Notable Emails #14 “Baptism for the dead is illogical and pretty much impossible to ever accomplish”

I got this email a few weeks ago from a reader of this blog-

 

What do you think of this?

Baptism for the dead is illogical and pretty much impossible to ever accomplish. There is no mention of this being done in the BOM or by the people in the city of Enoch. It was first started in 1840 after the church went back into apostasy and had had its name changed twice. It was started after the church had failed to live higher laws.

According to this statistical guess the NUMBER of people WHO HAVE EVER BEEN BORN is 107,602,707,791.

LDS church has about 5 million temple worthy members who can perform baptisms for the dead. (I am sure outside of the youth very few are done by adults.)

How many baptisms would each of these members have to perform for every human born so far to receive this ordinance?21,520 assuming all names were available(absolutely impossible without huge amounts of direct revelation, which isn’t currently happening).

If every member performed 10 baptisms for the dead each time they went how many trips would it take? 2,152 trips. If each member took 1 trip per month how many years would it take to baptize their quota? 179 years. 1 trip each week would take 45years.

This isn’t even close to happening nor is it even probable of it ever happening.

It makes far more sense for each person who so desires to get baptized for themselves, either in this life or in the next, after they are resurrected and receive a body again, if they weren’t baptized here. That seems perfectly reasonable. Getting baptized for other people really doesn’t make much sense to me logistically or founded in scriptural. I think baptisms for the dead are now just used to hook kids onto the temple and to get them believing in it and the rites done there.

I have heard the church is pretty much out of names and is just doing the same ones over to keep up attendance. If that is true or even partly true what a fraud that would be.

My response

Hi G

You said:

 
“I have heard the church is pretty much out of names and is just doing the same ones over to keep up attendance. If that is true or even partly true what a fraud that would be.”

Yes I have heard the same thing and the thought of having people re-baptize the same people over and over again just to keep them busy and faithful really is a huge fraud.
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Of course, if one accepts the proposition that the church was rejected back in Nauvoo, then ALL ordinance work of any kind is basically a fraud because if the Lord rejects us as a church, he is basically stating that the keys of the church, ie, keys of salvation, ie, keys by which valid ordinances of salvation can be performed, have been revoked.
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I have struggled with this issue of BfD over the years. On the one hand, I feel the spirit bearing witness to me that section 124 is true… all of it.
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 There is too much profundity in it on so many different levels…. the obscure reference to the “offering”, the declaration that the fulness had been lost, the warning/prophecy that the church would be rejected, the observation that if not faithful, the saints would have to flee Nauvoo, the declaration that anything more or less than what had been revealed in the publicly accepted revelations up to that point in time cometh of evil, which makes it game, set, and match against the abomination of the spiritual wife doctrine, etc., etc., etc.
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So, if I accept the veracity of 124, which I do, then I have to accept the fact that there is something to the concept of baptisms for the dead… HOWEVER, I am open to the fact that they represent something quite different than what the modern corporate church teaches and possibly even different than how Joseph himself was processing the information back at that time when his eyes were being covered relative to various issues.
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It is obvious that the saints were at a crossing point where they would either repent and reform and usher in the fulness of times, which would unleash things that had never been revealed before, or they would be completely overcome by Satan. Therefore, I can see how there could very possibly be something to the concept that we just don’t understand.
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I have been entertaining several possible theories on the matter. One has to do with the declaration in 88: 96-99 about how after the elect are quickened and raptured up, the terrestrial saints of the second harvest must be “judged according to men in the flesh
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These are folks who apparently must be judged according to fleshly requirements, yet were are not informed if they are in the flesh at that point or of they are in spirit form. If they are in spirit form, and still must be judged according to fleshly gospel requirements, then I can see how proxy work, conditioned upon their agency to accept the gospel, would be a valid concept.
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Another theory I have been entertaining is that baptisms for the dead might have something to do with a literal resurrection ritual of some kind to bring forth the dead from the other side. . 1 Cor 15:29 is a very obscure and controversial passage, however, it is arguably linking BfD directly to the RESURRECTION.
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So… I cannot bring myself to reject the concept as revealed in section 124, I can only shake my head and roll my eyes at how the modern corporate church has taken a vague concept and reinvented it into part of an amazing strategy to keep the sheeple doing busy work and keep them faithful to the corporation, much the same way that they use the masonic temple endowment to bind people over to a very strange form of idolatry.
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What are your thoughts?
What have you concluded thus far?
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Before he could reply I sent another email
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One other observation.
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The way I read the following passages in section 124, the saints were NEVER commissioned to start doing baptisms for the dead prior to the completion of the Nauvoo House. The way I interpret the following verses, the Lord states that during times of cumulative prosperity, which they were clearly living in based on the sheer number of members of the church,  baptisms for the dead are only authorized to be performed inside a house specifically dedicated for that purpose.
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The Lord states three different times in the following passages that “baptisms for the dead” are only allowed in a house built and dedicated for that purpose. Furthermore, doing that kind of ordinance work is predicated on having the fulness of the priesthood that had been lost to that generation:
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28  For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
29  For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead
30  For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
31  But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms [referring to baptisms for new converts and rebaptisms for healings and re-commitments] shall be acceptable unto me.
32  But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
33  For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;
34  For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.
35  And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
36  For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.
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As I read the above passages, the Lord was putting the saints on probation and allowing the saints to continue doing traditional baptisms for the living. During this probation period they needed to have the fulness of the priesthood which had been lost to them,  restored to them. The restoring of the fulness was contingent upon building the house.
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The fulness had been granted at the Morley Farm, without the need for a dedicated house, because the church was poor and in its infancy with only a few hundred newly ordain priesthood holders. Things had changed a decade later in Nauvoo. Cumulatively the church had the potential resources of thousands of members.
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The most problematic verse to my interpretation appears to be verse 35 which seems to be saying that the scattered saints could to bfd until the sufficient time had come and gone, but I don’t think that is what it is saying. It is simply saying that after the sufficient time is exhausted, the scattered saints had to come to the appointed places, such as stakes like Nauvoo and Jerusalem (Kirtland).
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After those passages quoted above, the Lord reiterates AGAIN that their washings, including the ordinance of baptisms for the dead, are only acceptable to the Lord in a house that is built to his name.
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37  And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?
38  For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was.
39  Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.
40  And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;
41  For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.
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I would further suggest that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead had not fully been revealed and would not be revealed until after the house had been built and the fulness of priesthood restored
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 This was his response
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“Watcher,I have been confused by this for quite some time now since I rejected the temple ordinances. The very first time I went to a temple was days before I was to enter the MTC at the age of 22. I was shocked and appalled by the whole process and found it very unsettling, disturbing, ridiculous and creepy.
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I literally felt like somebody was laughing at me behind the scenes the whole time and that it was all a joke. Watching my dear mother participating in the rites next to me was very surreal. But I rationalized that I was out of touch somehow and it would all be made clearer to me at a later time.
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That time never came and I never once had a spiritual experience in a temple. When I completed my mission I went to the Seoul temple the day before I was to return home. I spent the night in the temple there in a little dorm room and again I had a really creepy unsettling feeling about being alone(as far as I knew) in the temple. Wasn’t a pleasant night although it should have been.
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The most powerful spiritual experience I had ever had in my life took place about 4 months previously and I felt like I was leaving my mission on a spiritual high yet a night in the temple really creeped me out.
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I have asked many people what great truths they learned in the temples and nobody has ever given me anything substantive. Even my mother who has been a faithful temple goer/worker most of her life.
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Anyway back to BFD. If the other ordinances are wrong it seems to me the current proxy baptism process done in the temple should be also. Hard to believe God would have false rituals done right next to true ones.
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As I stated in my email the logistics of the whole thing also seem highly improbable and I can’t imagine anyone consenting to be baptized over and over hundreds of times a day, for weeks on end during the millennium, which seems to be a popular LDS belief.. IF proxy baptisms are necessary for salvation then there will be billions of spirits waiting for a very long time before theirs comes up. I’m sure God can come up with a better system.
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I have wondered about some of the verses you cited and what they really mean. I honestly don’t have any good theories about what those references could be in regard to. Some of yours could be right. Little children don’t need baptism and billions of them have attained eternal life simply by dying young. Don’t see why baptism has to be a physical process that needs to be done only by flesh or while in the flesh. I think we all have the power in some way or another to work out our own salvation without anybody but Jesus doing anything else for us at all. Being dependent on other men or women for ones Eternal salvation seems destined to almost guarantee disappointment.
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However, I certainly recognize my own limitations when it comes to thinking through and trying to understand the ways and works of God so I am sure there are lots of things I can’t comprehend or fathom and or find illogical, so my failings don’t limit God in an way.
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Baptism for the dead as practiced by LDS people seems like a total waste of time and completely futile in making a dent in the vast number of spirits who “need” it to gain salvation. Surely God can come up with something better. I have faith that He has.
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BFD is the gateway drug used to get young, impressionable minds hooked on the temple and its satanic rituals and false doctrines.
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G
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p.s. Thanks for all the great posts you have put out for so many of us to think about. I never did key word searches until I started reading your blogs and so many things have opened up for me because of them. Would love to hang out with you and Mrs. watcher some time but as I live in Fl and you seem to live around Utah that probably won’t happen.”
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 I can appreciate why this good brother has questions about the doctrine of Baptisms for the Dead.
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While I was reading section 128 I noticed three requisites in order for baptisms for the dead to be performed legitimately and I think it substantiates some of my previous suppositions:
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bfd2
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1- Baptisms for the dead must be performed during the dispensation of the fulness of times: “for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.” (verse 18)
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2- Baptisms for the Dead must be performed under ground level: “Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead, and that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another” verse 13
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3- The fulness of the priesthood that had been lost, was required to perform baptisms for the dead. This is why Baptisms for the dead were not commanded to be performed at the time of the Kirtland temple, the fulness of the priesthood had been lost. ” For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead—
30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable
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bfd1

BTW

Here is an excerpt from a post I did on the succession crisis in which I speculate that Hyrum Smith, during his brief period of revelatory leadership as the sole prophet of the church, hinted that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead is expressly for resurrecting the dead:

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Did Hyrum have the spirit of Prophesy?

Did the spirit of prophecy reside in Hyrum Smith?

Did he ever interpret scripture for the church, give them commandments and say

thus sayeth the Lord?

I believe he did.

The following prophetic counsel to the saints is one of my favorite quotes from Hyrum Smith. It was published on November 19th 1841 in the Sangamo Journal (which was quoting from the “Times and Seasons).

The following admonishing to the saints from the prophet Hyrum Smith came less than one year after he was called by God to be a prophet seer and revelator to the church in concert with his brother Joseph-

“All the saints that dwell in that land [Kirtland] are commanded to come away, for this is, ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ therefore pay out no monies nor properties for houses, nor lands, in that country, for if you do, you will lose them; for the time shall come that you shall not possess them in peace; but shall be scourged with a sore scourge; yet your children may possess them; but not until many years shall pass away; and; as to the organization of that branch of the church, it is not according to the spirit and will of God:

Hyrum is authoritatively paraphrasing elements of section 124 and also expanding upon a prophetic sermon previously given by Joseph Smith. ( See Building the Zion of the Lord given on July 19, 1840)

Hyrum was informing the saints in Kirtland and other places that the Lord wants them to come to Nauvoo and not to settle in Kirtland and other places.

Hyrum continues in his admonition and warns the saints that they have neglected the house of the Lord and the baptismal font.

Interestingly, he confirms that the dispensation of the fullness of times HAS NOT BEEN USHERED IN!

He informs them that the key of knowledge and the revealing of the mysteries of God necessary to unfold the dispensation of the fullness of times will not be turned until the temple and baptismal font have been finished!

“…and as to the designs of the leading members of that branch relative to the printing press, and the ordaining of Elders, and sending out Elders to beg for the poor, are not according to the will of God; and in these things they shall not prosper, for they have neglected the House of the Lord, the Baptismal Font, in this place, wherein their dead may be redeemed, and the key of knowledge that unfolds the dispensation of the fullness of times may be turned, and the mysteries of God be unfolded, upon which their salvation and the salvation of the world, and the redemption of their dead depends, for ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ ‘there shall not be a general assembly for a general conference assembled together until the House of the Lord shall be finished, and the Baptismal Font, and if we are not diligent the church shall be rejected, and their dead also,’ ‘saith the Lord,’ therefore, dear Brother, any proceedings otherwise than to put forth their hands with their might to do this work, is not according to the will of God, and shall not prosper; therefore, tarry not in any place whatever but come forth unto this place from all the world, until it is filled up and polished, and sanctified according to my word…”

As you can see, Hyrum is chastising the saints which is what true prophets do when the church is not obeying the commandments of God.

He is identifying things they shouldn’t be doing and reiterating the warning in section 124 that the saints will be rejected as a church with their dead if they fail to finish the temple and the baptismal font.

Hyrum, like most prophets, is not interested in tickling the ears of the saints or worrying about being liked. His words are stern. His warning is ominous.

Then Hyrum Smith reveals a grand secret that had possibly never been revealed to the Nauvoo Saints before.

He prophetically notifies them that Nauvoo, (which had been designated as the cornerstone of Zion) is the “hiding place” where the Lord will hide his elect from the “indignation” which shall punish the wicked.

It becomes obvious that Hyrum is revealing Nauvoo as the “chambers” mentioned in Isaiah 26.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

Hyrum is warning the saints that Kirtland was not to be righteously inhabited again by the saints until after the great cleansing.

Finally, Hyrum ends with these remarks-

“…saith the Lord, come ye forth from the ends of the earth, that I may hide you from mine indignation that shall scourge the wicked, and then I will send forth and build up Kirtland, and it shall be polished and refined according to my word; therefore, your doings and your organizations, and designs in printing, or any of your councils, are not of me, saith the Lord, even so, Amen
HYRUM SMITH,

Again, compare the prophetic warning of Hyrum Smith above to the prophecy in Isaiah 26

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Un-be-freakin-lieveable!

The ordinance of baptism for the dead in section 124 interrelates to the prophetic utterances of Isaiah who proclaimed that “dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise“.

It appears that the prophet Hyrum Smith was revealing that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead is not just an ordinance that enables those who missed out on the opportunity of the gospel during probation… it appears that the ordinance is an integral part of the ordinance of resurrecting or quickening people from the dead!

We learn from Hyrum that Isaiah was prophetically looking forward at Nauvoo and the temple and baptisms for the dead.

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