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Third Hour

179 Years Ago Today, Joseph Smith Announced Baptisms for the Dead

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On August 15, 1840, Joseph Smith revealed a doctrine that is so fundamental to our beliefs that we hardly think twice about it — but to the brand-new Saints, it was life-changing: baptisms for the dead. The Church's website explains: "On August 15, 1840, shortly after the Saints moved to the future site of Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith preached a sermon at the funeral of Church member Seymour Brunson. Noticing a woman in attendance who had lost her son before he could be baptized, Joseph revealed that the Saints 'could now act for their friends who had departed this life' by being baptized in their behalf. He cited the ancient Apostle Paul’s teachings regarding baptism for the dead and encouraged the Saints to rejoice 'that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God.'" The Saints were, of course, elated. While so many of us have had this knowledge our whole lives or since we were introduced to the Church,...

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