Dedicated

Sofa, coffee table, and tapestry in living room

I wasn’t raised in the church, and though I’ve been a member for nearly 25 years, I still feel on occasion like I’m an immigrant to the Kingdom of God. I’ve been naturalized through baptism, but there are still a few cultural things that everyone seems to know that I’ve never fully grasped.

One of these is the dedication of homes. I’ve heard occasional references to members being expected to dedicate their homes, but I don’t recall ever having a lesson at church about it. The nuts and bolts of who does it, when it’s done, why it’s done, and how it’s done are a mystery to me. Maybe these lessons happen in meetings to which I’m not invited, or maybe I was out sick that day, but the point remains that it’s something I have a vague sense is out there but not something I have any details on.

I bought a house last month, and it got me thinking again. I cleaned it, furnished it, decorated it, and had a housewarming party. But I wanted to dedicate it. One nice thing about having been absent the day it was taught at church is that I have complete freedom to do it how I want. I answer to no one. It’s my house, so no one has more authority than I do to dedicate it.

The only relevant quotation on the subject that I found was from an article in the August 1989 Ensign (I joined the church in 1994, so that explains why I never heard much about it). “A bishop or stake president must seek permission from those in authority in the Church in order to dedicate a chapel or stake center, but a member who wishes to bless his or her home may go directly to the Lord.” [1] This confirmed what I already felt. My home, my right to dedicate it.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, dedicatory prayers are written, not extemporaneous, so I started thinking about what I wanted to put in the dedication. I decided to dedicate the house as a whole and each individual room as well. What follows is a bullet point list of some of the main themes of the dedication.

Whole house:

  • A place of safety, security, and refuge for all who enter
  • A place where I can put down roots and have a sense of permanence

Living room:

  • A place where loved ones can gather for conversation and entertainment

Kitchen

  • A place where nourishing food can be prepared and consumed

Laundry room and bathrooms

  • A place where the necessities of life can be attended to

Office

  • A place where I can focus and concentrate on my work
  • A place where the needs of the downtrodden and needy can be met

Spare bedrooms

  • A place where travelers can rest
  • A place where future members of my family can live as my family expands

My bedroom

  • A place where I can rest and relax

Back yard

  • A place for relaxation
  • A place of joy for the cats
  • A place to grow fresh food

I haven’t yet delivered the dedicatory prayer, but I intend to do so in the near future. I’ll follow up in the comments when I do.

Have any of you dedicated your homes? What did you do to make it personal? What motivated you to do it? Did you get lessons in church about it? Was it done in your family of origin?

[1] https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/1989/08/bless-this-house?lang=eng Emphasis added

Trudy

Trudy is a lawyer living in the southwestern US. She has two cats who allow her to live in their apartment in exchange for a steady supply of food and treats.

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17 Responses

  1. Allison says:

    I absolutely love this!

  2. Wendy says:

    This is beautiful, Trudy, and a powerful example of claiming your own spiritual authority. Looking forward to hearing how the dedication goes. ❤️

  3. anon says:

    The church has published guidance on dedicating a home, but everywhere I have seen it is in the context of priesthood ordinances. In fact, follow this link: https://www.lds.org/manual/missionary-handbook/appendix-b?lang=eng
    So I perceive that most adult men in the church have had a lesson on it when they review the other ordinances. However, the official instructions from the church do not require the priesthood.
    Church members may dedicate their homes as sacred edifices where the Holy Spirit can reside and where family members can worship, find safety from the world, grow spiritually, and prepare for eternal family relationships. Homes need not be free of debt to be dedicated. Unlike Church buildings, homes are not consecrated to the Lord. To dedicate a home, a family might gather and offer a prayer that includes the elements mentioned above and other words as the Spirit directs.

  4. LMA says:

    Trudy, this is so powerful and lovely. I loved this so much: “I answer to no one. It’s my house, so no one has more authority than I do to dedicate it.” You embody power and it helps remind me about my power, too. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Andrew R. says:

    Thank you for posting this. It has taught me something that I have overlooked. I am not sure if it is a change, or always been this way. But hither to I have always believe this was only an ordinance that had to be done by a Melchizedek priesthood holder. But it would appear that is not the case, it may also be a prayer – ie not be authority, but by faith.

    I am not therefore sure why there would be a difference. If a family prayer is simple enough to dedicate the home, why the added possibility of using priesthood authority?

  6. arganoil says:

    Maybe we have to claim our spiritual authority as women in the church more. I have experienced many times wanting to exercise the healing power that I feel lies inside of me waiting to be allowed to come out. Wouldn’t that add a whole new layer of power to the church, if women stand in their rightful priesthood power to heal and bless? We are un-using 50% of the power available to the kingdom of God on the earth. I asked my SP this exact same question once. He was lost for words. Did not have an answer. He said he simply has never thought like that…..ever….before.
    Maybe the time has come to just start using it in our homes and families. Why do we need permission? It is our birthright.

  7. Emily Clyde Curtis says:

    This is so beautiful! I have never done a formal dedicatory prayer in any of the homes I have bought, but I think that comes largely from feeling overwhelmed and frantic. And, your post makes me think…why not do a prayer at the change of seasons or when we need shelter from life’s storms. This is really such a lovely idea!

    I have had friends who burn sage as part of their dedicatory prayer, and I thought that was a nice idea, especially given where we live.

  8. Meredith says:

    I am inspired by your spiritual power, Trudy. I love this post and I love this idea.

  9. Dani Addante says:

    I love this! My husband and I took turns dedicating our home, because I felt that I should take part in it too.

  10. Madsenmel says:

    Growing up we always gathered as a family and dedicated our homes after we had unpacked and gotten things mostly set up (my dad was in the military and we moved often). So when I moved out on my own I asked my brother if he would dedicate my home for me. He did some research and told me that it wasn’t actually a priesthood ordinance and I could do it myself!

    I was so happy!!! I got my cat and dedicated my house to be a place of safety and happiness, that it would be a haven for me, that it could withstand the elements and protect me, and so on. My cat lost interest partway through, but it gave me a sense of ownership and control to do this for myself.

    I love your thoughts on this!

  11. Cherie says:

    I had never dedicated a home until I re-married and my husband and I built a new house. He suggested we dedicate it so we wrote a dedicatory prayer together and then he blessed it “by virtue of the holy priesthood” which he possessed. Perhaps he thought it was a priesthood ordinance but I’m sure if I’d asked to share in that aspect, he would have been fine. It never occurred to me at the time. I got it out again last night and would love to have it printed and framed so we could hang it somewhere. It is a nice reminder of our hopes for our home.

  12. Allyall says:

    I love that you wrote it out and thought about it. My husband and I have discussed home dedication several times. I want something more formal, while he felt our regular family prayers accomplished the goal. There isn’t much specific direction available from church sources and I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  13. Janell says:

    I particularly love your attention to each room. Thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts!

  14. Charlene says:

    I happen to think that priesthood is about relationship. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. Go directly to the Lord. Your relationship with him gives you power and authority to bless a home, bless your children, do anything in his name that he commands you to do. Ask, seek, knock and it shall be given. The trouble with this tradition of waiting upon someone else, some handbook of instructions, some permission from others to be your intermediary is false doctrine. Go with your inspiration and let the Holy Spirit guide you in all things. Kudos.

    • arganoil says:

      Charlene, I totally agree. We have to realize better what priesthood really is. Priesthood does not equal priesthood-holder. It is for endowed women to use as they are guided by the Holy Spirit. And it will be of such great power and benefit for all the world, church and it’s member! Women should be taught the Truth about their inheritance.

  15. What a beautiful plan to make your home a consecrated space.

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