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Administering to the sick is different from giving blessings of counsel or comfort. These blessings are for the purpose of healing one who is sick or afflicted in some manner. Normally these blessings are done by at least two men, occasionally more, but normally only two men. These blessings should be requested by the sick person, and not urged on the sick person by the person giving the blessing. These blessings rely heavily on the faith of those requesting the blessing.
“Only men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood may administer to the sick or afflicted. Normally, two or more administer together, but one may do it alone. If consecrated oil is not available, a man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood may give a blessing by the authority of the priesthood.
A father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood should administer to sick members of his family. He may ask another man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to assist him.
Administering to the sick has two parts: (1) anointing with oil and (2) sealing the anointing (Family-Guidebook on lds.org).” Usually one man anoints and another man seals the anointing and pronounces the blessing.
Anointing with Oil
One man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood anoints the person who is sick. A good-faith effort should be made to place the drop of consecrated oil on the crown of the head, on the scalp. Only a small drop of the oil is needed. If the person is in bed then the consecrated oil can be placed on the top of the forehead.
Sealing the Anointing
Normally, two or more men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood place their hands lightly on the head of the person who is sick. One of the men seals the anointing.
Below is a 3 x 5 card you can print on heavy paper or card stock and cut out to take with you as a reference. The steps listed on the card are word for word from the Church’s website.
Instructions for Anointing:
Instructions for Sealing the Anointing:
Thank you so much for your post Brother Merrill. It’s very informative and direct. I’ll keep this as a handy reference.
I’m glad you like it. I wrote it for my own reference. It is nice to know I am not alone. 🙂
There was some recent discussion regarding the words used in non-saving ordinances, i.e. anointing and blessing of the sick. Several in the group felt that the words provided to consecrate oil, anoint, and bless the sick are only suggestions. For example, when consecrating it is fine to say “…healing of the sick…” instead of “…blessing of the sick….” It was also stated that it is acceptable to address your spouse in familiar terms, such as “honey” rather than using her full name when giving a blessing.
It was also stated that saying “power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.” is adequate rather than “authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”
My thought is that we need to stick with what is in the handbook because it is a book of instruction, not suggestions.
I can’t find any specifics on lds.org to address these specific questions. What are your thoughts?
John, are you familiar with the term “to wrest the scriptures?” To wrest something is to wrestle, which means to twist. When we take doctrine or instructions and change them to suit our personal preferences we are, in fact, wresting or twisting the Lord’s instructions into a fashion of our own design.
The instructions for blessings and anointings, etc. are specific and worded the way they are for good reason. For example, when the sealing of an anointing is done “by the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood” that is quite a different thing than to do something by the power of the priesthood. We are given authority to act in God’s name and in His behalf when we are ordained to the priesthood, but that does not give us any power in that priesthood. Priesthood power is earned through righteous living and through seeking direction from the Spirit. One cannot accurately swap terms for any reason. They mean two completely different things. When we consecrate oil we are only blessing the sick. It is through the faith of the one being anointed that the healing takes place. Unless the Spirit commands a person to be made well, we cannot guarantee that the application of the oil will heal them. This is why we bless them, not state that we are going to heal them. That is just good sense.
We place ourselves on dangerous ground the moment we entertain any deviation from the instructions we have received by those who hold the keys to the priesthood authority we are exercising. Blessing the sick is a formal declaration of the mind and will of the Lord to that person upon whose head we have laid our hands. Can you even imagine God, our Father coming down and addressing one of his children by a familiar term like Sweety or Dear? In every recorded instance of his addressing one of his children throughout the history of this world, He has called them by name. He has told us to do the same. Is that such a difficult instruction to follow that we have to seek for endearing shortcuts?
I hope this makes my opinion on the question you asked clear. Thanks for the comment!
Show me one time in the Bible when the Savior used the word “Priesthood” (He never used that word)
And what is your point?
Thank you brother Merrill .
In between the anointing and the sealing to the two Priesthood holders switch whose hands are on bottom?
It is customary for the one speaking to have his hands on the bottom. But I have never been told that the ordinance would not be valid if his hands were not on the bottom. It is just customary.
Jesus never said priesthood and neither did his apostles. There is a reason for order in the church. But the fact remains. Outside the temple we only have three prescribed prayers. Don’t stress over priesthood blessings. Do your best. President Bensen once gave instructions of blessing babies. A non saving ordinance just like a blessing of health. He said that many a sacred moment has been ruined by an over aggressive bishop who felt the wording wasn’t just right.
That is true up to a point. In one of the recent Conference talks, and I can’t tell you who or which Conference, the Apostle said that he spent time with a new Bishop and in the day that he spent with him he taught him how to properly give priesthood blessings and to use the correct language in those blessing. So it isn’t a free for all, but it isn’t like a temple covenant either. There is a middle ground.