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All my life I had watched the Deacons pass the Sacrament at church with a measure of awe. They always deported themselves with dignity and respect for what we Mormons consider a very sacred ordinance. As I approached the age of twelve, when I expected to become a Deacon and have the honor of passing the Sacrament myself, I watched the Deacons with keen interest. I wanted to learn exactly how it was done so I wouldn’t flub up and embarrass myself when I first participated.

I turned 12 just a couple of weeks after we arrived in Himni and moved into the Himni 3rd Ward. Bishop Merrell interviewed me and found me worthy of ordination. My Dad conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon me and ordained me to the office of a Deacon. I think he was relieved to have actually been there. Four years earlier, when I was baptized things hadn’t gone so well. On the morning of my scheduled baptism my Dad and Grandfather had gone golfing. Grandpa had a heart attack on the third hole. Of course, Dad and Mom and Grandma went right to the hospital. My baptism was scheduled for 5:00 P.M. When the folks weren’t home by three I started to get nervous. When the clock struck four I was really concerned. I got my Sunday clothes on so I’d be ready when the folks rushed in. They didn’t. I had been left in charge of the kids. Todd, my brother and the next oldest was just six and a half. He thought he was big enough to take over and the neighbors were close, so I grabbed my recommend off of Mom’s dresser, left Todd in charge and rode my bike over to the church. I presented my recommend to the Brother in charge and got myself baptized. You can imagine my parents chagrin when they discovered their little boy had been baptized and they hadn’t even been there.

I was baptized by Richard F. Waters. To this day I have no idea who he is. Dad’s name did make it on the Baptismal Certificate as the man who confirmed me. That happened at church the next day. Grandpa recovered too.

So now we come to that fateful day when sitting on the front row in Sunday School I was nervously anticipating my first attempt at passing the Sacrament. (In those days Sunday School was in the morning and Sacrament Meeting was in the evening. The Sacrament was served in both meetings.)

I was prepared. I had learned exactly where I was supposed to go and exactly what I was supposed to do. The Deacon’s Quorum President had assigned me the easiest route, right down the side pews behind where we had been sitting. Just as the Priest finished the blessing on the bread a tickle in my nose produced a sudden and unexpected sneeze. I covered my mouth with my right hand. As I removed my hand I discovered an enormous glob of mucus in the palm of my hand. It was time to stand up and take the trays from the Priests. Panic! I had no handkerchief. What do I do? What do I do?! As I went to stand up the only thing I could think to do was scrape it off on the front of the wooden pew. Thinking of the words…”he that hath clean hands and a pure heart…” I felt so guilty taking the tray into my polluted right hand. I felt as though I had lied about my worthiness. Somehow I got through the passing of the bread. We filed back to the table, two rows of us. First the guys from the other side of the chapel returned their trays. They then backed up to allow my side to approach the table. The water was blessed and we took those trays. As we were filing out to distribute the water I followed one of the boys from the group that had backed up. There oozing down the back of his pant leg was my logie. He had backed up to the bench and gathered it up for me. I nearly fainted.

God has often re-reminded me of my humanity since that day. Thankfully, I have finally learned that my flaws, weaknesses and imperfections are the very reason we have the Sacrament in the first place.

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