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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Where did the idea come from that in the Mormon Church you should take the sacrament with your right hand?

Mike

 

Answer

 

Dear Mike,

The practice in the Mormon Church of taking the sacrament with the right hand is just a convention relating to the fact that most people are right handed. It is also used as a token of respect, since the left hand is associated with the more mundane functions and is not so honored as is the right hand.

In legal matters one swears to honor commitments by raising the right hand; in church matters approval of propositions is evidenced by raising the right hand. In multitudinous matters the right hand is honored as the preferred hand. In fact the only remaining minority in our society of honoring minorities that has no recognition is the minority of left handed people. In addition to no recognition, they are given no sympathy, no understanding and no accommodation. EVERYTHING is produced for the convenience of right handed people, and essentially no accommodations are made for lefties. It is true than in certain novelty shops one may find a pair of left handed scissors, but they are rare. It is also possible in the sports field, but not easy, to find a baseball glove for the right hand, allowing one to throw with the left hand–but that’s about the extent of the list.

Most people are completely unaware of the severe inconvenience and outright prejudice suffered by left handed people. Let’s start with the wrist watch. Right handed people wear their wrist watches on the left wrist, since the left arm is less active and the watch is thus more protected. By the same token left handed people wear their watches on the right wrist. It is impossible for a person to wind or set a watch on the right wrist because the stem is on the far side and cannot be manipulated with the left hand. So one must remove the watch to set it. But in order to do so with the left hand the watch must be held upside down.

All zippers are made to be manipulated with the right hand–zipping up a zipper is an impossible task with the left hand. All buttons and button holes are made so that the garment may be buttoned with the right hand. The one exception is women’s blouses. However, having the buttons on the left side of the blouses is a convention that was started for the convenience of right handed women. When buttons were first invented they were very expensive and only the rich people could afford them. The buttons were placed on the left side of blouses so that the maids could do them up with their right hands.

All pencils and pens that contain inscriptions are made only for right handed people. Just hold a pencil in the left hand and try to read what is written along the stem. IT IS UPSIDE DOWN. It would be a very simple thing to print the same inscription on the opposite side of the pencil so that it could be read by left handers. However, this is NEVER done.

All books, magazines and newspapers are printed for the convenience of right handed people, so that the pages may be turned with the right hand. When left handed people flip through a magazine, for instance, they usually do so from back to front.

In the industrial world all moveable machinery is made for right handed people. It is an old joke to send some novice to get a left-handed monkey wrench. All screws, nuts and bolts are made to be manipulated with the right hand.

The very terms, right and left, are made to give honor to the right and to degrade the left.

The word, left, comes from the Greek, ëåéðù (leipo),meaning weak or deficient The word, right, can be traced back to the Saxon, meaning to stretch, or to stretch to straightness. From that term it evolved into honorable, correct, just, equitable. In Spanish the terms for the right and left hand are diestra and siniesta. Diestra comes from the Latin dexter, the origin of the English term, dexterity, meaning skill or adroitness. Whereas the siniestra, which is from the Latin sinister, means perverse or mal intentioned. It is little wonder that left handed people rank in the highest level of intelligence, having to survive all the malicious prejudice which has been aligned against them.

Russell M. Nelson (when he was a Regional Representative) had this to say:

“The hand used in partaking of the sacrament would logically be the same hand used in making any other sacred oath. For most of us, that would be the right hand. However, sacramental covenants—and other eternal covenants as well—can be and are made by those who have lost the use of the right hand, or who have no hands at all. Much more important than concern over which hand is used in partaking of the sacrament is that the sacrament be partaken with a deep realization of the atoning sacrifice that the sacrament represents.”

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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