Sunday, June 1, 2014
Christ instituted the sacrament during the Passover meal. (See Matt. 26: 26-28; Mark 14: 22-24; Luke 22: 19-20; John gives no description in his account.) It was His “last supper” with His closest followers. All the accounts agree on the purpose: to remember the body and blood He would sacrifice on our behalf.
When the Lord appeared to the Nephites, He proclaimed He had fulfilled the law. (3 Ne. 15: 5-8.) All the rites and sacrifices added through Moses pointed to His great sacrifice of His body and blood.
Christ blessed the sacrament many times in His appearances to the Nephites. (3 Ne. 18: 3; 3 Ne. 20: 3-8; and 3 Ne. 26: 13.) Just like the descriptions given in the New Testament, no prayer is recorded in the Book of Mormon accounts. But in both the New Testament and Book of Mormon, the purpose is the same: to remember His body and His blood, which were shed as a sacrifice for His followers.
The sacrament prayer is not recorded in any of our scriptures until Moroni chapters 4: 3, for the bread, and 5: 2, for the wine.
Mormon and Moroni lived four hundred years after Christ appeared to the Nephites. However, they learned from first-hand participants in Christ’s sacrament. Three of the Disciples taught by Christ lived to minister to Mormon and Moroni. (Mormon 8: 10-11.) Therefore, Moroni's account is taken from the very witnesses to whom Christ gave instructions regarding the sacrament prayers. There is only one blessing to be given for the bread, and one to be given for the wine. The prayers, like all the scriptural accounts, focus on Christ and His great sacrifice on our behalf.
The purpose of the sacrament is to remember Christ. It is to remind us of His body which was broken to fulfill the required sacrifice. It is to remind us of His blood which was shed for our redemption.
It is not an ordinance intended to:
-Assure us we are “chosen”
-Make us feel we are better and more holy than others. These are corrupt ideas, coming from a false spirit intending to supplant Christ as the object of devotion and worship. They are, in a word, anti-Christ.
Any man claiming to have authority to change the sacrament through a higher revelation given to him is deceived, or a liar. There is no such thing. Nor did the Lord offer three different “levels” of sacrament when He appeared to the Nephites. Remember there were different people there the second day than the first. If He changed the ordinance the second day, then those newcomers would have heard a different version than the day before. Christ would have introduced confusion and division as people debated among themselves which was approved. Basing the claim to have a new, higher “level” of sacrament because of the silence in the Book of Mormon regarding the words of the sacrament prayer, is foolishness and error. All confusion should be removed when Moroni recorded the prayers.
In our day the sacrament prayers were given to us in a new revelation. Those words are identical to those recorded by Moroni. (See D&C 20:77, 79.) Only a fool will trifle with the souls of men.