Baptism: Baptism for the Dead

In discussing the concept of baptism for the dead, it will be important to set aside what you think you know about baptism for the dead. We will read what is actually written in the scriptures and analyze the language carefully.

D&C 128:12
Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life—The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.

Notice what the part in red says. Baptism by water was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead. The LDS Church teaches the opposite, that baptism for the dead was instituted so that those who did not receive baptism by water during life could receive baptism by water by proxy when dead. Yet the scriptures indicate the otherwise.

Notice that verse 12 specifically mentions the resurrection of the dead. Maybe this is being too nit-picky, but it says being immersed in the water and coming forth out of the water is in the likeness of the dead coming out of the grave. The focus is not on going into the grave but on coming out of it.

Let’s read on:

D&C 128:13
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—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly, as Paul hath declared, 1 Corinthians 15:46, 47, and 48:
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

The earthly baptism conforms to the heavenly baptism. Or baptism for the living conforms to baptisms for the dead. Notice that baptism for the dead, that which is heavenly, does not conform to baptism for the living, that which is earthly. This is the opposite of what is taught and practiced today, where baptism for the dead conforms to baptism for the living.

Jesus, in the middle of his ministry, said this about his suffering, death, and resurrection:

Luke 12:50
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

This obviously wasn’t his baptism by water. That was performed by John at the beginning of his ministry. Nor was it his baptism by fire, that happened at the same time with the Spirit descending and the voice of God from heaven. What is this baptism that Jesus is referring to? He’s talking about his death and resurrection, but using the term baptism.

What if the true baptism for the dead is part of the resurrection process? D&C 128:12 tells us “to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves.” Baptism by water is linked the the resurrection of the dead. “hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead“. Baptism is linked to both the resurrection of the dead and baptism for the dead. Baptism for the dead and the resurrection of the dead are probably far more linked that we are taught.

Why dead non-believers don’t need baptism

For us to accept this radical idea, we need to jettison most of what we have been taught about baptism for the dead. We’ve been taught that everyone other than little children needs to be baptized for the remission of sins to be saved. But that isn’t what the scriptures teach. Here we learn that God grades on a curve:

Luke 12:46-48
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Here we learn just how much of a curve there is:

D&C 45:54 And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them.

The heathen nations that knew no law have part in the first resurrection! Why is that if they have never been baptized?

Look at the relationship between Mormon’s teachings and Paul’s:

Romans 2:12
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

Moroni 8:22-23
For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.
Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

The elephant in the room: today’s baptisms for the dead

So if baptism for the dead isn’t for the remission of sins of those who have died without the gospel, what is happening in the basements of all the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints temples?

The first thing to note is how baptisms for the dead were introduced in the 1840s. Joseph first mentioned the concept of baptism for the dead in a funeral sermon on August 15, 1840. Within a few weeks, baptisms were being performed in the Mississippi river. In 1841 over 6,000 baptisms for the dead were performed. Yet there was no revelation from God revealing this ordinance, nor any commandment from God requiring (or authorizing) it to be performed. Was Joseph speaking presumptuously (Deuteronomy 18:20)?

For many of you, this next part won’t be new information. The Lord granted a period of time for the Saints to build the temple. If they didn’t complete it in time, they would be rejected as a church. Notice how strongly the Lord ties this deadline to baptism and baptism for the dead.

D&C 124:31-33
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 shall be acceptable unto me. 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. 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;

What really becomes problematic is verse 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;

The ordinances can only be revealed within the house that needed to be built. That house was never truly completed, but was dedicated several months after the Saints abandoned Nauvoo in 1846, almost 18 months after the death of Joseph Smith. It was impossible for the Lord to reveal his ordinances therein – one because the temple was never truly finished, and two, because everyone had left!

Think I’m being nitpicky about the ordinances having to be revealed inside the house of the Lord? Two verses earlier the Lord says he did the same thing with Moses:

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.

The pattern is not to reveal the ordinances and then build a house to perform those ordinances. The house must be built first, and then the ordinances revealed. The Saints in Nauvoo didn’t do that. God cannot lie. If he says the ordinances must be revealed in a house built to his name, they can’t be revealed elsewhere. Not even in a red brick store.

Read Section 124 carefully. At no point does the Lord say the current baptisms for the dead were acceptable. He states the circumstances in which they cannot be acceptable: if not done in a font in his house (v. 30) or if done after the appointed time (v. 32-33, 35). We could argue that if after the appointed time they are not acceptable, it means that before the appointed time they are acceptable. That’s possible, but not guaranteed.

Consider this parallel: “If you don’t get your drivers license after you turn 16, your driving is unacceptable to the government.” Does that imply that driving without a license before you are 16 is acceptable to the government? No. It states the first time you can acceptably drive, and the conditions you need to meet to do so. To tell a 12 year-old that she can drive all she wants without a license before she turns 16 would be folly.

Did God authorize baptisms for the dead before the temple was completed? On October 3, 1841, Joseph stood up at the end of a church conference and said: “There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord’s House; and the Church shall not hold another General Conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!” (HC 4:426).

Interestingly, on November 8, 1841 they dedicated a baptismal font in the basement of the years-away-from-being-finished Nauvoo temple and then resumed baptisms. In HC 4:446, we read “the font was enclosed by a temporary frame building…this font was built for the baptisms for the dead until the Temple shall be finished, when a more durable one will supply its place.” There is no revelation saying that a temporary font in an unfinished temple is acceptable. They knew both that the temple needed to be finished, and that a better font needed to be built, yet they went ahead and started baptizing for the dead.

How do we know they didn’t finish the temple in time and God didn’t reveal the ordinance of baptism for the dead therein?

D&C 124:45
And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.

The Saints were moved out of Nauvoo before the temple was complete. If God cannot lie, then the only reason they were moved out of their place was because they didn’t do what was commanded. And if they didn’t build the temple in the allotted time, God declared that he not only would not reveal his ordinances, but he would also reject them as a church.

D&C 124:46
But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.

What are some of the things Mormon said about people who believed that little children and those without the law need to be baptized? That they “denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption. Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ…But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.”

When looking at the modern church, Mormon said:

Mormon 8:35, 38
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing…, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? 

Is it just a coincidence that Mormon 8 and D&C 124 both use the term pollute to describe the church?

Conclusion

What is the real ordinance of baptism for the dead? We don’t know. God didn’t get a chance to reveal it to the Saints in Nauvoo. It appears it has something to do with the resurrection of the dead, not the remission of sins. We need to wait until our season of chastisement is over and God deems that we are ready to receive it before we know the details. Until then, we need to believe what he says, that we were rejected as a church, and that our baptisms both for the living and for the dead are not acceptable unto him. It’s a harsh message, but those are the words of God.

18 thoughts on “Baptism: Baptism for the Dead

  1. “The pattern is not to reveal the ordinances and then build a house to perform those ordinances. The house must be built first, and then the ordinances revealed”

    Absolutely brilliant.

    How can wording so clear four generations later have been so blurred, obscured and misunderstood four generations ago.

    God truly placed a veil of darkness over the eyes of the condemned and rejected church and now he is beginning to remove the darkness from those that are humble and teachable and preparing their hearts and minds for the return of the fulness and those that hold the keys thereof.

  2. Hi MD!

    I always look forward to your posts.

    Ok, my two cents… This is interesting and most of it I can’t disagree with, but regarding baptisms for the dead, it skips over one important phrase:

    124:31 “…and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me…”

    Based on the context, I don’t see how “baptisms” is anything other than baptisms for the dead.

    Here’s the full context

    124: 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 shall be acceptable unto me.

    So this begs the question:

    Why is the Lord requesting a house to be built to receive the ordinance of baptism for the dead if he says that he’s accepting the baptisms while the house is being built? If it’s being accepted then this implies that the ordinance has been revealed.

    Regarding Verse 40 as showing that the ordnance wasn’t revealed, if you look, in 33, ordnance is in the singular.

    Verse 40 shows ordinances, plural. I take that to mean that what’s referred to in Verse 40 isn’t what’s referred to in Verse 33 and the “ordinances” are something greater that must be revealed in the house.

    Verse 39 gives a list of things that must be done in the temple and if you look at 37, it says Washings and Annotating must be done in the temple but does not say nor imply anywhere that these will be accepted outside of the temple.

    I read 39 as the a teaser list of things that Verse 40 is referring to.

    1. Now, you know me and I like to be transparent with my arguments since we’re trying to get to truth and not just win an argument.

      The counter to this point is in the Book of Commandments vs. D&C 20.

      BoC has the baptism prayer as Authority vs. D&C which has Commissioned. This example implies that Joseph was allowed to use the wording of an ordinance to the best of his knowledge and understanding but at some point, the Lord came in and changed things.

      This could be what happened here…

      1. I think something different happened with the baptism prayer between the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants. The Book of Commandments was written for the Church of Christ, and they had authority to baptize. The Doctrine and Covenants was written for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Christ’s name was not on that church. I refer you to 3 Nephi 27 for the significance of not having the name of Christ in the name of the church. This church did not have authority to baptize, and so the wording needed to be changed.

      2. In trying to pin down an answer to this, I’ve come to see section 20 not a revelation, but Joseph and Oliver using the scriptures to come up with articles for the church. Especially because the chapter heading said that Joseph received this by the Spirit of Prophecy.

        1st Explanation:
        Based on that, I can see how they took the wording of their ordinances from the BoM and that’s what’s recorded in the BoC. Then in Section 22, he spells out how baptism has now become different than before. This could imply that a new covenant is taking over so new wording is needed.

        The problem: Section 22 was given in 1830. That’s three years before the BoC was published and hence, plenty of time to clean up section 20.

        2nd Explanation:
        Could it be that the BoM baptismal prayer was only to be administered by those who received their authority from Christ?

        The Problem: If so, why did Mormon record it in 3rd Nephi?

        3rd Explanation:
        Did the covenant change and hence, new wording is needed?
        That would make sense because the BoC was published in 1833 and the D&C (which had the change in prayer) was published in 1835. In those two years 1) Christ’s name was removed from the church, 2) the law of consecration was over, and 3) revelations had dropped drastically.

        Now at the same time, suddenly the baptismal prayer changes from Authority of Jesus to just Commissioned by Jesus… that’s a HUGE shift in verbiage, I don’t care how anyone spins it.

        The Problem: We have plenty of examples of times where the Lord scolds us and tells us we’re in trouble. Why don’t we have a record of this outlining that this has happened???

        1. Have you looked at the Articles of the Church of Christ that Oliver wrote in June 1829? https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/appendix-3-articles-of-the-church-of-christ-june-1829/1

          The opening line says “A commandment from God unto Oliver Cowdery how he should build up his Church & the manner thereof- saying: Oliver, listen to the voice of Christ your Lord and your God and your Redeemer and write the words which I shall command you concerning my Church.”

          A few sentences later it says, “And after this manner did he command me that I should baptize them: Behold ye shall go down and stand in the water and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold these are the words which ye shall say calling them by name saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water and come forth out again out of the water and after this manner shall ye baptize in my name.”

          There’s very little room for Oliver to freelance here – the Lord is commanding the exact wording to be used. In fact, Oliver ends the document with these words:
          “And now if I have not authority to write these things judge ye. Behold ye shall know that I have authority when you and I shall be brought to stand before the judgement seat of Christ…Behold I am Oliver. I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ…Behold I have written the things which he hath commanded me.”

        2. Another thing to consider is D&C 18:1-5 where the Lord tells Oliver “I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written, for in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.” So inasmuch as Joseph and Oliver used the scriptures to come up with the articles of the church, it was by commandment.

    2. Andy, I always look forward to your comments!

      I think the Lord is talking about two different baptisms and choosing his words carefully. When talking about baptisms for the dead, he says “baptisms for the dead”. When he is talking about living baptisms, he says “baptisms”.

      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 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.

      Why would the Lord use “baptized for those who are dead” in verse 29 and “baptisms for your dead” in verse 32, but only use “your baptisms” in verse 31 if he meant the same thing? Was he lazy? Worried about saving space? I don’t think so.

      I don’t see how the Lord could have been accepting the baptisms for the dead that were being performed. There is no revelation in 1840 revealing this ordinance. People started doing it after Joseph mentioned it, and there was no order or process established. Women were being baptized for male ancestors, and men for female ancestors. Records weren’t being kept. New policies were created to try to organize the chaos, but nowhere is there a published revelation from God explaining how HE wants it to be done. That isn’t how God operates.

      Look at the consequence in verse 32, at the end of the appointment the living are rejected as a church along with their dead. If rejected as a church, that would mean their baptisms for the living are no longer accepted. With that in mind, it would seem that in verse 31 the Lord is saying baptisms for the living are acceptable during this probationary period they have to build the temple, after which they will not be acceptable because they will have been rejected as a church.

      Regarding “ordinance” and “ordinances”, I agree that there was probably more to be revealed than just baptism for the dead. But as I already wrote, there is zero evidence that God revealed the ordinance of baptism for the dead. It needed to be revealed in the house. Whatever we have today is not what God hoped to give us.

      1. I wondered the same about baptisms vs baptisms for the dead since “for the dead” is spelled out every single time until here. I can easily see how both ways can be interpreted.

  3. Very interesting thoughts about baptisms for the dead being about the resurrection and not the remission of sins.

    Perhaps it has to do with both.

    It appears that you believe that the church was rejected in Nauvoo for not completely finishing the interior of the Nauvoo temple before being driven westward.

    Here are some thoughts for you to consider about the Nauvoo temple.

    What does D&C 124 state that the purpose of the Nauvoo temple was?

    Here are a few relevant verses:

    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 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.

    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;

    Based on these verses it appears clear that one purpose of the Nauvoo temple was for baptisms for the dead.

    The Lord states that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead belongs in his house and are only acceptable outside of his house while the Saints are in poverty and are unable to build a house unto him.

    The Lord then states that he is granting the saints sufficient time to build His house and in the meantime their baptisms are acceptable unto him.

    Your contention is that the Lord was no longer talking about baptisms for the dead, because he only said baptisms, but is this a logical conclusion based on the context?

    After saying that baptisms for the dead are only acceptable outside of his house when the Saints are too poor to build this house (which they absolutely were at this time having just been driven from Missouri), he then states that he is giving them time to build His house and in the meantime their baptisms are acceptable unto him.

    The Lord then goes right back to baptisms for the dead, by stating that after the appointed time to build this house and place a baptismal font in it, their baptisms for the dead outside of his house will no longer be acceptable unto him.

    How can the be no longer acceptable after this time has passed, if they weren’t currently acceptable?

    I really don’t see how anyone can understand these verses any other way, than that baptisms for the dead belong in the Lord’s house and are only acceptable outside of his house when his saints are too poor to build him house. The Saints are being given enough time to build His house. In the meantime their baptisms for the dead outside of his house (in the rivers) is acceptable, but once the appointed time to build his house and place a baptismal font in it has passed, the baptisms for the dead outside his house will no longer be acceptable.

    Okay so if this is correct, let’s look if the saints fulfilled the Lord’s command.

    They began building the temple. Then once the basement was finished they put a baptismal font in it for the purpose of performing baptisms for the dead. Joseph Smith dedicated the baptismal font (and healed a man by telling him to dip his withered hand into the water of the font) and then the saints stopped baptizing for the dead in the river, but performed this ordinance in the dedicated baptismal font in the basement of the Lord’s house. Joseph Smith then declared that baptisms for the dead in the rivers were no longer acceptable.

    Looks to me like the saints did exactly as the Lord commanded them to do in regards to moving their baptisms for the dead into a baptismal font in the basement of a house built unto him.

    I don’t see how you can contend that they didn’t fulfil the Lord’s command here. What more could they have done?

    Now what other purpose or purposes did the Nauvoo temple have according to D&C 124?

    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.

    42 And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.

    There’s a lot in these verse so I’ll try to break it down the best I can.

    The Nauvoo temple was for washings, annointings, baptisms for the dead, solemn assemblies, sacrifices by the sons of Levi, oracles in the most holy places were in the saints were to receive conversations, and statutes and judgements.

    Now what took place in the Nauvoo temple after the exterior was finished and enough of the interior was finished for the Saints to meet and use the temple for the purpose set forth.

    There were washing and annointings.

    That fits the first two things in verse 39.

    We’ve already established that they were doing their baptisms for the dead in the temple, so that checks off the next one.

    They had some solem assemblies in the temple before heading west, so that checks off the next one.

    Now I don’t know about the sacrifices by the son’s of Levi. My understanding is that this was planned, but I don’t know that it ever happened. I don’t know if any actual Levites had been identified to fulfill this purpose. This may very well only apply when there are literal defendants of Levi to be found.

    Now the next one is truly fascinating. The next purpose was to receive oracles in the most holy places were in the saints were to receive conversations.

    That sounds an awful lot like the endowment ritual, which is something sacred transmitted orally (an oracle) were in the saints received conversations. Looks like a perfect match to me.

    I would suspect that you might take serious objection to this last point as it seems your views are very similar to those of Watcher and Searcher, but if oracles in most holy places were in are received conversations isn’t referring to the endowment ritual what else could it possibly be referring to?

    The last item is statutes and judgements. That again appears to connect very well with the endowment ritual in which people enter into covenants with God to keep his statutes and are warned that failure to do so will result in serious judgements upon them.

    Now I just need to address one last issue you brought up in your article.

    You took issue with the idea of the Lord having revealed the ordinances of his house to Joseph Smith in the red brick store and not in the temple. I’m assuming you take just as much issue with Joseph Smith adminstering these ordinances to a number of individuals in the red brick store prior to his death.

    Your issue was that the Lord had stated, “let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people” and you interpret this to mean that no one could be revealed these ordinances outside of the Lord’s house thus invalidating what was revealed in the red brick store.

    Is this a valid concern or conclusion?

    I would say no and the above quoted verses tell us why it was okay for Joseph Smith and a few others to receive their endowments in the red brick store first.

    The Lord said that he had revealed the ordinances for the tabernacle to Moses. As far as I’m aware Moses new what ordinances were to take place in the tabernacle before the tabernacle was completed.

    Similarly the Lord stated that he would “I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.”

    To me that sounds like Joseph would know exactly what was going to be done in the temple ahead of time include the priesthood ordinances to be performed there in.

    Now while it’s true that a few individuals received their warnings, annointings, and endowment in the red brick store before the temple was completed, the saints as a whole had these ordinances revealed to them in the Lord’s house by those who had had them previously administered to them by Joseph Smith.

    I don’t see the hold up here.

    Now if you reject the endowment as some Satanic ritual and not an true ordinance from God because of similarities to free masonry as Watcher and Searcher do that is a separate issue.

    1. You wrote,”How can the[y] be no longer acceptable after this time has passed, if they weren’t currently acceptable?”

      D&C 124 doesn’t say baptisms for the dead will no longer be accepted. The scripture says after this time “your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me.” There is no implication in that statement that baptisms for the dead were previously accepted. The church was given a time period to do the work otherwise they would be rejected as a church. During that period their baptisms [for the living] would be acceptable. After which, they would be rejected as a church and their baptisms for the living and the dead would not be acceptable.

      Please show me the revelation Joseph received in 1840 prior to beginning baptisms for the dead. D&C 34:4 “And they shall give heed to that which is written, and pretend to no other revelation;”

      You wrote, “Looks to me like the saints did exactly as the Lord commanded them to do in regards to moving their baptisms for the dead into a baptismal font in the basement of a house built unto him. I don’t see how you can contend that they didn’t fulfil the Lord’s command here.”

      If true, then why were they moved out of their place? D&C 124:35. Either the people did exactly as the Lord commanded and God broke his promise, making God a liar; or the people did not do exactly as the Lord commanded and God followed through on his promise by both moving them out of their place AND rejecting them as a church. You can’t have them moved out of their place and still accepted as a church.

      Please explain how you believe they did everything the Lord commanded them and yet were still moved out of their place.

      You wrote, “The Lord said that he had revealed the ordinances for the tabernacle to Moses. As far as I’m aware Moses [k]new what ordinances were to take place in the tabernacle before the tabernacle was completed.”

      What is your source for this? This is part of the problem, you make assertions like “Moses knew what ordinances were to take place in the tabernacle before the tabernacle was completed” that support your argument but you don’t cite the scriptural source for those assertions. Your assertion contradicts the scriptures that I am aware of.

      Please read Leviticus 1:1 – “And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying…”. And that begins the book of Leviticus with all the rules of how the ordinances were to be performed. The revelation came AFTER the tabernacle was built.

      Please read Numbers 7-8. At the dedication of the tabernacle, the Lord gives Moses instructions on how to perform the ordinances. These instructions came AFTER the tabernacle was built.

      In Exodus 24-27, Moses goes up to the mountain and the Lord reveals how to build the tabernacle, gives instructions on the vessels, altars, and clothing that needs to be prepared prior to the dedication. Then chapters 28-30 give the “Getting Started” instructions – what needs to be performed to dedicate the tabernacle. The Lord only reveals enough to get the tabernacle operating. Once it is operating, he then reveals his ordinances therein.

      So yes, I argue that the Lord used the same process with Joseph, and when he said “I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house,” just as with Moses, first Joseph would receive enough to get the temple up and running and then he would reveal the details about the ordinances to be performed. When God said he would reveal the ordinances therein, God wasn’t lying. He really meant he would reveal them inside the completed, dedicated temple.

      If you have scriptures that refute this, please share them.

      Lastly, you wrote: baptisms for the dead are only acceptable outside of his house when the Saints are too poor to build this house (which they absolutely were at this time having just been driven from Missouri)

      What is your evidence to support this idea they were too poor to build the house?

      The Saints jumped into building the temple with vigor. By April 1841, the foundation had been excavated, foundation stones laid, and the basement walls were five feet high. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5612&context=etd, page 22). By November 1841 the basement was complete. (Times and Seasons, November 15, 1841). In less than a year they had accomplished quite a lot. Yet on June 27, 1844, the exterior walls were only at the second story level. The first year showed great progress, the next two and half years the work slowed to a crawl.

      This was prophesied. D&C 101 gives the parable of the watchtower. Verse 47: “and while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need has my Lord of this tower?” 50: “and while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful.” Verse 51: “and the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge, and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works.” The Nauvoo temple, never really completed, was destroyed by the enemies of the church. While building it, the servants became slothful.

      What happened between 1842 and 1844 while the church was being slothful and not building the temple at the same fast rate as before? Brick houses, a music hall, and other buildings were constructed. Most significantly, a Masonic hall was begun in June 1843 and completed in April 1844. It, like the Nauvoo temple, consisted of three stories and a basement. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/place/masonic-hall-nauvoo-illinois How was it possible for the Masonic hall to be constructed in less than year while the Nauvoo temple required over five years? Obviously they had money and resources, they simply chose to prioritize other things over the Nauvoo temple.

  4. I didn’t say that the saints kept all of the Lord’s commandments in Nauvoo, or that they did not become slothful after beginning the temple and dedicating the baptismal font in the basement.

    What I said was that when it came to the commandment about moving the baptisms for the dead into the Lord’s house and discontinuing these baptisms in the river they appeared to have kept the Lord’s command.

    I don’t see how you can argue otherwise.

    I think you misunderstood what I was saying about the saints poverty following their forced expulsion from Missouri.

    What I was saying is that at the time D&C 124 was given the saints were in poverty.

    Is this not exactly what the Lord was saying in the verses I quoted?

    He said that baptisms for the dead belong in his house and are only acceptable outside of his house while the saints were in poverty. He then said that he was giving the saints sufficient time to build his house and move the ordinance into his house. After this time was up the saints’ baptisms for the dead would no longer be acceptable unto him.

    Do I really need to provide sources that show that the saints arrived in Nauvoo downtrodden and impoverished?

    They were literally driven from their homes and many of them had lost nearly everything.

    Furthermore the journey across the Atlantic was very expensive for the converts who were pouring into Nauvoo from the British isles, so many of them arrived in Nauvoo essentially impoverished as well.

    Did all of the saints remain impoverished from the time they arrived in Nauvoo until the exodus under Brigham Young? No.

    Joseph Smith lived in the mansion house. They built a nice city. They built brick homes to keep the cold out. They built shops and stores so they could support themselves. These things take time.

    You may have a point with the Masonic lodge being built before the temple.

    Then again, can you prove that God didn’t inspire Joseph Smith to become involved with free masonry as part of the process of receiving the endowment ritual and other ordinances?

    Back to baptisms for the dead for a moment.

    You asked me to provide a revelation commanding the saints to begin performing baptisms for the dead.

    Why do you insist that such a revelation was necessary for the saints to begin performing a valid ordinance?

    Would it not be enough to have Joseph Smith and the Holy Ghost reveal to them that baptisms for the dead are a correct ordinance practiced anciently for them to begin having themselves baptized for their dead?

    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

    If this saints new of a correct and necessary ordinance and waited until the Lord commanded them before doing it, would they not be slothful servants?

    Furthermore, do you believe that Joseph Smith’s epistles about baptisms for the dead were not true and authorized teachings?

    And of course as I stated earlier, D&C 124 states that after the appointed time to move the baptisms for the dead into the Lord’s house (which was accomplished) their baptisms for the dead would no longer be acceptable unto the Lord. It says this in verse 33 and verse 35.

    What does no longer acceptable mean?

    It means that it is currently acceptable. There is no other reasonable conclusion.

    You also asked me to provide evidence that the saints were not rejected and moved out of their place.

    First of all what makes you think that being moved out of their place referred to a physical removal rather than a spiritual one?

    Of course they had to leave Nauvoo, but does this mean that they were immediately moved from their place?

    Were they instantly rejected as a church the moment they were forced to leave Nauvoo without finishing the interior of the temple?

    I don’t think so.

    Brigham Young received D&C 136, his one and only canonized revelation, after the temple had been abandoned.

    In it the Lord tells the saints to establish a stake of Zion to the west, much like he had instructed the saints to establish a stake of Zion in Nauvoo following the failed attempt to establish Zion in Missouri.

    In D&C 136 the Lord told the saints to live the commandments they had received.

    This does not sound like a rejected church to me.

    Brigham Young knew that the saints were guilty of sin, and that part of the reason they had to leave Nauvoo was because of this. This is why he had them all rebaptized after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

    There is no indication that the Lord had outright rejected them along with their dead.

    There were still many healings and mighty miracles during the exodus and early years in Utah.

    The apostasy of the church had already begun before Joseph’s death, but the church was not completely apostate the moment they left Nauvoo.

    The apostasy has continued to get worse and worse over the years, and it could very well be that the church is now rejected.

    I would suspect that it is rejected now, or if not it has all but been rejected by the Lord.

    Apostasy and being rejected by the Lord is a process which takes time. It doesn’t happen over night, at least not according to the pattern in the scriptures.

    So perhaps since the saints in Nauvoo failed to fully complete the interior of the temple it was a sign that they would be ultimately rejected along with their dead, because another apostasy was setting in and could no longer be stopped.

    Anyway, that’s my take.

    If you prefer to wrest what D&C 124 says and ignore the revelation to Brigham Young as well as the much good fruit that the church has brought forth while it has simultaneously drifted farther and farther off course that is your choice.

    You also never addressed any possible alternatives to the endowment ritual for what the Lord was referring to when he said that a purpose of tge temple was for oracles in the most holy places in which the saints were to receive conversations.

  5. You know I was just looking through the Lord’s instructions about the tabernacle to Moses, the actual construction of the tabernacle, and then how it was used after it was completed and set up.

    Here’s a few examples of what was revealed prior to the tabernacle being completed in addition to the details of it’s design. The following are all from Exodus 29.

    1. The design of the garments and other clothing that was to be warn by Aaron and his sons as the performed their duties
    2. The detailed process of washing and annointing
    3. The manner of performing the ordinance of killing a bullock and sprinkling it’s blood around the alter
    4. The manner of performing the ordinance of killing a ram and sprinkling it’s blood upon the altar
    5. The manner of sprinkling of blood upon Aaron and his son’s garments
    6. The manner of performing a burnt offering
    7. The manner of performing a sin offering
    8. The manner of performing an atonement offering
    9. The manner of offering a lamb
    10. The manner of cleaning the altar

    That’s 10 things right there that were to be performed within the tabernacle that were revealed to Moses and others before the tabernacle was finished.

    Of course once the tabernacle was finished the Lord spoke and appeared to Moses within the tabernacle.

    You made me question myself for a second, because I hadn’t looked back at the process of what and how the Lord revealed the ordinances of the tabernacle to Moses before commenting last night.

    It appears that my memory of how it played out was more or less correct after all.

    Thoughts?

    1. OK – now we can start to scrutinize the scriptures!

      From my reading, Exodus 28-30 are part of the dedicatory process. God revealed to Moses the steps that needed to be taken to consecrate the priests and dedicate the tabernacle so that God could dwell there and reveal the ordinances.

      For example, Chapter 28 tells Moses how to make the priestly garments. Because those had to be worn to enter the tabernacle, that revelation was required prior to the dedication of the tabernacle. Exodus 29:1 then says “And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish…” The instructions in Exodus 29 are how to prepare the priests to serve in the tabernacle, not the daily process to be used later. Verse 4 says to bring them to the door of the tabernacle and wash them and dress them there. After they are dressed by Moses (something he didn’t do after the dedication) there are sacrifices that need to be made to sanctify them. Those sacrifices were to be offered by Moses (something he didn’t do after the dedication). Verses 35 and 37 say they are to do this for seven days unto Aaron and his sons. and as atonement for the altar (not atonement for the people!).

      These instructions are for getting the priests ready to officiate in the tabernacle, not daily operations they will perform once it is up and running. Afterward, similar processes are required for the daily operations, but this revelation was only for the consecration of the priests during the start-up process.

      In Leviticus 8-9 we read a far more detailed account of how Moses consecrated the priests to begin working in the tabernacle. 8:33-35 says it was a seven day process to prepare them. Then in Chapter 9, on the eighth day, Aaron begins to administer the ordinances instead of Moses. But notice that in 9:2 Aaron is offering the sin offering for himself and he provides the animal. In Leviticus 4, unless the priest has committed a specific sin himself, the sin offering is for someone else and those people need to provide the animal. So this sin offering is part of getting Aaron sanctified to officiate. In 9:23, Moses and Aaron enter the tabernacle. When they return, they bless the people and the glory of the Lord appeared.

      Once it was up and running, things changed. During the seven days of dedication, Moses killed the animals, spread the blood, and performed all the steps of the sin offering. Exodus 29 commands Moses, “thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord…thou shalt take the blood, thou shalt…”, so we know this is a revelation on how to consecrate the priests. In Leviticus 4, the instructions for daily operation have the priest perform this, not Moses. So there was one process to get the tabernacle dedicated that Moses did receive before the tabernacle was dedicated, and a second process to be used after the tabernacle was dedicated, and according to Leviticus 1:1 these daily operation ordinances were received after the tabernacle was built.

      So my understanding of the scriptures is that the post-dedication ordinances were not revealed to Moses until after the tabernacle was built. Those ordinances were similar but different to the ordinances that were required for the dedication.

  6. Yes there were some differences between what was revealed to Moses about the ordinances before the tabernacle and then what was revealed afterwards.

    That’s of course assuming that the record of what Moses received both before and after the tabernacle was completed is 100% accurate and complete. That the scriptures contain every detail revealed to Moses in its entirety is highly doubtful.

    It is all we have to go on though.

    I think we can both agree that what is contained in Exodus 28-30 is very, very similar to what would be done within the tabernacle.

    Since we don’t know exactly what was done in the red brick store in regards to the initatory, endowment, sealings, and even the second annointing compared to what was done in the Nauvoo temple and later in the Endowment house and LDS temples, it is not unreasonable to conclude that a similar thing was happening with Joseph Smith and those who would later administer the ordinances in the Nauvoo temples as happened to Moses and Aaron and his sons.

    Looks like a parallel to me.

    Joseph Smith told Brigham Young that the ordinances in tge red brick store were not arranged perfectly and that Brigham needed to finish the job.

    So the endowment administered by Brigham Young was obviously slightly different than the one originally administered by Joseph Smith.

    Seems to me that we cannot dismiss what was revealed in the red brick store prior to the completion of the Nauvoo temple out of hand just because substantial information about the ordinances was revealed outside of the temple.

    I think you might be trying too hard to find reasons to reject the endowment introduced by Joseph Smith and finalized and administered under Brigham Young.

    1. I think you are making several errors in logic.

      1. There were two separate revelations. The first revelation was for the dedicatory process. It focused on dedicating the altar and the priests, and had specific rules. For example, Exodus 29:20-21 requires the blood of the ram to be placed on specific locations on the bodies of Aaron and his sons. the blood that was on the altar and the anointing oil was then sprinkled on them. This was all about sanctifying the space and then sanctifying the workers. The second revelation was for the on-going ordinances once the space and the workers were sanctified. The ordinances in Leviticus 1-4 do not have the priests being sprinkled. Moses would not have known how similar or dissimilar the second ordinances were before the second revelation was received. You have the benefit of hindsight, Moses did not. (And you are minimizing the differences because it supports your argument). Also, God saw it necessary to send a second revelation. He didn’t think they were similar enough that a second, complete revelation was not necessary. The second revelation didn’t say “Just do the first ordinances, but make a few tweaks here and there.” It was a complete new list of instructions. If God felt they were different enough to require two separate revelations with difference processes, who are we to argue with God?

      2. The ordinances were revealed explicitly by God directly to Moses. God spoke to Moses and gave him specific verbal instructions on exactly what to do and how to do it. Moses wrote those revelations down and we can read them today. God said exactly what he wanted done and exactly how he wanted it done. In Leviticus 10 we read what happened when Nadab and Abihu failed to follow those instructions precisely (Letivitus 10:1 they did things “which he commanded them not”)- they were killed. Moses was not free to experiment with those ordinances. He could not try to streamline them. God also did not expect Moses to figure things out as time went along and make improvements. These ordinances had been hid since the before the foundation of the world, and they were revealed all at once, not discovered over time.

      There is no way one can find parallels between the process of revelation for the ordinances of the tabernacle and the LDS temple ordinances. God did not reveal the modern ordinances explicitly and verbally to Joseph like he did to Moses. Joseph did not write down these verbal commandments like Moses did. Baptisms for the dead were tweaked and changed over the first few years – at first women were being baptized for men and men for women. Proper records were not being kept. By your own admission, Joseph said the ordinances weren’t “arranged perfectly” and Brigham had to finish the job. The example of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 show that God does not allow his ordinances to be changed. Yet the LDS ordinances still aren’t perfectly arranged, being continually tweaked and modified over the course of 170 years. When will God ever figure out how to get them right for us?

      Let’s look at other revealed ordinances. When Jesus revealed the sacrament to the Nephites, he verbally told them exactly what to do and say. They wrote those words down and we can read them today. When Jesus revealed the baptism ordinance he told them exactly what to do and say, and we can read those instructions today. We have them same thing in D&C 20 for the modern church – the ordinances are spelled out and available for all to read.

      Please show me scriptural examples of God telling a prophet to go figure out a divine ordinance himself through trial and error rather than telling him explicitly what to do and holding him accountable for exact obedience to that revelation.

      One more thing, D&C 124:119-120 says that “anything that is more and less than this [the Book of Mormon and the revelations I have given unto you] cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings.” The LDS temple ordinances are not in the Book of Mormon nor the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. If God knew there were some other ordinances that were in the process of being “revealed”, he would have said so. But he didn’t, his statement is definitive with no wiggle room. Why wrest the scriptures to get them to say what they don’t say?

      I think you are trying so hard to find reasons to accept the ordinances introduced by Joseph Smith that you ignore what the scriptures actually say. I know that feeling because I used to do the same thing. At some point, you have to decide whether you trust the scriptures more than your traditions.

  7. Looks like my last comment on this thread didn’t make it through moderation or something funky happened.

    If you didn’t get it and want me to rewrite it, I’ll be happy to do that.

    In essence D&C 124:40-42 destroyes your insistence that anything revealed that wasn’t already contained in the BOM and D&C cometh of evil and will result in cursing, as the Lord clearly said that he planned to reveal priesthood ordinances which “had been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things pertaining to the dispensation of the fulness of times.”

    If we accept your interpretation of D&C 124:119-120, then God is unable to reveal anything besides what was already revealed in the BOM and D&C.

    That makes no sense.

    As I stated in my other comment, there is nothing evil about the endowment, and there never was. Please bring forth your best arguments against the endowment and I’ll gladly address each one.

    Your rejection of it is not based on what the scriptures as a whole say. You can only reject it by ignoring passages such as D&C 124:40-42 or the words in the BOM which say that Christ taught the people things which were not lawful to write down.

    Please bring forth your evidence against the endowment and an alternative explanation for the temple being a place for the saints oracles in the most holy places where in they receive conversations and the Lord revealing things pertaining to the priesthood and it’s ordances which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the earth.

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