Ethics for Young Girls
Young Woman’s Journal, 1900-1901
Lesson 10: Reverence for Sacred Things
This subject comprises so much that it will be impossible to elaborate on all its phases. Young folk are irreverent mostly from thoughtlessness, not from desire.
Many young people go to meetings, even religious gatherings, and talk and whisper to the extreme annoyance of those who are desirous of listening. It is acknowledged as a principle of modern ethics that we may do anything we wish as long as we obey conscience and do not infringe upon the rights of others. When we talk out of order in meetings we are infringing upon the rights of those who wish to listen to another.
There is another view to take of talking in meetings. Every person in the audience or congregation exerts an influence upon the speaker. This influence may be strong or weak, according to the strength of character of the listener. A strong-minded person not in harmony with the subject spoken of can so influence the speaker the he becomes confused and is not clear in his arguments, while a strong-minded, intellectual person in sympathy with the speaker can help him to think clearly. People in all the world recognize this principle. how much greater must it be in our Church when added to this is the strong spiritual influence!
When a speaker asks for an interest in your faith and prayers, he means this: “Give me your sympathy that you may help me with your minds. All unite in prayer that the Lord will put into my mind the things you need.”
Just one whisper will cause a rupture in this unified sympathy which ascends to the Master and to the speaker. How careful we should be that not an act of ours may prevent the Spirit of God descending in full measure upon the congregation!
We should have such reverence for our places of worship that loud talking and laughing in these places, even when meetings are not in session, would be avoided by us.
Not only is the inside of the meeting house sacred, but the yard and surroundings are just as surely dedicated to the Lord as the house itself. Strolling about the yard, talking and laughing about the door, speaking loudly while passing sacred places, whether they be those belonging to our Church or to other denominations, should be avoided by us.
We are not so reverent of our Sacrament vessels as we should be. In some meetings children, men, and women, will drink out of the vessels to quench their thirst, after the Sacrament has been passed, and they will even drink the consecrated water. One of our prominent brethren was speaking in a meeting when his throat became dry. A sacrament vessel containing the consecrated water was passed to him. He said, “I cannot be irreverent to such sacred things,” and refused the water. The members of that ward learned a lesson in reverence for sacred things that they will not soon forget.
You all know the judgment of God upon Belshazzar for drinking and making merry with the sacrament vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem.
You may refer to that story. (Dan. 5.)
Even in partaking of the Sacrament we can be irreverent. We are told we should not take it unworthily. If we have hard feelings to any if we have done wrong, we should not partake of it until that wrong is made right. In the blessing we make a sacred promise to God that we will keep His commandments. If we do not try to do this, we have not the proper reverence for sacred promises.
People should go to Sacrament meetings with their mouths clean and teeth brushed. Is it reverent to drink out of a sacred vessel with an unclean mouth?
Many Sacrament vessels are not cleaned properly before the bread and water are placed in them. They should be as clean and pure as their use is.
Some women think that if they partake of the Sacrament with mittens or even silk gloves, that they are reverencing the ordinance. We are commanded to partake of the Sacrament with bared hand and with the right hand, and if we do not do this according to the commandments of God, it shows that we have not much reverence for this ordinance.
We should have reverence for the Priesthood, and our brethren holding it, no matter in what office. One mother beautifully trained her children to respect those holding the Priesthood. She would say to the children: “Here is our Bishop, shake hands with him.” If he had been the President of the United States she could not have spoken more respectfully to him or of him. “Bring a chair. He is our Bishop.” Will it be surprising if children honor and reverence the Priesthood when they are grown?
Authority should always be held in reverence. If you are a schoolteacher, your principal should be obeyed, or if you cannot conscientiously obey him, pass out from under his authority. Authority of any kind must be held in reverence, whether it be the authority of the President of the Church, the Bishop, the young ladies’ president, or the Sunday School teacher.
Our holy books are not treated with as much reverence as they should be. Books will wear out in time, even by the most careful handling, but there is a different appearance in books worn out through use and those worn out through carelessness. So many of our music books, Testaments, Books of Mormon, Bibles, show they have been handled by careless and irreverent people, irreverent perhaps because they are thoughtless.
Reverence for sacred things would teach us to be careful in the use of the consecrated oil. It should not be used for anything but to administer to the sick, and for holy purposes for which it has been consecrated; we ought not to desecrate it by using it as hair oil or for furniture polish or any similar purpose. The consecrated oil should be kept carefully corked, as even viler contamination might get into it than flies or insects. Children should be taught to reverence the oil because of the consecration pronounced upon it by the Priesthood.
1. Give the blessing on the bread.
2. Give the blessing on the water.
3. What sacred pledges do we make in these prayers?
4. Who was Nebuchadnezzar?
5. Who was Belshazzar?
6. Relate the story of his sacrilegious use of the Sacrament and his punishment.
7. Why should you avoid talking in public gatherings?
8. Why are we commanded not to talk of sacred ordinances in the Temple?
9. For what purposes should consecrated oil be used?
10. What would be a wrong use of consecrated oil?