In the colonies, the stormtroopers are starting to lay down the law

A while ago I reported concerning the dearth of white shirts in a certain continental European ward (“In the colonies, the locals quietly rebel against imperial attire“).

My spy in the ward sends the following update:

Ever since Ward Council this week, the Ward’s tradition of eschewing the white-shirted uniform of the priesthood has been under attack by a well-meaning Elder from Germany. He was disappointed by the dearth of white shirts behind the sacrament table and, going a step further than most proponents of the priesthood uniform, even suggested that the black tie he saw wrapped around an unsuspecting priest’s neck was more appropriate for a funeral, as if it were a bad thing, apparently forgetting Elder Packer when he said “I know of no meeting where the congregation is in a better state of readiness to receive revelation and inspiration from a speaker than they are at a funeral.”

To be fair to the unfortunate among us, he did offer to donate the stash of white shirts from apartments around the mission to supply any priesthood holder unable to afford one. I am curious how effective we are going to be in building good will in the coming months.

Missionaries crying repentance in Ward Council. Always fun.

Comments

  1. Is a “well-meaning Elder from Germany” a missionary or an Area Presidency member?

  2. Missionary.

  3. Hilarious.

    I am the bishopric bad cop in meetings, and I had to take some elders in the hallway at one ward council and recommended that they practice humility and patience by shutting their damn yaps and look for ways to be helpful. (I can’t remember what the issue was. Food storage? How to run enrichment nights?) I later found out that they complained to their MP and he told them that was good advice.

  4. Gavin Guillaume says:

    Easy. Don’t invite missionaries to ward council. That’s why you have a ward mission leader. Missionaries should be seen and not heard, except during a ward mission meeting.

  5. Ardis Parshall says:

    Hmmm. If the much-worn clothing abandoned in the mission apartments of my mission was representative of that abandoned in yours, Herr Elder is offering to provide a uniform of yellowish-gray shirts with frayed collars for the young men at your sacrament table. Maybe he could throw in a supply of similarly abandoned 5-inch wide ties in garish colors to complement the shirts.

  6. Ah, yes. It’s always a fine line to walk. We have to heroicize missionary work to get young people to go, but then often have to dial it back when they get into the field cocky rather than humble. We had an elder harangue us quite unexpectedly in the middle of the meeting because “nobody in this ward gives us any referrals,” and it was all I could do to not respond “That’s because you’re a cocky, inarticulate, sloppy-looking doofus, and I wouldn’t trust you to deliver a pizza to my investigator neighbors, let alone a BoM!”

    Once on my mission in Puerto Rico, during a sacrament meeting in a tiny branch with perhaps 11 people in attendance, my new companion had to repeat the sacrament prayer because he had broken a bogus protocol that some missionary had laid down years before. He had just finished the prayer on the bread, and was about to give the tray to the deacon, when the branch president’s teenage daughter frantically whispered to her dad, “Papi, Papi, he has to do it again! He only had one knee on the floor!” An American elder serving in the branch some years before, had brought to his mission the arbitrary but canonized practice from his home ward in rural Utah or Idaho. Years later, among the members of that branch in Puerto Rico, saying the sacrament prayer without having both knees in contact rendered the ordinance as theurgically ineffectual as if the priest had left out a line.

  7. Latter-day Guy says:

    Gavin Guillaume,

    Unfortunately, from current counsel––at least where I have lived––missionaries attend ward council, PEC, and even the beginning of welfare meetings (they are excused later). While it is helpful for the missionaries to have this frequent contact and opportunity to report and inform ward leaders, they should be reminded occasionally of the limits of their responsibilities; I think more bishopric members are going to need to channel Norbert’s approach.

  8. Ronan and Peter:

    Perhaps we can get Ardis to send you (and me, in case I’m ever faced with this situation) a pdf of the policy on this topic that she wrote about at T&S last month.

  9. Peter LLC says:

    John,

    I went as far as printing out Ardis’ post and bringing it to church (by the way, thank you Ardis for bringing our own history to our attention) as a sort of comparative policy lesson, but in the end decided that step might be viewed as an escalation of an already heated WC meeting and have kept it stowed for the time being.

  10. The PDF might work better than the post — as Ardis is found of pointing out, provenance is vital — and in a Ward Council context, source is not too far from that in importance.

  11. Ardis Parshall says:

    Yeah, I think it could be useful as a “comparative policy lesson,” but I would regret having posted that if it were ever used as a club in a fight over “you’re not inspired! look at the way it used to be!” Times change; contexts change; the current leaders — assuming they *are* leaders and not an elder from DerPoleinDerButt, Germany, and his companion from LittleKnowItAll, Utah — are the ones we have to sustain.

  12. At a baptism in our ward last night, there were three men in the room wearing blue shirts–me, the ward mission leader, and the 17-year-old kid who got baptized. The kid who got baptized was easily the best-dressed male in the room.

  13. Peter LLC says:

    Indeed, Ardis, indeed. A “neener-neener, look what I dug up” approach to growing the kingdom is no doubt a less effective one.

  14. Re: Jeremy (#6):

    Someday the whole church will wake up and realize that the sacrament hasn’t been valid for years. Look at Moroni 4:2: it clearly says that they did “kneel down with the church”, and I must confess that in 50 plus years in the church, I can never remember the congregation kneeling down during the sacrament prayers.

    About kneeling: I’ve never heard the two knees rule, but I do recall an instruction from the brethren that the priest offering the prayer was to kneel, and crouching or squatting just wasn’t going to cut it. So, the little girl wasn’t making it up completely from whole cloth.

  15. No written policy, of course, but the power of “the unwritten order of things” is compelling. I personally applaud the multicolored rebels.

    It used to be that you could count on some diversity in suits and ties from the First Presidency and Q0f12, but we just received our April Ensign this week, and the photo of the two groups together displayed what appears to be an almost indistinguishable set of black suits, no patterns, white shirts, and dark ties. Certainly looked like a uniform to me.

    I’ll admit, though, that I have only worn colored or patterned shirts to church maybe once or twice a year, recently. Our HC still wears a nice variety of suits of many colors, or sportcoats, with nice, bright ties. But I have been assimilated, resistance is futile. Some of my white shirts are starting to look like those missionary shirts. Gotta recycle them.

  16. Karl Kategianes says:

    #4. Right on.

  17. Peter #13,

    I wholeheartedly disagree. What the hell good are the hours you spend trawling the blogs if it can’t pay dividends by wiping the self-righteous smirk off a German Elder’s face?

    Wimp.

  18. Aaron Brown says:

    I still have fond mission memories of Sister D***, approaching our branch president in tears, pleading with him to instruct the deacons to hold their left arms behind their backs at a certain angle when they passed the Sacrament like they did in her home ward, as if the legitimacy of the ceremony was being irreparably undermined by deacons’ misplaced limbs. Funny!

    AB

  19. My dad tells a story of when he was in the bishopric and someone complained that the deacons weren’t passing the sacrament in white shirts and with their right hands.

    He had to show them the handbook that directed no such thing as being mandatory.

    It’s the “way things are always done” getting in the way of doctrine again.

  20. As for the white shirts issue – my ward in the DC area has a fine line – those who are not “gov’t types and lawyers” refuse to wear white shirts to church so as not to be mistaken as a “gov’t type or lawyer.”

    Of course, only in DC is that humorous. :)

  21. Is it possible in today’s day and age to have an unwritten order of things and still have it be a meaningful “order”? Aren’t we governed by rumor if that’s true?

  22. “Aren’t we governed by rumor if that’s true?”

    If it’s a rumor, how do we know it’s true?

  23. Steve Evans says:

    “Is it possible in today’s day and age to have an unwritten order of things and still have it be a meaningful “order””

    What’s so different about today’s day and age?

  24. Josh Smith says:

    The white-shirt doctrine is important to me. I happen to carry a gene for mild nonconformance. It’s mild. I have occassional moments when I simply must do something just a bit different.

    Because Mormon culture adopts some arbitrary, silly norms (white shirt wearing), I can relieve my nonconformance urges in safe ways–I drink Pepsi and I wear a blue shirt. If a majority of Mormons began drinking caffeinated sodas and wearing colored shirts, I really don’t know what I would do. Maybe I’d drink beer and get a dirty word tatoo.

    Long live the white-shirt doctrine!

  25. There is a talk by Pres. Packer, with the actual name, “The Unwritten Order of Things”, which, unfortunately I do not have a link to. I can’t recall if it was in conference or some other forum, but it is full of “unwritten” rules.

    Let’s be clear, I am making no editorial comments about the contents of the talk.

  26. Here’s the thing that haunts me.

    In many ways that are painful for me to recall, I WAS elder PoleInDerButt. Although I can’t remember actually mouthing off in Ward Council, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. I definitely remember thinking that the members in some of the branches where I served were lucky to have me. My missionary system was perfect, and if the results did not come as expected, it was due to the member’s failure to get with the program. When I saw them struggling to keep the church together in their remote little corners of Zion, I remember thinking that what they needed was a good strong dose of SLC Mormonism, and that I was just the guy to give it to them and help them see the light. What a whackjob!

  27. There is a talk by Pres. Packer, with the actual name, “The Unwritten Order of Things”, which, unfortunately I do not have a link to. I can’t recall if it was in conference or some other forum, but it is full of “unwritten” rules.

    It was a BYU devotional, and can be found here.

  28. What’s so different about today’s day and age?

    We don’t all live in Nauvoo with Joseph Smith so that we can double check with him that what Brother Marsh told us about the sacrament is true.

    There is a talk by Pres. Packer, with the actual name, “The Unwritten Order of Things”, which, unfortunately I do not have a link to. I can’t recall if it was in conference or some other forum, but it is full of “unwritten” rules.

    It’s from a BYU talk perhaps two decades ago. I was actually “trained” on it in the last bishopric I served in. My reaction then is my reaction now: if President Packer wants an order, he should write it down somewhere where we can all read it. Offering it up for a few select souls in Provo hoping the rest of us will stumble across it does not make for good policy, let alone doctrine.

  29. Ardis Parshall says:

    There is a talk by Pres. Packer, with the actual name, “The Unwritten Order of Things”

    Hence the oh-so-witty title of the post john f. linked to in #8.

  30. Jimbob,

    I’m also a believer, bolstered by many admonitions to the writers of the Book of Mormon, if you don’t write it down, it’s lost, hence becomes unimportant.

    Dang it, you made me editorialize.

    Ardis, I only wish I had half your wit! wait…..

  31. I’m with #4.

    the FTM don’t have any business at your ward leadership meetings. That’s why you have a ward mission leader.

    Any “Counsel” to the contrary is bad counsel, no matter who it comes from.

  32. Did not Alderaan get blown up by the death star?

  33. Latter-day Guy says:

    JM, normally, I would agree. But I can understand that a Bishop would be reticent to disobey instructions from the Area Authorities.

    I was just suggesting that if this is going to become more widespread with official sanction, then more Bishops are going to need to give explicit guidance to missionaries about what their stewardship entails and where they can butt out.

  34. As long as we are veering into Imperial territory here, before you throw the missionaries out of PEC and Ward Council, you have to know if they are Elder Jar Jar, or Sister Skywalker. Once you have them identified, you’ll know what to do.

  35. Missionaries in ward council are actually quite useful. If they’re doing their job, they have contact with in-actives and community links that ward leaders would want to hear about and utilize. But they shouldn’t be telling us hicks the right way to do things.

  36. Kind of my point, Norbert. With our stake’s emphasis on member missionary work, I think it’s valuable to have them briefly in PEC, and in for the whole time in WCC, if you’re doing what you should be doing in that meeting. But I stand by my Jar Jar and Skywalker comparison. Some of them just need to keep quiet, while others are a huge asset.

  37. But they shouldn’t be telling us hicks the right way to do things.

    I actually prefer to be called a rube, thank you very much.

  38. MikeInWeHo says:

    There should be a 24-hour Correlation Hotline where LDS from around the globe could call to get a definitive answer to these kinds of questions. Problem solved. Only then will the Church truly be “the same everywhere.”

  39. MikeInWeHo, # 38,

    But then we’d gripe about the anti-intellectuals that would be answering the phone in SLC. :) On the other hand, maybe we could just outsource it to a call center in Mumbai, and give them a copy of the GHI? Maybe having a bunch of non-interested 3rd party folks answering the phone and actually looking in the book could be useful. Hmmmm…(rubs chin thoughtfully).

  40. kevinf,
    A brilliant idea!

  41. #39 is a much better solution than anything I could add.

  42. StillConfused says:

    My Tongan step-son was told to cut his hair way short so as to appear more appropriate at church. I thought that was borderline bigoted.

    But my pet peeve is the deacons who wear the white shirt but have their pants below their butt cracks. Nasty!

  43. I never wanted to attend PEC or Ward Council when I was a missionary. I only attended at the request of the bishop or branch president. My guess is that if you quit asking them to go, they will stop showing up.

  44. Actually, I never wanted to attend PEC or Ward Council in or out of any other calling either.

  45. Peter LLC says:

    KyleM, attendance at these meetings tends towards the bottom of my priority list too–if for no other reason they tend to go into overtime without accomplishing much. Which is why it is particularly distressing when a good 30 minutes are spent revisiting an issue that interests about 1.5 people in the room, and probably 1.00001 in the ward at large.

    Ronan (#17),

    Measured steps, brother, measured steps. One has to pave the way, and then wait for the cement to cure…. Ok, you’re right–I shoulda stuck it to ‘im.

  46. A long time ago, I blogged on what I thought was the source of these ideas. Here’s the link: Comment there or here, if you wish!

    http://moboy.blogspot.com/2005/02/gospel-doctrine-administration-culture.html

  47. Gavin Guillaume says:

    Unfortunately, from current counsel––at least where I have lived––missionaries attend ward council, PEC, and even the beginning of welfare meetings (they are excused later).

    But … if your ward mission is operating effectively, there’s no need to *ever* have the missionaries in the meeting. The ward mission leader should be able to address these things.

    Ward councils in high-functioning wards operate best when only the essential people are present, armed with all of the information their counselors have plied them with. There’s no reason a missionary should have more input on a less-active family than the EQ president. Sure, send the missionaries to visit them. And have them return and report to the EQ president and/or mission leader.

    Of course … I will make exceptions for dysfunctional wards, remote branches, etc.

    But consider – you have issues in your ward where the missionary is a useful part of ward council, then there are parts of the ward leadership not operating effectively.

  48. Another thought: I can remember, once, as a youth (who tended to over-think things anyway), asking our leaders something to the effect of: “So, what you’re teaching us is that it’s essentially more important for us to wear a symbol of purity than it is to actually be pure?”

  49. Gavin Guillaume says:

    Now, regarding bad missionary practices, I did have the opportunity to be a branch president during my mission in Chile. And I spent the better part of 4 months systematically breaking the branch of bad sacrament habits instituted by other missionaries.

    When I was subsequently “released” (when they called a local president), I became the 2C and my junior companion (formerly the 1C) was released. It was very clear from our mission president that my companion was no longer to attend branch council meetings, as he had no business being there (we actually had a branch mission leader). The mission president encouraged the district president, the branch president, and me to recognize my new role as a second counselor and to limit my engagement in branch council meetings accordingly, and to let the other leaders (branch mission leader, namely) function on their own. It was shaky, but it laid the foundations.

  50. Let me take this opportunity to once again draw attention to the silliness of of (some people) enforcing the white shirt rule while apparently having no problem with Taz ties. When we’re more bothered by the look of a tasteful rep or paisley against a crisp blue oxford than by a white-shirted deacon with a picture around his neck of a cartoon rodent sticking his tongue out to his knees while dunking a basketball, it is truly the end of days.

  51. Gavin Guillaume says:

    Well, put. Jeremy.

    We had an elderly brother pass the sacrament for the first time a few months ago. He had just received the Aaronic Priesthood, after a lifetime of inactivity. He’s retired. He’s soft-spoken. He’s a widower. He has some money. He has a very nice light-tan suit he wears with a gorgeous, expensive deep-blue checked dress shirt (the shirt probably costs more than my suit). And he made it quite clear that he wasn’t wearing a white shirt to bless the sacrament, because “it doesn’t go well with my suit”.

    Our wise bishop figured that it was fine to make an exception for Brother X.

  52. Maryanne says:

    Gavin–

    You don’t need to have a dysfunctional ward for the ward council to benefit from the missionaries’ interaction with less-active members. Our pretty functional ward in PA has a large number of inactive families that the HPGL and EQP do not have as much contact with as do the missionaries. Rather than getting info secondhand from the ward Mission leader, what’s the harm in having the missionaries deliver it directly? Plus there is some benefit to the missionaries to see how these groups function. Missionaries who overstep their bounds can be talked to about that, no?

  53. I have never experienced anything negative with missionaries in our counsel meetings. I like having them there. The WML gives the report and does most of the talking, but it is nice having the missionaries there for clarification, input, assignments, etc. I have asked the missionaries to give special presentations, such as member’s use of Preach My Gospel, which our stake is strongly encouraging right now. Each leader to his own.

  54. Left Field says:

    The Tasmanian devil is a marsupial, not a rodent.

    Someone had to say it.

  55. Thank you for the correction. I can only say that I was blinded by rage.

    (Though, in the spirit of identity politics, one could argue that his continual appearance with Bugs Bunny suggests that he presents as a rodent.)

  56. Left Field says:

    Actually, Bugs isn’t a rodent either; he’s a lagomorph. However, Mickey Mouse is a rodent. Along with Mighty Mouse, Pinky & the Brain, Jerry, Speedy Gonzalez, Alvin, Sandy Cheeks, the Angry Beavers, and that naked mole rat on Kim Possible.

  57. I just was given a beautiful purple striped dress shirt that I will wear to BC in solidarity with my german bretheren. It is bit of an extravigance really…so, it will also be in solidarity (the financial type) with my Italian bretheren as well.

    It has french cuffs, I feel like french cuffs might be apostacy. Can someone confirm and ensure that I will wear it every Sunday for the rest of the year?

    It won’t be worn with a tie, excluding the temple, I reserve those solely for baptisms and baby blessings.

  58. Gavin Guillaume says:

    To each his own, I guess, on missionaries in WC. It wouldn’t be my choice.

  59. Of course … I will make exceptions for dysfunctional wards, remote branches, etc.

    Thanks, Gavin. Those of us in the special dysfunctional, remote doofus wards appreciate your generosity.

  60. You people make me laugh. Thanks for the endorphins, folks.

  61. my favorite dichotomoy, stolen/paraphrased from nibley (with my own labels) is as follows:

    mcconkie mormons, who say “the church does [or, for greater emphasis, HAS ALWAYS DONE] things a certain way [whether true or not]: therefore, we should continue doing them that way”

    and

    nibley mormons, who say “the church should seek out the best ways to do things [if necessary, ignorning the ways it has historical done things]“

  62. jjackson says:

    One of my deacons said he couldn’t pass the sacrament that week, and I said “Ok, I’ll arrange for you to meet with the Bishop” then explained to the confused kid that if there was something preventing him from participating he needed to talk it over with a Judge in Isreal.

    “It’s nothing like THAT,” he explained. “I just forgot my tie.”

    Infuriating.

    But it opened the door to discuss ties, white shirts, one hand behind you back while passing, etc. When I quoted Elder Bednar from a couple of years ago actually mouthing the words that a white shirt was not required (though admittedly it was in the context of encouraging the practise) one kid said, “But my dad says it’s a rule!”

    So I said “Your dad is wrong,” and it changed my life.

    Now when I tell one of my sons not to run in the halls or climb things in the church and one of his fellow perpetrators says something like “my parents don’t care if I….” I say: “that’s because you have bad parents”.

    BTW, the occassional practise of having the AP administer the sacrament in full scout uniforms was always WAY more offensive to me than worrying about the color of shirts or ties in general.

  63. Okay, Left Field, now you’re just p*ssing me off. It’s ON, friend.

    I did me a little research, and, not to split hares, er, hairs, but despite the name “Bunny,” I would submit that Bugs is in fact a rodent. According to this source, lagomorphs can be identified by their having four upper incisors. As you can clearly see here, Bugs has only two upper incisors.

    You can’t touch this, aight?

  64. I wear colored shirts. I wear Taz ties. I’m in the Primary, and the kids like ‘em.

  65. Those of us in the special dysfunctional, remote doofus wards appreciate your generosity.

    You’re welcome. :)

    (I still stand by my statement that there’s almost zero value to having the missionaries in ward council meetings if you have strong local leaders. No one has to like my opinion, and I’m OK with it not being popular.)

  66. #32 – That seems an apt description of many of these culture v. doctrine discussions, as well. Now if I only could figure out which commenter runs the Death Star . . . (I know Steve would be the knee-jerk choice, but that just doesn’t seem to fit this case.)

  67. Left Field says:

    In anybody tries to pull that left-arm-behind-the-back nonsense, you can always look up the general conference quote (I think it was Bro. Faust) from a few years ago that specifically outlawed that particular “requirement.”

    Jeremy, you may be correct about Mr. Bunny’s taxonomy. After all, “horny toads” are really lizards; fireflies are beetles, not flies; koala bears aren’t really bears; and don’t even get me started on jellyfish.

    However, you will note that the second pair of lagomorph incisors are very small and located directly behind the large front pair. None of the photographs of Bugs Bunny skeletons you linked to showed the posterior view of the insisors, so it is impossible to say if the characteristic lagomorph dentition is present or not. The skull does appear to have a modified form of the shelf-like supraorbital process characteristic of rabbits, though there is no evidence of a fenestrate rostrum. Both of those characteristics are present in leporids (rabbits and hares) but lacking in other lagomorphs (picas). Lagomorph skulls also have a posterior process from the jugal bone that forms a backward-pointing projection from the zygomatic arch. Unfortunately the placement of Bugs’ forelimbs makes it impossible to tell from the photographs if the process is present or not.

    Call it inconclusive.

  68. Ardis Parshall says:

    Next thing you know, Left Field is going to disabuse me concerning sea horses …

  69. Point, set, and match to Left Field.

  70. Science lessons embedded in a religious discussion. Maybe there is a curriculum for homeschooling via the Bloggernacle. Perhaps it could be called HBCC.

  71. What a Rumsfeldian snowjob, Left Field! Flossin’ around with your shelf-like suborbital process and fenestrate rostrum and zygomatic arch, hopin’ we’re all so overwhelmed we don’t notice the “it’s impossible to tell from the photographs” at the end. Absence of evidence/evidence of absence? I’ll say inconclusive.

  72. Jeremy, there are the knowns, and there are the known unknowns. Then there are the unknown knowns.

  73. #27

    if President Packer wants an order, he should write it down somewhere where we can all read it. Offering it up for a few select souls in Provo hoping the rest of us will stumble across it does not make good policy, let alone doctrine.

    While my father was serving in the Seventy about ten years ago, I happened to peek at his copy of the General Authority’s Handbook (or Training Book – I can’t quite recall it’s exact title), which happened to contain a copy of “The Unwritten Order of Things.” (Interestingly, most of what I quickly thumbed through was in the form of various talks given by members of the First Presidency and Twelve to general audiences.) He seemed quite fond of the principles taught in the talk (President Packer will be the first to point out the difference between rules and principles, and I think he was trying to teach a principle) and taught from it often in training meetings.

    At the same time, I sometimes wonder how to approach policies that aren’t really official policies. I suppose each case is different. At times I want to help people settle down and show them their misunderstanding (which I occasionally did while serving in the bishopric), but then I remember Paul’s writings to the saints in Corinth and Rome about meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8 and Romans 14, respectively). Though he talks about something that was not inherently wrong, even though many thought it was wrong, he states: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

    I remember Prof. Stephen Robinson teaching these passages (in a class I took from him on Paul’s writings) with the example of an unnamed current apostle – who he knew personally – who was addicted to Dr. Pepper. The apostle, he said, would not go out and buy it himself, but would rather have his wife, or someone else who people were less likely to recognize, buy it for him instead. At first blush, this could be construed as somewhat hypocritical and deceptive; a way to save face. However, the apostle did it, according to Prof. Robinson, for the very reason Paul gives: that some of weak faith might see him doing something that was not inherently wrong, but which they believed was wrong, and thus weaken their faith as a result.

    Obviously, following Paul’s statement for every mistaken idea that someone holds could lead one down a very undesirable slippery slope. Nonetheless, how does one balance the need to correct “incorrect” traditions with Paul’s instructions to bolster the faith of the weak, rather than destroy it by openly indulging in something that they think is wrong, but in fact is not? Or more in the context of this post, what is the proper balance for things like white shirts, suits, hair length, and/or facial hair?

    It is easy to respond to some people’s notions that a white shirt is law by wearing a blue shirt. But is this always the best way to respond? Admittedly, I don’t know, but I imagine that the proper balance will depend to some extent on one’s calling or position in the church (i.e., a response in the form of correction would seem more appropriate coming from a presiding officer, such as a bishop, stake president, or general authority, rather than from the sunbeams teacher or the visiting teaching coordinator).

    (Sorry about the long post – I’m new and obviously unbridled :))

  74. I hope the last post didn’t sound preachy – it was meant to get at the questions near the end. And regarding Pres. Packer’s “Unwritten Order of Things,” I meant to note the caveat that, while in a general authority’s handbook, it has never been addressed directly in general conference, to my knowledge (please correct me if I am wrong).

  75. While serving in a Bishopric in Canada a few years ago, a member of the Stake Presidency who was on the stand with us had the Sac. prayer repeated because the Priest didn’t have both knees down. The Bishop was letting it go.I now serve in a Bishopric in Mexico and a few weeks ago our Bishop enforced the same “rule” in our Sacrament meeting. This is the same Bishop who a while ago called up a 14 year old teacher to participate in his cousins ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood. He also enforces the white shirt and tie “rule” and keeps a supply of loaner ties in his office.

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