By the time I left Utah and stopped getting baptized for dead people I was sure I could have webbed feet. I don’t recall how many times I went to the temple (more than five times, less than twenty) I do know it seemed like a lot! For me, Saturday mornings as a young teen meant a drive with the bishop to downtown Ogden to do works for the dead.
Not long after I was saved the Lord made it apparent to me that I needed to be baptized…again, yet it was for the first time! I remember waking my poor husband up in the middle of the night after the Lord had impressed it upon my soul that He wanted me to do this. Kirk said; “that’s nice dear” and quickly went back to sleep as I sat up the rest of the night talking to my Lord. It was one of the sweetest times I’ve ever had with God.
It is in obedience that we are baptized and not because we “have to”, but because we desire to please our Lord and God. It is an honor to follow Him and make that public proclamation of our devotion to Jesus. Even today I still can’t believe He got me of all people, out of Utah!
Jesus is always our example whenever there is any doubt or confusion about what we should do in matters such as these. We want to emphasize that baptism is not necessary for salvation and we can use the thief on the cross as one of the proofs, as well as Eph. 2:8-9. However, when we make Jesus our Lord and not merely our Savior, then we will heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He will never contradict what the word says, so we can use this as our measure of truth.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry Matthew gives us the account of when Jesus went to the Jordan to be an example of righteousness fulfilled. Matthew 3:13-7 says;
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Getting baptized unto the Lord also serves as another way of denouncing the evil one! Just as when we consider renewing our wedding vows and our public confession of believing Jesus, being baptized helps the ex-Mormon to spiritually make that break. The Mormon Church maintains that “true believers” have to be baptized and then have the “laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost”. Make it clear to the ex-Mormon this is not the case by showing them the thief on the cross and also how being baptized for dead people is not scriptural.
Explain in full what 1 Cor. 15:29 really means and also take another look at how Luke 16:19-31 tells us that there is no chance of being able to do things like this either from the grave or for those already in the grave. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 92 says;
“The fourth article of faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares that “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins” is one of the “first principles and ordinances of the Gospel.”…It is a primary step in the process, which includes faith, repentance, baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, whereby members may receive remission of their sins and gain access to the Celestial Kingdom and eternal life… Baptism must be performed by one who has proper priesthood authority.”
To this I say; work, work, work, work, work…
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.