The persistent latter-day saint practice of deathbed rites is useful in describing general trends in Mormon ritual development and liturgy. As Mormons ritualized the deathbed, they drew from their native culture—and affronted it. Interacting with Protestant death culture and belief in Providence, Mormonism’s unique sacramentalism traversed the domains of salvation, healing, and community to comfort the dying and the bereaved. After reviewing the context of the Mormon deathbed, this paper describes the creation and history of Latter-day Saint rituals for the dying and their evolution in Mormon liturgy to the present.

Jonathan Stapley