Selected Teachings on
The Initiatory Ordinances:
Washing, Anointing, & Clothing in the Garment

General Statements

Robert D. Hales (Quorum of the Twelve)

When we enter the house of the Lord, the ordinances and the Spirit that attends us sanctify our souls. This sanctification begins with the initiatory ordinances of washing and anointing. These are preparatory ordinances. They provide the cleanliness and purification we need to receive the endowment. (Return: Four Phases of Our Mortal Journey Home, p. 246)

Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)

The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings—mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings…. It is important that you listen carefully as these ordinances are administered and that you try to remember the blessings promised and the conditions upon which they will be realized. (Ensign, Oct 2007, p.18-22)

General Handbook of Instructions: Book 2 (1998)

The washing and anointing are the first part of the endowment. They are also called initiatory ordinances. They are administered to each person in private. They promise blessings in the present and the future.


Washing and Anointing

Exodus 40:12-13

And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.

And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Isaiah 1:16

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

David O. McKay (President)

After the preliminaries, you will be asked to go into a room where you will be washed. Now ... what is the significance of it? Cleanliness. And the message of this: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness;” not just cleanliness of body alone, but cleanliness of mind, and that cleanliness of mind should have preceded your entrance into this Temple by the eradication of every ill feeling, by the elimination of every vulgar thought.

That is what it means to be clean to enter the House of God.... Some of our young people fail to see the significance of that simple ceremony. And then listen to why you are washed. The blessings that will come to your eyesight, to your mind, to your hearing: all based upon the cleanliness of the thought and the cleanliness of your acts and your deeds.

The next little simple ceremony, I will call it little and simple because you might in your heart also consider it, is the Anointing.... But let your spiritual eyes see the significance of that anointing , and then you will realize what it means to be initiated into the House of God and all its mysteries, ... [to be] one who is anointed to become a king and priest of the Most High; a queen and priestess in the realms of God. Now that is what this means. I do not know how long it will take you or me to achieve that, but we are anointed that we may become such. Do not shut your eyes to the glories and open them to the mechanics, that seem so simple and are performed so awkwardly sometimes. ("An Address on the Temple Ceremony," 25 September 1941, Salt Lake Temple Annex, Special Collections, BYU Library; see online version)

Alvin R. Dyer (Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve; later of the First Presidency)

When you went into the washing and anointing room where you were washed and anointed with oil and water, ... you were promised that someday you would be called up to be a king and priest or a queen and a priestess. ("For What Purpose," Mission Conference Olso, Norway, March 18, 1962, Church Archives; see online version)

George Q. Cannon (First Presidency)

[I]n the washing that takes place in the first endowment, they are washed that they might become clean from the blood of this generation—that is, I suppose, in the same way they are ordained to be Kings and Priests—that ordinance does not make them clean from the blood of this generation anymore than it makes them Kings and Priests. It requires another ordinance to make them Kings and Priests. (in Minutes of School of the Prophets, 11 October 1883, 24; underlining in original)

Heber C. Kimball (First Presidency)

Think of your holy endowments and what you have been anointed to become, and reflect upon the blessings which have been placed upon you, for they are the same in part that were placed upon Jesus; he was the one that inducted his Apostles into these ordinances; it was he who set up the kingdom of which we are subjects. (Journal of Discourses, 10:241)


Clothing in the Garment

Moses 4:27

Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Exodus 40:12-13

And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.

And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)

In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it. (Ensign, Oct 2007, p.18-22)

See "The Temple Garment" for more teachings on the garment.