Baptism, Resurrection, and Women Witnesses

Mormon-landia is abuzz today with the news (broken by This Week in Mormons) that youth can now more fully participate in baptisms for the dead on youth temple trips.  Specifically, Priests (age 16+) can now perform and witness temple baptisms, just like they already perform and witness live baptisms.  And young women (age 12-18) can perform any baptistry assignment (i.e. logistics, temple clothing, towels) currently done by adult women.   Previously, all of these functions could only be performed by endowed members.

There is much to celebrate here.  I fully support increased responsibility and participation in the workings of the church for our incredible youth.  Hopefully, these additional spiritual and service opportunities will help all youth feel closer to Christ and strengthen their faith.  This change also reduces the burden on finding sufficient adults to officiate youth temple trips, hopefully increasing the total number of opportunities to perform baptisms.  In addition, it may help those young women who are uncomfortable being baptized while on their periods (despite temple pronunciations that this is permitted), feel more comfortable having an awkward-question-free opportunity to serve.

And yet.  This policy change was a major missed opportunity to increase the spiritual role of young women in the Church.  [Read more…]

Mormon Temples – How They Work. Part 1.

Most people don’t really “get” Mormon Temples. As I’ve traveled in the US and other countries, if the subject comes up, I always find genuine confusion about temples and why we have them. Explaining the temple to people can be interesting, depending on the background of the listener. But I would guess that most Latter-day Saints share a similar ignorance about how temples currently operate. I’m here to clean up this mess, pull the curtain back, and tell you what happens inside a Mormon Temple. Sitting on the edge of your seat yet?
[Read more…]