Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Sacrament in Sign Language

I once was asked if it would be appropriate for a deaf man to bless the sacrament using sign language, since it is important for the members in the congregation to hear the words and understand the prayer in the moment. 

My response was twofold:

1) Ideally, I would have the congregation open their eyes during the prayer in order to "hear" the blessing as it was signed - after spending time in all the meetings for every age group teaching everyone to understand the sacrament in sign language. 

2) As a second option, I would have another Priest verbalize the prayer as the deaf person signs it. 

The most important thing in this case is that a worthy man be able to participate in administering the sacrament, since there is no good reason to keep him from doing so.


Richard Alger said...

I picture him standing and signing the prayer. A priest is sitting on a chair watching the signer and repeats the prayer as it is signed.

The signer is giving the prayer and the speaker is voicing it for those who do not understand ASL. It may be appropriate for the bishop to give the audience permission to watch as the prayer is said.

Paul said...

My sister is an ASL interpreter in her ward, and they have specific instructions (which have changed over the years) about how to "translate" the sacrament prayers for the hearing impaired. I assume there are similar guidelines for a hearing-impaired person for giving the prayer, though I think your suggestions (and Rich's) are reasonable ones.