Religious/Ritual Practice

Rituals are called ordinances. These are physical actions that symbolise spiritual experience or convey spiritual significance. They are performed by someone with priesthood authority. There are two types of ordinance: those necessary for salvation or exaltation and those performed to comfort and guide people. Exaltation ordinances include baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, and conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood (for men only), Temple endowment, and Temple marriage. These are considered necessary for salvation and are also called ‘saving ordinances’. They involve entering a solemn covenant with the Lord. Ordinances for comfort and guidance include the naming and blessing of children, administering to the sick, patriarchal blessings (blessings for long-range life guidance performed by a patriarch), fathers’ blessings for their children, blessings of guidance and comfort, and the dedication of graves. These formal blessings are ordinances performed under priesthood authority. They involve the laying on of hands by the member of the priesthood, the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ and the authority of the level of priesthood, and then words of blessing as inspired by the Holy Ghost.

The Temple ordinances are key to the greatest blessings available. They can only take place in Temples, are reserved for ‘worthy’ members, and include washing and anointing, endowment, sealing of families including adopted children, and proxy ordinances. Washing and anointing is an initiatory ritual that cleanses and sanctifies the person in preparation for the further Temple ordinances of endowment and marriage. Men and women are symbolically washed and anointed by members of their own gender in separate ceremonies. After the ceremony, they receive their white Temple garments. Endowments were revealed exclusively to Joseph Smith, and form a set of rituals that are unique to Mormons. The Temple endowment involves receiving instruction in the Temple concerning God’s plan for salvation and participants make covenants with God, promising truthfulness, purity, righteous service, and devotion. Temple endowment is an initiation ceremony in which members make pledges called covenants affirming those made in baptism. Sealing rituals are those that ‘seal’ in heaven relationships formed on earth, principally a man and a woman in marriage, all children born and unborn, and any they adopt, for eternity. It is also called Temple marriage. Proxy ordinances are those performed on behalf of the dead, who did not have the opportunity to learn of the restored Gospel in life. Temple ordinances are considered necessary for eternal life, which is why Mormons consider proxy ordinances in Temples as important acts of service, faith, and personal renewal that convey gifts and opportunities on those who did not have these opportunities for the ordinances during their life.

Sunday, the Mormon Sabbath, usually includes attending a three-hour block of services in churches and meeting houses. The most important of these is the sacrament meeting, which involves the taking of the sacrament as a renewal of personal covenants, and receiving spiritual instruction. The sacrament meeting is the heart of Sunday activity, it lasts about 70 minutes, and involves the whole community, including children. Those who have been baptised receive bread and water, in remembrance of the Last Supper and the Atonement of Jesus Christ as well as their own baptismal promises to serve the Lord and keep his commandments. The service is informal in the sense that it is conducted by lay members of the congregation. However, those who attend will dress smartly and respectfully for services. Non-Mormons are welcome to attend. There are many other social activities throughout the week but no other worship services. These are community events that support and integrate the congregation as a community. Other Sunday meetings include a Sunday School and priesthood and Relief Society meetings.

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Church Of Jesus Christ Of LDS


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