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Baptismal font

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Mormon Temple Baptistry
A Mormon Temple Baptistry
A Baptismal font is a facility set aside for performing baptisms. While not located in every church meeting house, baptismal fonts are common, particularly in Stake Centers. A font, in essence, is a large, very simple, tiled basin, much like a bathtub, only substantially larger. Since Mormons believe in baptism by immersion, baptismal fonts are deep enough that a person can be fully immersed in the water they contain. Most baptismal fonts in meeting houses have a slanted mirror installed above the font, so congregants can more easily see the ordinance. A baptismal font is below ground level to symbolize spiritual burial and rebirth.

There is nothing sacred about the water in a baptismal font; it is not like "holy water" recognized in some religions. Shortly before a baptismal service is started, the font is filled with warm water, usually from a water spigot within the font. Enough water is drawn that that a person can be fully immersed in the water. This normally means thirty to thirty-six inches of water, which is enough to lay a person back so they can be fully immersed. After the baptismal service is over, the water is fully drained from the font.

In areas where there is no baptismal font available, Mormons believe that converts can be baptized in any body of water that is large enough for them to be fully immersed. It is not unusual in rural or less-developed areas for individuals to be baptized in ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, or the ocean.

Baptismal fonts in temples differ from those in meeting houses and are employed for the ordinance of baptism for the dead. These structures follow biblical guidelines for temple construction and are huge lavers mounted on the backs of twelve sculptures of oxen.

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