Friday, October 15, 2010

Lessons From The Font

I love symbolism and am especially captivated by all that can be conveyed by symbols. I saw this picture of the Salt Lake Temple baptismal font as it looked in about 1912 and loved pondering and learning.

The font sits of the backs of 12 oxen. We all know that the twelve oxen represent the 12 tribes of Israel. But why 12 tribes and 12 apostles? The answer is that 12 is the number that represents the priesthood. The next question is why did the Lord require the baptismal font to be placed on oxen. Why not horses or camels or elephants? The answer is that each of the 12 tribes had a symbol that represent the tribe. The tribe of Judah is represented by the lion and the tribe of Benjamin by a wolf, but not all of the tribal symbols were animals. For example, the symbol for the tribe of Zebulon was a ship and for Asher a goblet. But the tribe of Ephraim was an animal—a work beast known to carry heavy burdens—the ox.

Therefore, as we look at a temple baptismal font the message is clear. It is the task of the tribe of Ephraim through the priesthood power to find and bring the 12 tribes of Israel into the covenant through the waters of baptism.

Symbols can teach us so much! Ponder on this a little longer and see what else you learn!

2 comments:

Kim said...

Thank you for this little tid bit of information. I did not know any of this and with the possiblility of being able to accompany the youth in the morning this will be an easy way for me to ponder and learn and then walk away with new knowledge and light that will help me apply it to my Savior and Me.

Knowles Family said...

I hadn't realized that the number 12 represented the priesthood. That means a lot since my 12 year old son was just ordained to Aaronic Priesthood last Sunday :)