3 Nephi 18
27 Behold verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you another commandment, and then I must go unto my Father that I may fulfil other commandments which he hath given me.
28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;
29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.
30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.
So I was reading through this scripture recently and was pondering it and it's meaning. I discussed it with my parents who expressed significantly different understandings as to it's meaning.
Alright, so it's clear to me that those who partake of the sacrament unworthily are damning themselves in the process. It's also clear to me that individuals past the age of accountability who are not yet baptized are among those who are unworthy to partake the sacrament.
The question I asked was how this commandment applied to me. And... this is where the differences arose.
One point of view is that this commandment was spoken to the 12 Apostles who had the keys of stewardship and that this means it only applies to the Bishop of a ward now a days.
One point of view is that this commandment was given to those who had priesthood authority to administer the sacrament and that this means it would also apply to the priesthood members administering and passing the sacrament.
One point of view is that this applies to every member.
The reason why I desire to understand and know how this commandment is applicable in my life is due to the following verse which reads:
33 Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth.
At least for myself I can say that I very much want to make sure that I'm not living in condemnation. It doesn't seem to be an issue one can simply ignore or live blindly but rather one I need to know that I am living it correctly.
So as part of seeking out and studying it out in my own mind preparatory to personal revelation, I'd like to query those here as well.
What is your understanding regarding the application of forbidding someone to partake and how far does it go?
Personally the way I see it is this:
I feel that if I bring anyone who have not been baptized then it is my duty to inform (verbally forbid) them that they should not partake of the sacrament since they have not made those covenants. I believe that should I do less than this I myself would come under condemnation.
If feel that if I know
a member is unworthy to take the sacrament, so long as I report it to the Bishop, I have fulfilled my duty but that otherwise I myself would come under condemnation.
I feel that in regards to forbidding someone to partake, that it should be verbal yet tactful command but that it should not be physically enforced. By this I mean that a priesthood holder shouldn't intentionally pass someone by and members sitting in a row shouldn't intentionally bypass someone sitting next to them.
I feel that if it's a member and they've been told by the Bishop not to partake of the Sacrament, then it's up to him to notice if they disobey and then discipline them. If however I know that they've been forbidden by the Bishop and they take, I feel it's still my responsibility to notify the Bishop in case he didn't notice.
Other's I've spoken with feel that this commandment is no longer in force and non-members who partake are not eating and drinking damnation to their souls. They feel that they should not tell such individuals not to partake because they might offend or drive them away by doing so.
What exactly is my duty in regards to this commandment? Does anyone have anything that would shed further light?