In religion, rituals are a big part of religious life. They allow people to put their beliefs into practice. According to Google ritual means “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.” Some religions have many rituals, while others only have a few.
In this article, rituals will be defined as a religious or solemn ceremony followed by members of a church. Also, this article will try to describe the process and meaning of the rituals that are major and official rituals. Here are the rituals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
As a little background, men holding the priesthood perform the rituals for the church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints limits who receives the priesthood to men of good standing in the church. Members consider the priesthood the authority given by God to perform these rituals. Only those with the priesthood can pass on the priesthood, and even then they have to have received permission to do it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints blesses newborn babies and gives them a name. This blessing does not act as baptism. The blessing acts more as a protection for the young babies. Men of the family and friends, invited by the parents, gather in a circle around the baby. One of them, generally the father or close family member or friend, gives the name and blessing to the name. As each child is different, each blessing is different, only the way it is done stays the same. According to members, you don’t have to receive a baby blessing for salvation.
The youngest age a person can get baptized is 8 years old. All people 8 and older may be baptized. Baptism acts as the official entry into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Baptism acts as a symbol of removing the old life and starting a life of following the commandments of God. To members, baptism starts them on the path to salvation.
A priesthood holder performs the baptism, generally a family member. During the baptism, the baptizer leads the person into the water about waist high. Usually, this can be done in a baptismal font in a church building. The font looks like a large standing bathtub with steps on each side and an angled mirror above it for those watching. If necessary any pool of water will suffice.
Once they have entered the water, the baptizer raises his right hand and pronounces the baptismal prayer. This prayer is short but has specific words that must be said. Other than the name of the person it stays the same for every baptism. At the end of the prayer, the baptizer lays the person completely under the water. The whole body must be immersed and covered in water. Two witnesses watch to make sure this happens. If any part is not covered then the baptizer repeats the prayer and immerses the person again. This is done until the words are said correctly and the person is completely immersed. Usually, it only takes one try.
After the baptism comes the confirmation. This ritual happens soon after the baptism. For children, it happens directly after the baptism. Newly baptized adults may have to wait until the church meeting after the baptism. Again a priesthood holder does the confirmation. The baptized person sits in a chair as the priesthood holders, generally family and close friends, circle around the person. They place a hand on the baptized person’s head, then one person offers the confirmation.
The confirmation consists of telling the person to receive the Holy Ghost and then a blessing. Members believe that the third member of the Godhead may dwell with members and help them make correct decisions. After baptism, if the person continues trying to follow the commandments, they can have the Holy Ghost to help them. Again the words of the blessing portion may change depending on the person. The only thing said the same is the command to receive the Holy Ghost.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has many rituals. For most members, they are a normal part of life. This article will probably be split into several sections in order to include as many rituals as possible. Even then, a few might be missed. Still, the ones listed are among the most common.