Lately Mormonism has been in the news. A lot. Mitt Romney running to become the republican nominee for president has put the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints(Mormonism) under scrutiny once again. Many of the biggest news outlets have been running stories about different beliefs and practices of Mormonism. While some are good, many of them get the facts wrong. Our beliefs are distorted, facts are left out, and one side of the story is presented without fact checking.
It is refreshing then to see an article that objectively gets a story right! CNN published a story about how and why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does baptism for the dead. Here is a snippet from the article:
For Mormons, baptizing the dead solves a big theological problem: How do billions of people who never had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ – including those who lived before Jesus walked the earth – receive salvation? By baptizing the dead, a practice known as posthumous proxy baptism, Mormons believe they are giving every person who ever lived the chance at everlasting life. That includes Muslims, Hindus, atheists, pagans, whoever.
One thing missing though is the doctrine behind it. We learn in the New Testament that even the dead can and do receive the Gospel. In 1st Peter 4:6 it states:
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be ejudged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
In modern-day scripture we learn that baptisms performed on earth for another person(by proxy) can have effect. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:93 it says:
That whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
As was state in the CNN story, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints wants all people to be able to find simple happiness in this life and the next life. Being baptized, like Jesus Christ was, provides both living and dead the opportunity to do so.