carlimac

Taking the sacrament with right hand

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Is there any official directive on this? A lady in my ward brought this up today.She said it was because our right hand is our covenant hand.  I learned to take the sacrament with my right hand as a child, but I've taught Primary for many years and have never seen this in a lesson on the sacrament. 

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Elder Russell M. Nelson

https://www.lds.org/liahona/1983/07/questions-and-answers?lang=eng

Excerpt:

Quote

The hand used in partaking of the sacrament would logically be the same hand used in making any other sacred oath. For most of us, that would be the right hand. However, sacramental covenants—and other eternal covenants as well—can be and are made by those who have lost the use of the right hand, or who have no hands at all. Much more important than concern over which hand is used in partaking of the sacrament is that the sacrament be partaken with a deep realization of the atoning sacrifice that the sacrament represents.

Synopsis:

The use of the right hand is symbolic of making covenants for many reasons.  And the partaking of the sacrament is no exception.  However, such is symbolic only because of earthly custom, not because of heavenly directive.

Edited by Guest

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1 hour ago, FogCity said:

I have always understood right hand as well, but I don't recall why. probably something my parents taught me when I was young.

It is a American/European(?)/other-humans custom to associate the right hand with being right, and the left hand with being dirty.  The origin of this dates back to pre-modern sanitary conditions where the left hand was used for bathroom duties.  Hence if you wanted to show someone respect, you would give them your right hand and not the left.  Even after modern sanitation, much of the tradition still remains-- such as you always shake with your right hand.  But this has always been an earthly man-made custom, with no divine decree on it at all.  

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6 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

and the left hand with being dirty.  The origin of this dates back to pre-modern sanitary conditions where the left hand was used for bathroom duties. 

Both insightful and um, well... lovely. A reminder of something I once knew and intentionally forgot... thanks!:huh:

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3 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Both insightful and um, well... lovely. A reminder of something I once knew and intentionally forgot... thanks!:huh:

Hey, as a left-handed person, I can tell you all about how right-hand-only 1st world America STILL is! :P

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Culturally, Europeans and some other cultures regard the right side as the place of honor.  

  • Military men salute with the right hand, a tradition that goes back to the times of chivalry.  The right hand was the most likely to bear a weapon, thus showing an open hand was a sign of peaceful intent.  
  • It's customary for dignitaries to stand to the right of subordinates.  
  • Americans put our right hand over our hearts when we say the Pledge of Allegiance or hear the national anthem played.  
  • In Japanese martial arts, when one performs a kneeling bow, the left knee goes down first and the right knee leads when getting up.

There are probably lots more cultural examples that people can mention.  These are a few that just came to mind.  

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

  But this has always been an earthly man-made custom, with no divine decree on it at all.  

 So true. In my view we should just be happy people are coming to sacrament.

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This is a fine example, once again, of symbolism becoming doctrine.  Scripture talks about those on the right hand of G-d (which is also believed to be the rightful place of Christ) and those on the left hand of G-d.  The word sinister has root in meaning left hand.  The term ambidextrous means “two right hands”.  

As we filter through all this – I wonder – where is that line between symbolism and doctrine?  As we become more enlightened Saints of G-d; is it the responsibility of our leaders to tell us or our responsibility to hear and see for ourselves as witnessed by the Holy Ghost?

 

The Traveler

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10 minutes ago, Traveler said:

As we filter through all this – I wonder – where is that line between symbolism and doctrine?  

If something is to be doctrine, it'll be declared doctrine the same way all doctrine is declared.

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I personally find the declared doctrine rather vague.  For example – the doctrine to keep the Sabbath day holy.  And then there is the grand scriptural exception known as an ox in the mire.

My dear wife and I were both raised in good solid LDS families and we both prepared our entire lives to be married in the Temple but we argued for years over what was holy for the Sabbath – what was an ox in the mire and what was an obvious disregard and disrespect of a holy Sabbath.  There were times I thought I had it figured out and found myself stranded with canceled flight and the only possible solution was a Sunday flight – ox in the mire?  And then to discover I could spend more time with my family with planning Sunday travel.  I could go on but the point is – when does a person take responsibility for what they do and what they believe and what does it mean to “follow” the brethren.

Many of my friends are now leaving the church because they thought they were following the brethren and have now learned that doctrine they thought then; is not quite what they think is doctrine now.

 

The Traveler

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15 hours ago, carlimac said:

Is there any official directive on this? A lady in my ward brought this up today.She said it was because our right hand is our covenant hand.  I learned to take the sacrament with my right hand as a child, but I've taught Primary for many years and have never seen this in a lesson on the sacrament. 

nothing official. it's symbolic tradition; generally the right hand is the side that is reserved for the most honored guest, back in old times.

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4 hours ago, UtahTexan said:

Being left-handed, I typically take with my left hand.

I have noticed it does not become less symbolic when I do so

 

Just wondering - is using a screwdriver to tighten screws with your left hand anything less or more symbolic for you?

 

The Traveler

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10 minutes ago, Traveler said:

 

Just wondering - is using a screwdriver to tighten screws with your left hand anything less or more symbolic for you?

 

The Traveler

What about a can-opener?

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3 minutes ago, Traveler said:

 

What about it?  This is not a right hand left hand problem - opening cans is a woman's job.  :o

 

The Traveler

:eek:... BAHM!!!

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Joseph Fielding Smith had some pretty strong opinions about making such things TOO important:

Quote

 

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 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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See... I knew there was something to be said about being Catholic... the priest puts the sacrament on your tongue so you wouldn't have to figure out right hand or left hand.  Then left-handers won't have cause to be offended... ;)

 

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6 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

See... I knew there was something to be said about being Catholic... the priest puts the sacrament on your tongue so you wouldn't have to figure out right hand or left hand.  Then left-handers won't have cause to be offended... ;)

 

Growing up Catholic we always took it in our hand. I remember HUGE arguments between the "in your mouth" or "in your hand" camp. I thought it was sad, but it really did teach me a valuable lesson. People who agree on 99% of the issues argue bitterly about that 1%. 

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6 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Growing up Catholic we always took it in our hand. I remember HUGE arguments between the "in your mouth" or "in your hand" camp. I thought it was sad, but it really did teach me a valuable lesson. People who agree on 99% of the issues argue bitterly about that 1%. 

Ooooh.... yeah... one of the shocking moments of moving to America.  Hah hah.  I've never heard of taking the sacrament in your hand until I attended an American mass!  Come to think of it... that could've been a debate on left over right or right over left too!

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12 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Ooooh.... yeah... one of the shocking moments of moving to America.  Hah hah.  I've never heard of taking the sacrament in your hand until I attended an American mass! 

In my experience traditional Catholics dislike America. They think the individualism has made it easier for people to question the church. It's very "shut up and obey" and the individual is always wrong. I remember a priest telling me that something in the  church "wasn't for me to judge." Too late. God gives us reason for....a reason. (yuk, even I cringed)

These same people who dislike America so much oddly ignore the freedoms this country provides. Sad. 

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5 minutes ago, UtahTexan said:

 I have never been asked that in a worthiness interview

Great point. Really great point actually. You'd think if it was that important they'd ask you about it for a temple recommend. 

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