Why do we use water instead of wine for the sacrament?

The sacrament gives us the sacred opportunity to remember Jesus Christ and to renew our baptismal covenants. Although the Savior gave His disciples wine when He first introduced this ordinance (see Matthew 26:23–24), the Prophet Joseph Smith received the following revelation in August 1830:

“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” (D&C 27:2–3).

Today, of course, we also follow the Word of Wisdom. And since “it mattereth not” what we drink for the sacrament, Church leaders have asked us to use water, which is inexpensive and universally available.

No matter what is used for the sacrament, we should focus our thoughts on the Savior and our commitment to follow Him.

Why do women still have to wear dresses or skirts in all our meetings?

Dressing appropriately is less about what our clothing looks like and more about what it means. While other clothing may still be perfectly modest, classy, or professional, women are counseled to wear dresses to promote a certain spirit of reverence. Dresses are generally reserved for special occasions. Modest, simple dresses show respect and invite the Spirit by how they affect our attitudes.

Similarly, men do not wear just a nice shirt and slacks to church. They wear dress shirts, ties, and dress pants. This is to show a spirit of reverence that is not communicated by more casual clothing. Missionaries and temple workers are also asked to follow certain dress standards to show respect for their callings and set a certain tone about their work.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson recently addressed this issue: “It is really not about us. Acting and dressing in a way to honor sacred events and places is about God” (“A Sense of the Sacred,” New Era, June 2006, 31).

As it says in For the Strength of Youth, dressing appropriately shows respect both for the Lord and for yourself, and “your dress before, during, and after church meetings should show respect for the Sabbath” ([2004], 16, 32).

Wearing formal clothing on the Sabbath sets Sunday apart from the rest of the week in our minds and, thus, in our actions. The Lord has given us this counsel regarding our appearance to help us, and those around us, develop a sense of reverence and feel the Spirit.

What things do I need to see my bishop about to be forgiven?

The short answer is that you need to confess “serious transgressions” to your bishop. These include (but are not limited to) serious violations of the law of chastity and acts of violence or dishonesty that cause serious harm or damage to others.

The long answer is that if you feel like you should talk to your bishop, do it. While the Lord is the only person who can ultimately forgive your sins, priesthood leaders play an important role in your repentance.

You might think that a bishop is there to deal with you only when you’ve done something seriously wrong, but a bishop is also there to counsel and help you in other matters. So even if you haven’t committed a major transgression, or if you just need someone to talk to, you can go to your bishop. He can help you.

Photo illustrations by John Luke and David Stoker