Ordinances in Mormonism
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Guide to the Scriptures states that ordinances are “sacred rites and ceremonies. Ordinances consist of acts that have spiritual meanings. Ordinances can also mean God’s laws and statutes.”The ordinances that are performed by the Mormon Church are:
- Administration to the sick (see James 5:14-15)
- Blessing the sacrament (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79)
- Baptism by immersion (see Matthew 3:16; Doctrine and Covenants 20:72-74)
- Blessing of children (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:70)
- Giving the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:68; 33:15)
- Being ordained to offices of the priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:6-16; 107:41-52)
- Temple ordinances such as washings and anointing and the endowment (see Doctrine and Covenants 124:39)
- Marriage in the temple (see Doctrine and Covenants 132: 19-20)
Since the creation of the earth, God’s children have always been expected to participate in these sacred ordinances. Ezekiel 11:20 states, “walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances.” The Church continues to do this and firmly believes that ordinances are essential to salvation: “All mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see Article of Faith number 3).
Bringing these saving ordinances to all mankind is the mission of the Church. Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander gave these three statements about the mission of the Church:
Proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and preparing them to receive the ordinances and covenants of the gospel.
Perfecting the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances and covenants of the gospel, and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation.
Redeeming the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth (“Ordinances and Covenants,” Liahona, Nov. 2001, 16).
Notice that each statement of the Church’s mission includes the word “ordinances.” Ordinances are a fundamental part of Mormon belief. Ordinances are important because through them an individual can become better acquainted with God. Doctrine and Covenants section 84:19-21 says,
And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.
Mormon doctrine teaches that participating in ordinances allows us to better understand the order in God’s kingdom. We also better understand the Atonement, forgiveness, and the plan of salvation by participating worthily in ordinances. Ordinances performed with true authority are binding in heaven as well as on earth, and if the participant in those ordinances endures to the end in worthiness, the Lord cannot withhold any promised blessing.