May 2nd, 1946.
To Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards.
Inquiries received at the office of the First Presidency disclose the fact that there is a divergence of opinion and varied practices among ward officers with respect to the kind of music, if any, that should be rendered during the administration of the sacrament.
Recently, this question came before the First Presidency and the Twelve, who unanimously approved the recommendation that the ideal condition is to have absolute quiet during the passing of the sacrament, and that we look with disfavour upon vocal solos, duets, group singing, or instrumental music during the administration of this sacred ordinance.
There is no objection to having appropriate music during the preparation of the emblems, but after the prayer is offered, perfect silence should prevail until the bread and the water have been partaken of by the full congregation.
It was further suggested, and unitedly agreed upon, that the sacrament should be first given to the presiding authority in the meeting. This may be the bishop, perhaps one of the stake presidency, or one of the visiting General Authorities. It is the duty of the priest officiating to determine who is the presiding authority present; thus, whenever the sacrament is administered, members of the Aaronic Priesthood officiating will have a lesson in Church government.
When the sacrament is given first to the presiding authority, those officiating may pass the sacrament consecutively to members of the Church who are sitting on the rostrum and in the audience.
It was also the conclusion of the Council to recommend to the Superintendency and General Board of the Deseret Sunday School Union that local Sunday Schools be advised that the significance of partaking of the sacrament will be enhanced if no music be given at that period. Undoubtedly, there will be those who will claim that soft, appropriate music contributes to better order; but careful consideration of the institution and purpose of the sacrament will lead to the conclusion that anything which detracts [distracts?] the partaker’s thought from the covenants he or she is making is not in accordance with the ideal condition that should exist whenever this sacred, commemorative ordinance is administered to the members of the Church.
Reverence for God and for sacred things is fundamental in pure religion. Let every boy and girl, every man and woman in the church, manifest this principle by maintaining perfect order by self-communion whenever and wherever the sacrament is administered.
GEO. ALBERT SMITH,
J. REUBEN CLARK, Junr.,
DAVID O. McKAY.
The First Presidency.
["Statement on Sacramental Music," Millennial Star, July 1946, 211.]