What should I do if I know that someone who is administering the sacrament is unworthy?

    “What should I do if I know that someone who is administering the sacrament is unworthy?” New Era, Oct. 1984, 48–49

    “What should I do if I know that someone who is administering the sacrament is unworthy? Does this affect the validity of the sacrament?”

    Answer/Brother Rex W. Allred

    The ordinance of the sacrament is one of the most sacred ordinances of the Church. We are privileged to be able to partake of the sacrament almost every week and, through doing so, renew our baptismal covenants with the Lord.

    If a person were aware that an Aaronic Priesthood bearer or possibly an elder was administering the sacrament unworthily, he should quietly inform the bishop of this knowledge and leave the matter in the bishop’s hands. Only the bishop has the responsibility to judge worthiness and to authorize priesthood bearers to administer the sacrament.

    Other courses of action such as refusing to take the sacrament, complaining to others about the unworthiness of a priesthood bearer, or reproaching the accused directly, all have negative results which are not helpful to anyone involved. Matters of this kind are quite sensitive and must be handled with judgment and discretion. The bishop carries the responsibility to do this.

    The sacrament is one of the most sacred and holy ordinances in the Church and should be administered with reverence and dignity. No priesthood bearer who has a serious, unresolved moral problem should participate in preparing, blessing, or passing the sacrament.

    But while basic worthiness to administer the sacrament or participate in other ordinances must be carefully guarded, we must also remember that perfection is not a requirement for priesthood bearers to be permitted to function in various ordinances and callings. Even though priesthood bearers are imperfect in many ways, the Lord allows them to carry out his work. The Church is a school for those who desire to become like the Lord, not a resting place for those who have already made it.

    Ordinances of the priesthood are valid if they are performed by authorized priesthood bearers in the prescribed manner. While local leaders will want to do everything within their power to see that only worthy brethren administer the sacrament, the ordinance does not become invalid if someone involved is unworthy at the time he participates. The sanctity of the ordinance is violated, but not the validity. If the partaker is worthy and sincere, all the possible blessings and benefits will be his.

    Worthily administering or partaking of the sacrament brings blessings to our lives each week. What a great privilege it is for members of all ages to participate in this ordinance as part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

    • Executive Secretary, Melchizedek Priesthood General Committee