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The Sacrament meeting is one of three-hour blocks in the Mormon Church. Sacrament meetings are reserved for the entire ward meeting for one full hour. The Mormon Sacrament is passed, talks are given, hymns are sung, testimonies are given and general ward business conducted.
Mormon meetings are styled as discussions but in fact real discussion is forbidden. The purpose of the meetings is to be a type of repetitious, comforting ritual - not much different from the repeated temple script actually. Words and ideas from outside of the script are a disruption for the entire reason for the meeting - and entirely inappropriate so far as Mormons are concerned.
| The Sacrament meeting is one of three-hour blocks in the Mormon Church. Sacrament meetings are reserved for the entire ward meeting for one full hour. The Mormon Sacrament is passed, talks are given, hymns are sung, testimonies are given and general ward business conducted.
The process is as follows:
All Hymns are sung from Mormon Church printed Hymnbooks. Opening and Closing prayers are performed by worthy Mormon Members (male or female, however there was a period where women were forbidden) who have previously been called upon to perform.
- Opening Hymn
- Opening Prayer
- Sacrament Hymn
- Passing of the Sacrament
- Bishops notes, comments, updates, news
- First Sunday of the month is Testimony meeting. Mormons pass around a microphone and tell each other why they believe the Mormon Church is true. Children as young as 4 years old take the microphone with their parents and recite verbatim the words of the parents "I know the church is true, I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet" and other phrases of indoctrination.
- Talks and musical numbers (drums, guitars and other musical instruments are forbidden).
- Closing Hymn
- Closing Prayer
In Mormon Sacrament meetings, the Sacrament is passed to members of the congregation after being blessed by a priest or member of the higher Melchizidek Priesthood. Depending on the whim of the Bishop, the Sacrament passing is done either at the beginning of the meeting or at the end. The Mormon Sacrament is ritualistic cannibalism as members eat the flesh and drink the blood of their god in order to “always remember him.”
A special prayer is given on the bread, after which the bread is passed to the congregation (beginning with the Bishop), usually by deacons. The prayer recited for the bread is found in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. In English, it reads:
"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Book of Moroni 4:3).
The bread must always be white bread and the crusts are removed. The young men then tear the bread into small pieces and place them in small Mormon designed Sacrament trays. The Deacons first allow the Bishop and his Counselors to take the Sacrament first, then move to the rows of Mormons sitting in pews. The tray is passed to the first Mormon where he/she must take the Sacrament with right hand while holding the tray with the left. The tray is then passed to the next Mormon and the process repeated until all have partaken of the Sacrament on the particular row. Those Mormons who are being punished by the Mormon Church skip the Sacrament and pass it onward (see below).
After the bread is passed, another special prayer is given on the wine (water, in the LDS context, since the late 1800s), which is then passed to the congregation. The English version of this prayer is as follows:
"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Book of Moroni 5:2).
A Mormon Sacarament tray
The water is poured into small cups and placed in in small Mormon designed Sacrament trays. The Deacons first allow the Bishop and his Counselors to take the water Sacrament first, then move to the rows of Mormons sitting in pews. The tray is passed to the first Mormon where he/she must take the water Sacrament with right hand while holding the tray with the left. The tray is then passed to the next Mormon and the process repeated until all have partaken of the Sacrament on the particular row. Those Mormons who are being punished by the Mormon Church skip the Sacrament and pass it onward (see below).
The sacramental prayers are different from most other prayers in the Church in that they must be recited verbatim. If the priest blessing the sacrament makes a mistake and does not correct himself, the bishop will usually signal that the prayer must be repeated until recited correctly. It is not uncommon to hear the Sacrament prayers multiple times with anxious young men administering the Sacrament for the first time.
Mormons that are being punished by the Mormon Church are not allowed to partake of the Sacrament. This includes Ex-Communicated and Dis-fellowshipped. Non-Members are not allowed to partake as well. Mormons who have confessed lesser or minor sins to Mormon Bishops are generally counseled not to partake. Mormon authority figures use the practice of forbidding the Sacrament as a humiliation process. Mormons observe each other when partaking of the Sacrament and those who do not partake can easily be observed. Sacrament can only be personalized by the individual internally and not externally.
The Sacrament meeting is a practice of cult repetition. It binds the member to the Church by centralizing the Sacrament meeting as continued weekly renewal of a Mormon's commitment to follow the Mormon Church, and a plea for forgiveness of sins. Unfortunately those who are in sin are often denied the very instrument that would ultimately lead to forgiveness.
Baring of testimonies is to re-affirm to other members the allegiance to the Church.
| How I wish I had been there, but luckily my wife took notes.
Let me also say beforehand that yes, we are located in Utah county.
Yesterday was high council day in the ward. Apparently a real pompous ass addressed the congregation.
He started out by saying how bothered he was that, while on a business trip, he noticed a woman with about ten earrings in each year. At that point, my wife said she had to start taking notes for me because she knew it was going to be one of those "wonderful" talks.
Next, he went on to say that people (and I assume that he primarily meant men) who wore earrings and had tattoos were less intelligent and, quoting my wife, were "pagans." For instant, he continued, look at all of those athletes who have tattoos, they certainly are not very smart. At which point, he chuckled and said he hoped that no professional athletes were in our ward because he probably would have gotten beat up. He continued to say how foolish church leaders would look with earrings or tattoos. For instance, could you imagine members of the first presidency wearing earrings he asked?
He then spoke about Moroni appearing to JS. Did we actually think that Moroni would have appeared to him if he had been wearing an earring and had a tattoo on his arm that was a heart with the word "mother" in it?
He next touched on gambling. He said 9 prophets spoke on the evils of gambling and many times he mentioned "card playing" as being evil as well. He concluded by saying that, with the stake presidency approval, members of the stake who had stepped foot inside a casino were not worthy of having a temple recommend
I would not have believed these things were said in sacrament in 2005 unless my wife had not shown me the notes she took of the talk. It still shocks me when blowhards like this get up and speak the way they do in this day and age. That type of self-righteous attitude is sickening.
| I recently attended my first Fast and Testimony meeting in years due to the birth and blessing of a close TBM family member.
Four of the nine testimony bearers mentioned the "Hinckley read the BoM by year end challenge". Here's a rough summary/conclusion of my observations.
BTW I have read the BofM eight complete times since the age of 14.
- Only one had read the BofM completely before. He was the bishopric member conduction the meeting.
- None of them had finished it yet this year.
- All described the reading in terms of a huge personal undertaking of climbing Mount Everest proportions, thus flexing their faith muscles in testimony building ways.
- No one mentioned the Moroni challenge.
- They all expressed an intent to cram the reading into warp speed in order to finish before the year end.
- Approximate ages, sex of the four: 55 male, 50 female, 45 female, 20 female.
- Implication that they were challenged and blessed for attempting this Herculean task to obey the prophet permeated their testimonies. It was like "I'm trying really hard to be a good little boy or girl and do what grampa wants me to do."
- My gag factor on a scale of 10 - being choking to death and 1 - sour saliva reaction to green Jell-o, was about 8.
I asked myself these questions during the meeting.
One of the women told how grateful she was to all her children and relatives who were supporting her in her efforts to finish reading by year end as if she was pulling a handcart all the way from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City all by herself.
- What's with these people and reading books in general?
- Have they ever read a 531 page book before?
- They read poop fiction like Lund's "Work and the Glory" but they have to be commanded to read the BofM?
- What other comparative literature do they read?
- They know the Church is true and have never completed the Book of Mormon?
I consider myself to be culturally unsophisticated, not well traveled, politically unastute and just plain boring average. I've traveled around the USA, Mexico, Central America, Australia, Indonesia but have never been to Europe, Asia, Africa or South America. I barely speak a second language (Spanish) and only read a good book every two weeks. I feel left behind in the information age. Yet, I felt like I was in a time warp, sitting in a meeting with other adults going on and on about drivel. It was just icky!
Overall, I was blown away by how childish, simple and immature the whole affair was. Wow, am I glad to have escaped the cult!
| Last week, our ward celebrated Smithmas. The entire Sacrametn Meeting was in honor of Joseph Smith. There wasn't anything in the meeting at all to reflect a worship of Jesus Christ. It was entertaining to say the least, and the cult of personality was alive and strong in suburban Austin that day.
There were several bits of knowlege that I wasn't aware of, for example:
Joseph had a great marriage! Who knew? (certainly not Emma!)
Joseph was incarcerated illegally. Hmmm...not what the history books show.
Joseph was a man of impecable integrity. Well, they didn't go into the Kirkland banking fiasco.
Joseph was loved by all the early saints. Well, except the ones who had their wives married to him without their knowledge. Oddly, that wasn't mentioned.
I sort of felt sorry for the missionaries in the congregation that day. They had brought a few investigators with them, who were treated to 60 minutes of non-stop Joseph Smith worship...if these missionaries ever told their investigators that the mormon church doesn't worship Joseph Smith, this meeting pretty much nullified anything about that.
On the other hand, perhaps it was good for the investigators to hear it from the horse's mouth.
| As a recently returned missionary and Uber TBM, I was heavily involved in the LDS Institute of Religion as the chairman of one of the student run committees. My committee was called the Sacrament Meeting Committee or something like that. The group was designed to give LDSSA students the opportunity to speak in local congregations. My committee would provide a pre-packaged Mc-program filled with beautiful music and well rehearsed talks that we would regurgitate each week at different wards. This was back in the day when you could actually sing music NOT found in the Mormon Hymnal so the program was always well received and kept everyone awake.
During one particular sacrament meeting my group was surprised to find that General Authority H. Burke Peterson would also be on the stand with us. Wow a General Authority would sit and witness our program... I’m sure that each students felt a special glow just knowing that we were in the presence of one of the Lord’s anointed, I know I was.
I was one of the main speakers. I remember my talk well even to this day, it was titled “Modern Day Evidences of the Book of Mormon”. During my talk I would give so-called fact after fact of recently discovered modern day proofs that supported the claims made in the Book of Mormon. I would go on and on with central American archeological evidence and discussed all of the linguistic, plant and animal evidence that had recently been discovered that supported the claims made in the Book of Mormon.
I remember giving particular focus on horses and wheels. It was well known that critics of the church had used the lack of this evidence to destroy testimonies. But I boldly testified that only recently God had allowed new evidence of both horses and wheels in ancient America to be discovered and that this evidence supported the claims of the Book of Mormon.
After sharing all the evidence for the Book of Mormon with my audience I would then caution them... stating that a testimony can not be built on these evidences...but must be soundly built on foundation of faith and through a confirmation from the Holy Ghost as Moroni promised through the Spirit. But know that although a testimony of the Book of Mormon must be based on faith...rest assured that the Lord is slowly revealing factual evidence to support its claims.
To be honest with you... My talked was well rehearsed and it rocked! I always had my audience eating out of the palm of my hand...they loved this shit.
Following my talk, H. Burke Peterson sought me out and placed his arm around my shoulder. He looked me in the eye and complimented me on my talk. He commented that the spirit was so strong during my talk. He thanked me and encouraged me to continue on my path in righteousness...that I was on the pathway to great things inside the church and that the Lord had a great work for me to do. (reading between the lines, I arrogantly interpreted this that I was on the road to high church callings in my future...perhaps even becoming a GA someday...every Mormon boy’s dream).
Now the irony. It was all a lode of crap. I was merely regurgitating the shit that I had been fed... there was no archeological, linguistic, plant, animal, horse, wheel or any other modern day evidence that supported the Book of Mormon. In fact there were volumes of evidence that discredited the Book of Mormon’s claims...and H. Burke Peterson knew it and allowed me to spew forth that drivel and said nothing... The reason the spirit was so strong when I gave that talk was because I was giving the people what they wanted... PROOF that the shit was TRUE...but the sad reality is that I was feeding them the same bull shit that I had been fed... Oh the Irony...that I had in fact built my testimony on the assumption that the claims made by the church were supported by some evidence.... In the end.... faith and a spiritual witness were NOT enough to support my beliefs in Mormonism when I discovered that there was no foundational proof to support Mormonism's claims...
For those of you who want to read what Mormons of today use as proof...read this link...
| As some of you know I am active to keep peace in the family. I am also supposed to be getting active again so I can see my sister get married in May. So I have to keep my mouth shut at the foolishness I hear in sacrament meeting etc.
Yesterday they were in rare form.
3 talks in sacrament about how it was our responsibility to do missionary work and that we would be held accountable for not doing it. As members our primary responsibility is to search out people to teach the gospel to. The blood of those we could have taught, but didn't will be upon our heads.
In Sunday school they talked about Abraham and how obedient he was because he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. And also how great Isaac was for not questioning his father when he was about to put a knife into him to sacrifice him. We should all be obedient like Abraham was. Even Nephi wouldn't pass the test if you think about it. When he was told by God to kill Laban, he questioned. So Nephi is not up to snuff compared to Abraham.
In EQ the the lesson was again on missionary work and using the spirit to teach. Of course the teacher had to throw something in that those who criticize the church are of the devil and possesed by Satan. I should have said
"How do you know. Maybe they have legitimate questions and concerns. Saying that someone is of Satan just because they question gives the impression that your paranoid, and don't have the ability to defend your own position."
But I kept my mouth shut.
So I went home with a stomach ache and napped the rest of the afternoon. How people can't see this for what it is, I will never know.
| Before discussing Mormon discrimination against left-handedness, I'll present some background about the historical prejudice against it and lefties. According to Wikipedia:
"Until the latter part of the twentieth century, Roman Catholic nuns in American elementary schools (and possibly elsewhere, for example Dutch and German primary schools) would punish children for using their left hand to write, typically by slapping their left hand with a ruler if they attempted to pick up a pen with it."
"To expose the left hand during a public meal is still considered profoundly offensive in many Arab cultures, especially in desert regions."
"In some parts of China, some adults can still remember suffering for the "crime" (with suitable traumatic punishments) of not learning to be right-handed in both primary and secondary schools, as well as in some "Keeping-good-face" families."
"In ancient China, the left has been the "bad" side. The adjective "left" (? Mandarin: zuo) means "improper," "out of accord." For instance, the phrase "left path" (?? mandarin: zuodao) stands for illegal or immoral means."
"In many parts of the world, like India and Indonesia, it is considered impolite to eat with the left hand and in Indonesia also to accept gifts with the left hand."
"The use of left hand was also frowned upon in Asia. Allegedly, though there were few examples of its happening, a Japanese man could once divorce his wife if he discovered that she was left-handed."
"Left-handedness was often interpreted as a sign of Satanic influence, and thus prohibited. The Eskimos also believed that every left-handed person was a sorcerer."
"People who are left-handed are technically said to be sinistral, and left-handedness is sometimes referred to as sinistrality. Both words derive from sinister, the Latin word for “left”."
"In many European languages, "right" stands for authority and justice: German and Dutch, "recht", French, "droit" (from Latin 'directus'); in most Slavic languages the root "prav" is used in words "right", "correct", "justice" etc. Being right-handed has also historically been thought of as being skillful: the Latin word for right-handed is "dexter," as in dexterity; the Spanish "derecha" (also from Latin 'directus') also means right."
"A left-hander was supposed to be not only unlucky, but also awkward and clumsy, as shown in the French "gauche" and the German "links" and "linkisch.""
In the New Testament, it states:
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels". (Matthew 25:41).
Clearly, there's been a strong prejudice against left-handedness (and frequently, by extension, lefties) in many societies for generations. Did Mormonism transcend such foolishness? No! As a Mormon boy, I was told that I must take the sacrament and sustain church leaders only with my right hand. Adult Mormons told me that to doing these things with my left hand would be displeasing to God. As a missionary, I was forbidden to raise my left arm to the square when baptizing someone. The right-hand- and right-arm-only "policy" of the church was, like so many aspects of Mormonism, ridiculous.
Any other ex-Mo's also experience Mormon idiocy because you tried to do "spiritual" things like taking the sacrament with your left hand?
I wonder if there are grounds for a lawsuit.
| As predicted in another thread, a statement was read today. After the opening hymn and prayer, the Bishop got up, and said that there was a letter to be read. He quickly read the letter, without emotion, and then moved on to other business, without discussion. I got the impression that he would rather have not read the thing. There was no discussion of the letter during the rest of the 3-hour block as far as I could tell. It was just ignored by everyone.
There will be a lot of people in the church who disagree with this, especially here in the liberal parts of California, even if they don't speak out. (Edit) I walked out of SM after the letter was read. I listened to the rest of SM in the foyer.
Here is the text of the letter, taken from the other thread. Thanks to canuk guy for getting the text. As far as I could tell from memory, this text is accurate. However, I think there must have been at least one more paragraph that was read, which I don't have a copy of.
We are informed that the United States Senate will on June 6, 2006, vote on an amendment to the federal Constitution designed to protect the traditional institution of marriage.
The Bishop also read the signatures. it was signed by the first presidency, and the bishop read off their names in clerk-like fashion.
We, as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.
In 1995 we issued a Proclamation to the World on this matter, and have repeatedly reaffirmed that position. In that proclamation we said: "We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate.
| I sat through it, so other people can benefit.
It went 25 minutes overtime. It was the 5 group leaders, all talking about the "Perry Plan," a new idea from RapMaster L. Tom Perry for how to get more converts. Apparently last Dec 7 2008 there was a big satellite(?) meeting between him and SP, EQ pres, RS pres, HP leaders, etc. Upshot: Every quorum/group needs to find 5 names of part-member familes to send the missionaries to, under the guise of a trick. "The missionaries need to practice their discussions. Can they practice on you?"
So watch out.
There was one interesting point, though: Apparently L-Tom said that 80% of all convert baptisms are from part-member families, and 45% of all convert baptisms are children under the age of 19. The implications for the growth of church are staggering.
It means that the number of "convert" children baptism (including 18 year olds) are only 134% of 8-year-old baptisms. It means that in 2008, only 55,844 people were baptized that didn't have a member in their nuclear family. That's only 2 per ward/branch in a year.
Enjoy that information, 'cause I swear I'm never going to a meeting like that again. What a complete waste of my time, people bragging about conversions and the spirit for conversions that hadn't actually happened yet. Rolling Eyes
I forgot to mention a couple of points.
They we told "Why don't we open our mouths? If we opened our mouths, we'd have more prospects for baptism!" There were two excuses; I can't remember one, and the other was "are we afraid?" That's the one I'm going with. Nobody wants to look stupid to their friends and acquaintances.
Seriously, too, they kept calling it "The Perry Plan, you know, like the Marshall Plan." That's a direct quote. Rolling Eyes
This was the good part: They were supposed to do 2 important things. I'm not quoting this, but everything I type was said, even the i.e. stuff.
(1) Invite people to keep the sabbath day holy (i.e. come to church)
(2) Invite the people to begin paying their tithing.
Tell me, if they church had to pick one of the two, which one do you think they'd pick?
In the end, the SP told us a few things to do (we were way overtime by that point), like "Bear Testimony and Lift Others" (not serve them, just bear testimony), and do service (not real service, just temple service, of course). Also, we are supposed to protect women and girls, because the world is a bad place. I'm not entirely sure what he meant by that. From his comments, I think he meant more "tell women to dress modestly and come to church" than "protect them from rapists and murderers," but I'm really not sure, and I was taking notes.
Anyway, the important thing is to watch out, especially if you are in a part-member family, because the church considers you an easy and profitable target for conversion or reactivation.
| Today in Our Ward two letters from the first Presidency were read. The first was a command that Church members were not to attend Self Awareness Seminars put on by various groups and lists a bunch of negative points from their viewpoint. Mostly Garbage, accusations. It is true that there would be good Seminars on this and Bad ones. Such is life. What gets me angry is that Self Awareness is aimed at getting people to think with the Mind that God Gave them to solve their own problems. This is anti-the mind control that the TSCC wants to impose. They do not want people to think using their minds. To have them come out publicly in print saying this says that they are losing it! They cannot tolerate the fact that groups out there are teaching people to use their own minds to solve their problems.
The second letter was another rant from the First Presidency that letters and all contacts with them on questions are to be handled by the Bishop and Stake President. Only the Stake president has the right to ask questions. They will not field any such things as Doctrinal Questions - History Questions or anything for that matter. The Ivory Tower Residents of COB cannot be bothered by members and their questions or doubts. Let the ill informed Stake President or Bishops handle the matter. Of Course Stake Presidents nor Bishops never receive any training on handling any of these problems.
On top of all this I was reviewing the 14 Points spoken of Twice in the Last Conference. I have the Origional form Ezra Taft Benson. The infallibility of the Prophet, He is more important that the past prophets and even all the Scriptures and the unquestioning Obedience demanded. This means the Church should be under the name of The Current Prophet and changed every time a new one comes in. Christ was a prophet himself so this statement puts the current prophet more important than Christ.
I was mad as I got into the Car with my wife saying How I hate the church and their lies and Controls. She said the only reason she goes is to see what is going on. Well she found out.
| Life becomes too boring when we do things in the same way over and over again for all our lives. Imagine this. Thus some Japanese Mormons came up with very neat ideas.
Most of the member have to travel at least one hour each way to attend Sunday meetings. Because of this reason, sometimes, the one who is responsible with bringing bread is late. Or sometimes this same person suddenly becomes inactive.
In one occasion, we waited and waited, yet he did not show up. Then, someone came up with this brilliant idea!
Instead of the same old stale bread, we used:
Salty rice crackers! Crunch, crunch, the delicious sounds of the crackers echoed throughout the room. Ah! So fun! A snack time.
Rice balls. The aroma of warm rice balls with sea weed wrappers....we must be in heaven!
Our reasoning: they are all carbohydrates and came from our staple...rice. Both Jewish and Westners eat bread, but we eat rice. Same principle.
The both rice crackers and the rice balls are what the sisters had brought to the church for lunch, since the Sunday meeting lasted all day long, they had prepared those foods for themselves and their families. But they decided to share with rest of the congregation.
To enrich our version of bread above, and instead of the chlorine water, we used:
Barley tea (non caffeinated)/ orange juice to go with the rice crackers.
Miso soup to go with the rice balls.
Our reasoning: they are all from water, Jesus offered wine/juice. Why not these?
If was extremely difficult to listen to the weird blessings (bless this orange juice, miso soup, crackers, and rice balls.....), but we worked very hard not to burst into the congregation full of laughter.
After the Sacrament meeting, there was a big smiles on everyone’s face. I would say it was the most enjoyable sacrament ever. Then, brothers and sister became wild and started to brainstorm other options: how about chocolate cake or apple pie; how about sushi or smorgasbord? Ah, they all sounded lovely, just lovely. But then we started to worry if this news would travel too far, we would get in to trouble. So, we did not ventured to do it.
However, we served delicious homemade sweet rolls with cream or chocolate inside later.
I am sure GA would have frowned on this, but our bishop loved it.
If we have continued I am very sure that the number of our congregation would have increased dramatically. Perhaps our ward may have turned into a stake!
The Japanese business principle: The customers are Gods; the congregations are kings and queens. We should serve what people want. That was what we thought.
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