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Gilding the Lily?: Adding Traditions/Customs to Gospel Observances

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12 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

The only ones I think that are in the handbook are that the bishop gets Sacrament first, and the right hand is used.

The presiding officer getting the sacrament first is in the handbook. 

Right hand is not.

Instructions are given that the bread is uncovered during that portion of the sacrament, then recovered.  Same with the water.

Handbook 2 chapter 20.4 concerning the sacrament is a good read.

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9 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

All boomers are deaf anyway.

It's not our fault you can actually hear a watch tick, or that it would distract you, besides all millenials have ADHD anyway. ;)

J/k :)

 

 

I have it and I am a Gen Xer. We were supposed to be the happy middle people between the two very disturbed generations. :( 

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

Things like this can only change for the better when done as a community (even if only a few bring it up) without the spirit of contention.

I disagree as when everyone works as a community to enforce unnecessary policies, people can get excluded who otherwise would be included and thus create a greater sense of community...as in the example of the counselor missing a jacket who was not invited to join in the ordinances as others were. 

Or young men who didn’t have a white shirt available (perhaps from nonmember family and the parent doesn’t want to buy or care for a shirt that takes extra work; sure someone could buy some for him, but that could cause the kid to feel more an outsider...need to be sensitive to the different ways a kid may react) or just forgot about it on occasion, but are desiring of serving the community including through participating or in passing the Sacrament, yet can’t because someone has created their own policy of only white shirts.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

“After the prayer, deacons or other priesthood holders pass the bread to the congregation in a reverent and orderly manner. The presiding officer receives the sacrament first. The bishop (or a counselor in his absence) presides at the sacrament meeting unless a member of the stake presidency, an Area Seventy, or a General Authority is sitting on the stand. A high councilor does not preside and does not receive the sacrament first.”

Passing with the right hand is not mentioned explicitly. There is an implicit suggestion that the deacons and others passing should hold the tray in the left hand:

“The passing of the sacrament should be natural and unobtrusive, not rigid or overly formal. Those who pass the sacrament should not be required to assume any special posture or action, such as holding the left hand behind the back. The process of passing the sacrament should not call attention to itself or detract from the purpose of the ordinance.”

We have a teacher in my ward who does this with his left hand when he passes. He knows it is not necessary but likes to do it.

Yep. Also mentioned is the preference for white shirts although not a requirement. (20.4.1) Also the uncovering of the bread and water at the time of blessing is mentioned as appropriate.

Bishops should approve that the blessing was done correctly 

Handbook 2, 20:4.3

Edited by mfbukowski

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37 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Only pianos violins and flutes in sacrament- no mellow trombone or gentle guitar

There are restrictions on what musical instruments, but not that tight. I have seen clarinets and oboes.  I can see a problem with trombones because allowing a player who can do reverent might make it difficult not to offend the player you know is an enthusiastic performer.  Young Women in our ward do a guitar on occasion as we have an excellent performer who is a perennial YW leader and it makes for a great accompaniment.  But I know lots of wards that bar them based on a short period several decades where they were officially vetoed (70s or early 80s iirc), probably because of all the shocking ;) gospel pop or hippie music that was performed with them (such as numerous Day by Day from Godspell for awhile).

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Organs and pianos, or their electronic equivalents, are the standard instruments used in Church meetings. If other instruments are used, their use should be in keeping with the spirit of the meeting. Instruments with a prominent or less worshipful sound, such as most brass and percussion, are not appropriate for sacrament meeting.

14.4.2. Handbook 2

Edited by Calm
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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

There are restrictions on what musical instruments:

14.4.2. Handbook 2

Ever heard a trombone play a sacrament hymn?  Pretty worshipful imo. 

Violin isn’t mentioned in the handbook but we get violin music a lot. And flute.  

Not too long ago I heard an oboe at a general conference meeting.  Beautiful. 

Guitar is a stringer instrument which when played worshipfully is very inviting of the Spirit.  But, heaven forbid. 

I think the key word in the spirit of the handbook is “worshipful” as opposed to “brass”.  But I get it, no one wants Earth Wind And Fire for intermediate musical number.  Or do we? 

Edited by MustardSeed

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39 minutes ago, smac97 said:
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Also, there seems to be some sort of unwritten rule against bow ties.

For leaders?  I've seen more than a few bow ties, but not sported by bishopric members.

Yeah, I think the unwritten rule is that it's perhaps considered to be too casual / not serious enough for one in authority. 

Though I've never seen a bishop wear one, I doubt it would bother me personally - though, if it were me, I would opt for a bolo tie instead. 

 

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And you know what isn't an unwritten rule but should be: removing mechanical watches prior to setting people apart, giving blessings, etc.

Hadn't heard about this one.

More of a personal pet peeve. It isn't so severe that I would ever actually complain about it to someone in real life. 

Here on the internet though, I can handle waxing hyperbolic now and then - so long as it remains good-natured. 

 

 

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I see bow ties as way more formal than long ties.  FWIW.  I also see them as whimsical.  Depends who wears it. In reality, I don’t care. 

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41 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

For that matter, why not have mother in the center of a baby blessing, holding the baby that she carried 9 months and gave birth to? 

I like the chance to have an all men welcome to a child in the ward since most things kiddies were all women when I was growing up. I think having a version where women of the ward have their welcome (to show that women are the representatives of the community as well to more than just their stewardships) would be better than mixing it up, but time being an issue the second is the more practical version imo. 

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25 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

The presiding officer getting the sacrament first is in the handbook. 

Right hand is not.

Instructions are given that the bread is uncovered during that portion of the sacrament, then recovered.  Same with the water.

Handbook 2 chapter 20.4 concerning the sacrament is a good read.

I sit uncorrected ;)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Yeah, I think the unwritten rule is that it's perhaps considered to be too casual / not serious enough for one in authority. 

Though I've never seen a bishop wear one, I doubt it would bother me personally - though, if it were me, I would opt for a bolo tie instead. 

When I was a teenager we had an Elder’s Quorum President that would always wear a bow tie. At the ward talent show the Bishopric slicked back their hair and did a silent skit to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin Groovy” spoofing Bishopric meetings. They had a big agenda board with their list of goals for the meeting and after spending some time in spiritual thought and randomly drawing names and callings from a paper bag to match them up the last item was to visit the Elder’s Quorum so they all doffed their ties and put on bow ties and groovily exited.

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1 hour ago, Grundelwalken said:

And the Brethren are going around the world, trying to eliminate many of the "traditions" we have developed. They are not rules, except in the eyes of some SP or Bishops. It's what happens when we are so diverse in our membership. It will always be there but, generally, doesn't affect the faith or righteousness of the Saints.

Of course, if one is sustaining their priesthood leader (bishop or Sp) it wouldn't really matter if they are following the churchwide policy or simply the stake or ward policy. These "traditions" start somewhere, and while I doubt they ALL start with leadership, I suspect a good number of them do.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I agree that this is not in the handbook, and that it is more of a preference/expectation.  But I wonder if it goes higher than stake presidents.

Thanks,

-Smac

I'm sure it goes higher than SP in some cases.

I know for a fact that my current SP doesn't care if a bishop has facial hair. He allowed a bishop to keep his beard but when a 70 visited and saw the bishop the bishop was told to shave. Everyone has their preference and their own sense of what is proper. For many, it just seems right to wear a suit, white shirt, bland tie, maintain close cropped hair and a clean shaven face. There's nothing wrong with that preference unless they enforce their preference on others, which has happened a lot over the years.

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3 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I see bow ties as way more formal than long ties.  FWIW.  I also see them as whimsical.  Depends who wears it. In reality, I don’t care. 

I wear a chainmail tie to church occasionally. Formal and also a lifesaver if attacked in a very specific area.

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31 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

All boomers are deaf anyway.

It's not our fault you can actually hear a watch tick, or that it would distract you, besides all millenials have ADHD anyway. ;)

J/k :)

You would think that all those years of drumming and rock concerts would have done in my hearing. But, according to my wife, it's only the "listening" thing that I seem to struggle with...situationally. ;) 

As for my cohorts, I had actually grown up always thinking I was part of Gen X, but I went to a conference the other day and learned that some modern researchers have Gen X ending in 76, so it turns out I might be a Millennial after all.

Which is a bit funny, because the guy giving the lecture said that there is a split among Millennials: those who grew up, went to school, got married, and basically did everything their parents said they should do vs. those who are living at home and sneaking extra snacks off the gas card that Mom is still paying for. He also said that the group most critical of Millennials is actually other Millennials. So, I may have found my home after all. :) 

 

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56 minutes ago, Amulek said:

You would think that all those years of drumming and rock concerts would have done in my hearing. But, according to my wife, it's only the "listening" thing that I seem to struggle with...situationally. ;) 

As for my cohorts, I had actually grown up always thinking I was part of Gen X, but I went to a conference the other day and learned that some modern researchers have Gen X ending in 76, so it turns out I might be a Millennial after all.

Which is a bit funny, because the guy giving the lecture said that there is a split among Millennials: those who grew up, went to school, got married, and basically did everything their parents said they should do vs. those who are living at home and sneaking extra snacks off the gas card that Mom is still paying for. He also said that the group most critical of Millennials is actually other Millennials. So, I may have found my home after all. :) 

 

So much for stereotypes!  I have millennial children in both categories!  Go figure!

I know a sister who is over 100.  I know what it is to be 50 and we all think that is definitely an "adult"- I think you can even join AARP at 50- and that was only HALF her lifetime.  She has children who have passed on who were in their late 70's when they did so.

It's hard to imagine living that long, but think about ETERNITY?  Holy cow!  It is unimaginable!

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

I disagree as when everyone works as a community to enforce unnecessary policies, people can get excluded who otherwise would be included and thus create a greater sense of community...as in the example of the counselor missing a jacket who was not invited to join in the ordinances as others were. 

Or young men who didn’t have a white shirt available (perhaps from nonmember family and the parent doesn’t want to buy or care for a shirt that takes extra work; sure someone could buy some for him, but that could cause the kid to feel more an outsider...need to be sensitive to the different ways a kid may react) or just forgot about it on occasion, but are desiring of serving the community including through participating or in passing the Sacrament, yet can’t because someone has created their own policy of only white shirts.

I was trying to emphasize avoiding the spirit of contention and prioritizing the role of preserving the sense of community (unity) when seeking to make changes in the customs. I think on some level the spirit of community transcends customs. Of course some are more receptive to that than others. If one feels he is above or excluded by the custom, or that the Lord wants him to say something to challenge or change it, I trust that he will find that opportunity. I'm only addressing the point of view of the one offended, excluded, patronized or ostracized by the custom, not those rigidly holding to or enforcing the custom. But the one offended can still make a difference no matter the motive for or the attitude of any point of "custom-centricity". I believe that one person or a few people can indeed influence their community if the Lord is with them, and if the community refuses to change, at least they have the confidence that the Lord understands, and retain their spirit of forbearance and forgiveness.

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3 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I'm only addressing the point of view of the one offended, excluded, patronized or ostracized by the custom, not those rigidly holding to or enforcing the custom

When the one offended is a child or youth (which often happens imo when it is modesty or essentially dress code rules), they may not yet have the understanding or capability to turn the experience into something positive.  So I think it is a good idea for adults to work actively to remove unnecessary uniform behaviour for all ages and instead create a sense of community through mutual service to each other.

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3 hours ago, Amulek said:

Unless you are Native American or come from some other culture, long hair on men is generally frowned upon - especially for those in leadership positions.

Also, there seems to be some sort of unwritten rule against bow ties. That may just be a fashion preference thing though. When my sister was serving on Temple Square she distinctly remembered Elder Scott sporting a bow tie from time to time, but he was one of the very few; and, even then, it was something of a rarity.  

And you know what isn't an unwritten rule but should be: removing mechanical watches prior to setting people apart, giving blessings, etc.

Seriously, I understand that Old Man Jacobs needs to know what time it is and, due to his age, he needs a gigantic watch to accomplish that task, but for those of us under his hands it just sounds like Big Ben is clicking away incessantly the entire time he is participating in the ordination. It's really a distraction. 

Now, this is one that may naturally resolve itself over time as Boomers start to age out of callings since they seem to be the ones most likely to wear large, mechanical watches. But, in the meantime, please remove those blasted contraptions. :) 

 

I'm sorry, but watches are making a comeback - mom of an 18 year old who loves them. 

50 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

So much for stereotypes!  I have millennial children in both categories!  Go figure!

I know a sister who is over 100.  I know what it is to be 50 and we all think that is definitely an "adult"- I think you can even join AARP at 50- and that was only HALF her lifetime.  She has children who have passed on who were in their late 70's when they did so.

It's hard to imagine living that long, but think about ETERNITY?  Holy cow!  It is unimaginable!

Yes. I did. 

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Several have mentioned the handbook. If it is in the handbook, is it assumed that it is not gilding the lily?

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6 hours ago, smac97 said:

.................

Which, if any, of these are based on doctrine / scriptures?  

Which are based on tradition/custom?

Which are based on simple convenience?

Which, if any, are problematic in your view?  Why?

Are any of these "gilding the lily" (meaning "try{ing} to improve what is already beautiful or excellent")?....................

Apart from the formal blessings specified in Scripture, almost all of the actions mentioned by you are customary/traditional practices which began as part of modern Protestant communion culture.  Were we to go back to early Jewish Christianity in Jerusalem, as presided over by Peter and his Brethren, we might see some wide variations, including an Aramaic liturgy which merely contains the essentials (but not the exact words) of what we say today -- and what was said in 5th century Nephite congregations.  The clothing and procedure might have differed markedly from current practice, likely eating unleavened bread (matzo) and drinking wine from a common cup.  Those of the diaconate (Levites) and the officiating priests (kohanim) would likely have been adults, rather than the youth we now see passing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  They would likely have worn their priestly robes, just as they would in a Jewish synagogue.  Indeed, the early Christian Church met as a synagogue (James 2:2).

The old Jewish mikveh was the Christian baptismal font, and we have plenty of archeological examples.

LDS congregations in Israel meet on Saturday, and the Sacramental and baptismal liturgies can be said in Hebrew if need be (formal translations were made).

Polynesian greetings and shouts are not unwelcome in LDS congregations on the mainland, nor is the wearing of lava-lavas in the Temple.  Moreover, we should have no problem with an LDS congregation in the deep South with a lot of Black members raising a hand and shouting "Hallelujah" now and then (perhaps frequently), and an LDS choir swaying with the music and song -- putting some "Gospel" into it !!  A soloist accompanying the ward or stake choir, just as soloists do with the Tabernacle Choir.  I just don't see God worrying about non-essentials or local color.

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2 hours ago, ksfisher said:

The presiding officer getting the sacrament first is in the handbook. 

Right hand is not.

Instructions are given that the bread is uncovered during that portion of the sacrament, then recovered.  Same with the water.

Handbook 2 chapter 20.4 concerning the sacrament is a good read.

Nearly all of the Handbook instructions are merely modern customary procedures which have been set in stone.  Some are just reasonable.  The Brethren can change them any time it seems necessary.  At the Last Supper, Jesus may or may not have covered the unleavened pita bread or goblet of wine while blessing it.  It was a Passover meal after all.

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57 minutes ago, Calm said:

When the one offended is a child or youth (which often happens imo when it is modesty or essentially dress code rules), they may not yet have the understanding or capability to turn the experience into something positive.  So I think it is a good idea for adults to work actively to remove unnecessary uniform behaviour for all ages and instead create a sense of community through mutual service to each other.

Yes, absolutely: children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance (D&C 83:4).

ATTENTION any children on this thread: Please adopt and also share the principles I've been posting with the adults in your lives! :)

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2 hours ago, Amulek said:

You would think that all those years of drumming and rock concerts would have done in my hearing. But, according to my wife, it's only the "listening" thing that I seem to struggle with...situationally. ;) 

As for my cohorts, I had actually grown up always thinking I was part of Gen X, but I went to a conference the other day and learned that some modern researchers have Gen X ending in 76, so it turns out I might be a Millennial after all.

Which is a bit funny, because the guy giving the lecture said that there is a split among Millennials: those who grew up, went to school, got married, and basically did everything their parents said they should do vs. those who are living at home and sneaking extra snacks off the gas card that Mom is still paying for. He also said that the group most critical of Millennials is actually other Millennials. So, I may have found my home after all. :) 

 

Please do not go along with this. I refuse to be a millennial! You can’t make me! I missed it by a year! You can’t change the rules now!

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  • Bishops and stake presidents, while serving in that capacity, are clean-shaven.

Our stake president requires bishops to be clean shaven but my parents stake does not.  There are multiple bishops in that stake will full on beards.

  • Bishopric counselors can have facial hair, as can EQ presidents/counselors, Sunday School presidents/counselors, and YM presidents/counselors.

Our stake president also requires counselors to be clean shaven and he really wanted my hubby to shave his beard off when he was serving in the Elder's quorum presidency but stopped short of requiring it.

  • Bishopric members wear a suit in church meetings.

True for every ward I've been in.

  • Standing when a General Authority enters the room during a church meeting.

Not something that I've ever seen happen except at General Conference for the prophet.  We've had GAs and apostles at stake conference in Layton UT and we haven't had to stand for any of them yet.

  • If a man and a woman are the two speakers in Sacrament Meeting, the man speaks last (this seems to be generally, but not absolutely, observed in my experience).

Not a thing in my ward.

  •  
    • The person blessing the bread A) uncovers the bread, leaving the water covered by the sacramental sloth, B) kneels, C) recites the prayer while the other person stands, and D) then visually checks with the bishop after reciting the prayers to make sure they were accurately recited (this happens every single time in my ward).
  • We have three priests at the sacrament table each week but yes, this seems to be what happens as far as I have paid attention.
  •  
    • The presiding officer receives the bread and water first (the boys/men passing the Sacrament literally wait until this happens before moving to their prescribed positions in the chapel and passing the Sacrament).
  • Yes.
    • The boys/men passing the Sacrament line up in a prescribed way and are given a prescribed area of the chapel to go to for passing the Sacrament.
  • Kind of.  Our Deacons struggle with organization and the passing of the sacrament often gets confusing when boys don't exactly know where to do.
  •  
    • Those receiving the Sacrament (usually) take the bread with the right hand (this one does not seem to be enforced or anything, and instead just seems like a widely-observed custom).
  • I have no idea.  I don't always take it with my right hand but I've never watched to see what others do.
  •  
    • When the boys/men complete passing the bread, they assemble in a prescribed order in two lines at the back of the chapel, so that when they walk to the front of the chapel and arrive in front of the Sacrament table, they will be in a specified order.  
  • Seems right.
  •  
    • The boys/men who are passing the Sacrament wait at the back of the chapel until the Sacrament has been passed to everyone, at which point the 2/3 boys/men at the Sacrament table stand up, thus signaling to the passers that they should come forward.
  • Yep.
  •  
    • The same process is observed for the passing of the water.
  • Yep.
  •  
    • Once both parts of the Sacrament have been administered, the "blessers" sit down, thus signaling to the passers that they are dismissed and can go sit with their families (or sit in the back as ushers).
  • Yep.
  •  
    • Men/boys who pass the Sacrament wear white shirts (this one seems to be rather strongly encouraged, if not necessarily required).
  • Normally yes, but our bishop does not require it.  In fact, my son once wore a blue and white checkered shirt (small checkers) and the bishop asked him to not pass.  Later, he apologized.
  •  
  • Women wear skirts/dresses (this one does not seem to be enforced, and instead just seems like a widely-observed custom).
  • Mostly, yes.

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7 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Please do not go along with this. I refuse to be a millennial! You can’t make me! I missed it by a year! You can’t change the rules now!

Typical, whiny Millennial. ;) 

 

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