LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXII
Article IV, Baptism for the Dead cont’d.
Mormons claim to be Christians and they use Bible texts to try to prove their beliefs are Biblical. Our last blog discussed I Cor. 15:29 which LDS often use to support baptism for the dead. LDS also use I Pet. 3:19 which says Christ “went and preached to the spirits in prison.” And v. 20 says those spirits were the disobedient in the days of Noah. LDS writers say Christ preached the gospel to them and they were saved if they believed it and proxy baptism etc. was done for them in an LDS Temple. But the text doesn’t say any of that. The word “preached” in v. 19 is a word that means “a proclamation.” So, Jesus proclaimed that He was the One Noah said would come to judge the living and the dead. There is a different Greek word which means to preach the gospel. That text does not say He preached the gospel or that anyone was saved. Nor does it say that someone should be baptized for those spirits. Those are un-Biblical LDS beliefs. LDS also use I Pet. 4:6 to teach that the gospel was preached to the dead. But v. 3 mentions men who committed all kinds of sin and then v. 5 says, “Who shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick (living) and the dead.” Then v. 6 says, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” Notice the verbs in that verse. It says the gospel was preached to men (when they were alive) but now they are dead and they will be judged like all men, and if they believed the gospel when they were alive they can live in the spirit for God. No Bible text supports salvation by proxy for the dead.
Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder said, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356). And on p. 193 he said, “Those Saints who neglect it (salvation and baptism) on behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation.” No Bible text says our greatest responsibility is to save the dead nor does it say our salvation is in jeopardy if we fail to do that! Christianity is based on the Bible and nothing else! But that doesn’t stop LDS from teaching Smith’s doctrines. LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie said in Mormon Doctrine, p. 72, “In our day, baptisms for the dead can be performed only in temples” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:28-35). Founts for such purposes should be constructed only in basements or lower portions of such buildings” (D. & C. 128:12-13). Notice that this saving LDS rite can only be done in an (LDS) temple and only in the basement or lower part of it! In a previous blog LDS leaders said certain words must be used for baptisms. Such teachings suggest a “do it yourself salvation” by works.
The fourth LDS Prophet, Wilford Woodruff said, “I look upon this portion of our ministry (baptism for the dead) as a mission of as much importance as preaching to the living; the dead will hear the voice of the servants of God in the spirit-world, and they cannot come forth in the morning of the resurrection, unless certain ordinances are performed for and in their behalf in temples built to the name of God. It takes just as much to save a dead man as a living man. For the last eighteen hundred years, the people that have lived and passed away never heard the voice of an inspired man, never heard a gospel sermon until they entered the spirit-world. Somebody has got to redeem them, by performing such ordinances for them in the flesh as they cannot attend to themselves in the spirit, and in order that this work may be done, we must have temples in which to do it; and what I wish to say to you, my brethren and sisters, is that the God of heaven requires us to rise up and build them, that the work of redemption may be hastened…I will say here before closing that two weeks before I left St. George, (UT), the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘you have had the use of the endowment house for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.’ These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence and they waited on me for two days and two nights … I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them” (Journal of Discourses, vol. XIX, pp. 228-229).
The above record by Wilford Woodruff, the fourth LDS Prophet, shows the beliefs and practices of the LDS Church. While they emphasize finding records or genealogies of their own ancestors, they try to do baptisms, marriages, endowments etc. for every name for which records exist, whether they were saints or scoundrels. That includes Catholic Popes and priests, all of the Protestants or anyone else for which they could find records. That is the purpose of the LDS genealogical library which they claim is the largest in the world. The only requirement is that the dead person for which the baptism etc. is performed must have been dead for at least a year. That allows enough time to record it so that it isn’t duplicated by someone else in a different LDS Temple. In spite of that, baptisms for the dead have been duplicated two or three or more times for some high profile people of the past. There is no Biblical or other record of baptisms, marriages etc. being done by proxy for the dead as a Christian practice in history. That came from the teachings of Joseph Smith, not Jesus Christ!
Notice that Woodruff said the proxy works for the dead (baptisms etc.) are just as important as preaching to the living, but Jesus never said that! Nor did Jesus ever say anything about saving those who have died or that there are preachers who preach the gospel in the spirit-world. Nor did Jesus say that proxy baptisms for the dead must be performed in temples or God wouldn’t accept them as valid! Woodruff said for the last 1800 years nobody heard the gospel until after they died! That is a part of Mormonism’s teaching of a universal apostasy between Christ’s ministry on earth and Joseph Smith’s “restoration of the true gospel in 1830.” During that time they believe no one was saved, which is one reason proxy baptisms etc. are done for them. LDS claim that the spirits of the dead can’t be baptized in water, so LDS believe they must be baptized by proxy in their Temples on behalf of the dead in order to save them. Woodruff said the spirits of the dead gathered around him wanting to know why LDS had not redeemed them! That sounds more cultish than Christian! I Tim. 2:5 says Christ, not water baptism, is the only Mediator between God and men! Woodruff named prominent people who have died and for whom he and “brother McCallister” were baptized. LDS claim these teachings were given by Christ, but they are not in the Bible are not and Christian!
Next time we will discuss the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost.