(Note: There are links to all the priesthood ordinances at the bottom of the page!)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a lay ministry, so every worthy male member can hold and use the priesthood. This opens some special challenges not found in any other church. We have to train every male member how to use the priesthood, when it is appropriate to use it, and under what conditions they may exercise their rights to use the priesthood. This means that our regular male members of the congregation can baptize, ordain others to priesthood offices, confer the priesthood on others, and bless the sick. For this very reason Mormon Basics is including a post on how to give priesthood blessings and perform priesthood ordinances.
Giving blessings and performing ordinances is not done every day. When you are required or requested to perform an ordinance or give a blessing, it can be intimidating if you have not done it for a while. Some ordinances must be said word for word. Ordinances like baptism, and the sacrament, for example, cannot have any words altered, added or omitted, and still be used. They must be said correctly. Other ordinances, like the blessing of a baby, just need to include the proper parts, and that is good enough.
Ordinances require permission of the one holding the keys of priesthood administration for that ward/branch (congregation), the Bishop/Branch President. You cannot go into a ward and bless a baby without the Bishop’s approval. Ordinances, like the blessing of the sacrament, can be done as long as the Bishop is aware you are doing it, assuming you are currently worthy and in good standing with the Church. If you want to bless the sacrament anywhere besides Sacrament meeting, you need the Bishop’s express approval. This includes administering the sacrament on a scout camp out or for a family reunion, etc.
The ordinances and blessings below have been drawn directly from www.lds.org, the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The link to the full website with all these steps and explanations is at the bottom of this page. The information from the Church’s website has been broken up below to make it easier to access and print out individual ordinances and blessings. Any commentary belongs to Mormon Basics, but the steps to perform the ordinances and blessings are directly from the Church’s official page.
It is important to keep in mind that all ordinances and blessings should be done by one who is worthy to perform them. That means the man/men involved should be living a worthy life, and should be guided by the Holy Ghost. All ordinances and blessings are sacred occasions and should be done in a dignified manner. All ordinances should comply with the following outline:
1. Performed in the name of Jesus Christ.
2. Performed by the authority of the priesthood.
3. Performed with any necessary procedures, such as using specified words or using consecrated oil.
4. Authorized by the designated priesthood leader who holds the proper keys, if necessary.
Mentally check off each of these four categories before performing any ordinance or blessing to make sure you are complying with the Lord’s requirements for using the priesthood appropriately.
Here are the ordinances that require authorization from a priesthood leader:
1. Naming/blessing of children
2. Baptisms and confirmations
3. Conferring the priesthood and Ordaining someone to an office in the priesthood
4. Blessing and passing the sacrament
5. Dedicating a grave
When an ordinance or blessing calls for more than three or four men (which is discouraged), it is appropriate for each man to place his left hand on the right shoulder of the brother to his left, and his right hand either on the head of the person seated in the middle or under the baby that is being held. The man acting as voice for the circle traditionally stands directly behind the person seated. It is also appropriate for the “voice” of the circle to use the term “we” instead of “I” when performing the ordinance or blessing.
Below is a list of ordinances and types of blessings. Each link opens a new tab in your browser with the information on how to perform that particular ordinance or type of blessing. Just close that tab to return to this page. Each page will have at least one 3 x 5 card you can print out on heavy paper or card stock to cut out and take with you as a reference card. There is even a link at the bottom that leads to a page with all the cards on them in one place.
You can download all the ordinances on one sheet here: All 3 x 5 Ordinance Cards.
Here are the ordinances, and you can download individual Ordinances Cards here:
3. Blessing and Passing the Sacrament
4. Conferring and Ordaining to the priesthood
7. Father’s blessings and Blessings of Comfort
Below is the link to the Family-Guidebook on lds.org. This was used as the reference for this article.
Thanks brother! Valuable information!!!
This is so awesome thank you very much for this website it will be very helpful in growing more in the gospel
In this article it states the Right shoulder of the brother to his left. I have had people ask me if it matters if it is the right or left shoulder. Is there any church website or document that states that clearly?
“When an ordinance or blessing calls for more than three or four men (which is discouraged), it is appropriate for each man to place his left hand on the right shoulder of the brother to his left, and his right hand either on the head of the person seated in the middle or under the baby that is being held. “
This is quoted from the Church handbook, so this is about as definitive as it gets.
Thanks so much. These cards are super handy and I’m sure they’ll help me in case I need a refresher some time. I put them in my wallet just to have them handy when I go out. Really helpful and far more convenient than looking it up online or in a handbook. It’d be great if the church had a quick, concise section like this in the Gospel Library app.
George, I’m glad you find them useful. I also use them each time I need a refresher, since I can’t ever remember where to find this info on the Church site.
This write-up is excellent, Brother Kelly. You don’t only ‘tell’ but you ‘show’; particularly on the 3-X-5 ordinance cards. Thank you
Thanks Eustace. I did those cards because I knew myself well enough to know that I would need a cheat sheet just before going into an ordinance. I just hoped others could benefit from them as well. 🙂
Im just curious if this quoted from the handbook too?
“It is also appropriate for the “voice” of the circle to use the term “we” instead of “I” when performing the ordinance or blessing. “
All instructions were taken from the Church website. I admit that as of today’s date I have not checked to see if they have changed any of the instructions.