Why are we allowed to play only certain musical instruments in sacrament meeting?

boy with guitar

Photo illustration by Craig Dimond

“Music [in Church meetings] should be worshipful and fit the spirit of the meeting. Priesthood leaders determine what is suitable” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 14.4). This guideline also applies to the instruments used to perform music in sacrament meeting. “Instruments with a prominent or less worshipful sound, such as most brass and percussion, are not appropriate for sacrament meeting” (Handbook 2, 14.4.2). So, besides brass and percussion instruments, what other instruments sound “prominent or less worshipful,” and which ones are appropriate? Your bishop and stake president are the ones who answer that question in your ward and stake.

If the sacrament is about repenting and coming unto Christ, why does the bishop sometimes ask people not to take the sacrament for a while?

Partaking of the sacrament is a privilege we have as Church members. Through it we remember Jesus Christ and His Atonement and renew our baptismal covenants. For this reason, we must partake of it worthily (see 1 Corinthians 11:27–28; 3 Nephi 18:28–29; D&C 20:68–69; 46:4). The way we prepare for it each week is by examining our lives and repenting, which requires “a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin” (Bible Dictionary, “Repentance”). A bishop will sometimes ask a member who has confessed certain serious sins not to participate in the sacrament for a certain amount of time. In doing so, the bishop helps the person fully repent by allowing time to recognize the seriousness of his or her sins, make needed changes, and show humility and continued faithfulness. As the person truly repents, he or she turns to God and experiences a change of heart through the grace of Christ. When the person does again partake of the sacrament, he or she will hopefully have a renewed and enhanced appreciation for it and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Cherishing this sacred ordinance can then strengthen the person’s resolve to remain free of sin.

More on Repentance

To learn more about complete repentance, read “The Divine Gift of Repentance” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.