Saturday, February 4, 2012

Consecrated Oil

Consecrated Oil:  I don't get it.

Even when I was a faithful, believing member of the church, consecrated oil struck me as a kind of odd touch that didn't seem in keeping with the church's style.

So here's my understanding of consecrated oil:  It heals the sick.  But if you give someone a blessing without the consecrated oil, it's no big deal.  The oil-less blessing is still valid and ostensibly still has the same healing power.  So what's the point?

Let's apply a similar philosophy to another aspect of Mormon doctrine:  baptism.  Baptism cleanses you of sin and makes you an official member of the "true" church.  It helps you take advantage of the atonement and is the first important ordinance on your path to eternal salvation.  But if you skip baptism, it's no big deal.  Your life is still valid and your deeds ostensibly accomplish exactly the same amount of good.  So what's the point?

Okay, I actually agree with all that, but any True-Believing Mormon would be appalled by a claim that baptism is superfluous.  But it seems like a church that prides itself on having the "fullness" of the gospel and a monopoly on religious truth wouldn't have so many extra appendages and unsightly love would be free of abandoned or altered doctrines and without unnecessary practices or rituals.

It seems like that kind of church wouldn't have attempted and failed to enact the Law of Consecration.  That kind of church wouldn't have practiced polygamy and discontinued it later.  That kind of church wouldn't have preached about the less-valiant souls in the preexistence and then repealed its ban on blacks in the priesthood.  And that kind of church wouldn't make special vials and advise that all Melchizedek priesthood holders carry them if they really aren't necessary.  Especially since it's supposedly God who heals through the power of the priesthood, not the oil.

So consecrated oil is just this extra little piece of church practice that hangs around serving no real function. That does not have the mark of divine inspiration.  It doesn't sound like the perfect structure and organization that should come from an omniscient deity.

That doesn't seem right to me.

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