What does the fox [err, text] say?

Yesterday, Sunday, I attended Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It was the first Sunday of the month, which means that it was Fast and Testimony meeting (if you’re unfamiliar with such a meeting, click here).

During the fast and testimony meeting, there were beliefs expressed, such as, “I know that the Church is true. I know that I can be cleansed of my sins, and renew my baptismal covenants, each week as I take the sacrament.” 

Now, the belief that the sacrament cleanses you, or rids you, of your sins, or renews baptismal covenants, is a common belief. It is something that is taught in Latter-day Saint congregations around the world.

What is the sacrament, really?

The prayers might teach us a thing about what it is (or what it isn’t).

O God, the Eternal Father!
We ask thee in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify
This bread to the souls of all those
Who partake of it. That they may eat in remembrance Of the body of thy son, and witness unto thee, O God, The Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name
Of thy son, and always remember him,
And keep his commandments which he hath given them,
That they may always have his spirit to be with them. Amen.

And, for the wine

O God, the Eternal Father!
We ask thee, in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, to bless
And sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it,
That they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy son,
Which was shed for them.
That they may witness unto thee, O God,
The Eternal Father, that they do always remember him,
That they may have his spirit to be with them. Amen.

Does the text mention anything of renewing covenants?
What about the cleansing of sins? 
No.

It is a memorial ritual. It is, traditionally, a weekly occurrence. That means, at least once a week, Latter-day Saints are engaged in the act of remembering the Son of God. And, that ritual, acts as a witness to The Eternal Father, that they remember His Son. 

The text says nothing of renewal of covenants or washing/cleansing sins. To arrive at such a belief, it would require some-sort-of-meta-text. Does that mean such a belief is wrong? Maybe. Maybe not. At a minimum, it is misguided due to meta-text. 

Let me also say: Metatext is not a magic word meaning, “you are wrong!”  It has been thrown into my face, “That’s metatext!” as if I was incorrect because saying something not found in the Book of Mormon’s English version, of some year of publication.

Smith, Daymon. Volume Five: a cultural history of the book of mormon: Book Fantasia

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