Dear Sister Sassy: Sacrament Questions
I know that keeping children quiet during the sacrament is important for everyone to find the ordinance meaningful, but I find it to be very tricky. I also wonder at what age I should let my kids start taking the sacrament. I’m thinking around 18 months when they have a good handle on eating solids?
Anxious to do the right thing
I will answer your second question first because it raised alarm bells. Your 18 month old has made no covenants and so should be forbidden to take the sacrament. This is not a personal choice you make as a family based on how you want to teach about the sacrament, this is a dictum that applies to everyone because my seminary teacher once said so! The best way to teach a child the importance and sacredness of the sacrament is by making sure he or she never participates and instead is ostentatiously excluded. If your child takes a piece of bread or a cup, swat it right out of their hand. Better a disrupting scene than a child profanely eating wonderbread. This of course also goes for a fetus or even a blastocyst. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant would be wise to forgo the sacrament so they don’t accidentally expose their child to a reminder of a covenant they haven’t made. You can’t be too orthodox!
As for how to keep your child reverent during the sacrament, I have found that laminating a few generic pieces of church art and placing them on a key ring is more than sufficient. My three-year-old remains enthralled by the same four pictures week after week for the full hour and ten minutes of Sacrament Meeting. He sits with his ankles neatly crossed in his starched suit and tie staring rapturously at scripture illustrations. Of course my one-year-old is a little more fussy so he is allowed to clutch a single cloth figure of Moses while gazing at his laminated pictures. Hope this helps!
Dear Sister Sassy,
Recently a member in my ward voiced a specific political opinion in testimony meeting, and a member of the Bishopric gently reminded everyone that we try to keep politics out of our ward and focus instead on the Gospel that we share. How can I reconcile my desperate need for expressing my enthusiasm for my chosen candidate with this offensive gag order?!
Freedom of Speech Destroyed in American Fork
There are many, many ways of indicating to your ward that your testimony of leader X is strong, without actually violating your Bishop’s insane request. You should start with your car. If it isn’t liberally bedecked with bumper stickers decrying the other party and belittling their supporters you are missing a real missionary opportunity. I assume you are a loyal campaign sticker decorator? It’s a great way to show your political pedigree goes back as long as your ownership of your vehicle.
Another great way to sneak in a political remark is through prayer. No one can object to you praying for our leaders and you can get as specific as you want to. Name that candidate and pray for victory! Ask that the leader you hate be blessed to see the error of his ways! You can even add a passive-aggressive addendum to the prayers of others who forgot to mention our leaders!
Honestly, I’m guessing your ward knows where you stand. If that is the case (if not, see above ideas), then your course is clear. Make vague references to current events and then assert “of course we’re all on the same page here, the Gospel clearly indicates the right course is…”. Hopefully anyone who disagrees with you will feel so alienated and lonely they won’t voice their opinion because they’ll be convinced they are, in fact, alone. And that way they’ll know to repent! Like all moral questions, choosing between options in a democracy is easy and straightforward! Just choose the right! Like me!
Feel free to ask any further questions of Sister Sassy in the comments, she’ll be happy to help you find the right way to live and be happy.