Do I Have to Have an LDS Bishop’s Permission to Bless the Sacrament in My Home?

No, you do not need the Bishop’s permission to bless the Sacrament outside of church.

If you are going to represent the Ward in blessing and passing the Sacrament to a Ward member or members, the LDS Church requires that you get permission from the Bishop.

If you are visiting family or a friend, you don’t need permission from the Bishop at all, if you are a worthy holder of the Priesthood according to the scriptures (D&C 50:34). The Bishop has no jurisdiction beyond what people give him by common consent (D&C 26:2). Anything that LDS leaders claim otherwise is an example of unrighteous dominion, because it represents a prideful claim to a domain they have not been given authority over (D&C 121:39). Those who request the ordinance without any reference to the Bishop have not given him consent to preside over their individual request, and the Lord has not stifled all Priesthood use within the confines of church jurisdiction, either. You can use the Priesthood outside of church according to God’s will, but within the Church everything is governed by the consent of those within that group.

It is false to assume that the Bishop has control over everything within the Ward boundaries. He only has consent from those who are members who apply to the Bishop for member benefits, including member-based Sacrament services. Members can and do request Priesthood benefits outside of their role as members, which also includes the Sacrament and baptism, etc.

Don’t give up your liberties as a Priesthood holder. Give unto the Bishop the things that are the Bishop’s, but also give unto God the things that are God’s (see Mark 12:17).

If someone asks you to perform an ordinance, and doesn’t refer to their Bishop for permission, pray and get permission from the Lord and proceed (2 Nephi 32:9).

If they ask you to perform an ordinance as a representative of the Ward, explain to them the difference and only proceed if they understand you are using your Priesthood independently as a representative of God. God can and does recognize righteous Priesthood use outside of church jurisdiction. If he didn’t, then Joseph and Oliver’s baptisms would be invalid and John the Beloved would also be condemned (JS-History 1:68-75, D&C 7).

If you perform the Sacrament outside of church jurisdiction, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to do it more accurately with wine (or grape juice if you have a medical reason not to drink alcohol), because the Lord said in scripture, “For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins” (D&C 27:2). Therefore, the LDS Church cannot restrict you from using wine to better remember the blood of Christ and the transforming effect that the Atonement has on our lives. Additionally, wine is prescribed for sacraments in the Word of Wisdom and you can still answer that question truthfully when asked in temple recommend interviews (D&C 89:5).

The time has come that Family Home Evenings and other family activities should be more authoritative and full of Priesthood power than LDS Ward meetings (see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/the-power-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng). This should include Sacrament and baptisms as well.

9 comments

  1. Ordinances such as the sacrament “require authorization from a priesthood leader who holds the appropriate keys or who functions under the direction of a person who holds those keys.”

    “So, for instance, although the Church has many worthy priesthood holders, they need authorization from someone holding keys before performing most ordinances. For example, if Aaronic Priesthood holders hear about a homebound ward member who would like to receive the sacrament at home, they cannot simply go and administer the sacrament to that member because they believe it’s the right thing to do. They must be authorized by the bishop, who holds the keys over the Aaronic Priesthood. And a father who holds the priesthood cannot simply baptize his 8-year-old daughter or ordain his 12-year-old son to the Aaronic Priesthood without first being authorized by the bishop to do so.”

    See these great resources:

    https://www.lds.org/new-era/2012/05/priesthood-keys?lang=eng
    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/two-lines-of-communication?lang=eng
    https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings?lang=eng

    1. Hi Tyler,

      Thanks for delineating the LDS Church’s handbook stance. In my post I am using the scriptures to define two divisions of Priesthood jurisdiction…one is governed within the church by common consent, with one Priesthood holder at the head who is the President of the Church, (as your comment touches upon); The other division I am defining is presided over by God and is outside of church jurisdiction (for case examples of separate jurisdictions of Priesthood, see D&C 84:6 and 3 Nephi 16). I am not talking about performing “LDS” ordinances in your home, but separate Priesthood ordinances outside of a church context. But you are correct, the LDS Church chooses not to recognize any Priesthood authority but its own, so holders of the Priesthood act on their own volition outside of church. If they were a member of the LDS Church as well, they would need to do two baptisms in the case example you gave, one as a father, and one as a church officer, if they so chose.

      The scriptures also delineate how the LDS Church can, in an orderly fashion, accept righteous use of the Priesthood from non-members, provided those non-members have entered the gate through Christ (which is not necessarily defined as an authorized LDS baptism…it could also mean the gate where Christ employs no servant), and are ordained by the voice of God (see my post here: http://www.cachevalleybaptisms.org/2015/12/is-the-lds-church-the-only-resource-for-authoritative-ordinances.html ). The LDS Church leaders should have the keys of knowledge to detect who are true messengers and who are not, but the keys of knowledge are also available to any member in the case where the leaders don’t use (or don’t know how to use) those keys to discern correctly.

      The scriptures define keys as knowledge (D&C 84:19). Knowledge is power. Therefore, officers of the church must have common consent to use that knowledge on behalf of those they serve, so as not to abuse power. Since they serve a group of people, the group has rules for acceptable conduct outlined and agreed to beforehand, and hopefully based upon the wisdom of God’s revelations regarding the group. But, the knowledge and the keys are available to everyone. You can use those keys (if you have them) to personally know if those appointed to use the keys for the group really know what they are doing or not. Also, you can use those keys to serve others outside of church without imposing on the group, but instead getting consent from individuals. There is no sin in this unless you neglect to get God’s permission.

      The church has no jurisdiction on how you use those keys outside of church. If they attempt to curtail your use of the keys outside of church, it is called “unrighteous dominion” (D&C 121.39). See also my post here: http://www.cachevalleybaptisms.org/2015/12/am-i-allowed-to-do-the-things-latter-day-saints-do-outside-of-church.html

    2. Brian, wine should not be used ‘to do it more accurately’. You reference D&C like no other in this post, so you either don’t know it well enough, or are the type of person that picks and chooses. D&C section 27 clearly outlines that we are NOT to use wine or strong drink for the sacrament. Your interpretations don’t trump what has been established by God through modern revelation. Sorry buddy.

      1. Thanks for your comment, Ken.

        For readers, this is the passage I believe Ken is referring to:

        D&C 27:2-3

        “2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.

        3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;

        4 Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.”

        What do you, the reader, think about Ken’s argument and the passage above? What does “an eye single to my glory” mean? Is there a connection to the glory of God and taking a substance that symbolizes blood as accurately as possible? Or, is water sufficient? What does the Lord mean by not purchasing strong drink of your enemies? Is wine in Sacrament OK if you make it new among you? Is it OK if you buy it from a store? Is this revelation specific to the time period Joseph Smith received it, or generalizable for any time period?

        Please keep conversations respectful and civil.

  2. It should be noted that all things should be done by common consent, and when dealing with different jurisdictions, you need to obtain the consent of the people in that sphere in which you are ministering, as a Priesthood holder. The LDS Church has set rules for consenting to Priesthood use within their meetings, but outside use of the Priesthood is not as clear. Within one’s own family, one need only the consent of their family, and no bishop’s approval is required. If you minister to friends or strangers within your community, outside of church jurisdiction, the principle of common consent should be followed there as well. In that case, a person could be vouched for by respectable members of the community from which they come, and a certificate with the signatures of those vouching for the Priesthood holder can recommend them in good faith to anyone desiring their services, just as in the early days of the Church. As men sustain men to Priesthood within Church settings, it is only fitting that women in the community, while not being able to serve in the Priesthood themselves, but being able to vouch for the conduct of the men they know, should vouch for a Priesthood holder within community jurisdiction. As Moses was ordained outside of Israel by a priest of Midian, (his father-in-law Jethro, who had 7 daughters), a scriptural type for jurisdictional use of the Priesthood outside of Church would be to have 7 women sustain the Priesthood holder and vouch for his worthiness. If the Priesthood holder is married, one of those should be his wife. See the chapter entitled “Preserving the Restoration” in “Snuffer, Denver C., Jr., Preserving the Restoration, Mill Creek Press: SLC, 2015”.

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