelation was possible in their day? Probably not. Then what did they deny?

They denied the gifts of the Holy Ghost when it was manifested in their presence. Those who were devoid of the spirit were resentful of the spiritual gifts manifested through the righteous “and they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them.” (Verse 29) Today members are constantly warned by the authorities to not expect the spectacular and to shy away from it - that this is the devil’s way.

I would say the first vision was pretty spectacular, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t that mean that if you met a man like Joseph Smith today, you would be warned to stay away from him? Be assured it would. Like the Nephites of old, the LDS do not deny that spiritual manifestations can occur, but when they do occur among the saints, they are ridiculed; and if there be any revelation from ordinary members, or non members, it is ridiculed as being from the devil.

Another mistake the Nephites made, which seemed quite harmless to them, yet was abhorred by the prophets, was, “They did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.” (4 Nephi v. 27)

The prophets have always been quite strict concerning the Lord’s body, for those who take the sacrament make up the spiritual body of Christ and if a part of that body is not purified, then it is not in reality the Lord’s body-for He will not claim it and the Spirit will be withheld. This is why the Church was commanded, “The Elders or Priests are to have sufficient time to expound all things concerning the Church of Christ, previous to their partaking of the sacrament.” (D&C 20:68)

Mormon warned, “See that ye partake not of the sacrament unworthily.” (Mormon 9:29) Paul warned, “Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” [Referring to the sleep of death] (I Cor. 11:27-30)

One would think that having strong statements as these before us would induce the Church to keeping the sacrament in order, for who wants to be guilty of the Lord’s body? But to the consternation of all the holy beings in heaven, the Church views these scriptures as if they never were and the sacrament is set up so anyone who does not partake stands out like a sore thumb and thus because of embarrassment many partake against his conscience.

Today, just as in the days of the Nephites, the sacrament is given to all, worthy or not, to the retrogression of their souls, and more especially, the souls of the shepherds who allow it. Just as the abuse of this commandment caused a hampering of the circulation of the spirit of the Lord among the Nephites, so has it among the Latter-Day Saints today.

Many members today who sincerely believe they feel the Spirit at the Sacrament meetings would be amazed at what they would feel if they were to actually experience an outpouring of the living Spirit by renewing their covenants with saints who are pure in heart.

So what is the solution here? Should the authorities regularly interrogate members and watch for iniquity? No. That would amplify the problem.

Instead the church needs to change the situation so no one feels pressure to take the sacrament when they do not feel a desire or inner peace in doing so. As the situation exists now a member stands out like a sore thumb when he does not partake so he takes of it whether he feels like it or not to avoid embarrassment.

There are two possible solutions here.

First, the attendance at the sacrament is viewed by many as a commandment, or at least something that should be accomplished if at all possible.

On the contrary, it is a commandment that members should not partake if they feel uncomfortable in any way about it. Therefore, the authorities should apply no weight of authority around the idea of attending any meeting where the sacrament is passed. Members should feel no pressure to attend a meeting where their sense of guilt may increase rather than decrease.

If anything, members should be encouraged to attend meetings where they learn something. The sacrament should only be partaken of when the member desires it and is in a state of spiritual peace.
Secondly, they should move the sacrament from the beginning of the meeting to the end. Then instead of making the meeting continuous they should have a fifteen minute break before the sacrament is blessed and passed. During this break many who do not take the sacrament seriously would head for home and those who do not feel comfortable in taking it could leave without drawing a lot of suspicion about their unworthiness and thus avoid embarrassment.

The ones who stay and partake would then be those who desire it and are partaking for the sake of communion only.

An even better situation would be to have members meet in small groups in homes with trusted friends in groups of twelve or less to partake and commune with the Spirit. The person would thus have to make an effort to attend and partake, and among friends it is more difficult to pretend that all is well with you when it is not.

The fact is that if a person has a barrier between himself and the Spirit he will not feel much desire to take the sacrament and thus if an effort has to be made to receive it he will generally not make that effort if any guilt is present.

On the other hand, the way it is now, you’d think that all the Latter Day Saints are truly all saints all the time for maybe about one out of a thousand will refuse the pressure to partake of the sacrament worthy or not.

There is a major problem with this approach. A group as a whole can only ascend in the spirit to the level of the weakest link. To obtain the true value of the sacrament the situation must be created so the weak links will bow out through their own free will.

One final thing that needs to be done is to make full use of the symbolism of the sacrament as they did in the time of Christ:
“And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him. 
"And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth. 
"And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat. 
"And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.” (3 Nephi 18:1-4)
Even though water will do the trick if no suitable wine is available, we see that the Master has always used wine when administering the sacrament in the old world as well as the new. In addition he states:
“The hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth…” (D&C 27:5)

Notice that when he comes again that he does not say he will drink water with us as is the case in the church today, but “the fruit of the vine.” Obviously, the Lord prefers decent wine if available for the communion.


Because of the power of symbols. Think of it. All the ordinances are highly symbolic and as such make certain impressions upon the mind that direct our attention toward the spirit. Wine was first used as a sacrament because the color was a symbol of the blood, or the life of Christ, and the satisfying taste represents the fullness that the spirit brings.

An ounce of water just leaves the partaker flat by comparison. It is true that water can be used if decent wine is not available, but in this day and age there is no reason that we cannot have wine to drink that is not made by an “enemy,” as the scripture says.

There is something else of importance to note. Notice that after Jesus blessed the sacrament that he does not give it to the whole group, but first to his twelve disciples. The reason he did this was he was sure that these twelve were close to the Spirit and that when they, as a small group, partook of the sacrament that there was no weakest link and that they would be filled with the Spirit. Then after the Spirit descended, these twelve gave the sacrament to the multitude.

What does this tell us?

It teaches us that those who pass the sacrament should not be young boys with no thought of spiritual matters on their mind, but spirit infused mature disciples of the Master.

Brigham Young agreed:
“I dare not even call a man to be a deacon, ...unless he has a family.' It is not the business of an ignorant young man, of no experience in family matters to inquire into the circumstances of families....” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 89.)
A final thing to note is this. The Book of Mormon tells us that the Nephites ate and drank until they “were filled.”

History tells us that early Christians did the same thing.

Is there a difference in effect between eating a bite of bread and eating until you are satisfied? Is there a difference between drinking a swallow of water and a full glass of wine?

There is a big difference. Eating and drinking to a fullness is a symbol of ascending to the fullness of the Spirit in obtaining the stature of Christ. A fulfilling sacrament gives the member a much greater opportunity to contemplate for a longer more intensive period as he eats and drinks.

There is always a symbolic truth to be learned from the actions of a people. What is the meaning of changing the sacrament from eating bread and drinking wine until one is full to taking a swallow of tasteless water and a tiny piece of bread?

The meaning is obvious. Instead of being filled with the quality taste of the spirit, as symbolized by good wine, they are given a swallow of tasteless water symbolizing that little spirit and no discernment of quality is there.

Instead of eating bread (the body of Christ) until full they take less than a bite leaving them yet hungering for the true presence and work of Christ.

May we all partake of the body of Christ by being one with the body of Christ and drink of His One Spirit.

-Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
(To continue to the next chapter, click here.)

[A note from Rock about leaving comments: Many readers have posted as "Anonymous" even though they don't wish to, only because they see no other option. If you don't have a Google, Wordpress, or other username among those listed, you can enter a username in the dropdown box that reads "Name/URL."  Put your name in the "Name" box, ignore the request for a URL, and you should be good to go.
I have a pretty firm policy of never censoring or deleting comments.  If your comment does not immediately appear, it probably means it is being held in the spam filter, which seems to lock in arbitrarily on some posts for reasons I can't fathom.  If you have submitted a comment and it doesn't immediately show up, give me a nudge at and I'll knock it loose. -Rock]


Matthew said...

"There is a major problem with this approach. A group as a whole can only ascend in the spirit to the level of the weakest link. To obtain the true value of the sacrament the situation must be created so the weak links will bow out through their own free will."

This bit really rubbed me the wrong way.

Life is not The Weakest Link - we are saved together or not at all. The idea that we should encourage those who struggle to bow out is just wrong, and I cannot see a spiritual outpouring as a result of such actions.

In the end, only One is worthy - the rest of us are sinners in need of forgiveness and repentance. We are not judged, cannot be judged by what we accomplish because everything we do is imperfect and falls short of the glory of God.

The Atonement of Christ is free for the asking - He stands at the door and knocks, and when we open it, we have access to His Grace, which is sufficient to save.

There is no link so weak it cannot be made strong, no link so flawed it cannot be made perfect. Denying the sacrament to others, while retaining it for ourselves is missing the whole point of it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I didn't take from that piece the meaning that you did, Matthew. It has nothing to do with not being worthy of God's grace, in my opinion.

Taylor said...

Matthew I see your point. I wanted to side track for a second and discuss what you brought up. The whole weakest link thing didn't jive with me either. It lacked something and left me feeling empty. (Overall I liked this chapter, but did want to take this tangent for a second)

This statement "A group as a whole can only ascend in the spirit to the level of the weakest link" is true in a way, but also very misleading. Here's why I think that:

The weakest link implies that we are dependent on the group for our spirituality. Otherwise we wouldn't need to be evaluating who was limiting us. But all of us deep down know no one stands in between us and the Lord. Seeing people as links could cause us to look down on, or kick out the weakest rather than minister to them. This would be done of course "for the good of the group". But that is misleading.

You cannot care for someone else in the same way when your own salvation is not secure. Being secure in your own salvation frees you to behave towards others in a way you previously couldn't. In that light other people limit no one but themselves. Christ spent much of his ministry among those who could be called "weakest links".

Salvation is not a group experience anyway, it's individual. Communion or fellowship may be done with other believers but in the end "those other folks" can't earn you blessings can they? No..., so neither can their behavior deny you blessings you claim through faith. So the sacrament is a personal meeting. Each person has their own experience which may be different than the overall group.

Most of the prophets in the book of Mormon lived among folks headed down a dark path. But despite their surroundings, and the prevailing iniquity they were able to draw near unto the Lord. The group never held Mormon or any number of BOM prophets back, despite living among people they describe as savages.

A group as a whole may be slow in their collective progress, but so what? Salvation is individual. If the individual can secure for him/herself all the blessings of the Gospel than it would seem only someone who is deriving their spirituality from the collective group will feel limited by "weak links". My opinion anyway. Hope I'm not distracting from the chapters on infallible authority. I'm enjoying the chapters but felt the need to sidetrack here.

And on a totally unrelated note, I wish we still used wine for the sacrament :).

Brokenbyclouds said...

Loved loved loved the end bit relating eating and drinking to full and being spiritually hungry.

Zo-ma-rah said...

I think perhaps the use of the term weakest link may have been a poor choice. But I agree with his ideas.

"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.”

It should be up to the individual to decide if s/he is worthy or not. I find that both of his solution are exactly what the ancient church practiced and what I believe must occur in the future. We must start meeting in smaller home groups. Also the Sacrament was partaken of after the Agape meal.

Interesting thoughts Taylor. And I agree that we each individually can go to whatever level the Lord wants us to. The point of the church is to edify each other and manifest the spiritual gifts.

And I liked Matthews reminder, "In the end, only One is worthy - the rest of us are sinners in need of forgiveness and repentance."

I thought of one more solution to add, Stop being judgmental of people who don't partake of the sacrament!

Another issue in Mormon culture is parents forcing/allowing their children under eight to partake of the sacrament. This is probably one of the issues that started me on my spiritual journey. I understand that young children are not accountable for sins. But the scriptures teach that unbaptized people should not partake of the sacrament.

So what we do is not allow my 2 year old daughter to partake of the sacrament. But we always whisper in her ear about the importance and meaning of the sacrament. Sometimes I will tell her that at this church they don't administer it properly.

For me it is better to teach my daughter about following the scriptures and the importance of the sacrament. Rather than follow the cultural norm and allow my child to "practice" partaking of the sacrament(or eight years) so that when they are baptized they will already be in the habit.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm inclined to Zomarah's view here. Recall that Dewey's suggestion that the sacrament should be held in a separate meeting, not in order to have a special gathering of the worthier members, as it were, but to save those who might feel uncomfortable were they to abstain from taking the sacrament feeling all eyes were upon them.

Indeed, any person who does not feel like he should take the sacrament on a given Sunday would and should be the only judge of that. It's not meant to be exclusionary. But as Dewey says, today someone who may not feel particularly inclined to take the sacrament, often takes it anyway in order not to look out of place.

I recall being told that one of the functions of the bishop is to sit on the stand and keep an eye out for anyone not taking the sacrament so that he can later bring that person into his office to find out what's wrong.

I think this in itself is wrong, and promotes the idea that the bishop is in charge of us.

A person's reasons on a given day for skipping the sacrament are his alone. The very fact that the bishop is policing the congregation would be reason enough for some to just go ahead and partake, rather than raise a red flag.

So again, Dewey's suggestion is not to separate us, but to protect all the member's privacy. The sacrament is one of those things that should be highly personal, which is why my wife and I have long had the sacrament at home. It has more meaning, and we follow the scriptural admonition to eat and drink our fill. I usually buy some kind of lump loaf that we tear off and eat in chunks. We are resolved also to begin using red wine.

LDSAnarchy has addressed this topic at length, by the way. He usually reads this blog, so I invite him to provide the links to the pertinent posts here.

Tyler said...

acknowledging that among a group of people there are going to be people who are less righteous and people who are more righteous is not the same as judging individuals as if you were God himself.

Ultimately it comes down to spiritual progression. If person A through life's experience, study and personal revelation has come to a deep understanding, connection and spiritual attachment to the Sacrament and its importance to his covenants and Person B has not, then in a situation where A is attempting to commune with the spirit, B can certainly interfere. Hence B is called by Dewey the "weakest link". The idea that we can't be discerning intelligent individuals when faced with the faults and weaknesses of others and not be classified as judgmental is one of the reasons why we have ended up in this situation in the first place. I'm sure even making that statement is going to convince people that I'm an arrogant , self-righteous bastard who simple judges people and casts them aside, which is rather ironic if you think about it.

While its often stated that our salvation and our relationship with Christ and God are personal, I feel this cannot be completely accurate. We have a responsibility to others, so while our progression is inherently personal, it is very dependent on those around us. I'm not suggesting that the statements made by other commenters are wrong, I'm simple expanding on their opinions with my own.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I think that's well said, Tyler.

I wouldn't even categorize it as a question of there being some who are less righteous, and others who are more righteous. I'd say all of us are on different parts of the path, but wherever we are, we are on our own perfect paths. It isn't a competition, and "righteousness" is a word that is often misconstrued. It doesn't mean holy and pious, it merely means heading in the "right" direction.

I recall looking around at church and assuming that everyone else had it all together, while I must be that rare individual who had struggles in life. I now realize that the structure of our programs do not allow for the admission of weakness.

Testimonies are bourne by one member after another affirming that they KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, etc. Who is going to feel they can step forward securely and admit they DON'T know? It would invite judgment from all the others, and no one wants to stick out like that. Better to go along, take the sacrament like everybody else, and not stand out.

Dead Poet said...

I disagree with quite a lot of this chapter. I personally would not take the Sacrament if I felt unworthy, whether I was worried about what those around me might think or not. No one is watching me anyway. My husband has skipped taking it a couple different times in our marriage as well and when I would ask him why, he would politely tell me it was none of my business. And I had a friend who didn't take it for 5 or more years, but still attended church. While he did worry about what his friends that he sat with would think, he knew it was more important to not take it when he was unworthy. (He was a teenager during this, the time when what your peers think is usually far more important than the state of your soul.) And I think most members feel that way. If you see a lot of people taking sacrament, then it is better to assume that they feel they are worthy to take it, than to assume that many are taking it unworthily. Who are we to judge if someone is worthy or not? That is between them and God.

I also disagree with taking the sacrament in small groups in homes. While I love the idea of meeting in smaller groups, I don't love the idea that if I did skip the sacrament, everyone really would know it, and then there would be a very real chance that everyone would want to know why, when it really isn't anyone's business. Again, why I'm not taking the sacrament is between me and God.

I also disagree with switching out the water for wine again. I don't see anything wrong with using wine in the Sacrament, and I've often wondered why it was switched (I just assumed it happened when it was decided that alcohol was bad), but what if there is someone in the congregation that is a recovering alcoholic, or is allergic to wine? There would be no alternative for them, and they would have to skip it even if they are worthy to take it (not that I believe God would withhold any blessings from them in that situation. I'm not a fan of the theory that you lose blessings for not performing one of the rituals perfectly and exactly. We're human, and we can't do anything perfectly, and if that's the requirement to receive those blessings, than where does grace, mercy and the Atonement come in?). Also, I don't want my young children drinking wine, and with the way sacrament is currently done, it would be impossible for there to be a separate tray of say, grape juice for children. I know that the bread always being some form of wheat bread is an issue for the many people out there that have Celiac's disease, or a gluten intolerance. I'm not sure how that is supposed to be handled.

As for eating and drinking until you are full, I have never been to any church that interprets that to mean literally. It has always been interpreted to mean full of the Spirit, and you can easily get that through a symbolic piece of bread and a sip of water or wine.


Dead Poet said...

I also don't like the idea of there being a separate meeting for the taking of the Sacrament by worthy members only. That 15 minute break where those who do not want to participate and those who feel they can't would turn into a walk of shame. There would be a fantastically good chance that those who stayed would start to feel above those that don't, and would start to judge them. Judging others for their personal choices is already a huge problem in our church, and this would just provide yet another opportunity for Satan to plant the wrong things in people's minds. It would just be way too obvious who was there and who wasn't. Besides that, I don't believe that Christ would turn away anyone who was unworthy to take the Sacrament, because we are all unworthy. When I joined, I was taught that the sacrament was offered as a renewal of our baptismal covenant to take His name upon us and to try again to do better at following His commandments. It was a chance to be forgiven of our sins as long as we were repentant of them. If the requirement is that we already have to be worthy and clean to take the Sacrament, then NO ONE should be taking it, and EVERYONE would be out blessings and the chance for a clean slate. Christs table is all inclusive, and nobody should be excluded, ever, for any reason. Even children under the age of 8. Do you really think God is horrified that children who can't sin are taking the sacrament? They can't sin, there will be no judgement on them, or their parents, for them taking it before 8. Now, for someone older than 8, who is investigating the church and has not taken those covenants yet, that's different, and that can be sticky. It should be clearly explained to them why they can't take it yet (they haven't made the initial covenant yet), but it rarely is, because many people get offended that they are being turned away from the Lords table, while being taught that He doesn't turn anyone away. I know that the missionaries never explained that to me, and I took the sacrament because that's what I thought you did. I think other denominations have it right; they don't turn anyone away, and if they are unworthy to take it (if it's even possible to be totally worthy) than God will withhold the Spirit from them alone, not everyone else. The Gospel is all about personal salvation and your personal relationship with Christ and God. It is not about group salvation. Others will not lose blessings, or the promptings of the Spirit, due to one person in the group doing something wrong.

Dead Poet said...

"We have a responsibility to others, so while our progression is inherently personal, it is very dependent on those around us."

Tyler, I respectfully disagree. Example: someone I trust told me that I can not dye my hair purple if I want to because that would be distracting to others in the temple, and it is my responsibility to not be distracting so that they can learn what they need to learn while there. I believed him for a long time, but it really grated on me. I finally did what I should have done in the first place, and prayed about what he said. My answer was that what he believes is not true. I have no responsibility to others and their temple experience. If my hair is distracting to them, that is their own issue to work out. My friend did not hinder my progression by telling me this, but I did because I did not pray about it as soon as I had the chance; I took it at face value. Our progression is only hindered or moved forward by what we do with what we are told, not by what other people do with what they learn.

Also, I don't think you are an arrogant, judgmental bastard. You just have a different opinion.

Matthew said...

"If the requirement is that we already have to be worthy and clean to take the Sacrament, then NO ONE should be taking it, and EVERYONE would be out blessings and the chance for a clean slate."

This is what I was trying to get at Dead Poet. You put it very well here.

As far as the individual nature of salvation - Christ desires ALL to come unto Him, and as we become like Him, so should our desires match that. Our salvation comes individually, yes, but inherent in that salvation is a unity of heart and mind with our fellow beings - thus I said that we cannot be saved alone.

Tyler said...

Dead Poet:

Each of our actions do effect others and their actions DO effect me and while it is my responsibility and decision to act and react to what they do in a way of my own choosing, a recognition of that is essential if we are to make eternal progress. Even if, in its most simple form. Recognition that my worthiness is not subject to the judgement of others, which is exactly what God was telling you when you asked about your hair. Ultimately though you have proven my point. Had that man never accosted you with is asinine statement of total foolishness (imo), you never would have been "grated" and never would have turned to the Lord to find out for yourself. Hence the statement. Our progress is personal, but it is VERY dependent on those around us. I doubt very much that if we live in an austere world all by ourselves we would make much eternal progress.

I don't think it is possible to disconnect our personal journey of salvation from the nature of our social existence.

Dead Poet said...


I see your point. Unfortunately I can't clearly put my thoughts to words at the moment, but I think we are now on the same page. Oh, and I also think that my friend was asinine and foolish when he said what he did. In fact, I'm not entirely sure why I'm friends with him, because he frequently says things like that (not always to me, but general stupid statements).

Anonymous said...

well, now, this is interesting.

I can't comment on all of it, because it's too long, but I will say that:

if a separate sacrament meeting is held for those who feel worthy to partake, the same people who always think they are right, who "look good on paper", will be there. The sociopaths. LOL! Those who never think they are worth much and really crave salvation will never show up to take the sacrament.


Honestly, there are many people in the church whom we used to call "character disordered". These are people who are generally very successful in the world, because they know how to dissemble. Today the term generally used is sociopathic. This doesn't mean that they will go around wantonly killing others or breaking laws, it only means they have mastered the art of subtlety and hypocrisy. They are modern day Pharisees. They would always be at the sacrament meeting with a smile on their face, while the person who goes over his/her week as to misbehaviors with a fine-toothed comb would seldom participate.

Then, those with lack of true integrity and character would feel even more inflated about themselves and their successes and look down even more on those who really want to be worthy when they partake and might expect a higher standard from themselves.

And, in this process, you have a situation very similar to the one that exists in the church now. Those who appraise themselves earnestly and are striving to work out their salvation "with fear and trembling" are often at the mercy of those who really don't give a care but look very, very good on the outside.

Some of us are already pariah; don't demand that we miss out on the sacrament also. (said with earnest humor)

If any have experienced true rejection in the church for "innocence", then he/she will understand, I hope.

Anonymous said...

i think the premise of this article is wrong. I'm not sure anyone feels embarrassment about not partaking the sacrament. This argument in a straw man.

Jon said...

i think the premise of this article is wrong. I'm not sure anyone feels embarrassment about not partaking the sacrament. This argument in a straw man.

I have.

Rock Waterman said...

Me too. Especially as a young man. I felt all eyes were on me.

Haykakan said...

When I was younger I left the church in favor of the booze, pot, and loose women found on most college campuses. The only times I would go to church would be with my family during academic breaks. At these times (despite my nonchalance about the church) I still felt like I shouldn't take the sacrament, so I didn't. After having a big change of heart and beginning the repentance process, I still didn't take the sacrament in the church for over a year. To be honest, I didn't give a damn what the other people in the congregation thought (if anything) about my not taking the sacrament. I was more interested in becoming spiritually right with my God than I was about the opinions of the peanut gallery. I don't say this to be boastful. I freely admit to times when I have taken the sacrament even when I felt I shouldn't because I was more worried about the opinions of man than God. It is what it is.

Regardless of one's feelings about the proper way to administer the sacrament, you have to admit that the current system forces the individual to decide whether or not they will make their decision based on the Spirit or on the opinions of man. (Phew, sorry about the run-on sentence.)

All that being said, I could not agree more about the symbolism of the Sacrament being so much more powerful when one is filled with bread and wine compared to a pinch of bread and sip of water. Anyone have any insight on the history of the Church shifting from wine to water after D&C 27?

Dan said...

"Today members are constantly warned by the authorities to not expect the spectacular and to shy away from it - that this is the devil’s way."

So true! Just yesterday I was telling a LDS friend how spiritual gifts are almost completely absent from the church and how it was my desire to receive spiritual gifts from God so that I can bless the lives of others. I was telling this friend how I believe most talk about spiritual gifts today is just cop-out after cop-out. You know, like, "missionaries receive the gift of tongues" or "I got a blessing and I felt better...three days later". These are NOT gifts of the Spirit.

After I talked about these kinds of things for a while, this friend started to seriously worry about me! It was as if I were telling this friend that I didn't believe in God anymore. Many people unfortunately believe that God just doesn't work many miracles today because people don't "need" them maybe like they used to. So sad!