Mormons believe baptism must be done by immersion, and view sprinkling for baptism as a sign of apostasy. It got me thinking about a recent change in the LDS temple ceremony called Washing and Anointing.
When the endowment was first administered in the Kirtland Temple, as part of the Washing and Anointing ordinance, initiates had their body ritually washed (some of the early washing included washing by alcohol.) The officiator would ritually wash and bless each body part to be healthy. Later, it was changed so that the officiator just dabbed a bit of water or oil on various body parts while pronouncing the blessing. About five years ago, the ritual was changed so that the officiator merely dabs the water or oil on the forehead, then places his or her hands on the patron’s head while pronouncing the blessing that each body part be healthy. On the one hand, these new changes are much easier for both the officiator and patron to perform. On the other hand, is this analogous to changing the baptismal rite from immersion to sprinkling? Is this change a sign of apostasy in the temple ordinances? (In light of the recent post about photoshopped images, should church censors put a shirt on Jesus?)