I could never have predicted that Aaronic Priesthood wardrobe would so preoccupy the Church throughout the 20th century (here and here for past posts). Yet here we are again, with a bulletin from the Presiding Bishop’s Office in 1954, with permutations of the issue that we haven’t seen before.
Proper Dress Emphasized When Passing Sacrament
We come again to the matter of proper dress on the part of those participating in the administration and passing of the sacrament.
When a young man receives the authority to participate at the sacrament table, he is old enough to recognize the essentials in proper dress for such a sacred service. For the most part, our priests are faultless in their dress when administering the sacrament. However, in a few instances, there is evidence that more attention to this detail is needed.
Our observation is that deacons and teachers are most likely to be careless in this respect. And yet, to place on these young men the full responsibility for improper dress is not the thing to do. Our deacons and teachers will obey the instructions of leaders if instructions are given. It is feared that, for the most part, little if anything is ever said by way of teaching them to dress properly when passing the sacrament.
Loud colors in shirts, sweaters, or sport coats are held to be out of order when passing the sacrament. White shirts are always proper. Coats may or may not be worn as the individual desires. Ties are in excellent taste when they are moderate in color and free from patterns out of harmony with this sacred service. While ties should be worn, there should be no required uniformity in either style or color.
In the final analysis, a young man participating in the administration of the sacrament should be dressed neatly and clean: His shoes should be polished, his hair combed, a neat tie should be worn on a white shirt. When a coat is worn, it should be without pattern of any kind and in subdued colors.
Our handbook permits “very light pastel-colored shirts.” However, this latitude seems to have been interpreted as license to wear almost any color or combination at hand. If we hold to the recommendation that only white shirts be worn, there can be no misunderstanding.
Stake and ward leaders are urged to make this matter a consistent project until proper dress, while participating in the administration of the sacrament, becomes a habit.
When our Aaronic Priesthood bearers know, in advance, how they are expected to dress when participating in this sacred service, they will come prepared, especially when participation is limited to those who are dressed becomingly.