Ceremony of the Washing of the Feet


This ceremony was performed by LDS leaders on each other in the early days of the Mormon Church. It is not known if the modern-day leaders still perform it.

"The First Presidency then proceeded downstairs to examine the preparations made for the washing of the feet. On their return foot baths were brought into the Celestial Room, where the meeting was being held, President Taylor removed his coat and vest (in the sealing room) Bro. Zebedee Coltrin removed his coat and hose: Prest. Taylor girded himself with towel and proceeded to wash the feet of bro. Zebedee Coltrin, explaining that he did so because Bro. Coltrin was a very aged member of the Church and had belonged to the School instituted by Joseph, and had his feet washed by the Prophet. Before washing his feet Prest. Taylor took Bro. Coltrin by the right hand and said unto him that because he had kept his covenants and kept himself pure he proceeded to wash his feet, and as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said, Thy sins be forgiven thee, he then washed his feet again and told him his sins were forgiven him. Bro. Coltrin then girded himself with a towel and washed Prest. Taylor’s feet. He said that as a link connecting the old school with the present he washed President’s feet and pronounced him clean from the blood of this generation, and sealed him by authority of the holy Priesthood many blessings upon him and washed his feet as a testimony thereof....
The following is the form of ceremony used by Prest Taylor:
Brother (giving name) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood I wash thy feet in accordance with the order instituted by God in his church and as practised (sic) by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when in the flesh upon his apostles and diciples (sic) and also observed by his servant Joseph Smith the Prophet as an introductory ordinance into the school of the prophets. I pronounce thee clean from the blood of this generation, and confer upon thee all the rights, blessings, powers and privelages (sic) associated with this holy ordinance, and I do it by virtue of the Holy Priesthood in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Occasionally he inserted ‘And I say unto thee thy sins are forgiven thee.’" (Source: Merle H. Graffam, ed., Salt Lake School of Prophets Minute Book 1883 (Palm Desert, CA: ULC Press, 1981), pp. 50-51 [Meeting of October 11, 1883])


(Another Example)


"Prest. Woodruff then laid aside his coat and vest and girded himself with a towel. All things being prepared, John Lytle, who was the oldest man present, being born on the 18th day of August 1803, then took his seat Prest. W. Woodruff washed his feet. He said ‘By virtue of the Priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ I wash thy feet according to an Holy Ordinance introduced by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with his Desciples (sic) when he washed their feet and told them to wash one another, and also by Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Lord. An introductory ordinance to the School of the Prophets, and pronounce thee clean from the blood of this generation, and say unto thee, thy sins are forgiven thee, and seal and confirm upon thee all the rights, powers, and privileges associated with this ordinance in the authority of the Holy Priesthood and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.’" (Source: Ibid., p. 64 [Meeting of December 24, 1883])

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