A Sabbath Post

I was in Sacrament meeting (the Mormon version of mass) last Sunday.  I had gone to my brother’s ward (congregation) because he was blessing his son. (Sort of like a Christening but without the baptism.  Or the godparents.  Or the-  actually, all wacky Mormon terms are described better here so if you’re the one non-Mormon who reads this blog, I’m delighted that you’re here, and you see something you don’t understand, try that.)

So the blessing was over and we had sung the Sacrament hymn and the priest up front starts saying the Sacrament prayer. He says the first line and then you hear this other voice, it’s sort of a disorganized sound, high and then unaccountably low, kind of like that of a pubescent boy but to the Nth degree.  The voice repeats the last word or two of what the priest said.  Then the priest says the next line and the voice again repeats most of the syllables, some recognizable as the words we just heard, some not.  And the prayer continues that way, the whole way through.

After we all said amen I looked up at the table where the Sacrament had been prepared and blessed and I see a very large, obviously mentally challenged individual stand up.  And next to him I see my oldest nephew, the priest who had helped him through the prayer.

And I thought I was as proud as I could be.

And then they started passing the Sacrament and I saw my next nephew walking around, not passing but helping another very large, obviously mentally challenged man pass the sacrament.

And there was another man doing the same for another not as large but just as obviously mentally challenged boy.

The deacons in this ward were not the most polished I’ve seen.  They were not all wearing white shirts and they were not all tucked in, but I learned more in those few minutes about loving and sharing the blessings of the gospel than I have in a long time.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Boob Nazi
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 18:46:25

    I might have shed a tear or two during this story! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Kristina
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 18:56:21

    I went to a baby blessing too. We haven’t been in a normal famliy ward in years, and we don’t have a YM program. I just kept watching all the young men who were doing the sacrament, and how proud they seemed to be. I really missed that.

  3. Catherine
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 20:02:46

    I wish we could have been there to see that. Chris may have been blessed with a lot of challenges, but difficult children wasn’t one of them.

  4. s'mee
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 21:53:29

    The compassion in their example is inspiring. As the mother of three boys and two girls I was quite firm in how our young men took their PH responsibilities. Lesson one was this was not magic, but authority to act in God’s stead; and not everyone on earth would be granted said privilege- so they better respect it plenty.

    A few years back Thor was the Priest group leader and he also took a firm hand in instructing the guys. It was wonderful to watch the transformation of ‘rote’ recitations to meaningful exactness in regard to these sacred ordinance prayers. I am happy to say our young men still perform their duties with *meaning*, thoughtfulness, and respect.

    It’s a new group of kids out there and they seem to be carrying on for the Lord in great and wonderful ways.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. julie
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 22:07:01

    thats beautiful

  6. LisAway
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 22:39:53

    This is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  7. bythelbs
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 22:54:56

    Very cool.

  8. Melanie J
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 23:57:15

    This is great. We have a Down Syndrome guy in our ward. He’s in his late twenties and sweet as can be. Whenever we have our combined fifth Sunday lesson, Evan conducts the songs. He very solemnly adjusts his music stand, pulls out a conductor’s baton, and proceeds to lead us enthusiastically through the opening hymn. I’m pretty sure that’s everyone’s favorite Sunday. I guess he’s the priesthood chorister, too. Lucky guys.

  9. julie
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 08:08:47

    How neat. Do they do they just happen to have a lot of mentally challenged people in their ward? What wonderful experiences that is for the young men to be able to serve in this way, and for the whole ward in fact. Something they will all never forget.

  10. robyn
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 08:33:15

    I did shed a tear. Thank you for sharing this story Ali! It is those types of moments that the spirit tells you that’s what life is all about.

  11. JustRandi
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 09:22:49

    Awww. I love that! It’s the true gospel in action.

  12. Cj
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 14:04:00

    We have two brothers that are mentally challenged, and another boy that is similarly challenged (Curtis, who gave a very good talk yesterday, assisted by his mother, who is an angel on earth). The two older men, Wayne and Clyde, are as diligent as you can possibly imagine at their duties. Wayne brings the bread for the sacrament every single week, not just for our ward, but for all the wards in the building. He blesses the sacrament most weeks, and Alexander helps him – possibly because he is also a Special Needs Mutual advisor during the week, where he goes on Thursdays to help the special needs kids in the region with their Mutual activities.

    We don’t have difficult children in the traditional sense. True, I have children who say (as Crispin – nephew #3 – did, the other day) “Mom, I was just thinking as I was mopping the floor about how Jesus was willing to take all that pain and suffering…,” instead of one that is swearing at me for not letting his girlfriend spend the night and running off to her place to do some lines.

    They didn’t get it from me. Jeanette is perfect, so that’s a definite source, but mostly they just came like this. It’s as if we signed some deal that we would take our challenges some other way.

    They argue about stupid things, and waste huge amounts of time, and are often very frustrating, like all children. But their hearts are pure.

  13. Jewel/Pink Ink
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 06:34:28

    I think it’s cool at that age that boys are learning to be kind. I have an 11 going on 12 year old and I’m excited for when he can pass the sacrament.

  14. Jo
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 08:45:04

    What a sweet, sweet story. Maybe there is some hope.

  15. Susan M
    Feb 20, 2009 @ 17:16:02

    How neat!

    (This post is a good example of why I rarely share anything Mormon-related on my personal blog. I don’t want to have to explain all the terminology to all of my non-member friends and family!)

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