Written 7/2013
A Solution to an Issue with Baptism for the Dead

From Mark 16:16, Jesus said “Believe and be baptized and be Saved, Believe not and be damned. Jesus is very specific on this point.

From John 3: - In response to a question, Jesus said:  Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, 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.

Thus, baptism is born again and born of water. It is an ordinance required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, in other words, an ordinance required to be “Saved”. LDS calls this Kingdom the Celestial Kingdom.

“Believe” denotes the ability to make the choice to be baptized without coercion. To choose to be baptized, one must be a mature spirit in a physical body. A baby is not able to make this choice in this world until it reaches the full stature of its spirit in its body.

With this background, I will state a situation to illustrate the issue:

A family has just baptized their 8 year old son. The parents, the 8 year old, and his 7 and 2 year old siblings are killed in an accident on the way home. By assumption, they are all eligible to enter the Celestial Kingdom – the parents and the 8 year old, because they are good people and have been baptized, the 2 year old because he is innocent, and the 7 year old because he had yet not reached accountability.

The problem: at 7 years old, most children are sufficiently aware to make the choice to be baptized. They are certainly not innocent. The nominal age of eight for baptism must be considered only a guide to relieve the bishop of the necessity of deciding when each child is capable of rational thought. At 2 years, the child is certainly innocent. The entry of either child into the Celestial Kingdom would create two classes of the resurrected – those baptized and those not baptized. Placement of either child in the Celestial Kingdom without baptism would violate Mk 16:16 and John 3.

The solution: In the millennium, the entire family will be part of the first resurrection. The 7 year old, assumed to be mature enough to “believe”, would go to the temple for the ordinance of baptism if that were his choice**. The 2 year old would mature in the care of its family until it reached the full stature of its spirit in its body. Apparently, our spirit does not just get a body immediately when it is born: it has to grow into the body for a sufficient time to obtain full control to make the choice here on earth. That reasoning satisfies my logical concerns.

The ability to raise our dead infants in the Millennium is a comfort to the parents. It also seems to be a necessity for the infant so that it may grow its spirit into its body.

**One might ask: could those resurrected unbaptized baptise themselves in the nearest river, or would they require a  temple to perform the ordinance? And if the baptism had to be performed in a temple, could the resurrected do it for themselves or have to wait for an unresurrected proxy? I speculate that the usual proxy system would be needed. If the resurrected could baptize themselves in a river, temples would not be needed in the millennium. Certainly, their genealogy would be easy since they could provide the exact information for themselves. The resurrected are of flesh and bone - not flesh and blood. Their chemistry is different. For that and the above reason, I suggest they would need a baptism by proxy in the usual fashion since that is the usual procedure. However, the event of the fall occurred in the Terrestrial Paradise with flesh and bone bodies, so there are other arguments that could be made.

(Added 4/9/2016) Established  doctrine holds that once you are resurrected your body type is fixed: i.e., there is no progression between the three kingdoms of glory. In other words, you have been judged. If this is so, the unbaptized infant raised by a Celestial mother must be baptized by proxy to avoid the situation where the infant chooses  the Telestial Kingdom when given its free choice after being resurrected. Only after he has made his choice in the spirit world can it be resurrected to be raised as a celestial being in the Millennium.

We commonly say that baptism is for the remission of sins. That may be only technically true. Baptism is the start of a three stage process outlined in Moses 6:60. Without the water, we are outside the law and and can progress no farther than the Terrestrial Kingdom. By this logic, even Jesus, who was without sin, had to be baptized since he came to fulfill the Law not abolish it. So it must also be with unbaptized children. The meaning of "Justify" by the spirit is unclear but could mean confirmation that we had made the covenant with Jesus in the Pre-existence and were actually Children of God - not creatures. It is the blood that actually accomplishes the remission of sins allowing us to enter the Celestial Kingdom.

The Law of the Celestial Kingdom appears to be "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth as in the Law of Moses. Jesus didn't abolish it: He only paid it forward for us. Many of us may want to think about whether we want to undertake such Celestial responsibilities or instead remain in the glory of the Terrestrial Kingdom as "Failed Gods". Our Father has left us that choice. (Of course, all of this preceding discussion in my personal specuation.)

For further information regarding LDS teaching on this subject, please see “Chapter 14: Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death

” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),171–81 (see below) or link to


Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death
 “Chapter 14: Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),171–81
“What have we to console us in relation to the dead? We have reason to have the greatest hope and consolation for our dead of any people on the earth.”

From the Life of Joseph Smith
Bereavement at the death of loved ones repeatedly touched the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. On June 15, 1828, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Joseph and Emma’s first son, Alvin, died a short time after birth. When Joseph and Emma moved from New York to Kirtland, Ohio, in February 1831, Emma was again pregnant, this time with twins. Shortly after Joseph and Emma’s arrival in Kirtland, they moved to a cabin on the farm of Church member Isaac Morley. There, on April 30, little Thadeus and Louisa were born, but they did not long survive, dying within a few hours of their birth.

At the same time, in the nearby town of Warrensville, Ohio, Brother John Murdock lost his wife, Julia, who had just given birth to healthy twins. With a family that now included five children, Brother Murdock felt unable to care for the new arrivals, and he asked Joseph and Emma to adopt them as their own. This Joseph and Emma did, gratefully taking the two infants, named Joseph and Julia, into their family. Tragically, little Joseph died eleven months later in March 1832, a consequence of being exposed to the cold night air while suffering with measles when the Prophet was tarred and feathered by a mob. With this death, the grieving parents had laid to rest four of their first five children, leaving Julia as their only living child.

Of the eleven children of Joseph and Emma—nine born to them and two adopted—only five would live to adulthood: Julia, born in 1831; Joseph III, born in 1832; Frederick, born in 1836; Alexander, born in 1838; and David, born in November 1844, five months after his father’s death. Joseph and Emma’s 14-month-old son Don Carlos died in 1841, and a son born in 1842 died the same day he was born.

During his lifetime, Joseph Smith also lost three brothers to untimely deaths. Ephraim died soon after birth in 1810. Joseph’s older brother Alvin died in 1823 at the age of 25, and his younger brother Don Carlos died in 1841, also at 25 years of age.

The Prophet suffered another great loss when his father, upon whom he relied for counsel and strength, died in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1840. When Father Smith realized that his death was imminent, he called his family to his bedside. He spoke to his wife, saying, “When I look upon my children and realize that although they were raised up to do the Lord’s work, yet they must pass through scenes of trouble and affliction as long as they live upon the earth, my heart is pained and I dread to leave you so surrounded by enemies.”1

Then he spoke to each of his sons and daughters in turn, giving them his last blessing. As recorded by the Prophet’s mother, he spoke these reassuring words to the Prophet Joseph:

“ ‘Joseph, my son, thou art called to a high and holy calling. Thou art even called to do the work of the Lord. Hold out faithful and you shall be blessed, and your children after you. You shall even live to finish your work.’

“At this Joseph cried out, weeping, ‘Oh, my Father, will I?’ ‘Yes,’ said his father, ‘you shall live to lay out the plan of all the work which God has given you to do. This is my dying blessing on your head in the name of Jesus.’ ”2

Drawing upon these difficult experiences from his own life and his inspired understanding of the Savior’s Atonement, the Prophet Joseph Smith was able to give much-needed comfort to many mourning Saints.

Teachings of Joseph Smith
When beloved family members or friends die, we have great comfort in knowing we will meet them again in the world to come.

The Prophet spoke at a Church conference in Nauvoo on April 7, 1844. He spoke about his friend King Follett, who had recently died: “Beloved Saints: I will call [for] the attention of this congregation while I address you on the subject of the dead. The decease of our beloved brother, Elder King Follett, who was crushed in a well by the falling of a tub of rock, has more immediately led me to this subject. I have been requested to speak by his friends and relatives, but inasmuch as there are a great many in this congregation who live in this city as well as elsewhere, who have lost friends, I feel disposed to speak on the subject in general, and offer you my ideas, so far as I have ability, and so far as I shall be inspired by the Holy Spirit to dwell on this subject. I want your prayers and faith that I may have the instruction of Almighty God and the gift of the Holy Ghost, so that I may set forth things that are true and which can be easily comprehended by you, and that the testimony may carry conviction to your hearts and minds of the truth of what I shall say. …

“… I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were; and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on the earth. …

“… What have we to console us in relation to the dead? We have reason to have the greatest hope and consolation for our dead of any people on the earth; for we have seen them walk worthily in our midst, and seen them sink asleep in the arms of Jesus. …

“You mourners have occasion to rejoice, speaking of the death of Elder King Follett; for your husband and father is gone to wait until the resurrection of the dead—until the perfection of the remainder; for at the resurrection your friend will rise in perfect felicity and go to celestial glory. …

“I am authorized to say, by the authority of the Holy Ghost, that you have no occasion to fear; for he is gone to the home of the just. Don’t mourn, don’t weep. I know it by the testimony of the Holy Ghost that is within me; and you may wait for your friends to come forth to meet you in the morn of the celestial world. …

“I have a father, brothers, children, and friends who have gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment. They are in the spirit, and we shall soon meet again. The time will soon arrive when the trumpet shall sound. When we depart, we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love, who have fallen asleep in Jesus. There will be no fear of mobs, persecutions, or malicious lawsuits and arrests; but it will be an eternity of felicity.”3

Elder Lorenzo D. Barnes died while serving as a missionary in England. The Prophet spoke of his passing at a meeting held in the unfinished Nauvoo Temple: “I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lie in yonder tomb, in the morning of the resurrection let me strike hands with my father, and cry, ‘My father,’ and he will say, ‘My son, my son,’ as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves.

“And may we contemplate these things so? Yes, if we learn how to live and how to die. When we lie down we contemplate how we may rise in the morning; and it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep and wake in each other’s embrace and renew their conversation.

“Would you think it strange if I relate what I have seen in vision in relation to this interesting theme? Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here.

“So plain was the vision, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me. …

“More painful to me are the thoughts of annihilation than death. If I have no expectation of seeing my father, mother, brothers, sisters and friends again, my heart would burst in a moment, and I should go down to my grave. The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy. …

“To Marcellus Bates [a Church member whose wife had died] let me administer comfort. You shall soon have the company of your companion in a world of glory, and the friends of Brother Barnes and all the Saints who are mourning. This has been a warning voice to us all to be sober and diligent and lay aside mirth, vanity and folly, and to be prepared to die tomorrow.”4

Parents who lose children in death will receive them in the resurrection just as they laid them down.

At the funeral of two-year-old Marian Lyon, the Prophet said: “We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it … grows more wicked and corrupt. … The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again. …

“… The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope.”5

“A question may be asked—‘Will mothers have their children in eternity?’ Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid.”6

“Children … must rise just as they died; we can there hail our lovely infants with the same glory—the same loveliness in the celestial glory.”7

President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth President of the Church, reported: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ …

“In 1854, I met with my aunt [Agnes Smith], the wife of my uncle, Don Carlos Smith, who was the mother of that little girl [Sophronia] that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was speaking about, when he told the mother that she should have the joy, the pleasure, and the satisfaction of rearing that child, after the resurrection, until it reached the full stature of its spirit; and that it would be a far greater joy than she could possibly have in mortality, because she would be free from the sorrow and fear and disabilities of mortal life, and she would know more than she could know in this life. I met that widow, the mother of that child, and she told me this circumstance and bore testimony to me that this was what the Prophet Joseph Smith said when he was speaking at the funeral of her little daughter.”8

Mary Isabella Horne and Leonora Cannon Taylor each lost a young child in death. Sister Horne recalled that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave the two sisters these words of comfort: “He told us that we should receive those children in the morning of the resurrection just as we laid them down, in purity and innocence, and we should nourish and care for them as their mothers. He said that children would be raised in the resurrection just as they were laid down, and that they would obtain all the intelligence necessary to occupy thrones, principalities and powers.”9

While we mourn when loved ones die, we can trust that “the God of all the earth will do right.”

At the funeral of 24-year-old Ephraim Marks, the Prophet declared: “It is a very solemn and awful time. I never felt more solemn; it calls to mind the death of my oldest brother, Alvin, who died in New York, and my youngest brother, Don Carlos Smith, who died in Nauvoo. It has been hard for me to live on earth and see these young men upon whom we have leaned for support and comfort taken from us in the midst of their youth. Yes, it has been hard to be reconciled to these things. I have sometimes thought that I should have felt more reconciled to have been called away myself if it had been the will of God; yet I know we ought to be still and know it is of God, and be reconciled to His will; all is right. It will be but a short time before we shall all in like manner be called: it may be the case with me as well as you.”10

On June 6, 1832, Joseph Smith wrote to Emma Smith: “I was grieved to hear that Hyrum had lost his little child. I think we can in some degree sympathize with him, but we all must be reconciled to our lots and say the will of the Lord be done.”11

On January 20, 1840, Joseph Smith wrote to Emma Smith: “I received a letter from Hyrum, which cheered my heart to learn that my family was all alive. Yet my heart mourns for those who have been taken from us, but not without hope, for I shall see them again and be with them. Therefore, we can be more reconciled to the dealings of God.”12

“With respect to the deaths in Zion, we feel to mourn with those that mourn, but remember that the God of all the earth will do right.”13

“There have been many deaths, which leaves a melancholy reflection, but we cannot help it. When God speaks from the heavens to call us hence, we must submit to His mandates.”14

At the funeral of James Adams, the Prophet said: “I saw him first at Springfield, [Illinois,] when on my way from Missouri to Washington. He sought me out when a stranger, took me to his home, encouraged and cheered me, and gave me money. He has been a most intimate friend. … He has had revelations concerning his departure, and has gone to a more important work. When men are prepared, they are better off to go hence. Brother Adams has gone to open up a more effectual door for the dead. The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits.”15

Suggestions for Study and Teaching

Consider these ideas as you study the chapter or as you prepare to teach. For additional help, see pages vii–xii.

• What are your thoughts or feelings as you read the accounts on pages 171–73? How might these experiences have influenced the way the Prophet Joseph taught about death and resurrection?
• This chapter contains messages Joseph Smith shared with people who mourned the deaths of loved ones (pages 174–79). In these messages, the Prophet offered “hope and consolation” by teaching doctrines of the gospel and showing his hearers how those doctrines applied in their lives. As you think of loved ones who have died or who may soon die, what gospel truths bring you comfort? Why are these truths significant to you?
• Read the counsel Joseph Smith gave when speaking of Elder Barnes’s death, including his counsel about “how to live and how to die” (pages 175–76). What does this counsel mean to you? Think about how your life might change as you remember his counsel.
• Review the Prophet’s words to parents whose little children had died (pages 176–78). How can these doctrines provide hope to grieving parents?
• Study Joseph Smith’s counsel about reconciling ourselves to God’s will when loved ones die (pages 178–79). How does our decision to accept God’s will influence our emotions? our words and our actions? In what ways might our decision help others?

Related Scriptures: John 20:1–29; Mosiah 16:7–8; Alma 40:11–12; Moroni 8:11–20; D&C 42:45–46

[illustration] Joseph and Emma Smith with the twins they adopted shortly after their own infant twins died. Joseph and Emma gratefully took Joseph and Julia into their family, but little Joseph died in March 1832.

[photo] Joseph Smith taught that young children “must rise just as they died” and that parents will greet their children with “the same loveliness in the celestial glory.”

1. Joseph Smith Sr., quoted in Lucy Mack Smith, “The History of Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet,” 1844–45 manuscript, book 18, p. 5, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
2. Joseph Smith Sr., blessing given to Joseph Smith shortly before Joseph Smith Sr.’s death on Sept. 14, 1840, in Nauvoo, Illinois; quoted in Lucy Mack Smith, “The History of Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet,” 1845 manuscript, p. 298, Church Archives.
3. History of the Church, 6:302–3, 310–11, 315–16; bracketed word in original; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith  Apr. 7, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton; see also appendix, page 562, item 3.
4. History of the Church, 5:361–63; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 16, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards.
5. History of the Church, 4:553–54; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 20, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff.
6. History of the Church, 6:316; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 7, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton; see also appendix, page 562, item 3.
7. History of the Church, 6:366; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 12, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Thomas Bullock.
8. Joseph F. Smith, “Status of Children in the Resurrection,” Improvement Era, May 1918, p. 571.
9. Mary Isabella Horne, quoted in History of the Church, 4:556, footnote; from her statement given on Nov. 19, 1896, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
10. History of the Church, 4:587; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 9, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff.
11. Letter from Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, June 6, 1832, Greenville, Indiana; Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, Illinois.
12. Letter from Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, Jan. 20, 1840, Chester County, Pennsylvania; Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, Illinois.
13. History of the Church, 1:341; from a letter from Joseph Smith to the brethren in Missouri, Apr. 21, 1833, Kirtland, Ohio.
14. History of the Church, 4:432; from a letter from Joseph Smith to Smith Tuttle, Oct. 9, 1841, Nauvoo, Illinois.
15. History of the Church, 6:51–52; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Oct. 9, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards and Times and Seasons, Sept. 15, 1843, p. 331; this issue of the Times and Seasons was published late.

Atonement and Baptism? (Also See Article below)

Why Are Baptism and the Atonement Necessary for Salvation?
When Adam broke God's Law, God cursed the Earth and its inhabitants (Genesis 4:17). Removal of the Curse required a sacrifice without blemish. God provided Jesus as the sacrifice: Jesus' birth to a virgin sired by God removed His connection to the Curse through Adam. Jesus' baptism by John removed the connection through Eve. His sacrifice had to be made by His free agency. Since the Curse has been removed, we will all be resurrected. We now need only John's baptism to be born again to break the link to Eve to be saved.

Christian (and especially LDS) doctrine teaches that we are Children of God – “Heirs of God and joint -heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17-18). LDS are taught that Jesus is our brother and we lived with Him and all of our fellow spirits (including Lucifer) in the pre-existent world with our Father. Our Father had created us and watched us mature into self aware spirit beings. Father had a spiritual and physical body: we were spirits only. We were acquainted with, and as His children, we were a part of the Glory of our Father. That is the best I can do to define “Glory”. The Father knew us well and loved us all.

As our spirit brother, Jesus was qualitatively the same type of being as we all were. But, He was quantitatively different from us in at least three ways:
1) He was the first born Spirit (there seems an advantage in being the Firstborn).
2) He created our world using the power of His Father. (I conjecture that as a spirit he could not affect the physical world without His Father’s power.) I have read that Michael assisted Him. From this, I conjecture that we all assisted Him. (It would be exquisite irony if those same spirits that designed and placed the dinosaur bones in the earth when it was formed became archeologists and later atheists because of their perceived beauty of The Theory of Evolution.)
3) He was expected to become “The Only Begotten” in the Plan of Salvation. This appointment seems not certain since Lucifer offered himself in the Grand Council. (PGP Moses 4: 1-4.)

We spirits had to be born into our own physical bodies. Only then could we become complete (spiritual and physical) beings – true heirs of the Father. Also, a body is required to interact with the physical world (D&C 129). The Plan of Salvation seems to have always assumed that we would fall after we came to earth. That was at least one reason for the office of the Only Begotten.

When we fell by Adam’s choice, the ground was cursed for our sake (Genesis 4:17). [This was a Sophie’s Choice: PGP Moses 4:17-18, note the difference with Genesis 4:12, Abraham 5:18. Neither choice was a good one.] That curse changed all the earth from a Paradise of peaceful animals of flesh and bones (immortal) to a dangerous place with carnivores of flesh and blood (mortal). Blood was now required to transport energy to our cells from eaten flesh of other beings. The change of the earth and its creatures because of the curse is comparatively incidental – they are inert matter and creatures.

But the curse on us (done, in part, to protect us) matters greatly. We are to be the Heirs of God. We were made our own agents in the physical world (PGP Moses 6:56) and thus were responsible for our own actions. Removal of that curse required that the connection between it and the Children of God be broken. God cannot say (or will not say) “I hereby revoke the curse”.

The physical rite of Baptism correctly done with authority from heaven removes the connection of the curse to all those born of woman (Jesus included – Satan and his followers are not eligible since they were never born). You must be born “again” {King James] and “from above” {Catholic Bible} and “of water” (John 3:3-5). If we believe, (I take this to mean we freely choose to do it) we can be baptized for ourselves (Mark 16:16). Passed spirits require baptism by proxy and they must accept it of their own free will – but, in all cases, it must be done correctly to have effect. Proxy baptisms must be done in a holy place.

Although baptism breaks the link of the curse for all humanity through Eve, the link through Adam remains except for Jesus. Jesus is different from Adam and all the rest of humanity in that He is the Only Begotten. According to the virgin birth doctrine, Jesus’ Father is The Father. Hence, Jesus is not subject to the curse through Adam’s line. Being baptized, Jesus is not subject to the curse through Eve. Jesus was therefore without blemish or some would say “perfect”’. But what is perfect?

Perfect may mean acceptable in the eyes of God’s Law. Acceptable animal sacrifices were supposed to be “without blemish”. But how would the peasant know whether his sacrificial lamb had a hidden cancer? The supplicant would only know is that he thought his lamb was without blemish and that it was the best he could do.

God had placed a curse on humanity through Adam to protect us. He also knew that there was nothing we could do about it by ourselves. Removal of the curse on all of the Sons of Adam required divine action to provide a sacrifice without blemish. Just as God had provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice**, God provided Jesus, His only Begotten Son, for the world to sacrifice to satisfy the Law that Adam had broken. Jesus was crucified under the civil (Roman) and religious (Jewish High Priesthood) authority of the world of Abraham - the covenant people. Together, these authorities represented the World.

So Jesus became the Sacrifice without blemish, first by His office as Only Begotten, then by His Baptism, and, finally, by living an earthly life worthy of His office. There only remained the accomplishment of the Sacrifice we call The Atonement. This had to be done correctly.

Eve had broken the Law using her agency to act freely for herself. Adam had ratified Eve's action with His Priesthood (perhaps a love story) by breaking the lesser of the two Laws he knew [1) don't eat the fruit: 2) leave his father and cleave to his wife. Note that Adam did not ask God's advice for this choice: Adam made his choice on his own.

Jesus had to atone for a Law broken by a Child of God using the free agency given to her. Eve was deceived but she still had to suffer the consequences. Adam had then used his Priesthood to further break the Law  - perhaps a more grievous error. Unlike the innocent lamb unaware of what was to come, Jesus had atone by an act of His own free will in full knowledge of what was ahead. He could not be deceived.

Scriptures are very explicit that Jesus used His free will to satisfy the requirement of The Father (thy will - not mine be done). Scriptures also say that Jesus could have ended the sacrifice at any time. Pilate did not want to crucify Him and would have taken any excuse to let Him go. Jesus willingly submitted Himself to the requirements of the Law as a Lamb to the slaughter - innocent but aware of what He was doing. Only this free will offering by one without blemish could atone for Eve's free will action (of course eating the fruit may be an allegory for something far deeper).

And so, Jesus was born without blemish from Adam. His baptism removed the blemish from Eve and He became perfect – suitable for the sacrifice to atone for the Eve’s choice to violate The Law on earth.

The Only Begotten had a second task beyond His sacrificial role: He had to establish a Church for John’s Baptism. All that were ever born are subject to Eve’s blemish. The living can remove it if they believe and are baptized. The Dead cannot. This Church has to exist in the latter days to provide the infrastructure and Authority for John’s Baptism for those who died without the Gospel. Baptisms and the Atonement have to be done on earth since that is where the infraction occurred. The Church has to endure to the end to ensure that all who wish may be baptized..

This is one explanation for the existence of John’s Baptism, Christ’s Atonement, a Latter Day Church, a Sabbath, a Sacrament, and all of the attendant rituals necessary for a cohesive theological society to be able to perform the saving ordinances for all who were ever born.

The definition of words like “glory” and “perfect” depends on the speaker, the event, the time, and the purpose of the moment. The words have no precise definition, so they cannot be discussed with real meaning. Therefore, I have had to return to First Principles.
The above is the best I can do to define “perfect”. I claim neither special spiritual authority nor special scriptural knowledge and submit this for your kind comments. It seems to me to be a beautiful hypothesis. I do stand in amazement at the subtle writings of Joseph in the Pearl of Great Price (PGP).

** This Biblical event could have been a similitude to the Atonement. Abraham represented civil and religious authority. The ram was Jesus. Isaac represented the world. Isaac was irreplaceable. Abraham's wife Sarah was old and did not associate with Abraham after the event. Had the ram not been available as a substitute sacrifice for Isaac, Abraham's birthright son, there would have been no Ten Tribes, no Jews, no Christians, no Atonement and no baptisms. Without the ram, Ishmael would have been the only begotten son of Abraham but from Sarah's handmaiden not Abraham's wife. Ishmael would have had the birthright.
Compare Genesis 16:12 and Genesis 3:15


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4/8/16: A Defect in Modern Christianity

Recently, I met a young woman interested in the Bible. We discussed the Book of Genesis. I found she was a Sunday school teacher so I asked how she liked the Movie Noah. We discussed the Garden of Eden and Adam's defense, and Cain and Abel. I told her the rest of the story of Lamech and how his wives Adah and Zillah drove him away when he admitted he killed Irad for the sake of an oath. This Bible story is completed in the Pearl of Great Price. She had the book but not read it.

She was of eastern ancestry so I asked if she had converted to Christianity. She said yes. I asked if her grandfather had been baptized. No. Will he be able to go to Heaven? Her eyes widened and saddened and she said no. He will not. That was hard for her to say. When she joined a local Christian church, she not only had to leave the faith of her family but also had to, in her mind, admit that her ancestors were damned . Eastern religions value their ancestors. I admired her faith and imagined her anguish.

50 some years ago, when I realized that that was my church's teaching of the New Testament, I left my church. Jesus is quite specific.“Believe and be baptized and be saved, believe not not be damned” (Mk16:16). I could not worship a God who could produce children most of whom would be damned. I could not reject my ancestors.

Christian churches - including all of the 25 or so LDS spin off cults – do not and can not teach that everyone that was ever born will be given a chance to chose or reject baptism, even though it is a major part of the new Testament teachings and a logical requirement for a loving, merciful and just god. If a church doesn't claim the authority to teach and perform Baptism for the Dead, they don't have it. It must have been taken away.

Only our mainstream LDS church claims this authority No other church is building the social and temple infrastructures to accomplish it.

Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of the world unlocked the gates of the Celestial Kingdom from the inside. But only the LDS Church teaches and has the authority to give each of us the key to freely choose to unlock it from the outside and enter.

Moses 6:60 says: “For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified”. By the water, we obey the Law. Even Jesus had to be baptized. Without the water, we would be without the Law and could not enter the Celestial Kingdom. By the Spirit, we are confirmed to be eligible. With His blood, He washes our garments clean.

I attend this church because its scriptures teach a logical path to salvation and I believe it allows me to participate in the Plan of Salvation for all mankind. It's as simple as that.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ.