Olive de Toilette

Rusty - November 29, 2004

There is a practice in the church we are very familiar with: anointing with oil for the healing of the sick. This, of course, is done with olive oil. Sometimes.

Someone I know very well (and regular readers of this blog might know as well) recently confused this practice with that of Mary in John 12:3, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” This person took the “oil” from the sick person’s husband and poured a couple drops on her head, anointed her, said amen, and the blessing was given by the husband. After the blessing they smelled something that wasn’t olive oil. It turned out that what was now dripping down the back of her head was cologne from a sample vile. It’s under investigation as to why a cologne sample was in the company of the husband’s priesthood cheat-sheet, but that’s beside the point. The question remained whether or not to redo the blessing.

Two questions:

1) Should they have re-blessed her with oil which had been set apart for the healing of the sick? Or was it okay not to because the intent was pure?

2) Do you have any other ordinance (or otherwise) bloopers to report and what did you do in the situation?

Oh, by the way, she’s feeling better.

1 Comment »

  1. How dare you post something that actually happened to ME!!! I was the one who did the anointing everyone! I didn’t really think about it till the blessing was already going and afterwards smelled my fingers and realized what happened.
    So yeah, I think it was ok. In fact, I think the only reason ordinances are specified so strictly is because they’ve been screwed up so much in the past. If people hadn’t done that, we might not be doing those so strictly in the first place. It’s all symbolic anyway.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 1:04 am | #

    Bret, I don’t understand your last paragraph. What do you mean, “the only reason ordinaces are specified so strictly is because they’ve been screwed up so much in the past.”? What do you mean screwed up? And if it’s only a symbolism thing, wouldn’t it be doubly important to use olive oil rather than Eternity For Men?
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 7:07 am | #

    Screwed up ordainances is one of the glaring differences between us and other churches. Baptism, sacrament, confirmation, and marriage come immediately to mind.

    I really think you should have re-done the annointing part of the ordainance. The direction is specific to use consecrated olive oil and in the annointing that is what you pronouce. Obviously the “ode de la pue” wasn’t consecrated. It’s not like the sacrament where we’ve been told it’s ok to use whatever.

    You probably won’t go to hell for the error, but it still might be warm where you are going for doing that.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 1:56 pm | #

    My first impression was that it’s okay because of the pure intents. Then I thought about how Sacrament prayers must be re-said if just one word is off, or how a baptism must be re-performed if just one toe floats up, and so on.

    Of course I don’t think Bret will be condemned for his honest mistake, but perhaps Don is right in saying that the anointing portion of the ordinance should have been re-done.

    I bet this is one of those cases where God had a good chuckle as He watched.
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 5:08 pm | #

    But do you think he laughed as much as I did?
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 5:44 pm | #

    No, God didn’t laugh as much as you did Rusty (see blog on loud laughter etc.)but I laughed a bunch too.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 11.29.04 – 7:57 pm | #

    Amy and Don have a point, but the ordinances they cited are SAVING ordinances–the ones EVERYONE needs in order to gain the kingdom of God. Priesthood blessings are available only to help us out in this life if we need it. Of course that doesn’t mean we can be lax about doing them correctly, but the intent to do everything correctly was there.
    Anyway, going somewhere warm sounds much better then the other two options!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 11.30.04 – 4:44 pm | #

    Rusty,
    What I mean is that if it wasn’t for the fact that God’s ordinances didn’t get so easily screwed up and distorted by his children, then I wouldn’t be surprised if we DIDN’T have to be so strict in the way ordinances are done. I think ordinances were made to be strict so we don’t screw them up again like so many generations before us have.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 11.30.04 – 4:47 pm | #

    Bret, I still don’t know what you mean by “screw up”. Are you saying the way that the catholics changed the Eucharist, or are you saying that so many deacons in the past have broken the bread too small?

    I think I know what you are saying overall, that Christ sometimes used mud, sometimes water, sometimes nothing, and it all worked.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 11.30.04 – 5:16 pm | #

    I don’t think the Sacrament is necessarily a saving ordinance, is it?

    Maybe the point isn’t so much (at least in the non-saving ordinances?) the priesthood holder’s pure intents but the ordinance receiver’s pure intents… correct me if this is wrong, but I’ve heard that if a priest blessing the Sacrament is himself steeped in sin, it doesn’t invalidate the ordinance for the congregation. In fact, I can think of a Melchezidek Priesthood holder who was years into an affair when he performed the baptisms of some family friends, yet their ordinance still “counted.”

    I guess all I can say is that Heavenly Father’s got it all sorted out (or will, one day), whether we do or not!
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 11.30.04 – 10:20 pm | #

    If you read James carefully I think you’ll find it’s the faith of the one asking for the blessing that is the effecting aspect of the blessing.

    When Christ performed the healing miracles He attributed the healing to the faith of the one being healed.

    I think the faith of the one performing the ordainance is important, it just isn’t the crutial factor according the the scriptures the way I read them.

    And finish the verses in James and see who when you are healed by your faith that your sins are forgiven. The same type of situations and phrases Christ used, saying “thy sins are forgiven” when he healed.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 12.01.04 – 1:15 pm | #

    Rusty,
    Yeah, like the Catholics messing up the Eucharest or the Ancient Americans needing to be told personally by Christ the way to do baptisms because the disputed it so much. Like you said though, you got my overall meaning.

    Amy,
    Yes! The Sacrament IS a saving ordinance. Do you think you will be saved if you don’t take it? I think it’s in Corinthians where Paul talks about the saints becoming “weak and sickly” when they are not nourished with the saving ordinance of the Sacrament. (At least that’s one way of reading that passage)
    You made my point clear anyway, though.(and dad elaborated on it) Plus, the intent was there for BOTH the one asking and the ones giving. So that counts doubly good despite the mistake, right?
    Oh, and I at least THINK I was worthy to give it.>8p
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 12.01.04 – 5:39 pm | #

    Bret,

    I realize the Sacrament cleanses and nourishes us and can be considered a re-baptism, but if it is a saving ordinance, why do we then not perform the Sacrament for the dead? Once you are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, and the temple ordinances, it seems to me like you’re pretty well covered. That’s the context in which I was thinking of it.
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 12.02.04 – 10:16 am | #

    Amy is right, the sacrament is not considered a saving ordainance, for the very reasons she points out.

    Saving ordainances are those I need to be saved. I can be saved if I never partake of the sacrament. It is however obvious that once we have been baptized we need to partake of the sacrament worthily to continue on the path of salvation.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 12.02.04 – 1:09 pm | #

    I don’t know. Yes, if I’m dead then I’m saved without the sacrament but can you be saved when all your ordinances have been done while you’re living? It’s a saving ordinance for the living, I think.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 12.05.04 – 9:27 pm | #

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