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Amen

by Daniel B. McKinlay

Among Latter-day Saints the saying of an audible "amen" is the seal and witness of all forms of worship and of priesthood ordinances. The Hebrew word, meaning "truly," is transliterated into Greek in the New Testament, and thence to the English Bible. It is found many times in the Book of Mormon. The Hebrew infinitive conveys the notions "to confirm, support, uphold, be faithful, firm." In antiquity the expression carried the weight of an oath. By saying "amen" the people solemnly pledged faithfulness and assented to curses upon themselves if found guilty (Deut. 27:14-26). And by saying "amen" the people also sealed their praises of God (1 Chr. 16:36; Ps. 106:48; Rom. 11:36; 1 Pet. 4:11). Nehemiah records a dramatic instance: "And Ezra blessed the Lord…. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground" (Neh. 8:6).

By saying "amen," Latter-day Saints officially sustain what is said in formal and private prayer, as also in the words of sermons, official admonition, and testimony (see D&C 88:135). In the Sacrament service, by repeating "amen" at the end of prayers on the bread and on the water, they covenant to always remember Christ, "that they may have his Spirit to be with them" (D&C 20:77-79). At temple dedications in solemn assembly they stand with uplifted hands and shout "Hosanna to God and the Lamb," followed by a threefold "amen" (see Hosanna Shout).

Bibliography

Welch, John W. "Amen." BYU Religious Studies Center Newsletter 3 (Sep. 1988):3-4.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Amen

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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