Ordinance (Mormonism)

From Academic Kids

In Mormonism, an ordinance is a religious ritual of special significance, often involving a covenant with God. Ordinances are usually performed by members of the priesthood.

There are numerous Mormon ordinances, many of which are also practiced by other Christian denominations. For example, many Mormons practice:

Other ordinances include ordaining members to the priesthood, patriarchal blessings, blessing and anointing of the sick, blessing of homes, dedication of church buildings and temples, and blessings of newborn children.

In addition, some Mormon ordinances are usually associated with and performed in temples. These ordinances include the Endowment and sealings.

Temple ordinances

Missing image
Chicago Illinois Temple in Glenview, Illinois was dedicated in 1985. Its design was revolutionary for Mormon temples, adapting the traditional six-spire design with modern motifs.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there are some ordinances, including the Endowment and sealings that are performed only in temples.

The Endowment is a sacred and confidential ceremony in which the patron is washed and anointed, followed by an instructional phase relating to what Mormons view as humanity's relation to God and God's creation of the Earth. See Endowment (Mormonism).

Sealings are ceremonies in which husband is bound to wife, and children to parents, for all eternity. See Sealing (Mormonism).

In addition, after Latter-day Saints enter the temple and receive temple ordinances for themselves, they may return and perform similar ordinances on behalf of their deceased ancestors. These and several other ordinances may be performed vicariously or by "proxy" in behalf of the dead, and Latter-day Saints believe that it is up to the deceased to accept or reject the ordinance in the spirit world. Ordinances that may be performed on behalf of the dead include the following:

Ordinances on behalf of the dead are performed when a deceased person's genealogical information has been submitted to the temple. Latter-day Saints complete Genealogical work for deceased persons and if it is determined an individual has not received any of the above listed ordinances by a Church Priesthood authority, their name is submitted to the temple to receive these ordinances by proxy. Optimally, the proxy who stands in will be a descendant of the deceased person, but may also be done by an unrelated volunteer. Baptism is typically a prerequisite for other ordinances. President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

"And so these sacred buildings [temples] are scenes of tremendous activity, quietly and reverently carried forward. They call to mind a part of the vision of John the Revelator wherein are recorded this question and this answer: 'What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?...
"'These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
"'Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.'" (Revelation 7:13-15). Tambuli, June 1992, page 3.

Latter-day Saints believe deceased non-Mormons are in a condition or state typically referred to as Spirit Prison and may be taught the gospel. Latter-day Saints believe that Christ went to the righteous spirits in prison and organized a great missionary force to teach the gospel to the dead (see D&C 138 (http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/138),1 Peter 3:18-20 (http://scriptures.lds.org/1_pet/3/18-20#18), and 1 Peter 4:6 (http://scriptures.lds.org/1_pet/4/6#6)).

This doctrine is similar in some respects to the Roman Catholic teaching of Purgatory although the difference between the two concepts is more considerable than their similarities. In the Spirit Prison, non-Mormons are believed to be exposed to Church doctrines and have the opportunity to accept or decline these teachings as well as any vicarious ordinances done on their behalf.


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