The baptismal font of the Washington Temple is similar to those provided in other Latter-day Saint temples, all of which follow the same general design as the one built in the Nauvoo Temple in 1841. The font in the Washington Temple is made of white marble cast stone with a stainless steel liner for easy maintenance. Others have been carved out of wood or stone or cast in bronze.
Temple baptismal fonts are for the sacred purpose of baptizing for the dead, as it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith by the Lord:
“For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for the dead.” (D&C 124:29.)
Resembling the “molten sea” or brazen laver (brass basin) of Solomon’s Temple (see 1 Kgs. 7:23–36), all Latter-day Saint baptismal fonts are supported on the backs of twelve oxen statutes that symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel. Anciently, the oxen supporting the font basin were arranged so that three faced east, three west, three north, and three south.