(RNS) Why Do Mormons Baptize the Dead?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mormons believe that vicarious baptisms give the deceased, who exist in the afterlife as conscious spirits, a final chance to join the Mormon fold, and thus gain access to the Celestial Kingdom. To Mormons, only members of the LDS priesthood possess the power to baptize.

"It doesn't matter if you're a Baptist or a Buddhist," said Kathleen Flake, a Vanderbilt University scholar who has studied the church, "it's about who has the authority to perform the sacrament."

Flake said Mormons are encouraged to baptize at least four generations of forebears to seal the family for eternity. So the LDS church has built the world's most extensive genealogical library in Salt Lake City with 700 employees and more than 2 billion names.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsMormons* TheologyEschatology

Posted February 17, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. APB wrote:

A Mormon I went to school with, now a professor at BYU, once told me that their job would not be done until they traced everyone back to Adam and Eve.  He was smiling at the time, but he was not speaking entirely in jest.

February 17, 9:15 am | [comment link]
2. A Senior Priest wrote:

My great-great grandfather was “baptized” in the Morman temple in St George, Utah, in 1981. He died in 1907. So, I suppose if he didn’t want to accept the proffered “baptism” it’s up to him to refuse it in the next world. I doubt he cared.

February 17, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
3. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

One can be baptized and not live the reality.  A reprobate would undoubtedly reject it from self-centred-ness in this world or the next.

February 17, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

All of which explains why I don’t talk to Mormon missionaries when they come to my door.

February 18, 10:02 pm | [comment link]
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