Episode 197: Baptism for the Dead

59 comments on “Episode 197: Baptism for the Dead”

  1. Jesse Wright Reply

    The people in Corinth were doing batpisms for the dead but didn’t believe in a resurrection. Paul was questioning why they were doing baptisms if they didn’t even believe in resurrection (the Sadducees believed and taught this). The thing he is reputing here is their skepticism of the resurrection, he was using the ridiculousness of baptising for the dead when they didn’t believe in the dead being raise. This is how Paul argued as you can see from his statement “if in the fact the dead are not raised”. Verse 12 is where is argument starts. Love the podcast, keep up the good work.

    • Robert Saladino Reply

      Jesse good points but why are we in the year 2012 still trying to read God’s mind?? Why doesn’t he just come out and tell us what he wants us to do? Obviously his method like picking only certain people to give us eternal messages isn’t working!!!! Could John be right? Is there no God!!!!! Lol

      • Jesse Wright Reply

        I didn’t say there was a God. I said there is an argument on a page attributed to Paul that has nothing to do with baptism. The argument was for resurrection, not wether or not baptism for the dead is right or wrong.I didn’t bear testimony, just pointed out the context.

      • chuckborough Reply

        Possibilities: 1. He does not know English. 2. He does care to communicate clearly. 3. He does not exist. (Easy choice for me.)

        • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

          I don’t want to hijack this thread onto a tangent, but I heard an interesting speculation the other day about why God does not clearly and openly communicate his existence.

          Imagine this: How might such a communication take place? A great voice from the sky saying “I am God”? Other signs, wonders, and miracles?

          If such things occurred, how could we be sure that they actually came from God? Might such things be within the capabilities of a sufficiently advanced alien race? Wouldn’t there always be room for skepticism?

          Of course, any race claiming to be God might not even have to be very advanced. During the 1950s, the CIA helped to suppress a communist insurgency in the Phillippines by muffling the engines on light aircraft, flying them above overcast clouds, and using loudspeakers to address the tribes in the jungles below. The agents on the plane would claim to be God, and caution the tribes against harboring insurgents.

          • Blorg Jorgensson

            With regard to your question, “How might such a communication take place?”: When I believed in the church, I fully trusted that the prophet(s) had visits from Jesus Christ — certainly for the important stuff, at least.

            I know you were making a different point, but… just thought I’d point it out. I’m sure I’m not the only one (since I still hear missionaries claim direct revelation from God.)

          • richras

            I need to join the CIA, sounds like a frat house…wait, I already actively did the fraternal organization thing for over 20 years…never mind.

          • ChicagoOG

            Maybe God will communicate with us through special “CTR” decoder rings.  Since he want to exclude the gentile, heathen, pagan masses.  Only those with “The Ring” will get to hear gods voice.  Right now tho…CTR will still mean….Clean The Restrooms…

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Glad you posted this. I was a bit surprised the scripture wasn’t dissected a bit more.

      As I understand it, many scholars (possibly only Christian ones?) interpret the scripture this way: That baptism represents a rebirth. The Corinthians were not baptizing for deceased and the “dead” mentioned is meant to symbolize ones former self.

    • i_follow_u Reply

      Paul was repudiating their skepticism of resurrection, but the Corinthians were NOT the “they” Paul was referring to in verse 29. Go back and read the entire chapter. Paul uses “ye”, “you”, “your”, “us”, “we”, and “our” all throughout chapter 15 when referring to himself and his audience, the Corinthians. Then in verse 29 the pronoun references change to “they”.  “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?”

      Paul was referring to a community of heretics who were practicing the ritual of baptism for the dead. Paul was pointing them (they) out to the Corintians and possibly shaming the believers at Corinth for their disbelief in resurrection. Paul explains that even these heretics believe in resurrection to the extent that baptism for the dead would have some effect for them in the next life; that their actions symbolized their hope that they would live again.

      Haphazard and uninformed analysis (simple reading for that matter) of 1 Cor 15:29 is exactly why an entire theological and un-Christian practice has been built up around a single verse that doesn’t mean what “modern prophets” think it means…especially when read in context and with adquate, historical perspective.

  2. Mike Conder Reply

    When I went as a youth, there where a couple boys who brought a pack of cards and played poker on the back bench. I remember looking back at them and being horrified, like we would all be killed in the car ride home or something. On a side note, both those boys ended up in prison at a young age, so of course this really reinforced some of the fear programming I still struggle with today.

  3. Lindsey Gustafson Reply

    What were the sources for all the re-baptizing going on in Utah?

    • Megan von Ackermann Reply

       Here’s one:

      Your favor of the 22nd, inst.[,] asking the form of ceremony you ought to use in rebaptizing persons who wish the ordinance, and also the form of ceremony in confirming the same, has been received. Your letter was read to the Council, and it has been decided that the proper form to be used in rebaptizing persons who have not been cut off the Church or dealt with for their fellowship is as follows: the person who has authority from the Lord to baptize shall go down into the water with the person to be baptized, and shall say, calling him or her by name, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for the remission of your sins, and for the renewal of your covenants, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” —John Taylor to Moses Thatcher, Sept. 25, 1877

        (2011-03-22). The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History (Kindle Locations 1690-1695). Signature Books. Kindle Edition.

      There is also reference in the above book to the idea that in order to attend the temple people HAD to be rebaptized (John Taylor to Angus M. Cannon, Nov. 15, 1877)

  4. Heather_ME Reply

    My experiences at the temple were mixed.  I thought being at the temple was neat and I enjoyed the reverence of the confirmations I did.  But the actual baptisms were a nightmare.  I was like Thayne.  I felt like like the baptism portion was an endurance race to not drown.  du-du-du-DUNK, up and try to catch my breath…. du-du-du-DUNK, up and try to catch my breath.  The person baptizing me always knocked me off my feet with each dunk and I flailed around like a moron.  I was never able to catch the names of the people I was baptizing for. Then you had to run to the dressing room to try to minimize the amount of time you were seen in what was essentially a full body wet tee-shirt.  I don’t know about other temples, but in the Boise temple they had the girls disrobe right inside the door in front of some woman you don’t know.  I really didn’t like the baptisms portion and found it anything but faith affirming.  But, I always managed to set aside that portion and enjoy the rest.

  5. Christopher Allman Reply

     I think baptism for the dead is a BRILLIANT idea, but it is  BAPTISM that is  ridiculous. Considering that Joseph and Mormons believe baptism is necessary for entry into heaven, (which was NOT his idea, but  a restriction placed upon him by Christianity).  baptism for the dead is an excellent solution to the problem. Yes, taken on whole, the notion of baptism for the dead is….(I don’t normaly like to use this word, but feel it applies here) retarded. It is like holding a free concert that everyone can attend, yet requiring tickets. And not only must people have tickets but they can only be picked up on a certain day at a certain time. But if you can’t get a ticket at that time, it is allowed for other people can get a ticket on your behalf. (actually, I think the Church literally does this with some things) The much easier solution would be to simply do away with the tickets! However, suppose it were a state law that all large gatherings of people require tickets and that those tickets can only be sold or given for one day. . Under that circumstance, allowing people to get tickets on behalf of others is brilliant, it helps solve a thorny issue. 
    So yes, baptism for the dead, considered on whole is absurd, BUT considering the problem it was trying to solve, it is brilliant. And isn’t that what so much of what Joseph Smith Mormonism was about? Trying to make rational sense and create practical problems for the often absurd mess that is Christianity?Btw: Great episode, I enjoyed everyone on panel.

  6. Christopher Allman Reply

    Brandt, your story about members talking about famous people they had done temple work for, was so very specific, did that story actually happen to you? I’ve never had anything like that, but I do not doubt it happens. So, just curious if it was hypothetical, or based on real events from your life?

    • brandt Reply

      Actually, it was a story that I had previously written in a blog post for Mormon Expression. And while I hadn’t seen that situation exactly, I’ve seen things along those same lines, with the groups of people sitting together wanting to one-up each other.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a Mormon thing either – I sit on the opposite side of a cube wall in my office (we have 4 to a cube), and the guys on the other side of the wall do that all. day. long.

  7. Christopher Allman Reply

    I have zero problem with people baptizing or submitting the names of celebrities. If you believe you have to baptize everyone that has ever lived and  tracking down their names can certainly be a challenge and a chore, while considering the fact that we all find celebrities interesting and exciting, why not make this difficult and mundane chore more exciting? And if it gives someone  an ego boost, well, who cares?  People tell stories about meeting or interacting with celebrities, which gives them an ego boost and no one thinks that is so bad, so why is this? Additionally if a person genuinely admires a particular celebrity, all the better. If I still believed in the Church and someone I greatly admired died, celebrity or not, i would feel inclined to baptize them by proxy and I have no qualms with that. Granted, celebrities being baptized over and over is a waste of time but…so a lot of Mormonism.

  8. Hermes Reply

    I love that Jesus has been baptized by proxy!  Take that, John the Baptist. 

    On a more serious note, I actually think that the church could solve many problems by doing proxy ordinances anonymously (e.g. “I baptize you for and in behalf of the dead, in the name of the Father …”).  If hardliners object, maybe we could reach a compromise whereby we only perform ordinances for people as “Mr. Smith” or “Juan.” Another solution that occurs to me would be to refer to all the men as “Adam” and all the women as “Eve.”  The ordinances could be re-written to refer to Adam and Eve, who are (after all) avatars for all humanity in the temple narrative. I really like this idea. I am going to say that it is inspired.

    • Robert Saladino Reply

      Baptisms for the dead, makes no sense to me. I thought Jesus judged people according to their hearts and deeds? Would Jesus really tell someone you never got baptized for various reasons but I know you deserve to be in heaven but its protocol you’re not on the list? I mean wouldn’t Jesus just say during the resurrection, “all the righteous who haven’t been baptized on this side of the line?”  

      • Hermes Reply

        Until Jesus arrives on the scene to speak for himself, it’s really anyone’s guess which of his myriad followers over the years have understood him correctly.  (Did he found a church, or not?  Did that church have rules, or not?  How did the rules apply, assuming they existed?  History has produced many answers to these questions–too many answers.)

        Personally, I think human morality here and now exists independent of anything Jesus did or would do.  But if someone will only take my ideas seriously if I dress them up in Jesus talk, then I am all about the Jesus who told the scribes and Pharisees to take a hike so that he could hang out with sinners and publicans.  I am all about the Jesus who came to free us from laws that stopped working a long time ago.  My Jesus doesn’t really care about baptism for the dead, because (frankly) my Jesus doesn’t really care much about baptism (it’s just a metaphor, people!) or institutional affiliation of any kind (so they didn’t write your name in one of those dumb heavenly guestbooks Ezekiel and John are always daydreaming about? No big deal! I’ve got your back!).  But my Jesus is certainly not the only one out there: historically speaking, he is a latecomer (and he is outnumbered by many more dour versions of the Word made flesh: Christians over the centuries have by-and-large made Jesus a real hard-ass, kind of like his dad).

    • Elder Vader Reply

      My life will be whole when I learn that ‘crewman number 6’ was baptized for the dead. 

  9. Patriarchal_Gripe Reply

    One aspect of this topic that was overlooked by the panel was the church’s instructions to members doing name submissions (for over 10 years now) to begin searching their ancestors “down” lines.  In other words, you might not be Elvis Presley’s child or grandchild, but if you both share a great-great-great-great-grandfather, you are now his relative and perfectly authorized to submit his name (except its already been done a dozen times or more). 

    One of my favorite “famous dead mormon” stories is Elizabeth Taylor’s being sealed to Richard Burton (wasn’t he gay?) a few years BEFORE Elizabeth Taylor passed away!  How could you guys fail to mention this on the podcast?!!  I love whacky Mormon bullshit!  It is what keeps me going in between Thursday nights TV programs.

  10. chuckborough Reply

    All baptisms are baptism for the dead (to a new life – born again). Paul was not referring to LDS temple baptisms for people already passed on. He was asking the Corinthians how they had given up a belief in the resurrection yet still baptising people to new life – a symbol of resurrection.

  11. chuckborough Reply

    Mormons believe Jesus did what He did for all people all at once (suffered “by proxy” for everyone.) The Church could get rid of this thig once and for all – just have a baptism in the temple for “everyone.” One proxy would be sufficient. It’s this “individual names” thing that gets us in trouble with the Hollocaust deal.

  12. JTurn Reply

    Ordinances for the dead are only ostensibly for dead. 

    And perhaps for most faithful this is all they consciously experience as they carry out their devoted service with genuine love and concern for the dearly departed.   

    But the implicit institution-centered reasons for throwing so much effort and “treasure” at dead people seem as obvious as they are taboo – as is the thought that the main covenants, and secret signs, and okens don’t even make sense if you’re dead.

    Here’s the start of what lies beneath.

    1.  Temples are emblems of institutional “fitness” that members appropriate. 

    Such conspicuous consumption certainly serves human self-esteem more than God’s. I thought a sacred grove and humble log cabin were good enough for Him?

    2.  Personal Investment breeds personal valuation.

    This related to what psychologists appropriately call the “endowment effect.” It seems we all make the following unconscious calculations which our own still small voices whisper:  “If I’m devoting so much time, effort, money to this, it must be good and true – because I’m too smart and good a person for it not to be.”

    3. Performing an ordinance by proxy is the next best thing to doing it again for oneself.

    And Temple ordinances aren’t just the run-of-the-mill weekly baptismal covenant renewals.  This are the hard stuff – even in their post-penalty phase. 

    Imagine if the Church’s sensitivity to public opinion dried up the pool of dead people.  Somehow I don’t think the Brethren would announce: “Dear brothers and sisters. We’ve nearly completed the work for our own ancestors.  You only need to attend the temple once a year.”   

    Somehow I think new ordinance would be revealed first.  The institution needs to keep feeding on its members. This is the genius of this theological innovation. There’s no shortage of dead people of record.

    And that’s the sardonic view of a father who’ll soon be sitting the curb outside the DC Temple waiting for his daughter and new son-in-law to become “sealed” to the Church.

  13. Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

    Great discussion. Thanks to the panelists.

    I especially liked John’s comment about how difficult it is to simply meditate or engage in personal prayer at a temple. This seems to be near the root of the proxy baptism public relations problem.

    Most religions have two types of sacraments or ordinances. Some may be performed an unlimited number of times during regular worship, like Holy Eucharist in Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Others are initiatory, and therefore might be performed only once in a lifetime (e.g., baptism, confirmation, ordination) or maybe a few times at most (e.g., marriage, anointing of the sick).

    But Mormon temple ordinances are all initiatory. After somebody has performed them on his or her own behalf, they have no reason to come back to the temple unless they can help someone else to be initiated. And as the panel said, you can run out of known ancestors pretty quickly.

    Trying to solve the problem through PR is almost certain to fail unless the church makes some big liturgical changes in temple worship.

  14. Caitlin Sticco Reply

    As a never Mormon, I was never offended by the idea of baptism for the dead. I think it’s kind of crazy and impractical, but I always thought it was actually compassionate and loving in context of the beliefs. I doesn’t bother me that it would be offered to holocaust victims, or anyone else, frankly. They don’t have to accept the ordinance if they don’t want to (but who wouldn’t, once they know the truth, etc.) If the Mormons on some chance turn out to be right, I’ll be grateful to whoever does mine!

  15. Troy Olsen Reply

    Great episode!  The Jesus/Mr. Smith/Juan discussion had me laughing so hard on my commute this morning that I nearly had to pull over.  Good stuff as always.

    • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

      I liked the suggestion of one baptism for everybody named Juan. Six of Juan, half a dozen of the other.

  16. JeffDullum Reply

    Historically, it can be documented that vicarious “baptism for the dead” (i.e., vicariously baptizing living people on behalf of persons who had died without baptism) was practiced in the first few Christian centuries by only two sects – the Cerinthians (i.e., followers of Cerinthus, not to be confused with the Corinthians) and the Marcionites (i.e., followers of Marcion) – both of which were heretical (Gnostic) groups, not Christians.  Paul could not be condoning such a practice because he taught elsewhere that baptism is not necessary for salvation because we are justified by faith alone (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8), not by faith and a ritual (Rom. 4:1-11) or works (Eph. 2:8-9).  Perhaps the most convincing refutations of the view that baptism is necessary for salvation are those who were saved apart from baptism.  For example, we have no record of the Apostles being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3 — note that the “word” of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them).  The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism.  Therefore, it would not be necessary for baptisms to be performed for those who had died without baptism.  So, to what, then, was Paul referring by the phrase “baptism for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29)?  Well, remember that the entire fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians is an argument for the resurrection.  Paul’s comments in v. 29 represent an argument for the resurrection and are based upon the foundation he was laying back in verses 12-14, 16-17.  He is pointing out in v. 29 the inconsistency of people (i.e., “they”) who don’t believe in the resurrection (v. 12), yet were being baptized “for” (i.e., “because of”) the “dead” (i.e., Christ).  [The Greek word translated “for” can mean (just as it does in English) “because of.”  For example, a person takes an aspirin “for”/“because of” a headache.]  Paul previously pointed out that if the dead don’t rise, Christ was not resurrected (vv. 13, 16).  Therefore, if that is true, He is still dead; and if Christ is dead, why be baptized because of Him?  Why be baptized “for” (i.e., “because of”) someone (i.e., Christ) who is dead (vv. 14, 17) and did not rise as He promised He would?  Why be baptized [which elsewhere Paul points out is actually symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5)], if what Jesus taught about the resurrection were not true?  Yet “they” were being baptized!  Paul was simply pointing out their inconsistency.     

    • Scott Taylor Reply

      yeah, that must be it.  Why would any writer write plainly when they could obfuscate so easily?  Sheesh, the mental gymnastics of believers of any sect…

  17. Kevin Johnson Reply

    Once again a thoroughly fascinating podcast experience.  Zelpha hit on something I’ve been wondering about–the fact that for pre-8 year olds, the baptism is not required.  In Mosiah 15

     24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having asalvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord. 

    25 And little children also have eternal life.

    This seems to be a direct parallel to those who died before Christ in ignorance ALSO not needing baptism.  They could have been Genghis Kahn, slaughtering innocents left and right, so long as they never heard of Jesus, automatic exaltation.  So never having heard of Christ makes you as incapable of sin as a child?  And saving ordinances are bypassed entirely?

    Wow, so what was their pre-existence valiance level, to have it so good?

  18. Kevin Johnson Reply

    The more I think about Mosiah 15, the more it seems more and more damning for any shred of doctrinal sanity.

    Here’s Benjamin:  Uh guys, I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news. The good news is that Jesus Christ redeemed you for your sins.  The bad news is, that because I just told you that, well, you just lost your automatic pass to godhood.  Buck up, though.  It’s going to make sense after we die.

  19. **M** Reply

    I wish Zilpha’s point had been discussed in depth (the point regarding all the other proxy ordinances in addition to baptism). I found it truly heartbreaking, doing family sealings for the dead, because at many points, they had only the man’s name and then his unnamed wife and the names of their children. Kneeling in place for women who remained unnamed, and then expressing my sorrow for them and having my tbm family sweeping it aside as no big deal…that was one more gut punch to help wake me up to LDS feminism (and then post mormonism).

  20. Elder Vader Reply

    Good episode.  A couple of comments.  

    – I like how the good theological idea is unraveled as you take it a few more logical steps.  I usually point this out to TBMs by providing a solution to the problem — “Don’t worry.  All the genomics research going on right now is going to help with proxy work for the dead.  In the millennium all the family relationships will be sorted out by DNA, and performed digitally over a few minutes, leaving the rest of the millennium for feasts and such.”  

    – One thing that had me shouting to myself, in my car.  I agree with John Larsen that everybody needs to chill out on this.  But the church paints itself into a corner by making the temple ceremony secret.  I can understand why they make it secret (because describing it to outsiders sounds ridiculous).  But the secrecy is so obviously a holdover from JS keeping polygamy under wraps.  Anyway the point is, if the church would just open up about the temple, and give members a meaningful, non-weird way to talk about it in public, it would solve the whole problem.  For example:  “Proxy ordinances for the dead is one large symbolic tedious homework assignment from God to teach us that God loves us and wants us in heaven, and won’t kick us to hell on a technicality.”  

    – Thayne is spot on.  Clearly the church leaders don’t really believe these ordinances are essential, or they’d tell the world “Too bad.  We’re baptizing everybody.”  

    • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

      The church is actually painting itself into several corners on this issue. By agreeing that it is understandably offensive to baptize Holocaust victims and by promising to knock it off, the church has established an awkward precedent.

      What’s the next group to demand to be put on the Do Not Dunk List? Catholics? Southern Baptists? Muslims? What would prevent any group from claiming that it represents a religion which it is intrinsic to the identities of its dead members? And what options do the Brethren have to respond?

      “OK, your group’s on the list. Now if you’ll excuse us, there are some other people who want to yank our chains. Let’s keep the line moving.”

      “Sorry, we’re gonna keep on dunking ’em. You guys don’t yet present as much negative PR potential as Holocaust victims. Come back after you’ve stirred up more public sympathy against us.”

      “Oops, too late. We changed our minds — or maybe got a new revelation, or something — and now we’re gonna go back to baptizing everyone. Well, we might still give Holocaust victims a pass. Let’s see if that revelation had a grandfather clause.”

      “No problem. We don’t baptize the dead anymore. In fact, we’ve never done that.” 

  21. MDKMW Reply

    I wish the church would look at the diversity of the youth that do baptisms for the dead. When I was in the Young Women’s in the Bronx, it was SO hard to get the youth to want to go after their first time. But one couldn’t blame them. They were on a fixed income. Their hair is not meant to get wet often, let alone in chlorinated water. So if they had just had their hair done, there was no way they were going to go into the water. They wanted to come, they just didn’t want to get into the water. 

    I kept thinking, how hard would it be for the church to invest in some white swimmer’s caps? That would protect their hair and allow them to participate still following the rules. Someday I hope they will solve that problem. 

  22. ozpoof Reply

    I love this podcast, especially the wisecracks.

    I think the point wasn’t driven home about the recycling of names through the temple. I believe Anne Frank was done at least twice, and the church acknowledged it each time. I have also heard one reason why patrons were no longer permitted to take a list of their names with them is because they were found to be often recycled when compared to other lists.
    Unless LDS Inc were completely incompetent with their record keeping on a consistent and widespread basis, it’s clear that the ritual is not being used to baptize those who are dead and not yet baptized into the LDS church. If the church was honest, and had run out of enough names to keep temples open as much as they are, they would say that to the membership. Instead they have people spending vast amounts of time and money doing busy work that doesn’t really help anyone except those who get a few blasts of serotonin because they believe they just helped save someone from a crappy kingdom in the next life.

    The real function of the temples is to control the membership. Otherwise there would be no repeating of work. How could a believer in the sacredness of temple ordinances justify the waste and repetition? Temple baptisms help indoctrinate the youth, and provide enough spookiness to scare some into compliance. I found them mechanical, unemotional, and very human. Even as n early teen I thought a God could have this done in the twinkling of an eye for all humans, alive and dead.

    As adults, the temple is used to control the lives AND finances of those who wish to be considered temple worthy. The church has also made it necessary for people who don’t believe to lie and pay money in order to get inside for the temple marriages of family. As with most things Mormon, you pay and obey.

    When you consider that the Australian Aboriginal people may have lived on the continent of Australia for 60,000 years, and records of their names, births and deaths have only really become accurate in the last 3 decades (they weren’t counted in the census as late as the 1960s!), the notion of posthumous work for the dead is simply ridiculous. There are billions who have no records. If God will take care of their work, he could take care of all work, and the money spent on controlling the living could be better spent on the poor and sick.

    Great podcast again.

    • Cindy Reply

      **There are billions who have no records. If God will take care of their
      work, he could take care of all work, and the money spent
      on controlling the living could be better spent on the poor and sick.**

      I questioned this when I was in Primary, and was soundly shut down.  (I brought up the cavemen/women and their lack of records) I was told we would get all those names in the Millennium and could do all the work then.  In fact, I was told that we would spend all that time doing temple work.  Joy!

      I completely agree that the temple is ALL about control.  Time, money, underwear…

  23. Larrin Thomas Reply

    Overall I enjoyed the podcast, though a New Testament scholar was badly needed for the 1 Corinthians section. It would be interesting to get someone who has actually studied the issue. There are a variety of perspectives on the reference to baptisms for the dead. As others stated it was used as an argument for the resurrection. Evangelicals usually dismiss it by saying he wasn’t condoning the practice but just asking why they were doing it if they didn’t believe in the resurrection. Those that think that Paul did condone the practice ask the question of why would he use it as an argument if he didn’t think they would do it. I think the argument that Paul was pointing to the ridiculousness of the practice as an argument for the resurrection is a bit strained. Either way, the historical nature of the reference will likely never be resolved. One verse was enough for Joseph Smith to expound on baptism for the dead, but the rest of us will just keep guessing. 

  24. Scott Holley Reply

    The discussion on the motives of those who seek out famous dead people was interesting, especially the very spirited rant against those who brag about such acts at dinner parties. I think that some members seek out famous people with the honest belief that these dead famous people will seek them out in the afterlife to express their gratitude.  If they are lucky, dead famous people will want to be celestial buddies.  And who wouldn’t want to be best buds with Gary Coleman in the afterlife?   

  25. araazl Reply

    The last time I went to the temple was to do sealings. In our
    group was a woman and her son who had come to do the sealing of her parents.
    The officiator asked if there was anything she would like to share with the rest
    of us since it was for her own parents. She was very emotional as she described how
    she had resisted for years the pressure from her family to do her father’s temple work because “He was not Mormon — He hated the Mormons.”  I sensed she still had a lot of misgivings about doing it because she did not say that she had had a change of heart,
    but only talked about how difficult it had been and how her family would not let it go.

    This experience reinforced in my mind how integral to one’s identity is his/her religion.
    The claim that “we’re only giving them the opportunity to be Mormon, not
    forcing them” isn’t sufficiently respectful to that identity, even in the eyes of
    some temple-going Mormons.

  26. Nicholas Burk Reply

    For all of us who missed church today (4/25/2012), Bishops were to read another statement from the first presidency over the pulpit talking about the importance of not submitting the names of Holocaust victims. I thought that was interesting because I had just listened to this podcast when I received the email. Isn’t that wild? You all rock – keep up the good work!

  27. cwinchesteriii Reply

    Plus one to that comment about just baptizing everyone in the world vicariously all at once and be done with it. But then the church would have to find some other busy work to keep us occupied with!

  28. PhillyKD Reply

    I accidentally deleted my comment. Yes, I’m just that computer saavy. 

    There is a level of cultural insensitivity around baptisms for the dead. And it’s amazing the pressure a white woman (with straight hair that’s easy to wash) can put on an African American teenager to go to the temple. Yet, there seems to be little understanding at all of the issues of hair. The teen’s hair is not meant to get wet often, let alone with chlorinated water. Hair is a significant part of her identity. So we are asking a lot from her. And it’s not that she doesn’t want to go, she just doesn’t want to get her hair wet. And the pressure and guilt put on these teens is crazy and so insensitive to their main concern. It seems to me the church could easily solve that cultural insensitivity by providing swimmers’ caps to keep hair dry and untouched. They could even make them white to match the baptistry clothing. They’ve provided white scrunchies so long haired girls can pull their hair back.  

  29. Ersatzjello Reply

    My favorite part was John’s comment “For and in behalf of Australopithicus Aferensis, who is dead.”

  30. Jason Rich Reply

    Baptism for the dead makes no sense

    According to Mormonology, we have to live by faith. That’s why there’s a Veil of Forgetting at birth. Now, I don’t recall it ever being discussed but is there another Veil of Forgetting at death? Wouldn’t we have to forget all about our life on earth for the Mormon missionary work for the dead to be effective?

    For example, let’s say a Hindu dies and goes to spirit prison because he rejected the missionaries in life. If he doesn’t forget his earthly life, he retains his memories and mental faculties. He can see that he has not been reincarnated as a insect, dog or a different human being. He is still the person he was when he died.

    Now, he’s mulling around somewhere in spirit prison when along come some missionaries talking about the gospel of Jesus. He remembers hearing about Jesus from the Mormon missionaries. He remembers blowing them off. What would keep him from accepting the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” over the obvious non-existence of Ganesh or Shiva? How is this going to be any different for any other non-Mormon? Why would someone choose to NOT be baptized in the face of such overwhelming evidence? You’re dead, but Mormon missionaries are sill pestering you. Are you going to decline out of principle?Baptism for the dead is absurd.

  31. vikingz2000 Reply

    I was hoping that this podcast would have mentioned something about J.S. stating that “we cannot be saved without our dead.”

    Can anyone offer and explanation as to what he meant by this?


  32. Pawss Reply

    Wow, I laughed about the part when he thought he was going to drown because of his aggressive baptizer.   I wonder if we had the same guy.

    I was less than 90 lb tiny girl, and this guy was HUGE. He was used to
    baptizing his boys who would fight to be put under the water. So, he
    would just force me down… and he was an auctioneer, so I had barely
    enough time to catch my breath before I was under again. You know most
    of the baptizers let the kids grab their nose.. but when I tried he
    would just force my fist into my face. When it was over, my whole face
    was red… I even had the women come over to me and ask if I was ok.. It
    must have looked awful. I wonder why they didn’t stop it. I think that
    was my last time doing baptisms for the dead!

  33. ex_investigater Reply

    the TNIV translates it as what then shall those do that are baptized to reaplace the dead.the greek word is huper so its a possable translation

  34. Pingback: Bring Out Your Dead « JTurnonMormonism

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *