#hearLDSwomen: As a New Mother, I Was Denied the Sacrament

By Sydney

I was attending sacrament meeting for the first time since having a my first baby. During the passing of the sacrament, my infant was fussing and I stepped out into the hall to soothe and rock the child. I was eager to receive the sacrament having not received it since before having a baby. I stood just outside the open door of the chapel and was in view of the bishopric and a couple of men passing the sacrament. The closest man to me came all the way to the door inside the chapel with the sacrament tray, made eye contact with me on the outside of the chapel doors, and turned away to pass to a different row. I thought there must have been a mistake and I looked up to the Bishop, and he made eye contact with me. I waited for the Bishop to direct the young man to bring a tray to me on the outside of the door. Nothing. Next the water was passed and again I was skipped in plain view of the bishopric and now many members of the ward.
I couldn’t understand it and it hurt me deeply. I went into the mother’s room and sobbed. I didn’t know that caring for a small child also made me invisible.

The Bishop called me and my husband into his office after the block. He explained that he saw me not take the sacrament and said that in the future, if I wanted to partake of the sacrament, I needed to be inside the doors of the chapel. He had instructed those passing the sacrament that it could only be passed to people inside the chapel. He wanted to see everybody that partook of the bread and water, to make sure they were worthy to do so.

Feeling furious and deeply hurt, I confided in my Relief Society President who brought it up with the Bishop. But it wasn’t until my husband brought it to the attention of an Area Seventy who addressed it with the Bishop, that the Bishop finally agreed to let sacrament be passed outside the chapel.

On that day, as a brand new mother, longing to be connected to the spirit and the Lord through the partaking of the sacrament, I felt completely and utterly invalidated. My desire to be obedient was trumped by the Bishop’s desire to control. Furthermore, the voices of women couldn’t compel him to change, only a man with higher authority than himself.

Sydney is an aspiring public health professional working in the humanitarian field. She lives in the beehive state with her son and husband.

 

Pro-tip: Be sensitive to the needs of anyone who is unable to sit in the chapel during the sacrament by ensuring that they have the opportunity to participate.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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5 Responses

  1. Shantel says:

    This is so disheartning. In our little branch, we were running late and our BP had a ypung man wait for us from the parking lot to take the Sacrament in the foyer. I felt so loved. That is how it should be. That is how Christ is. He would wait. He would include. I am so sorry that happened to you.

  2. SC says:

    Your story is not unique. On many, many occasions I have needed help or support in the church, but found aid onoy rendered after I was able to find a sympathetic, high-ranked priesthood holder willing to advocate in my behalf with the local leaders. Deep voices and priesthood rank apparently matter more to local leaders than the needs and concerns of women within their flock. This is so upsetting and so disturbing, and why young women record their leaders and why we women don’t want men issuing recommends to our children anymore.

  3. Ziff says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you, Sydney. My but that bishop was overzealous. He thought he could verify the worthiness of *every* person partaking of the sacrament? He sure thought a lot of himself.

  4. Marie says:

    How sad that this happened to you. In our Ward, the youth always bring the sacrament out into the hall for anyone who has not made it into the chapel for whatever reason, or who has had to step out. We also often have an overflow area on really busy Sundays that the sacrament is passed to.

  5. Mike says:

    Sorry. No ward should ever have a rule that excludes passing the sacrament outside the chapel (foyer, hallways, etc.). Dumbest rule ever. And no mandate to do that. People expect parents to take out noisy kids but then don’t pass the sacrament to them (not speaking of your case). One thing we did in our stake was have the stake RS president coordinate with all the ward RS presidents to determine if women were using the mother’s room during sacrament. A few wards were. So we each week in those wards we asked for volunteer young woman to stand outside the mother’s room during the Sacrament. A deacon would hand her the tray, and she would go in and provide the sacrament to the mothers in the room. We did it for a while but then the women (at their own election) asked that we stop it and said they would just wait until after the sacrament to go in. And if they had to, they would come up after sacrament meeting to take it (which we gladly approved).

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