I have a friend who told me recently that her Bishop has decided that anyone who is not in the chapel during the administration of the sacrament will not have the sacrament taken to them - that the sacrament will be passed only to people who are in the chapel.
Some. Things. Make. Me. Want. to. Scream!
My rule for all interaction with anyone is to choose, consciously, to err on the side of charity and inclusion and not on the side of judging and exclusion. I know I will make mistakes in how I interact with people (and that I will fail to follow my own rule on occasion), and I know others will do the same. I know that others will make mistakes in how they interact with me. I accept the simple fact that none of us are infallible - that all will "come short of the glory of God" in this life, and that social, interpersonal relationships are a prime example of how we all fall short.
However, I also believe deeply that tenderness always is a better reaction than harshness - even when harshness is warranted and even, ultimately, unavoidable. I believe strongly that it is better - much better - to include rather than exclude. Sometimes, exclusion becomes necessary - but I believe we tend to exclude too quickly. I believe that excluding reflexively, broadly and/or collectively, instead of carefully, thoughtfully and/or individually is a natural (wo)man tendency and flat-out wrong - and it is contrary to everything I understand about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Generally, I can see reasons why Bishops and other church leaders might make decisions with which I personally don't agree, and, generally, I can support those leaders even when I disagree with their decisions. However, denying the sacrament to someone who has made the effort to attend church but is not sitting in the chapel crosses a line that I cannot accept or support. Not only is it in direct opposition to the standard practice throughout the LDS Church, but it simply is wrong at the most basic, fundamental level.
I hope my friend's Bishop, who probably is a good, sincere person trying to do the best he can, recognizes the error of his decision and changes this particular decision - and I hope others do not make the same mistake.
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