Chapter 21: Ordinances

"Chapter 21: Ordinances," Part Six: The Church of Jesus Christ, ()


What can men and boys do with the priesthood?

With the Priesthood, Men Have the Same Authority to Perform Ordinances That Jesus Had

Ordinances are sacred ceremonies performed by those who have been given the authority of the priesthood. Baptism, confirmation, laying hands upon the sick to heal them, and blessing and giving the sacrament are some of the ordinances.

When Jesus was on the earth, He performed ordinances to help people. He healed the sick and made the blind to see. He made the deaf able to hear and even brought the dead back to life. He gave the sacrament to His followers.

Jesus has given to men who hold the priesthood the power and authority to perform ordinances. Worthy men and boys who hold the priesthood can perform ordinances. They perform the ordinances to bless us and help us to become like our Father in Heaven. The ordinances help us prepare to return and live with Him.

Because Jesus has given the priesthood to men on earth today, we can receive many blessings in our lives. We can be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be sealed with our families forever.

Quorum presidents should teach the members of their quorums how to perform ordinances. If a man who has the priesthood is to perform an ordinance and does not know how, he should ask his quorum president to teach him.

Discussion

  • Why are ordinances performed?

Ordinances Are Performed to Help Us

Baptism

Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before being baptized, people must have faith in Jesus, repent of their sins, and want to do the things that Jesus taught.

Only a person who has the priesthood can baptize others. To baptize any person, he must have permission from his bishop or branch president. The person who baptizes walks down into the water with the person to be baptized. The person who is baptizing calls the one to be baptized by name and says a short prayer. He then puts the person being baptized completely under the water and brings him or her out of the water again.

The prayer that the person says is: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Discussion

  • What is the first ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Giving the Gift of the Holy Ghost

After a person is baptized, men who have the Melchizedek Priesthood put their hands on the person’s head, and one of them says a special prayer. In that prayer, they confirm the person a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and say to him or her, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” This means that the person receives the right to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost always, as the person honestly tries to obey Jesus’ commandments. This giving of the gift of the Holy Ghost is the second ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then the one who is performing the ordinance gives the person a blessing that is inspired by the Holy Ghost. Men must have the permission of their bishop or branch president to give a person the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Discussion

  • Who can give the gift of the Holy Ghost?

Ordination to the Priesthood

Giving a man the priesthood is an ordinance. It must be done by other men who have the priesthood. They must have the permission of the bishop or branch president to give the Aaronic Priesthood, and of the stake president to give the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is a great honor for a man or boy to receive the priesthood. Those who keep the promises they make when they receive the priesthood will have the priesthood forever.

Discussion

  • Who can give the priesthood to others?

The Sacrament

A person who has the priesthood says a prayer to bless some bread and some water. Then he or another person who has the priesthood gives to the members of the Church a piece of the bread to eat and some of the water to drink. This is called the sacrament. The sacrament is an ordinance.

The bread and water are symbols of Jesus’ flesh and blood. They help us remember that He sacrificed* His life for us. We should remember His love for us. We should be thankful He has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and live again with our Father in Heaven.

Each time we take the sacrament, we make again the promises that we made to our Father in Heaven when we were baptized. We promise again that we will always remember Jesus, that we are willing to be called by His name, and that we will always obey His commandments. Before we take the sacrament, we should repent of the wrong things that we have done and think about the promises we have made.

Our Father in Heaven promises us that if we do the things we promised to do, He will send the Holy Ghost to be with us always.

Blessing of the Bread

Jesus has given us special prayers for the sacrament. This is the prayer for the bread:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

Blessing of the Water

This is the prayer for the water:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

Discussion

  • What is the sacrament?

  • What should we think about while the priesthood holders bless and pass the sacrament?

  • What promises do we make when we take the sacrament?

The Blessing of Children

Men who have the priesthood can bless babies, usually a few weeks after the babies are born. They must have the permission of the bishop or branch president to do this. The baby’s father can bless the baby if he has the Melchizedek Priesthood. If he does not have the Melchizedek Priesthood, he cannot bless the baby or be in the circle with men who bless the baby. He can ask someone who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to bless the baby. The father, if he holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and is worthy, or another person who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, holds the baby in his arms, assisted by others who must also hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, and says a prayer. In the prayer, he addresses our Father in Heaven, says he performs the ordinance by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and gives the baby a name that is chosen by the parents. He then blesses the baby as the Holy Ghost inspires him.

Discussion

  • What does a person who has the Melchizedek Priesthood do when he blesses a baby?

The Blessing of Sick People

When people become sick, they can ask men who have the Melchizedek Priesthood to bless them. First, one of the priesthood holders anoints the sick person. He does this by putting a small amount of consecrated oil on the person’s head, then putting his hands on the person’s head and saying a special prayer. After this, the priesthood holders put their hands on the person’s head, and one of them seals the anointing and blesses the person as he is inspired by the Holy Ghost. Many people have felt better or have been healed of their sickness when they have received this priesthood blessing. The blessing of sick people is an ordinance.

The oil that is used to anoint sick people is consecrated for this purpose in another ordinance. To consecrate the oil, a man who has the Melchizedek Priesthood holds a small amount of it in an open container and says a special prayer.

A man who has the Melchizedek Priesthood does not need permission from a bishop, branch president, or stake president to perform these ordinances.

Discussion

  • Who can bless people when they are sick?

A Father Can Bless Members of His Family

A father who has the Melchizedek Priesthood can bless members of his family. He can do this when the family member is sick or otherwise in need of special help. He does not need permission from the bishop, branch president, or stake president to do this. The father puts his hands on the person’s head and says a prayer. In the prayer, he gives the person the blessings that the Holy Ghost tells him in his mind to give. Blessing family members is an ordinance.

Discussion

  • When can a father bless the members of his family?

Some Ordinances Are So Important That Everyone Must Receive Them

Some priesthood ordinances are necessary in order for a person to return and live with our Father in Heaven. Two of those ordinances are baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Men and boys also must receive the priesthood. The other ordinances, like blessings a father gives to members of his family, are performed when we need help and comfort.

Discussion

  • What are some ordinances?

  • What blessing does each one bring?

References

With the Priesthood, Men Have the Same Authority to Perform Ordinances That Jesus Had

Ordinances Are Performed to Help Us

  • Matthew 19:14–15 (Jesus blessed the little children.)

  • Matthew 26:26–28 (Jesus blessed the sacrament for His disciples.)

  • Acts 8:17 (The Apostles of Jesus gave the Holy Ghost.)

  • James 5:14 (The elders should put a small amount of oil on the head of a sick person and bless him or her.)

  • 3 Nephi 11:23–28 (The manner is given in which baptism is to be performed.)

  • Moroni 4; 5 (Jesus gave the prayers for blessing the sacrament to people who lived long ago.)

  • Moroni 6:1–3 (The requirements are given for those who are to receive baptism.)

Some Ordinances Are So Important That Everyone Must Receive Them