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Sacrament Meeting

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Mormon Church Sacrament Meeting

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often erroneously called the Mormon church) coordinates and correlates all of its materials and instructions for worship. Therefore, anywhere one goes in the world he or she will find Sabbath meetings which follow the same, basic format. Sacrament meetings are open to anyone, and visitors are welcome.

Sacrament meetings are held every Sunday (except in countries where the majority of citizens worship on another day—Friday in Egypt, Saturday in Israel, for example). Occasionally, a special conference might be scheduled that preempts the normal sacrament meeting. At sacrament meeting, members renew the promises they made at baptism by partaking of the sacrament (known as the Eucharist or Communion in other Christian churches). The partaking of the sacrament is the central purpose of the meeting. Attendance at sacrament meeting is a prerequisite for obtaining a temple recommend, or in other words, qualifying to enter the temple. The sacrament consists of bread and water (Doctrine and Covenants 27:1-4), which is blessed, consecrated, and distributed to the congregation by priesthood holders. The prayer recited at the blessing of the sacrament is found in Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79:

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 has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water 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.

Sacrament meetings are held in meetinghouse chapels, rather than in temples (though the General Authorities will share the sacrament during their own meetings in the temple). LDS sacrament meetings do not incorporate repeated phrases common in Catholic mass, nor do congregants kneel at any time during the meetings.

The typical pattern for sacrament meeting is as follows: Pews are not assigned—attendees may sit anywhere they like, although visitors might discover that regularly attending families habitually sit in the same pew every week. Some families are large enough to need an entire pew, and a family might become confused (especially the children), if visitors unwittingly sit in the family's usual place. There are no "seats of honor" in the chapel of an Latter-day Saint meetinghouse, but the Aaronic Priesthood holders who pass the sacrament occupy the first two rows in front of the sacrament table. After the sacrament is passed, they join their families seated in the general congregation.

On the stand will be seated the bishopric, any visitors from the high council or stake presidency, the speakers, the priests who will bless the sacrament, the music director and organist, and any general authority who may be visiting. Behind the pulpit there is also seating for the choir. A member of the bishopric will start the meeting by welcoming everyone and then giving announcements. This is followed by an opening hymn. Except for certain occasions, members remain seated while singing. Following the opening hymn, an invocation is given. Such prayers are prompted by the Spirit and are never written or rehearsed. Members stay seated, bow their heads, and close their eyes during prayers. During the meeting the only time those in the congregation say anything out loud is when they say "amen," and this is done reverently. "Amens" are uttered after prayers, talks, and testimonies, and indicate agreement and support for the words shared.

After the prayer, ward business is conducted. New callings are given, babies are blessed, and new members are welcomed. When a person is given a new calling the members are asked to sustain him by raising the right hand. (This is something in which visitors need not participate.) After ward business, the sacrament hymn is sung. After the hymn, the blessing on the sacrament is given, and then it is passed to the members. Visitors may also partake of the sacrament. Special reverence is expected during the passing of the sacrament.

Following the sacrament, talks are given. Members of the congregation are asked to speak about certain topics, and each person's talk can last anywhere from five minutes to twenty minutes. There will be a hymn sung between talks, or, often once a month, the ward choir may perform a selection. When the talks are done, a closing hymn will be sung, followed by a prayer. When the prayer is concluded, the meeting is over, and people begin leaving the chapel.

Sunday dress (suits for men and skirts for women) is expected for Sunday meetings. Sometimes, visitors or tourists will attend without the requisite attire. Unless their dress is provocative, no one is refused attendance.

In an announcement during General Conference on October 6, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson announced that sacrament meeting would be shortened to 60 minutes, and mentioned other changes to the block of Sunday meetings reflecting a home-centered and church-supported plan. Elder Quentin L. Cook added that sacrament meeting is "focused on the Savior, the ordinance of the sacrament, and spiritual messages."[1]