It was about a certain stake and ward in Utah County. Not in Provo, but that town just north of Provo. It was one of those Young Single Adult Wards, which I have always thought are wonderful and have never harbored any complaints against. I love them so much.
These friends get ready to attend this ward. They might have been running a smidge late, but when they arrived, the congregation was singing the opening hymn. It wasn’t a crisis, by any means.
But the chapel was practically full, except for maybe the very front row of pews and the choir loft up on the podium. So my friends decided to hang out in the foyer instead of walking in front of everyone and disrupting the meeting.
Then came time for passing the sacrament. Bread and water. Symbols of the body and blood and Christ’s atonement.
Usually, one of the priesthood members comes out into the foyer to pass the sacrament to those who may have arrived late or had to leave the chapel for whatever reason.
No one came out.
My friends weren’t the only ones in the foyers.
After they passed the bread, they did the same with the water.
And the same thing happened with the water: the foyer people didn’t get any.
Which were maybe 20-30? I tend to want to exaggerate this number, but really, it was a sizable crowd.
Then after the sacrament was passed, a member of the bishopric asked if anyone didn’t get to partake of the sacrament.
I guess no one in the chapel raised their hands.
Then the bishop invited everyone sitting in the foyers to find a seat in the chapel.
He supervised the priesthood as they stayed inside the chapel, which means he saw them not passing the sacrament to the foyer people.
He knew that the foyer people didn’t receive the sacrament.
So, when people confronted the bishop after the meeting, he said that he was acting under the stake president’s directions.
It was important for the bishop to literally see the elders passing the sacrament.
But he also must have saw them not passing it to the crowd outside.
People were incredulous and sort of really angry.
Some people stormed off, declaring inactivity.
And the bishop said it was their choice.
So, what I’m trying to understand:
Does he mean to punish latecomers by depriving them of the sacrament?
How does he intend to fellowship and reactivate when he splits hairs with THE reason people come to sacrament meeting? How are people supposed to get married?
How can one be denied the sacrament? If someone in the congregation is sick and can’t physically make it to church, the priesthood can bring the sacrament to that person’s home.
Everyone should have that opportunity.
If someone can help me see benefits to the other side of this discussion, I’d greatly appreciate it.