BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
SPIRITUAL COVENANT MADE WITH ABRAHAM
NOTE ON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (Book of the Law of the Lord)
REVELATION ON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (Given through James J. Strang, August 9, 1849)
You have not heard of baptism for the dead? It is no wonder; as both the significance and administration of this most important ordinance has been lost to sectarian Christianity. No wonder! When the Catholic Church was organized by Constantine in 324 AD, their fundamental creed—Creed of St. Athanasius—declared: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”
Those without understanding of this ordinance have—in effect–no care for the billions of people that have been on the earth that never heard the gospel; and therefore must “perish everlastingly.” This is not the gospel of Christ, or the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God has promised that the gospel—path to eternal life—would be made available to the whole human family. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [gentile].” (Rom. 1)
Jesus made it clear that none can enter the Kingdom of God without baptism. “5… Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3) No baptism, no salvation!
Did you know that only the seed of Abraham are acceptable before God? Both Jew and Gentile must obey the same laws of God to become worthy to inherit salvation in the Kingdom of God. What preacher among the sectarian Christian church has advised that all must be of the seed of Abraham? John E. Page wrote [below] in the “Spiritual Covenant” with Abraham: “We will now show that the ‘spiritual covenant’ is extended to all the families of the earth [in the flesh and in the spirit], and that the same acts are requisite to constitute the literal seed of Abraham, spiritual Israel, that are required to make a gentile a spiritual Israelite.”
All must obey the everlasting [spiritual] covenant. Only those who have known and worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and obeyed the gospel of Christ have a right to the Kingdom of God. “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Jesus, Matt. 6) Only those who have been called of God by revelation to the Melchisedec Priesthood have authority from God to administer all the saving ordinances of the gospel. When Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood in His day, He called all of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3)
“13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW [not millions] there be that find it.” (Jesus, Matt. 7) The gate into the Kingdom of God is through that priesthood called by God. “4 And no man taketh this honour [of the priesthood] unto himself [or by man], but he that is called of God, as was Aaron [by the spirit of revelation]. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5)
Those who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in mortal life must be given that opportunity after death in the world of spirits. While Jesus’ physical body lay in the grave for three days, He went in the spirits in prison [erroneously called hell] to open a dispensation of the gospel to those who did not obey the gospel in mortal life. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went [in the spirit] and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3)
Why would Jesus preach the gospel to the dead? Because all the human race must be given an opportunity to hear the gospel. “6 For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 4) Like those today, many in the days of Jesus and the Apostles did not understand how the dead can obey the gospel and be born of water. “28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all [that all have an opportunity to be baptized into Christ whether living or dead]. 29 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?” (1 Cor. 15)
Ignorance is not bliss. Yet most will never know either the True God or the gospel of Christ. “15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: THIS IS MY NAME FOR EVER, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3) “14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it.” (Jesus, Matt. 7)
We are told “21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5) Most are not independent thinkers; but, are followers of the opinions of others. There is no question that baptism for the dead is a gospel principle. If it was not, those that died without obeying the gospel, would be lost forever as taught by many. I am continually asking questions of the Lord and studying to prove all things.
Why do you suppose that baptism for the dead was not administered until after the death of Jesus? Man soon divided in the days of Adam as the sons of God—saints of God—and the children of man—unbelievers. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Gen. 6) A correct knowledge of God and the gospel was handed down from first born son to first born son from Adam to Abraham; when God covenanted with Abraham that his seed—through Isaac and Jacob—became the elect of God. God strived with the nations of man to live by His will; but—like today—they would not. The gate into the Kingdom of God was opened to the spirits in prison—those who did not know and obey the gospel—by Jesus after His mortal death. Dispensations of the gospel were given only through the first born sons of Adam to Abraham; and then through the proper seed of Abraham—the elect of God.
The first dispensation of the gospel—with authority from God—was not opened to the gentiles until after Jesus’ death; when the gospel was first opened to gentiles both in the flesh and in the spirit. Before His death the apostles were commanded: “5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Jesus, Matt. 10) After His death, the apostles were commanded: “19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations , baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28)
Unfortunately, within a few generations the gentiles returned to their former pagan doctrines; and the gospel was taken from among them. Having no authority from God, they could not enter the Kingdom of God; and for 1,260 years the gospel was taken from the gentiles. “12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon [satan]saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time [1,260 years], from the face of the serpent.” (Rev. 12; see the whole chapter and chapter 13)
From 570-1830 [1,260 years], the world was void of the gospel and all were condemned to the spirits in prison. “11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8) Who among all the sectarian churches have baptized for the dead? Without authority from God, they have lost all understanding of this most important ordinance.
After the 1,260 years, the gospel and authority from God was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. The original gospel of Christ with baptism for the dead was available to the gentiles once again. Alas, they would not live by all the laws which God gave to them and Joseph was martyred with the help of the Governor of Illinois.
The same hour—400 miles away—James J. Strang was ordained under the hands of angels—the same as Joseph—to succeed him. The dispensation to the gentiles continued; and baptism for the dead continued to be administered. Sadly, they failed to comprent that what happed to the saints under Joseph, would happen again if they failed to live by the laws given to them by God. The same action brought the same result: James was murdered with the help of the US Government represented by the captain of the US Steamer Michigan. He assisted the two murderers to shoot James; and then protected them by releasing them to their enemies in Mackinac, who gave them a mock trial and released them—double jeopardy meant they could never be properly tried.
When the gentiles rejected the gospel, it was taken from them for 1,260 years. The first major dispensation to the gentiles was over. Then under Joseph and James, the gentiles rejected the laws of God; and authority was taken almost entirely from them. Only a very small remnant of the gentiles—holding authority from God—remains. “8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant , we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1)
Soon, the gospel will be returned to the elect of God and to the world in the final major dispensation of the gospel. “14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24) God will gather His elect and be their God once again. “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Jer. 32) What about the gentiles who believe they are or will be saved? “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [goi, gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (Obad)
Who is going to save all of these billions of people? Sectarian Christianity does not even understand baptism for the dead. The gospel and authority from God will return to God’s elect—spiritual Israel, Jew and gentile that has been properly baptized into the seed of Abraham. Baptism for the dead will flourish for generations after the return of Jesus. At the end of the Millennium, only those who have refused to obey God–and be baptized by the authority of God–will be resurrected and sent to far off places—the telestial glory. “12 And I saw the dead [those who failed to be baptized], small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20)
Jesus will soon return, “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1) The gate—with proper baptism—into the Kingdom of God is still open. Isaiah and Jesus promised only a very small remnant of the gentiles would obey the gospel and be counted among the seed of Abraham. James J. Strang was a prophet of God—the highest office in the priesthood like Adam, Moses, Jesus, and others—ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve Apostles, who ordained Samuel Martin a high priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a high priest, who ordained me an elder on July 8, 1956.
SPIRITUAL COVENANT MADE WITH ABRAHAM
(And to all mankind since Adam)
The following is from the Spiritual Covenant with Abraham by John E. Page. (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 21, p. 85/137)
Without vanity, we think we have forever settled the point in the mind of every candid reader (who is seeking after truth as it is set forth in the scriptures) that the “temporal covenant” made to Abraham is yet in full force, for the design for which it was given; that it never was done away by any other ordinance being introduced in its stead.
The following is to show the nature of the “spiritual” covenant and its distinction from the “temporal” covenant. The temporal covenant (on which we have treated) was the second one of the two made to Abraham.
We shall show that the spiritual covenant is not confined to the literal seed of Abraham only, but that it is extended to ALL THE FAMIES OF THE EARTH Adam’s posterity, and that the circumcision of the heart is its seal; and in the sequel we shall extend its effect into the world of spirits in order to show the propriety, nature and effect of it unto the whole human family.
We have often heard it said… that the ordinance of circumcision of the flesh, as instituted with Abraham, was an ordinance of the law given to Moses in the wilderness. We emphatically say that such an idea is without a foundation in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
The ordinance of circumcision of the flesh was instituted with Abraham some four hundred years before the law of “carnal” commandments was given to Moses. The covenants made to Abraham were given under the Melchisedec priesthood, for Abraham lived in the days of Melchisedec, king of Salem. Read Gen. xiv. The law of carnal commandments was given for the administration of the Levitical priesthood in the days of Moses.
The only proof we have ever head presented to prove that the ordinance of circumcision of the flesh was done away, is the saying of Paul, Romans x. 4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to everyone that believeth.”
The above quotation is made by the… in view of the idea that the ordinance of circumcision of the flesh was an ordinance of the law referred to. Whereas we have found that the ordinance referred to was given more than four hundred years before the law was given. So down falls the idea that is designed to be sustained by the scripture quoted–the scripture quoted being grossly perverted by the… to sustain a heretical doctrine.
In the former Nos. referred to of the “Reveille” we have found that the “temporal covenant” made with Abraham was confined to his literal seed and those “bought with his money.”
We will now show that the “spiritual covenant” is extended to all the families of the earth, and that the same acts are requisite to constitute the literal seed of Abraham, spiritual Israel, that are required to make a gentile a spiritual Israelite.
Gen. xii.3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, (Abram,) and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Gen. xxvi.4, first clause, “And in thy (Isaac’s) seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
By the above we find that the Lord of Abraham continued the same “spiritual covenant” to Isaac that was made with Abraham. Gen. xxviii.14. The same covenant was continued to Jacob also.
Gal. iii.16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the “promises” made.
[Notice “promises” in the plural. What promises? We answer, the temporal and spiritual covenants.]
“He (the Lord) saith not, and to seeds as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”
By the above we find that the great dispenser of the spiritual covenant was Christ, that in him and through him only, we are to participate [in] the blessings of salvation.
An analysis of the following scripture shows clearly that Abraham had received the circumcision of the heart before he was circumcised in the flesh.
Rom. iv.11, “And he (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, (of the heart,) a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; (in the flesh) that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; (in the flesh;) that righteousness might be imputed unto them (gentiles) also.”
Rom. iv. 8, “Blessed is the man (whether of Abraham’s posterity or of the gentiles) to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.”
The above decides the matter eternally that the spiritual blessing of the “spiritual covenant” was participated by Abraham before and independent of the circumcision of the flesh.
Deut. x.16, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff-necked.”
By this we learn that Moses also knew something of the circumcision of the heart, distinct from the circumcision of the flesh.
Jer. iv.4, “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskin of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
By the above we learn that the prophet Jeremiah was also acquainted with the work of the spiritual regeneration of the heart; he also saw the necessity of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem participating the same, to avoid the penalty due in case they did not do as he instructed them, though they all might have been circumcised in the flesh.
Deut. xxx. 6, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
By this we find that Moses was fully aware of the fact that the time would come when all Israel would be put in possession of the land of Canaan, according to the “temporal covenant;” that God would cause them to participate [in] the blessing of the “spiritual covenant” also.
Gal. v. 6, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision (in the flesh) availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
This clearly shows that the “temporal covenant” has no special connection with the “spiritual covenant,” and that it requires the same “faith that works by love” to make a natural Jew or Israelite a spiritual Israelite that it does a gentile that is uncircumcised in the flesh.
With propriety the following interrogation and its answer may here be inserted:–
Rom. iii.1, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
Let the reader here notice that we are entirely dependent on the natural seed of Abraham for all the scriptures that is given to us of God, of both the Old and New Testaments. “The oracles of God” being the word of God and the means through which it is given.
The following scriptures show clearly that the Jews, or natural seed of Abraham, stand in no higher relation to God (in a spiritual point of light) than the gentiles do; though the Jews may all be circumcised according to the stipulations of the “temporal covenant,” as they should be, in order to be legal claimants to an inheritance on the land of Canaan.
Rom. ii. 28, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.
29. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
The neglect of the observance of the ordinance of the circumcision of the flesh in the case of a natural Jew, only throws him into the same relation to God that a natural gentile stands. So that whether circumcised or not circumcised in the flesh, each have the same interest in the gospel of Christ, and each stand on the same footing in relation to the “spiritual covenant.”
But not so with the Jew in the flesh if he neglects the stipulations of the spiritual covenant; he not only loses his advantages of the covenant of salvation in Christ, but also loses his claim to the land of Canaan.
The gentile that does improve the advantages of the spiritual covenant, nevertheless has no claim to the land of Canaan, because of the fact that the land was ceded to the seed of Abraham, who improve the advantages of both covenants.
Much more might be said on the subject to show the distinction between the “temporal” and “spiritual covenants” made with Abraham, but we deem what we have said to be quite sufficient to show to the full satisfaction of all candid inquiring persons that God did establish “two covenants” with Abraham, as above suited, and that they were both equally in force with Abraham’s seed from the days of Abraham to this day.
Then, as the sign of the circumcision of the flesh is still in force for the same reason it was instituted with Abraham, it (circumcision) was never done away to introduce another ordinance in its stead; consequently down falls the heretical doctrine of infant baptism as being introduced instead of infant circumcision.
We most earnestly solicit of any… a successful refutation of what we have presented on both subjects, viz., the “temporal” and “spiritual covenants” made to Abraham. If they… conclude that our ideas cannot be refuted, they will signify it by giving it a public sanction, or by holding their peace.
The Book of the Law of the Lord was given to Moses. Moses made copies for the priests to teach the people. One of those copies was held by a keeper of the records in Jerusalem. In 600 BC that copy was taken to Zion by a prophet of God. In 588 BC the Ark of the Covenant was hidden in a mountain to remain until Israel is gathered again; and all copies of the Book of the Law were destroyed.
The one copy that was brought to Zion was recovered by Joseph Smith; but, he was not permitted to translate it; as it was reserved for a prophet of God of the tribe of Juda—James J. Strang. “19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph [Book of Mormon], which is in the hand of Ephraim [Joseph Smith], and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah [Book of the Law of the Lord], and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37) The Book of the Law of the Lord published in 1851. This is the most important book of Scripture; as by these laws are man to be sanctified and inherit eternal life.
NOTE ON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (Book of the Law of the Lord)
Baptism for the dead is one of the chapters in this book. James J. Strang made a comment at the end of the chapter:
“1. To millions of mankind the gospel was never preached in life. If it is not to be preached to them in another state of being, then the salvation which the gospel promises is not offered to them. And if the gospel is not preached to them at any time, then they are denied the possibility of entering into life.
2. Many Christians, unwilling to admit that salvation was not offered to all men, have asserted that those to whom the gospel was not preached were saved, on the general ground that as they did not know the Law of God, they were not under condemnation for breaking it.
3. Admitting this to be true, the consequence would be that ignorance of the gospel was as pleasing to God as obedience; and the just conclusion would be, that the gospel was not revealed to save men, but as an excuse for damning them. For, if all who are ignorant of the gospel are to be saved, universal ignorance would have produced universal bliss.
4. If they fall back on the old Christian faith of the Fathers, that there is no salvation without obedience to the gospel, then without preaching to and baptism for the dead, those to whom the gospel was never preached may justly claim that they were lost; not because they would not obey, but because they could not hear.
5. If, to avoid both horns of this dilemma, the Christian shall say that the sincere and wellmeaning of every nation will be saved, whatever his religious faith, then they are not saved by the gospel, but by their own righteousness; not by obedience to the word of God, but by integrity to the institutions of their several countries and nations.
6. God, having established the rule that all shall be destroyed who obey not the Law of the gospel, (2d Thess. i, 8. ii, 12. Rev. xxii, 14. Mark xvi, 16,) has provided for the preaching of the gospel to the spirits in prison, (1st Peter iii, 19. iv, 6. Luke xxiii, 43,) and the baptism for the dead, (1st Cor. xv, 29,) that salvation may be offered to all men, and only those lost who take pleasure in unrighteousness. (Matt. iii, 10.)
7. When Jesus had finished his testimony on earth, and offered himself for the sins of men, he went in the spirit and preached to the spirits in prison, (Ist Pet. iii, 19, 20,) and opened unto them a dispensation of the gospel, before he ascended to heaven. (John xx, 17.)
8. The dispensation being opened, and he having, by a stainless life, and a sacrifice of himself for the salvation of others, become worthy of the keys of the resurrection and everlasting life, ascended to heaven, received all power, and sat down at the right hand of God.
9. Those who become partakers of the same calling with him, as they leave their ministry on earth, go to minister among the spirits of the dead; that they, by obedience to the gospel, may be saved, as are the living.”
BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (Book of the Law of the Lord)
The following is from the Book of the Law of the Lord with notes by James J. Strang:
For the Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, from generation to generation, even upon all that hate him, and showing a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his Commandments.
“1. AT every Temple, which thou shalt build unto the Lord thy God, by his Commandment, shalt thou make a fountain for the baptism of the living for the dead.1
- A special dispensation was given to baptize for the dead at Nauvoo, in 1842, and the waters of the Mississippi, in front of the city, sanctified for that purpose, until a place for baptism, should be prepared in the Temple. (D. & C., ciii, 10.)
- Such a place was made in the Temple, but in the rejection of Nauvoo as a holy city, the baptisms there administered were rejected, and the dispensation forfeited. (D. & C., ciii, 11, 13, 14.) The rejection took place at the time of the exodus from Nauvoo, subsequent to which all baptisms were invalid.
- Those baptisms, administered down till that time, were valid, when done by competent authority. But those who were baptized, if they followed leaders whom God did not call, were also rejected, with their dead; which leaves the dead without saviours; and yet dependent on the charity of the living. (Mal. iv, 6.)
- The records of those baptisms were never set in order in the Temple, and are lost. It is necessary, where the baptisms
[1 1st Cor. xv, 29. 1st Peter iii, 19, 20, Ezek. xxxii, 31.
are valid, that due proof be made before a Recorder, and the baptisms recorded anew. In cases of rejected and invalid baptisms, the rightful representatives should be baptized, as though it had not been done.
- A dispensation to baptize for the dead at Voree was given August 9th, 1849, and the waters of White River sanctified for that purpose.
- A dispensation was given to baptize for the dead at Saint James, during the session of the General Conferance, in 1855, and Fount Lake sanctified for that purpose.
- And for these shall you be baptized: every one of you, according to your several rights, and in your several orders, according to consanguinity, sex, and primogeniture, shall be baptized for any deceased husband, wife, or posterity; or any progenitor, to the third and fourth generation; or any brother, or sister, whom he in faith believes has received the gospel in the spirit.
- Thou shalt also be baptized for any relative, within the fourth degree of consanguinity; for any one betrothed to thee in marriage; for thy fosterfather, mother, brother, sister, or child, whom I shall give to thee by tongue, dream, vision, spirit ministering in fire, word of angel, or by my own voice.
Degrees of consanguinity are ascertained by counting each generation, up to the common ancestor, and down from him.
- And whensoever I will that any of my faithful servants of the Aaronick Priesthood be baptized for any other, I will send my angels to signify it unto them. But unto my servants of the Melchisedek Priesthood, I will speak by my own voice, or minister in fire.
- When the candidate claims baptism for the dead by revelation, in any form whatever, the Administrator should inquire and judge of the validity of the claim, and the Recorder should briefly state the revelation in the record.
- Care should be taken that this record is sufficient in substance; otherwise the baptism may be set aside as invalid.
- But no man or woman among you shall be baptized for the dead, who is not a member of some family, according to the order of the Church of the Firstborn of God; or who is under condemnation of any word of this Law; or who withholdeth anything whatsoever from the treasury of the House of the Lord your God.
- Baptism for the dead is an ordinance of the Temple, and it is only by special dispensation, in consequence of the poverty of the Saints, that it is ever administered out of a Temple. Hence those who withhold of the funds due for the construction of the Temple, are refused baptism for the dead.
- Those who are under condemnation for disobedience to any word of this Law of God, whether it be a Commandment, a statute, a precept, or whatsoever word it may be, are unfit for saviours of others, because they are not themselves in a
state of salvation, nor even progressing forward towards it.
- But those who are not regular members of any family, duly organized, have no place to bring those for whom they shall be baptized; they have no home for them to abide in, in the everlasting life. The chief thing in the salvation promised in the gospel, is in the family relation, and love, of a holy people. They who lack that relationship, are unsaved themselves, unprepared to save others.
- At every Temple which ye shall build unto the Lord your God, shall High Priests be set apart, and sanctified by anointing with holy oil, and the hands of Apostles and Prophets, to baptize for the dead; for no other shall administer this sacrament.
The Chief Shepherd and Counsellors in the Presidency baptize for the dead without being set apart to that calling.
- Recorders, also, shall be set apart by the laying on of hands of High Priests, to record baptisms for the dead; who shall, be eyewitnesses to the baptisms, and shall record according to the seeing of their eyes.1
- And other witnesses, who see with their eyes, shall sign the records of baptisms, that every one may be proved by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
- But there shall be one record before the King, unto which all records of bap-
1 D. & C., cvi, 3.
tisms for the dead shall be brought,1 and all written together in perpetual archives; that what you record on earth, may also be recorded in heaven. At every Temple also shall ye perpetuate the record of such as are there baptized.”
REVELATION ON BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (Given through James J. Strang, August 9, 1849)
James J. Strang—successor to Joseph Smith and latter day prophet—received the following revelation on Baptism for the Dead; as required by God.
A revelation from Jesus Christ, according to the power which God appointed unto him; and he sent Elijah the prophet unto his servant James, to make it known unto him, and to command him to cause the living and the dead to hear the word, and to give him power to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Hearken unto me, all ye ends of the earth, saith the Lord God, and give ear and hear, ye depths of the pit, and ye shall live; for I have committed the gospel of the resurrection and of everlasting life to my servants who hold the keys of the dispensation of the last times. Therefore, hearken unto them and obey them, ye that live; that you may obtain honor, and glory, and power, and everlasting life.
Behold, I have tried my saints with a great trial, and some have been found faithful; for they have not denied my name, but have remembered my word, and kept my commandments. And because my servants have put away contentions from among them, and have united with one heart and one mind to do the work which I have committed unto them, and with their whole hearts have drawn near unto me to serve me; therefore I appoint unto the saints that there shall be baptisms for the dead at Voree, during their poverty, and until a sufficient time to build a temple unto my name, as I have commanded them. And I sanctify White River unto them, and make it holy for this ordinance, even from the bathing pool unto the water wheel.
And I command you, ye saints, saith the Lord, that a record shall be kept among you of all baptisms for the dead; and witnesses shall record their testimonies of all your administrations therein. And the recorder shall be present, and shall be an eye witness of your baptisms; and shall hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth; that in all your recordings, it may be recorded in heaven; that whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven. And if more than one recorder be necessary, yet there shall be but one record, to which all the recorders shall bring their testimonies to be recorded.
And whosoever acts as recorder, shall be called and ordained to that authority, that what he records may be valid, and may be recorded in the archives of heaven. And let all your records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple, saith the Lord, to be had in remembrance from generation to generation. And no one shall administer baptism for the dead, but he who is appointed thereunto. And all who are called, shall be anointed and ordained to this calling.
And these shall be baptized for the dead: all the faithful saints who keep and abide in the Order of Enoch; all who have paid tithing according to my law, for the building of a house unto my name in Voree, and for the upbuilding of my Church; all who from this time forward will and do come up and do these things, striving faithfully to redeem the time, that a house may be speedily built unto my name, wherein I may reveal mysteries, and institute among the saints the ordinances for the endowment of Zion and all her municipals; and all who, standing in the priesthood, have labored faithfully in their several ministries from the time the commandment went forth to build a house unto my name in Voree.
And for these shall ye be baptized: every saint according to his right, and in his order, shall be baptized for any deceased husband, wife, posterity, or progenitor, to the third and fourth generation; any brother, or sister, whom he in faith believes has received the gospel in the spirit. Every saint shall be baptized for any relative unto the third and fourth generation; for any person betrothed to him in marriage; for any foster father, mother, brother, sister, or child, who shall be signified to him by tongue, or dream, or vision, or spirit ministering in fire, or angel, or voice from God. And if I will that any of my faithful servants of the Aaronic Priesthood be baptized for any other, I will send my angels to signify it unto them. But unto my servants of the Melchizedec Priesthood will I speak by mine own voice, or minister in fire.
And, behold, every Apostle shall be baptized for whosoever shall be committed to him for redemption from death, by my word, saith the Lord, as I reveal my will severally unto them, that they may be saviors of the dead, and may get honor, and glory, and majesty, and dominion unto themselves forevermore; and by their voices will I appoint redemption, and honor, and glory unto whomsoever I will.
Behold, my servants Joseph, and Hyrum, and David, and Moses, and many of their fellow laborers in this dispensation, who have gone with them to the pit to preach redemption to the prisoners, have prevailed; and waiting hosts cry unto you that live, continually, saying, How long do ye forget our prison house of darkness, and regard not us who perish continually? Therefore, I have remembered the little flock who have not denied my name, to make them great in my everlasting kingdom, and to give dominion over the dead unto them, saith the Lord.
And now let all who are scattered abroad, and all who have robbed me through covetousness, and in tithes and offerings, and all who have neglected to administer in the gospel as I have called them, come, and from this time forward assist my servants who are building a house unto my name, and who are proclaiming my word unto the nations, that they may enjoy this blessing with them; for only they who labor shall receive the reward; and those who labor to build my house, and to proclaim my word, and to establish my kingdom, will I make saviors; and upon mount Zion shall they stand with crowns on their heads.
God has prepared a way for the dead–who never had the opportunity to know God and obey the gospel in mortal life–to do so in the spirit: Baptism for the Dead. This ordinance is a part of the original law given to Adam, Moses, and other prophets of God. It can only be administered in a special dispensation given by God through His holy prophets, the whole of catholicity—having no authority from God—cannot administer this essential ordinance. They are left to leave their spirits to “perish everlastingly.”
The ordinance of Baptism for the Dead was opened by Jesus Christ during the three days His physical body lay in the grave. It was administered by the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. As a part of the gospel of Christ and a promise to all mankind, when there is a prophet on the earth this ordinance must be provided to the dead. The living are baptized by water for the dead. Knowledge of this most important ordinance was lost to sectarian Christianity because they don’t hold any authority from God; and receive no revelations from God. This ordinance can only be administered by special authorization by God. Those who have never administered this ordinance prove to the world that they are not of God.