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  1. I've been reading the book of Mormon for about a year and a half now and I feel like I've hit a brick wall. I have had input from many missionaries (have met only 2 but really felt more intimidated by them than anything and felt it pushed me back a step) but my main sticking point is baptism. The thing I want most in the world is to be baptised and receive the gift of the Holy ghost but I am absolutely filled with fear about the baptism ceremony itself. I have no fears of the commitment, the change in my life or anything else that comes with it. I cannot get over my fear of the ceremony. Not because I'm scared of water or anything as rational as that.... I'm scared to be in front of anyone, scared that I will look stupid, scared that they won't be able to manage to dip me under the water, that I'll fall over, so many irrational feelings but I can't overcome them. I can't make my faith bigger than my fear. I'm scared for the way I'll look, I'm scared of the Church part on Sunday that follows as that will be in front of everybody. I feel I've failed before I've even received the gift. ☹️ The worst part is, I know everything I feel is irrational and is easy to overcome but I can't do it. My anxiety is crazy even just at the thought. I want to do it so badly but I feel ill never make it.
  2. Hey, what are the scriptural references for renewing of covenants during the Sacrament? I've found them before & thoroughly studied it, but today I'm just having issues re-finding them for something today.
  3. Hi there, Just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Adam and I am 34. I grew up in Florida and was baptized when I was 22 but fell away from the church 5 years after my baptism and since then I've been building my career and moved to Cali. Was curious if anyone suggests I should return to church? Or am I too old to return? And why or why not would you suggest it? Just wanted some input since i've been pondering it alot and still have my BOM and bible and everything but not sure if I should based on my age and since I was inactive for so long and believe they removed my records because Ive been so inactive. Thank you and it's lovely to meet you all!
  4. Can anyone provide doctrinal and direct documentation on whether children under the age of 8 (unbaptized children) should take the Sacrament? I understand that Mormon was appalled that the Church in his day was performing baptisms for infants and children under the age of 8, and his reason for this is because children who have not yet reached the age of accountability are already guaranteed salvation, and therefore to assume that they require baptism is an affront to the Power of the Atonement. Similarly, it is my opinion (I have not seen any direct doctrine to support it) that it is wrong for children who have not yet been baptized to "renew covenants" that they have not yet made (and do not need to make). Can anyone show me revealed doctrine on the subject? (Lesson manuals, including nursery lessons, does not constitute doctrine -- I'm looking for something directly from the Prophet or an Apostle of the Lord.) Many thanks!
  5. I began investigating in the middle of may this year. I was living at university near the end of my first year, and just walked into church one sunday. I started meeting the missionaries, reading the Book of Mormon and returned to church the following week. Except on my second visit I was crying the entirety through sacrament due to my mum telling me the night before about how she couldn’t support me joining such a bigoted and sexist church. I’ve continued to meet missionaries while living at home, but haven’t been able to go back to church. I worry I’m wasting the missionaries time as even though I have strong positive feelings about tge church and have received promptings to ask about going, my mum and sister refuse to support me. They only know the church from the musical and some anti things which claim the church is a cult. They believe Joseph Smith was a fraud who just wanted multiple wives and people’s income, and they refuse to listen to anything saying otherwise. I have a couple of ny own doubts, I worry about the time commitments the church may ask or about how tithing money is used but I want to go to church. Most of the time, I want to be baptised. Right now I can’t do either of those things and I don’t know what to do.
  6. I consider myself a stickler when it comes to doctrinal issues. Over the last several years, I have found more and more church members and authorities propounding a doctrine that while not entirely false, is not entirely correct. When an individual is baptized, the individual makes certain (3) covenants with the Lord and the Lord makes one (1) covenant with the individual. The specific covenants made are recited in the Sacramental prayers, which might I add, must be said precisely and without error each time the sacrament is administered. The individual covenants to: 1) Take upon themselves the name of Christ; 2) always remember Christ, and 3) Keep Christ's commandments. In turn, the individual is promised that he/she will always have Christ's spirit with them. I don't know where or when this doctrinal variance made its appearance, but members are beginning to regularly use Mosiah 18: 8-10, 13 as an outline of covenants we make at baptism. A careful reading of the scripture indicates that Alma was simply asking the people who he was teaching at the waters of Mormon what they had against being baptized and entering into the baptismal covenant if they indeed had certain feelings. No where in the scripture does Alma identify the attributes mentioned by him: * To bear one another's burdens * To be willing to mourn with those that mourn * To comfort those who stand in need of comfort * To stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places even until death. as baptismal covenants. Followers of Christ and members of the church should obviously possess these attributes and want to do these things, but that does not mean that individuals covenant to do these specific things when they are baptized. Arguably these actions are included in the baptismal covenant "keep the commandments", but so does keeping the Word of Wisdom, Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, etc., yet we do not tell people that these commandments are part of the baptismal covenant. Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? It just drives me up a wall when people include these four items as covenants when they are not included in the sacramental prayer. I feel that if the Lord wanted these included, he would have included them in the prayer. By the way, does anyone know what general authority is responsible for first disseminating this strange doctrine?
  7. I really need help with this. I really would love some advice. I just got baptized not even a day ago... My boyfriend and I have talked about the LoC and our limits and that we cannot do things that break the LoC. He came over after my baptism and he kept trying to make out with me and kept trying to touch my butt and I sternly told him no and tried pushing him away. But he kept trying to. But I stopped him. Then we were just cuddling and he tried laying on top of me and tried kissing me once again and now after he left I feel guilty... And now I don't know what to do...
  8. I found this years ago. Cottrell effectively eviscerates the claim that baptism is not salvific, or that it is only a public display of commitment. Let's discuss the ordinance and principle of baptism, its efficacy and place as the first ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lehi P.S.: See the copyright notice in the introduction. I see this as being "educational". =============================================================================== The History of Baptism by Jack Cotrell Jack Cottrell is professor of theological studies at Cincinnati (Ohio) Bible College and Seminary. (These articles first appeared in CHRISTIAN STANDARD® on June 20, 27, 2004. CHRISTIAN STANDARD® grants permission to reproduce, for free distribution, up to 1,000 copies of its articles for ministry or educational purposes.) THE MODERN EVANGELICAL VIEW OF BAPTISM IS ACTUALLY THE NEW VIEW. "Fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong." Some may use this adage seriously, but to others it is a sarcastic way of saying that truth cannot be decided by majority vote—a point driven home by Paul in Romans 3:4, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (New American Standard Bible). Historically, those associated with the conservative branches of the Restoration Movement have enthusiastically accepted Paul’s admonition, being content to hold on to certain theological convictions, even if they perceived themselves to be in the minority. This is no doubt still true for many. However, many among us recently seem to have adopted a very different attitude with respect to baptism: “Fifty million evangelicals can’t be wrong.” The thinking is that, if practically the entire evangelical world thinks God bestows saving grace as soon as the sinner believes and repents, then there must be some truth there. If evangelicals agree that baptism is simply the new Christian’s obedient expression of or witness to his new status as a member of the body of Christ, then there must be something wrong with the “minority” view that baptism is the point of time when God gives salvation. Surely, 50 million evangelicals can’t be wrong! Yes, they can; and I believe they are. Long ago I decided to accept the Bible alone as my only norm for faith and practice. And long ago I became convinced that everything the New Testament says about the meaning of baptism can be summed up thus: water baptism is the God-appointed time when he first gives saving grace to the believing, repentant sinner. Should we then just ignore the standard evangelical approach to baptism? Not at all. We need to understand what evangelicals are saying, and why they are saying it. All our doctrinal convictions, while grounded ultimately upon the Bible alone, should be developed in full view of past and present Christian thinking. A knowledge of the historical development of any doctrine is extremely valuable; it can enrich our understanding as well as help us avoid serious doctrinal errors. This is especially true of baptism. Too often, our historical perspective on this doctrine is much too limited. We tend to see ourselves within the context of the last 200 years. We know that the early Restorationists rejected the prevailing denominational (e.g., Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist) views of baptism, and came to see baptism as having a key role in the reception of salvation. Now, two centuries later, some are wondering if they went too far. After all, was it not a bit presumptuous of the Campbells, Walter Scott, John Smith, et al., to reject the traditional consensus view of baptism and come up with a new and opposite view? Why should we stick with these innovators, rather than just blend in with the “50 million evangelicals” who are continuing the traditional view? What I will say now may surprise some, but the truth is this: the modern evangelical view of baptism is actually the new view, an interpretation of baptism that was invented only in the early 1520s. It was created by the Swiss reformer Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531), developed further by John Calvin, and accepted throughout most of the Protestant world. Until Zwingli, the entire Christian world for the first 1,500 years of its history was in agreement: water baptism is the God-appointed time when he first gives saving grace to sinners. Exceptions to this belief were extremely rare, limited mostly to medieval dualist sects that rejected all physical forms of worship. My plea here is that in developing our own convictions concerning baptism today, we will not limit our historical perspective to contemporary evangelicalism, or even to the last 200 years. Rather, let us be aware of the entire scope of Christian history. Let us understand what the original and true consensus view was, and who the real innovators are. In the rest of this article I will survey the history of the meaning of baptism up to and including Martin Luther—a 1,500-year biblical consensus. In the next article I will explain how Zwingli changed everything. EARLY WRITERS The pre-Augustinian writers were practically unanimous in their teaching that baptism is the point of time when salvation is given. Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) said that new converts “are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated. . . . For . . . they then receive the washing with water,” as in John 3:5. “We have learned from the apostles this reason” for baptism: “in order that we . . . may obtain in the water the remission of sins” (“First Apology,” 61).1 Tertullian (A.D. 145- 220) said, “Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life” (“On Baptism,” iii). Also, “The act of baptism . . . is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from sins” (ibid., vii). Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-386) said, “When going down . . . into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Ghost” (“Catechetical Lectures,” III:4). Many more examples could be cited. AUGUSTINE AND THOMAS AQUINAS Augustine (354-430) introduced a lot of new ideas into Christian thinking, but the saving significance of baptism was not one of them. Here he was simply continuing to teach what those before him had taught. Baptism, he said, is nothing else than salvation itself (“A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins,” I:34); it “brings salvation” (Letter 98, “To Boniface,” 1). We are “saved by baptism”; “the salvation of man is effected in baptism” (“Against Two Letters of the Pelagians,” III:5). We are “joined to Christ by baptism”; indeed, a person “is baptized for the express purpose of being with Christ” (“A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins,” I:55). The “apostolic tradition” teaches the “inherent principle, that without baptism . . . it is impossible for any man to attain to salvation and everlasting life” (ibid., I:34). Thomas Aquinas represents medieval Catholic thinking. He declared that “no one can obtain salvation but through Christ. . . . But for this end is baptism conferred on a man, that being regenerated thereby, he may be incorporated in Christ. . . . Consequently it is manifest that all are bound to be baptized: and that without Baptism there is no salvation for men” (Summa Theologica, 68:1). MARTIN LUTHER Many have assumed that because Martin Luther opposed the Catholic doctrine of the sacraments and championed the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, he must have been the one who rejected baptism as a salvation event. Nothing could be further from the truth. Luther’s view of the meaning of baptism stands in direct continuity with the New Testament, the early church fathers, and the Catholic scholars who preceded him. He regarded baptism as a mighty work of God in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit pour out the full blessings of salvation upon penitent believers. Specifically, Luther asserted that forgiveness of sins is initially bestowed in baptism. In his “Small Catechism” (IV:6), in answer to the question “What gifts or benefits does baptism bestow?”, he says first of all, “It effects forgiveness of sins.” This is part of the work of baptism; in it “the forgiveness takes place through God’s covenant” (“The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism,” 15). Forgiveness takes place in baptism because that is where the blood of Christ is applied to the sinner: “Through Baptism he is bathed in the blood of Christ and is cleansed from sins” (E. Plass, editor, What Luther Says, I:46). According to Luther baptism brings not only forgiveness of sins but also a new birth, a change in the inner man that actually eradicates sin. For “it is one thing to forgive sins, and another thing to put them away or drive them out. . . . But both the forgiveness and the driving out of sins are the work of baptism” (“The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism,” 15). Thus it is appropriate to speak of baptism as the time when “a person is born again and made new” (ibid., 3). In short, Luther clearly proclaimed that baptism is for salvation: “Through baptism man is saved” (ibid., 6). In answer to the question of the purpose of baptism, i.e., “what benefits, gifts and effects it brings,” he gave this answer: “To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save” (“The Large Catechism,” IV:23, 24). One is baptized so that he “may receive in the water the promised salvation” (ibid., IV:36). I refer to the view of baptism described here as the “biblical consensus.” It is the view that baptism is principally the time when God himself is bestowing upon the penitent, believing sinner the benefits of the redeeming work of Christ. This is the New Testament’s own doctrine of baptism, and it was affirmed to be such by 15th centuries of Christian writers. If this view sounds strange to the majority of modern Protestants, it is because this biblical consensus has been replaced in most denominations with the alien interpretation of baptism that originated in the 1520s in the mind of Huldreich Zwingli. How this happened will be described in the next article. For Christendom’s first 1,500 years there was a virtual consensus that baptism is the point of time when God bestows the “double cure” of saving grace (forgiveness and regeneration) upon sinners. (See last week’s article.) Why, then, do most Protestants hold a different view, one that passionately separates salvation from baptism? The answer lies in the revolutionary theology of one man, Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531). Zwingli was Martin Luther’s Swiss counterpart in the European Reformation. Both began their reforming activity around 1520. Though they had the same general goals for changing the existing church, they parted company over the “sacraments” in general and over baptism in particular. While Luther continued to teach the historic view that baptism is a saving work of God, Zwingli rejected this altogether and made it entirely a work of man. Zwingli was quite aware of the innovative nature of his view, declaring that “in this matter of baptism, all the [teachers] have been in error from the time of the apostles”. THE REJECTION OF THE ORIGINAL VIEW Zwingli developed his new doctrine of baptism in two stages. First, beginning as early as 1523, he deliberately and decisively rejected any connection between baptism and salvation. “Christ himself did not connect salvation with baptism,” he said. “The two are not to be connected and used together.” “Water-baptism cannot contribute in any way to the washing away of sin”. He denied that the water itself has any power to remove the effects of sin from the soul [a view which few had ever held in the first place]; he also denied that God cleanses the soul during baptism, an idea he calls a “vain invention.” The general rule is that salvation precedes the baptism that symbolizes it. What were Zwingli’s reasons for separating salvation from the act of baptism? The main reason was his conviction that the baptism-for-salvation view contradicts salvation by grace alone through the blood of Christ. Washing away the filth of sin “is the function of the blood of Christ alone”. Another reason baptism cannot be for salvation, he said, is that such a view would violate God’s sovereignty, i.e., his sovereign freedom to act when and where he chooses . Closely connected with this is his idea that the real cause of any individual’s salvation is God’s sovereign, eternal, unconditional election (predestination) of that person. It is election that saves, not baptism, and not even faith. In my judgment one of Zwingli’s strongest reasons for rejecting the historic view of baptism was his incipient philosophical dualism, i.e., his sense of a strong antithesis between matter and spirit, between body and soul. He saw spirit and matter as openly hostile to each other. “Divinity, spirit, the superior nature” stands in direct opposition to dull, dark, inactive, rebellious earth. This carries over into the dual nature of man. While the soul can be regarded as “flowing forth from the Godhead itself ” and as possessing a nearly divine essence, the body is just a “dull mass,” a “lump of muddy earth”. How, then, can water baptism have anything to do with the salvation of the soul? A physical substance (water) simply cannot have any connection with a spiritual effect: “Material water cannot contribute in any way to the cleansing of the soul”. The conclusion is that baptism is not necessary for salvation, neither as its cause nor as its occasion. Zwingli clearly affirms that faith alone is necessary for salvation: “Christ himself did not connect salvation with baptism: it is always by faith alone.” “The one necessary thing which saves those of us who hear the Gospel is faith.” “Faith is the only thing through which we are blessed.” “We are saved by faith only.” If we say baptism takes away sins, that is just a figure of speech; for it is not baptism that takes them away, but faith. What does Zwingli do with all the New Testament texts that seem to clearly connect baptism with salvation? He dismisses them entirely by two devices. One, many are mere figures of speech, such as metonymy, in which the name of the sign is transferred to the thing signified. He applies this to texts such as Ephesians 5:26; Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 3:27; and Titus 3:5. Two, some texts may refer to water baptism, but others refer to Holy Spirit baptism, which is sovereignly administered by God whenever he chooses. Only the latter is necessary for salvation (46, 47). The second stage of the development of Zwingli’s new doctrine of baptism was his careful construction of a completely new purpose or meaning for the act. This was accomplished mainly between 1523 and 1525. In this period his most pressing need was to provide a rationale for infant baptism. Since the third century, infants had been baptized for the removal of original sin. But if baptism has no connection with the taking away of sin, there is no longer any reason to baptize infants. But for certain reasons Zwingli decided that infant baptism must be maintained; thus he had to come up with a new purpose for it. CREATING COVENANT THEOLOGY The results of Zwingli’s quest were truly revolutionary. In order to justify anew infant baptism, he laid the foundation for a whole new hermeneutical approach to the Bible, usually known as covenant theology. In summary, he rejected the traditional distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and introduced the idea that ever since (at least) Abraham there has been just one covenant of grace. What we call the “new” covenant is actually the same covenant God made with Abraham. The Mosaic covenant was merely a secondary, temporary expedient; when it was set aside the Abrahamic covenant continued on and still continues on today. The church today is under the covenant God made with Abraham. This is the concept of covenant unity. If there has been just one covenant since the days of Abraham, then there has also been just one covenant people since that time. The Israelites of old and the Christians of today are all part of the same body, the same church. Most significantly, if there is just one covenant and one covenant people, then there is also just one covenant sign. Based on this reasoning, Zwingli totally equated the meaning of baptism in the New Testament with the meaning of Old Testament circumcision; each is simply a sign of membership in the one covenant people. Here, then, is Zwingli’s trilogy: one covenant, one covenant people, and one covenant sign. This new set of ideas is the basis for the usual Protestant doctrine of baptism. It is the reason many Protestant churches “baptize” infants, and it is the foundation of the commonly accepted Protestant faith-only approach to the baptism of adults. BAPTISM REEXAMINED According to this Zwinglian view, exactly what is the function of baptism in the experience of a Christian convert? Exactly what is happening during the moment of baptism? Two things. First, baptism is the baptized person’s pledge of allegiance to the Christian community, an outward sign of his inward commitment to live the Christian life. Zwingli actually drew this aspect of baptism’s meaning not from Old Testament circumcision but from the meaning of the Latin word sacramentum, meaning “a pledge, an oath.” Herein arose the whole idea of baptism as a public testimony or witness. Everything baptism signifies has already happened; baptism is the means by which one makes it known to other Christians. It is thus done not for the sake of the one baptized, but for those in the audience. Second, baptism is the baptized person’s sign of belonging to the covenant people. Thus it performs the exact same function as circumcision in the Old Testament era. This assumed Old Testament connection is the reason baptism is called a “covenant sign” or “the sign of the covenant.” (These terms make sense only on Zwinglian presuppositions.) Just as circumcision signified that one was already a member of the covenant people (by birth), so does baptism signify that one has already been saved and is already a member of the church. This view was taken over by John Calvin, and most Protestants have adopted it in one form or another. THE BIG PICTURE In conclusion, regarding the meaning of baptism, the contrast between the first 1,500 years of Christian history and the history of Protestantism since Zwingli could not be more severe. In its original form baptism was clearly seen as a work of God, as the time when God himself was bestowing salvation. But since Zwingli, baptism has been seen almost exclusively as a work of man: in baptism one gives testimony, bears witness to his faith, expresses his faith, commits or pledges himself to live as a Christian, lets the world know he is a Christian. These are all acts of men, not acts of God. What is most significant is that Zwingli formulated his new doctrine of baptism by ignoring the New Testament’s own teaching and by drawing his new view from two non-New Testament sources: the meaning of a Latin word (sacramentum) and the meaning of Old Testament circumcision. I challenge anyone to find anywhere in the New Testament itself any justification whatsoever for this new Zwinglian view. I cannot understand why so many of our preachers and people want to abandon the original view of baptism and align themselves with the innovator Zwingli and his modern followers. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4, New American Standard Bible).
  9. I want to present my reasons for why baptism is required for salvation. In my most recent blog post Kingdoms of Salvation, I used a quote from President Uchtdorf in this past General Conference to show that baptism is required for salvation, even for salvation in the telestial kingdom. In summarizing this I say, "Salvation is entrance into any of God's kingdoms within His kingdom... Baptism is required for salvation. Baptism is required to enter the kingdom of God. Therefore, baptism is required to enter the telestial kingdom of salvation because it is part of the kingdom of God." This logic is simple and scripturally sound. Read it and let me know what you think.
  10. I am a physicist converted to the LDS faith because of the logic of Baptism for the Dead. I am not an anthropologist but I note the discontinuity in the sophistication of civilizations between those shown by the old fosil human remains before ~4000 BC and those of the early modern civilations. I note that modern humans spread their new culture quickly.. Some have said there is no conflict between the teachings of God and the scientific method. If this is true, there should be a consistent way to explain both what is observed in the scriptures and the oservations of science. If we could develop a universal theory, we would know both religion and science better and would be able to make predictions as well as prophesies. This paper is my attempt to resolve some differences between the teachings of my LDS faith and my scientific community. I also suggest several hypothetical scennario for your consideration. This is intended to be inoffensive. But since it provides justification for Baptism for the Dead, it is not consistent with the teachings of our Christian bretheren. Upcountry ______________________________________________________________________________________ Abstract 10-11-15 I describe scenarios consistent with current scientific knowledge, scripture and LDS teachings that explain much of today's events. These include events at the Grand Council in the Pre-existence, the meaning of God's curses on Adam and Eve at the Fall, the reasons for Atonement and Baptism, and a hypothesis removing the conflict between creationism and evolution. I suggest that the battle between Good and Evil is ongoing and that the end result depends on us and is yet to be determined. The Glory of God is Intelligence Impressed by a love of God and the logic of Baptism for the Dead, I was baptized into the LDS church as a graduate student in physics. Physics deals with the fundamental laws of nature including the origin of man and the universe. I joined in spite of the LDS doctrine that Adam and Eve were real people and not fictional characters in an allegorical tale. I took a leap of faith. I am thankful that I did. Speaking as a member of this ward, I am told that we are Children of God, in the image of God and members of an eternal family. Our Heavenly Parents loved us as we love our children on earth. “As man now is, God once was:” “As God now is, man may be.” [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Ch 5] God has a physical body. Spirits are a finer type of matter but more fine or pure”. [D&C 131] By proper authority, we must be baptized to be saved and married to be exulted. Stories in Genesis of Adam, Eve, Noah, and the Flood are literally true. Earth and mankind is 7000 years old. [D&C 77:6] The Garden of Eden is near what is now Jackson, Missouri. [D&C 107:53-57] Speaking as a physicist, I am told that we are mostly space surrounded by a electron force field. Space is not empty but is a seething mass of virtual particles flashing in and out of existence. Space has 9 dimensions not 3. Perception of time depends on the observer. Matter and energy are simultaneously waves and particles in multiple locations and can tunnel through walls. The universe is random, uncertain, entangled and 95% of it is unseen and unknown. Our universe is 13.7 billion years old. The Earth is 4 billion years old. Mankind is the end result of millions of years of evolution. Our Church and science do agree that matter, energy, and information are equivalent, eternal, and can not be lost – just reorganized (transformed in scientific language). This is a recent scientific discovery [Leonard Susskind “Black Hole Wars”] but it was stated by Joseph Smith 180 years ago. If energy and matter are eternal, his further statement that spirit is matter [D&C 131] means we are beings of energy and part of an unseen eternal society. Our Church teaches that God organized the Earth, creatures, and mankind from spiritual material in a Preexistence before he made this physical world. [Moses 3:5] Mankind's souls were made in their image – male and female. “Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning”. [D&C 93:38] We were created intelligent with the potential to be divine. [Lorenzo Snow, Ch 5] But, as our souls developed randomly and obtained self awareness, our natures began to diverge according to our choices. When Father convened the Grand Council, our souls had fully matured. We had memories, personalities and projected our image to other spirits. We had friends, formed societies and families. We talked, played, and argued. There were Great Leaders such as Jesus, Lucifer, Michael, and Jeremiah. [Jeremiah 1:5] At Grand Council, we were told of the Plan of Salvation for our entry into the physical world on Earth. Behind a veil of forgetfulness, we would be tested. For the first time, we would experience pain, choices with consequence, and sin. Sin would be unavoidable. Justice would require repayment either by us personally or by a Redeemer – someone without blemish. [1 Peter 1:19] In the Council, we were asked to ratify the selection of this Redeemer and covenant to come to Earth with Him. Since Jesus held the birthright and had created our Paradisaical World, His selection was expected. Jesus said “Send Me”, but Lucifer offered another choice. He said “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” [Moses 4] Examine those words: If I said “the Titanic has sunk and not one soul was lost”, you would say what a miracle. If, however, I said “the Titanic has sunk and one soul was not lost”, you would say what a tragedy. With the additional promise “I will redeem all mankind... And surely I will do it”, those wishing to return to The Father, saw an easy way to avoid the pain of this world. Though true, Lucifer's words were deceptive – as were his words to Eve “ye shall not surely die”. How would Lucifer's plan work? Slightly change Lehi's vision of the Iron Rod. At birth, Lucifer would handcuff each of us to the Iron Rod. Chained to the Rod, we would proceed to the Tree of Life with neither sin, pain, nor scorn. No river of filth; no building on the hill. Without sin, we would all be redeemed. Without sin, the Atonement would be a coronation. Without experience with free will, and life itself, we would not be Children of our Father. We would be as worker bees to Lucifer's queen. Many spirits were reluctant to leave Heaven for Earth. We were afraid of pain, choices and danger. Since God had given us free agency, He let us chose – between the easy way to Earth with Lucifer, or the hard way with Jesus. In the ensuing confusion, cowardice, and deception, one third of the spirits chose to covenant with Lucifer, not Jesus. These are they who did not keep their First Estate. How do spirits communicate? Since spirits cannot affect physical matter, [D&C 129] they have no sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. Spirits have no reflection, cast no shadow, and take no selfies. Instead, they project a mental image into our minds as though they were with us. Some examples are: the blindness of Saul on the road to Damascus, Zachariah's loss of speech, the blindness and forgetfulness caused by the angels at Lot's house, and Nephi's success in killing Laban. All of these deceptions are possible with telepathic power. My family history gives two more examples. On Earth, we are shielded from our complete memory and telepathic power by that veil which protects our free agency. We recognize some residual leakage as our “Sixth Sense”. We explore it with scientific experiments like “Remote Viewing”. When the veil is lifted and all memory is perfectly restored along with telepathic communication, it will be as if we shall shout our sins from the rooftops. Then, we will all know that God is loving, merciful and just. On our freely given invitation, both good and evil spirits can affect our thoughts and actions. Evidence of this is when people kill for greed like Cain and an oath like Lamech and become Master Mahan. [Moses 5] Whether they know it or not, they are in league with Satan. This is Satan's world of deception. His doctrine mimics but can never be the true doctrine of The Father. By their fruit, you shall know them. There can be no perfect counterfeits. And so, we came to Earth hoping to return to God in perfection but knowing we would fail and require redemption. Jesus had made all creatures and man from the dust of the Earth. He could give them life and the ability to cooperate, communicate and learn from each other. But only the Father could give intelligence and life to man. Only He could give us the capability to know good and evil, to accept or reject sin. Only He could give us standing to be like him, to become heirs of God and joint heirs of Jesus, and to make covenants with Him and with the Celestial Community beyond. As planned, Adam transgressed the Law with his Priesthood and reaffirmed our preexistent covenant on Earth for all of us. Adam and Eve's eyes were opened so they knew good and evil. [John 9:41] Their transgression of itself was not a sin. Sin is an intentional, malicious act to limit the Free Agency of yourself or another in violation of the covenant we made in the Preexistence. Only in our physical bodies, can we sin and have dominion over all creatures and Satan. That is why Cain, with the covenant and a body, is called the father of Satan's lies. [Gen 1:26. Moses 5:23-25] Satan is not God's enemy, he is our enemy. Satan has no standing with the Father. After the Fall, God cursed us, saying: [Moses 4: 20] “And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent [for Satan spake by the mouth of the serpent]: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; [21] And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” We are not talking about baby snakes here. The serpent's seed are those that covenanted with Lucifer at the Grand Council. The woman's seed are those that covenanted to follow Jesus. The bruising is the ongoing earthly battle between Good and Evil. We are the dust he shall eat in this world for as God said later to Adam, [25] “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”. From this point on, our brother Lucifer is Satan. He and his seed are our enemy. We are their lawful prey. Since spirits have only telepathic power, they feast on our emotions – fear, hate, wrath, etc. As we look at world events and history, we should remember Satan feeds on our misery and despair. Satan is our parasite. [22] “Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Considering that Eve started the whole process and forced Adam to violate a commandment with his Priesthood, she merited very few words. Why? She had no authority to transgress God's Law. [23] “And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. [24] Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. [25] By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die.” With this, God forced us from the Paradise created by Jesus out into the present world of sorrow given to Satan. God changed the world for our sake, to protect us – not because of us. We became mortal. We would be born innocent but not equal since we would keep our preexistent attitudes. [27] “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them. [29] Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;” Father sent us into the world clothed and with seeds to till the ground. Like any proud parent, He wished us well. We became not only hunter gatherers but also farmers with intelligence and tools. Then, Father sealed his curse on us, saying: [30] “For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.” As the descendants of Adam and Eve, we are doubly cursed. When we sin, we have no way back to Father except for the path provided in the Plan of Salvation and this Higher Law. An offense against God's Law by the Authority of the Priesthood must be satisfied either by the offender himself or by a person without blemish offered in his place. This required sacrifice is the reason for the selection of a Redeemer in the Grand Council. He is the Anointed One,. There can be only one Only Begotten. Satisfaction of the curse on Adam and the Earth and our salvation now depends completely upon Jesus. The Old Testament makes prophesies, provides histories of the societies and gives the genealogy of Jesus. It also defines the requirements for such a Sacrifice. [Ex 12:5] It gives examples like Issac and the temple sacrifices by the Levites. The Redeemer must be without blemish, from the line of Judah and not related to Cain. Jesus' virgin birth removed the link to Adam. His baptism by John removed the link to Eve. Jesus became the required sacrifice without blemish. The New Testament details the actual Sacrifice of Jesus. The Lamb of God was fully aware, willing, and could withdraw at any time. Jesus had another task. He had to establish a church society to provide the baptismal infrastructure required by each of us. Jesus said, “believe and be baptized and be saved: believe not and be damned”. [Mark 16:16] By baptism we are “born again” and washed clean from the blemish on Eve. We must be baptized willingly in full knowledge of the process. That is why we do not baptize infants, why we baptize all the dead in our temples, and why each of us, alive or dead, must accept our own baptism. Are there unbaptized infant children in the Celestial Kingdom? Probably not. President Joseph F. Smith 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.’.. [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Ch 14, 176–178] Innocent children will be part of the First Resurrection and raised by their own parents or by others during the Millennium. Each child will choose for itself whether to be baptized when it matures in this world. All of the ordinances – baptism, sealing, marriage will be done in our temples by those in authority. The Millennium is the Great Sorting Out where we shall find our own. Since only the LDS priesthood may perform all requested ordinances for the dead, the LDS Church must endure to the end. Who will perform the Millennium temple ordinances? A clue is found in John 4:2. “Jesus baptized not, but His disciples did”. Certainly, Jesus had the authority to baptize. But He was not of this world. Likewise, those resurrected will not be this world. Every Millennial ordinance must be accomplished in our temples by those of this world for there are no baptisms or marriages in heaven. [Mark 12:25] Only we, the mortal priests of Ephraim with the birthright of Joseph, will do temple ordinances then just as only the descendants of Aaron and other Levites did sacrifices in that dispensation. [Matt 16:19,18:18] A prediction: Knowing that Baptism for the Dead is the only way that the dead of all the world may be saved, Satan will attempt to destroy our temples. This may be the reason for the growth of Islam, ISIS, the weakening of Christianity and coarsening of our society. There are many scenarios for Satan to remove the temples in the latter days. I expect little help from our non LDS brethren. [1 Nephi 14:10] There is an apparent conflict between religion and evolution. Evidence for evolution is irrefutable, but LDS doctrine claims the Earth is 7000 years old, [D&C 77:6] and Eden is in Missouri near Adam-ondi-Ahman. Surely, the temporal duration of Adam's covenant is more important to God than the age of matter. For a biblical precedent recall that an angel twice called Issac Abraham's “only son” [Gen 22:12,16] even though Abraham's first son Ishmael was born outside the covenant 13 years earlier by wife Hagar. Hypothesize that Eden was located in Pangaea 252 million years ago. After 1000 years, God gathered Noah and his family into the Ark and removed them from the Earth before the “Great Dying” – a catastrophe which killed almost all life on earth. For Biblical precedent recall the removal of Enoch. Inside the Ark, Noah perceived a flood – hence the worldwide flood traditions. Outside the Ark, millions of years passed, dinosaurs and humanoids evolved leaving their fossils. The continents slowly migrated to their present locations leaving Eden in Missouri. After 378 days, Mankind emerged on Mt. Ararat as a modern society with seeds, domesticated animals, metal skills, [Gen 4:20-22] and a complex language.[Gen 11. Moses 5. 6:5] We were divided by Babel and the land allocation agreement made during Peleg's lifetime. With God”s blessings of intelligence and the womb, we quickly spread across the globe displacing the other humanoids. By 3300 BCE. we built the first cities like Memphis and Uruk. Early Jericho and the Ubaid period are evidence of other humanoid's primitive development.
  11. I am so overcome with joy today, my wife and I were finally married after being together for seven years, she isn't LDS yet but will be getting baptized in a few weeks from now. I have been ex-communicated for over 10 years and had a lot of challenges to overcome. My wife and I have been going to church together for seven years and have a strong testimony of the gospel, there have been things in our lives that we had to overcome as a couple and individually that prevented us from getting married sooner but I believe everything happened in God's timing and now that we are married and can progress in the gospel and as a couple striving to be sealed in the temple together, our lives are just being blessed tremendously. Today, I found out that I won't have to wait a year before being re-baptized which means that my wife and I can be sealed in the temple a year sooner than we both had thought. I can probably be baptized the same day as my wife now and what's even better than that is that my sister in law and her two kids just told us they are all getting baptized in the church on August 29th! They had been coming to church with us for a year several years ago and had Anti-Mormon literature presented to them and stopped going after that. It was the most disappointing thing as her kids loved going to church with us. I feared that they would never regain that desire to come back but again, the lord was working his plan in their lives and now they are getting baptized. Growing up mormon I always wondered how my dad always had the desire to live righteously. I had never had that burning desire to be so righteous but now that i'm married and can finally progress in the gospel I have the overwhelming love for the Gospel and realize how much I have missed being in good standing with the church and living my life according to the commandments. I honestly can't stop crying as I am so grateful that all these things are finally happening and I know how much joy the gospel gives us. Just had to share all this with someone! God is so great!
  12. I am almost embarrassed to admit that, after over 40 years in Pentecost, over 20 as a minister, I had never come across the insight I heard yesterday--on Mother's Day. My church had a guest speaker--a Presbyterian minister, who happened to be Pentecostal (okay--that was important in our church). He pointed out Mary was in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost. Scripture says they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spake in tongues. So, if this infilling of the Spirit is good enough for the Mother of God, is it not something we should pursue? So, how does this play out in LDS spirituality? Do folk speak of experiences with the Spirit. I know that "led by the Spirit" is a common refrain. Seeking confirmation from the Spirit is as well. What of being filled? And, what would be the result of such an experience? In Protestantism there are a few ideas about this. The main two are that the infilling of the Spirit is for power--to be witnesses. The other, is that its power for holiness (sanctification). A few even believe there are distinct experiences for each. If nothing else, I'm reminded of Jesus promise that if we seek righteousness we will be filled. Further, if we seek gifts from the Father, he'll not give us bad ones.
  13. So, I've had a long spiritual journey. And I'm absolutely the last person you'd expect to be trying to become Mormon. In the last year, I was baptized Episcopal and have joined a very liberal and wonderful community. But I can't stop thinking about the LDS Church. For one, I am fascinated with their "plan of Salvation" and other teachings, that I find myself saying , "yeah, okay that makes sense." And I actually believe the gospel. I don't know if I believe that the Book of Mormon is literally true, but there is something special and divine about it. And yes, I do realize that the LDS Church isn't the best place for feminist and pro LGBTQ + people to find themselves in, but I am so drawn to it. I met with the missionaries last summer and had all the lessons, and was invited to be baptized. I declined, but I have been having dreams of baptism and converting to the church. But for those who read this and are part of the LDS Church, do you feel like there is a place for me and that I should work towards the Baptismal date I have set with the missionaries (which I have just met back up with this past week)? I know it's a completely different ballpark than what I'm used to, but I feel called to experience this spirit of peace, and to become a baptized member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Can someone tell me (in depth) what the baptismal service is like? What happens - if the jumpsuit is mandatory (do you wear it over your dress)? And what are your experiences of what it feels like? I really feel this is where I am called to be.
  14. I recently married a non-member. He has been taking the missionary discussions and has even set a goal date for baptism. I can't tell you how thrilled I am! However, he is struggling in keeping the Word of Wisdom. Some background on us. I grew up in the LDS church but fell away for a period of years. During this time, I met my now husband, and while I wasn't keeping the Word of Wisdom myself very well, I couldn't very well be hypocritical and ask him to work on his problems, which were much more addictive than mine. We recently moved to my home town which has brought so many blessings in our lives. I found the church again and my conviction to be the best me I can be and strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father has been stronger than it ever had been growing up. And thankfully, my wonderful husband has begun to find the truth for himself as well. The missionaries that are helping us are fantastic and supportive and have guided us both into a better place. My husband had problems with alcohol and tobacco addictions, as well as growing up drinking coffee and tea. He has given up coffee and tea, and quit drinking. However, he doesn't seem to be trying to quit tobacco at all, and last night, while we were out with coworkers of his, he drank multiple beers. He knows my stance on these matters and I don't want to be the one that deters him from baptism by pressuring him, or making him feel like he must choose between baptism or tobacco and alcohol. Ultimately, he must, but I'm worried an ultimatum like that might be too much. One is easy, and the other is not. I love this man so much, and seeing how far he has come is incredible. I want to be able to help him with this step as well. I'm just so worried it will come off as nagging and not supportive. I've asked the missionaries to go into further detail about the Word of Wisdom at our next appointment in hopes that will inspire him, but don't know what else to do besides pray and love him and encourage him to pray, go to church and help him feel the spirit. I'm wondering if there is more I could be doing. Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
  15. I have been meeting with the sister missionaries for 3 weeks. There has been a lot of pressure put on me to set a baptism date, they set one for me TEN days from now. I agree with everything that they teach me in the lessons but some of the mormon beliefs that we have not talked about are making me uneasy (the word of wisdom, the family proclamation) I have prayed very hard about the book of Mormon and I feel nothing when I pray about it. I am still unsure if I believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I have told the sisters this but they told me it is just Satan trying to hurt me and that I should go through with my baptism. I am so confused?! Should I be stern and tell the sisters I need to wait longer? I am a sophomore in college, if that matters.
  16. So, I am technically an investigator with a baptism date set for a few weeks in the future. I just turned 18 a couple of months ago, and, though I have been living by church standards for years, I wasn't allowed to formally pursue it until I left home for college. Now, of course, I am having to talk to my Catholic mom about this; I don't expect enthusiasm or whole-hearted support, but I just don't want her to be scared or to feel pushed away. My mom and I have a wonderful and loving relationship, and this hasn't estranged us at all. Unfortunately, she is content to accept whatever people who dislike the church tell her, she is suspicious about because she "doesn't know anything about it" and doesn't want to look into herself more, and, though she is a strong Catholic and actively practices her faith, she doesn't prioritize organized religion the same way I and other members of my family do (i.e. she thinks family comes first- more practically than spiritually- and that it takes precedence over certain supposed obligations). I know all the explanations, placations, and arguments I can offer her. What I am looking for are concrete sources that I can look at and/or send her in regards to her doubts: -examples of nonmember families (especially moms) accepting temple marriage and not feeling excluded -reasons and explanations as to why Mormons are Christians (and really good ones at that) -testimonies from nonmormons about how mormons are Christians/ good people/ a quality culture/ a good church (this would be even better from Catholics) -articles, etc. (especially from nonmormons) that dispel common misconceptions about the mormon church or note why the temple is a normal and good thing -reasons why it's important to get baptized (from individuals that seem authentic and relatable for her) Any help or things you can think of would be much appreciated!!!
  17. I normally wouldn't ask this at all, but a friend who has been a member all her life suggested it, so I would really like to know if this is a legitimate possibility. I know that photographs are not allowed during the baptism. I assumed it was solely for reverence or protection purposes, but my member friend believes (I think) that it is mainly concerning the recording aspect. So, she wants me to ask if she can be "at" my baptism through Skype. I feel really awkward asking about it if it is an obvious no, so I wanted to see if anyone knew anything about it on here before I brought it up with the missionaries. If there is any possibility that she can be part of it in any way, it would mean the world to me. I just moved to go to college 2000 miles away a few months ago, so the people in my ward, though friendly and good, aren't the friends who brought me to this point. For years, my friend and I have been building a friendship of an eternal nature (Doctrine & Covenants 18:15), and this is a huge leap that I would love for her to directly witness or be a part of. Any ideas/answers/input would be wonderful! Thanks!
  18. Hi I recently did my genealogy and have a lot of names to take the temple. I am going on the Youth Temple Trip tomorrow and was wondering how much names should I take? I was planning to do some more names this fall when I am out at BYU-I.
  19. I've always wondered this - not that the concept and service of baptism isn't special and sacred enough, but do missionaries ever give any gifts as a congratulations? :)
  20. I was excommunicated from the church shortly after I was first baptized on my 18th birthday. I initially joined the church because of a girl (of course) and the desire to get in her parents good grace. Unfortunately, neither myself, nor her, were prepared to live in accordance with church teachings. This in turn led to my first ex-communication. I was re-baptized after marrying the above mentioned girl when I was 23 while stationed in Germany. My second baptism was for much different reasons. I went through the discussions, lived gospel principles, and developed genuine love for the church and it's mission. However, in true "me" fashion, my attention was continually diverted to places I had no business going. I was ex-communicated for the second time at the age of 32 for serious transgressions. So, here I am ten years later. I'm divorced, mostly estranged from my children and completely from my ex-wife. My son is about to turn 18 in January and he's hoping to leave in March for the MTC. This has had a deep impact on me (that is, his commitment to serve a mission). Because of this and other reasons, I'm compelled to rejoin the church. However, I have heard more times than I can count that the church has a two strike policy. Does anyone know if this is true? I hope someone knows definitively and can help me find the answer. I was a priesthood holder, yet never held a temple recommend.
  21. Hello all, I need a copy of my baptism/membership records, for VA education benefits purposes. But I recently moved to an extremely rural area, not much in the way of LDS churches around here. We live VERY far from town. We only go into town to go grocery and supply shopping like once or twice a month. So simply talking to a local clerk or bishop is not so easy for me, lol. Is there another way I can get copies of them? Email correspondence with church records, maybe? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  22. Just finished watching the movie Joseph: Prophet of the Restoration on BYUTV (again) and was struck by something that I'd never considered before - the movie shows Oliver Cowdery baptizing Joseph Smith Sr. As it was produced by the Church, I assume this fact is true but I cannot confirm it anywhere (or for that matter, confirm who baptized Joseph Smith Sr). All that I've been able to find is material that indicates Joseph Smith Jr was on the bank of the river and when "Joseph Jr. saw Joseph Sr. come up out of the water, he is reported to have cried, "Oh! My God I have lived to see my own father baptized into the true church of Jesus Christ!"" So if Joseph Jr did not, in fact, baptize his own father, does anyone know why he did not and was it Cowdery who actually did?
  23. I was baptized when I was 14 years old, but my parents became non practicing after a few years. I did not continue with the church when I got older, until now. I started attending my ward 3 months ago. I was so excited when I would come home, I would share the gospel with my fiance. He became interested and also started attending and meeting with the missionaries a month ago. He instantly fell in love with the ward and we study every day. He brought it up to the missionaries that he would like to be baptized. But we face a great delema. The church is telling us that we have to be married before he can be baptized. I am disabled, and I was just handed a full scholarship to college...but on the basis that I am single with only my income counted. If I was to marry, I would lose this scholarship/grant because my fiance's income is just high enough to throw a wrench into everything. I met with the bishop last week about this subject because I knew it was coming. I mentioned that Joseph Smith talked about 3 kinds of marriage. Time, Time & Eternity, and just eternity. Why couldn't we be married in the church for eternity only for now so he can be baptized? The answer given was no, it has to be recognized by the state also. So in order for my fiance to be baptized and receive the gift of the holy spirit, I have to give up my dreams and goals. I'm also made to feel like I'm standing in the way of his salvation if I choose school. My heart is completely broken. I am considering leaving the church. I guess this is my last ditch effort for someone to hear my cry of help. I just want to do the right thing, but I also want to better our life and be able to return to work someday so I'm a contributing member of society.
  24. To receive the Holy Ghost, but why do scriptures refer to it as Baptism by Fire. Is it symbolic more than anything? A question that's been in my head for a few days. If there has already been a thread on it I apologize in advance. Just point me in the right direction. Thanks!
  25. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is investigating a report that a posthumous temple ordinance was performed for President Barack Obama's deceased mother. Salt Lake researcher Helen Radkey says she found proxy baptism ordinance records for Stanley Ann Dunham while doing research in the LDS Family History Library. You can read the entire story by going to: Church Investigates Proxy Baptism of President's Mother