Repeating the Sacrament Prayers

It happened again today. The prayer on the bread was repeated a total of three times before the shaken priest got the go-ahead from the presiding authority to proceed with the ordinance.

The last discussion of this issue we’ve had that I could find easily was from 2-1/2 years ago, so I thought it would be worth revisiting again.

I have a number of thoughts and questions about this practice:

1. I have never in my life had to repeat a sacrament prayer. This is not because I’m such a great reader, but more because even as a young priest I was absolutely mortified at the prospect of having to repeat the prayer. It seemed to me to be such a public failure (even if I shouldn’t have perceived it that way, that’s the way I saw it). So I’ve always been very careful, tracing each word with my finger as I go. When I’ve had the option, I’ve always opted to pray over the bread so as to get it over with as soon as possible. As a consequence, when I see a frustrated young priest trying again and again to get the words of the prayer to bend to his will, without success, I feel a deep sense of empathy for him. The awkwardness of the experience is almost unbearable for me.

2. When this happens, should the conducting authority comment briefly and explain what just happened? I have only very rarely seen this done, but it was done today. I thought it was very well done. We have a lot of recent converts in our ward, and if someone doesn’t explain to them why the priest keeps saying the prayer over and over again, how are they supposed to know what’s happening? And the person conducting explained this in a very low key way. I think if I were the priest who had butchered the prayer repeatedly, I would actually appreciate such an explanation coming over the pulpit.

3. What is the doctrinal foundation for the requirement that the baptism and sacrament prayers must be absolutely verbatim? Is there any room for a judgment call that the errant word or omission does not at all affect the doctrinal substance of the prayer and to let such minor transgressions go?

4. My impression is that if the priest self corrects within a word or two of the mistake, usually the presiding authority lets it go. But a lot of times the priest won’t even try to self correct and will just start the prayer over again.

5. Should there be a slaughter rule, as in youth baseball? Once you get to six attempts, the poor kid is probably so shaken that it’s just not going to happen. In fact, I think if this had ever happened to me as a young man, when I left the building that day I might not have ever come back. It would have been that traumatizing to me.

Please share with us your stories and thoughts on this issue.


  1. Greg Taggart says:

    I like the slaughter rule idea.

  2. I thought (3) was already in force?

    All I can say is that I hope the YM realize that everyone in the ward is thinking “there but for the grace of God go I” and is not thinking badly of them in the slightest. “Failure” is the last thing on anybody’s mind (or should be, granted there are a few jerks in every group). But, I know, I know, all the reassurance of this sort in the world isn’t going to take away the trauma.

  3. No one in Particular says:

    I had a conversation with a full time missionary in our ward about 6 months ago about precision (verbal and physical) and repetition of baptisms. He told me that the mission president had made the rounds the week before instructing all the elders on the subject. His argument, which I find both persuasive and liberating, was:

    1. How will a convert feel upon being ‘incorrectly’ baptized, or ‘failing’ to be baptized? (I thought to myself that the same goes for the poor missionary.) How can they feel the spirit if their covenant is taking a backseat to petty details about pronunciation, a loose elbow, or a strand of hair?

    2. The Lord has commanded us to have witnesses. What those witnesses say will be honored in heaven. Therefore, the witnesses must weigh gravity of the offending detail not against some imagined standard of perfection, but rather against whether a repeat will enable or hinder the presence of the spirit.

    3. If the spirit is more likely to be lost than gained by a repeat, the baptism should be accepted, not repeated.

    The missionaries were encouraged to share this with ward leadership. Frankly, I had heard only the most draconian of approaches advocated aloud (though I’ve happily noted that such a policy is not always enforced), and I was delighted to hear that a mission president would be publicly teaching such things.

    I think that a general policy of this sort for both baptisms and sacrament prayers would do a lot of good. There are cases in which repetition is a good answer, but it shouldn’t be employed where a simple nod from a bishop or witness would do a lot more good/less damage for everyone involved.

    Has anyone else heard church leaders teach a similar line of thinking? Does anyone object to that sort of system?

  4. My heart goes out to the Priesthood when they stumble over the Sacrament Prayers. I always worry that some young men avoid church just so they won’t be put in the position of having to offer a prayer. I personally treasure such moments of the predictable routine of the Sabbath being upset. It gets everyone’s attention. And suddenly I feel totally reminded of the important nature of the Sacrament. This is just not any prayer but a “perfect” prayer leading us all into sacred territory.
    My brother recounts the time “the card” was lost. This is the one with the prayers written out on it. Suddenly the priests had to remember where they were located in the scriptures.
    A memorable occassion of how challenging it can be to get the prayers word perfect happened just a couple of years ago. We had a gentleman in his 60s who was a recent convert. I know one of the several goals of our bishop was that every male convert have the opportunity to bless the sacrament. I think this brother avoided it for a long time. It was pretty much a disaster. He attempted to say the prayer at least 5 time — saying it the whole way through and getting it wrong. Each attempt revealed his growing frustration. FINALLY the Bishop came and stood by him as he prayed and he got it. I think he was so nervous that the words just couldn’t come out right. I don’t think he has ever blessed the Sacrament again, which is too bad.
    I do wonder why the Priesthood doesn’t help each other more in difficult situations like this. Working in the Stake Primary I attended many baptisms. Too often a Priesthood holder struggled so much with the baptismal prayer — also simple, but in the circumstances nerves and “all eyes on me” make it difficult. When someone made a mistake a presiding brother will always offer reassurance and make clear what was wrong but I have felt several times that what was needed was a “repeat after me” phrase by phrase, slowly and methodically approach. Perhaps this “two voices” approach is discouraged. I’ve also seen an adult being baptised by someone who couldn’t get the prayer correct AND couldn’t get the adult completely under the water. It was a harrowing ordeal for everyone there and especially so for the new convert being baptised. AFterwards I asked the ward mission leader why he didn’t have two priesthood holders in the water to help make sure the baptizee actually got “buried” under the water. He seemed surprised that you could do that. I don’t know why not. Perhaps there is an unwritten code of not encroaching on the territory and actions of another exercising his Priesthood. I have often thought the Priesthood needs to literally offer a helping hand to one another in circumstances like this.

  5. We have a man in his 60s, who was an unordained-but-baptized member his whole life. Recently, he’s been reactivated, and received the Aaronic Priesthood a few months ago (at the hands of his grown son, which is another awesome experience to witness, in and of itself). The last few weeks, he’s consented to sitting at the sacrament table, as the “third” priest (non-speaking role).

    Last Sunday, he blessed the bread for the first time, and he stumbled a few times. I had a sight line, and it was a very poignant scene to watch one of the younger priests, a lineman on the high school football team, tenderly kneel down next to him and help guide him through the stumbles. He had to restate a couple of lines, but (mercifully, perhaps) the bishop decided that a complete and new rereading wasn’t necessary.

    It’s moments like these, when inexperienced grown “priests” (new converts or recently reactivated) bless the sacrament that I remember how truly awesome it is that we give this responsibility to mere boys.

  6. Dad had to put me under three times to get me baptized, which I think might have been just about as difficult for him as the priest having to repeat a sacrament prayer (it was the first time my dad, a relatively new convert, had performed *any* priesthood ordinance). I suppose I could have been embarrassed, too, at not being able to control my floating hair or bobbing toe — but I wasn’t, because in our preparation for my baptism we had talked about immersion being a requirement and I wouldn’t have felt baptized, I think, without going completely under. Not quite the same as stumbling over the words, I suppose, but close.

    We had a priest in one ward who badly stuttered, repeating many words and phrases as well as false starts to difficult words. I don’t know how he felt, but he wanted so badly to serve in that role that he did it. I *do* know that the congregation listened more closely to those prayers than any others, willing him to get through it. When he did, and looked over to the bishop, who smiled and nodded, there was usually an audible sigh of pleasure from the congregation.

    So what explanation was given in your ward today, Kevin?

  7. Name (required) says:

    I was at a stake leadership meeting with Elder Tingey a couple of years ago and he addressed this issue. He said that Bishops should be much more forgiving and let minor issues just fly right by. A word or two here or there shouldn’t require repeating the prayer unless it completely changes the meaning of the phrase. He seemed to advocate the slaughter rule also–saying that there was no reason that repeats should ever get as high as about three.

    The theory was that many repeats (aside from being frustrating for the priest) detract from the spirit of the ordinance.

    Elder Tingey also talked about other minor things like the conducting person not thanking the deacons for passing the sacrament in such a reverent manner, etc. I have occasionally wondered if these things went to the full church in any systematic way.

  8. One other thought — I’m the opposite of Kevin. When I have occasion to bless the sacrament (when the priests are at camp, etc.), I prefer the water. Fewer phrases to stumble over.

    When I was of priest age, our YM leader “encouraged” us (strongly) to memorize the prayers. In his words, “You jokers can memorize song lyrics and movie dialogue, and you can’t memorize the words to the most frequently performed ordinance in the Church?”

  9. No one in Particular says:

    Name (required), 7.: I’m glad to hear this line of thought has come from higher up than just that mission president I mentioned in my other comment. I hope that this line of thought eventually becomes the dominant perspective. On the other hand, I’d also love to know when and why we began to insist on such perfectionism in these ordinances.

  10. My understanding is that after 3 attempts, they’re just supposed to go ahead with the sacrament rather than continuing to repeat the sacrament prayer. Can someone confirm that?

  11. There are just two active priests in our branch, and although they both get lots of practice with the sacrament prayers, it seems that about once a month one of them has to repeat a prayer — sometimes several times. Our branch president always explains, afterwards, the sacredness of the sacrament and the need to get the words just right. I was surprised at first, when the BP did this, thinking that it was just drawing more attention to the priests’ mistakes, but then I realized how important that explanation was for visitors, new members, and probably as a reminder for the priests themselves.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Name, thanks for sharing Elder Tingey’s (IMO very wise) counsel. That is indeed heartening to hear.

    Ardis, he basically explained that while most prayers we offer in Church are extemporaneous and vary in wording, there are a few rare instances where the language is so important that we are asked to use the precise words given in scripture. He mentioned both baptism and sacrament prayers. While usually this is done the first time through, occasionally there will be a slip of the tongue requiring the prayer to be given over again. This is why you will sometimes witness the prayer being offered more than once. There is nothing unusual about this occurring.

    Or something to that effect.

  13. Name (required) says:

    According to an online version of the church handbook of instructions, it seems to be OK for the bishop to let errors go in an effort to preserve the spirit of the meeting.

    See: Chapter 5 at

  14. My comment does not get to the question of why absolute accuracy is/is not required; but in terms of procedure, I have always advocated that the other priests help correct any errors they hear before the prayer is finished. That way, the young man knows what is wrong and can back up and fix it. Too many times, the presiding authority merely shakes his head, and the young man is expected to start over, not even knowing what he did wrong.

  15. I feel so badly for the young men when they have a difficult time getting through it. When the bishop forces him to continue to repeat it, it just completely removes the focus from worship – intsead of thinking about the Savior we’re all just feeling empathy for the priest. I’m glad to hear that apparently this is not policy.

  16. Re. question #3:

    It is my understanding that ordinances that involve covenants — baptism, sacrament, temple — need to be done word-for-word.

    The scriptures in Moroni and the D&C that have the baptism and sacrament prayers are pretty explicit about the exact wording:

    “…and after this amanner shall he administer it — he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying….”

  17. Another priest and I blessed every Sunday for over two years together. I rarely made mistakes, but the other priest often said bloody instead of body. After a few weeks, the branch president told us that if we screwed up, we should just repeat the line we screwed up and continue from there.

    The only baptism pray I’ve botched was my son’s. I forgot to say one set of “and of the.” I think the baptismal prayer should be done exactly verbatim since it is only done once now days.

    On my mission, we had an investigator who was shocked to see the bishop embarass the priest by making him repeat the sacrament pray. (They also couldn’t believe we would sing a hymn about avoiding coffee and tea instead of Jesus. I’ve always hated that song.)

    I’ve noticed that that bishops are being more lenient for minor errors for the sacrament prayer. I think this is good.

  18. Jason Richards says:

    The ‘big toe’ thing always bugs me–because the ordinance doesn’t require that “the entire body be simultaneously immersed” only that the entire body be immersed. If it’s all wet–it all got immersed. Let’s move on–afterall, even the earth let Noah and his family get away without being immersed….

  19. While I agree with most people here that minor errors in the sacrament prayers aren’t the end of the world and shouldn’t always mean they should repeat it, but I also want to bring out one counter-argument:

    The whole point of an ordinance is an outward expression of a covenant. If the intent is all that matters, there’s no point in having an ordinance. If we are to follow the argument, “oh, well, we know what he meant.. it’s ok that he didn’t go all the way under the water… it’s ok that he didn’t say the prayer right”, then eventually you get to a point where the ordinance doesn’t matter at all. You might end up saying, “It’s ok he wasn’t baptized in our church. He was baptized in another church and that’s close enough.” I know, you’re thinking that’s completely different. I guess my question is: how do you know where to draw the line?

    One thought I’ve had about why it’s so important that we get the ordinances right is perhaps not because the ordinance is not valid if it’s not done exactly right, but perhaps because the Church/God wants those receiving the ordinance to be absolutely sure they have received the ordinance properly. That’s kind of the opposite argument of what was said in #3. What would you think if you found out that when you were baptized years ago, you weren’t really submerged and no one told you, and then have to wonder if that was really valid? Probably it was… but what if…

  20. THis is interesting. Today we had a recent convert help administer the sacrament and it took him 6 or 7 times to get the prayer right. My heart really went out to him.

    My BIshop father said he thought the need to have the prayer done verbatim was a bit overblown. He surmised that the reason for the having a specific prayer was so that a priest, or whoever, didn’t make up his own and go and on and on about this or that. Think about what sacrament prayers would be like if we simply came up with them ourselves.

  21. Name (required) says:

    #20–regarding: think about what sacrament prayers would be like…

    I gave the opening prayer in church today. I (of course) just made it up as I went along. While I’m accustomed to a set sacrament prayer and don’t see any need for change, I don’t think that getting away from a set text would be the worst thing in the world.

  22. When my mom was baptized she was eight months pregnant with me. Two elders stood in the water for the baptism to make sure she went under and that they could get her back up. I think two elders may be a good idea when baptizing adults.

  23. There are two options. Either my Bishop exercises that judgment call mentioned in the post, or he is sleeping through a lot of sacrament prayers. I am pretty sure he is making the judgment call, though, and have always been in support of that.

    Correcting yourself while saying the prayer seems like it is obviously acceptable. If I were a priests quorum advisor, I would set up the following system. The priest who is NOT saying the prayer should put his hand on the other priest’s shoulder, read along while the prayer is be said, and give a squeeze if there is a mistake. This would almost eliminate the need for a sacrament prayer to be repeated from the beginning.

  24. he ‘big toe’ thing always bugs me–because the ordinance doesn’t require that “the entire body be simultaneously immersed” only that the entire body be immersed. If it’s all wet–it all got immersed. Let’s move on–afterall, even the earth let Noah and his family get away without being immersed….

    I can get you completely wet with a hose without immersing you, should we baptize by shower instead? The handbook states that the baptism MUST be repeated if everything is not submerged completely, and although it does not say “simultaneously” it appears that if you want to do it in pieces, it might require a separate prayer per piece.

    Oh, and “the earth” wasn’t in charge of immersing Noah and his family, but they were all baptized by immersion at some point.

  25. Jacob-makes perfect sense-why aren’t the priests taught to do it that way already?

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    Kyle no. 17, we recently sang that song in our ward. My wife and I both cracked up when we got to the line about not drinking coffee and tea, and I noticed we weren’t the only ones trying to restrain some belly laughs. It just sounds so ridiculous in a hymn.

  27. Tanya Sue says:

    A convert in my ward must have been “dunked” a good 10-12 times before he was all the way under at the same time. There was at least 50 or more people there. I felt bad for all involved.

  28. #23 – Jacob, that is a perfect solution. I will recommend it to all of the unit leaders in our stake.

    I have a slightly different take on the sacrament prayer and the baptismal requirements than what I have seen in most wards and branches I have attended. In each case, I believe the words have been given by revelation and should be repeated verbatim (and that a baptism must include full and simultaneous immersion to keep the symbolism intact), but I believe the administrative *form* is completely adaptable. I believe we should do anything necessary to ensure that the ordinance need be done only once – and can be done by each and every worthy Priesthood holder.

    If that means a squeeze on the shoulder of the one saying the prayer – or six brethren in the baptismal font – or a “coaching” of the prayer one small phrase at a time – or having the baptizee sit on the floor of the font while someone holds down her legs to keep the feet from coming out of the water – or having a mute Priest sign the prayer with hands above his head while the congregation keeps their eyes open and watches the prayer while following along with their scriptures – or employing any other method of ensuring that every worthy Priesthood holder feels confident that they could administer the ordinances, then so be it.

    If, for whatever reason, the ordinance needs to be repeated, I believe the presiding Priesthood authority should explain the need *prior* to the repeated performance and take whatever additional steps are necessary to ensure that one more time will be enough. (IMO, a third attempt is a failure of leadership.) In each case I have observed that the explanation has been presented properly, the Spirit was stronger than it had been initially.

  29. If you go to a Spanish-speaking ward and the sacrament prayer is given in Spanish, and you don’t, have you renewed your covenant? You can’t rely on the word-perfect rule in your head and you didn’t hear the prayer given correctly out loud, even though worthy priesthood holders performed the ritual. How can you say “amen” to something you don’t understand and then take the sacrament? I’m only asking…

  30. #29 – Trust the presiding Priesthood authority. If the Bishop accepts it, you can feel comfortable taking it. Even if there was a wording mistake, the administration is valid for you. That’s how I deal with it in the Spanish branches in our stake.

  31. David,

    I think you just solved the whole problem with your comment. It is BECAUSE we know that the sacrament prayer is supposed to be recited word for word, that we can and should be able to rely on the presiding authority (Bishop) of each ward to make sure that it is, no matter what language it is in. If we know that the Spanish bishop is making sure it performed properly, we can participate with peace in the covenant rather than being worried that we might be doing something else.

    But of course, the Lord would not hold us accountable for partaking in a ceremony that we did not understand nor fully agree to. Little children and non-members can partake of the bread and water without understanding what they are doing without any condemnation from God.

  32. Tanya,

    I think after the first couple of times, something could have been done to assure success the next time.

    Our Primary president encourages all girls to tie their hair back securely etc and tells Dad and uncles to consider “standing” on the feet (or putting a leg across the front of their legs) of the little “floatable” children. Our bishop also takes them aside if he thinks the child or baptisee is nervous and has them “practice” a couple of times privately so they are familiar with the motion and rhythm etc.

    10-12 times is just beyond the scope…

  33. I feel that more often than we think, one of the priests is less than worthy, often in a substantial way. Does that make the ordinance less valid for everyone else?

  34. Name (required) says:

    #33- Answer: No.

    What do you mean by ‘in a substantial way’? Do you really think that there are that many mass-murdering priests blessing the sacrament? What is the standard for worthiness for a priest? They don’t have to pass a temple recommend interview, you know.

  35. #33 – If you feel that way, it is your right to talk with your Bishop about it. He is the one who makes that call.

    (For what it’s worth, I would never listen to anyone making that assertion unless they were willing to share specific knowledge of a particular sin. “I feel” would not cut it – ever.)

  36. It doesn’t make the ordinance less valid because the covenant is between us and the Lord, not us and the priest. But I’m sure the Lord keeps track of priests who participate in priesthood ordinances unworthily.

    If I spend the time during the sacrament reflecting upon the sins of others, the leadership of the bishop, the nervousness or worthiness of the priests and deacons etc…I’m pretty sure that if the ordinance has no validity to me it’s my fault anyway.

  37. Primsie-The problem was that it was a different thing each time. Foot this time, other foot next time, wrong words time after that, etc. I was actually sitting next to the bishop. I think he was trying to walk a fine line between having it be successful and not offending the individuals involved. The man doing the baptizing had baptized many people before, so not sure what the problem was?

  38. Well said #36 primsie!

  39. What is the coffee and tea hymn? I don’t recall it.

    We had a slip-up in one of the sacramet prayers today, but the bishop let it go. It wasn’t an important word, just a misplaced “and” or something.

    The prayer on the water is substantially shorter, so the priests all compete to be the one to say that one, rather than the bread prayer. When I was a priest, we used to have a lesson every few months on saying the sacrament prayers. We weren’t required to memorize them, just practice them many times. That helps a lot.

  40. “In Our Lovely Deseret”

    That the children may live long
    And be beautiful and strong,
    Tea and coffee and tobacco we despise,
    Drink no liquor and we eat but a very little meat, We are seeking to be good and great and wise!

    And I also wanted to say that the last time we had a missed sacrament prayer, it was done wrong 3 times. Then the Bishop walked over to the table, knelt beside the boy with one arm around him, and put his finger on each word and kept it there until the word was said correctly. I hope this priest wasn’t too embarrassed, because the rest of us thought it was so beautiful and tender and lovely.

  41. I was taught as a young man to use my finger to trace the words as I read them, much like Kevin does. Consequently I rarely made a mistake over the years. I try to pass this tactic on, even when I was young men’s president, but youth today; BAH!

    I recall a few years ago it was made allowable to start the prayer from the point you messed up, rather than from the beginning. Maybe that is just the way we do it rather than general church policy.

  42. Thanks BiV! I have not heard that song in about 20 years here in our lovely Deseret.

  43. To help make sure that a foot doesn’t float up, I always practice first, and often suggest that the person I am baptising sit down with me balancing them, rather than wait for me to push them down.

    I had one neice who took this a bit too far, and she sat down before I had a chance to finish the prayer. In her case, I had to struggle getting her back up.

  44. For all the talk of “Raising the Bar” this church does, we sure go out of our way to find reasons to lower it.

    If the presiding bishopric, under the direction of the first presidency, has decided that it needs to be said word for word, then all that should matter is to find ways to make it work.

    I’ve heard Jacob’s recommendation in #23 years ago. I’m surprised more wards don’t follow it.

    The real question here is about exact wording in any ordinance, not just the sacrament prayer. When I’m at the veil, intent isn’t good enough. I think there is a lesson to be learned and something symbolic about the “Exact” nature of certain ordinances.

    We need to stop being so worried about hurting the feelings of the priest (or whoever is saying the words of the ordinance)? Certain parts of the priesthood require exactness. There’s nothing wrong with that. And until the presiding bishopric decides otherwise, it really doesn’t matter what any seventy or mission president says about it.

  45. This made me feel a little strange that by my 25th year I still don’t have the prayers memorized. I think I’ll go ahead and do that.

  46. My sympathy here is clearly with the young priests who are often nevous, knowing the bishopric is listening to their every mistake. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that fewer kids today can read worth a darn. If the schools aren’t teaching reading anymore, maybe parents should!

  47. I am surprised to hear those that think that the sacrament prayer should not be required to be verbatim. Without this requirement, we open up a huge can of worms as it then becomes very subjective- one may say, “Oh, he only missed two words, it’s fine” while another may say, “He missed two words? Do it over!” Where do we draw the line? Obviously it is the judgement of the presiding authority that matters, but I would be very surprised if any presiding authority would knowlingly let a mistake slide. Some things just need to be exact….

    Now, if we could just have some of the priests slow down a little and speak clearly enough for everyone to understand, we’d be getting somewhere!

  48. My sympathy here is clearly with the young priests who are often nevous, knowing the bishopric is listening to their every mistake. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that fewer kids today can read worth a darn. If the schools aren’t teaching reading anymore, maybe parents should!

    I think vouchers are the solution.

  49. Going back to comment #7, we aren’t supposed to thank the priesthood for administering the sacrament?

  50. #48: Zing!

    So, if it doesn’t matter which language you say the prayer in (English or Spanish, #29) – why does it matter if you get every single word correct? It’s not like the BoM people were speaking English, either. Thank goodness we don’t have to say in their tongue!

    #36: I realize yours is the answer one would expect, but how is that different than mis-speaking the prayer? If the one who blesses is unworthy, how does that affect the bread/water? You’re saying – it doesn’t. Why then do you have to even be a priesthood holder to do it? Just for fun, imagine a 14 year old boy is visiting from another ward, offers to bless the sacrament and reads the prayer correctly, but you find out later he wasn’t even a member. How does that affect your partakage?

  51. Name (required) says:

    #49–I’m just passing on what Elder Tingey told us. He basically said that it has become ritualistic for the person conducting to stand after the sacrament and say something like, “We’d like to thank the aaronic priesthood for the reverent manner in which they bless and pass the sacrament and they can now be excused to sit with their families.”

    He talked mostly about not saying the part about ‘they are now excused to go sit with their families.” He said that they know the routine–just let them quietly sit down without the formal announcement. The ‘thanking them for the reverent manner’ part was noted as unnecessary as well.

    I think that it was on this occasion that he also advised against prayer meetings before church with those that were speaking that day. He said that if things aren’t together by the time of the prayer meeting, its too late anyway.

    Like I said in my original post–I’ve occasionally wondered if these were just his preferences or if it was a church wide thing going out in various stake training meetings.

  52. Name (required) says:


    If the presiding bishopric, under the direction of the first presidency, has decided that it needs to be said word for word, then all that should matter is to find ways to make it work.

    Has the presiding bishopric made any official statement on this topic?

    And until the presiding bishopric decides otherwise, it really doesn’t matter what any seventy or mission president says about it.

    1-Where is it clearly defined that this falls under the authority of the presiding bishopric?
    2-So it doesn’t matter what an apostle might say about it–just stick with the presiding bishopric?
    3-Do you think that it is at all clear to most members of the church who has authority on various matters? Does seventy outrank a presiding bishopric member on this sort of thing or is it the other way around?

  53. #24 – If the baptismal prayer is pronounced and then a toe comes out of the water, the entire body has been immersed in the same performance of the ordinance. That’s a far different thing that spraying with a hose.

    Immersion of the entire body is the standard, not simultaneous immersion. That’s the standard we used in my mission and that I’ve used ever since, including in the temple.

  54. #53 – Then I would suggest the word get out to the 99% of the wards and temples where that is not the understanding and practice.

  55. In 1876, Brigham Young clarified the position of the Presiding Bishop as the general president of the Aaronic Priesthood.

    In addition to their temporal stewardship, they also oversee all matters pertaining to the organization, administration, duties, and responsibilities of the Aaronic Priesthood. This includes the Sacrament ordinance.

    I’m too lazy to look up the reference, but there is an account of a past presiding bishopric (I’m thinking some time in the early 1900’s) outlining the duties of the Deacon, Teacher, and Priest with respect to the sacrament ordinance, and their responsibilities in performing this ordinance. In that article, they explain how the ordinance is to be conducted and who plays what role in the performance.

    Although they operate under the direction of the first presidency, it’s their ball of wax. But, you can draw whatever conclusions you want.

  56. Name (required) says:

    Forgive me for dismissing your 1876 or early 1900’s references, but I’m not sure that they are relevent. Something from this millenium would be great. Something from late last century would be OK. Old quotes on doctrine can be sketchy. Old quotes on proceedures are completely unreliable.

  57. Interesting…

    Do you have anything from this millenium that states otherwise? If not, why wouldn’t you yield to the last instruction given?

    Or perhaps you put more stock in modern day hearsay than you do yesteryear revelation?

  58. Name (required) says:

    JM–please refer to your handy copy of the ‘Church handbook of instructions’.

  59. Which page/section?

  60. Name (required) says:

    I’m too lazy to look up the reference

  61. Well, nothing I see in either book 1 or 2 contradicts what I posted.


  62. Once in the French Mission, two elders came panting into President Rulon Hinckley’s office, confused and dismayed, having discovered that the boy they had baptized the previous week (along with his parents) was not eight years old, but only seven, (Some error in communication, or addition, or parental memory, etc.) What to do, what to DO?

    President Hinckley (possessed of the kindest heart and the driest wit imaginable) suppressed his laugh and said slowly, “Well, elders, I know of no “unbaptism” ritual in the church, so we’ll just have to let the lad grow into it.”

  63. Kevin Barney says:

    A precious story, Elouise! Thanks for that.

  64. As part of “Raising the Bar” when I served as Bishop from 2001-early 2007, I gave the responsibility of the accurate preparation and reciting of the Sacrament Prayers to the priests who were at the table. The assignments were made a week in advance and if it was a new priest (or convert) my Priest Quorum assistants went during the week to practice with the rookie. Generally, all was much better because they took control, ownership, and accountability. Novel concepts to be sure.