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Ironhold

Kneeling to bless sacrament.

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Maybe some of you can help me.

In real life, I have a slipped vertebrae. Not disk, vertebrae. This is the final culmination of over two decades of my not being able to get people to listen when I tried to tell them that I was having all sorts of health issues and needed their help.
My spine and hips are so messed up that the last physical therapist I tried to visit showed me the door because she couldn't understand how I was still walking and so she couldn't figure how to help me. Basically, my vertebrae slipped because my spine and hips are curved enough that a critical bit of force at the wrong time hammered it out of place. That my hips are off, by the way, has led to my knees being screwed up as well since they're having to compensate.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of things I have trouble with doing, things most people take for granted.
I have an understanding with the branch president that I can only go to one knee when I go to bless the sacrament, as if I go down to both knees I literally cannot get up without either help or a struggle; even then, I have to put my hand on the sacrament table to brace and essentially push myself up off the floor. He understands that this is the best I can do under my specific circumstances and accepts it accordingly.
Not everyone is so understanding, however.
Earlier I helped my dad do at-home sacrament. Since I have so much trouble standing back up, I've either only done one knee or been squatting down. He made a specific scene of asking me if I could kneel, and I told him that if he wanted me to kneel with both knees then he'd have to help me back up.
He didn't help me get back up.
Several painful seconds later, the sacredness was gone and so was my back. 
 
This isn't the first time he left me struggling to stand back up after something. But that he did it during sacrament?
How can I best get it through to people that I have issues and I'm doing the best I can within the limits of those issues?
Thanks. 

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Dang.  I know a little about back issues, but nothing like that - sorry to hear it.

Dad might benefit from another scene I personally witnessed.  Going through the temple, the brother demonstrating the various things had a deformed hand with only one finger.  He did everything he needed to do, showed us everything we needed to be shown, even though he had only one finger on his right hand.  If Dad has been through the temple, you might ask him to reflect on that.  

And if dad remains of the old opinion, you can always refuse to kneel.  You can offer him the option of having you help in a way that doesn't hurt you, or he can call someone else.  Parent/child relationship issues can be touchy, but yeah, I figure that's a valid thing to say.  Even if it sends ripples through an entire family and everyone becomes polarized and takes sides and starts yelling at the top of their lungs, it's still a valid stand to take IMO.

(I also know a thing or two about unhealthy family dynamics. :) )

 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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3 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Dang.  I know a little about back issues, but nothing like that - sorry to hear it.

Dad might benefit from another scene I personally witnessed.  Going through the temple, the brother demonstrating the various things had a deformed hand with only one finger.  He did everything he needed to do, showed us everything we needed to be shown, even though he had only one finger on his right hand.  If Dad has been through the temple, you might ask him to reflect on that.  

And if dad remains of the old opinion, you can always refuse to kneel.  You can offer him the option of having you help in a way that doesn't hurt you, or he can call someone else.  Parent/child relationship issues can be touchy, but yeah, I figure that's a valid thing to say.  Even if it sends ripples through an entire family and everyone becomes polarized and takes sides and starts yelling at the top of their lungs, it's still a valid stand to take IMO.

(I also know a thing or two about unhealthy family dynamics. :) )

 

He's got a bad vertebrae himself, and so presumes that because he's fully functional I should be fully functional as well. 

Thing is, his cracked but healed right back up, and he had almost no other issues in the mix to complicate it. 

I spent junior high and high school dealing with spine, hip, and knee issues that I couldn't get people to believe that I was experiencing. My body was growing so fast it was growing asymmetrically, and things got bent and twisted as a result. Physical therapy could have possibly solved the matter back then, but now I'm looking at multiple rounds of corrective surgery. 

The thing my parents - and others who won't listen - keep going back to is my weight, which I've struggled with my entire life and which I've had an even bigger issue with because... their not listening to me for so long meant that I'm now having issues with blood sugar and blood pressure, which makes it hard to follow their notions of what ideal meals and ideal exercise should be. 

They forget that even when I was taking an extreme load of physical fitness training in college my weight *still* never went below 20 pounds above what the Army says I should be at. Whatever weight I lost in fat I'd gain back in muscle mass. 

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Ironhold, I'm sorry both for your health and your family's insensitivity to it.  I know that they have both been really long battles for you.

Here's how I see it: if "Bob" was paralyzed from the waist-down in a wheel chair, then he obviously could not kneel to bless the Sacrament.  However, he still could indeed bless the Sacrament with a kneeling-heart: approaching things with the reverence and sacred love that ordinance deserves.  And if somebody gives Bob a hard time about not literally kneeling... well, that person is an idiot and should be ignored (sorry, I'm going to call it as it is).  

@Ironhold, you literally do what you can literally do.  If that's one-knee, that's good.  If that's zero knees, that's good.  What's important is where your heart is.  And your dad not seeing that... well, he's being dumb in that regard and should be ignored (which I know is much easier said than done).

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Are the two of you living together?

If not, than my thought is:  your father is not the presiding authority over you when you bless the sacrament in your own home.  Your branch president is, and he has approved your practice, and if your dad doesn’t like it then (assuming his priesthood leaders have authorized it) he can bless his own sacrament in his own home.

If you live with your dad, then I can see how he’d think he’s the presiding authority over the family sacrament meeting (subject to your BP); and if you physically can’t do it his way, then it sounds like your only option is to decline to bless the sacrament in the family service and (if you want) do your own sacrament later in the privacy of your own room.

Sorry you’re going through this, brother.  Your physical issues are trial enough; but if your post gives the right tenor of things, it sounds like your dad is also kind of a jerk about it.  :( 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Just out of curiosity, does anyone know where the "must kneel on two knees" thing comes from?  My stake presidency started getting on our case because they would occasionally see missionaries in our ward kneel on one knee and wanted us to correct them.  I always refused to do so because I've never seen anything that states two knees is a requirement.  

Seems like such an odd hill to die on.

That being said, @Ironhold, barring anyone being able to provide documented evidence that two knees is the only way that comes with God's approval for performing this ordinance, I'd tell your father to get over himself (or, perhaps more tactfully ask him to show you where two knees is a requirement).

Personally, I'm of the persuasion that if kneeling causes a person anything more than fleeting moderate discomfort, they are exempt from the expectation to kneel. My opinions don't carry a lot of weight in Church administration, but they are right! :)

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It is not necessary to kneel when praying and showing reverence can be shown in many ways.  Sitting reverently in a chair can be utilized to bless the sacrament and in cases where one is confined to a wheelchair or is unable to kneel, sitting in a reverent manner can also be utilized in prayer.

Kneeling has traditionally been utilized in worship to show obeisance to a ruler or deity.  It also shows that one is being more humble or is LOWER than the highest head in the room.  It shows respect and can be far more than a simple bow of respect, but a far deeper bow.  In order to truly show humility at times, they would not just kneel, but kneel and prostrate themselves on the ground, in a far deeper show of worship or honor.  We kneel and bow our heads traditionally.

Prayer has taken a more significant part of the way the Church understands the way to pray.  We find in the Book of Mormon several instances where those who pray are kneeling, or even instructed to kneel when they pray or a prayer is being said.

Enos 1:4

Quote

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

Alma 46:13

Quote

13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land

But these are examples, we also have teachings and instructions in the Book of Mormon from the Lord directly.

3rd Nephi 17: 13-18

Quote

13 And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude that they should kneel down upon the ground.

14 And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.

15 And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.

and again we have

3rd Nephi 19: 16-19

Quote

15 And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.

16 And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth.

17 And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray.

18 And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:

So, it goes beyond just tradition, but instructions and examples that we have from the scriptures regarding kneeling.

However, that does not mean that those who cannot kneel must kneel, but they should have the same manner of reverence when they pray that kneeling helps to bring upon us.  This includes reverence for the Lord, respect of his authority and position, and acknowledgement of his greatness, glory, and command of which we are but beggars for his blessings.

An old article which talks about this, but can be good on it's instructions to us is found in the January issue of the Ensign from 1996 by Donald W. Parry

After this manner pray ye

Edited by JohnsonJones
Bolding the areas of scripture where it talks about kneeling

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2 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know where the "must kneel on two knees" thing comes from?  My stake presidency started getting on our case because they would occasionally see missionaries in our ward kneel on one knee and wanted us to correct them.  I always refused to do so because I've never seen anything that states two knees is a requirement.  

I don't know, it must only be a thing in certain parts of the church. I've never kneeled on two knees, it's a comfort thing as it's a lot easier to kneel on one knee than two, and no one has ever said anything to me when I bless the Sacrament that way. But most of my church experience has been in Indiana and Tennessee so maybe it's a western thing.

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42 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

It is not necessary to kneel when praying and showing reverence can be shown in many ways.  Sitting reverently in a chair can be utilized to bless the sacrament and in cases where one is confined to a wheelchair or is unable to kneel, sitting in a reverent manner can also be utilized in prayer.


From the Handbook:

18.9.4
Instructions - 

4. After the hymn, the person blessing the bread kneels and says the sacrament prayer for the bread (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).

 

That being said, in regards to the main topic, I find nowhere does it state that kneeling must be done on both knees as opposed to one knee. Certainly the dictionary doesn’t make the distinction: 

kneel

/nēl/

verb

be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

 

Likewise, arrangements can and should be made for special circumstances by the presiding authority, in this case the branch president, as to what is acceptable. 

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4 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

I don't know, it must only be a thing in certain parts of the church. I've never kneeled on two knees, it's a comfort thing as it's a lot easier to kneel on one knee than two, and no one has ever said anything to me when I bless the Sacrament that way. But most of my church experience has been in Indiana and Tennessee so maybe it's a western thing.


As someone who has traveled and attended sacrament meetings in many different places, I have found it to be less of a geographic cultural focus as much as a “local church culture thing.” There have been wards that focused on such things as kneeling on both knees, priesthood holders must wear white shirts and ties, holding one hand behind the back while passing the sacrament tray, etc. Fortunately, the new handbook helps clarify the essentials and discourages certain traditions. 

 

In my own opinion, I find some “church culture” traditions somewhat pharisaical, but understand that they are probably well meaning in trying to maintain a reverent atmosphere for such a sacred ordinance. 

 

If you really want a throwback, research how administering the sacrament used to have the priesthood holder raise his arm to the square or even both arms to the square. 

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6 minutes ago, Colirio said:


As someone who has traveled and attended sacrament meetings in many different places, I have found it to be less of a geographic cultural focus as much as a “local church culture thing.” There have been wards that focused on such things as kneeling on both knees, priesthood holders must wear white shirts and ties, holding one hand behind the back while passing the sacrament tray, etc. Fortunately, the new handbook helps clarify the essentials and discourages certain traditions. 

 

In my own opinion, I find some “church culture” traditions somewhat pharisaical, but understand that they are probably well meaning in trying to maintain a reverent atmosphere for such a sacred ordinance. 

 

If you really want a throwback, research how administering the sacrament used to have the priesthood holder raise his arm to the square or even both arms to the square. 

That makes sense and I agree that some of these traditions really do seem like they are trying to "put a hedge around the law" so to speak (I also agree that most if not all are well meaning). I can't imagine having to put both arms to the square while blessing the Sacrament. I'd do it if my local leadership asked me too of course, but it seems somewhat cumbersome.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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I would simply say in advance "I would be more than happy to administer the sacrament to you but if I do it it will be done in such and such manner. Is that acceptable?" Be patient but firm. And don't leave it until the ordinance to hash it out. 

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1 hour ago, Colirio said:

If you think that is awkward, just read through this little article and try not to cringe:

 

The Improvement Era - April 1933

045189BC-3C6D-48D9-8CFA-E8A8EACC675A.thumb.jpeg.4015513662e3e1202a44333c0b03e0d3.jpeg

Nah, I don't find it all that cringeworthy. Especially given the context in which the early to mid-20th century Utah Saints found themselves, it seems like an earnest endeavor. To be clear, I think it's wrong-headed. But I think it's a poor idea that probably comes from a very good place.

I cringe at those who find fault with our leaders, who look for reasons to discount or ignore their teachings, who refuse to honestly sustain their leaders, pretending instead that criticism is support. I cringe at people who put their trust in the arm of flesh, such as their own brilliance, instead of in the Lord. I cringe at men who teach their sons to follow such forbidden and dank paths. In comparison, I don't cringe nearly as much at those who overshoot the mark a bit in their efforts to build Zion. I don't justify them, but I think they need far less justification than the former type. Frankly, if this article were the worst leadership error we could find, I think we would be doing very well indeed.

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38 minutes ago, Vort said:

Nah, I don't find it all that cringeworthy. Especially given the context in which the early to mid-20th century Utah Saints found themselves, it seems like an earnest endeavor.
 

 

The annual award presented by the Bishop for their participation was what made me cringe a bit as it seems very awkward to my 21st century way of doing things. 

 

38 minutes ago, Vort said:

To be clear, I think it's wrong-headed. But I think it's a poor idea that probably comes from a very good place.


I agree.
 

I certainly should clarify that I also think that they were doing the best with the light and knowledge that they had at the time. In the cultural period in which they lived, it very well could have been the exact thing that was needed. 

 

38 minutes ago, Vort said:

I cringe at those who find fault with our leaders, who look for reasons to discount or ignore their teachings, who refuse to honestly sustain their leaders, pretending instead that criticism is support. I cringe at people who put their trust in the arm of flesh, such as their own brilliance, instead of in the Lord. I cringe at men who teach their sons to follow such forbidden and dank paths. In comparison, I don't cringe nearly as much at those who overshoot the mark a bit in their efforts to build Zion. I don't justify them, but I think they need far less justification than the former type. Frankly, if this article were the worst leadership error we could find, I think we would be doing very well indeed.


Agreed. 
 

It’s almost as if everyone needs to repent... 😁

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5 hours ago, Colirio said:


From the Handbook:

18.9.4
Instructions - 

4. After the hymn, the person blessing the bread kneels and says the sacrament prayer for the bread (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).

 

That being said, in regards to the main topic, I find nowhere does it state that kneeling must be done on both knees as opposed to one knee. Certainly the dictionary doesn’t make the distinction: 

kneel

/nēl/

verb

be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

 

Likewise, arrangements can and should be made for special circumstances by the presiding authority, in this case the branch president, as to what is acceptable. 

If someone is wheelchair bound or cannot kneel, the church allows the leaders to make exceptions.  We do not condemn someone for being unable to kneel anymore than we condemn those with physical handicaps from going through the temple.  Disabilities are things that we can work through via the advice of the appropriate priesthood key holders.  As you refer to the handbook, I will also give a portion of it...

Quote

38.2.1.9

Ordinances and Blessings Performed by and for Persons Who Have Physical Disabilities

Persons who have physical disabilities, such as the loss of one or both arms, paraplegia, quadriplegia, deafness, or a hearing impairment, may perform and receive ordinances and blessings. Leaders make the necessary arrangements for these persons to participate in ways that their disabilities allow. If leaders have questions they cannot resolve, the stake president refers the questions to the Office of the First Presidency.

Persons who are deaf or hearing impaired may communicate through sign language when performing or receiving an ordinance or blessing. A priesthood leader who oversees an ordinance ensures that the recipient can understand it through an interpreter or by other means (see

That said, my opening comment was probably badly phrased and thus not directed in the correct manner.  My post was not necessarily directed towards blessing of the sacrament, but with ALL prayers that we say.  We accept that we can pray from a chair but reverence should be kept.  Kneeling is AN INSTRUCTION we can find in the scriptures on how to pray, but in our modern interpretations we also commonly sit or even stand at times when saying a prayer.  In these, we should still keep the type of reverence we maintain when we are kneeling and bowing in reverence during a prayer.

Applying this to the sacrament...

In regards to those who cannot kneel, such allowances and other items that enable them to perform the ordinance (Such as sitting in a chair) are normally allowable.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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4 hours ago, Colirio said:

If you think that is awkward, just read through this little article and try not to cringe:  The Improvement Era - April 1933

045189BC-3C6D-48D9-8CFA-E8A8EACC675A.thumb.jpeg.4015513662e3e1202a44333c0b03e0d3.jpeg

Joseph Fielding Smith dropped the mic on this stuff, back in the 1940's.  

Quote

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.

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

 

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On 5/3/2020 at 12:56 PM, Ironhold said:

How can I best get it through to people that I have issues and I'm doing the best I can within the limits of those issues?

Don't kneel.   Sounds legalistic to me if people are telling you that you must perform some act
in a certain posture considering you have an injury.  Do you really believe the Lord is looking at
your body's position instead of your heart?   Be careful if you have Pharisees or Sadducees in
your midst.

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