Handbooks and Callings
29. Meetings in the Church

“29. Meetings in the Church,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).

“29. Meetings in the Church,” General Handbook.

29.

Meetings in the Church

Latter-day Saints meet together to worship, edify each other, and teach and learn the gospel (see Alma 6:6; Moroni 6:5–6). The Savior promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Meeting together is one way our hearts can be “knit together in unity and in love” (Mosiah 18:21).

Leadership meetings help leaders counsel together and coordinate efforts to serve others. However, holding a meeting should never replace serving and ministering as Jesus Christ did. The work of salvation and exaltation can be planned in a meeting, but it is most often accomplished outside of the meeting.

29.1

Planning and Conducting Meetings

Leaders plan and conduct meetings “as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:45; see also Moroni 6:9; Doctrine and Covenants 46:2). They seek ways to invite the influence of the Spirit in their meetings.

Leaders ensure that the number and length of meetings do not create burdens for members or their families. For example, meetings should not make it difficult for families to have time together on the Sabbath day.

Leaders also ensure that meetings focus on what is most important. For example, sacrament meetings should focus on the sacrament and building faith in Jesus Christ. Presidency meetings and council meetings focus on strengthening individuals and families.

The presiding officer may conduct the meeting. Or he or she may ask someone else, such as a counselor, to conduct under his or her direction.

Occasionally something happens during a meeting that the presiding officer feels a need to clarify. For example, someone might teach incorrect doctrine. If that happens, the presiding officer should make a clarification without embarrassing anyone.

29.2

Ward Meetings

29.2.1

Sacrament Meeting

29.2.1.1

Planning Sacrament Meeting

The bishopric plans and conducts sacrament meeting. They ensure that the focus of the meeting is on the sacrament and building faith in Jesus Christ.

Sacrament meeting lasts one hour. It can include the following:

  1. Prelude music (see 19.4.3.1 for guidelines). Reverent music before the meeting starts can invite a spirit of worship.

  2. Greeting and welcome.

  3. Acknowledgment of presiding authorities or other leaders who are visiting. Presiding authorities and visiting high councilors should be invited to sit on the stand. General Officers are also invited to sit on the stand unless they are attending their home ward.

  4. Announcements. These should be kept to a minimum. Most can be printed, shared electronically, or shared in other meetings.

  5. Opening hymn and prayer. See 19.4 and 29.6.

  6. Ward and stake business, such as the following:

    • Sustaining and releasing officers and teachers (see 30.3 and 30.5).

    • Presenting names of brethren to be ordained to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood (see 38.2.5.2).

    • Recognizing new ward members, including recent converts. After a few words of introduction, the person conducting asks the congregation to show by an uplifted hand that they welcome the member into the ward.

      When children who are members of record are baptized and confirmed, they are recognized in sacrament meeting. However, they do not need to be presented for welcome into the ward.

  7. Naming and blessing children (see 18.6). This is usually done in fast and testimony meeting (see 29.2.2).

  8. Confirming new converts (see 18.8 and 38.2.3.2).

  9. Sacrament hymn and administration of the sacrament. The sacrament is the main focus of the meeting. Other parts of the meeting should not detract from it. This ordinance is an opportunity for members to direct their thoughts toward the Savior and His sacrifice for them. It should be a sacred time of spiritual renewal.

    The sacrament table should be prepared before the meeting begins. The bishop ensures that the sacrament is blessed and passed in a reverent and orderly way. Those who administer the sacrament represent Jesus Christ.

    For more about preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament, see 18.9.

    For information about administering the sacrament in unusual situations, see 29.2.1.5 and 18.9.1.

  10. Gospel messages and congregational singing or other music. Messages and music should be consistent with the sacred nature of the sacrament. For information about selecting speakers, see 29.2.1.4. For information about musical selections in sacrament meeting, see 19.4.2 and 19.4.3.3.

  11. Closing hymn and prayer.

  12. Postlude music.

Visual aids and audiovisual materials should not be used in sacrament meetings (see 38.8.3).

29.2.1.2

Presiding at Sacrament Meeting

The bishop presides at sacrament meeting unless a member of the stake presidency, an Area Seventy in his area, or a General Authority attends. If the bishop and his counselors are not able to attend sacrament meeting, the stake president designates who presides. Normally he designates the elders quorum president. However, he could invite another priesthood holder, preferably a high priest or elder.

29.2.1.3

Time before the Meeting

Before the meeting starts, members of the congregation prepare spiritually for the sacrament. They can do this through quiet prayer and pondering. Leaders set an example of reverence.

29.2.1.4

Selecting Speakers

The bishopric selects speakers for sacrament meeting. Most often they invite ward members, including youth (see 38.8.20). The stake president may assign high councilors or members of stake organization presidencies to speak. The stake president determines the frequency of such assignments.

The bishopric extends invitations to speak well in advance of the meeting. Speakers bear testimony of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel using the scriptures (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:12; 52:9). Messages should build faith and be consistent with the sacred nature of the sacrament.

For information about newly called or recently returned missionaries speaking in sacrament meeting, see 24.5.2 and 24.8.3.

The bishopric schedules one sacrament meeting each year for a presentation by the Primary children. For information about this presentation, see 12.2.1.2.

29.2.1.5

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Sacrament Services in Unusual Situations

Every member needs the spiritual blessings that come from partaking of the sacrament. However, some members are unable to attend sacrament meeting because they are confined to their home, a hospital, or a care facility. The bishop may assign priesthood holders to administer the sacrament to these members (see 18.9.1).

In some cases, the bishop may authorize streaming sacrament meeting for those who cannot attend. For information, see 29.7.

When members are traveling or temporarily living away from home, they should attend sacrament meeting in a nearby ward if possible. Sacrament services should not be held in conjunction with family reunions or vacations.

29.2.2

Fast and Testimony Meeting

In a fast and testimony meeting, there are no assigned speakers or special musical selections. Instead, the person conducting bears a brief testimony. He then invites members of the congregation to bear their testimonies. To bear testimony means to declare gospel truths as inspired by the Holy Ghost. Testimonies should be brief so that many people can participate.

Young children are welcome to bear testimony in fast and testimony meeting. It may be best for them to learn to do so at home until they can bear testimony without help from others.

Under the bishop’s direction, children may be named and blessed during fast and testimony meeting (see 29.2.1.1).

29.2.3

Ward Conference

Ward conference is planned to meet local needs. It includes a sacrament meeting planned by the stake president. The stake president usually presides at the meeting, and a member of the bishopric usually conducts.

During this meeting, a member of the stake presidency or high council presents the names of general, stake, and ward leaders for a sustaining vote. He uses the Officers Sustained form, prepared by the ward clerk. The bishop and stake president usually speak in the meeting.

The ward holds regular priesthood and organization meetings as part of ward conference. Stake leaders may give instruction and assistance. They minister to ward leaders and members.

In connection with ward conference, the stake presidency meets with the bishopric. Together they review the progress of the work of salvation and exaltation in the ward. This meeting may be held on ward conference Sunday or at another time.

29.2.4

Bishopric Meeting

The bishop plans and conducts bishopric meetings. Matters for consideration could include:

  • Coordinating the work of salvation and exaltation in the ward.

  • Strengthening individuals and families in the ward—especially youth and children.

  • Identifying members who could prepare to receive ordinances, including priesthood ordinations.

  • Identifying members to call to ward positions.

  • Identifying members who could be recommended to the stake president to serve as missionaries.

  • Reviewing instructions from the scriptures, Church leaders, and this handbook.

Other items may include ward organizations and programs, the ward budget, reports on assignments, and plans for upcoming meetings and activities.

29.2.5

Ward Council Meeting

For more about the ward council and its meetings, study chapter 7.

29.2.6

Ward Youth Council Meeting

The bishop may conduct ward youth council meetings. Or he may assign someone else to do so, such as one of his priests quorum assistants or the president of the oldest Young Women class. Ward youth council meetings provide opportunities for youth to lead. The bishopric or other leaders can help them prepare for these meetings during quorum or class presidency meetings.

Before each meeting, the bishop and the person conducting review the items to be discussed. These items could include the following:

  • The work of salvation and exaltation.

  • Needs of youth in the ward and ways to address them.

  • Efforts to reach out to youth who are less active or new members.

  • Activities, including opportunities to serve those in need. Most of the planning is done in quorum or class presidency meetings (see chapter 20).

  • Ministering (see chapter 21).

  • Orienting newly called quorum and class presidencies.

To understand principles that guide council meetings in the Church, all council members should study chapter 7.

29.2.7

Other Ward Meetings and Classes

Meetings for priesthood quorums and their presidencies are described in chapters 8 and 10.

Meetings for Relief Society sisters and their leaders are described in chapter 9.

Meetings for young women and their leaders are described in chapter 11.

Meetings for Primary children and their leaders are described in chapter 12.

Sunday School classes are described in 13.3.

Teacher council meetings are described in 17.4.

Coordination meetings for the work of sharing the gospel and strengthening new and returning members are described in 23.5.7.

Coordination meetings for temple and family history work are described in 25.2.7.

29.2.8

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Schedules for Sunday Meetings

Wards use one of the following two-hour schedules for Sunday meetings.

Plan 1

60 minutes

Sacrament meeting

10 minutes

Transition to classes and meetings

50 minutes

All Sundays: Primary, including nursery (see 12.2.1.2)

First and third Sundays of the month: Sunday School (see 13.3)

Second and fourth Sundays: priesthood quorum meetings (see 8.2.1.2 and 10.2.1.2), Relief Society meetings (see 9.2.1.2), and Young Women meetings (see 11.2.1.2)

Fifth Sundays: meetings for youth and adults. The bishopric determines the topic and assigns teachers (usually members of the ward or stake). They also determine whether youth and adults, male and female, meet separately or together.

Plan 2

50 minutes

All Sundays: Primary, including nursery (see 12.2.1.2)

First and third Sundays of the month: Sunday School (see 13.3)

Second and fourth Sundays: priesthood quorum meetings (see 8.2.1.2 and 10.2.1.2), Relief Society meetings (see 9.2.1.2), and Young Women meetings (see 11.2.1.2)

Fifth Sundays: meetings for youth and adults. The bishopric determines the topic and assigns teachers (usually members of the ward or stake). They also determine whether youth and adults, male and female, meet separately or together.

10 minutes

Transition to sacrament meeting

60 minutes

Sacrament meeting

When two wards meet in the same building and one or both have very few children or youth, it may be desirable for the children or youth to attend Sunday classes together. The wards’ Sunday meeting schedules could overlap as shown below.

Meeting Schedule Graphic

This plan may also be considered if the two wards use different languages but the children and youth speak the same language.

Using this plan requires the stake president’s approval. If he approves, the bishop of each ward meets with organization leaders to seek their counsel about implementing it.

The two bishoprics meet together to determine which members from each ward should be called to serve in quorums and organizations. Each bishop remains the president of his priests quorum, but the two bishops may take turns presiding in Sunday quorum meetings. The bishops from both wards attend combined ward youth council meetings. After implementing the plan, leaders continue to meet regularly to coordinate their efforts.

29.3

Stake Meetings

29.3.1

Stake Conference

Stake conferences are scheduled by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Usually the stake president presides at one conference each year and an assigned Area Seventy or General Authority presides at the other.

The presiding officer directs all planning for the conference. He approves participants and musical selections in advance. For information about music in stake conference, see 19.6.1.

When an Area Seventy or General Authority presides, he may invite the stake president to suggest topics for instruction at the conference. When the stake president presides, he and his counselors select topics. The stake presidency may discuss possible topics with the stake council. In making these selections, the stake presidency considers topics that the First Presidency has emphasized recently.

As the stake president makes arrangements for stake conference, he may ask priesthood quorums and other organizations, individuals, and families to help. For example, they could be assigned to set up chairs, provide ushers, and clean the building.

Each stake conference normally includes the following meetings:

  • A meeting of the Area Seventy or General Authority (if assigned) and the stake presidency. The stake clerk and executive secretary also attend.

  • A stake priesthood leadership meeting (see 29.3.3). The presiding authority determines whether this meeting is held on Saturday or Sunday. A member of the stake presidency conducts.

  • A Saturday evening session for all stake members 18 and older. Depending on local circumstances, this meeting may be held on Sunday if approved by the presiding authority. A member of the stake presidency conducts.

  • A general session, held on Sunday, for all members and others who would like to attend. The stake president conducts and speaks in this meeting. More than one Sunday general session may be held if there is not room for everyone in one session. Children attend with their families, not in a separate meeting.

If necessary, conference sessions may be streamed to meetinghouses or other locations in the stake. Some members may need the conference to be streamed to their homes. For more about streaming meetings, see 29.7.

Speakers in the general session should not use visual aids or audiovisual materials (see 38.8.3).

If General Officers, the temple president and matron, the mission president and companion, or the stake patriarch attend, they should sit on the stand. The same is true for counselors in temple and mission presidencies (and their spouses) if they attend in the place of the temple or mission president.

In one stake conference each year, a member of the stake presidency presents general, area, and stake officers for a sustaining vote. He uses the Officers Sustained form, prepared by the stake clerk. This is usually done in the first stake conference of the year.

If stake officers are called or released between stake conferences, they are presented for a sustaining vote or an expression of thanks in the next stake conference. Or this can be done in each ward’s sacrament meeting. See 30.3 and 30.5.

Brethren who have been recommended to be ordained elders or high priests are presented for a sustaining vote in a stake conference. If a brother needs to be ordained before the next stake conference, he may be sustained in his ward’s sacrament meeting. His name would then be presented for a ratifying vote in a stake conference (see 38.2.5.1).

29.3.2

Stake General Priesthood Meeting

The stake presidency plans and conducts stake general priesthood meetings. They prayerfully select subjects and speakers.

29.3.3

Stake Priesthood Leadership Meeting

The stake presidency plans and conducts stake priesthood leadership meetings. The structure of these meetings is flexible. All participants may meet together for the entire meeting. Or, after some general instruction, they may separate into smaller groups for specific instruction based on their callings and assignments.

The stake presidency and other stake leaders generally provide instruction. Ward leaders, including women leaders, can also be invited to give instruction on occasion.

29.3.4

Stake Leadership Meetings

Stake organization presidencies plan and conduct stake leadership meetings. The structure of these meetings is flexible. All leaders may meet together for the entire meeting. Or, after some general instruction, they may separate into smaller groups for specific instruction based on their callings and assignments.

Organization leaders, stake presidency members, or other stake leaders generally provide instruction. Ward organization leaders can also be invited to give instruction on occasion.

The stake Young Men presidency does not hold a stake leadership meeting. Instruction for those serving with Aaronic Priesthood quorums is given in stake priesthood leadership meetings (see 29.3.3).

29.3.5

Stake High Priests Quorum Meeting

The stake presidency plans and conducts stake high priests quorum meetings. Meetings for all ordained high priests in the stake are not held.

29.3.6

Stake Presidency Meeting

The stake president plans and conducts stake presidency meetings. Matters for consideration could include:

  • The work of salvation and exaltation in the stake.

  • Strengthening individuals and families in the stake.

  • The needs and strengths of wards, elders quorums, and other organizations in the stake.

  • Bishops’ recommendations of men to be ordained elders.

  • Members to call to stake positions and some ward positions as outlined in the Chart of Callings (30.7).

  • Bishops’ recommendations of members to serve missions.

  • Instructions from the scriptures, Church leaders, and this handbook.

Other items may include stake activities and programs, the stake budget, reports on assignments, and plans for upcoming meetings.

29.3.7

High Council Meeting

The stake presidency plans and conducts high council meetings. These meetings may include:

  • Receiving instruction from the stake presidency on doctrine and assignments.

  • Counseling together about strengthening individuals and families in the stake. Leader and Clerk Resources (LCR) has tools and reports that can help leaders be aware of the progress of members.

  • Discussing how to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation in the stake.

  • Reporting on assignments.

  • Counseling with the stake presidency and sustaining their decisions to ordain brethren as elders and high priests.

  • Counseling with the stake presidency and sustaining their decisions to issue callings.

  • Helping plan stake priesthood leadership meetings (see 29.3.3).

  • Hearing reports from returning missionaries (see 24.8.3).

Sometimes a brief high council meeting could be immediately followed by a stake council meeting (see 29.3.8). This can help reduce the number of meetings for leaders to attend.

To understand principles that guide council meetings in the Church, all council members should study chapter 7.

For information about participants joining the meeting remotely, see 29.7.

29.3.8

Stake Council Meeting

The stake president plans and conducts stake council meetings. In these meetings, council members may:

  • Receive instruction from the stake presidency on doctrine and on their assignments.

  • Counsel together about strengthening individuals and families in the stake. LCR has tools and reports that can help leaders be aware of the progress of members.

  • Discuss overall vision for the work of salvation and exaltation in the stake.

  • Discuss temporal needs of stake members and how to help them be self-reliant. Identify resources available in the community and stake. Examples may include local schools and BYU–Pathway Worldwide. (See 22.12 and 22.13.)

  • Develop and maintain a simple plan for the stake to respond to emergencies (see 22.9.1.3).

  • Plan ways for stake members to give service in the community (see 22.9.1). Where available, JustServe suggests opportunities for community service.

  • Report on stake organizations, activities, and programs.

Sometimes a stake council meeting could immediately follow a brief high council meeting (see 29.3.7). This can help reduce the number of meetings for leaders to attend.

To understand principles that guide council meetings in the Church, all council members should study chapter 7.

For information about participants joining the meeting remotely, see 29.7.

29.3.9

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Stake Adult Leadership Committee Meeting

The stake adult leadership committee supports elders quorum and ward Relief Society presidencies in their work. Committee members give special emphasis to ward efforts to share the gospel, strengthen new and returning members, and participate in temple and family history work.

In addition, this committee coordinates stake efforts related to welfare and self-reliance, including JustServe (where available) and BYU–Pathway Worldwide (see 22.13).

The stake presidency plans and conducts meetings of the stake adult leadership committee. These meetings could be extensions of stake council meetings. For example, at the end of some stake council meetings, the adult leadership committee could meet to continue a discussion about specific matters.

29.3.10

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Stake Youth Leadership Committee Meeting

The stake youth leadership committee has the following responsibilities:

  • Plan service and activities for youth in the stake. These could include youth conferences, dances, devotionals, service projects, and multistake events. (For service ideas, see JustServe, where available.) Youth should lead out in planning and carrying out these activities. Stake activities should not be so frequent that they place a burden on wards. These activities should supplement ward activities, not compete with them. Ward leaders should be notified of stake activities well in advance.

  • Plan ways to support For the Strength of Youth conferences.

  • Coordinate stake efforts related to the Children and Youth program.

A member of the stake presidency plans and conducts meetings of the stake youth leadership committee. These meetings could be extensions of stake council meetings. For example, at the end of some stake council meetings, the youth leadership committee could meet to continue a discussion about specific matters.

29.3.11

Stake Bishops’ Council Meeting

The stake president invites a bishop to lead the stake bishops’ council. This bishop plans and conducts the council’s meetings. Matters for discussion could include:

  • Helping youth progress spiritually.

  • Using fast offerings to care for those in need. Helping members build self-reliance (see chapter 22, especially 22.11). Sharing information about resources available in the community.

  • Helping members repent and experience a change of heart (see chapter 32).

  • Managing Church finances (see chapter 34).

On occasion, the stake president could share instruction from Church leaders, including from Area Seventies in coordinating councils (see 29.4).

This meeting does not take the place of the stake president’s regular interviews with each bishop (see 5.2.1.2).

To understand principles that guide council meetings in the Church, all council members should study chapter 7.

29.3.12

Other Stake Meetings

The stake single adult committee meeting is described in 14.1.2.

The stake young single adult committee meeting is described in 14.3.2.

29.4

Coordinating Council Meetings

The Area Presidency establishes coordinating councils. A designated Area Seventy plans the meetings and facilitates discussion. All who attend counsel together as equal participants.

In these meetings, participants:

  • Invite revelation about implementing the teachings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

  • Instruct and edify one another.

  • Coordinate the work of salvation and exaltation.

  • Coordinate multistake matters. These matters may include activities (see 20.3.1 and 20.6.24), self-reliance and emergency response (see 22.3.2, 22.5.1, and 22.9.1.3), and finances and audits (see 34.9).

To understand principles that guide council meetings in the Church, all council members should study chapter 7.

29.5

Funerals and Other Services for the Deceased

When a Church member dies, the bishop may offer to hold services to help comfort the living and pay respectful tribute to the deceased. Services for people who die vary according to religion, culture, tradition, and local laws. The following instructions can help bishops plan gospel-centered services for the deceased while respecting these variations.

29.5.1

General Principles

Death is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation (see Alma 12:24–27). Because of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected. An important purpose of Church services for the deceased is to testify of the plan of salvation, particularly the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection. These services should be dignified, spiritual experiences.

Church members should show respect for the practices of other religions at times of death. However, they should not join rituals or traditions that are contrary to the commandments or Church standards. Church leaders should not include rituals of other religions or groups in Church services for the deceased.

Members are counseled against practices or traditions that become a burden for the living. Such practices may include excessive travel, elaborate public announcements, payments to the family, prolonged feasts, and excessive anniversary celebrations.

Church members who take part in services for the deceased should not accept payment or contributions.

Church leaders and members obey local laws about what to do when someone dies.

29.5.2

Offering Assistance to the Family

As disciples of Jesus Christ, Church leaders and members “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). When a member dies, the bishop visits the family to give comfort. He may ask his counselors to accompany him. He also notifies the elders quorum and Relief Society presidents.

The bishop offers assistance from ward members, including the elders quorum and Relief Society. For example, ward members could:

  • Notify friends and relatives.

  • Help prepare an obituary.

  • Help plan the funeral or other service.

  • Help make mortuary and cemetery arrangements, as applicable.

  • Dress the body for burial (see 38.5.8).

  • Prepare meals.

29.5.3

Viewings (Where Customary)

Sometimes a viewing of the body of the deceased is held at a Church meetinghouse before the funeral service. Leaders should open the meetinghouse for funeral directors at least one hour before the viewing is scheduled to begin.

After the viewing, a family prayer may be offered if the family desires. The casket should be closed before the funeral service.

29.5.4

Funeral Services (Where Customary)

If a funeral for a member is held in a Church building, the bishop conducts it. If it is held in a home, at a mortuary, or at the graveside, the family may ask the bishop to conduct it. A bishop’s counselor may conduct if the bishop cannot. For information about services held for nonmembers in a Church building, see 29.5.6.

A funeral conducted by the bishop, whether in a Church building or elsewhere, is a Church meeting and a religious service. It should be a spiritual occasion. The bishop urges participants to maintain a spirit of reverence and dignity.

When a bishop conducts a funeral, he or one of his counselors oversees the planning of the service. He considers the wishes of the family, ensuring that the funeral is simple and dignified, with music and brief addresses centered on the gospel. The comfort offered by Jesus Christ because of His Atonement and Resurrection should be emphasized. Family members are not required to speak or otherwise participate in the service.

Funerals are an opportunity to pay tribute to the deceased. However, such tributes should not dominate the service. A special family gathering, separate from the funeral service, is usually a better setting if the family wants more time to share tributes or memories.

Video presentations should not be part of a funeral service held in a chapel.

Funerals should start on time. Generally, they should not last more than 1.5 hours, as a courtesy to those who attend.

If a member of the stake presidency, an Area Seventy in his area, or a General Authority attends the funeral, he presides. The person conducting consults him in advance and recognizes him during the service. The presiding officer should be invited to offer closing remarks if he desires.

Funeral services are not normally held on Sunday.

In some cases, the bishop can arrange with morticians to provide modest, respectable funeral and burial services at cost if expenses are paid from fast-offering funds.

For information about missionaries returning home to attend a funeral, see 24.6.2.7. For guidelines about streaming funerals, see 29.7.

29.5.5

Burial or Cremation

Where possible, deceased members who were endowed should be buried or cremated in temple clothing. For information about temple burial clothing and dressing the dead, see 38.5.8.

If possible, a member of the bishopric accompanies the cortege to the cemetery. If the grave will be dedicated, he consults with the family and asks a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to perform the dedication. Instructions are provided in 18.16. If the family prefers, a graveside prayer can be offered instead.

For information about dedicating the place where a cremated member’s ashes are kept, see 18.16.2. For other guidelines about cremation, see 38.7.2.

29.5.6

Services for Nonmembers

The bishop may offer the use of a Church meetinghouse for the funeral service of a nonmember. If the deceased person belonged to another church, the service may usually be held in the manner prescribed by that church. If the family desires, the service may be conducted by clergy from that church, provided it is dignified and appropriate. However, rituals of other churches or organizations may not be performed in a Church meetinghouse.

29.6

Prayers in Church Meetings

Prayers in Church meetings should be brief, simple, and directed by the Spirit. Any baptized Church member may offer an opening or closing prayer. Children who are not baptized may pray in Primary. Leaders should avoid always asking a husband and wife to pray in the same meeting.

Members should pray using words that express love and respect for Heavenly Father. In English, this includes using the pronouns Thee, Thy, Thine, and Thou when addressing Him.

29.7

Streaming Meetings and Holding Virtual Meetings

When possible, Church members should strive to attend meetings in person. However, sometimes this is not possible. Streaming and holding virtual meetings make it possible to reach those who otherwise would not be able to attend. These people may include (but are not limited to) those who:

  • Live in remote locations or have limited ability to travel.

  • Have physical, mental, or emotional health challenges.

  • Are immunocompromised or in a care facility or hospital.

  • Are essential workers or otherwise are required to work on the Sabbath.

  • Care for someone who is homebound and cannot be left alone.

  • Need sign-language interpretation.

  • Have allergies that put their health at risk in a meeting.

For the benefit of these members and others, the bishop may, as an exception, authorize a livestream of sacrament meetings and of funerals and weddings held in the meetinghouse. Streams allow others to see and hear a meeting remotely but not participate directly.

A livestream of a sacrament meeting should not include the administration of the sacrament. The stream should be paused during the sacrament and restarted afterward. Or the bishop may move the administration of the sacrament to the end of the meeting after the livestream has ended. The meeting would then close with a hymn and prayer.

The bishop may authorize a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder to administer the sacrament in person to those who cannot attend the meeting (see 18.9.1).

For some meetings, the bishop or stake president may authorize members who cannot attend in person to participate virtually. These meetings may include:

  • Leadership meetings, such as presidency or council meetings.

  • Quorum, Relief Society, and Young Women meetings.

  • Sunday School classes.

  • Primary classes and singing time.

Unlike streams, virtual meetings are interactive. Those who join remotely can contribute by asking questions, making comments, and participating in other ways.

The stake president may authorize a livestream of stake conference to other locations in the stake, including to members’ homes when needed. He may also authorize stake leaders to join leadership meetings virtually when they cannot attend in person (for example, for the reasons listed earlier in this section).

Streams and virtual meetings are not meant for the convenience of those who could reasonably attend in person. For example, the bishop does not authorize streaming of sacrament meeting for ward members who are traveling and could attend another ward.

Ward and stake technology specialists can help leaders set up streams and virtual meetings (see 33.10). These individuals can also help members access these meetings.

Streams and virtual meetings should not distract from the Spirit. Generally, only one device should be used to capture the meeting. Both the device and the person using it should be inconspicuous.

Stream recordings of ward and stake meetings should be deleted within one day after the meeting.