We Broke Bread

Recently, Aaron R. at By Common Consent wrote a series of posts on the sacrament. Several of his points have stayed with me, and while reading some diaries recently I came across a number of references to the sacrament among the early Mormons that reminded me again of Aaron thoughts. Here is one of those references, dating from the mid 1830s:

My husband purchased a lot west of the temple and began to make preparations for building. I followed braiding palmleaf hats for eight months after we came to Kirtland. Braided near a hundred the first season, which brought me 70 dollars.

We had an invitation, and attended a family blessing meeting or feast that was held at the house of John P Greene. It was appointed for Father Young to bless his family, and as sister Greene was his eldest child (as I think she was) it was held at her house. The house was crowded full. We had nice wheat bread and sweet wine all we wanted to drink, it was also called a feast, and so it was a feast of fat things. The brethren and sisters blest one another, but father Young I believe concluded to defer blessing his family until he could have them by themselves. He seemed rather diffident in regard to speaking, or his mind so much affected by the subject, that he could not express his feelings. Brigham therefore arose and spoke in his behalf. The old gentleman wept freely, as well as many of his family, so that we had weeping, and rejoicing nearly at the same time.

It was a general time of rejoicing for several months among the Saints. They frequently met from house, to house, to break bread, and drink wine and administer to the poor and afflicted. We also would attend a blessing at Dr Frederick G Williams. His eldest daughter had been lately married, and was about to leave for Missouri: he therefore blest her family previous to their leaving. He laid his hands upon each of their heads, and the scribe wrote them (the blessings). The prophet Joseph was present and had a vision of their journey, saw their wagon turn over, but no one was injured. It came to pass even as he said. (Caroline Barnes Crosby, journal, Utah State Historical Society.)

The impressive reports of spiritual rejoicing, going from house to house, experiencing sacramental bread and wine—not as bits and drops but as the filling satisfaction in memorial of full spiritual redemption—together with the blessing of one another and administering to the poor in the homes of fellow Saints, makes one think deeply on how modern life seems to isolate and separate us from other believers. Enjoy the coming conference sessions with a friend, family, other ward members, or other fellow passengers to the grave.

3 Responses to We Broke Bread

  1. J. Stapley says:

    Crobsy’s journal is really useful. I haven’t compared it to the holograph, but I have really enjoyed the USU Press edition. What’s more, they have made it available online for free.

  2. WVS says:

    Thanks for the link, J.

  3. Aaron R. says:

    WVS, thank you for sharing this account. While I still wonder about the practicalities, such practices signify the abundance of God’s blessings in such way that I suspect they would cultivate hearts ready to believe in his mercy.

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