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Amulek

Dedicating Graves of Non-members

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This is may be an open-and-shut procedural question, but I've read through both handbooks now and I can't find anything that clearly states whether or not you are allowed to dedicate the grave of someone who was never a member of the church. 

So, rather than continuing to read the same paragraphs over and over again, I figured I would 'ask the audience' since someone here is bound to have had some experience with this.

What say you: Is dedicating a grave a priesthood function which is available to everyone, similar to administering to the sick, or is it restricted to members only, sort of like a patriarchal blessing?

 

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Correct.    A MP PH holder when authorized by his Bishop can dedicate any grave.   I have dedicated a half dozen of my family members graves...all non-members.

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8 minutes ago, randy said:

Correct.    A MP PH holder when authorized by his Bishop can dedicate any grave.   I have dedicated a half dozen of my family members graves...all non-members.

Did they want them dedicated?

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15 minutes ago, randy said:

Correct.    A MP PH holder when authorized by his Bishop can dedicate any grave.   I have dedicated a half dozen of my family members graves...all non-members.

 

5 minutes ago, sjdawg said:

Did they want them dedicated?

What difference would that make?  I look at dedicating graves as part-and-parcel of funerals: Funerals aren't for the dead, they're for the living, and notwithstanding the things that might be said with respect to the deceased during the ordinance, the same is true of dedicating graves.  As much as I might hope that my wishes are followed with respect to how I am memorialized, on the other hand, it's not likely to matter.  I'll either have: (a) succumbed to the void; or (b) been given other things to be concerned about.

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1 hour ago, sjdawg said:

Did they want them dedicated?

Here's a kinda-sorta relevant anecdote:

Years ago I served my mission in Taiwan.  I had a companion from Taiwan who was very zealous and eager to serve, sometimes a bit too much.

One morning he received a call from an older lady, a member, who lived outside of our district and zone.  Leaving either was a no-no, but my companion was determined to help this lady, so we went.

We arrived at an apartment, which turned out to belong to the member's sister.  Her (the sister's) husband had died during the night, and the member and some other family members and friends were in the apartment to comfort the bereaved widow.

We ended up waiting in the front room for about 20-30 minutes.  During this time I noticed what I thought was a couch covered by a bedsheet on the other side of the room.  As it turned out, it wasn't a couch.  It was the body of the husband.  Apparently the police or the funeral home folks or whoever could take some time in coming to get a deceased body, so the family had just put him on a table and covered him with a bedsheet.

Once I realized there was a body under the sheet, I asked my companion (in English) what he was planning to do.  He said (also in English) that the member lady had called us over to "pray the man into the Spirit World."  I asked him what that meant, and he wasn't sure.  I told him there was no ordinance for such a thing, and he didn't respond.

At the time I seriously thought he was just going to make up an ordinance on the spot.  I was gearing up to stop him, but fortunately the bishop and his wife arrived.  The wife went over and began to comfort the widow and the other family members, speaking in soft and quiet tones.  The bishop took us aside and told us we could go.  I explained my concern about the propriety of creating an ordinance for ushering someone into the Spirit World, and the bishop (who was Taiwanese, but had served his mission in, I think, Chicago, so he spoke in English) "Don't worry.  We get these requests all the time.  We do not perform an ordinance.  We simply offer a prayer asking the Lord to provide comfort to the family and such."  He was very diplomatic about it.

Chinese folks are big into paying respect to family members who have crossed over.  I appreciated this bishop's tact and sensitivity, and also his sense of propriety and decorum.  Overall it was a neat experience for me.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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When I hear these genre of the things, I am drawn to look at the life of the Savior and how he reacted to the sick and those faithful that came to him seeking solace. He used mud to heal the blind, the touch of his garment healed a woman and so many other things. There is power in faith and the manner of implementing the priesthood is varied. They do not rest solely in the prescribed ordinances of the Church. 

In these circumstances we must both seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit. I see no challenge responding to the request of a loved one to bless the dying/dead spouse, child, relative, or friend using the priesthood. 

Let us not be so strict that we shut off opportunities for the Spirit to guide and miracles to occur. 

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44 minutes ago, randy said:

A MP PH holder when authorized by his Bishop can dedicate any grave.

Any grave anywhere on the planet? Or do you need to be authorized by the Bishop who presides over the geographical area where the person lived? 

So, for example, if you live in CA and your deceased relative lived (and will be buried) in PA, do you go to your own Bishop for approval or do you need to go to the Bishop in PA?

 

39 minutes ago, sjdawg said:

Did they want them dedicated?

In the situation I am asking about the family are all members and would like to have the grave dedicated. The only person who isn't (and never was) a member is the deceased.

 

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8 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

 

What difference would that make?  I look at dedicating graves as part-and-parcel of funerals: Funerals aren't for the dead, they're for the living, and notwithstanding the things that might be said with respect to the deceased during the ordinance, the same is true of dedicating graves.  As much as I might hope that my wishes are followed with respect to how I am memorialized, on the other hand, it's not likely to matter.  I'll either have: (a) succumbed to the void; or (b) been given other things to be concerned about.

I cannot buy you happiness, 

I cannot buy you years. 

I cannot buy you happiness

In place of all the tears. 

But I can buy for you a gravestone to lay behind your head. 

Gravestones cheer the living, dear, they’re no use to the dead. 

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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3 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

In these circumstances we must both seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit. I see no challenge responding to the request of a loved one to bless the dying/dead spouse, child, relative, or friend using the priesthood. 

Let us not be so strict that we shut off opportunities for the Spirit to guide and miracles to occur. 

I tend to agree. Sometimes though, people want to be certain they are adhering to both the spirit and the letter of the law.

So, for example, if the church doesn't approve of dedicating the grave, the family would simply request a prayer to be offered instead. 

 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here's a kinda-sorta relevant anecdote:

Years ago I served my mission in Taiwan.  I had a companion from Taiwan who was very zealous and eager to serve, sometimes a bit too much.

One morning he received a call from an older lady, a member, who lived outside of our district and zone.  Leaving either was a no-no, but my companion was determined to help this lady, so we went.

We arrived at an apartment, which turned out to belong to the member's sister.  Her (the sister's) husband had died during the night, and the member and some other family members and friends were in the apartment to comfort the bereaved widow.

We ended up waiting in the front room for about 20-30 minutes.  During this time I noticed what I thought was a couch covered by a bedsheet on the other side of the room.  As it turned out, it wasn't a couch.  It was the body of the husband.  Apparently the police or the funeral home folks or whoever could take some time in coming to get a deceased body, so the family had just put him on a table and covered him with a bedsheet.

Once I realized there was a body under the sheet, I asked my companion (in English) what he was planning to do.  He said (also in English) that the member lady had called us over to "pray the man into the Spirit World."  I asked him what that meant, and he wasn't sure.  I told him there was no ordinance for such a thing, and he didn't respond.

At the time I seriously thought he was just going to make up an ordinance on the spot.  I was gearing up to stop him, but fortunately the bishop and his wife arrived.  The wife went over and began to comfort the widow and the other family members, speaking in soft and quiet tones.  The bishop took us aside and told us we could go.  I explained my concern about the propriety of creating an ordinance for ushering someone into the Spirit World, and the bishop (who was Taiwanese, but had served his mission in, I think, Chicago, so he spoke in English) "Don't worry.  We get these requests all the time.  We do not perform an ordinance.  We simply offer a prayer asking the Lord to provide comfort to the family and such."  He was very diplomatic about it.

Chinese folks are big into paying respect to family members who have crossed over.  I appreciated this bishop's tact and sensitivity, and also his sense of propriety and decorum.  Overall it was a neat experience for me.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

When I hear these genre of the things, I am drawn to look at the life of the Savior and how he reacted to the sick and those faithful that came to him seeking solace. He used mud to heal the blind, the touch of his garment healed a woman and so many other things. There is power in faith and the manner of implementing the priesthood is varied. They do not rest solely in the prescribed ordinances of the Church. 

In these circumstances we must both seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit. I see no challenge responding to the request of a loved one to bless the dying/dead spouse, child, relative, or friend using the priesthood. 

Let us not be so strict that we shut off opportunities for the Spirit to guide and miracles to occur. 

 

2 hours ago, Amulek said:

I tend to agree. Sometimes though, people want to be certain they are adhering to both the spirit and the letter of the law.

So, for example, if the church doesn't approve of dedicating the grave, the family would simply request a prayer to be offered instead. 

 

I think the way the bishop handled the situation in Smac’s story is just fine. 

That said, I do believe his qualms are understandable. Priesthood ordinances need to be performed with exactness according to instructions that have been given, and we should beware of contriving ordinances or contriving elements of ordinances that depart from conformity to established instruction. 

President Monson, speaking at a televised Church leadership meeting, recounted an experience he had as a bishop. A man was to be ordained to a priesthood office. The ordination was to occur during priesthood meeting in the ward. The high councilor conducting the ordinance said it was his custom to have the ordination done with the man sitting in a chair facing in the direction of the temple. Bishop Monson recognized an act that was out of conformity with established procedure and would not approve of it. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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2 hours ago, Amulek said:

Any grave anywhere on the planet? Or do you need to be authorized by the Bishop who presides over the geographical area where the person lived? 

So, for example, if you live in CA and your deceased relative lived (and will be buried) in PA, do you go to your own Bishop for approval or do you need to go to the Bishop in PA?

 

In the situation I am asking about the family are all members and would like to have the grave dedicated. The only person who isn't (and never was) a member is the deceased.

 

Is a bishop presiding over the funeral service, since the family are all Church members? If so, I would seek and follow the direction of the bishop regarding grave dedication. 

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58 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I think the way the bishop handled the situation in Smac’s story is just fine. 

That said, I do believe his qualms are understandable. Priesthood ordinances need to be performed with exactness according to instructions that have been given, and we should beware of contriving ordinances or contriving elements of ordinances that depart from conformity to established instruction. 

President Monson, speaking at a televised Church leadership meeting, recounted an experience he had as a bishop. A man was to be ordained to a priesthood office. The ordination was to occur during priesthood meeting in the ward. The high councilor conducting the ordinance said it was his custom to have the ordination done with the man sitting in a chair facing in the direction of the temple. Bishop Monson recognized an act that was out of conformity with established procedure and would not approve of it. 

I think we are addressing two different things. You are talking about those who take established priesthood ordinances and twist them by adding additional steps, creating silly parameters, etc. That is not what I was addressing. I am in support of using the priesthood (or not) when led by the Spirit for things which cannot be considered ordinances. Healing the sick is not a priesthood ordinance, but uses the priesthood. 

The way the bishop acted in the story above is completely acceptable. He could have said a prayer and he could have also stated his use of the priesthood in the prayer. I don't see a problem with either one when led by the Spirit. 

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1 minute ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Is a bishop presiding over the funeral service, since the family are all Church members? If so, I would seek and follow the direction of the bishop regarding grave dedication. 

The family are all church members, but the deceased lives out of state and nobody knows the bishop there; the bishop doesn't know the deceased either, so the family hasn't tried to run him down or ask him to be involved. 

I'm pretty sure I could figure out who it is though and just ask him directly on the family's behalf.

As the keyholder for that geographical area, I would think he should be able to make that call - though he may want to see a recommend / authorized ordinance form from the person performing the dedication. 

I guess what I'm really trying to figure out though is if this is even something that needs to be asked about at all. If it isn't something that is done then there's really no need to bother the bishop in the first place. 

 

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2 hours ago, Amulek said:

I tend to agree. Sometimes though, people want to be certain they are adhering to both the spirit and the letter of the law.

So, for example, if the church doesn't approve of dedicating the grave, the family would simply request a prayer to be offered instead. 

I support all formal declarations of the Church - if the Church has made an official declaration then follow it...always. No questions. However, in those situations where there is no guidance then follow the Spirit and move forward. 

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My understanding is this...If my uncle who is a nonmember died in PA...and I travelled to PA for the funeral with the anticipation that I would be asked to dedicate the grave, upon arrival I would contact the Bishop under whom my Uncles stewardship fell, and I would explain the situation and get his approval and/or arrange a time to meet to present him my TR in order to satisfy that requirement.

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6 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

 

What difference would that make?  I look at dedicating graves as part-and-parcel of funerals: Funerals aren't for the dead, they're for the living, and notwithstanding the things that might be said with respect to the deceased during the ordinance, the same is true of dedicating graves.  As much as I might hope that my wishes are followed with respect to how I am memorialized, on the other hand, it's not likely to matter.  I'll either have: (a) succumbed to the void; or (b) been given other things to be concerned about.

You don't think the wishes of the deceased should be more important that the guests?  That is one of my fears.  If I were to pass somehow I want my funeral to have nothing to do with mormonism.  My fear is that my wife would be under huge family pressure to have a mormon based funeral and it might just be easier for her to go along than to fight it.  

 

Edited by sjdawg

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4 minutes ago, sjdawg said:

You don't think the wishes of the deceased should be considered?

 

They all say they do not want their skull crushed and the brain destroyed but they will thank me when they do not join the zombie apocalypse.

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7 hours ago, randy said:

A MP PH holder when authorized by his Bishop can dedicate any grave.

Is the authority of the bishop necessary? After all, the cemetery is not owned by the Church.

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1 hour ago, sjdawg said:

You don't think the wishes of the deceased should be more important that the guests?  That is one of my fears.  If I were to pass somehow I want my funeral to have nothing to do with mormonism.  My fear is that my wife would be under huge family pressure to have a mormon based funeral and it might just be easier for her to go along than to fight it.  

 

I can only reiterate my previous comment that post-passing proceedings are less for the person who has passed on than they are for those who are still living.  Thus, I would say that the wishes of the decedent are relevant, but are not  necessarily dispositive.  Again, if you still exist in some form following your passing from this life, I doubt you will be overly concerned about how your life is memorialized (if it is at all).  And if you cease to exist (in any form), even if people, say, strip naked and engage in wild orgies to "memorialize" your passing, since you no longer exist in any form, you definitely won't care ... at all.

If a memorial service is conducted on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints premises or under the auspices of the Church of Jesus Christ, then, by extension,  either the bishop of the ward in which the deceased person lived and/or the ward that has his record presides at those proceedings.  Thus, while the wishes of the deceased person concerning what should happen at his funeral may carry great weight, and while most all bishops would give those wishes great deference, the bishop, as the presiding officer, has the final say.

All of that having been said, you don't have to leave the planning of your funeral to anyone else.  Pick a reputable full-service mortuary in your area, pay its powers-that-be a visit, and tell them you'd like to plan your own funeral.  No one in his or her right mind would pick a fight with your estate in an attempt to have those plans set aside, since they concern a service for which you have already paid and, thus, the entity with which you contracted to carry out those plans is, as you say, duty-bound to give you the benefit of the bargain you made with that entity before you passed on by complying with your wishes.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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5 hours ago, Amulek said:

The family are all church members, but the deceased lives out of state and nobody knows the bishop there; the bishop doesn't know the deceased either, so the family hasn't tried to run him down or ask him to be involved. 

I'm pretty sure I could figure out who it is though and just ask him directly on the family's behalf.

As the keyholder for that geographical area, I would think he should be able to make that call - though he may want to see a recommend / authorized ordinance form from the person performing the dedication. 

I guess what I'm really trying to figure out though is if this is even something that needs to be asked about at all. If it isn't something that is done then there's really no need to bother the bishop in the first place. 

 

I think whether or not it is done depends on whether the family wants it.

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5 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

I think we are addressing two different things. You are talking about those who take established priesthood ordinances and twist them by adding additional steps, creating silly parameters, etc. That is not what I was addressing. I am in support of using the priesthood (or not) when led by the Spirit for things which cannot be considered ordinances. Healing the sick is not a priesthood ordinance, but uses the priesthood. 

The way the bishop acted in the story above is completely acceptable. He could have said a prayer and he could have also stated his use of the priesthood in the prayer. I don't see a problem with either one when led by the Spirit. 

What the family specifically asked for, though (if I understand Smac correctly), is for a priesthood holder to "pray [the deceased] into the spirit world," in effect, superimposing Buddhist-flavored dogma on Church doctrine. Complying literally with their wishes would have been problematic, in my view. 

Also, blessing of the sick and afflicted is, in fact, a priesthood ordinance. It's not an ordinance of salvation, such as baptism or the ordinances of the temple, but it is, nonetheless, an ordinance. And it has certain elementary forms that must be followed, although it is left up to the priesthood holder to pronounce the words of the blessing as guided by the Spirit.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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Cheesh

We are commanded NOT to be commanded in all things.

What harm is a prayer going to do?

Like a temple ordinance if they don't accept it they can reject it.

How is this different than Temple ordinances for the Dead?

What harm could this do to anyone?

It's at Act of Love given by the living person for the dead person. How is that hurtful?

Would God condemn anyone for that?

How can it be "wrong" by any standard?

Edited by mfbukowski

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14 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

What the family specifically asked for, though (if I understand Smac correctly), is for a priesthood holder to "pray [the deceased] into the spirit world," in effect, superimposing Buddhist-flavored dogma on Church doctrine.

Is praying someone into the celestial kingdom wrong?

It is done daily at every Temple, in effect.

Are not ordinances prayers too?

In fact I believe Buddhist ideas like that are reminants of an ancient restoration that God gave his children in that area

I think it is a universal belief of most Humanity that these kinds of prayers or ordinances should be given.

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2 hours ago, Thinking said:

Is the authority of the bishop necessary? After all, the cemetery is not owned by the Church.

Presumably the cemetery is in his ward, and he is the bishop of the geographical area for the living and the dead (e.g. issuing temple recommends for ordinances for both the living and the dead).

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Were I in this situation I would simply pray that the deceased would find guidance from those appointed to teach those in the spirit world the way to eternal happiness 

I would see that as a "missionary referral" ;)

 

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