Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Note on Ordination, Ordinances

All of us know ordinations and ordinances are vital to our salvation and exaltation. We have often defined ordinances in our various church meetings as sacred acts which, when performed properly, contribute to our salvation. Ordinations are necessary to pass along a priesthood office or calling.

This general understanding of ordinances and ordinations are correct. There are certain ordinances, such as baptism, which we must have for salvation; and there is a certain connection to the priesthood required for exaltation. Keeping this in mind, Elder Packer teaches: "Remember, the word order means to put in rows or in proper relationship. Ordaining is the process of doing it, and ordinance is the ceremony by which it is done" (The Holy Temple, 217).

Ordination, then, is the process of putting things into proper relationship and ordinances are the ceremony by which this relationship organization is performed. More specifically, through ordinations and ordinances each of us may be put into our proper relationship with God and with our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is done piece by piece, bit by bit, ordinance by ordinance until we become "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17).

If this is true, than ordinances such as sacraments, baptisms, endowments and marriage are more than symbolic expressions of faith and devotion; on the contrary, these are also the practical means by which we are justified, restored and sealed to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and our heavenly family. No wonder we are required to extend these blessings to both the living and the dead, for how could a person without these ordinances expect to return to their Heavenly Father?

It becomes us as Latter-day Saints to do all we can to help in this great work putting the family of God into their proper relationship with their Heavenly Father. We can do this through missionary work, temple attendance and teaching our families. The Lord has promised us that as we do all we can for the salvation of others we will also bring salvation to our own souls (Mark 8:35-37). Let us all do all we can for this great cause.


  1. For me, the key to ordinances is given in D&C 84:20-21. Through the ordinances of the gospel, the power of God is made manifest to men and women. It's the intersection of heavenly power in our lives.

    Ordinances are, I've been taught, physical actions that signify convenants made between us and God.

  2. Sorry -- meant also to add that I think your post is consistant with that understanding.