Occasional Heresies #1

Given:

  1. The rather uncomfortable irony that while Mormons take umbrage at the exclusion of their faith from the Christian fold, they themselves enjoy blasting Christian creeds and nullifying Christian sacraments;
  2. The fact that the unique priesthood soteriology of Mormonism lies in the sealing power and not in baptism per se (a baptised Mormon and an un-Mormon-baptised Zoroastrian can, according to orthodox Mormonism, both inhabit the lesser glories, but only one sealed can inherit exaltation);

Should Mormons accept the baptisms of other Christians?

(I can imagine obvious objections. Think outside the box…)

Comments

  1. Adam Greenwood says:

    I don’t find it all that uncomfortable.

  2. Ugly Mahana says:

    This may be obvious, but your statement 2 does not quite reach the issue you raise. Authorized baptism is, in fact, necessary to enter the Celestial Kingdom, while sealing is not. One of the glorious restoration doctrines is that baptism is not necessary to keep us out of hell. God’s grace is sufficient to save us all from Satan’s grasp. And then God offers more to those who will enter into a relationship to him. Those who will not enter that relationship will not receive the blessings of those who do. Those who choose to enter, by baptism and through other ordinances, into a relationship with God cannot claim to receive blessings of their own merit, for it is still God’s miracle acting out in their lives. Those who enter into covenant just accepted a gift.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Isn’t mormon baptism a necessary prerequisite to the endowment and sealing?

    That said, for day-to-day participation in the community, I see no need to insist on rebaptism, so long as other Christians would undertake the mormon baptismal covenant as expressed in the Book of Mormon. In other words, mourn with us and comfort with us, and it’s all good.

  4. I don’t find it uncomfortable either. As for, “should we accept the baptisms of other Christians?” No, to do so would be flying in the face of scripture D&C 22:2. Not much outside the box there.

  5. Should Mormons accept the baptisms of other Christians?

    Meaning, of course, that anyone already baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, would not need to be re-baptised. Mormons would then concentrate on the one thing that makes them different — the temple — while at the same time supporting the claim one sometimes hears that whatever “good thing” (e.g. Christian baptism) a person brings to Mormonism does not need to be replaced.

    If the temple was the entry into Mormonism, converts would be way down but retention would be way up.

    Random thoughts.

  6. I like.

  7. Ugly,
    Yeah, what I of course mean is “exaltation” in its classical sense (CK1).

    Steve,
    Re: baptism/temple. Double yeah. I’m just wondering whether that could be circumvented. You know, living church/continual revelation and all that.

    Darrell,
    Quoting scripture is fine, but these heresies can safely ignore them. In terms of Mormon soteriology, I ignore D&C 132 all the time.

  8. Ugly Mahana says:

    Accept that it’s not just the words, but the authority that matters. It’s not just the recognition on the part of the person being baptized, but also the “Having been commissioned” on the part of the person performing the baptism that matters.

    Look, if baptism were necessary to keep us out of hell, then I would agree that all baptisms are equally valid. But Christ’s grace, alone, rescues us from languishing in hell. Authorized baptism does add something more than what Christians generally think it adds, and thus it is appropriate that we do not recognize unauthorized baptism.

  9. Ugly Mahana says:

    I’m sorry, that should have been ‘Except’, not “accept.” I am not ordering anyone to agree with me.

  10. Ugly Mahana says:

    I should add that I have no problem with other churches refusing to accept our sacraments, just as we do not accept theirs. I am disappointed that they denigrate my belief, for I do not denigrate theirs or deny their good acts, motives, and intents.

  11. Christopher says:

    Can one receive the gift of the Holy Ghost without being baptized by Mormon Priesthood authority? If not, and assuming receipt of the gift of Holy Ghost is at least part of what sets us apart from other Christians (as Joseph Smith taught) and is necessary to exaltation, then it would appear that Mormonism should not accept the baptisms of other Christians as being valid.

  12. Quoting scripture is fine, but these heresies can safely ignore them. In terms of Mormon soteriology, I ignore D&C 132 all the time.

    Well, I guess it is a good thing that you are not mingling your philosophies of men with scripture. :-)

  13. obvious answer:
    A central tenant of mormonism is having the appropriate authority to perform ordinances. That’s why we have baptism for the dead, etc.
    Removing that unique necesity for authority and the rest of our religion falls apart.

    I don’t think we worry if other churches accept us as Christian, but feel free to define ourselves as Christian using our own terms.

  14. I guess it is a good thing that you are not mingling your philosophies of men with scripture.

    Darrell, I very much hope that this heresy is heretical otherwise it ain’t much of a heresy, innit?

  15. I wonder how many actually take umbrage at exclusion from the Christian fold? I don’t – I see it in the same light as star-bellied vs. plain-bellied sneetches.

    D&C 132:7

    In “our” soteriology, even the sealing ordinance fails to qualify for exaltation (since that is the salvation you are referencing) unless it is ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Thus, a Mormon couple “sealed” in the temple and an un-Mormon-baptised Zoroastrian can both inherit a lesser kingdom. All other ordinances and covenants require the same ratification to be honored by the Lord. Perhaps the question ought to be: will the Holy Spirit of Promise ratify a baptism performed by one claiming an non/un-Mormon priesthood?

    If we collectively agree that we’re all headed to a lesser order, it probably doesn’t matter which baptism we accept – we’ll be there regardless. But I wonder if there are members of the Church doing everything they can just so they can inherit the terrestial kingdom?

    Should Mormons accept other Christian baptisms? Sure. But I still have the star on my belly … oh wait, it just disappeared.

  16. You got me there.

  17. I can’t think outside the box on this one. Matt W’s right about the authority, and our relationship to other churches. When we accept the baptism of other churches, I will finally have Sunday’s off.

  18. Nick Literski says:

    I don’t really think that any faith should accept the baptism (or other initiation or “entry rite”) of another organization. Nor do I think this means denigrating anyone’s beliefs. Let me explain.

    When I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I participated in a ritual practice, which expressed and formalized my intent to enter into that particular discipline. I promised certain things as part of that ritual, and I received certain promises in return.

    At this point in my life, I am finding an affinity toward another faith, outside the christian tradition. If I were to actively pursue that faith, I would be choosing to follow a different discipline, make different promises, and receive different promises in return.

    Even if I was thinking of joining another christian church, I would be choosing to follow a different discipline, make different promises, and receive different promises in return. They would share some important similarities with those promises I exchanged in Mormonism, yet they would differ in many respects.

    To enter into a new spiritual discipline, relying on the initiation rituals of a former one, would be much like moving to a new employer, while attempting to rely on your former employment contract. The parties are different. The terms are different. The commitment is different. This doesn’t dispairage my former employer. It simply recognizes that I am entering into a new agreement with a new employer.

  19. Nick,

    In terms of the meaning of Mormon/non-Mormon baptism-as-rite-of-passage, I see little difference: in both you become a Christian, and in both (through confirmation), you become a member of the Church. The definition of “Church” may be the problem, but I’m one of those heretics who believes in the big tent Church of the Lamb of God.

    So, this heresy suggests Mormons cut to what really matters: the temple. There’s your rite of passage, and it’s a mighty big one. Imagine the converting Catholic who is not offered a re-baptism (because he’s already Christian), but is told he has a year to prove himself ready for the temple. It may be a heresy, but it’s a beautiful one. That dude is a committed Mormon-Christian and that point and the temple finally becomes the great symbol of our membership.

  20. Nick Literski says:

    Well, I guess it is a good thing that you are not mingling your philosophies of men with scripture.

    Aw, come on now. Nobody’s done that since April of 1990!

  21. Nick Literski says:

    Ronan,
    If your argument holds, then it should make no difference whether you work for GM or Ford, so long as you’re still making cars, and your GM employment contract should just be applied at your new Ford job. Things don’t (and shouldn’t) work that way. When you change jobs, you’re agreeing to start making cars the Ford way, even though you may have some good insights from GM. You’re agreeing to expend your labor for Ford, rather than for GM. You’re going to be paid by Ford, rather than by GM. New agreements, new promises, etc. A certain retired carpenter who changed his job to rabbi said it well—you don’t put new wine in old bottles.

  22. Ugly Mahana says:

    Ronan in 7:

    You’re right that temple ordinances, coupled with the sealing of the Holy Spirit of Promise, are necessary for exaltation in, as you put it, CK1. But baptism is necessary to enter the celestial kingdom at all. And baptism is not just about accepting Christ, it is also about accepting the form by which he formalizes part of his covenant with us. Christ was pretty clear that authorized baptism is required to enter the Celestial Kingdom. His gospel also makes it plain that no baptism is required for salvation from hell.

    As far as ‘Church’ definitions go, I don’t think it matters. No ‘Church’ saves us. Christ does, and he sets the parameters of what is expected. So, given that ordinances are not necessary for one to seek after Christ, why does he condition certain blessings upon receipt of these ordinances? I think the answer to this question explainse why authorized baptism is necessary for entry into the Church.

    Are you asking, may an improper form be as valid as the form Christ has authorized? The answer must be no, else the ordinance risks becoming meaningless.

    If we accept unauthorized baptisms, then must we accept unauthorized endowments and sealings also? Why not?

    The answer is authority. And that is why baptisms must be performed by one who has authority, and it is known to the Church that he has such authority.

  23. Ugly Mahana says:

    And, since I’ve said my piece (and because I suspect I just don’t understand where Ronan is going), I’ll bow out before I start saying too much.

  24. David Grua says:

    Christopher (#11) – Great reasoning. JS did insist that receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost set Mormons apart and made the different from other Christian groups. As receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the baptismal ordinance, I don’t see how we can accept other baptisms.

  25. David,
    Do you think the Holy Ghost is more manifest among Mormons than others?

    UM,
    I’m not claiming it squares with Mormon understanding. It’s a heresy. But so were other things before change made them gospel.

    Given the abysmal retention in the church, Mormon baptism is currently not a gateway to the temple or the celestial kingdom, but a gateway to being on the inactives list for the rest of your life. That’s another topic, perhaps.

  26. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan (#25), Joseph Smith sure thought so. I think so, too.

  27. Steve,

    I wish I could see tangible evidence for that, but I’ll just have to take your word for it. The gift of the Holy Ghost was quite plain in Joseph’s day. What do we have know? The Holy Ghost = crying at your own testimony. The Holy Ghost = doesn’t like R-rated movies and leaves the room.

    This is hardly Pentecostal stuff.

  28. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, no one is keeping you from experiencing that Old Time Religion but yourself.

  29. Further to 25.

    Given my last paragraph I’d go as far as to say that the current baptism-centric conversion model gets in the way of what really matters: the temple.

  30. Ronan, Is it truly a given that ALL Latter-Day Saints “enjoy blasting Christian creeds and nullifying Christian sacraments?”

  31. Steve,

    ina shalshi girriya ana mat hatti lu allik

  32. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, unless Rebecca is there to translate for you, I reject your tongues as false!

  33. “No Evans, you are not the One Mighty and Strong.”

  34. Brian,
    Quid est veritas?

  35. Steve Evans says:

    IP Addresses don’t lie, shyster! You’ve been found out, fraud.

    p.s. Gemma inaestimandus est?

  36. Ronan, are you including confirmation as part of baptism? It doesn’t really affect my opinion, but the Holy Ghost arguement needs this point clarified since that is when the gift of the HG is given.

    Perhaps your getting at ordinances as a whole being unnecessary as a whole for salvation. That’s something that, oddly enough, I can agree with more than accepting non-LDS baptisms.

  37. Quid est veritas? Apparently anything you want it to be for the purpose of this post.

    Count me as one Latter-Day Saint who does not enjoy blasting the creeds and sacraments of others. I may disagree with the faith of another, yet I try to do so respectfully. Else, my father-in-law and I would never speak to each other again. :-)

  38. Ronan: re 29 While I personally had a stellar experience the first time I went to the temple (about a month after my baptism for proxy baptisms) and when I was endowed a year later when I was endowed, I would say that the day of my baptism tops both as far as experiences I treasure in my conversion to the Gospel.

    I do agree with you that retention is a real issue, but I don’t think the ordinance of baptism can be considered the culprit by any stretch of the imagination.

  39. Thomas Parkin says:

    I think we should keep as much distance between ourselves and other Christian organizations as possible without becoming unfriendly; I predict a regrowth of the distance between us and other Christian organizations (one that by and large they never gave up); that the attempt at detente, which has been based on little more than some shared family values rhetoric, is nearing an end; see Elder Holland’s emphatic talk in this last conference as what will be typical; and agree with Nick L throughout this thread.

    ~

  40. Kyle,

    Covenants, and the ordinances that make them powerful, are indeed necessary. I simply believe that the covenant that makes one a Christian is broadly shared by all baptising Christians. Taking it to the next level (the temple) is what makes Mormons different, and one could make theological adjustments that would make it easier to really make this the symbol of our religion.

    Of course, this is just a game in theoretical heresy making. The problems raised are real and clear. Idle devil’s advocacy should help us to raise our game.

    At Christmas I shall be baptising my son, having authority, and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That will be a great honour for me.

    Evans,

    You’re lying, you lying liar.

  41. I think it would be nice if our meetings in general were more open to non-baptized participants. I’d like to see more non-baptized folks with callings, taking a bigger part in the ward family. Why does the ward activities chairperson need to be baptized? Why does the Primary secretary need to be? Why the librarian? Or the Young Womens’ first counselor? Sure, there are standards of conduct, but I think it would be nice if being part of our ward was more like being at BYU (ie, mostly but not entirely LDS). Let them pay a fast offering, if not a tithe, and do real volunteer work with the church.

    That said, my problem isn’t with #2, but with #2. I don’t have a problem being excluded from any definition of Christian that’s outside the scriptures. I am quite happy to distance myself from the various baptists and evangelicals that seem to be growing in political power here in the US. If *those* are Christians, then I am very much not a Christian. I am a Latter-day Saint. I am a follower of and a worshipper of Jesus Christ. I am a holder of the Melchizedek priesthood, and I hold keys within that priesthood. But I am no Christian (by the standard contemporary definition).

    In other words, what Matt said back at #13.

  42. Ronan – some translating job considering you’re about 80 miles away!! Don’t take my name in vain! ;)

  43. Et tu, Rebecce?

  44. Matt (38),

    Not baptism-the-ordinance, but all the energy put into getting someone baptised. Accept Christian baptism and redirect that energy to the temple, and people would become real Latter-day Saints, not ones baptised and forgotten.

    I know it can’t be defended according to Mormon orthodoxy, but perhaps for most BCC readers this exercise might help them better understand the reasons for, and centrality of, their beliefs regarding authority.

  45. Of course, I’m trying to think how many converts will have been baptised. Plus, would infant baptism count? You see there, I think not. Unless they were confirmed in their teens or later. Hmmmm. Darn.

  46. Should Mormons accept the baptisms of other Christians?

    Accept them as valid for what purpose? For joining a community of believers, for remission of sins, as preparation for receiving the Holy Ghost?

    There’s already some precedent that non-Mormon baptisms could be valid at least for repentance of sins. D&C 35 describes Sidney Rigdon’s pre-Mormon ecclesiastical career as being “called to baptize with water unto repentance” but qualifies it by saying that “they received not the Holy Ghost.”

    So perhaps a non-Mormon baptism could be recognized as valid for repentance and beginning to live the life of a disciple, and then the Mormon baptism would be specifically in preparation for temple ordinances (maybe something more akin to the Israelite micva bath).

  47. Latter-day Guy says:

    Similar to the way Catholics cannot accept Mormon baptisms (except in some circumstances*) while they do accept those of other faiths, I think that we would be barred by two items–priesthood authority, and a very different concept of the Godhead/Trinity (cf. Elder Holland’s most recent talk). Accepting another confirmation–to paraphrase Monty Python–is right out.

    *If, as a hospital employee, I were to splash water on the head of a dying catholic infant and invoke the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, it would be valid. A Jewish woman could do the same. The fact I was baptizing an infant–contrary to my own faith–would suggest that I was only trying to fulfill the desires of the parents in this case. A baptism INTO the LDS church would not be valid, because in that ceremony we mean a very different thing by “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” than do members of creedal Christianity.

  48. JKC,
    Interesting. Perhaps you could make Mormon baptism a temple rite…

  49. I can imagine accepting other’s baptisim; that it requires only the aaronic priesthood to baptize is in itself part of the reason.

    BUT, confirmation is another story. And, within Mormon theology, confirmation–the ‘baptism with fire’–is much more important, being the source not only of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, but of the ‘remission of sins.’

  50. JKC, so what you’re proposing is that we have a heirarchy of baptisms? One baptism will get you “membership” into the “community” but not into the temple and isn’t an actual saving ordinance? It’s like blessing a baby, except it was done outside the faith?

    Actually, the analogy of blessing a baby (and my unbaptized children still consider themselves Mormons despite their pre-8-ness) works for me. Except to wonder why anyone would do it? Why would you align yourself with the church and not be baptized, if you couldn’t *fully* participate? The idea sounds interesting, but I can’t see any practical or theoretical reason why anyone would bother.

  51. I’m not really proposing anything. That would be heretical. :)

    I’m just pointing out that there are many purposes to baptism, and that even though we often conflate them, they do not all require priesthood authority. And you don’t even need to go into the realm of heresy to go that far.

    The membership question is a good one. If a baptism doesn’t have to Mormon for repentance, does that mean that a baptism doesn’t have to be Mormon for membership in the community of believers? I don’t think so. Membership is associated more strongly with confirmation than with baptism.

    But if we’re dealing in heresy, then maybe we say that confirmation is offered to anyone who has had a valid “repentance baptism” whether its Mormon or not?

  52. What about this, just thinking out loud (er, thinking through a keyboard):

    Baptism unto repentance: no priesthood required

    Baptism for the remission of sins: is this the same thing as baptism unto repentance?

    Baptism for the Holy Ghost: priesthood required (but does this mean water baptism and laying on of hands, or can it be restricted to just laying on of hands?) In other words, can a priesthood holder lay on hands if the person has been baptized only “with water unto repentance,” or does he have to have been baptized specifically in preparation for laying on of hands?

    Baptism for membership in the community of believers: I think this raises the same question as the last, given the association between confirmation and the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Or, if membership is a function of confirmation only, not water baptism, then can the confirmation part of the ordinance be separated from “receive the Holy Ghost” part?

    Baptism as preparation to enter the temple: priesthood required. This brings to mind both the micva bath and the once-common rebaptism.

    When we separate these out, at what point do we enter the realm of heresy?

  53. Then we’ll need to have requirements for worthiness for confirmation that exist separately from baptism. Other churches have no requirement for baptism except for desire (I’m probably over generalizing here. Sorry), would we require some formal step before confirmation to ensure appropriate adherence to LDS standards?

    Even imaginary heresy seems to fall apart. I’m missing why we’d want to do this in any circumstance. If a person is willing to be confirmed, why not baptized at the same time? What do we gain as a church from accepting the ordinances of others? From our discussion here, we’ve gutted baptism into a social, symbolic gesture of repentance, and still withheld the real benefits of membership for those who undergo ordinances: confirmation and the temple.

    We’ve got a guy in our ward — there are a million guys like him around the world — who attends meetings, knows the hymns, sends his kids to BYU. His wife is a fully active member who serves in leadership roles; he has never joined the church. He lives the outward standards of LDS life (WoW, attends meetings, personal integrity, yadda yadda) and has no intention of joining the church. He jokes with his wife about dying first so she’ll do his temple work.

    His name is on the ward list, just like a blessed baby whose name “appears on the records of the Church.” He has full fellowship (no calling, alas).

    What would we do differently if we “accept” his previous baptism in another church? What does it mean to accept a baptism? What privileges would he gain that he currently lacks? What’s the point?

  54. This would be an interesting dynamic in the mission field. Instead of baptisms Elders would be bragging about the number of Endowments and Sealings they had on their mission. This would prove difficult in areas without a temple.

  55. Tim J.- as an aside, do you think Temple missionaries brag about the number of baptisms on their missions?

  56. Christopher says:

    When an individual is baptized into another Christian denomination, they do not have to acknowledge in a private interview that they believe JS to be God’s prophet, the LDS Church to be the one true church on the face of the Earth, and a number of other things.

    When an individual is baptized into the LDS Church, they do have to affirm these things. Perhaps LDS Baptism denotes a larger committment than we generally think.

  57. #25-the gateway to the celestial kingdom does not open for credentials or a report card proving that specific ordinances have been passed off. It opens because the bridegroom and his guests are familiar with each other, share identical goals and affinity for each other, and have embraced the same laws and ordinances that God the Father did before them.

    #27-Is your basis for assuming that Pentecostal experiences have ceased based upon the fact that you have never personally witnessed or participated in one? With that rationale one could assume that murders have ceased if one has never personally witnessed or participated in one.

    #29-Why do you believe that “what really matters” is “the temple” when the ONLY way to become worthy to attend God’s holy temple is by submitting to the ordinances and practices of His holy priesthood first?

    #40- You“ I simply believe that the covenant that makes one a Christian is broadly shared by all baptizing Christians”.

    (lds.org-guide to the scriptures) “A covenant is an agreement between God and man, but they do not act as equals in the agreement. God gives the conditions for the covenant, and men agree to do what he asks them to. God then promises men certain blessings for their obedience.” (lds.org-guide to the scriptures)

    We also know that only covenants made under the authority of the holy Priesthood are binding on earth as well as after death.

    In other words, any person who is baptized by someone without the authority of God and/or in a different manner than he set forth has not made a binding covenant with God and cannot be given the promised blessings.

  58. So you think it’s heretical, abish. Good. Meanwhile, England sleepeth.

  59. abish – why is it that you come out attacking EVERY time you post a comment? And you wonder why people react badly to you.

  60. JKC-

    Baptism is a word that simply means “dip or immerse”. I “baptize” my dishes and my laundry every day.
    Remission of sins is made possible by the Atonement, it is not guaranteed. It is not through being submerged in water that we become cleansed from sin-it is through faith, authorized baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and then continual obedience to the commandments of God.

    Which brings up another point-how many of the other “baptizing” churches teach that all that is required for salvation is the “dipping” itself? Some require a spoken announcement of “accepting Jesus” as the Savior and sorrow for past sins but nothing more. Some “find Jesus” and consider themselves “Christians” simply because they believe in his word (the bible) and never align themselves with any particular religion.

    It is not “the temple” that makes us different from all other Christian faiths, although it is unique to the LDS Church today.(Ancient Israel practiced temple rituals too) What makes us unique is the power and authority of God, an authority required to perform every ordinance and ritual we practice. The same power that was used to create the world, organize spirits,atone for the sins of mankind and resurrect the dead. The same power that was ordained upon the noble and great ones pre-mortally is the same power that blesses the human race today, and can exalt them for eternity.

  61. I think Abish has simply explained the doctrine clearly. It didn’t seem like a personal attack to me. But then again, I’m just passing through.

    And I thought her comments on trying to convince her kids that when she made mistakes she needed a very long time out were hysterical.

    (By the by, Abish, I think emaciated, naked pictures by children are known as “stick figures” and don’t actually indicate that children are starving or need clothes. Don’t let ‘em fool you! ;) }

    Jami

  62. abish, I just watched the LDS chick flick, anxiously Engaged. The main character ends up in a jail with a wild one.

    But through the discussion, the wild one comes to see the light.

    The main character says something like this, through baptism all your sins are forgiven.

    Does that pretty much sum things up on LDS water baptism?

  63. Nick Literski says:

    #19:
    So, this heresy suggests Mormons cut to what really matters: the temple.

    Would that be the pre-1878 temple, or the pre-1920s temple, or the pre-April-1990 temple, or the pre-early-2005 temple, or the current temple, Ronan? At least baptism seems to have been kept consistent.

  64. Todd Wood – did you just seriously use a Mormon chick flick in a discussion on the purpose of baptism???!!!!!!

  65. Fwiw, I think the problem isn’t with baptism at all, it’s with people being baptized who shouldn’t be baptized – rushed into baptism for whatever reason. Tackling that, imo, would make this entire discussion irrelevant.

  66. Baptism has remained more or less consistent, but not the protean concept of “re-baptism.”

  67. Costanza – I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Could you spell that out a little?

  68. cj douglass says:

    This doesn’t make me terribly uncomfortable……until you throw infant baptism into the mix. Something about infants going to hell unless they’re baptized rubs me the wrong way.

  69. I was just referring to the practice of re-baptism which underwent many shifts, both in practice and theological justification, over the course of the nineteenth century. Today, and for the last century, re-baptism is limited to those who have been excommunicated. Previously, people were frequently re-baptised prior to missions, temple endowments, sealings, as well as at times of retrenchment or to signify personal rededication to the gospel. Re-baptisms for health were also common throughout the 19th century and were performed in the baptismal font of the Salt Lake temple for a time.

  70. Ah! Much clearer. Thank you!

  71. #64 humorous . . . pop culture statement on baptism

    but what else is one to watch in Ammon, Idaho?

  72. Where is Ammon? I served my mission in the Pocatello Mission, so I might have gone through there. If so, yes, too true! Not much to watch there!

  73. I haven’t thought about it lately, but I used to feel I needed to be re-baptized when I left the LDS faith, went back to Catholicism and then returned to the LDS faith (before, I joined LDS with family, second time came back on my own conversion). Church told me that wasn’t necessary. So I guess you can take the boy out of the Mormon but you can’t take the Mormon out of the boy.

  74. Jami-thank you, thank you, thank you for the small glimmer of hope that my words don’t have to viewed as hostile by default.

    Rebecca-

    Please help me understand.I need to understand.

    Ronan started this thread by stating that it is a “given” that Mormons enjoy blasting Christian creeds and nullifying Christian sacraments. Any reasonable, unbiased observer would probably say that without solid evidence that Mormons as a whole take umbrage and/or enjoy blasting the beliefs of others, it would be insulting to declare the opinion that they do as a “given” fact.

    Several Mormons here said they did not fit that criteria and when they spoke their thoughts firmly or argued against several of Ronan’s comments, you did not respond that they had personally attacked him. For myself, I asked him two questions in an effort to understand why he came to certain conclusions (that he didn’t answer for whatever reason)and made several completely neutral statements for the purpose of clarifying actual Church doctrine(s). I did this on what could easily be my own mistaken assumption- that every reader of this blog might not be familiar with them, and apologize if I overstepped some kind of boundary. But I did not accuse Ronan of anything, state anything about him as “given”, or insult and belittle him in ANY way!

    Someone like Ray can read one of my posts and then say that even though he’s SURE I don’t mean to offend anyone (which is normal/naturally occurring result when nothing offensive is said) that someone COULD be insulted by what I wrote. And he’s right because no matter how plainly we speak here, no matter how void of insult or even vocal inflection our words are, every reader gets to choose for themselves how they respond emotionally to what is posted.

    For example, you say that I come out attacking EVERY time I make a comment, and that it is no wonder why people react badly to me. Your opinion of me might be based completely upon your own personal assumptions and feelings of dislike for me rather than actual facts, but I will defend to my death your right to have it. I can choose to be offended by your words if I want to, but that makes no sense to me. If you knew me well and had met me in person, you would know your accusations are untrue-so it seems silly to get offended simply because you don’t know me! If your words ARE true, then I am in sin and need to seriously repent and realign myself with the Savior and His gospel-and it seems silly to get offended simply because you told the truth!

  75. Abish, I am writing this in all seriousness, trying to understand.

    In a previous post you asserted that raising one’s hand in sustaining a leader is a binding covenant – not just a unilateral promise or commitment. There is no Priesthood authority involved in that action, especially since anyone in the congregation can sustain the leader – even non-members, if they are willing to make the attendant promise. (An even better example would be the sacrament, which non-members are allowed to take if they understand the promises and are willing to enter the attendant covenants despite their lack of baptism by Priesthood authority.)

    Ronan seems to be taking that same basic stance with regard to promises other Christians make at the time of their baptisms. I read his words as saying, “If other Christians make the same promises we make at baptism, do we really need to re-baptize them when they want to join our congregations?” I think we do for reasons other than the promises we all make, but to argue as you do in #57 that there is no binding authority in covenants without the Priesthood runs counter to what you said earlier about the “covenant” of sustaining.

    I agree with you as to the ultimate answer to the question, but I’m really struggling to figure out your answer concerning covenants given what you said earlier.

  76. #62 Todd Wood

    First, I don’t generally credit the LDS Church with movies of….er…um…that nature, which helps me resist the intoxicating urge to extrapolate doctrine out of the plot/scripts. *grin*

    I think that “baptism” is a step in having your sins forgiven, but that the act itself doesn’t constitute forgiveness.

  77. #76 – Even when it is performed by proper Priesthood authority for someone who truly has repented and entered wholeheartedly into the covenants attached to it? Todd’s summary was “through” baptism, not “by” baptism.

  78. #69 – I’m not sure that “common” is the right way to describe re-baptism. There were mass re-baptisms with the saints who came across in the wagons, but otherwise it wasn’t “common.” I’m not saying it was rare, either, but I don’t want to mischaracterize it too broadly.

    And when you say they were done in the temple, do you mean the temple font, what with the twelve oxen, or the recently renovated-away tabernacle font? I’m not aware of live baptisms performed in temple fonts ever. Not saying they didn’t happen, but I’d love to get some specifics about that one.

  79. #77

    Again, baptism is a step in having sin forgiven.

    Your summary included true “repentance” and a willingness to enter into the covenant attached to baptism. Todd’s didn’t.
    Moroni 8:25-26
    25-and the first fruits of repentance is baptism, and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling of the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission for sins;

    26-And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God

    lds.org Guide to the Scriptures-Remission of Sins has more

  80. Steve Evans says:

    abish: “For example, you say that I come out attacking EVERY time I make a comment, and that it is no wonder why people react badly to me. Your opinion of me might be based completely upon your own personal assumptions and feelings of dislike for me rather than actual facts, but I will defend to my death your right to have it.”

    Please don’t.

    But Rebecca’s on to something. It’s not just perception.

  81. Ray,

    A covenant is an agreement made between man/woman and God, but God determines what constitutes a covenant with Him.
    If man desires any blessing from God, he must observe and obey the law upon which is attached to that blessing. Man does not get to determine the details of the covenant, which is why “man-made” ceremonies and rituals do not bring forth eternal blessings.

    When we raise our hands to sustain the apostles and prophets, we are making a covenant with God (who holds the ultimate Priesthood authority)regarding those he has placed in Priesthood authority over us. Other leaders are called and set apart by Priesthood power, and we sustain them as well. When we are baptized we are making a covenant with God, and if done by proper priesthood authority, that covenant is binding on earth and in heaven. When done in a different way or by someone without authority, it is not.

    Are all marriages eternal or only covenant ones? You can describe a marriage outside of the temple as two people covenanting with each other and God, but if it is not performed by proper authority AND in the manner outlined by God, it is a mortal ceremony and a mortal promise only.

    Non-members can sustain leaders and partake of the sacrament but until they are baptized, they have not entered into a covenant with God and are not under any obligation to participate in either one. Non-members (just like children under 8) who take the sacrament are simply participating in anticipation of a future covenant, and the act has no efficacy for or against them. (You can’t renew covenants you have not actually made)

  82. #81
    Sorry to find amusement while everyone’s being so serious, but apparently “eight close paranthesis”=a smiley guy with sunglasses. So (just like children under 8) means just like children under eight. Who knew?

  83. Jami beat me to the laughter. That truly is funny.

  84. #81 – Another serious question: So anyone who is not Mormon can’t enter into a covenant with God, since their non-Priesthood-sanctioned promises are not recognized and rewarded by him?

  85. Steve,

    If no one in this forum (that I know of) has met me in person, and rarely bothers to ask exactly how I feel or what prompted a specific comment etc, how can anyone be “onto” something other than personal perception?

    Either Rebecca hasn’t read “EVERY” post I’ve written, or others view some of them differently than she does. A hundred people with an incorrect perception doesn’t change the fact that it still isn’t true.

    What reason would I have to attack Ronan? I don’t know him. I addressed his words, and indicated that I have a different opinion that he does on certain issues. Is open discourse the purpose of this blog or is its only purpose the parroting agreement of thread authors? If it is the latter, I’ll be happy to leave. It beats being accused of insulting or attacking people without ever doing so, and then apologizing to anyone who chooses to be offended by something I never did.

  86. abish, if one person points out a fault of yours, ignore it. When several people point out the same fault, why not consider the possibility that you might need to change something? To do otherwise would seem foolish.

  87. What athority did Alma have to baptize?

    Who gave him that authority?

    Were Alma’s baptisms valid?

  88. Abish, take this for what it’s worth, from someone who has been in your shoes to a degree – realizing that my questions in this thread have been serious attempts to understand what you are saying.

    As you said, we (collectively) don’t know each other. All we have are the words we submit – and the tone they transmit. Frankly, it’s not the words themselves that usually cause problems (although that happens regularly); it’s the tone.

    Early on, my mistake was not controlling my natural sarcasm. I said some things in total jest that simply didn’t translate properly and came across as condescending and insulting. When I re-read them, I could see that, even though it was completely unintentional.

    In your case, it’s that almost every single comment you leave is written in unequivocal terms – sending a message that the person to whom you are responding is wrong and you are right. There’s rarely an “I think” or an “I believe” or a “that is an excellent point” or a “fwiw” or an “imo” or, more importantly, an “I’m not sure I understand; please clarify.” That means that most of the comments come across as attacking and condescending. I’m fairly certain that you don’t mean to sound that way, but, honestly, that’s what gets transmitted on a regular basis. It gets exacerbated when those who feel attacked respond and all they get in response is, “I didn’t attack you. You are wrong.” That simply reinforces their initial impression.

    All of us engage in disagreement, and sometimes it gets down right nasty, but the nastiness usually is between people who know each other – who also share constructive conversation often enough that the occasional rancor can be overlooked (or everyone knows that they simply don’t like each other and ignore it for a while).

    I hope that helps, since I don’t want to add further to this type of threadjack.

  89. By the same token, perhaps several people seem to agree with abish’s point of view. Not to say that she’s perfect (are any of us?), but IMHO, of all that have posted here, I find hers to be some of the best, sincere, and doctrinally correct comments that I’ve read. I would be surprised if other’s did not agree with this assessment.

    Maybe we should all just agree that this line of discussion was somewhat problematic from the get go, call it a day, and look forward to a nice quiet Friday Firestorm….

  90. 89. Yes, I think the original question struck me as being a “What does blue smell like?” question. I was left with a “Hmm. What does that even mean?” feeling. I’m actually impressed that Abish even attempted to answer it.

    And anything that has a title with the word “heresies” in it is going to get someone preaching earnestly against said heresies. We are a church of missionaries after all.

    jami

  91. Steve,

    Show me my fault! So far no one has done anything but say that I am attacking-but no one has indicated exactly how I am doing that. Is my fault speaking the truth, clarifying actual Church doctrine or asking questions?

    Suppose ten people who have never met you were to point out that you seem to be easily offended and deeply suspicious about the motives of others. To a person who is genuinely without bias, all that means is that you MIGHT be, not that you actually ARE. If they are correct, and you are indeed easily offended and paranoid about the agendas of others, then yes, I think you should consider the possibility that you might need to change something. Suppose that ten people who know you personally and have for years state for a fact that you really are easily offended and paranoid, a genuinely unbiased person might be more inclined to believe it, but would still reserve their final decision until they were personally and completely certain that you are.

    I don’t know for myself if you or Jay or Rebecca are truly unbiased individuals or not, but I think that even a moderately discerning and impartial person would describe it as arrogant and rude to point out the actual or obvious faults of a total stranger, let alone any faults that they “might” have. They might even say that a greater fault lies within the accusers, and that they might want to consider the possibility that they might need to change something themselves. Reminds me of a bible story…

  92. #87

    Same chapter, verse 13

  93. #88

    Ray,

    I DO understand where you are coming from. But why would anyone want to assume a “tone” in words that are specifically neutral? If I had said to Ronan-“what an idiot….” or “how stupid can you be?”…I would be attacking him and my “intent” would be clear. To determine that your perceived “tone” is more accurate that my actual words is like reading the dictionary and changing the definitions because you are sure the compilers really meant something different.

    You are naturally sarcastic. I am not. If you read my words through your own “head voice” my words come off as sarcastic etc. Any tone you sense or hear is applied by YOU, not from me. I CAN be very caustic and snippy when I want to be, and when I am it is VERY obvious. When I attempt to be very neutral, it is frustrating (and unfair)when people apply their own biases to what I say. It’s like being told “Nothing you say is important if it doesn’t make us feel warm and fuzzy when we read it.” There would be NO exacerbation if those that “feel” attacked actually stopped long enough to make sure they actually were before they reacted with accusations. But no, instead it’s “abish you wench!Stop trying to deny it, or pretend you are innocent…we know YOU ARE GUILTY.” Aren’t the conservative/orthodox members supposed to be the narrow minded, judgmental ones?

    It is impossible to learn from others or evolve or gain different perspectives if you insist that you already know where someone is coming from and taint anything they say with your own bias. Thank you Jim and Jami for understanding that and making me laugh with the smiley.

  94. abish – I think I’ve read everything you’ve posted here at BCC and I have nothing against you personally. (why would I?) But this isn’t the first time you’ve caused friction. Maybe it’s because you can’t always tell someone’s tone online, but you come across as very aggressive and confrontational. It’s been said by others – it’s not necessarily what’s been written, it’s the tone. But as I just said, maybe it’s just hard to really get someone’s tone in this kind of forum.

    What Ray said #88 – he says it much better than me.

    And Ronan’s ‘given’ in #1 on his list is exactly my experience with members of the church. A superior attitude that looks down on other faiths because they don’t all the truth. So for me – yeah it’s a given – and I’ve been a member all my life and lived in 3 countries in the last 6 years less you think my anecdotal evidence is limited to one ward/country.

  95. #84

    Another serious question: So anyone who is not Mormon can’t enter into a covenant with God, since their non-Priesthood-sanctioned promises are not recognized and rewarded by him?

    (This is LDS Church doctrine)God can offer to make a covenant with anyone He chooses to-Mormon or not, and upon obedience to the terms of the covenant from that person, He will reward and bless accordingly.

    But no mortal, Mormon or not can offer God a covenant. No man, Mormon or not, gets to decide, negotiate, or state the terms or promises involved in a covenant with God.

    (Based upon the above, this is my opinion)Any man who says “I want to get baptized and enter into a covenant with God, and how I get baptized or who baptizes me is irrelevant to God so it doesn’t matter.” either hasn’t read the Bible, doesn’t comprehend how God’s laws and blessings work or has the mistaken idea that humans have some kind of say in the terms or promises of covenants.

  96. abish#93 – you’re right – we don’t know where you’re coming from, just like you don’t know where I’m coming from, but to be honest I don’t want to argue about it. If I’ve misunderstood you, then I’m sorry.

  97. cj douglass says:

    Rebecca,
    Its interesting that you mentioned tone because frankly I didn’t like the tone of this:

    The rather uncomfortable irony that while Mormons take umbrage at the exclusion of their faith from the Christian fold, they themselves enjoy blasting Christian creeds and nullifying Christian sacraments;

    Ronan makes it sound as if we’re all a bunch of self righteous jerks when in fact its a lot more difficult than you think to balance the decleration of truth and arrogance.

    During the Elder Eyring, Cook press conference the other day, I heard Elder Eyring declare more than once that ours was the true church of Christ and that we are led by a prophet. He declared it in the most humble way and yet I personally know people who took offense to it. It shouldn’t be a shock that the rest of us in the church have a more difficult time with tact and humility.

    So how do we declare the Restoration without offending the others? Its not easy.

  98. cj douglass- it is difficult to balance it, but I’m met many many ‘self righteous jerks’ in the church. The attitude I’ve seen from many members putting themselves above others because of their membership in the church repulses me and turns me off Mormons and Mormonism greatly.

    I have no interest in defending Ronan’s tone – you can take that up with him.

  99. I completely agree with the points made in abish’s #57, and alarm bels in my head started going of only when I read Ronan’s #58 and Rebecca’s #59.

    Sure, reading the #57 again (specially the reaction to #27) it might be harsh, but it was the first post that felt completely in agreement with the Gospel.

    I was actually a little put off by the generalization in the OP and us enjoying the blasting of other faith’ creeds. Sure we dont (as God Himself does neither) accept ordinances performed by non-Priesthood holders, but that doesn’t mean I can’t respect others for what they believe in.

    If Elder Holland made any point at all imo, is that he wants us to be respected by Christians, as Christians, because we respect them the same. Your point 1 implies that we all disrespect other Christians. (Some individual mormons may go so far, but as a whole I dont see the Church enjoying blasting Christian, or muslim or any other faith).

  100. Mike – you’re right the Church doesn’t blast other religions. But Ronan never said it did. He said “Mormons” – i.e people, and I’m afraid that’s true.

  101. cj douglass says:

    Rebecca,
    Its true there is plenty self righteousness to go around in the church. I’ve had my fair share for sure. But if “the Church doesn’t blast other religions” then I wonder where these Mormons are getting it from. I think you’ve already given us the answer, for you’ve been in three different countries and seen the same ailment. Therefore I’m not sure we can call this a Mormon condition but a human one. Hence section 121: “….it is the nature and disposition of almost all (wo)men….”

    gender neutral (wo) added.

  102. Peter LLC says:

    #99

    alarm bels in my head started going of only when I read Ronan’s #58 and Rebecca’s #59

    Mike, let me assure you that those were false alarm bells. If clicking on a thread titled “Occasional Heresies #1″ didn’t set off the klaxons, there’s no reason to get in a huff about #58.

    #91

    Show me my fault! [...]Is my fault speaking the truth, clarifying actual Church doctrine or asking questions?

    abish, please. Such transparent attempts at rhetorical manipulation have no influence on those with the power of true discernment. Your fault is in missing the point, my man. Nothing more, nothing less.

  103. Peter LLC says:

    cj douglass,

    could you please add a “gender neutral (wo)” to #102 for me too? I just realized that when chasting someone I should cover all bases.

  104. Cant we all just love each other?

  105. Peter,
    Thanks for reminding people that this post — an obviously weak attempt at a thought experiment and one that may not be repeated — flagged itself as heretical from the outset. In the face of the LDS.org Guide to the Scriptures, such heresies will find no friends. That much is clear.

    More later…

  106. It would appear that more than one person’s fault was not getting enough sleep last night and caring too darn much about what total strangers (albeit brothers and sisters in the gospel) think about them.

    Abish, when you preach, some people are going to freak.

    Ronan, when you play heretic, someone is going to preach.

    Extreme Doritos, right on! I love you, man!

    Jami

  107. This proposed heresy could get really messy. Should we accept the baptism performed by a female pastor when we wouldn’t accept that performed by an endowed LDS woman? Would we have to change our own baptismal practices and restrictions?

  108. #95 – Abish, I am not asking about those who flippantly tell God to shove it – that they are going to do it their way and authority be damned. Again, I don’t think we should recognize other baptisms, but I am asking about the effectiveness of covenants made outside the Church – and how that understanding should influence our understanding of the ordinance of baptism itself.

    I really can’t stand calling dropping, so I won’t do it, but understand that you are talking here with someone who is as dedicated to the Church and Gospel as anyone you know – and who has the callings to prove it to those who care about those things. I don’t; I truly don’t. This is coming from a local leader, and from one who has studied theology extensively, so please understand I know the doctrine every bit as well as you do. That is *not* meant to be confrontational or condescending; I just want you to know it is coming from someone who is on the same side as you are.

    Dare I say, “The following is Mormon doctrine?” Here it is: As you said, God can make a covenant with anyone He chooses. It goes further than that in our doctrine. God actually is bound by covenant with *anyone* who is willing to accept the terms of His agreement. In other words, if *anyone* lives a law, they are blessed according to the promises attached to that law – they have, in both fact and practice, entered into a covenant with God by accepting His terms and attempting to live them.

    Again, while I don’t agree with redefining those who need Priesthood authorized baptism, I understand completely the point I think Ronan was making. I agree with Ronan that *many* Christians have made the same promises we make at baptism – and that they are keeping the same basic promises we make when we partake of the sacrament – and that they are being blessed by that obedience and dedication every bit as much as we are. They are living righteous and blessed lives, because they are receiving the blessings of covenant living. Those blessed lives might not be “fully blessed,” since there are additional covenants which they aren’t living, but they are blessed and covenanted just the same.

    If the purpose of baptism was confined strictly to making the covenants associated with the ordinance that are renewed through the sacramental prayer, I think Ronan’s question would be spot on. I happen to think there are other important reasons for the ordinance – and for restricting it to being performed openly and through the Priesthood in front of the body of the Church. However, I think denying that other Christians are living blessed and covenant lives is a good example of what Ronan called “nullifying Christian sacraments.” I’m not sure if that’s what you were claiming, but it’s a concern I have as I read #95.

  109. Ray, thanks for parsing the heresy.

    Nephi said there were two “churches”: the church of the lamb of God and the church of the devil. The former is — indeed has to be, if God’s work in the world is worth anything — larger than any one ecclesiastical grouping. This has implications that seem only to be clumsily understood.

    Not sure I can sensibly add any more than that. Next time I’ll leave the heresies in my head.

  110. 109 – I’d say next time pick a more controversial heresy, except that I’m coming in at 110! I like the whole thinking out of the box sometimes. This thread helped me understand some of the different nuances of baptism that I wouldn’t have ordinarily thought. So keep this up!

  111. Abish,
    You want specifics, here are specifics.

    #25-the gateway to the celestial kingdom does not open for credentials or a report card proving that specific ordinances have been passed off. It opens because the bridegroom and his guests are familiar with each other, share identical goals and affinity for each other, and have embraced the same laws and ordinances that God the Father did before them.

    Why does this come off as confrontational? It is pedantic. Adding an “I believe that” to the beginning would soften the tone immensely and allow those reading to know that you are not seeking to replace the Brethren as the final word regarding what is doctrine and what ain’t (even on a heresy thread).

    #27-Is your basis for assuming that Pentecostal experiences have ceased based upon the fact that you have never personally witnessed or participated in one? With that rationale one could assume that murders have ceased if one has never personally witnessed or participated in one.

    #29-Why do you believe that “what really matters” is “the temple” when the ONLY way to become worthy to attend God’s holy temple is by submitting to the ordinances and practices of His holy priesthood first?

    Both of these questions are framed in “poisoning the well” phraseology. You might as well be asking if Ronan has stopped beating his wife yet. Instead, you could say “I don’t understand why you say “what really matters” is the temple; could you explain what you are getting at there?” You will note that this basically asks the same question, but without the presumption of apostasy on your conversational partner (in, of course, a heresy thread).

    We also know that only covenants made under the authority of the holy Priesthood are binding on earth as well as after death.

    In other words, any person who is baptized by someone without the authority of God and/or in a different manner than he set forth has not made a binding covenant with God and cannot be given the promised blessings

    I left out the quote, but I just wanted to point out that this conclusion is not necessary from it. There is nothing in the language of the quote that precludes one suggesting or organizing the terms of a covenant with God. I also don’t understand why priesthood authority is necessary in order for someone to enter into any covenant with God. Certainly it is necessary for some ordinances, which come with concurrent ordinances, but I don’t understand why the priesthood is necessary outside of those ordinances. Your conclusion is not necessary from your evidence, but you are treating it as if it is, which is illogical.
    If you would like etiquette, style, writing, and argumentative tips, please post a comment on the “How to fit in” thread and I will be happy to provide further assistance.

  112. Steve Evans says:

    When did Ronan stop beating Becky?

  113. Abish, I just want to clarify why I wrote the 2nd paragraph of #108. In #93 you wrote, “Aren’t the conservative / orthodox members supposed to be the narrow minded, judgmental ones?” I NEVER made that claim, largely because I am one of those conservative / orthodox members.

    Some of my beliefs are more liberal than many members, but some of them are even more conservative – and, overall, I am seen as very conservative my most people who know me. I am *not* comparing myself to President Faust or Elder Jensen in any way other than that very few members realize that they were and are registered Democrats. (I am not.) Many members automatically assume otherwise based on stereotypes and assumptions. I tried to say that I have not accused you of being a narrow-minded, judgmental conservative – and that, actually, I am much closer to your own view on many things than you seem to realize. We are on the same side; we really are.

  114. I appreciate your reply Ray and nothing you said offended me in any way. I’m also not trying to be confrontational and I do understand your point (which is what you think I is/was Ronan’s point).

    MY point is that there is a technical difference between us as human beings making a promise to God, and in God extending a covenant to us. Many good people promise their lives to God and enjoy the blessings that come from being more like Christ. I do not deny that ANYONE, Christian or Jewish or Buddhist can enjoy greater peace, harmony and love with deity AND mankind by devoting their lives and hearts to a higher power no matter what that power is. I have no problem respecting and honoring the religious decisions of others and I am NOT one of those “Mormons” that looks down on others, tells them that they are in error, or enjoys bashing anyone.

    So yes, people of other faiths who repent and are baptized and do the best they can to live the fullest word of God that they have, are blessed in mortality. BUT they are also denied many blessings that they COULD have if they had the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, the priesthood, and the fullness of the gospel.If when they die and enter the spirit world, they hear the gospel and then CHOOSE of their own free will to enter into the ETERNAL baptismal covenant that God offers-they are restricted in their spiritual progress until someone on earth performs their proxy baptism for them. I think it’s significant that even if they were baptized into another church or religion while they were mortal, GOD cannot sanction further progress until it has been done again HIS way. Eternal laws are eternal and so are their consequences.

    What I understand regarding eternal laws and ordinances is probably what caused me to differ most with Ronan’s theory. In his first “given” he didn’t say ‘some mormons’ or “a lot of mormons” but insinuated that all mormons treat people of other religions that way. Next time I’ll know to ask for clarity on any “givens” right off the top. It was how his second “given” was phrased that made answering it as Jami said “like trying to describe how blue smells”. And here’s why:

    I agree with his statement that it is a fact that the LDS doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ(soteriology)is different from other Churches. While we agree with them that ALL mankind was “saved” from death and from the effects of sin by Christ, we differ in the idea that all who are “saved” will end up in the same place of glory. They define the “kingdom of God” as one universal heaven, we define heaven to be made up of different “kingdoms” and that to dwell in the the Kingdom of God (where He dwells) requires obtaining covenants/ordinances that can only be performed with the authorized priesthood authority that has been vested in the LDS Church.

    We were on the same page until this point and then he loses me(and others)when in the second part of that sentence, he basically says that since the only significant difference between an exalted (he clarifies exalted in the highest kingdom in post#7)person and a person with lesser glory is a temple sealing and not how they were baptized, why don’t we (and the missionaries etc) stop worrying about baptism and focus instead on getting everyone sealed instead.

    Now, I may have read that entirely wrong, but no matter how I tried to interpret it differently, it came out the same. And if how I understood it was exactly how he meant it then the entire premise of his second “given” is “an opinion or theory that is at variance with accepted or orthodox doctrine”- or a heresy- rather than a fact based on current LDS Church doctrine.

    If I misunderstood him or interpreted what he said the wrong way, then I deeply apologize for any comments I directed to him at all, and even more so for the ones where I attempted to explain my already erroneous response.

    Jami!!!!!! Did I explain what blue smells like yet??????

  115. Thanks, Abish, for the clarification. It’s ironic that, when all is said and done and the dirt settles back onto the playground, all of us probably aren’t all that far apart on that playground – or, at least, as far apart as we seem to be as the dirt blows around us.

  116. Steve Evans says:

    Geez, we ought to just ban all of you.

  117. That would save space, Steve, but it might limit comments quite severely.

  118. Steve Evans says:

    here is what blue smells like.

  119. Eric Russell says:

    Ronan, I think I understand what you’re getting at. The problem I see involves the exclusion of non-Christian religions. If we are to understand “the church of the Lamb of God” to transcend the restored church, then surely it would transcend self-declared Christian churches as well. It seems to me that that the delineation between the two churches would be best accomplished by behavior and rather than by professed belief. Those who are really of Christ’s church are those who lead lives the more like his, not those who wear crosses around their necks. As such, I’d take the humble commitment of a Buddhist over many a protestant baptism.

    If we were to accept the baptism of other churches, I really don’t see what the purpose of requiring baptism would be at all.

  120. Steve 118 – (reminiscing sigh) Tobias! Comedic genius!

  121. Steve Evans says:

    I am here to see the magic!

  122. 116 & 118–You oughta ban yourself, Steve. 8) I just had the joy of trying to explain what that video clip meant to four of my six kids. THANK GOD my mother took me to the Blue Man show for my birthday last year. I was able to go into an animated description of how odd it was. “Blue myself,” indead!

    114. No, Abish. But it’s not your fault. Blue is a color, not an odor.

    OK–my answer to the original question. (I’ve resisted for days.) No, we shouldn’t.

    Perhaps if a question requires background information containing the word “soteriology,” all respondents should be required to submit their answers in the form of an original sonnet.

    Jami

  123. Jami,

    A color? *schmacks forehead* There’s my problem right there. :P

    You got to go to Blue Man for your birthday? Color me green.

  124. To many Christians, baptism isn’t necessary to be saved. However, for those Christians, baptism is viewed as an outward symbol of devotion to Christ. In that sense, I think that Mormons should recognize the baptisms done by other religions — that a person has accepted Christ as is willing to follow Christ to the best of their abilities and knowledge. The only thing that Mormonism adds to baptism is Priesthood authority — which we believe is the difference between a baptism that is just a sign of devotion to Christ and a baptism that is the first step to gaining exaltation. (or third step depending on how you look at it.)

  125. Ugly Mahana says:

    Ronan,

    I wouldn’t refrain from posting additional heresies. I, for one, thought this one was interesting. I tried to engage it, but realized early on that, even though I was trying to engage the heresy, I was not expressing myself clearly enough, so I withdrew from commenting. Nonetheless, I think you raised a very interesting question. And I understood, from the start, that you were not actually proposing doing away with baptism as an LDS ordinance. While some comments shed more heat than light, others increased my appreciation for both the doctrinal concept of baptism and the value that should be placed on the experiences and faith of other christians. Bring on the heresies!

    (The only critique I would offer is to focus the conversation a little more. I wasn’t quite sure if you wanted a discussion of how relaxing the baptism requirement would affect things or how it would work in practice.)

  126. OK here’s my complete thoughts on the subject of second baptism. As a preface, just so I don’t get blased too much, when I sign my name to the bottom of a post that means I’m the one saying all of the stuff in this post. Not speaking for God. Just saying what I understand God to have said about this subject.

    We do respect the baptism of others as a righteous sign that they (or their parents) love God and are willing to keep his commandments. But I think the piece that is missing in this discussion is the remission of sins. When we are baptized by one who has permission from God to perform that baptism our sins go away by the power of atonement. Regardless of how pure one’s intentions are, baptism by someone who is not authorized by God to perform that ordinance does not perform that miracle of forgiveness. We didn’t come up with these rules. God did.

    Without the baptism by water for the remission of sins there would be no laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. With out the gift of the HG there’d be no preisthood ordination (for male members). Then we’ve got Washing and Annointing, Endowment, Sealing of Husband to Wife and finally Sealing of Children to Parents (for those born outside the covenant). All necessary and built upon the former covenants.

    Suggesting that we (as a church) move people ahead in the line-up of covenants because they’ve already been through a look-alike activity seems foolish. It would be moving people to deeper commitments before they are ready.

    Let me use my friend’s wedding to illustrate what I mean. My friend heard about the temple and how people were married there for this life and the next. She thought it was a beautiful idea. She and her fiance were deeply in love and wanted to be together eternally. They had one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. Their hired-for-the-day clergy woman married them “for time and all eternity.” Are they married for time and all eternity? Even though they want to be? Even though I want them to be? God says no. Not me. Not the church.

    God also says, no your old baptism doesn’t count for entry into the church or for the remission of sins, you need to be baptised with the proper authority by immersion. Does that mean God doesn’t recognize the person’s former righteous desire (or their parents) that led them to their first baptism? I don’t think so. I think one of the very cool things about baptism is that it completely erases our sins, not our past. So we get to keep all of the soul-building, righteous expereinces prior to our baptism and lose the sin.

    Jami, once upon a time sprinkled as a Presbyterian (and oh-so disappointed that a fairy God-mother didn’t come with the deal).

    P.S. I meant to compose my answer as a sonnet but the laundry is REALLY backing up. Besides I’m not that great at rhyming.

  127. Ugly Mahana–

    “Shed more heat than light.”

    Lovely. Great phrase!

    Jami

  128. For Jami-
    Suggest thee iambic pentameter,
    In answers to heresies spoken of,
    Yet meet not thy stated parameters,
    When posing your viewpoint with Christian love?

    It’s clear that your soft answer edifies,
    And demonstrates wisdom and verity,
    But one could remonstrate and criticize,
    That no rhyme was used in your clarity.

    So while laundry trumps all loquacity,
    For regardless we beg it wait, it won’t,
    I laugh that your blatant audacity,
    Suggests sonnet replies, and then YOU don’t!

    Forgive impertinence, I simply jest,
    Taunting you in rhyme, but you did request!

    :P

  129. Gee, no one’s ever written me a sonnet before. I feel so flattered. Thanks.

    Jami

  130. I am impressed – and slightly nauseous.

  131. Ronan,

    LDS doctrine does distinguish the soteriological import of authorized priesthood baptism versus non-authorized baptism. It is generally held that the righteous who are baptised but not sealed will inherit one of the two lower degrees of celestial glory, and that those baptised by other means shall not have the same privilege unless they are baptised by proxy in the temple.

    Indeed, I think a straightforward reading of the scriptures is that salvation in any degree of glory requires baptism, thus we might well conclude that no one will be saved in telestial glory until they have repented and been baptised in some manner acceptable to God (cf. 3 Ne 11:33-34, D&C 138:58-60).

    The key question here is what baptisms are acceptable? The fifth article of faith states that “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”

    That is a pretty fundamental precept, and I don’t think a case can be made that it is irrational or unreasonable, even if the Catholic position makes a great deal of sense on its own merits as well.

  132. Ray,

    Gee, I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that my sonnet made you sick…but it could be read that way. *grin* Care to clarify?

    Happy Sabbath

  133. I realize I’m way late into the discussion, and it’s unlikely Ronan will ever read this comment, but perhaps this isn’t a Mormon heresy as much of a heresy against notions of authority in general?

    It strikes me as distinctly Christian, not Mormon, to be concerned about proper authority being involved in a baptism. After all, Paul was certainly concerned with baptism by the correct authority and for the right reasons in Acts 19…

    So, it strikes me as odd that this would be a Mormon heresy at all…

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