Handbooks and Callings
    18. Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings
    Footnotes
    Theme

    “18. Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).

    “18. Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings,” General Handbook.

    18.

    Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings

    18.0

    Introduction

    Ordinances and blessings are sacred acts performed by the authority of the priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ. As priesthood holders perform ordinances and blessings, they follow the Savior’s example of blessing others. Priesthood ordinances and blessings provide access to God’s power (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:20).

    Ordinances and blessings are to be performed with faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and according to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Leaders ensure that they are performed with proper approval (where necessary), with the required priesthood authority, in the proper way, and by worthy participants (see 18.3).

    For policies on priesthood ordinances and blessings, see 38.2.

    18.1

    Ordinances of Salvation and Exaltation

    The priesthood includes the authority to administer gospel ordinances that are necessary for salvation and exaltation. People make sacred covenants with God as they receive these ordinances. The ordinances of salvation and exaltation are listed below:

    • Baptism

    • Confirmation and gift of the Holy Ghost

    • Conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordination to an office (for men)

    • Temple endowment

    • Temple sealing

    The ordinances of salvation and exaltation are not performed for persons who have intellectual disabilities that make them not accountable and unable to make covenants with God. Nor are these ordinances performed for children who die before age 8. These persons are “saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 137:10; see also Moroni 8:8–12).

    18.2

    Other Ordinances and Blessings

    Other ordinances and blessings make it possible for God’s children to receive His power, healing, comfort, and guidance. These ordinances and blessings are listed below:

    • Naming and blessing children

    • The sacrament

    • Conferral of the Aaronic Priesthood and ordination to an office (for young men and men)

    • Setting apart members to serve in callings

    • Consecrating oil

    • Administering to the sick

    • Blessings of comfort and counsel, including father’s blessings

    • Dedicating homes

    • Dedicating graves

    • Patriarchal blessings by ordained patriarchs

    18.3

    Participation in an Ordinance or Blessing

    Those who perform or participate in an ordinance or blessing must have the necessary priesthood authority and be worthy. Generally, the standard of worthiness is that associated with holding a temple recommend. However, as guided by the Spirit and the instructions in this chapter, bishops and stake presidents may allow fathers and husbands who hold the necessary priesthood office to perform or participate in some ordinances and blessings even if they are not fully temple worthy. A priesthood holder who has unresolved serious sins should not participate.

    Generally, only priesthood leaders and other priesthood holders who are close family members and friends participate in an ordinance or blessing.

    When only one or two priesthood holders participate, each of them places both hands lightly on the person’s head. When several participate, they stand in a circle around the person receiving the ordinance or blessing. Each one places his right hand lightly on the person’s head (or under the baby) and his left hand on the shoulder of the brother to his left. One acts as voice to perform the ordinance or give the blessing.

    Performing or receiving some ordinances and blessings requires approval from a presiding leader who holds the necessary priesthood keys (see 3.4.1). Approval may also come from someone he has authorized, such as one of his counselors. See the following charts.

    Which Leaders Hold Keys to Give Approval to Perform or Receive the Ordinances of Salvation and Exaltation?

    Ordinance

    Who Holds Keys

    Ordinance

    Baptism

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop (for 8-year-old children who are members of record)

    Mission president (for converts)

    Ordinance

    Confirmation and gift of the Holy Ghost

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop (for 8-year-old children who are members of record)

    Mission president (for converts)

    Ordinance

    Conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordination to an office (for men)

    Who Holds Keys

    Stake president

    Ordinance

    Temple endowment

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop and stake president

    Ordinance

    Temple sealing

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop and stake president

    Which Leaders Hold Keys to Give Approval to Perform or Receive Other Ordinances and Blessings?

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Who Holds Keys

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Naming and blessing children

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop

    Ordinance or Blessing

    The sacrament

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Conferral of the Aaronic Priesthood and ordination to an office (for young men and men)

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Setting apart members to serve in callings

    Who Holds Keys

    See the “Chart of Callings” (30.7)

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Consecrating oil

    Who Holds Keys

    Approval not needed

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Administering to the sick

    Who Holds Keys

    Approval not needed

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Blessings of comfort and counsel, including father’s blessings

    Who Holds Keys

    Approval not needed

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Dedicating homes

    Who Holds Keys

    Approval not needed

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Dedicating graves

    Who Holds Keys

    The priesthood leader who presides over the service

    Ordinance or Blessing

    Patriarchal blessings

    Who Holds Keys

    Bishop

    18.4

    Ordinances for Minor Children

    A minor child may be blessed, baptized, confirmed, ordained to a priesthood office, or set apart to a calling only with the consent of (1) parents who have a legal right to participate in the decision or (2) legal guardians. For questions about the legal rights of noncustodial parents, the bishop or stake president seeks legal advice from the Church’s Office of General Counsel or from the area office (see 38.8.26).

    For guidelines about baptizing and confirming minor children, see 38.2.3.6.

    18.5

    Ordinances Performed for and by Persons Who Have Disabilities

    See 38.2.1.8 and 38.2.1.9.

    18.6

    Naming and Blessing Children

    “Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:70).

    Children are typically named and blessed during fast and testimony meeting in the ward where their parents reside. If the parents do not reside together, the ordinance is usually performed in the ward where the child will primarily live.

    Exceptions to the typical place of the child’s blessing must be approved by the bishop. Possible exceptions include blessings not on fast Sunday, especially in wards with many new babies; blessings in another ward where the child’s grandparents or many family members live; and blessings in the home.

    18.6.1

    Who Gives the Blessing

    The ordinance of naming and blessing a child is performed by Melchizedek Priesthood holders, in conformity with Doctrine and Covenants 20:70. Priesthood leaders inform members of this before their children are named and blessed. Leaders should make every effort to avoid embarrassment or offense to individuals or families.

    A person or family who desires that a child receive a name and a blessing coordinates the ordinance with the bishop. He holds the priesthood keys for naming and blessing children in the ward.

    A bishop may allow a father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to name and bless his child even if the father is not fully temple worthy (see 18.3). Bishops encourage fathers to prepare themselves to bless their own children.

    To act as voice in blessing a child, a person who is outside his own ward must show a current temple recommend to the presiding leader. Or he may show a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance signed by a member of his bishopric.

    18.6.2

    Instructions

    Under the direction of the bishopric, Melchizedek Priesthood holders gather in a circle to name and bless a child. They place their hands under a baby, or they place their hands lightly on an older child’s head. Then the one acting as voice:

    1. Addresses Heavenly Father as in prayer.

    2. States that the blessing is being performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Gives the child a name.

    4. Addresses the child.

    5. Gives a blessing to the child as guided by the Spirit.

    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.6.3

    Child Record Form and Blessing Certificate

    Before a child is blessed, a clerk uses the Leader and Clerk Resources system to prepare a Child Record Form. After the blessing, he creates the membership record in that system and prepares a Blessing Certificate. This certificate is signed by the bishop and given to the child’s parents or guardians.

    The name on the membership record and certificate should match the birth certificate, civil birth registry, or current legal name.

    18.7

    Baptism

    Baptism by immersion in water by one having authority is necessary for a person to become a member of the Church and receive the Holy Ghost. All who seek exaltation must follow the example of the Savior by receiving these ordinances. (See Matthew 3:13–17; John 3:3–7; Acts 2:37–38; 2 Nephi 31:5–10.)

    18.7.1

    Approval for a Person to Be Baptized and Confirmed

    18.7.1.1

    Children Who Are Members of Record

    The bishop holds the priesthood keys for baptizing 8-year-old children who are members of record in a ward. These children should be baptized and confirmed on or as soon after their 8th birthday as is reasonable (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:27). These are children for whom Church membership records already exist (see 33.6.2). When they reach age 8, the bishop makes sure they have every opportunity to accept the gospel and be baptized and confirmed.

    The bishop or an assigned counselor conducts interviews for the baptism and confirmation of:

    • Children age 8 who are members of record.

    • Children age 8 who are not members of record but have at least one parent or guardian who is a member.

    Instructions for interviews are provided in 38.2.3.3. For information about filling out the Baptism and Confirmation Record, see 18.8.3.

    Bishops give special attention to 7-year-old children in the ward, ensuring that their parents, their Primary leaders and teachers, and those who minister to their families help them prepare for baptism and confirmation. Elders quorum and Relief Society leaders also encourage parents to prepare their children for these ordinances.

    18.7.1.2

    Converts

    The mission president holds the priesthood keys for baptizing converts in a mission. Convert baptisms are defined as baptisms of:

    • Persons ages 9 and older who have never been baptized and confirmed.

    • Children ages 8 and older whose parents (1) are not members or (2) are being baptized and confirmed at the same time as the children.

    Full-time missionaries interview converts for baptism and confirmation. Instructions are provided in 38.2.3.3. For information about filling out the Baptism and Confirmation Record, see 18.8.3.

    18.7.2

    Baptismal Services

    A baptismal service should be simple, brief, and spiritually uplifting. It may include the following:

    1. Prelude music

    2. A brief welcome from the brother who is conducting the service

    3. An opening hymn and prayer

    4. One or two short messages on gospel subjects, such as baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost

    5. A musical selection

    6. The baptism

    7. A time of reverence while those who participated in the baptism change into dry clothes (hymns or Primary songs may be played or sung during this time)

    8. The confirmation of 8-year-old members of record; the confirmation of converts if determined by the bishop (see 38.2.3.2)

    9. Bearing of testimonies by new converts, if desired

    10. A closing hymn and prayer

    11. Postlude music

    When a baptismal service for 8-year-old children who are members of record involves only one ward, a member of the bishopric plans and conducts it. He may ask Primary leaders to help with planning.

    When a baptismal service for these children involves more than one ward, a member of the stake presidency or an assigned high councilor plans and conducts it. He may ask Primary leaders to help with planning. A member of the bishopric from each ward with a child being baptized should attend.

    Members should not request individual times for the baptism of a child. Nor should they prescribe the content of the service.

    Baptismal services for converts should be scheduled as soon as they have met the qualifications in 38.2.3.3. Baptism of a family member should not be delayed until a father can receive the priesthood and perform the baptism himself.

    Under the direction of the bishopric, the ward mission leader (if one is called) or the member of the elders quorum presidency who leads missionary work in the ward plans and conducts baptismal services for converts.

    18.7.3

    Who Performs the Ordinance

    The ordinance of baptism is performed by a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The person who performs a baptism must be approved by the bishop (or by the mission president if a full-time missionary is performing the baptism).

    A bishop may allow a father who is a priest or a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to baptize his child even if the father is not fully temple worthy (see 18.3). Bishops encourage fathers to prepare themselves to baptize their own children.

    To perform a baptism, a person who is outside his own ward must show a current temple recommend to the presiding leader. Or he may show a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance signed by a member of his bishopric.

    18.7.4

    Where to Perform the Ordinance

    Baptisms should be performed in a baptismal font if one is available. If there is not a font, a safe body of water may be used. It should be large enough for both the person performing the ordinance and the person being baptized to stand in. Water is not dedicated for baptisms.

    If a font is used, it is scheduled through an assigned member in the agent bishop’s ward.

    For safety, a responsible adult must be present while a font is being filled and remain until it is drained, cleaned, and secured. The font should be drained immediately after each baptismal service. The doors to the font should be locked when it is not in use.

    18.7.5

    Clothing

    A person who performs a baptism and a person who is being baptized wear white clothing that is not transparent when wet. An endowed person wears the temple garment under this clothing while performing a baptism. Local units purchase baptismal clothing with budget funds and do not charge for its use.

    18.7.6

    Witnesses

    Two witnesses, approved by the presiding leader, observe each baptism to make sure it is performed properly. Baptized members of the Church, including children and youth, may serve as witnesses.

    A baptism must be repeated if the words are not spoken exactly as given in Doctrine and Covenants 20:73. It must also be repeated if part of the person’s body, hair, or clothing is not completely immersed.

    18.7.7

    Instructions

    To perform the ordinance of baptism, a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder:

    1. Stands in the water with the person being baptized.

    2. Holds the person’s right wrist with his left hand (for convenience and safety). The person being baptized holds the priesthood holder’s left wrist with his or her left hand.

    3. Raises his right arm to the square.

    4. States the person’s full name and says, “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:73).

    5. Has the person hold his or her nose with the right hand (for convenience); then places his right hand high on the person’s back and immerses the person completely, including clothing. Immersion is easier if the person bends his or her knees.

    6. Helps the person to come up out of the water.

    18.7.8

    Baptism Record

    For information about making a record of a baptism, see 18.8.3.

    18.8

    Confirmation and Gift of the Holy Ghost

    After a person is baptized, he or she is confirmed a member of the Church and receives the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:41; Acts 19:1–7). The person becomes a member of the Church after both of these ordinances are completed and properly recorded (see John 3:5; Doctrine and Covenants 33:11; 3 Nephi 27:20).

    The bishop holds the priesthood keys for confirming 8-year-old members of record in a ward. The mission president holds the keys for confirming converts in a mission (for a definition of a convert baptism, see 18.7.1.2). However, the bishop oversees this ordinance for 8-year-old children of record and for converts.

    Eight-year-old children are typically confirmed on the day they are baptized. Converts are typically confirmed in any sacrament meeting in the ward where they live, preferably on the Sunday after their baptism. However, the bishop may grant exceptions for converts to be confirmed at the baptismal service as explained in 38.2.3.2. Bishops should follow the guidelines in 29.2.2.8 when introducing new members.

    18.8.1

    Who Performs the Ordinance

    The ordinance of confirmation is performed by Melchizedek Priesthood holders. The one who acts as voice must be approved by the bishop (or by the mission president if a full-time missionary is performing the confirmation).

    Only a Melchizedek Priesthood holder who is temple worthy may act as voice for a confirmation. However, a bishop may allow a father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to stand in the circle for the confirmation of his child even if the father is not fully temple worthy (see 18.3).

    At least one member of the bishopric participates in this ordinance. When missionary elders have taught a convert, the bishop invites them to participate.

    To act as voice in this ordinance, a person who is outside his own ward must show a current temple recommend to the presiding leader. Or he may show a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance signed by a member of his bishopric.

    18.8.2

    Instructions

    Under the direction of the bishopric, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders may participate in a confirmation. They place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the one acting as voice:

    1. Calls the person by his or her full name.

    2. States that the ordinance is being performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Confirms the person a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    4. States “receive the Holy Ghost” (not “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”).

    5. Gives words of blessing as guided by the Spirit.

    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.8.3

    Baptism and Confirmation Record and Certificate

    Before a child who is a member of record is interviewed for baptism, a clerk uses the Leader and Clerk Resources system to prepare a Baptism and Confirmation Form. The bishop or an assigned counselor conducts the interview and signs the form. After the baptism and confirmation, a clerk uses this form to update the child’s membership record in the Leader and Clerk Resources system.

    When a full-time missionary interviews a convert for baptism, he fills out the Baptism and Confirmation Record except for the information about confirmation. At the baptismal service, the missionaries give this form to the bishop or one of his counselors. After the confirmation, the bishop, a counselor, or a clerk completes the confirmation information and gives two copies of the form to the missionaries. The missionaries send one copy to the mission office so a membership record can be created.

    After the membership record is created, a clerk prepares a Baptism and Confirmation Certificate. This certificate is signed by the bishop and given to the person.

    The name on the membership record and certificate should match the birth certificate, civil birth registry, or current legal name.

    18.9

    The Sacrament

    Church members meet on the Sabbath day to worship God and partake of the sacrament (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:75; 59:9; Moroni 6:5–6). During this ordinance, they partake of the bread and water to remember the Savior’s sacrifice of His flesh and blood and to renew their sacred covenants (see Matthew 26:26–28; Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 14:20–25; Luke 22:15–20; 3 Nephi 18; Moroni 6:6). Everyone should be reverent during the blessing and passing of the sacrament.

    18.9.1

    Approval to Administer the Sacrament

    The bishop holds the priesthood keys for administering the sacrament in the ward. All who participate in preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament must receive approval from him or someone under his direction.

    If members of his ward are unable to partake of the sacrament because they are confined to a home, care center, or hospital, the bishop may authorize priesthood holders to administer the sacrament to them. He may authorize this even if they are temporarily outside his ward boundaries. However, he may not authorize the sacrament to be given to members outside his ward boundaries in other circumstances.

    In rare circumstances, sacrament meeting might not be held for an extended time. In these situations, a bishop may authorize worthy priesthood holders in his ward to prepare and administer the sacrament in their homes each Sabbath. Bishops may also authorize them to prepare and administer the sacrament to ward members who do not have priesthood holders in their homes.

    When the bishop authorizes the sacrament to be prepared and administered outside of standard Church services, the instructions in 18.9.2 about who performs the ordinance still apply.

    18.9.2

    Who Performs the Ordinance

    • Teachers, priests, and Melchizedek Priesthood holders may prepare the sacrament.

    • Priests and Melchizedek Priesthood holders may bless the sacrament.

    • Deacons, teachers, priests, and Melchizedek Priesthood holders may pass the sacrament.

    When there are enough Aaronic Priesthood holders, they usually perform these duties. When there are not enough deacons to pass the sacrament, the deacons quorum president counsels with the bishop about whom to invite to assist. Generally, he asks teachers and priests to help before asking elders and high priests.

    18.9.3

    Guidelines for the Sacrament

    Because of the sacred nature of the sacrament, priesthood leaders should prepare carefully so it is orderly and reverent. Sacrament tablecloths should be white, clean, and pressed. Sacrament trays should be clean. Sacrament trays and cups should be ordered well in advance.

    Those who administer the sacrament should do so in a dignified manner, realizing that they are representing the Lord. The bishopric encourages them to ponder the Savior’s Atonement as they prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament.

    Those who administer the sacrament should be well groomed and clean. They should not wear clothing or jewelry that might detract from the worship and covenant making that are the purpose of the sacrament. If the bishop needs to counsel a priesthood holder about such matters, he does so with love. He also takes into account the person’s maturity in the Church.

    The passing of the sacrament should be natural and not overly formal. For example, certain actions (such as holding the left hand behind the back) or appearances (such as dressing alike) should not be required.

    The congregation sings a sacrament hymn while the bread is being broken. Vocal solos or instrumental music should not replace this hymn. No music should be played during the passing of the sacrament or immediately after.

    If members have gluten intolerance, they discuss with a member of the bishopric what adaptations to make for the sacrament. Members may provide allergen-free bread or another broken bread-like substitute in a sealed plastic bag or cup. They give this to a priesthood holder to place on a separate tray. The bishopric helps those who pass the sacrament know which members to whom the allergen-free item should be passed. The bishopric may modify the procedure as necessary.

    Although the sacrament is for members of the Church, nothing should be done to prevent others from partaking of it.

    18.9.4

    Instructions

    1. Those who prepare, bless, or pass the sacrament first wash their hands with soap or other cleanser.

    2. Teachers, priests, or Melchizedek Priesthood holders make sure that bread trays with unbroken bread, water trays with cups of clean water, and clean tablecloths are in place before the meeting.

    3. As ward members sing a sacrament hymn, those who will bless the sacrament reverently stand, remove the cloth that covers the bread trays, and break the bread into bite-sized pieces.

    4. After the hymn, the person blessing the bread kneels and says the sacrament prayer for the bread (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).

    5. The bishop makes sure the sacrament prayers are spoken clearly, accurately, and with dignity. If someone makes an error in the wording and corrects himself, no further correction is needed. If the person does not correct his error, the bishop kindly asks him to repeat the prayer. The bishop uses discretion when asking for the prayer to be repeated. He ensures that doing so does not cause undue embarrassment or detract from the ordinance. Another person at the sacrament table can help as needed.

    6. After the prayer, priesthood holders reverently pass the bread to the members. The presiding leader receives it first, after which there is no set order. Once a tray is handed to members, they may pass it to one another.

    7. Members partake with their right hand when possible.

    8. When the bread has been passed to all members, those passing the sacrament return the trays to the sacrament table. Those blessing the sacrament place a cloth over the bread trays and uncover the water trays.

    9. The person blessing the water kneels and says the sacrament prayer for the water (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:79). He substitutes the word water for wine.

    10. After the prayer, priesthood holders reverently pass the water to the members. The presiding leader receives it first, after which there is no set order.

    11. When the water has been passed to all members, those passing the sacrament return the trays to the sacrament table. Those who blessed the sacrament place a cloth over the trays, and those who blessed and passed the sacrament reverently take their seats.

    12. After the meeting, those who prepared the sacrament clean up, fold the tablecloths, and remove any unused bread.

    18.10

    Conferring the Priesthood and Ordaining to an Office

    There are two divisions of the priesthood: the Aaronic and Melchizedek (see 3.3; Doctrine and Covenants 107:1, 6). When the priesthood is conferred on a person, he is also ordained to an office in that priesthood. After either of these priesthoods has been conferred, a man need only be ordained to other offices in that priesthood.

    The stake president holds the priesthood keys for conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordaining to the offices of elder and high priest. However, the bishop usually provides recommendations for these ordinations.

    The bishop holds the priesthood keys for conferring the Aaronic Priesthood and ordaining to the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest. Worthy brethren are typically ordained to these offices at the following ages, but not earlier:

    • Deacon at the beginning of the year they turn 12

    • Teacher at the beginning of the year they turn 14

    • Priest at the beginning of the year they turn 16

    Instructions for recommending a person for ordination and presenting him for a sustaining vote are given in 38.2.5.1 and 38.2.5.2.

    18.10.1

    Who Performs the Ordinance

    The stake president or a Melchizedek Priesthood holder under his direction may ordain a man to the office of elder. Only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may stand in the circle.

    The stake president or a high priest under his direction may ordain a man to the office of high priest. Only high priests may stand in the circle.

    A person who ordains a man to a Melchizedek Priesthood office should be temple worthy. The stake president or someone he designates must be present.

    A priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder may ordain a brother to the office of deacon, teacher, or priest. He must be authorized by the bishop. The bishop or someone he designates must be present.

    To participate in an Aaronic Priesthood ordination, a person must be a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder.

    A bishop may allow a father who is a priest or a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to ordain his son to the office of deacon, teacher, or priest even if the father is not fully temple worthy (see 18.3). Bishops encourage fathers to prepare themselves to ordain their own sons.

    To act as voice in this ordinance, a person who is outside his own ward must show a current temple recommend to the presiding leader. Or he may show a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance signed by a member of his bishopric.

    18.10.2

    Instructions

    To confer the priesthood and ordain a person to a priesthood office, one or more authorized priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the one acting as voice:

    1. Calls the person by his full name.

    2. States the authority he holds to perform the ordinance (Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood).

    3. Confers the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood, unless it has already been conferred.

    4. Ordains the person to an office in the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood and bestows the rights, powers, and authority of that office. (Priesthood keys are not bestowed when conferring the priesthood or ordaining to an office, except when ordaining a bishop.)

    5. Gives words of blessing as guided by the Spirit.

    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    To ordain a person to a priesthood office after he has already had the appropriate priesthood conferred upon him, the person who performs the ordination omits step 3.

    An ordination is an opportunity to give a blessing. Detailed counsel and instruction about a person’s duties are given before and after the ordination. They should not be the focus of the blessing. It is not necessary to have prayers, testimonies, or instruction when someone is ordained.

    18.10.3

    Ordination Record and Certificate

    Before a man is interviewed to be ordained to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood, a clerk uses the Leader and Clerk Resources system to prepare a Melchizedek Priesthood Ordination Record. The stake president or an assigned counselor conducts the interview and signs the form if all worthiness conditions are met.

    After the ordination, the stake president or his assigned representative completes the form and gives it to a clerk. He records the ordination in the Leader and Clerk Resources system and prepares an ordination certificate. This certificate is signed by the stake president and given to the person.

    Before a brother is interviewed to be ordained to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood, a clerk uses the Leader and Clerk Resources system to prepare an Aaronic Priesthood Ordination Record. The bishop or an assigned counselor conducts the interview and signs the form if all worthiness conditions are met.

    After the ordination, the bishop or an assigned counselor completes the form and gives it to a clerk. He records the ordination in the Leader and Clerk Resources system and prepares an ordination certificate. This certificate is signed by the bishop and given to the person.

    A person’s current legal name should be used on the ordination record and certificate.

    18.11

    Setting Apart Members to Serve in Callings

    Members who are called and sustained to most Church positions should be set apart to serve in that position (see 3.4.3.1; John 15:16; Doctrine and Covenants 42:11). During the setting apart, the person is given (1) authority to act in the calling and (2) words of blessing as guided by the Spirit.

    Stake presidents, bishops, and quorum presidents receive keys of presidency when they are set apart (see 3.4.1.1). However, the word keys should not be used when setting apart members to serve in other callings, including counselors in presidencies.

    For information about calling, ordaining, and setting apart bishops, see 30.6.

    18.11.1

    Who Performs the Setting Apart

    A setting apart is performed by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. He must receive approval from the leader who holds the appropriate priesthood keys. Those who are authorized to perform a setting apart are indicated in the “Chart of Callings” (30.7). An elder should not act as voice or stand in the circle when a man is set apart to an office that requires him to be a high priest.

    Under the direction of the presiding leader, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders may participate in a setting apart. Presidents are set apart before their counselors.

    A presiding leader may allow a husband or father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to stand in the circle for the setting apart of his wife or children even if he is not fully temple worthy (see 18.3).

    18.11.2

    Instructions

    One or more authorized Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the one acting as voice:

    1. Calls the person by his or her full name.

    2. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Sets the person apart to the calling in the stake, ward, quorum, or class.

    4. Confers keys if the person should receive them.

    5. Gives words of blessing as guided by the Spirit.

    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    A setting apart is not a formal meeting with prayers or testimonies. Nor is it a time for giving detailed instructions. Those are given during training, not as part of the blessing.

    18.12

    Consecrating Oil

    Melchizedek Priesthood holders must consecrate olive oil before it is used to anoint the sick or afflicted (see James 5:14). No other oil may be used.

    Members should not consume consecrated oil or apply it on afflicted parts of the body.

    18.12.1

    Who Performs the Ordinance

    One or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders may consecrate oil. They do not need to seek approval from a priesthood leader.

    18.12.2

    Instructions

    To consecrate the oil, a Melchizedek Priesthood holder:

    1. Holds an open container of olive oil.

    2. Addresses Heavenly Father as in prayer.

    3. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    4. Consecrates the oil (not the container) and sets it apart for anointing and blessing the sick and afflicted.

    5. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.13

    Administering to the Sick

    Usually, administering to the sick should be done at the request of the person receiving the blessing or at the request of others who are concerned so the blessing will be according to their faith (see James 5:14; Doctrine and Covenants 24:13–14; 42:43–44, 48–52).

    Administering to the sick “by the laying on of hands” has two parts: anointing with oil and sealing the anointing with a blessing. If consecrated oil is not available, a blessing may be given by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood without an anointing.

    If a person requests more than one blessing for the same illness, another anointing is not necessary. A priesthood holder can give another blessing by the laying on of hands and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. However, another anointing may also be done.

    Priesthood holders who visit hospitals should not solicit opportunities to administer to the sick.

    18.13.1

    Who Gives the Blessing

    Only worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted. They do not need to seek approval from a priesthood leader. If possible, a father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood administers to sick members of his family.

    Normally, two or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders administer to the sick. However, one may perform both the anointing and sealing.

    18.13.2

    Instructions

    Administering to the sick has two parts: anointing with oil and sealing the anointing.

    Anointing with oil is done by one Melchizedek Priesthood holder. He:

    1. Puts a drop of consecrated oil on the person’s head.

    2. Places his hands lightly on the person’s head and calls the person by his or her full name.

    3. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    4. States that he is anointing with oil that has been consecrated for anointing and blessing the sick and afflicted.

    5. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    To seal the anointing, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the one who seals the anointing:

    1. Calls the person by his or her full name.

    2. States that he is sealing the anointing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Gives words of blessing as guided by the Spirit.

    4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.14

    Blessings of Comfort and Counsel, Including Father’s Blessings

    18.14.1

    Who Gives the Blessing

    Melchizedek Priesthood holders may give blessings of comfort and counsel to family members and to others who request them. These blessings are typically given by family members, ministering brothers, or priesthood leaders.

    A father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood may give father’s blessings to his children. These may be especially helpful when children go to school, go on missions, get married, enter military service, or face special challenges. Parents encourage their children to seek father’s blessings in times of need. Father’s blessings may be recorded for personal use.

    A Melchizedek Priesthood holder does not need to seek approval from a priesthood leader to give a blessing of comfort and counsel or a father’s blessing.

    18.14.2

    Instructions

    To give a blessing of comfort and counsel or a father’s blessing, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the one acting as voice:

    1. Calls the person by his or her full name.

    2. States that the blessing is being performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Gives words of blessing, comfort, and counsel as guided by the Spirit.

    4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.15

    Dedicating Homes

    Church members may have their homes dedicated by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Homes do not need to be owned or free of debt to be dedicated. Unlike Church buildings, homes are not consecrated to the Lord.

    18.15.1

    Who Performs the Dedication

    A home is dedicated by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. If there is not a Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the home:

    • A family may invite a close friend, relative, or ministering brother who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to dedicate the home. The person does not need to seek approval from a priesthood leader.

    • A family might gather and offer a prayer as guided by the Spirit. The prayer could include the elements mentioned in 18.15.2, number 3.

    18.15.2

    Instructions

    To dedicate a home, a Melchizedek Priesthood holder:

    1. Addresses Heavenly Father as in prayer.

    2. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Dedicates the home as a sacred place where the Holy Spirit can reside and gives other words as guided by the Spirit. For example, he might bless the home to be a place where family members can worship, find safety from the world, grow spiritually, and prepare for eternal family relationships.

    4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    18.16

    Dedicating Graves

    18.16.1

    Who Dedicates the Grave

    A person who dedicates a grave should hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and be authorized by the priesthood leader who conducts the service.

    If the family prefers, a graveside prayer may be offered instead of a dedicatory prayer. It may be offered by anyone the family chooses.

    To act as voice in dedicating a grave, a person who is outside his own ward must show a current temple recommend to the priesthood leader who presides over the service. Or he may show a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance signed by a member of his bishopric.

    18.16.2

    Instructions

    To dedicate a grave, a Melchizedek Priesthood holder:

    1. Addresses Heavenly Father as in prayer.

    2. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    3. Dedicates and consecrates the burial plot as the resting place for the body of the deceased.

    4. Prays that the place will be hallowed and protected until the Resurrection (where appropriate).

    5. Asks Heavenly Father to comfort the family and expresses thoughts as guided by the Spirit.

    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

    If a Church member’s body is cremated, the presiding leader uses his judgment to decide whether to dedicate the place where the ashes are kept. He takes into account the family’s wishes and local customs and laws. The brother who acts as voice adapts the instructions for dedicating a grave.

    18.17

    Patriarchal Blessings

    Every worthy, baptized member is entitled to receive a patriarchal blessing, which provides inspired direction from Heavenly Father (see Genesis 48:1449; 2 Nephi 4:3–11). Parents and Church leaders encourage members to prepare spiritually to obtain their patriarchal blessings.

    The bishop or an assigned counselor interviews members who desire to receive a patriarchal blessing. If the member is worthy, the interviewer prepares a Patriarchal Blessing Recommend. He submits it through the Patriarchal Blessing System on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

    18.17.1

    Receiving a Patriarchal Blessing

    After receiving a recommend, the member contacts the patriarch to set up an appointment to receive a patriarchal blessing. On the day of the appointment, the member should go to the patriarch with a prayerful attitude and in Sunday attire. Members may fast, but fasting is not required.

    Each patriarchal blessing is sacred, confidential, and personal. Therefore, it is given in private except for a limited number of family members who may be present.

    A person who receives a patriarchal blessing should treasure its words, ponder them, and live to be worthy to receive the promised blessings in this life and in eternity.

    Church members should not compare blessings and should not share them except with close family members. Patriarchal blessings should not be read in Church meetings or other public gatherings.

    If a patriarchal blessing does not include a declaration of lineage, the patriarch may later give an addendum to declare lineage.

    18.17.2

    Obtaining Copies of Patriarchal Blessings

    A person who has received a patriarchal blessing should carefully safeguard the printed copy. However, if this copy is lost or destroyed, the person may request a new one. He or she can make this request at Patriarchal Blessings on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. If this is not possible, the person contacts his or her bishop for assistance.

    18.17.3

    More Information

    For more information about patriarchal blessings, see 38.2.12 and “Patriarchal Blessings.”

    18.18

    Temple Endowment and Sealing

    For information on the temple endowment and sealing ordinances, see chapter 27.