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The Purpose of Ordinances

This morning a poignant question was posed to a group of people I follow which inspired this short but thought-provoking post. In LDS Theology we view the ordinances as necessary, but without a deep understanding and appreciation of them they can really come off as a sign of an arbitrary God who might as well command us to stand on our heads and call it an ordinance.

To add fuel to the fire and to create a paradox, Joseph Smith seems to imply that the physical ordinances in and of themselves don't really do much for us when he said:
"You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half--that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 314.) This all begs the question, therefore, as to the necessity of physical ordinances. This short essay is an effort to give my opinion on the su…

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