Traditions of Their [Mothers]: Girls Should Be Passing the Sacrament

A little over two years ago, I wrote a post explaining that our current rule that only priesthood holders can pass the sacrament has no basis in scripture. D&C 20:58 explicitly says that teachers and deacons lack the authority to “administer the sacrament”; ergo, if we allow teachers and deacons to prepare and pass the sacrament, those things must not be part of the administration of the sacrament.

And if they’re not, then the Handbook’s requirement that only “[d]eacons, teachers, priests, and Melchizedek Priesthood holders may pass the sacrament” is based, not on scripture, but on tradition. Now, tradition is certainly not always a bad thing, but the Book of Mormon warns us that tradition can potentially impede our ability to know and understand God. I think that’s doubly true when the tradition actively harms a person or group of people by, for example, not allowing them to participate and serve fully in our religious community.

In the intervening two years, a couple important things have happened. First, at the grassroots level, some bishops have allowed girls to provide a limited amount of sacrament-passing. In Hyde Park, here in Chicago, a bishop started having deacons take the sacrament to the nursing room, where they passed the trays to girls who took the trays in.

A year later, Pres. Nelson announced that women would be allowed to witness temple marriages, and women and girls would be allowed to witness baptisms. This was another duty that had been limited to priesthood holders base on tradition rather than scripture. And the change, it turns out, doesn’t require revelation or new canonized scripture; all this kind of change requires is a careful look at scripture and tradition, and an announcement. We’ve shown we can do it, and I hope that we do. Soon.

As a follow-up, there’s also no scriptural or doctrinal reason that Sunday School presidencies or ward clerks need to be priesthood holders. Again, it’s in the Handbook, but it’s not justified by anything except tradition. And as with the tradition requiring priesthood to pass and prepare the sacrament, this tradition is harmful to the body of Christ.

A new church handbook goes live tomorrow. I have no idea what it will say, but it seems like a perfect opportunity to reassess and remove these gender-based barriers to serving in the church. I hope my daughters will be able to pass the sacrament on Sunday. And if not this Sunday, I hope the Sunday when they do comes soon.

Image from page 465 of “The Relief Society magazine : organ of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” (1922). No known copyright restrictions.

 

Comments

  1. This is great. I share that hope that my daughters can pass the sacrament. However, your argument should be that young women should both prepare and pass the sacrament. No reason to only allow them to pass if preparation is not a priesthood function that requires an office. Another point you could raise is that women already have priesthood authority. They just lack an office. This was emphasized in my recent stake conference by the visiting 70.

    One issue that will arise when young women pass/prepare the sacrament, is whether to allow young men the same privilege even without ordination. There’s no logical reason why not. Over my years working with young men I’ve had a few who really didn’t want to be ordained. As women’s role continue to expand in the church, there will be a natural tension as to whether to allow men to voluntarily do what until now has been a duty vs. impose the same duty obligation on women. Missionary work is already seeing that tension. We say that YM have a duty and for YW its an option, but in practice it’s really just become an option for both of them (which is not necessarily bad).

  2. What a wonderful, doctrinally based, reason for allowing greater participation in our meetings from all our young people.

    It takes courage from all (leaders and members) to make changes. I hope to see evidence of everyone’s courage tomorrow when the new handbook is released.

  3. I hope the need to take my vitamins wasn’t exhausted by the name change to the meetinghouse WiFi network.

  4. Dave, important point. I mean to include preparation too, but was stealing some time at work, so that slipped my mind (or my fingers). Girls should definitely be allowed to prepare the sacrament, too. As for unordained boys, I don’t see why not (and, in fact, Pres. Grant also didn’t; I quote him in my linked post). I mean, I’m totally comfortable with creating a floor of graduated-from-primary (which is also unscriptural, but isn’t exclusionary, and also, we probably don’t want 3-year-olds walking around passing!).

    Amy, thank you!

  5. Sam, your logic is off. The lack of scriptural justification doesn’t logically entail tradition as the only possible remaining explanation. You’re overlooking the actual justification: this is the direction giving by a living prophet and those with the authority to give instruction on these matters.

    Could Russel M. Nelson tell us all tomorrow that the YW should now pass the sacrament? Sure, I see no reason why he couldn’t, and I’d support my daughters in their assignment. But if he doesn’t, it’s no mere tradition that prevents them from doing so.

  6. I agree that there is no doctrinal reason that any member couldn’t pass the sacrament. I also agree that there is no doctrinal reason that only a priesthood holder can serve as Sunday School president and that women should serve in that position. But with respect to whether women and girls should be passing the sacrament, I’m not quite convinced. Preparing and passing the sacrament is, to my view, a tradition that exists to prepare young men to bless the sacrament and perform other priesthood ordinances. So it seems to me that the tradition is tied to something doctrinal, even if it isn’t doctrinal itself.

  7. “we probably don’t want 3-year-olds walking around passing”

    Except, of course, that they already do sometimes–everyone passes the sacrament down their row.

    C. Keen–in this case, it really is mere tradition. No one claimed inspiration for the innovation of having boys prepare the sacrament when the practice was instituted; they were following the recommendation of the “General Priesthood Committee on Outlines,” which was organized to set up curriculum for the priesthood quorums, and ended up needing to come up with more duties to teach the teachers and deacons about. See Bill Hartley’s “From Men to Boys: LDS Aaronic Priesthood Offices, 1829-1996” or “The Priesthood Reform Movement: 1908-1922.”

  8. Sam, this is a really wonderful post and argument. I completely agree. How wonderful and uplifting it would be if our daughters could participate and serve in this way! Much too late for my oldest daughter who is now an adult, but this could still bless my younger three daughters very much.

  9. Yes, I second Kristine’s correction to C. Keen. This rule is purely a result of Correlation — and its implementation was purely bureaucratic with no such “prophetic” justification or explanation saying that God had directed that only teenaged boys and men could carry the sacrament trays to each row for members to take and then pass down the rows to one another.

  10. Marjorie Conder says:

    Up through WWII women commonly prepared the Sacrament table. But then times were different. You couldn’t leave washing all those little glasses, ironing the tablecloths or baking the bread to the deacons and teachers, now could you??

  11. Interesting! I would sustain this.

  12. C. Keen, I want to endorse everything Kristine said. And I want to go a step further: as I understand it, your assertion is that, because the president of the church countenances a practice, he’s endorsing it in his capacity as prophet, and it represents God’s will for the church.

    And I don’t buy that. Our scriptures explicitly say that the church isn’t perfect as is, otherwise we wouldn’t have to accept all that God will reveal. Moreover, our history indicates that the positive changes happen because people ask questions about the status quo. There’s no reason to believe that God would have ended polygamy or lifted the racial temple and priesthood ban without the prophets asking—repeatedly—about it. But if what we have is God’s will, what motivation do they have to ask? Your church paradigm, as I understand it, would prevent us from receiving blessings that God has proven willing to give us.

    And, fwiw, I didn’t overlook anything. As Kristine (and john) rightly point out, boys passing the priesthood was an administrative decision. There’s been no assertion that it was somehow revelatory or even correct. It’s just how things have been.

    And it should be changed.

  13. I brought this very issue up in a 5th Sunday lesson about 6 years ago. Nobody seemed to care. Someday these policies surrounding blessing and passing the sacrament will change and, when they do, church members will just be beside themselves with awe at how inspired and in touch with God’s revelations the president of the church is. Hogwash. Every new “revelation” and change that takes place in the church was thought of by Joe Member long before some geriatric prophet claimed it as a revelation from God.

  14. Sam,
    You note that church traditions surrounding the sacrament are like Lamanite traditions that they should hate their Nephite brethren as mentioned in Mosiah 1:5? That’s pretty extreme, is it not?

  15. And Dsc, the practice wasn’t instituted as a preparation to administering priesthood ordinances—as Kristine’s sources document, it was instituted in part because adult men wanted to do Bigger things with their priesthood, and partly as part of Progressive Era reforms aimed at saving boys (but not, I suppose, girls?) from the evils inherent in the modern world.

    But let’s say it is preparatory to priesthood ordinances: I still don’t get why that weighs in favor of excluding girls. Letting girls pass the sacrament doesn’t mean excluding boys. Boys and girls would both prepare and pass the sacrament, and it would maintain its preparatory power for the boys.

    Last time I posted about this, there was some objection because wards have so many youth. To which I respond: if that’s your concern, move. My ward has ~3 young men and ~5 young women. We have adult men passing every week. Letting the girls pass isn’t going to take away anybody’s opportunity to serve. But in a ward with dozens of youth, any individual boy already isn’t passing every week. He’ll still get to serve, and we have the bonus of allowing girls to serve too.

  16. If preparation for future duties is the motivation, it also makes sense to learn to serve alongside young women–most priesthood duties are not carried out in exclusively male contexts. The experience of many sister missionaries suggests that the young men could use more practice working with women as colleagues before they head out into the mission field.

  17. Regarding Dsc’s comment, I would add that women do administer priesthood ordinances. I won’t get into detail here, but women perform a considerable amount of ordinances in the temple. So if sacrament duties prepare young men for performing temple ordinances, the same principle would apply to young women.

  18. Dsc, passing the sacrament does nothing to prepare a male for other priesthood ordinances. Are men who join the church later in life somehow not as prepared to baptize their children or give priesthood blessings because they did not have that important preparatory opportunity of passing the sacrament? Of course not! Besides, if the sacrament really is to prepare young men for other priesthood ordinances then maybe the problem isn’t that allowing young women to pass the sacrament would deprive young men of that important preparation – maybe the problem is that young women have nothing to prepare for in this church. Maybe the problem is that it is only men who get to do the administering.

  19. As mentioned, it was likely due to a time when adult Aaronic priesthood responsibilities were in vogue. As for it being more than “tradition”, how does one view womenswear not praying in sacrament meeting for decades? I think correlation was the likely driver.

  20. Sorry. Women, not womenswear. Auto spelling strikes again.

  21. Old Man: Why do people do this? Your comment seems to suggest this: Any attempt to say that a practice is based on tradition and not revelation is akin to hatred. And any attempt to point out that the scriptures have suggested that some traditions are not good is comparable to nephite/lamanite levels of disagreement. Before you know it, Sam is being accused of comparing girls not passing the sacrament to violent tribal hatred. Can’t you read his comments with a touch more charity? Can’t you see what he is saying?

  22. sch,
    A closer reading on your own part would help. Sam cited Mosiah 1 in his article. Click on the hyperlinked “warns us.” it is the third hyperlink in his post. I’m still scratching my head on why he did that.

  23. Old Man, maybe you should read closer. I explain exactly what I’m doing with the scriptural reference in my post. But if you’re not willing to read it closely, let me be more explicit: Mosiah 1:5 doesn’t say anything about hatred. In fact, according to vs. 1, this all happens in peacetime. Mosiah is telling his sons, inter alia, that had the Nephites not had scripture, they would have “dwindled in unbelief” like the Lamanites, who neither knew nor were willing to accept the mysteries of God because of the traditions of their father.

    In fact, I’m scratching my head on where you’re getting hatred from the verse (or even chapter) that I linked to, much less how you’re somehow inferring that hatred somehow underlies my suggestion that we shouldn’t impose extra-scriptural requirements for passing the sacrament, and especially extra-scriptural requirements that exclude women and girls.

  24. Sam,
    No offense intended. And it may be the cold meds I am on today, but the traditions of the fathers we speak of were viewed quite negatively in the Book of Mormon (as we read further into Mosiah 10). My reading of the verse you cited included the various negatives from the context of the Book of Mormon. My reading would include the blood feud between the descendants of Lehi. Hence my use of the word “hatred.”

    In the context of other statements in your post, it seemed to me you were implying that various traditional practices (such as calling clerks or passing the sacrament) were hate-based traditions which were (in your words) “harmful to the body of Christ.” That is pretty strong language even without my negative take on the passage you used from Mosiah.

    Please note that I am not pushing back against suggesting that we have church traditions influenced by from various social and cultural sources. That is more than likely. I am pushing back against the notion that these traditions were based upon ignorance or hatred.

    And to follow up on your last comment, does that mean that there can be no “extra-scriptural” policies ever?

    Your thoughts are always appreciated.

  25. Sam et al.: I am not claiming that having YM pass the sacrament is the result of revelation or the direct implementation of God’s will, or is even useful or optimal. I see no reason it should be. The prophet is also the presiding high priest for the church, and is authorized to direct the implementation of those ordinances, acting under the direction of revelation or inspiration or just whatever strikes him as a good idea. If he likes the current setup for the sacrament, it’s his call to make. Your argument makes the unspoken assumption that the prophets have never considered any alternatives, or they feel helpless to change current practice, which is what your invocation of “tradition” implies. I very much doubt that’s the case.

    Think about it like this: If your department head told you that the department needed you to teach a section of Remedial County Tax Law for Freshmen in the fall, would you deny the request because your dean hadn’t personally told the department head to assign you to the course? No, of course not. Your department head has been authorized to make that decision and the dean doesn’t want to hear your complaint. You can always ask your department head if some other option would be possible, but if your department head won’t budge, that’s pretty much what you’ll be teaching. An administrative decision by the properly authorized administrator is no mere tradition.

  26. Old Man, that’s a really good question. I’m all for extra-scriptural traditions. I actually really like (some) traditions—they provide memory, connection, and continuity.

    Where I’d draw the line would be with the inclusiveness of the tradition. If the tradition draws people in and invited their full participation (and, of course, isn’t precluded by scripture), I say go for it!

    But where the tradition excludes people by virtue of some characteristic (here, gender), of argue that we need to jettison it, and the sooner the better.

  27. When I was in college, I accepted a calling from my YSA-ward bishop to serve as the Sunday School president (I’m a woman). A few days later he asked me to meet with him again, and somewhat embarrassed, explained that he’d learned that you had to be a priesthood holder to serve in that position. He asked if I’d be willing to accept a calling to be co-chair of a committee instead. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the details now, but I think it was something to do with teacher development (Gospel Teaching & Leadership, maybe?)–the other co-chair was the guy who’d been called to serve as Sunday School president instead of me.

    I don’t know where I’m exactly going with sharing this story, except to say that not everyone has automatically assumed that that particular calling MUST go a priesthood holder. It’s interesting to think that that particular bishop felt that what I had to offer would fit the needs of the ward at that time, but had to slightly change plans due to the rules spelled out in the Handbook.

  28. “…passing the sacrament does nothing to prepare a male for other priesthood ordinances…”

    I’d be happy of the YW were allowed to pass, but this comment seems far-fetched. DC 20 gives the priests the unique obligation to “administer” the sacrament, which I think Sam is correct as meaning blessing (and tearing) the bread and water. My experience tells me that the deacons and teachers learn reverence for the sacrament and gain an appreciation for the priesthood service the priests provide by passing and preparing the sacrament. Whether it’s a mistake of correlation or divinely instituted, there’s little doubt in my mind that the effect is that our deacons and teachers are essentially gaining an apprenticeship preparing them for the actual “administration” of the sacrament.

    I think the more interesting question is whether we do not let the YW pass because it obviously does function as that apprenticeship, but in the case of YW it would be an apprenticeship to nothing, since it would take a doctrinal change to allow women to “administer” as the priests do. In that sense, it seems like allowing YW to pass and prepare would increase the angst, rather than decrease it.

  29. Thanks for the story, Melly!

    C. Keen, I don’t understand your objection. I’m not saying that Nelson can’t decide to keep it the same. I’m saying he shouldn’t.

    Although your hypothetical is instructive, though perhaps not in the way you meant it. My dean would always be willing to listen to my thoughts on classes that he wants me to teach. He values my input and experience. In the same way, I believe that the church needs and (and, I hope, values) our input as members.

  30. Billet Doux says:

    I think it’s fine for there to be different jobs for the boys and girls to do. I don’t care whether its revelation or tradition–just anecdotally, if the girls prepared and passed the sacrament, they’d take over. Girls at that age are just more advanced socially, verbally, and executively. It’s ok to give the boys some space and time to mature without having to fend off exasperated and more-mature girls who can see six-ways-to-Monday how to do the job more efficiently and with more polish. Besides, I reject the underlying assumption that if girls don’t do everything boys do, they are oppressed in a sexist system. Girls and boys are different; it’s the world and not the restored gospel that defines what boys do as noble and what girls do as menial. Why do we just accept that narrative without question, and then contort ourselves to meet its capricious demands?

  31. Billet Doux, two things. For the first, I’m struggling to find a nice way to say this, but: that’s just not true. There’s no reason that girls would somehow take over to the detriment of boys. As the father of girls at the relevant ages—girls who engage with boys in all sorts of activities (including on sports teams)—I can say unequivocally that girls and boys can engage in the same activity with no detriment to the boys.

    And second: what about passing the sacrament is inherently gendered? What justifies girls’ exclusion? If it’s just to make boys feel better about themselves (because they’re better and higher than girls, natch), it’s a stupid rule. The whole separate spheres thing seems capricious to me—I work with and for men and women. We’re capable of working together, we’re capable of respecting each other, and we’re capable of doing precisely the same jobs.

    Moreover, your assertion, while questionable in theory, doesn’t even rise to the level of questionable in practice. There is no equivalent semi-salvific weekly ritual in the church that the girls can do which is similar to, but different from, the sacrament. The sacrament is a central part of our worship and our remembering, and we exclude girls from the blessings that come from serving their congregations by passing the sacrament.

  32. Billet Doux, I think the potential issue at play is there just isn’t as much prescribed space for young women to participate in and contribute to the functioning of the ward as there is for young men. It’s fine for men and women to have different jobs, but the fact is, young women don’t really have jobs at all.

  33. I wholeheartedly agree with expanding the role for girls and women. The one issue I see with a woman being called as a ward clerk is that the bishop (and counselors) with whom the clerk works closely and often in closed quarters, is a man. Now I know this is a similar issue with the RS President, but it seems the clerk will likely remain male for no other reason than to avoid temptation.

  34. Deborah Strollo says:

    I have not read all the comments, so I don’t know if this was already mentioned. Some of us are old enough to remember when , during the ordinance of blessing and naming a child, the father ( even though not a member ) was invited into the circle. This was corrected as this is a Priesthood ordinance and therefore only Priesthood holders should be in the circle. This always bothered me, seeing a faithful mother sit in the pew while the other parent, the father, because of his fender was invited to participate. I believe one stream of thought, was that if he stood in the circle with these other men, he may have the desire to join the church and be ordained so that he could eventually bless any future children etc. Was this another tradition?

  35. Deborah Strollo says:

    gender not fender:)

  36. jimbob, “an apprenticeship to nothing” is a pretty good description for a lot of what the YW do in church, tbh…

  37. Gilgamesh–why does “avoiding temptation” always work to exclude women? Also, do these men not have jobs, where they work with women? It’s grotesque that women have to be treated by church policy as if they are first, last, and always potential sex objects.

  38. Billet Doux, let’s look at some precedent. A couple years ago priest age boys were allowed to serve as witnesses for temple baptisms. Last year young women were given the same opportunity. Did any priests stop witnessing? No. Neither did men stop serving missions, saying prayers in sacrament meeting and conference, going to college, voting, working outside the home, or any other gender-restricted activity that has been opened to women. Let’s have a little more faith in our boys.

  39. Janna DeLange says:

    Currently, the all-female branches in Hong Kong made up of foreign domestic workers meet on weekdays according to the workers’ days off. The Bishop is a Melchizedek priesthood holder and missionaries administer the sacrament. All other branch callings (executive secretary, clerks, mission leader, Sunday School president) are filled by women. Obviously, this is not contrary to doctrine.

  40. I suppose I disagree to a degree, Kristine. Ideally, YW learn leadership skills in their YW classes (there’s been a serious emphasis on letting them lead in the last 9 months or so). They then can take those skills and hopefully be better missionaries, better primary, YW, and relief society presidency members, etc. That looks a lot like an “apprenticeship” to me.

    For clarity, I don’t disagree that most of the “real” power lies with men who are bishops, bishopric members, SPs, and the like. But I also don’t think that women are in token jobs or have no real authority in their callings, particularly with the changes of the last five years. At least in my ward and my ward council, the female leadership have a lot to do and mostly have the discretion to do it. Their input in council meetings is seen as essential and has real effects on the decisions made at a ward level. I know that’s not anything close to the equality some are hoping for, but it’s not nothing.

  41. You’re right, jimbob. I guess I’m in an especially cynical mood–sorry about that!

  42. Left Field says:

    We male humans share an entire planet with female humans. They’re everywhere. It’s high time we started treating them like humans and not like “temptation.”

  43. Kevin Barney says:

    All Church leaders should be required to read the late Bill Hartley’s wonderful article “From Men to Boys.” The tl;dr is that in the 19th century AP offices like Deacon and teacher were held by grown men who would hold such offices for the long haul. But late in the century as temples were built lots of men went through the temple and as a consequence instead of remaining a Deacon they got ordained as Elders in the MP, so the AP was dying. Solution? Start ordaining boys to the AP. But problem: boys don’t have the capacity to do the kinds of adult work the men were doing. So preparing and passing the sacrament was make work suited to the very limited ability of the boys. There was never anything inherent to those tasks that actually required priesthood; it was make work to give the boys something to do. There is no Inherent reason that girls couldn’t do t(e same.

  44. Kevin Barney says:

    This old post is perhaps tangentially relevant: https://bycommonconsent.com/2008/07/13/stephanie-passing-the-sacrament/

  45. Honestly, it’s all out the window once you parse a scripture to say that teachers can’t administer the sacrament but they can pass it. You might as well say teachers can break the bread, but they can’t bless it, because the blessing is the administration.

    And at that point if no special authority is needed to pass or break bread, you might as well have those functions performed by any age or gender.

    I will add that the idea that because we made a change 1-2 or even 10 years ago and the world didn’t end is a lazy false dichotomy. Changing things that were part of how one generation grows up necessarily changes how the next generation grows up, and you can’t really appreciate generational changes for a generation or two, and even then you’ll be arguing about what the real culprit was.

    I think it’s clear that involving more girls and women can lead to them doing more of one thing, the boys doing less of that one thing, and the girls doing less of whatever the were doing before.

    It’s just reality. Maybe the new reality is better, but you can’t wave your hands around like there’s all gain and no loss.

  46. Kevin Barney says:
  47. Kevin Barney says:

    (Sorry, I inadvertently double posted a link.)

  48. Memfy, a couple things. First, there’s no parsing. D&C 20:58 literally say: “But neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands.” That means that passing the sacrament cannot be administering the sacrament, because the D&C prohibits deacons from administering the sacrament.

    And my point is precisely that we should allow either gender to prepare and pass the sacrament. Any age? I’m comfortable setting an arbitrary minimum age, largely because that doesn’t discriminate in any way (young kids will get older and will be able to pass then).

    As for doing more of one thing and less of another: if girls were to pass the sacrament, they would certainly do less of, well, sitting and not passing the sacrament during the sacrament. And boys? It absolutely depends. I don’t know about your ward. Mine has three young men. Two are priests who bless (that is, administer) the sacrament. The third is a deacon. He passes, along with a number of adult men. We also have ~5 young women. If all of them were to pass, the deacon would still pass every time he was at church.

    But even if not, it seems to me that the benefit of involving girls in the passing of the sacrament more than makes up for any marginal loss to boys of passing less than they used to. (In fact, I’m not convinced that there’s any marginal cost to it.)

  49. I agree with the YW passing the sacrament, and blessing it too.
    What priesthood is required to conduct sacrament meeting? On Sunday we had ward conference, we had 7 suits on the stand, our bishopric all have young families they could/should be helping with.
    I see no reason more than 1 person needs to be on the stand.

    I also see no reason the RS presidency could not rotate with the Bishoptic at conducting sacrament meeting, which would really look like progress.

    And if we could tell the bishopric to sit with their family when not conducting they would only be away twice a year.

    I have been in Yellowstone ward when there were Apostles in the congregation, and didn’t preside, Do we need someone to preside, does he have to be on the stand?

    Just an interim measure until all worthy members hold the priesthood.

  50. Looking back, preparing and passing the sacrament as a teacher and deacon was an incredibly valuable apprenticeship for later priesthood service when I was a young man. If girls had been doing it too, most of us guys would have had a very hard time participating at all. The dynamic would have been completely different. Simply talking to the person sitting next to me to coordinate who was going where would have been a non-started with most girls. And yes, we would have just stopped showing up and let the girls do it. Getting us there was hard enough as it was. Eventually we learned to be able to interact with the girls, and church activities played a big role in that, but it took time and didn’t really work until later than 12-14. Gender segregated activities created space to develop other skills without the ability to work with female peers always being the one skill getting in the way of all other skill development. I’m not arguing that my experience means we have to keep doing everything the way we now. I’d like to see my daughters play more visible roles at church, too. But this conversation is being far too dismissive of the very real benefits to the young men of the priesthood apprenticeship we currently have.

  51. Question: how can priesthood holders bless the sacrament, when they are not god?
    “.O God … we ask thee in the name thy son, Jesus Christ, to bless an sanctify this bread/wine”. So the priests do not bless the sacrament. The scriptures (D&C 20, Moroni 3,4) are correct, when they use the term “administering”. Unfortunately, the handbook 20.4.3 fails to reproduce the correct wording.

    When the bishop asks me to bless the sacrament, I tell him: “sorry, I can’t – am not God”.

  52. Owen, if you’re right that letting girls pass the sacrament would cause boys to stop doing it, that’s deeply troubling about the way we raise boys. If having girls participate in the same activity with the boys makes the activity less valuable in the boys’ eyes, we need to fix something.

    That said, I am deeply, deeply skeptical of your assertion, for several reasons. For one, my daughters are competitive athletes on a team with boys and girls. No boy has quit competing because they’re with girls. The kids all push each other and all encourage each other. In fact, it is absolutely critical that kids learn to work together with other kids, irrespective of gender. Not just at 12, but at 8 and at 6.

    And it’s also not like letting girls pass the sacrament will eliminate gender-segregated spaces in the church. Every other week on Sundays, the boys meet separately from the girls. A significant number of weekday activities are gender-segregated. And, in fact, those are places where kids should be talking and making friends and interacting! Not so much sitting next to each other quietly, waiting to serve the congregation.

    And I refuse to believe that a 12-year-old boy can’t sit on a pew next to a 12-year-old girl.

  53. Owen, did/do your children attend mixed gender schools? Did you? Has that negatively affected your male identity? Would/do you accept gender restrictions on your daughters in an educational or employment setting?

  54. A swing and a miss, Sam. Maybe in the April conference?

  55. Fingers crossed, Dude.

  56. Owen: Couldn’t we work it out so that girls do it some weeks, and boys others?

  57. I can only hope. My daughters are seven and four. Every week, they see very young boys passing the sacrament, and they often say that they wish they could pass it too. My youngest asks if they’re helping and says that she hopes she can help someday. My oldest gets pretty upset, and while there’s a good deal of FOMO in her angst (she generally gets upset when someone is doing *anything* she’s not), I think there’s also a kernel of real desire to have a concrete, visible role in the church.

    I’m hoping against hope that change comes within four years.

  58. I am not convinced. D&C 20 mentions that Priests are to administer the sacrament and that deacons are to assist. When I think of administering i think of the management and responsibility that correlate with what ever is being administered or the dispensing of something. Therefore, the administration of the sacrament seems, by its definition, to be a process given to the aaronic priesthood.

  59. Odd that no one read the verse that way for 80 years or so…

  60. your food allergy is fake says:

    Verses 76 and 78 seem pretty clear about what “administer” means. It appears quite specifically to refer to the sacramental prayer, and nothing else about passing, managing, etc.

  61. Even though I hope the church will allow YW to pass the sacrament – and soon – my fear is that the church will do so under the framework that YW have “delegated priesthood authority.” As Sam and William Hartley have shown, priesthood authority is no more necessary to pass the sacrament than it is to chop wood for widows. And so instead of correcting a mistaken idea, such a framework will reinforce it.

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