Unbaptized children, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and covenant renewal

For as long as I can remember, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper has largely been framed in the church as a renewal of baptismal covenants. When my family was young I avoided giving my infants the bread and water as they were passed down the pews, but I wasn’t particularly scrupulous, and when they were old enough to want to participate, they did.  My memory is that many people my age and younger have wondered and argued whether having children wait until they are baptized before eating and drinking the sacramental emblems was preferable.  So here is my ask: have you or other family members chosen not to have your unbaptized children participate in the Lord’s Supper? If so, why? And how did it work out for your family?

Comments

  1. I used to think of it this way. If little children are alive in Christ and require no baptism, there is no problem in letting them participate as a way to remember what Christ has done for them. Sacrament is a remembrance as well as a renewal of covenants. As a child, I partook, and remember at a rather young age having an inkling that this was a way to honor Christ’s death and sacrifice for us. Any proscription that I see against taking the sacrament in scripture says not to allow people to partake unworthily. Little children are, by definition it seems, worthy. That is my general take on this.

  2. And I am sorry, I guess my answer does not really meet the criteria for the ask.

  3. UTManMI says:

    Ditto as to Lona Gynt.

  4. Personal experience says:

    Perhaps this isn’t precisely what you’re looking for, but it’s my experience. I grew up in the church, but was not baptized until I was an adult because one of my parents did not want me to be. The parent I went to church with asked me to not take the sacrament because I had not been baptized.

    I never felt like there were spiritual problems with not taking the sacrament (given how we explain the sacrament in the church, it made and still makes sense to me that I couldn’t be renewing a covenant I hadn’t entered into). It wasn’t particularly fun, though. I was not comfortable talking about my difficult family situation with fellow congregants, and preferred to slide under the radar and let as many people as possible assume I had been baptized––of course, if that was their assumption and they saw me not taking the sacrament, I worried that they would think there was some Reason I wasn’t partaking. No one ever passed judgement (at least not to my face), but the anxiety was always there. I doubt children younger than 8 would share that concern.

    Should I have children in the future, I’m not planning to offer them the sacrament or encourage them to take it, and I certainly don’t want my hypothetical kids to think of the sacrament as a snack (“Which piece of this bread is biggest, and can I sneak two extra pieces?”). Someone once told me that they had their young children take the sacrament to “get them in the habit.” I don’t think that taking the sacrament should be understood as a habit, but rather as a gift to those who have covenanted with God, so that’s what I want to teach in my family.

  5. Brother H. says:

    Not all covenants are baptismal, nor is baptism necessarily even the first. Partaking of communion is that – being in communion; with the fellowship of saints, and with God. Communion can be a reminder of existing covenants, or a reminder that a loving God provides for His/Her family.

    Let the little children eat.

  6. Brother H. says:

    To directly answer the question (sorry) – I participated pre-baptism, as have my children. No lightning bolts so far.

  7. J. Stapley says:

    I appreciate the responses so far. Thank you. Personal Experience, I imagine that you have described something that many have experienced in the church and which hasn’t been talked about much at all.

  8. Sherry Work says:

    The sacrament prayers contain covenants in and of themselves so I think they are suitable for anybody, member or non-member, above or below age 8, who wants to promise to remember Jesus and keep his commandments.

  9. lastlemming says:

    My adult son with Down syndrome is unbaptized, but has taken the sacrament for as long as I can remember. He is not making or renewing any covenants–I’m sure he sees it as a snack (he is nonverbal, so I can’t ask him directly). But he would look at withholding it from him as punishment and that makes even less sense than allowing him a snack. Nobody has ever questioned the propriety of his participation.

  10. Steve Asvitt says:

    From my recent study, the sacrament is a renewal of all convenants associated with The New and Everlasting Covenant.

    I would think a child “born-in-the-covenant” has a right to partake of the sacrament.

    And I don’t see a reason to exclude any child “under the age of accountability” from partaking.

  11. Observer says:

    Part of the problem is that, strictly speaking, the sacrament does not renew baptismal covenants. Instead, it helps you invite the Spirit, which purifies you. (It’s not actually baptism that purifies you, but receiving the Holy Ghost that does the actual purification.) Nothing in the scriptures actually ties together the baptismal covenant and the sacrament.

    Instead, the sacramental covenant, as described in the prayers on the bread and water, is independent of other covenants. In it we promise to always remember Christ and keep His commandments and we are in turn promised to always have His spirit (the Holy Ghost) to be with us. Partaking of the sacrament helps us fulfill the command we are given when we are confirmed a member of the church (to receive the Holy Ghost), and receiving the Holy Ghost purifies us from our sins, but nothing specifically restricts any of that to only those who have been confirmed.

    To that end, I have no issue whatsoever with my unbaptized children partaking of the sacrament.

  12. A Poor Wayfaring Stranger says:

    My husband and I made the decision that we would wait to have our son partake of the sacrament until he was old enough to understand that we did so as a way to show our love for Jesus and for all that He’d done for us. Both of us felt strongly about this matter because we had both experienced the sacrament being treated so casually when we were small (not in my family but definitely in my husband’s family) and had continued to see it treated like a mini snack (especially on Fast Sunday) or as a mindless habit and not as an opportunity to renew a person’s baptismal covenants, taking stock of their relationship with the Lord or simply to think about the Savior. We read age appropriate Bible and Book of Mormon stories every night at bedtime starting at age 2 and spoke about Jesus often, but the concept of Jesus and His being our loving friend kicked in around age 3 for our son. Later on when he was a bit older he remembered our delaying his taking the sacrament and asked us why we’d done so. He appreciated our reasoning and said that because he waited plus the fact that we’d tried to remind ourselves as a family of the reason for taking the sacrament before we went to church every Sunday he tried to focus on Jesus during the sacrament rather than let his mind wander. While not everyone would choose to approach the sacrament this way with regard to young children it worked well for our family and taught our son the importance of and meaning of the sacrament at a young age.

  13. Old Man says:

    I have always been puzzled by parents force-feeding the sacrament to infants and extremely young children. Our children partook as soon as they could do so on their own, with just our watchful eyes so they didn’t decide that one piece was not enough and dive in for seconds.
    That time was also when the explanation and quiet instruction began.

  14. Stephen Hardy says:

    I don’t know of any scripture that ties Haitian to what we call the sacrament. Jesus certainly never tied them together. Nor did Paul. Jesus told his disciples to do it to remember him.

    To say that we can’t take the sacrament unworthily disqualifies us all. Maybe that’s where baptism cones in.

    I let my children take the sacrament from very early on. When they turned seven I asked them to stop taking the sacrament until they were baptized. I don’t think any if my three even remember that now ( they are all in their 20s now.) So I don’t think it had any impact.

  15. Stephen Hardy says:

    … that ties baptism to….

  16. justagirl says:

    lastlemming, my heart goes out to you. I have an adult son who is high functioning autistic. He is well versed and can tell you all of the the “qualifications of covenants”. Internalizing them is a different story. We have made sure that the majority of the milestones have been met. Infant blessing, baptism, Aaronic PH,(button down shirts and ties are required in our area) passing & blessing the sacrament temple baptisms. The staying hand has been with leadership about Melchizidek PH, temple endowments and attending family weddings. The common answer has been “well he doesn’t need it”. It breaks our hearts every time when he can’t participate in PH blessings, confirmations. and sits in the waiting area of the temple as an uncle with the small children.

  17. Left Field says:

    I’m old enough to remember the sacrament being administered in Junior Sunday School, when there was such a thing. Unbaptized children partook along with everyone else. I assume it was done because 47 E South Temple gave that instruction.

  18. Like Left Field, I both took the sacrament in Junior Sunday School and passed the sacrament as a new Deacon in Junior Sunday School. When we asked why unbaptized children needed to renew covenants they hadn’t made, we were told it was “practice” to get them in the habit of partaking in the ordinance. JSS sacrament administration was standard in the Church until the block schedule was adopted, although I don’t know that the explanation I received necessarily was.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    Left Field, great point, as I too remember partaking in Junior Sunday School.

  20. Geoff-Aus says:

    Jusragirl, In Australia we have TV show called “loveon the spectrum” https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&client=tablet-android-samsung-rev2&source=android-browser&q=love+on+the+spectrum
    Your family may enjoy.

  21. There are several scriptures that directly tie baptism to the sacrament. The baptism prayer itself does not contain the baptismal covenant, and it is not all given in the same place, but it is all in the scriptures.

    That said, our kids always took it before baptism.

  22. Every talk and lesson given about the Sacrament emphasis how taking the Sacrament shouldn’t be a habit. It should be something intentional. Every argument for letting unbaptized children take the Sacrament is to form a habit in the child.
    When we were pregnant with our first child, my wife thought about how she has no memory of taking the Sacrament for the first time. It was always part of growing up. She brought this up with her mother and said, “I bet you were feeding me the sacrament bread before I was even old enough to eat solids.” Her mother mumbled something in the affirmative. My wife wanted her children to be able to remember taking the Sacrament for the first time. She asked me if there were any scriptures one way or the other, but all I could think of are scriptures of Jesus making it very clear that only those who are entering into a covenant should partake of his flesh and blood.
    So we decided that our children will only take of the Sacrament after they are baptized.
    In the Come Follow Me lesson from a week or two ago, it mentioned that only those who are accountable should be entering into the covenant of the Sacrament. And the D&C section that draws the line in the sand at 8 years old for baptism reasons that it is due to 8 years old is when the Lord starts to consider people to be accountable. Both Sacrament and Baptism are covenants, and the Lord states that those who are not yet of 8 years old are not accountable enough to enter into covenants with Him. I take Him at His word.
    My wife noticed when teaching 6- and 7-year-olds Primary, that the “cool” kids would declare to the rest of the class that they were not going to get baptized. Likely as a way of showing that they were too cool for that and impress their peers. My children (before getting baptized) will spontaneously say that they want to get baptized. Why? So that they can partake of the Sacrament. Most LDS kids take the Sacrament without giving one thought, and only get baptized because their parents scheduled it for them. I have two children who have been baptized and two who are still too young. The younger kids look forward to the day when they can get baptized. And it’s not to have a pretty dress, or because their grandparents will throw a big party, it’s because they want to actually participate more in the gospel of Christ and His ordinances.
    My mother has been in tears multiple times over the fact that we are raising her grandchildren without the Sacrament. But do you know whose kids take the Sacrament seriously? Mine do. Their lives pre-baptism vs. post-baptism will actually be different. That’s not true for the vast majority of active, LDS kids.
    My wife and I are extremely proud of my children when they tell their grandparents that they can’t take the Sacrament because they haven’t been baptized yet. I can’t think of a better way to have kids take gospel ordinances more seriously than by having them witness others participating in an ordinance, and then taking seriously the time that they will be able to participate in said ordinance.
    Don’t make the Sacrament a habit. I don’t regret raising my children this way.

  23. Josiah Reckons says:

    Once on my mission, a lady visited our ward and asked me if she could participate in the sacrament with us. I told her that for the baptised members, participating symbolised a renewal of covenants she had not made, but she was welcome to partake of the bread and water with us. I told her it could mean something different for her.

    When Jesus instituted the sacrament with his disciples, he didn’t say much about baptism. The sacrament prayers don’t specifically say anything about baptism either. Jesus did talk about remembering him (and the prayers too). As a child, and with my own kids, that’s what we try to emphasise. Baptismal covenants are secondary. While they can be renewed through partaking of the Lords supper, it isn’t necessary.

  24. Stephen Hardy says:

    When I passed the sacrament in the junior Sunday school I was told that it was primarily for the adults who were there. Of course they might have taken the sacrament later at sacrament meeting hours later. But this was also the era when young children often were kept at home (with their mothers) during sacrament meeting. So the junior SS thing was a way for some to take the sacrament. I also can’t remember when you timed out of junior SS. Was it 8 or was it 12?

  25. chutchin1 says:

    I’m with Observer on this one. I think we may have gone a bit – or way – too far in our covenantal language generally, and definitely with respect to the sacrament. I think, in part, this issue/question comes up from the idea that the sacrament renews covenants. The scriptures seem to support only the idea that it’s commanded so that the participants remember Christ. There doesn’t seem to be covenants renewed – either prior ones you may have made taking the sacrament nor those nebulous ones that are purportedly made at baptism. If so, am I renewing old ones as well as making new ones each time I take the sacrament?

    Separately, I really wonder what it even means to “renew” a covenant. Is it that every covenant I made at every sacrament meeting is “renewed” – or I’m re-committing to the same thing or am I actually re-making each covenant I made through all prior weeks, so I have a running list of thousands of covenants that are all being brought forward? And, while I’m “renewing” my old covenants, am I also making new covenants as well, adding to the long list? If we do “renew” covenants, what’s the purpose of that? Why wouldn’t I be able to make a covenant, and that’s it (ala temple covenants, although, sadly, I do know there have been talks by apostles that have also referenced temple covenants as being renewed when taking the sacrament, so there’s that)? Are we using the term “renew” to just mean reminder? Or when I break a covenant, am I now breaking all 1,025 or so covenants I made while taking the sacrament over the years when I repeatedly made and renewed these covenants? Can’t I just repent of breaking a covenant and we’re good? Is that what we’re calling “renewing”?

    I wonder if we should simplify the purpose and consequences of the sacrament to simply be about complying with the commandment to remember Christ. That should be enough – doesn’t seem we need to heighten its importance by adding scriptually questionable (at best) ties to a bunch of vague covenants anyway.

    In full disclosure, I’m also not certain we even make specific baptismal covenants, at least not according to the scriptures.

  26. nobody, really says:

    On the Junior Sunday School option, I remember *not* having the option to not take the sacrament. I must have been 5 or 6, I’d fought bad with my brother that morning, and remembered a lesson about not taking the sacrament when you’re angry. I tried to abstain, and my “loving” teacher took my head and forced it into my mouth.

    So, yeah, it was pretty darn mandatory, at least in that ward.

  27. My parents had a relaxed attitude which I inherited. Permitted, not required, and we’re not going to hold the tray very long if you don’t get your act together. As a result I don’t have on-point stories to tell. I have observed that it’s mostly adults who have opinions and concerns. I tend to ignore the folks who just want to tell me what I’m supposed to think. But I do pay attention to situations that have come to my attention over the years. There’s the couple who grew up with different traditions and are trying to sort out their own family pattern for their own children. There’s the almost to be baptized young woman who really wanted to take the sacrament but told herself to wait. And there’s the friend who has been instructed not to take the sacrament as a matter of Church discipline. I don’t have neat summing up answers for any of those friends, as they watch young children be variously encouraged and forbidden to take the sacrament, and feel confused and troubled and questioning.

  28. I did a search in the Gospel Library on the word “Renew.” *Many* instances tying the Sacrament to renewing the Baptismal Covenant — e.g., from Gospel Principles, Chapter 23: “We take these obligations upon ourselves when we are baptized (see D&C 20:37; Mosiah 18:6–10). Thus, when we partake of the sacrament, we renew the covenants we made when we were baptized.”

  29. J. Stapley says:

    Thanks for all of the comments, I really appreciate it. jader3rd, in particular, I appreciate your willingness to describe your family’s experiences when most people are describing something else. And there is certainly a lot of tension around the Lord’s Supper for many, Christian, I don’t think we talk about that enough (largely, I think, because we often simply gloss over the meaning generally).

  30. John Mansfield says:

    Adding mine to the requested pile of accounts, my six children are now 25, 24, 22, 19, 14, and 12 years old. My wife and I decided not to give the bread and water to our children during the Sunday sacrament services. Our reading of scripture was that that sacrament should follow confirmation into Christ’s church. Around the time we were considering this question, my wife and I also spoke together about conformation at water’s edge not being consistent with scripture, and then a couple months later instruction came down that converts should be comfirmed in a sacrament meeting rather than as part of their baptismal service. That puffed up our egos that we were really good at understanding the Doctrine and Covenants and ratified us in our choice to not give the sacrament bread and water to our unconfirmed children.

    That course went fine with the oldest four children. Our family changed, though, as the minors came to outnumber the adults. The oldest two children, for example, grew up eating normal food from the time they had teeth, whereas the youngest two had child-like tastes and many food aversions that persisted for years. Computer games were a small presence in the home until the oldest children were teen-aged; the youngest grew up surrounded by such things, the enticement much more work to manage and keep in line. So, from the time the youngest were three and one, they were sitting each Sunday with four older siblings plus two parents who were all receiving the bread and water as the deacons passed these to the congregation. The youngest one did not like being left out, and my teaching did not satisfy her. Sometimes she did partake. I am happy with how it all went with my children, and thinking about it now, I should ask them what their thoughts on it are now.

    A factor probably influencing me (or rather not influencing me) is that I was twelve when baptized and never attended junior Sunday school, though as a deacon I was assigned to pass the sacrament there.

  31. When my first child was born there was a family in the ward that I really admired that had their kids wait until baptism to take the sacrament.
    I thought about putting that into practice with my new family but my son had a lot of sensory issues, especially in crowded places like church, and Sunday’s were purely a survival day. It quickly became obvious that there was no way I could deny him the bread or water being passed around and with multiple meltdowns already happening throughout the service it just wasn’t something I could give a second thought too. Props to the parents who can pull it off.
    In hind sight it worked out well for one of my children (still pending on the others), since overemphasizing feelings and seriousness of teachings at church has been a real struggle with my daughter and her anxiety. She has a long list of grievances with implied church teachings and from a parenting standpoint it worked out well to go with the flow and do what everyone else around us was doing without having to continually make an argument to her for why she was expected to act differently than her peers.

  32. It seems to me that this idea that unbaptized kids shouldn’t take the sacrament arises out of the reduction of the sacrament’s witness of willingness (to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, follow him, and keep his commandments) to a renewal of baptismal covenants that has become so popular. But textually, there is nothing in the sacrament ordinance that limits willingness to be backward looking toward covenants already made. You can just as well witness your willingness to do something in the future.

    It’s interesting to me to look to the church’s past practice of administering the sacrament to unbaptized children, as well as to Joseph F. Smith’s comment that it is perfectly acceptable for unbaptized children to take the sacrament, both of which come from an earlier time when the reduction of the sacrament to renewal of baptism was not as strong as it is now (perhaps because of the memory of rebaptism as a renewal of baptism).

  33. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    This was never an issue, growing up, as all us children took the sacrament prior to baptism. My wife had the same experience, and it wasn’t even a discussion with our own children. We gave it to them, let them partake, as soon as they were able and interested. There was really no thinking about the significance to them, as we just had them doing what they saw everyone else doing. So, we didn’t make a ‘thing’ of it. Now I, personally, don’t really derive much significance from the sacrament. it just doesn’t do much for me. Is it a renewal of covenants? Is it in remembrance of those covenants? I can do those things independent of the sacrament, right? I guess it might be tempting to think there is some correlation between how I was raised in taking the sacrament as a pre-baptized child, but that’s quite a reach. Anyway, that’s my experience.

  34. Observer says:

    To expand on my point above, when we talk about “renewing” our covenants when we take the sacrament, it’s really a shorthand for a much deeper principle. In my opinion, people have become too focused on the shorthand and have missed that deeper principle. It’s similar to how we talk about baptism “washing away sins”. Again, it’s a shorthand for a deeper principle.

    Take baptism. When we are baptized, we demonstrate that we are making a covenant to follow Christ. None of the scriptures that outline the baptismal covenant (D&C 20:37, Mosiah 18:8-10) actually say that it cleanses you from sin. The closest comes in the New Testament where it refers to “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” and in the fourth Article of Faith. However, it is not baptism by water itself that cleanses you of sin. It is the Holy Ghost, the “baptism of fire”, that does that.

    Essentially every covenant we make in the church is the same basic set of promises. We promise to follow Christ and His commandments (either generally or specific commandments), and in exchange we are promised the companionship of the Holy Ghost, which purifies us of sin and makes us worthy to be in God’s presence.

    All covenants, up to our marital covenants made in the temple, have to be sealed by the Spirit to be valid. This happens as we have the Holy Ghost as our companion, which the sacrament explicitly promises to us when we take it worthily. So in that respect the sacramental covenant renews all of your covenants by bringing you back into harmony with the Spirit, which purifies you and seals the promises that you have already received.

  35. Olde Skool says:

    My kids’ dad isn’t Mormon. We have left the question of baptism off the table until the child turns 18 and wants to determine a spiritual path. Kids have taken the sacrament all the way along. In my thinking, Christ invites all to come to him, to partake of his substance and digest his word. I can’t see that anything but positive effects would come to my kids from the experience of sharing in Christ’s substance, witnessing his grace, and participating in communion with his body and the body of Christ in the pews around us. What is that opportunity of communion for if not to nourish the soul and cultivate hunger for Christ?

  36. Is there any significance to the fact that individuals who have not entered into the sealing covenant can do proxy work for others for that ordinance?
    As for the sacrament, my children have all taken it before baptism. My wife and I framed it as a time for them to think about Christ and how his sacrifice covered children, an important and repeated point in restoration scripture. So for our children, the sacrament pre-baptism became a time to reflect on their relationship with Christ and his sacrifice for them.

  37. John Mansfield says:

    Jared Cook, I can tell you that for myself the choice had nothing to do with the “renewal of covenants” concept, which I don’t particularly embrace, though there are many church leaders who have voiced the idea. It was more that, as expressed in v. 68, those receiving the sacrament need to be taught the gospel first. The sacraments of the Catholic churches run through my mind too, with confirmation and the eucharist coming years after baptism, though how much I should care about that is worth asking.

  38. Yeah, John, I didn’t mean to suggest that the renewal idea is the case for every person that embraces the idea that kids should wait, just that I suspect it plays a role for the majority, but I could be wrong.

  39. Maybe I’m too low church about this, but I see the sacrament as a communal meal shared with God and our fellow congregants, as in the early church. I can’t imagine God turning anyone away from that table. I made sure my young children focused on Jesus and how the bread and water represent his body (the bread of life, the living water) and encouraged them to think about him and his life and how they follow him. I’ve tried to emphasize the sacrament’s sacred nature so that it hasn’t become rote or reflexive.

  40. Justagirl says:

    Thanks Geoff-Aus

  41. Wondering says:

    Not surprisingly, our church’s framing the Lord’s Supper as a renewal of covenants echoes the last phrases of 174 of the 1648 Westminster Larger Confession “AGREED UPON BY THE ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES AT WESTMINSTER, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF COMMISSIONERS FROM THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, AS A PART OF THE COVENANTED UNIFORMITY IN RELIGION BETWIXT THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE KINGDOMS OF SCOTLAND, ENGLAND, AND IRELAND”:

    “Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
    A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fullness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.”

    Whether in paedocommunion should be allowed became a subject of disagreement and, last I looked, still was among and within various denominations that trace their origin to Calvinism, whether designated “Reformed” or “Presbyterian.”

    To me it seems wise to leave that practice up to families. We attempted to teach our children the meaning of the Lord’s Supper as expressed in the prayers prescribed for administering the sacrament. It seemed to me that those prayers do not include any necessary connection to baptism, though they do seem to call for a prior confession of faith (as required by some versions of Presbyterianism). But even absent childhood ability to confess faith, it seemed to us that primacy should be given to the injunction: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    So far as I can tell our approach worked well, our now-adult children taking the Lord’s Supper quite seriously.

  42. Kristine says:

    I’m so old that we had Jr. Sunday School where the sacrament was administered when I was a child. So at least as recently as the 1970s, the “renewal of baptismal covenants” was not seen as an exclusive function of the sacrament.

  43. J. Stapley says:

    Wondering, while on the surface it seems similar, it is talking about something very, very, different. It is probably too much for a blog comment, but if this is an interesting topic for you, I’d check out Holifield’s Covenant Sealed. It is an absolutely fantastic treatment of Protestant covenant theology. Though for parallels, the Assembly also concluded to limit access to the Lord’s table, something that we do as well.

  44. Wondering says:

    Yes, J., the understanding of covenant is quite different. The parallel is merely the notion of the Lord’s Supper being a “renewal” of “covenant.”
    As you know, there are a number of terms in common between Mormon-speak (of various periods) and other Christian traditions but mean something quite different in the various traditions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the renewal of covenant language was adopted into Mormon-speak from JS’ family background with Presbyterianism, but with different meaning or if it developed different meaning after such adoption. I don’t think I’ll be trying to research or support either hypothetical. But I have noted that in some cases, the Mormon uses and associated “doctrine” changed over time, e.g. the early (from 1835 anyway) Mormons singing a hymn claiming that Jesus was the son of Jehovah (no big deal with a Trinitarian or NT or even BoM background, but now quite a big deal in our Church).
    Another linguistic parallel that now seems to mean something quite different in Protestant and current Mormon talk is “covenant path.” I wonder sometimes if those who promote the adoption of such terms in our religious discourse are even aware of their prior different meanings.
    Thanks for the reference to Holifield.

  45. J. Stapley says:

    For sure, Wondering. I’m actually working on a manuscript right now on the topic. Covenant renewal (and sacramental covenant discourse generally) is essentially a Utah-era thing.

  46. The Lord says to only let children enter into covenants with him when they are accountable. Later He draws a line at eight years old as the age of accountability. Regardless of Baptism, or the renewal of Covenants, persons who are not accountable should not be performing any ordinances which are there to have individuals enter into covenants with the Lord.

  47. C. Sierra says:

    Church leaders are ok with children partaking of the sacrament. Parents are going to teach their children if they are to participate or not . We will not be commanded in all things.

  48. J., Re sacrament covenant discourse, you probably have this, but others may not:
    https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/the-changing-forms-of-the-latter-day-saint-sacrament/

    Wondering, protestant/evangelical discourse is sometimes recycled in LDS settings, eg the not so long ago ‘rescue’ discourse which we don’t hear as much anymore.

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