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My wife worries about getting germs from the bread during sacrament and would like to know why we can’t use small crackers instead? There have been people who have had MRSA in our area and the hand sanitizer does not kill MRSA.

George

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George,

For some time now, priests have been instructed to keep their hands physically clean prior to administering the sacrament. Along with that, alcohol wipes are usually used by the priests immediately before preparing the bread for administration. On that front, I see the risk pretty well addressed.

As for the congregation at large, I think historically we can observe that the current method is safe. In other words, until there is a large outbreak of mass infection within specific congregations, I don’t see the express need for changing from bread to crackers.

Mormon Sacrament traysHaving said all this, using crackers instead of bread would be just fine should the need arise. Through Joseph Smith we have clear direction from Christ on this matter.

Doctrine & Covenants 72:1-2

1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.

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.

In my brief study of MRSA, it seems that the risk of getting it at church during sacrament meeting is fairly low. Infection seems to be more common among people who are regularly around each other from day to day, rather than one day a week. Examples of the more likely places would include college dorms, military barracks, hospitals, etc. It is far more likely (or in other words, far easier) to catch a cold at church. I’m not saying your concern is not without merit, but it seems the risk may not be as great as you think.

I would advise discussing this with your bishop as well. There are situations where the Bishop can ask for a specific tray to be set aside for people with allergies or other issues with bread or germs. He is also, of course, able to say what will be used in the place of bread during the sacrament, but ultimately it is his decision and not mine. Pray for guidance from Heavenly Father as well and you will find a solution to bring you peace.

Gramps

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