Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » They Had Sunday School Questions, 1919 (part 2)

They Had Sunday School Questions, 1919 (part 2)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 05, 2013

More questions regarding Sunday School procedure — links to other parts at the bottom of this post.

Question: Briefly explain the proper method of administering the Sacrament.

Answer: The Bishopric who have charge of the administration of the Sacrament in the Sunday school should provide all of the necessary details which consist of a proper stand upon which the vessels are placed, proper white table-cloths both underneath and over the Sacrament vessels, clean white bread without crusts, clean fresh water, and a sufficient number of vessels for the bread and enough cups for all of those who are assembled, also elders or priests, preferably priests in the Sunday School, and teachers and deacons to pass the Sacrament.

During the second song the priests, having clean hands, break the bread and, as soon as the Sacrament gem has been recited one of the priests kneels and asks the blessing upon the bread in a clear voice, and if possible without reference to book or card, repeating the words exactly as given in the Doctrine and Covenants. The teachers and deacons then, having clean hands, pass the bread to the assembled members of the Sunday School and after having done so return the vessels to the table. The blessing upon the water is asked under similar conditions and circumstances, and the teachers and deacons pass the water to the assembled members.

Care should be taken that a sufficient number of empty trays is provided to follow and gather up the cups, so that none of the little children will get into the habit of playing with them, and thus the sanctity and reverence that should be used in this holy ordinance will be brought about. After all of the vessels have been gathered together and brought back to the table, the table-cloth should be replaced over the bread, and the Sacrament is complete.

Question: What is the purpose of the concert recitation? Illustrate the correct method of presentation.

Answer: The General Board is very desirous that the concert recitation shall be observed as one of the regular exercises in our Sunday Schools. The object of it is to teach the children the many beautiful and impressive passages of scripture that are contained in the standard works of the church, and are recommended from month to month for their enlightenment and instruction and to inspire within them a love of the scriptures. It is simply one way of teaching the truth, and we trust our fellow workers will feel that the few minutes’ time that make it necessary to be used in teaching this valued exercise each Sunday morning in the classes, is time well spent, indeed; and we firmly believe that by the frequent repetition of these memory exercises, they will gradually become impressed upon the minds of the children, and will have the effect of increasing their love for the scriptures, and for the Gospel, of developing their spirituality, and of strengthening and increasing their faith.

As an example, the congregation is kindly invited to repeat with me The Lord’s Prayer. You will please notice, as printed on your programs, that we first repeat the text, which in this instance is Matthew, 6th chapter, 9th to 13th verses. You will also observe the little supplementary paragraph or sentence, “After this manner therefore pray ye.” then follows the prayer. I need scarcely add that, being a prayer, it should be repeated reverently. (The congregation then recited in concert “The Lord’s Prayer.”)

Question: The concert recitation should be followed by singing practice. Explain the proper method of conducting such an exercise.

Answer: The singing practice to be effective must be spirited, authoritative and soulful. The responsibility of the Chorister must be commensurate with the importance of the musical exercise. Two essential requirements are necessary: preparation and presentation; and the Chorister who neglects to emphasize both will surely fail.

Preparation should consist of the following: thorough familiarity with notes of all parts, a proper concept of the tempo, marks of expression, spirit and content of the text, and the possession of sufficient emotional power to make the work one of pleasure and authority. Presentation demands firmness with kindness, determination to adhere to a fixed ideal, and a personal bearing which commands at once the respect and love of the school. A new song should be taught in sections rather than as a whole. While this is being done is the opportune time for memorizing both words and music.

Sectional practice should be followed by assembling all the parts into a united whole, with special emphasis on phrasing – as it pertains to breathing places – expression in its relation to all gradations of tone power, the speaking of words distinctly, the absolute insistence of quality rather than quantity of tone, and the last great essential of all, the arousing of the spiritual nature through a perfect understanding of the content of the words. This last appeal through the emotions is the essence of truth enforcement and dependent upon the power of the chorister to honestly feel the truth himself. Choristers, never appear before your school unprepared. conceive in advance your ideals of presentation; don’t scold, but direct with firmness and kindness.

Question: When should the school separate for class work?

Answer: The class rooms are the workshops of the Sunday School, where teachers and pupils study the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation. Therefore, it is important that the class period should not be shortened. Consequently the opening exercises should not run over into the class period. The schools should separate for department work at 11:10. Every school should endeavor to have good orderly marching, and to accomplish this it may be necessary to have a march practice. At the first chord of the organ or piano the school prepares to stand; at the second chord the school stands, and the march is played. And let me say here that choristers should choose a good march, in good time, one that is easy to keep in step with. Teachers should lead the pupils or march in the front lines, so that they will reach the class rooms in time to receive the boys and girls and to seat them. The class rooms have been previously arranged, seats are in place, pictures and maps are ready for use, rooms well ventilated, and everything is in readiness. When the pupils are in the class, the teachers are prepared and ready to commence the lesson without losing any time or the attention or control of the pupils.

Question: What is the most effective method of conducting class exercises in the Kindergarten and Primary departments?

Answer: Someone has said that a man must be a prayer before he can be a preacher. Kindergarten and Primary workers must be prayers before they can be teachers.

The condition of the rooms in which the classes are held has much to do with the exercises. The Spirit of God will not dwell in an unclean individual; neither will he abide in a dirty classroom. Classrooms should be clean, properly heated and ventilated; the floors should be carpeted, the windows hung with curtains, good, appropriate pictures should adorn the walls, and cut flowers and potted plants placed in the rooms in order to make them as attractive as possible.

And as with the classrooms so with the teachers. It is not necessary for me to say that Sunday School Kindergarten and Primary teachers should be clean and neat in their appearance – they always are, for they know full well that this is not without its effect on the children.

Our teachers aim to impress early on the minds of their pupils the fact that the Sabbath day is not an ordinary day; that it is the Lord’s day, a day set apart by Him for rest and worship; and that the place in which they meet is a sacred place; that when they enter it they tread on holy ground. In order to bring this spirit of reverence into the classroom, and while the children are moving quietly to their places, soft, solemn music is played on the organ. Then, with united voice, teachers and pupils join in a song of praise to Him “from whom all blessings flow,” after which heads are bowed and eyes are closed while little lips breathe forth a prayer to God, thanking Him for past mercies, and petitioning Him for the guidance and protection of His Divine Spirit.

The Sacrament gem and concert recitation are now introduced and taught to the children, the importance of the sacred ordinance and the blessings derived from it being explained, so that the great atoning sacrifice may be kept green in the minds of the little ones.

Rest exercises of a quiet and also of an educational nature are now given, so that the children may have a little relaxation.

The scripture lesson is approached with an incident form child life, the little ones being led from the known to the unknown, from things of earth to things of heaven, for, to the little child the earth was made before the heavens.

The scripture lesson is now taught and the application pointed out by the teacher, so that the children may understand that not the hearer of the word only, but the doer of it is justified before God.

A closing song followed by the benediction, and a kind parting word spoken to the children, brings to a close a Sunday morning in our Kindergarten and Primary departments.

part 1
part 3



  1. Oh, my! “clean white bread without crusts.” So glad that one has died a well-deserved death.

    Comment by Mark B. — December 5, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  2. :)

    I read a question yesterday from the 1890s, from someone scandalized that the priest carried the water pitcher is his left hand.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 5, 2013 @ 8:48 am

  3. I remember cutting the crusts off the sacrament bread when I was a Teacher. Those crusts were particularly appreciated on Fast Sunday. I wondered then (1969) why we did it since I’d never seen it done in any other place I’d lived. Now I know it was a relic of an earlier time.

    Comment by STW — December 5, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  4. Homemade bread had tough crusts. One lady told me that they’re supposed to break the bread, not tear it.

    Now they have to get gluten free bread and keep it separate.

    Comment by Carol — December 5, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  5. This is wonderful stuff. I’ve read in the 19h century where children frequently recited the Lord’s prayer. This may be the latest documentation for that that I have seen. Thanks!

    Comment by J. Stapley — December 5, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

  6. There still seems to be some who adhere to the “clean white bread without crusts” idea. I have seen the Teachers in another ward that meets in our building tearing the crusts off the bread as they prepare to take the trays to the sacrament table. I have never been in a ward that has done this and was somewhat curious as to why they were doing it; I guess I know now that someone in that ward still follows this practice. The other portion of the question and answers I found interesting was the statement that singing practice should be “spirited, authoritative and soulful.” I find it disappointing when members don’t participate in the singing of the hymns. The scriptures tell us we should make a “joyful noise” unto the Lord. I don’t think He cares if we don’t sound like the Tabernacle Choir; He would rather we extend these musical “prayers” unto Him.

    Comment by Chris M. — December 7, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  7. Amen Chris M.!

    I was just released as a chorister after 12 years. Christmastime was the main time when I could hear most singing. Many visitors to wards I have been in here in the South marvel that we sing “too quietly” compared to their churches they are used to.

    My father was big on the right hand being used to partake despite having 2 left-handed daughters.
    I guess administering with the right-hand was also emphasized in the past?

    Comment by Allison in Atlanta — December 10, 2013 @ 9:12 am

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