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Jesus taught that ALL people must be baptized to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Among the various scriptures which teach this principle is the one where Jesus spoke to a rich man: "Unless a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God".

But, of course, not all people have even heard about Jesus Christ, let alone had a chance to be baptized. Further, many were baptized in infancy without proper immersion, when they did not even know what was going on, and therfore, never really made the decision for baptism, nor made the decision for conversion. Thus, Mormons believe that in God's eyes, the baptism is ineffective.

If a person must be baptized by immersion, like Jesus, to enter Heaven, and that person dies and has never been baptized--or if the baptism were flawed for some technical reason--someone who is still alive can fill in for the deceased person. The deceased person (wherever they are in the world of spirits) can then decide whether to accept that baptism as their own and become Christian, or not to accept it on their behalf-- it istheir choice their choice in the world beyond...think of it as someone registering you to vote because you couldn't do so yourself for whatever reason--you will still decide whether or not to vote but you need to be registered to do so. Better to register everyone just in case. A lot of intricate genealogical work needs to be done, among other things, to figure out who needs baptism, and to actually identify these people and their connections down through the ages. This practice chould also be named 'vicarious baptism', as it is done on behalf of another who could not do it for themselves. If the dead person did not want it done, it does not matter as they make their decision in the world beyond - of departed spirits.

The practice of doing something for someone else who cannot do it for themself was taught and practiced by Jesus Christ. Christ Himself atoned (paid the punishment or price) for our sins, because we could not atone for our own sins. This is an example of vicarious work or proxy work being done for someone else. Jesus 'stood in' for us. We get the choice as to whether to accept His Atonement or otherwise.

The Apostle Paul identifiedthis practice of baptizing for the dead in his letter to the Corinthians, wherein he states:

"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. 15:29

Again, Christ clearly taught that we must be born of the water and of the spirit to return to live with God. We read throughout The Bible that those who wished to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, repent of their sins, and wanted to become a member of Christ's church were baptized by immersion under water by an authorized representative of Christ's church. The question many have asked through the ages is what will happen to those who are not baptized if Christ requires all to be baptized before they can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. There are many people who have lived on the earth before Christ was born and since his birth who may have never heard of Jesus Christ, so how could a fair and loving God deny them entrance into His kingdom for not conforming to His will when they did not know His will concerning this matter? Since baptism must be performed by someone with a physical body, this means it is an earthly ordinance, but someone else can do this work on earth in behalf of someone who is already dead. Just like Christ paid the price for our sins because we cannot actually pay the eternal price ourselves. (Christ offered himself as a proxy in our behalf). Christ has told members of His church that they can stand in as a proxy and be baptized for someone who has died. The individual who is dead, whose spirit is in a place called Spirit Prison is then given the opportunity to accept or reject this proxy baptism. Some may ask if this is a Biblical teaching. The answer is yes in the sense that most Christians would agree that Christ paid by proxy for all of our sins if we accept Him as our Savior -- use of proxy ordinances in Christ's church was initiated by the Master Himself. There are several places in the Bible that support this practice as well. The Apostle Paul was trying to convince the Saints in Corinth that because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected as a part of Christ's grace extended to all mankind. He then challenged the Saint's who did not believe in the resurrection by asking them, if men are not resurrected after they die, then why are you doing baptisms for those who are already dead? Paul's question to the Corinthians is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 29. The Apostle Peter also spoke of how after Christ's death, the Savior went to the spirits of those who had died to establish a program for the teaching of His gospel to those in Spirit Prison (Those who have not accepted Christ's gospel and have not been baptized are waiting in a place called "Spirit Prison."). Peter explained that Christ set this program up so that those who had not been taught the gospel on earth could be taught the gospel and then decide to accept or reject it. This opportunity was extended to these people so that they could be judged fairly according to those who had been given the opportunity to hear the gospel while on earth. Those who accept the gospel in the Spirit Prison must wait to advance further until someone on earth is baptized in their behalf. The scriptures in Peter that are referenced above are 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 1 Peter 4:6. LDS members do genealogy work to find the names of those who have died without being baptized a member of Christ's church by someone who has the authority given to them by Christ to perform this ordinance. The baptisms for those who are dead are done in LDS temples. == == == == Mormoms believe that baptism is one of the keys to get into heaven. If you aren't baptized, then you'll wait in a place called Spirit Prison. Prison not being the sense that we use on earth, it's just the name of the place, sort of like limbo. A member of the church needs to do their geneology so that they have names of ancestors who had passed away but were never baptized. Of course we also believe that if that person in heaven did not wish to be baptized, they could nullify the baptism. For more information you might consult a Mormon missionary or member, or see the Related Link for "Baptism for the Dead in Mormonism" to the left for more.

These baptisms for the dead are only carried out in holy places called, "Temples", and are only done by one who has been given the authority from God to do so.

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2010-02-26 23:34:31
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Q: What is the Mormon practice of baptizing people who are deceased into Heaven all about and how it relates to their interest in genealogy?
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