AskDefine | Define initiatory

Dictionary Definition

initiatory adj : serving to set in motion; "the magazine's inaugural issue"; "the initiative phase in the negotiations"; "an initiatory step toward a treaty"; "his first (or maiden) speech in Congress"; "the liner's maiden voyage" [syn: inaugural, initiative, first, maiden]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to initiation
  2. inceptive, initial, inaugural or introductory

Extensive Definition

In the Latter Day Saint movement, washing and anointing (also called the initiatory) is an ordinance (sacrament) practiced by certain denominations of the movement in temples as part of the Endowment ceremony. The ordinance consists of a ritual purification by water and an anointing by oil to prepare the participant to become "kings and priests" or "queens and priestesses" in the afterlife. The ordinance is performed by an officiator of the same sex, and culminates in dressing the participant in temple garment (a religious undergarment worn by some denominations of the movement). The ritual is one of two anointings practiced by the faith, the other being the rare Second Anointing.
Although introduced by Joseph Smith, Jr., the religion's founder, many denominations of Smith's followers (such as the Community of Christ) do not believe washings and anointings are an essential part of the religion, and no longer practice them. Other denominations, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have made accommodations such as eliminating actual bodily washing in tubs, and eliminating nudity.


These ordinances are perhaps the earliest practiced temple ordinances for the living since the organization of the Church. There is evidence that these ordinances were performed in part since 1836. They were first practised in Kirtland, Ohio.


The washing and anointing ordinance proceeds in two stages. In the first stage, the person performing the ordinance, who is a person of the same sex as the person receiving the ordinance, touches the person on the forehead with water and states that he or she is washing the person "preparatory to you receiving your anointings". there is one difference in the washings and anointings performed on males and females. After both stages of the ceremony, the officiator lays his hands on a male recipient's head and "seals" the washing or the anointing and indicates that the person "may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation through your faithfulness".

Parallels in Judaism and early Christianity

Multiple early Christian documents discuss the ordinance of "chrism" which is nearly identical to the anointing ordinances in Latter-day Saint temples. The most detailed version of the practice is by Cyril. Cyril details how oil or ointment was "symbolically applied to thy forehead, and thy other organs of sense" and that the "ears, nostrils, and breast were each to be anointed." Only a bishop could anoint the forehead. Cyril states that the "ointment is the seal of the covenants" of baptism and God’s promises to the Christian who is anointed.
The text also claims that all true, believing Christians received the ordinance: "We are called Christians, because we are anointed with the oil of God."
In addition to Cyril, Theophilus and Tertullian discussed the ordinances and the "several ceremonies are thus explained in the Apostolical Constitutions."



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initiatory in Finnish: Valmistavat toimitukset (mormonismi)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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