Topical Guide/Doctrinal issues/Basic Gospel Principles/Baptism

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  • Baptism for the dead
    Brief Summary: There is considerable evidence that some early Christians and some Jewish groups performed proxy ordinance work for the salvation of the dead. The most obvious of these is 1 Cor. 15:29: "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?" Attempts to shrug this off as a reference by Paul to a practice he does not condone but only uses to support the doctrine of the resurrection are indefensible. Paul's statement makes no sense unless the practice was valid and the saints in Corinth knew it. (Click here for full article)
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  • Refusing baptisms for the dead
    Brief Summary: I don't want proxy baptisms or other LDS temple work performed for my deceased family. What can I do to "undo" such baptisms and temple work? In the case of individuals who have recently died, members are encouraged to be considerate of the feelings of the closest living relatives: "If the person was born within the last ninety-five years, obtain permission for the ordinances from the person’s closest living relative. This relative often wishes to receive the ordinances in behalf of the deceased or designate someone to receive them. In some instances, the relative may wish to postpone the performance of the ordinances. Also, be aware that acting in conflict with the wishes of the closest living relative can result in bad feelings toward you and the Church." There is no ceremony for "undoing" a proxy baptism for the dead. (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Mormon textual changes: "or out of the waters of baptism"
    Brief Summary: The phrase "or out of the waters of baptism" was added to the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. It is thought that this simply recommends a prophetic commentary on Joseph Smith's part describing the proper interpretation of the phrase "waters of Judah." It is not regarded as an error, or likely part of the original Book of Mormon plates' text. (Click here for full article)
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  • Baptism is essential for salvation
    Brief Summary: Critics argue that the LDS insistence on baptism as an essential ordinance of salvation is "unChristian" or "unbiblical." (Click here for full article)
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  • Baptism in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism