Going forward I am going to be dedicating the second Wednesday of every month to a new feature I am affectionately dubbing “Ask EOR”. Here is where I will answer your questions about anything related to Mormonism—anything at all. It should be noted that these answers are for entertainment purposes only. Sometimes I will be as serious as I can and other times I will be my usual snark-monster. I do not claim to have any specific insider knowledge other than having been a member of The Church for 18 years and, other than a complete lack of common sense, being fairly well-versed in the intellectual arts.
Since this is the first installment I will start out with just one question, but I hope to be able to answer 2-3 per post in the future. All questions are posted on the site as “Anonymous” so feel free to ask whatever might be on your mind. You may send your questions to email@example.com . Take heart, even if your question does not appear right away it may appear in the future. Let’s get started.
I know I am supposed to only use my right hand to partake of the Sacrament, but I recently fractured my arm and have it in a sling. This prevents me from taking the Sacrament with the correct hand. I don’t know what to do.
Thank you for your interesting and Mormony question.
By way of an answer, first consider this similar question from the July 1983 Liahona Magazine.
In the answer, Russell M. Nelson delves into some of the symbolism of the right hand v the left hand. These are all symbols that hopefully we are all acquainted with already. That said, it appears that he words his answer quite carefully to never say that we must take the sacrament with our left hands—only that it might be preferable due to the symbolism.
However, even if one prefers normally to partake of the sacrament with the right hand (because of where I sit I always use my left) of course allowances need to be made when partaking with one or the other hand is not possible. It is more important to partake than to partake with any particular hand. One must not need to be commanded in all things, and so these common sense adjustments are of course the logical answer.
In short, there is no correct hand with which to take the sacrament and even if you have a preference let it go for the few weeks until you’re all healed up.
It seems so wise to put ourselves in the position of people who HAVE NO RIGHT HAND on occasion. Or people who are different from the norm in any way. Are our rules, policies, traditions, or doctrines so strict that we hinder these people in coming to Christ? Many people do this and make accommodation. I find that heartening and at times heart-warming. It’s really sad to me to see how often the answer, in practice, is yes, our traditional belief or behavior excludes you from fully participating in the worship you long for.
I look forward to more wisdom from EOR. 🙂
Excellent response, EOR. Also this: “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” from D&C 84:88