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LDS Baptisms For The Dead

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Adam LeavittQUESTION: What can you share about baptisms for the dead being performed inside LDS temples?

ANSWER: Well, baptism for the dead is an ordinance that is mentioned by Paul in 1 Cor 15:29. Paul states "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" In this scripture, he refers to the fact that baptism for the dead was a common practice in the primitive church.  It may be confusing to some why Paul only refers to baptisms for the dead, and never fully outlines the ordinance. The reason for this is that he was speaking to the church members in Corinth, who all ready knew very well what the ordinance of baptism for the dead entailed. Paul knew that he did not need to explain any further. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) we believe that, as part of the plan of salvation outlined in 1 Corinthians 15, it is necessary to perform essential ordinances for the dead who did not have the opportunity to receive them while on this earth.

Bruce R. McConkie said this in his book Mormon Doctrine:

Based on the eternal principle of vicarious service, the Lord has ordained baptism for the dead as the means whereby all his worthy children of all ages can become heirs of salvation in his kingdom. Baptism is the gate to the celestial kingdom, and except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit he cannot gain an inheritance in that heavenly world. (John 3:3-5.) Obviously, during the frequent periods of apostate darkness when the gospel light does not shine, and also in those geographical areas where legal administrators are not found, hosts of people live and die without ever entering in at the gate of baptism so as to be on the path leading to eternal life. For them a just God has ordained baptism for the dead, a vicarious-proxy labor. (D. & C. 124:28-36; 127; 128; 1 Cor. 15:29.)  ([i]Mormon Doctrine[/i], 2nd ed., p. 73)

Baptism for the dead is a holy ordinance ordained of God. It is a beautiful part of his plan that allows salvation for those who weren't fortunate enough to hear it on the earth. If you have any more questions about this topic, I urge you to study out the scriptures I mentioned and ask your father in heaven for a witness of their truthfulness.

References:
Online LDS Scriptures: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-cor/15.29?lang=eng
Mormon Doctrine: 2nd Edition P. 73

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