Ask a Mormon Woman: What happens in a Mormon sacrament meeting?
~Answer by Amanda**
Sacrament meeting is held in the chapel of the church building. (Click here for a video tour of a chapel.) Members are encouraged to arrive to sacrament meeting a few minutes early. I love doing this so that I can hear the prelude music, and also because when I’m early, I get the seat I want! Arriving early helps me because I feel a peace wash over me when I enter the building, since I am not rushed and stressed out. I believe that my children can feel it too. Often they are running in the parking lots and yelling, but once we sit down in the pew, they whisper instead of yell and they sit quietly (most of the time).
Prayer is a big part of a sacrament meeting. Before the meeting begins someone from the bishopric (similar to a pastor and his assistants) asks a member of the congregation to say the opening and closing prayers. These prayers are said at the beginning and end of the meeting. These prayers are not memorized. They are not said the same each week though you may hear some of the same things said. During these prayers we are able to give thanks for the building that we have, for the chance to gather together for worship and we pray for those that may be sick or in need, as well as other things.
Music plays an important part of the sacrament meeting as well. At the start and end of the meeting we will sing from the hymn book. We do this before the sacrament as well. I love the sing the hymns. They make me realize what the Lord has done for me. They help me to understand that He loves me. They soothe my soul.
Next is the actual taking of the sacrament. In my part of the world, we are given a bite of bread that is passed to us on trays, followed by a small cup of water. The bread and water each have a prayer said over them by young men (16+) holding the Aaronic priesthood. Younger boys (12+) bring the trays to the pews and the trays are passed along and everyone is given the chance to partake. The prayers are simple, and spoken the exact same each week. During this time it is very quiet in the chapel. Sometimes I spend this quiet time reading the scriptures, praying and just thinking about Christ. It is a wonderful opportunity to think about the sacrifice that he gave us. The bread is meant to symbolize the body of Christ and the water is meant to symbolize the blood of Christ.
Following the bread and water we hear the speakers. Once a month, usually the first Sunday, is Fast Sunday. This is a day that we are encouraged to fast by not eating or drinking for a certain amount of time and concentrate our prayers on a special cause, for ourselves or others. On Fast Sunday, members of the congregation have not been called to speak; rather, we bear testimony, or share what we believe to be true, if we feel prompted or have a desire to. We believe that when we share testimony we are making our faith stronger.
On a Sunday that is not Fast Sunday, the bishopric will assign 2-3 speakers. Often there is a youth (ages 12-17) speaker and two adult (male or female) speakers that have been assigned a specific topic. Topics for speakers vary from pre-mortal life to missionary work to personal revelation and everything in between, always relating to Jesus Christ and his central role in the plan of salvation.
Sometimes sacrament meeting can be challenge – there are kids that don’t want to sit still, or the temperature isn’t quite right for me – but it is among my favorite times of the week. Seldom is there a time when I don’t learn something. I always feel a confirmation of the truth of the words that are spoken – and this is the spirit of the Lord.
If you would like to attend a sacrament meeting, click here to find meeting times for your area.
**Please note: The answers in “Ask a Mormon Woman” reflect the thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of individuals. Although here at Mormon Women: Who We Are, we strive to have our content consistent with the Church’s doctrine and teachings, we do not speak officially for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For official information about or from the Church, please visit www.mormon.org or www.lds.org.
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