1 The manner of their [the Nephites] elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it—
2 And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:
3 O God, the Eternal Father . . . (Moroni 4:1-3)
75 It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus;
76 And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying:
77 O God, the Eternal Father . . . (D&C 20:75-77)
NOTE: According to the above scriptures, the Lord desires that the congregation kneel along with he who administers the sacrament.
38 . . . An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize; . . .
40 And to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ— (D&C 20:38, 40)
46 The priest’s duty is to
preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, . . .
50 But when there is an elder present, he is only to
preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, (D&C 20:46, 50)
NOTE: According the above scripture, priests are not to administer the sacrament if there is an elder present. This is even more clearly stated in the original revelation from the Lord upon which Doctrine and Covenants Section 20 is based. The text of the original revelation may be found in the Book of Commandments, the fore-runner of the Doctrine and Covenants:
The priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and also to attend all family duties; And ordain other priests, teachers and deacons, and take the lead of meetings; but none of these offices is he to do when there is an elder present, but in all cases is to assist the elder. (Book of Commandments 24:36-37)
NOTE: The Lord stipulated that teachers and deacons have no roles at all in the administration of the sacrament:
But neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands; (D&C 20:58)
NOTE: The proper emblems for the Sacrament have always been stipulated by the Lord to be bread and wine:
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (Genesis 14:18)
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19-10)
1 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him.
2 And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth.
3 And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat.
4 And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude.
5 And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
6 And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. (3 Nephi 18:1-6)
NOTE: The Lord has established over a long time that bread and wine are the emblems to represent his flesh and blood in the sacrament. The following scripture was given during a time when no wine was available except from the enemies of the Church who sought to do harm to Joseph and the Church members. Under this kind of circumstance, where the prescribed emblem is unavailable, the Lord will accept a substitute for the required emblems.
2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.
3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;
4 Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth. (August 1830, D&C 27:2-4)
NOTE: This allowance for the emblems of the Sacrament was given in August 1830. However, subsequent to this time, the Lord still stipulated that “wine” is the prescribed emblem of the Lord’s blood. In Sections 88 and 89 of the D&C which were given after the statement in Section 27, the Lord still prescribed “wine” to be the emblem for His blood. If wine is not available, then it is better to have the sacrament with what is available if it is done in the proper spirit. However, the emblem continually prescribed by the Lord to represent His blood (as He reminds us in Sections 88 and 89) is the “pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.” Non fermented grape juice fits this description well.
139 And he shall be received [to the School of the Prophets] by the ordinance of the washing of feet, for unto this end was the ordinance of the washing of feet instituted.
140 And again, the ordinance of washing feet is to be administered by the president, or presiding elder of the church.
141 It is to be commenced with prayer; and after partaking of bread and wine, he is to gird himself according to the pattern given in the thirteenth chapter of John’s testimony concerning me. Amen. (27 December 1832, D&C 88:139-141)
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make. (27 February 1833, D&C 89:5-6)
NOTE: The following description of the sacrament in the Kirtland School of the Prophets includes use of wine as the emblem of the Lord’s blood. Since this started in 1833, this use of wine occurred significantly after the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants Section 27 which was given in August 1830:
The salutation as written in the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 88:136-141] was carried out at that time [during the Kirtland School of the Prophets—starting in 1833], and at every meeting, and the washing of feet was attended to, the sacrament was also administered at times when Joseph appointed, after the ancient order; that is, warm bread to break easy was provided and broken into pieces as large as my fist and each person had a glass of wine and sat and ate the bread and drank the wine; and Joseph said that was the way that Jesus and his disciples partook of the bread and wine. And this was the order of the church anciently and until the church went into darkness. (Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 3, 1883, containing an account by Zebedee Coltrin of the Kirtland School of the Prophets)
NOTE: The following record in the John Corrill History of the Mormons regarding the administration of the sacrament in the LDS Church summarizes well many of these points:
The sacrament was administered on every first day, (Sabbath), by a high priest or an elder. Bread and wine are used as emblems, but for wine they prefer the pure juice of the grape when they can get it, and they administer in remembrance of the body and blood of the Saviour, as the scripture commands. (John Corrill History of the Mormons, 1839, p. 47)