Baptism For The DeadBaptism for the Dead is a ritual invented by Joseph Smith for the purpose of entering dead people into heaven who did not have the opportunity, or who did not take the opportunity to join the Mormon Church. According to Tanner, “Even though the Book of Mormon is supposed to contain the fullness of the gospel, it never mentions the doctrine of baptism for the dead, not even once. The word ‘baptism’ appears 25 times in the Book of Mormon. The word ‘baptize’ appears 28 times. The word ‘baptized’ appears 85 times, and the word ‘baptizing appears 6 times, but the doctrine of baptism for the dead isn’t even mentioned once.” 1 If the Mormon Church claims that the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, then why are Mormons doing baptisms for the dead when it is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon?
Baptism for the Dead is further discussed in the scholarly book The Mormon Conspiracy
As described by Scott, the baptisms were performed in the Mormon temples in a special baptismal font room, “...which held an immense bowl-like metallic font which was supported on the backs of statues of twelve life-sized brass oxen, symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel. A platform extended along one side of the great bowl....” 2
Scott, who performed in several Mormon baptisms for the dead continues: “...One by one we were called by name to descend into the font. A recorder sat on a high stool, not unlike a lifeguard’s stand, at one side of the font, and witnesses watched. An elder stood in the font in garments like ours, and beckoned for each participant as his or her turn came. He spoke the baptismal prayer in a hurried, monotonous voice, stopping only to lower a proxy into the water.
“I sat on the platform, looking furtively for the angels I had heard often appeared in temples. When my name was called, I went down into the water. The baptizing elder turned me around so that he could see a large screen, something like an electronic football scoreboard, which he looked at over my shoulder. On top of the screen was my name, and below it a name I don’t remember, but which I’ll say was Elizabeth Anderson.
“ ‘Sister Celester Latayne Colvett,’ he said, looking at the screen, ‘having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you, for and in behalf of Elizabeth Anderson, who is dead, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.’ Then he quickly dropped his right arm from the square and lowered me beneath the water. As I was regaining my footing he had already begun the same prayer, inserting this time the name of another dead woman which had flashed onto the screen behind me. Fifteen consecutive baptisms were performed with me as proxy in a matter of about three minutes. As I left the font, another proxy was preparing to be baptized.” 3
This ceremony is completed in the confirmation room, and goes on daily in the temples for thousands of dead.. Millions, probably billions of the dead have been baptized including “deceased presidents of the United States and other prominent persons of the past including Catholic popes and saints......Wilford Woodruff, a president of the Mormon Church during the turn of the century, said that on April 10, 1898, all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, along with George Washington, appeared to him in the St. George Temple two nights in a row, begging that vicarious ordinance be done for them. Woodruff obliged, and also did the proxy work for Christopher Columbus, John Wesley, and other prominent men of the past, one hundred in all.” 4
Unbelievable? Can one believe that the Mormon Church is credible when a president (prophet) of the church claimed that he actually talked to George Washington and all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence almost one hundred years after they were dead? Baptism of the dead is one of the most ludicrous and disconcerting practices of the Mormon Church. It has been said that the Mormon Church spends millions of dollars on researching genealogies in order to do proxy work. Scott writes for example “...the LDS church spent over 125 million dollars [in 1975] on genealogical and proxy work, employing over eighty camera crews just to keep up with microfilming the bales of documents which pour in daily.” 5
1. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism, Shadow or Reality, Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1982, 454