Print Friendly, PDF & Email




When I was a full time missionary in the MTC in Provo (January-March ’82), we were taught to keep our left arms and hands at our side.  That is, we were specifically told not to bend our left arm behind our backs, as do some worldly armies.  We were told that we were a “Royal Army” and should not mimic any army of the world.  Has this recommendation changed in our days?  Is it now recommended to hold our left arms behind our backs when passing the Sacrament?





Dear Bruce,

The recommendation remains the same, but says nothing of army postures. From the Church Handbook of Instruction volume 2, 20.4.1 Sacrament, General Guidelines:

The passing of the sacrament should be natural and unobtrusive, not rigid or overly formal. Those who pass the sacrament should not be required to assume any special posture or action, such as holding the left hand behind the back. The process of passing the sacrament should not call attention to itself or detract from the purpose of the ordinance.

The principle at play is that “deacons or other priesthood holders pass the bread to the congregation in a reverent and orderly manner” but not so “orderly” as to be “rigid or overly formal”. Nothing should be “distracting from the sacred nature of the ordinance.” Ultimately, it is the bishop’s duty to determine whether deacons need correction individually or as a quorum (or whether it’s a non-issue), as he “ensures that priesthood holders have a reverent, dignified manner as they participate in this ordinance.”






Copyright © 2022 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or

Pin It on Pinterest