All Progressive Wards Are Buying": The Individual Sacrament Cup
Justin R. Bray
“In no way that I can conceive of, is there a more prolific source of spreading contagion than that of the public drinking cup or glass, that is passed from mouth to mouth in the service of the Lord’s Supper.”  Seymour B. Young, Presidency of the Seventy, 1912
The Murray First Ward had “the remains in a sacrament cup” tested by the Salt Lake County Physician’s Office in March 1916, and the physician found “not less than six contagious diseases.” Disgusted by the results, members of the ward wrote to Church headquarters: “We feel that another Sunday should not pass until we can abolish this most unsanitary practice. We, therefore, subscribe our names to the following amounts.” They sent three pages of signatures attached to their petition, as well as a receipt of $75.50 (the equivalent of about $1,450 today) for buying individual sacrament cups with their own money. 
Since its organization in April 1830 until the early 1900s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints administered the sacramental water or wine in a common goblet. This practice originated in the New Testament, when Jesus commanded all of his disciples to drink from the cup (see Matthew 26:27). The single cup, passed from person to person, represented unity among members of the Church, since everyone sipped from the same cup regardless of age, health, or social standing. However, in the early 1900s, new medical knowledge caused members of the Church to take sanitation more seriously. They began noticing how contaminated the germ-ridden goblet had become and consequently expressed their concerns with taking the sacrament by this traditional method. These progressive members of the Church began a grassroots movement to influence leaders to switch to individual drinking vessels. The First Presidency was initially reluctant to make the change in such a sacred rite, but the flu epidemic of 1918 accelerated the spread of individual cups Churchwide.
The Progressive Movement
The Progressive Movement (1890–1920) was an attempt to cure the ills in American society left over from massive industrial growth in the late 1800s. Muckraking journalists launched the movement by discovering poor factory conditions, child labor problems, and political corruption. Public health activists also petitioned for reform in sanitation, a “battle [that had] raged continuously” throughout the United States because of rapid urbanization.  In the late 1800s, immigrant families moved to large cities in hopes of acquiring jobs in industrial ventures. By 1900, almost half the nation was living in urbanized areas. The overwhelming population growth resulted in improper drainage, unhealthy sewer systems, poor ventilation, foul air, and higher susceptibility to disease. 
Sanitation problems not only plagued the urbanized Northeast but also infected a more rural Utah as well. In fact, George E. Waring, a scientist in the field of sanitation, warned those living in rural areas that “the causes of grave infection are precisely the same in the city that they are in the country, and they grow in both cases from improper protection against the emanations from the organic filth which is a necessary product of all human life.”  As Waring expressed, Utahns had improperly protected themselves from sanitation problems since their arrival in the 1840s, for in the spirit of self-sufficiency, Church leaders tended to instruct the Saints to take care of their own health needs. Brigham Young even publicized his disdain for doctors: “Doctors and their medicines I regard as a deadly bane to any community. . . . I am not very partial to doctors.”  This isolationist policy resulted in poor sanitation in Utah, particularly in Salt Lake City, for over thirty years until the late 1880s.
Sanitation became such a problem that a magazine called the Salt Lake Sanitarian began publication in 1877. The magazine informed members of the Church about the latest developments and improvements in medicine, “that they might better understand first aid, home nursing and sanitation.”  The editors, though members of the Church, strayed from “antiphysician attitudes” held by some Church leaders and only included principles that were “established in the light of science,” with the “sanction of professional authority.”  However, the editors’ complicated medical language and scientific phraseology failed to click with those in Utah, and the magazine stopped publishing after only three years.  Although the Sanitarian lasted only briefly, it was the first step taken by progressive members of the Church to improve sanitation in Utah.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Americans took precautions to stop the spread of diseases through the mouth. Many objected to chewing on the caps of public pens; some detested spitting on sidewalks; others encouraged the brushing of teeth.  While these ideas proved helpful, most Americans chose to rally around the banishment of the public drinking cup.
The public drinking cup was a mug chained to a running fountain of water in public schools, parks, and railroad cars. All people drank from the same cup, including sick persons from whom diseases could spread quickly. Some of the larger East Coast cities like Boston, New Orleans, Hartford, and Philadelphia began excluding the cup from public venues in the mid-1890s, while more rural areas lagged behind. In an attempt to remove the public drinking cup from all schools, Dr. Alvin Davison, a professor of biology at Lafayette College, authored a series of articles detailing the dangers of the cup with gut-churning stories. For example, one student in Ohio infected the entire student body and faculty with measles. In Massachusetts, a school district excused thousands of students and faculty after an outbreak of mumps and grippe.  Davison warned Americans that the public drinking cup was responsible for over one million cases of serious illness each year and that over four hundred thousand of these cases were fatal. 
Utah did not banish the public drinking cup until 1912. On February 1 of that year, the State Board of Health prohibited the cup’s use in public venues, including schools, parks, public buildings, and railroad trains.  The new law did not, however, prohibit the cup’s use in “congregations of worship.”  Religions, therefore, were to decide for themselves whether or not to banish the common cup in their communion services in the United States.
Reactions in Different Churches
Some faith groups were more willing to abolish the use of the common cup in worship services, while others remained reluctant. For example, Protestants embraced the Social Gospel Movement, which was an attempt to perfect American society through Christian values. Many Protestants believed improvements in public health would benefit not only one’s physical well-being but one’s moral life as well. The abandonment of the common cup in worship services, therefore, was not seen as sacrilegious, even though it was scientifically induced.  Besides, in many congregations multiple chalices were already being passed from person to person, so “if two, why not twenty? If twenty, why not two hundred?” 
Catholics, on the other hand, remained reluctant to abandon the common cup in communion services. They felt that accepting outside, progressive ideas and forgoing the cup would have reflected a “secularization of the Christian creed” because they would have been adjusting their doctrine to appeal to modern man.  Instead, they wished to remain a “confessional, ritual-oriented” denomination and sought alienation from progressive ideas they felt threatened their religious observance. 
While American Catholics and Protestants established their stances on the public drinking cup, Latter-day Saints neither immediately embraced nor rejected the cup’s use in religious services. However, adoption of individual cups seemed inevitable. Many members, including General Authorities, were progressive by nature. Especially around the turn of the century, Church leaders continually made efforts to be less isolated from and open to the rest of the country and its ideas. In 1896, Utah became a state; in 1904, the Second Manifesto was released to ensure Americans that Mormons no longer taught or practiced plural marriage; in 1906, President Joseph F. Smith emphatically encouraged Apostle Reed Smoot to run once again for the United States Senate. Thus the Church’s actions in shedding its isolated image reflected these leaders’ progressive nature.
When new medical knowledge spread throughout the Great Basin region, some members began expressing their “qualms” with the traditional way of administering the sacrament in a common cup.  For example, according to William A. Hyde, president of the Pocatello Idaho Stake, members were adopting methods of “refined living” and “very sensitive . . . dispositions” that hindered them from “drink[ing] after another.” 
These members were mostly concerned with those who smoked, drank liquor, chewed tobacco, and failed to maintain personal hygiene. During this time, the Word of Wisdom was not heavily enforced, and those neglecting it had been allowed to take the sacrament. Thus, users of tobacco and liquor could freely drink from the same cup as the rest of the congregation. Some, especially young women, considered this method “utterly repulsive” and detested taking the sacrament after some of the “full-bearded old men.” Some disliked taking the sacrament after “those with whom they were not particularly friendly.”  It was not “unfrequent to taste the peppermint or other flavor, good or bad, which the predecessors had left with their use of the Sacrament.” 
Some members despised the use of the cup by children. They believed babies should be taught to take the sacrament but not when they still had “dewey lips.” Often, babies would snack on food during the sacrament, and their lips would be full of “particles.” Some wards even provided a decoy cup so that it would “be distinguished and known by the children, so that those who need may drink.” 
The common cup caused stir among some Latter-day Saint congregations and showed that the very ordinance that was supposed to bring communion among members of the Church was dividing them. One member from Sanpete County in central Utah, James L. Jacobs, later related his observations of the sacrament: “It was interesting to watch people as the water goblets were passed to them. Some would carefully turn the goblet so they could drink right over the handle. Others placed their hands on each side of the goblet and tipped it up, but did not actually touch their lips to it. Still others sipped obediently, then wiped their lips vigorously with handkerchiefs to remove any trace that might have been picked up from previous drinkers.” 
The deacons were often amused by members twisting the cup so that their lips sipped the rim over the handle. The “supposedly untouched spot quickly became the most used part of the cup’s rim.”  The editors of the Improvement Era, which was rapidly becoming the principal LDS magazine for adults, also believed that reform in the sacrament was a “necessity.” 
Church leaders understood that individual drinking vessels had become heavily advocated “in the East,” but they held back from changing the administration of the sacrament because of its sacred nature.  Eventually, the efforts of Selden Irwin Clawson, an inventor from Salt Lake City, together with other progressive members of the Church, helped eliminate the common cup from the sacrament.
Early Latter-day Saint Experiments
In December 1900, Selden Clawson, a member of the Eighteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, visited George Q. Cannon, member of the First Presidency, and suggested the use of individual cups in the sacrament. President Cannon was “favorably impressed” and agreed to discuss the matter with the rest of the First Presidency upon his return from Church business in California.  However, President Cannon died of an influenza virus before fulfilling his assignment and returning to Utah. Clawson was discouraged and wondered if the passing of President Cannon was an “omen from the other world” warning him not to urge changes to the sacred ordinance. 
Clawson shelved the idea for the next ten years. In 1910, Salt Lake City began installing new water fountains without a public drinking cup attached. Public drinking cups had not yet been outlawed in Utah, but debate over whether they were sanitary had already begun. These new fountains prompted Clawson to once again suggest individual cups in the sacrament. He “talked it over with some of his friends” who “pressed him to go on with the improvement.”  He brought up the matter in the Eighteenth Ward Sunday School class, which quickly became divided on the subject. Clawson recounted the meeting:
A strong conservative group opposed any change. Because the goblet system was introduced and used by the Prophet Joseph Smith and further how would it be possible for any harm to come from the sacrament when it had been blessed by the authorized servants of the Lord. The progressive group said that wine was used by the Savior and wine contained alcohol which was a strong antiseptic and would kill away any contagious germs in the goblet. But when water is used there is nothing to kill the germs. Therefore, they could pass from one person to another. 
After “the feeling between the groups became very strong,” a committee was formed by the members themselves to investigate the matter and report their findings to Bishop Thomas A. Clawson, Selden’s half brother. In addition to Selden, the committee consisted of Mrs. B. H. Roberts, Mrs. Lucien Ray, and Allen Spencer. Upon being added to the committee, Sister Roberts declared, “I would rather be on that committee than be president of the Relief Society!” 
The committee suggested to the bishop and stake president the idea of individual sacrament cups, but both denied the authority to make a change to the ordinance. Selden and his brother eventually met with President Joseph F. Smith about the matter. President Smith “said that he did not think the saints would approve of any change in the sacrament service,” and he did not want a failed attempt with individual cups to “be charged against him.” Selden later recounted that “the outlook seemed bad for us.” However, President Smith suddenly stopped talking and “looked at the floor a minute or two, then he looked at us and smiled and said, ‘I have it. I’ll turn the matter over to the Council of the Twelve. Then they can take the blame for the failure.’”  According to President Smith’s diary, he met with the Council of the Twelve on December 15, 1910, and “the question of the use of these individual cups was discussed and approval given for their use in the 18th Ward.”  That same day, President Smith met once again with Selden and his brother and gave permission to test the cups, but he directed them to pay for the cups themselves. President Smith said, “I can pay for it, but I do not want anyone to say of me after I am dead that I spent the ‘hard earned tithing money’” on experiments. 
Selden, with the help of “a lot of friends,” had a sacrament set made, and on June 18, 1911, individual cups were used officially for the first time.  The set consisted of silver trays and glass cups. It was accepted “enthusiastically” by the Eighteenth Ward, and soon the entire Ensign Stake adopted the new cups.
Jacob Schaub and Metal Cups
Individual cups continued to be used in the Ensign Stake in Salt Lake City over the next ten months. On March 19, 1912, Jacob Schaub, a convert to the Church from Logan, Utah, presented a new type of individual sacrament cup to the Deseret Sunday School Union General Board. The minutes recount the meeting:
The General superintendent asked the Board to suspend the regular order of business and listen to the proposition of Elder Jacob Schaub of Logan. Elder Schaub addressed the Board and presented a model of a Sacrament set manufactured by him, which included what he claimed to be a perfect system of sterilization. He proposed to manufacture the sets and put them on the market, giving the Deseret Sunday School Union the exclusive agency, provided they should be approved by the Church authorities. 
Two days later, on March 21, President Smith, together with Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose, released a statement to stake presidents suggesting—but not mandating—the use of individual sacrament cups in all wards. The First Presidency asked that wards interested in individual cups “defer purchasing from outside manufacturers” and buy only metal sacrament cups and trays that Jacob Schaub had patented and sold through the Deseret Sunday School Union Bookstore. 
Schaub took full advantage of the First Presidency’s support. Immediately after the First Presidency’s letter to stake presidents, Schaub began advertising his sacrament set in Church periodicals—the Improvement Era, Juvenile Instructor, and Relief Society Magazine. In the ads, he mentioned that he had “the approval of the First Presidency” and that they “endorsed” and “recommended” his set. The First Presidency praised the Schaub Set, noting that it was “not only more durable, but more sanitary, also more easily cared for and handled.”  Supposedly, according to Schaub’s patent application, the glass cups already being used in other wards were “open to objection upon hygienic grounds” because members’ hands would come in contact with the rim of the cups while being washed. Schaub’s sacrament tray, however, was designed so that all 144 cups could be sterilized at the same time, in the same trays used to pass them, while untouched by human hands. There had also been problems with the glass cups breaking while members washed and prepared them for use; the durable metal cup by Schaub was more difficult to break. 
Schaub also tried to piggyback off Church members’ progressive natures. In one ad, Schaub noted that “all progressive Wards are buying” his particular sacrament service.  In most other ads, Schaub asked, “Is your ward up-to-date?” 
Interestingly, members continued using cups sold by outside companies. Even though advertisements of these other companies did not appear in Church periodicals right away, the Schaub ads suggest major competition with outside manufacturers. For example, by the end of 1914, Schaub acknowledged a market in sacrament cups and advertised his as “the most easily and most quickly filled” set of them all. However, Schaub continued losing business to other companies selling sacrament sets. By 1915, the Schaub ads had to reassure customers that they were “still on the market.” 
Even though the Schaub cups were endorsed by the First Presidency, members made objections to them because they did not “meet the wishes of the bishops” with regard to sanitation.  For example, the Schaub sacrament cups were prepared in tall rows and placed in deep tanks that were filled with water. These tanks, though they effectively filled the cups quickly, were deep and skinny, making them hard to clean. Priesthood leaders consequently stored clean cups in unclean containers. Also, when the cups were washed, they would be stacked one on top of the other, guaranteeing contact between the part touched by members during the service and the inside of another cup.  Thus, Schaub was already losing business prior to the approaching Spanish flu.
The Flu Pandemic of 1918–20
At the end of World War I, servicemen returned home to various parts of the world, spreading what became known as the Spanish Influenza. Like most flu, the Spanish Influenza consisted of a cough and headache, “followed by intense chills and a fever that could quickly hit 104 degrees.” Along with these typical symptoms, “deep brown spots would appear on a victim's cheeks and a thick, bloody fluid would begin to overwhelm his lungs” and sometimes “drown” them.  One doctor reported, “The first case of influenza would occur, and then within the next few hours or days a large proportion—and occasionally every single individual of that community—would be stricken down with the same type of febrile illness, the rate of spread from one to another being remarkable.”  The disease eventually killed 21,000,000 people worldwide including “approximately 675,000 Americans”—ten times as many as World War I did. 
The disease effectively shut down much of the United States, including Utah. For example, in October 1918, the Utah Board of Health directed a ban on all public gatherings, including theater performances, school classes, and religious services. Public health officials advised Utah citizens to wear protective masks over their mouths. Whole cities were quarantined. Some cities, like Ogden, only allowed people to enter with a doctor’s notice. 
However, even after the ban of public gatherings, the disease spread within Utah, and 1,500 cases and 117 deaths were reported in just four weeks. 
On November 19, 1918, President Joseph F. Smith died of pneumonia—a lung inflammation caused by the influenza virus. Religious services were still banned at the time of his death, and no public funeral was held.  Heber J. Grant was not sustained until June 1919, the Spanish Influenza having delayed the Church’s semi-annual general conference in April. This conference in June was held outdoors as a precaution against the flu epidemic. 
The influenza outbreak proved to be a wake-up call to the Church. Before Heber J. Grant, the First Presidency had been reluctant to change the administration of the sacrament and dismiss the use of the common goblet. They slowly implemented the individual cups over six years between 1912 and 1918, but the cups had hardly spread outside of Salt Lake City.  However, the Church immediately took a different position on the use of individual sacrament cups after the passing of Joseph F. Smith.
Prior to being sustained as President of the Church, Heber J. Grant served on the board of directors and as vice president of the Utah Public Health Association. He was progressive by nature, diligently campaigning for “better city ordinances and state laws on the question of proper sanitary conditions.”  During the June 1919 general conference, Grant revealed that over 1,000 members had died from the influenza outbreak in just nine months.  Later statistics showed that over 2,600 Utahns alone died from the disease between 1918 and 1919.  Additionally, both Grant’s father, Jedediah M. Grant, as well as his immediate predecessor, President Joseph F. Smith, died of contagious diseases, and although their illnesses were not directly linked to the common sacrament cup, Grant had more motivation than anyone before to make the ordinance more sanitary and to accelerate the spread of individual cups Church-wide.
The ban on religious meetings was the nail in the coffin for Jacob Schaub and his business. Schaub was already losing business to outside manufacturers before the influenza pandemic, but with the ban on religious services, particularly on sacrament meetings, Schaub went bankrupt. Once meetings resumed, an explosion of advertisements began appearing in Church periodicals of companies promoting improved sacrament cups. These companies competed until the Church began selling their own sacrament sets at distribution centers in the 1950s. 
The administration of the sacrament continued evolving over time and is still being perfected today; for instance, hand sanitizer recently replaced hand wipes for those breaking the bread. Nevertheless, substantial changes first took place during the Progressive Era for the sake of sanitation. No longer do Church members drink from the same cup as those who “had recently been chewing peppermint, or had eaten onions or fish.” 
 Seymour B. Young, “Public Drinking Cups and Sacramental Service,” Deseret Evening News, February 7, 1912.
 “Murray First Ward, Granite Stake Petition, 1916,” LR 5888 31, Church History Library, Salt Lake City Utah.
 Sherilyn Cox Bennion, “The Salt Lake Sanitarian: Medical Adviser to the Saints,” Utah Historical Quarterly 57, no. 2 (1989): 129.
 Daniel Eli Burnstein, Next to Godliness: Confronting Dirt and Despair in Progressive Era New York City (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 37.
 Cited in Burnstein, Next to Godliness, 37.
 Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–1886), 14:109.
 Bennion, “Sanitarian,” 131.
 Bennion, “Sanitarian,” 132, 137.
 Bennion, “Sanitarian,” 136.
 See Heather Munro Prescott, “From Oral Health to Perfect Smiles: Advertising and Children’s Oral Health,” presented at The Face of the Child: Surgeon General’s Conference on Children and Oral Health, June 12–13, 2001; Linda J. Rynbrandt, Caroline Bartlett Crane and Progressive Reform (New York: Garland, 1998), 57.
 Alvin Davison, “Slaughter of the Innocents,” The Technical World Magazine 11, no. 4 (June 1909): 345.
 Alvin Davison, “Death in School Drinking Cup,” The Technical World Magazine 9, no. 1 (March 1908): 629.
 Deseret Evening News, February 1, 1912.
 Young, “Public Drinking Cups and Sacramental Service.”
 See Howard S. Anders, “Prophylaxis in Churches Needed by the Adoption of Individual Communion Chalices or Cups,” Proceedings of the Philadelphia County Medical Society (Philadelphia:Dornan, 1894), 15:345–52.
 “A Defense of the ‘Individual Cup’,” Literary Digest 17, no. 4 (July 1898): 110.
 Thomas E. Woods, The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 57.
 Woods, Church Confronts Modernity, 54.
 William A. Hyde, “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” Improvement Era, May 1911, 569.
 Hyde, “Lord’s Supper,” 578.
 James L. Jacobs, “Sacrament at Conference,” Saga of the Sanpitch 15 (1983): 8.
 Irwin Clawson to Clarence E. Nelson, March 16, 1954, MS 257, Box 3, Folder 3, Helen Clawson Wells Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.
 Hyde, “Lord’s Supper,” 579.
 Jacobs, “Sacrament at Conference,” 8–9.
 Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977), 55–56.
 Hyde, “Lord’s Supper,” 569.
 Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 29, 1897, 2.
 MS 257, Box 3, Folder 3, Helen Clawson Wells Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.
 Irwin Clawson to Richard L. Evans, March 22, 1954, MS 257, Box 3, Folder 3, Helen Clawson Wells Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.
 Ms 257, Box 3, Folder 3, Helen Clawson Wells Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.
 Ibid.; see also Ruby K. Smith, One Hundred Years in the Heart of Zion (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1961), 76.
 Deseret Sunday School Union General Minutes, March 19, 1912, Church History Library.
 Deseret Sunday School Union Book Store advertisement, Improvement Era, June 1912.
 “Jacob Schaub Communion Service Application,” United States Patent Office, May 8, 1912.
 Deseret Sunday School Union Book Store advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, April 1914.
 Deseret Sunday School Union Book Store advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, July 1914.
 Deseret Sunday School Union Book Store advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, January 1915.
 Daynes Jewelry Company advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, October 1921.
 Deseret Sunday School Union Book Store advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, September 1914; see also “Figure A” on “Jacob Schaub Communion Service Application.”
 John Galvin, “Spanish Flu Pandemic: 1918,” Popular Mechanics, July 31, 2007, 1.
 A. A. Hoehling, The Great Epidemic (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1961), 18.
 Leonard J. Arrington, “The Influenza Epidemic of 1918– 19 in Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 58, no. 2 (Spring 1990): 166.
 “The Great Pandemic: Utah,” The United States Department of Health and Human Services, accessed October 10, 2010 http://1918.pandemicflu.gov/your_state/utah.htm. See also Conference Report, June 1919.
 Arrington, “Influenza Epidemic in Utah,” 167.
 Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker, A Book of Mormons (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1982).
 Conference Report, June 1919.
 Apparently, some wards were not getting the memo about individual sacrament cups, because in March 1916, the Murray First Ward of Granite Stake—a ward near Salt Lake City—wrote to Church headquarters, complaining about the common cup in the sacrament service and petitioning to be reimbursed for buying individual sacrament cups from local manufacturers; see Murray First Ward, Granite Stake Petition, 1916, LR 5888 31, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.
 As cited in Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 196.
 Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, June 1919.
 William G. Hartley, “The Church Grows in Strength,” Ensign, September 1999, 35.
 Daynes Jewelry Company advertisement, Juvenile Instructor, October 1921; in Conference Report, October 1955, 16.
 Irwin Clawson to Richard L. Evans, March 22, 1954, MS 257, Box 3, Folder 3, Helen Clawson Wells Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.