Last week I received an e-mail from a dear friend of mine who lives in North Carolina. For the sake of privacy we’ve omitted the names of his family members. When I read his note my heart physically hurt for this fine Christian man and what surely has to be devastating for everyone in the family.
I recently discovered that my grandparents from 8 generations ago have been “sealed for eternity” and baptized by proxy. Your article concerning baptism for the dead is right on. I did however want to share some of my thoughts on the issue. You are absolutely right in pointing out that one cannot or should not try to make a doctrine from a single verse of scripture. We must look at the totality of scripture concerning any teaching. For me it is important to remember that the earliest church was comprised predominately Jewish believers and there were those who attempted to push the Judaic perspective concerning various doctrines.
When we look at 1 Cor. 15:11 we find Paul writing: 1 Cor. 15:11 “Then whether they or I, so we preach, and so you believed”. 1 Cor. 15:12 “But if Christ is proclaimed, that He was raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is not a resurrection of the dead?” (LITV)
Those belonging to the sect of the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead whereas the Sadducees did not. Here Paul seems to be confronting the Sadduceean teaching that there is no resurrection. What preaching was Paul referring to in verse 11 when he states….”and so you believed”? He tells us in verse 12 that it is the preaching of the resurrection of the dead. His teaching is obviously more concerned with the reader’s understanding the reality of the resurrection than with baptisms. In fact from verse 11 his focus is squarely on the teaching of the resurrection of the dead.
A rule of thumb that I was taught concerning interpretation of scripture states that when the literal sense makes good sense, it makes no sense to seek any other sense……………………..
Our ultimate victory over sin and death lies not in baptism(s) but in being resurrected to spend eternity with our LORD Jesus.
“Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world. The names of deceased persons are not added to the membership records of the Church.” quoted from information obtained from the website “lds.org”
Aside from the fact that the practice of baptism for the dead being based on a gross misinterpretation of 1 Cor 15:29 it also totally ignores what God Himself has said regarding communicating with the spirit world. :
Lev 19:31 You shall not turn to mediums, and you shall not seek spirit-knowers to be defiled by them; I am Jehovah your God.
Lev 20:6 And the person who turns to mediums, and to spirit-knowers, to go whoring after them, I shall set my face against that person, and cut him off from the midst of his people.
Lev 20:27 And a man or woman, when there is among them a medium, or a spirit-knower, dying shall die; they shall stone them with stones; their blood is on them.
Deu 18:10 There shall not be found in you one who passes his son or his daughter through the fire, one that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or one divining, or a whisperer of spells.
Deu 18:11 or a magic charmer, or one consulting mediums, or a spirit-knower, or one inquiring of the dead.
****all scriptures quoted from the LITV (literal version) of the Holy Bible
In order for the deceased person to accept or reject the LDS baptism for the dead is nothing more than a blatant attempt at communication with the dead. This would require the use of a medium. Therefore anyone who allows themselves to be used by proxy for this occultic practice, including the sealing for eternity of deceased persons, is willfully assuming the role of a medium. Finally, if I’m not mistaken wasn’t Joseph Smith himself involved with some rather shady dealings concerning his claims to be able to divine veins of precious metals using his “peep stones”?…for a fee of course. There is historical evidence that he was arrested at least once in the state of New York but left the state before ever standing trial.
I was at first highly offended that any member of my family had been subjected to the practices of sealing for eternity and baptism for the dead, however, I realize that these rituals have absolutely no effect on them or where they will spend eternity. Instead my heart breaks for those who participate in such rituals failing to recognize the fate that may await them according the recorded Word of God.
Thanks for the attention you have given to this issue on your website. I am extremely grateful to folks like you for trying to lead others to the truth of God’s Word and our LORD Jesus Christ. Again I hope this e mail finds you, Kirk and family doing well……