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lizzy16

Children partaking of the Sacrament? Mocking?

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So, I know that the Sacrament is very sacred. And there's no point in taking it if you haven't repented of anything. I often times just take the sacrament and treat it very very lightly. It's my goal to be more respectful of the sacredness of the sacrament. Growing up I don't think I ever really understand the Sacrament very well. Maybe because it was such a pattern in my life. I didn't get the meaning.

Do you think children partaking of the sacrament is kind of a mockery? They don't have anything to repent of, nor do they understand.

I think if children after they turned 8 were told they could take the sacrament, and explain it even more. It might help them to understand the sacredness of it.

What are your thoughts?

Liz

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Do you think children partaking of the sacrament is kind of a mockery? They don't have anything to repent of, nor do they understand.

I think if children after they turned 8 were told they could take the sacrament, and explain it even more. It might help them to understand the sacredness of it.

What are your thoughts?

I told my wife I didn't want our little children taking the sacrament for this very reason. She very quickly did away with that idea.

In retrospect, she was right. Glad she won that one.

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I don't think Jesus would mind a bit. I really don't. Parents choose either way for their own reasons. I understand the arguments behind both sides. I don't think either are right or wrong. This is a live and let live issue, for me.

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I let my kids take the Sacrament. I've never thought it to be a mockery. I also respect parents who think differently. It's a personal choice thing.

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As I posted in a previous thread on the same subject in 2010:

LDS.org - Liahona Article - Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting

Those conducting the meeting begin by extending a cordial greeting. Detailed announcements are more appropriately handled some other time. Because we invite all to come unto Christ, friends and neighbors are always welcome but not expected to take the sacrament. However, it is not forbidden. They choose for themselves. We hope that newcomers among us will always be made to feel wanted and comfortable. Little children, as sinless beneficiaries of the Lord’s Atonement, may partake of the sacrament as they prepare for covenants that they will make later in life.

__________________

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No I don't think it's mockery. And Elder Nelson seems to take no issue with it:

Little children, as sinless beneficiaries of the Lord’s Atonement, may partake of the sacrament as they prepare for covenants that they will make later in life.

Link: Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting - Liahona August 2004 - liahona

Edit: Heh, Pam beat me to it.

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As far as I can tell, here's how the church stands on the issue:

Mockery: God has better things to do than get offended by people doing something unintentionally. If you're doing it to be mocking, then it's mocking, but we really don't care. You can go burn scriptures too, if that's your thing.

Children: It's just fine. Think of it as a teaching tool.

Children over 8 and not baptized: Let the bishop deal with it and keep your nose out of other people's business.

Member taking sacrament unworthily: Let the bishop deal with it and keep your nose out of other people's business.

Nonmember visitors: You can't renew covenants you haven't made. Don't worry - we didn't just sucker you into being Mormon. If doing what the rest of us did, brought a spiritual element into your visit, then hooray everybody. You're in a room full of people who will be happy to explain what it means to us.

Non-priesthood passing the sacrament: My wife handed the tray to me last Sunday. If you have a problem with that, take it up with her. I dare you.

Adding stuff that doesn't belong:

Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 1, p.103

It is a very interesting study to discover how ordinances and doctrines became changed in the first centuries of the Christian era. These changes date back even to the days of the apostles. Paul frequently had to rebuke, warn and counsel with the members in the several branches which he was instrumental in organizing when on his missionary journeys. He severely rebuked the saints at Corinth for desecrating the holy ordinance of the Sacrament and turning it into a feast where the [page 104] Spirit of the Lord could not be present.

The first changes that came, evidently came innocently because some enterprising bishop or other officer endeavored to introduce into his meetings, or among his congregation something new—just a little different, in advancement of that which was practiced elsewhere. This tendency is very apparent in the wards and stakes of the Church today.

For example, let us consider the ordinance of the Sacrament. It became the custom in many wards throughout the church to have the young men who passed the Sacrament all dressed alike with dark coats, white shirts and uniform ties. This could in time lead to the established custom of dressing them in uniform, such as we see done in some sectarian and other churches. Then again as they passed the Sacrament they had to stand with their left hand plastered on their backs in a most awkward manner. The priests or elders who administered these holy emblems had to stand in a certain way as the one officiating in the prayer knelt at the table. In some instances the Bishop stood in the pulpit with raised hands in an attitude of benediction. Other customs among the quorums and in the services of the wards were introduced. Members of the Church were instructed that they must not touch the trays containing the bread and the water with their left hand, but must take it in their right hand after partaking as their neighbor held the tray in his or her right hand. In the Priesthood in the wards, we now have "supervisors" directing the activities of the deacons and the priests. How long will it take before these supervisors are considered as a regular part of the Priesthood and it will be necessary to set them apart or ordain them to this office? So we see that we, if we are not careful, will find ourselves traveling the road that brought the Church of Jesus Christ in the first centuries into disrepute and paved the way for the apostasy.

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Something that keeps coming to my mind, and pardon me if I seem a little off-topic, is the nursery manual. It says right one on of the front-most pages that the purpose of Nursery is to teach children to enjoy church and learn about Jesus and His love for them (paraphrased). So when people start stomping their feet and insisting that our little children need to do this and learn that and tow the line, it feels to me like looking beyond the mark. Jesus asked for the little children to come to Him. He told us to be like them. Angles ministered to them, and we were not even privy to what they were taught. I think we do better to err on the side of love and inclusion, as skippy said. Though again, if a parent chooses to teach children to take the sacrament only after baptism and can do so lovingly, more power to them. Not my business.

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13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

-Mark 10

I believe it's impossible for little children to upset Heavenly Father. I see my two-year-old taking the sacrament thinking it's a snack and I imagine Him and Jesus smiling down on her.

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-Mark 10

I believe it's impossible for little children to upset Heavenly Father. I see my two-year-old taking the sacrament thinking it's a snack and I imagine Him and Jesus smiling down on her.

I totally agree with you. It is all done in innocence.

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My take on the matter:

I grew up Catholic. I don't remember my baptism because I was a teeny tiny baby then. But, I do remember going to Catholic School and having 3rd grade be THE grade... it's like graduation, something to anticipate, look forward to, prepare for, etc. Because, it is in 3rd grade that we get to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. 2 out of the 6 sacraments done in that one school year! Before First Confession and First Communion, children are not allowed to partake of the Eucharist, so it's kinda thrilling to finally be old enough and good enough to fall in line for it.

The LDS don't have that. Why? My take on the matter is that, unlike Catholics, LDS people don't get baptized as babies. When they are 8, they don't "prepare for the Sacrament of the Eucharist". They prepare for the Sacrament of Baptism. Weekly Sacrament is not the Covenant. Baptism is the Covenant. The Sacrament is part of the communion of saints and a renewal of baptismal covenants. For those who have made covenants, they can renew it. For those who haven't, they commune and receive spiritual nourishment.

So, when I had children, I had to study the sacrament as pertain to my kids taking it before they're baptized. And what I concluded is that, telling my kids not to take sacrament until they're 8 (after baptism) is a spin-off of the Catholic thing, not an LDS thing. So, I taught my kids when they started to understand what Spiritual means that taking the sacrament is different from eating a snack because it's supposed to be very spiritual. Of course, my kids probably didn't really "get it" and continued to take it as a snack... I don't really pay much attention.

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So, I know that the Sacrament is very sacred. And there's no point in taking it if you haven't repented of anything. I often times just take the sacrament and treat it very very lightly. It's my goal to be more respectful of the sacredness of the sacrament. Growing up I don't think I ever really understand the Sacrament very well. Maybe because it was such a pattern in my life. I didn't get the meaning.

Do you think children partaking of the sacrament is kind of a mockery? They don't have anything to repent of, nor do they understand.

I think if children after they turned 8 were told they could take the sacrament, and explain it even more. It might help them to understand the sacredness of it.

What are your thoughts?

Liz

Christ was baptised without needing it, can't see why it would be too different for children with the sacrament. Altho i think teaching them to respect it would be very good.

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So, I know that the Sacrament is very sacred. And there's no point in taking it if you haven't repented of anything. I often times just take the sacrament and treat it very very lightly. It's my goal to be more respectful of the sacredness of the sacrament. Growing up I don't think I ever really understand the Sacrament very well. Maybe because it was such a pattern in my life. I didn't get the meaning.

Do you think children partaking of the sacrament is kind of a mockery? They don't have anything to repent of, nor do they understand.

I think if children after they turned 8 were told they could take the sacrament, and explain it even more. It might help them to understand the sacredness of it.

What are your thoughts?

Liz

I think most people who let their children partake of the sacrament would be shocked to hear it described as mockery, as that is the furthest thing from their mind. There are probably two main reasons that parents let their children take the sacrament: (1) To train them and get them in the habit of partaking of the sacrament. They may not fully understand the sacrament right now, but with time they'll learn. (2) To avoid the hassle of trying to prevent their children from taking the sacrament. When trays filled with pieces of bread are being passed around the room and everybody else is taking a piece and eating it, of course your child is going to want to take a piece, too, and woe to the person who tries to stop him! :lol:

I get where you're coming from, and if you'd rather train your kids differently, that's perfectly okay. But I don't think it would do to criticize other parents for making a different choice.

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I'll share my views at the risk of sounding bat-flapping insane.

The sacrament is sacred. Terribly sacred. Paul mentions in passing that some people have gotten sick or died from taking it unworthily. More importantly, partaking of it unworthily brings damnation. God takes His ordinances very seriously and will not be mocked.

Children have a divine form of protected status. You cannot offend one without risking judgment. They are innocent, and any philosophy that teaches otherwise will sink the subscriber to hell.

Mormon warned about combining these two (children and ordinances) in the case of baptism. "But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works."

Use some of the sacrament arguments for baptism and things start sounding really dodgy. "I figure [actually performing the ordinance and not just a dry-run without the prayers] is good practice for when he'll actually be able to do it for real." "She sees all her friends getting baptized and I really can't tell her she needs to wait." "It's probably just a fancy bath for my child, but it keeps her quiet." "The [goody goody family that we look up to] already baptized their 6-month old." It doesn't really fly.

For these reasons, I strongly held that my children will not be taking the sacrament until they have covenants to renew. My wife disagreed. So for our next Family Home Evening we had a lesson on the Sacrament. She read up on the scriptures and I read up on the scriptures, and then things got funny. Latter-day prophets speak of the need to take the sacrament to renew our covenants, but the scriptures themselves state no such thing (you can wrangle some to fit that interpretation, but it's not explicit). The Sacrament is taken in remembrance of our Lord.

After we discussed it we agreed that our son can take the sacrament when he starts showing (age-appropriate) signs that he's thinking about Jesus. We had to prep him that this was not a snack (we would put the snacks away during the sacrament song and bring them out again after the deacons were seated). We made a Jesus picture book for him to focus on during the sacrament. If he got restless or wanted a snack during, I would hold him (that was her concern, so I alleviated it by making my problem). While I held him, I would point out the deacons and tell him what they were doing. It didn't take long for him to be ready* for the sacrament.

*I realize these are my family's standards for what it means to take the sacrament. I would recommend each family to determine what is an appropriate way to introduce the holy emblems. What I didn't realize before is that the sacrament is not baptism and serves other purposes. I still maintain that the ordinance is sacred and should not be taken lightly, and this is how it has borne out for us.

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I'll share my views at the risk of sounding bat-flapping insane.

<snip>

Use some of the sacrament arguments for baptism and things start sounding really dodgy. "I figure [actually performing the ordinance and not just a dry-run without the prayers] is good practice for when he'll actually be able to do it for real." "She sees all her friends getting baptized and I really can't tell her she needs to wait." "It's probably just a fancy bath for my child, but it keeps her quiet." "The [goody goody family that we look up to] already baptized their 6-month old." It doesn't really fly.

We had a jillion dry runs for both my children's baptisms. We decided to hold it in the Atlantic Ocean so a lot of times, they get to "practice" getting a dunking with surfing-high waves when we go to the beach. Yeah, my son was like 5 years old when he got his "practice" because his 7 year old brother got to practice for his.

Except yeah, it's completely different from the Sacrament because it's not invoked through the power of the Priesthood...

After we discussed it we agreed that our son can take the sacrament when he starts showing (age-appropriate) signs that he's thinking about Jesus. We had to prep him that this was not a snack (we would put the snacks away during the sacrament song and bring them out again after the deacons were seated). We made a Jesus picture book for him to focus on during the sacrament. If he got restless or wanted a snack during, I would hold him (that was her concern, so I alleviated it by making my problem). While I held him, I would point out the deacons and tell him what they were doing. It didn't take long for him to be ready* for the sacrament.

*I realize these are my family's standards for what it means to take the sacrament. I would recommend each family to determine what is an appropriate way to introduce the holy emblems. What I didn't realize before is that the sacrament is not baptism and serves other purposes. I still maintain that the ordinance is sacred and should not be taken lightly, and this is how it has borne out for us.

In the Catholic Church, snacking during Mass is a complete No-no. In addition, those who are partaking of the Eucharist are to fast at least 1 hour before the mass. So, when we had kids, we made it a rule to refrain from snacks during Sacrament Meeting. I mean, if the Catholics can do it, so can we. And, of course, this is my family's standards and are not to be taken as a standard for all LDS... but then, they always got snacks at Nursery, even on fast Sundays. They even still had snacks in Sunbeam. So the kids didn't whine about it much.

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I used to be strongly against it, until my wife changed my mind.

My thought now is that we need to make church as memorable and great feeling for our kids as possible. If we make church memorable and let them have great feelings they will remember that into adulthood. For a lack of a better way to explain it, think about how companies market to children to get the children to spend money into adulthood. Think about the kids meal, Lowe's and Home Depot building workshops and so on. They make it enjoyable for children so that they will associate good feelings with the company.

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I know this topic is a bit older but hopefully someone will come across it just as I did today.

I think those who deny their children participation in taking the sacrament before the age of eight may consider the precarious position getting out on the limbs of the gospel can be.

It is so easy for us to consider different concepts in our minds and "logically" come up with different approaches that seem to make sense. We must however be sure to study out what the brethren ie the Church teaches about such matters to be sure we are truly on the right track and not getting out on one of those limbs that are a bit far from the trunk of the gospel.

With regard to young children taking the Sacrament, I was searching out information on this very topic today because it is something that has come up with one of our grown children as they teach their own children.

While I am sure there are more direct statements made by brethren on the matter, I have not come across them at this time but did come across two Primary lessons. One from the Nursery manual and one from the Sunbeam manual. All manuals in the Church are approved by the First Presidency.

Nursery manual Lesson 27:

- ...explain in simple terms what happens during the administration of the sacrament -- we listen quietly while the sacrament is belssed; we take one piece of bread; we drink the water and put the cup back in the tray; and we think about Jesus.

- In the lesson there is a photo of a young child taking the sacrament.

Activity Verse:

Quietly I eat the bread

And drink the water too.

I fold my arms and think of Jesus

That's what I should do.

- "Who should we think about when we take the sacrament?"

This is what is in the lesson for children 18 months up to three years of age. I don't think there is any question as to whether or not the bretheren (the Prophet, who speaks for the Lord), expect young children of the church to be taught and whether they should be participating in taking the sacrament.

The Sunbeam manual sacrament lesson is #40.

There is also a Family Home Evening Lesson on the topic. LDS.org - Support Materials Chapter - Partaking of the Sacrament

From that lesson: "Nothing seems more basic in our worship of the Lord than learning to partake of the sacrament meaningfully. We teach our children to partake before they learn to speak."

It is very easy for false notions to take root and turn into much more than ever intended. Small errors can grow and take on a life of their own in short order. All that needs to happen is for someone to agree with a false notion and in turn teach it to their children and the next thing you know it is a false tradition being carried on throughout a whole area.

In all matters large and small it is best to stay close to the trunk of the tree of the gospel.

My appologies if I have offended anyone. Getting out in left field starts with a single step.

Edited by imdll

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I found more direct statements from the brethren on the topic of children and the sacrament. There can be no question as to where the brethren stand on the issue of children younger than eight years of age and partaking of the sacrament.

Further information:

President Brigham Young

"Children who are capable of repentance should be baptized when they reach the proper age, according to the revelations. Up to that age they are entitled to the sacrament."

(Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.2, p.289)

President Joseph Fielding Smith

"There is no reason why any member of the Church should be concerned over the fact that little children may partake of the sacrament. The most important thing is to be sure that we who are grown to full maturity keep ourselves worthy of this sacred ordinance.

(Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.90)

CHILDREN TO PARTAKE OF SACRAMENT. All little children virtually belong to the Church until they are eight years of age. Should they die before that age, they would enter the celestial kingdom. The Savior said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." Then why should they be deprived of the sacrament?

(Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.350)

Edited by imdll

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