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As the Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel continued to unfold in the early 1840’s, one revealed doctrine thrilled the Latter-day Saints beyond imagination. Yes, there were some references to this doctrine in the Holy Bible, but no Christian denomination at that time understood it, and none practiced it. When the Prophet Joseph first made public this amazing truth on Saturday, August 15, 1840, many of the Saints present were so excited, they immediately ran to the Mississippi River to begin the practice. And what is this doctrine? Baptism for the Dead. Today we’ll talk about this glorious truth in detail.
Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and we are delighted to be with you again this week as we give our 145th Podcast. We love being with you each week and are excited to cover sections 125 through 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants today with the lesson entitled “A Voice of Gladness for the Living and the Dead.”
As many of you know, Scot has created what he calls The Kirtland Diary for Thoughts and Personal Revelation. This provides daily space to write down thoughts and ideas, insights, revelation or just appointments and birthdays. You have to know that Scot has been passionate about photo-documenting the Church History sites for all of his adult life. He has pulled out all the stops on The Kirtland Diary and given his warmest, best, most moving pictures of Kirtland and Hiram, Ohio. This is a perfect gift for children, grandchildren, ministering families and just friends on your gift-giving list. Come and see The Kirtland Diary at latterdaysaintmag.com/Kirtland that’s simply latterdaysaintmag.com/Kirtland
In order to understand the coming forth of this most wonderful doctrine of salvation for the dead, we first have to go back in time about 17 years—to the late fall of 1823. As you well remember, some six weeks after young Joseph was told about the plates by the Angel Moroni, Alvin, Joseph’s oldest brother and dearest friend, took ill and within a short time he passed away. He left the family devastated by his absence. They could hardly look upon his place at the table without bursting into tears. And what hurt even more, the Presbyterian minister said at his funeral that because Alvin had not been baptized, he would be forever damned. All of this combined caused Lucy Mack Smith to write:
“Thus was our happiness blasted in a moment. When we least expected the blow, it came upon us. The poisoned shaft entered our very hearts’ core and diffused to deadly effect throughout our veins. We were for a time almost swallowed up in grief, so much so that it seemed impossible for us to interest ourselves at all about the concerns of life.” (Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1996, p. 119.)
The Prophet Joseph later wrote: “Alvin, my oldest brother—I remember well the pangs of sorrow that swelled my youthful bosom and almost burst my tender heart when he died. He was the oldest and noblest of my father’s family. He was one of the noblest of the sons of men. Shall his name not be recorded in this book [the Book of the Law of the Lord]?” (Ibid, p. 120)
Now, fast forward to January 21, 1836, when, on that occasion in his office on the third floor of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph was shown a vision of the celestial kingdom.
2 I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire;
3 Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.
4 I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold.
5 I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept;
6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. (D&C 137 2-6)
And you can see that this experience began to open Joseph’s heart and mind to the doctrine that was revealed to him and made public by him just four years later. In the 1836 vision the voice of the Lord said:
7 … All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; (D&C 137:7)
As Joseph continued to study the scriptures and to ask the Lord questions, this doctrine and ordinance would be restored.
Now, for you and me, this doctrine is quite easy to understand and we can look at it logically through the scriptures. 1) The worth of souls is great in the sight of God (see D&C 18:10) and 2) no unclean thing can enter the Father’s presence (See 1 Nephi 10:21; Alma 11:37; Alma 40:26; 3 Nephi 27:19; and Moses 6:57, for example) and 3) baptism, which makes one clean, is required for entrance into the heavenly kingdom of God for all who have reached the age of accountability or who are capable of sin in all ages of the world, and 4) untold millions and billions of our Heavenly Father’s children have gone to the grave without having been baptized by one who has the proper authority and many of these have never heard of Jesus Christ.
As President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “Baptism is literally, as well as a figure of the resurrection, a transplanting, or resurrection from one life to another—the life of sin to the life of spiritual life.” (Teachings of the Presidents, Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 13, p. 173)
And ALL (except for little children and those not capable of sin) must receive this ordinance.
What happens to all the untold billions of our Heavenly Father’s children who died knowing nothing of Jesus or of His sacred ordinances? Are they all to be forever damned as the preacher said of Alvin Smith?
Of course not!
And, of course, we have this wonderful passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15 verse 29:
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
Maurine, I have to cut in here for a couple of footnotes to what we’re saying. I wanted to see what the Christian world says about this verse in 1 Corinthians. What do their brightest and most notable say in their commentaries? Here are some few explanations they give.
This one is from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible:
“Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom…What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle’s argument was understood by the Corinthians.”
And here’s an explanation from Barnes Notes on the Bible:
“There remain two other opinions, both of which are plausible, and one of which is probably the true one. One is, that the word baptized is used here as it is in Matthew 20:22-23; Mark 10:39; Luke 12:50, in the sense of being overwhelmed with calamities, trials, and sufferings; and as meaning that the apostles and others were subjected to great trials on account of the dead, that is, in the hope of the resurrection; or with the expectation that the dead would rise.”
In Meyer’s New Testament Commentary he wrote:
Luther’s explanation, adopted again recently by Ewald and others, that “to confirm the resurrection, the Christians had themselves baptized over the graves of the dead…
And the Benson Commentary states:
“[S]ome, “In token of their embracing the Christian faith in the room of the dead, who are just fallen in the cause of Christ, but are yet supported by a succession of new converts, who immediately offer themselves to fill up their places, as ranks of soldiers that advance to combat in the room of their companions, who have just been slain in their sight.”
And the Bibleref.com site finishes the confusion with this commentary:
“Nothing in any of Paul’s writings, or elsewhere in the Bible, suggests there is value in being baptized on behalf of another person, living or dead. The New Testament is clear that individuals are responsible to God for their own sin and their own personal faith in Christ for the forgiveness of that sin.”
Now, let’s hear from Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s commentary on this same verse:
“Based on the eternal principle of vicarious service, the Lord has ordained baptism for the dead as the means whereby all his worthy children of all ages can become heirs of salvation in his kingdom. Baptism is the gate to the celestial kingdom, and except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit he cannot gain an inheritance in that heavenly world. (John 3:3-5.) Obviously, during the frequent periods of apostate darkness when the gospel light does not shine, and also in those geographical areas where legal administrators are not found, hosts of people live and die without ever entering in at the gate of baptism so as to be on the path leading to eternal life. For them a just God has ordained baptism for the dead, a vicarious-proxy labor. (D&C 124:28-36; 127; 128; 1 Cor. 15:29)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 73.)
“Baptism for the dead is thus one of the signs of the true Church. Where a people have the knowledge of this doctrine, together with the power and authority from God to perform the saving ordinances involved, there is the Church and kingdom of God on earth; and where these are not, there the Church and kingdom of God is not.” (McConkie, Bruce R., Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 2, p. 395)
This all brings us back to the very next verse in 1 Corinthians, just eight words:
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? (1 Corinthians 15:30)
We know that God’s work and His glory is to bring to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man.” (See Moses 1:39) We know that He will do everything possible to offer salvation without money or price to all who will accept the Savior Jesus Christ and follow His commandments and ordinances.
Now, fast forward to Saturday, August 15, 1840. We talked last week about the conditions in Nauvoo in those early days. There were mosquito-infested swamps in the Nauvoo Flats and many people were dying of malaria. Seymour Brunson, a personal friend of the Prophet Joseph, had passed away.
“At the funeral, Joseph offered words of comfort to Seymour’s widow, Harriet, and the thousands of Saints in the congregation. As he spoke, he looked at Jane Neyman, whose teenage son Cyrus had died before being baptized.
“Knowing that Jane was worried about the welfare of her son’s soul, Joseph decided to share what the Lord had taught him about the salvation of those, like his own brother Alvin, who had died without baptism.
“Opening the Bible, Joseph read the words of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” He noted that Paul’s words were evidence that a living person could be baptized vicariously for a deceased person, extending the benefits of baptism to those who were dead in body but whose spirits lived on.
“Joseph said God’s plan of salvation was designed to save all those who were willing to obey the law of God, including the countless people who had died never knowing about Jesus Christ or His teachings.
“Shortly after the sermon, Jane went to the river with an elder of the church and was baptized for Cyrus. When Joseph heard about the baptism later that evening, he asked what words the elder had used in the ordinance. When they were repeated back to him, Joseph confirmed that the elder had performed the baptism correctly.” (Saints, The Story of The Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days, Volume 1, The Standard of Truth, 1815-1846, Chapter 35, pp. 421-22)
What’s wonderful about this scene is the not only the faith of Harriet Brunson and Jane Neyman, but hundreds of others, in the next few days, enthusiastically went to the river and in some cases RAN to the river, to be baptized in behalf of their beloved ancestors, parents, children or brothers and sisters who had died not receiving the ordinance of baptism in this life.
And, Maurine, one of the most touching of these is Emma herself. She went down to the river and was baptized for her precious older sister, Phoebe Elizabeth Hale. Phoebe had married Denison Root in 1819 and then given birth to eight children. They were married 17 years, then Phoebe passed away on Christmas Day in 1836 just eleven months after her youngest child’s birth. In many ways, this may have been Emma’s “Alvin Experience” and weighed upon her. So, with great delight she was baptized by one who had authority for and in behalf of her dear Sister, Phoebe. And numerous stories could be told about others who joyfully performed this ordinance in behalf of loved ones who had passed.
Now, you can imagine with so many Latter-day Saints going down to the river or to nearby streams and performing these baptisms for the dead, that the possibility of poor record keeping or having no witnesses might become an issue—and it did. By January of 1841, just five months after that first public announcement of the doctrine, Joseph received a revelation that baptisms for the dead were intended to be performed only in temples. This presented a challenge because the Nauvoo Temple would not be fully completed and dedicated until May 1, 1846 when most of the Saints would have already left the city to go west.
At that October, 1841 conference—what we would call General Conference—the prophet announced that no further baptisms were authorized until the font in the Nauvoo Temple was completed. The Saints went to with their might. They installed a beautiful hand-carved wooden font in the temple’s basement, enclosed by a temporary frame structure. Brigham Young dedicated the baptismal font in a public meeting on Monday, November 8, 1841. Thousands of proxy baptisms would be performed here before the entire temple was dedicated.
With any new doctrine or practice or ordinance in this dispensation, there is often instruction, commentary and explanation that follows. In the midst of all this excitement, look at the Chronology a little more closely to understand the context of this revelation [we can ad hoc some more details as needed]:
15 August 1840
Baptism for the Dead is taught publicly at Seymour Brunson’s funeral.
14 September 1840
Joseph Smith, Sr. passes away.
16 December 1840
Charter for the city of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion and university is granted
4 Feb 1841
Joseph is commissioned Lt-General of the Nauvoo Legion
6 Apr 1841
The Cornerstone is laid for the Nauvoo Temple
4 June 1841
Joseph is arrested on old Missouri charges
9 June 1841
Two-day trial begins at Monmouth, Illinois before Judge Stephen Douglas
7 Aug 1841
Don Carlos, Joseph’s younger brother, passes away at age 25.
15 Aug 1841
Joseph and Emma’s 14-month-old son, Don Carlos, passes away.
8 Nov 1841
The baptismal font is dedicated in the Nauvoo Temple
6 Feb 1842
Emma and Joseph have a stillborn son.
17 Mar 1842
The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo is organized with Emma as President
4 May 1842
The Temple Endowment is first introduced in this dispensation
6 May 1842
An assassination attempt on former Governor Lilburn W. Boggs in Missouri leads to accusations of Joseph Smith and Orrin Porter Rockwell
19 May 1842
Joseph is elected Mayor of Nauvoo
8 Aug 1842
Joseph is arrested for alleged complicity in the Boggs assassination attempt
Later August 1842
Joseph goes into hiding
1 Sept 1842
Joseph writes an epistle while in hiding which becomes Section 127
6 Sept 1842
Joseph writes a second epistle to the Saints, in hiding, which becomes Section 128
And we could fill events and happenings between every line we have just reviewed. The work on the Nauvoo Temple was accelerating. The Twelve were in England much of this time and their many converts began arriving in Nauvoo—at first many families at a time, and then a steady flow of hundreds at a time. Nauvoo was becoming a bustling city that rivaled Chicago in size.
And the Lord, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, was providing the saving ordinances to not only the Living, but also to those who had passed beyond the veil. Jesus Christ continued to give aid and comfort and revelation to the prophet Joseph.
2 “And as for the perils which I am called to pass through,” Joseph wrote to the Saints, “they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me…
3 Let all the saints rejoice, therefore, and be exceedingly glad; for Israel’s God is their God, and he will mete out a just recompense of reward upon the heads of all their oppressors.
Here’s a quick note, something to pay attention to in your studies of the Prophets of the Church. Notice verse 1 in section 128:
1 As I stated to you in my letter before I left my place, that I would write to you from time to time and give you information in relation to many subjects, I now resume the subject of the baptism for the dead, as that subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest, since I have been pursued by my enemies. (D&C 128:1, emphasis added)
Whenever you hear the President of the Church use these kinds of words, like occupying his mind or pressing feelings—you can expect revelation.
Joseph would give us all the ordinances and instructions for the temple during this 1842 to 1844 period.
Here’s President Spencer W. Kimball during his first conference, during a training session of the Regional Representatives, April 4, 1974:
“Now, all of you have much to do with the missionary work of the Church in stakes or missions. May I now discuss with you some of the things which have been uppermost in my mind.” (As reported in the October 1974 Ensign, When the World Will Be Converted)
President Kimball became known for his constant push of missionary work and taking the Gospel to all the world.
And from President Russell M. Nelson, listen carefully:
“One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.” (Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives, April 2018, General Conference)
Look how he has since asked us to learn how to Hear Him and to seek for and receive personal revelation.
Back to Nauvoo. When news of the assassination attempt of former Governor Lilburn W. Boggs reached Nauvoo and Joseph’s ears about May 14, 1842, things became more tense than ever. The initial suspect in the shooting was a silversmith named Tompkins in Independence, Missouri, but guess who stepped in to make sure Tompkins was acquitted? A citizens committee headed by one General Samuel D. Lucas—the same notorious man in Far West who had sentenced Joseph Smith and his companion prisoners to be shot in the town square the next morning.
Now Scot, let’s put all this in further context to gain a greater understanding of the Prophet Joseph in these last years of his life in Nauvoo before the Martyrdom. I think sometimes we, as tourists, go to Nauvoo and we do the pioneer games with our children, we take a carriage ride and hear stories of faith, we see the Temple upon the hill overlooking the horseshoe bend of the river and we get such a picture of peace and calm and serenity and the perfect retreat for the Latter-day Saints.
Right! But from the middle of May, 1842 on to the end of his life, add this truth to your imagination: Because of the constant prowl of Missourians and ne’er do wells who wanted to arrest Joseph or kidnap him and take him over the river to Missouri—remember, Missouri is just over 12 miles downriver—Joseph was seldom walking the streets of Nauvoo without ten, twenty or even thirty armed guards around him. His life was always threatened and his bodyguards were there to keep him safe.
And David Kilbourne, the postmaster directly across the river at Montrose, Iowa, sent a letter to Governor Thomas Reynolds of Missouri, saying: “that he “should not entertain a doubt that [the assassination attempt] was done by some of Joe’s minions at his instigation.”
And the former Mayor of Nauvoo and member of the Church, John C. Bennett, had been excommunicated for immoral behavior and now had turned actively and aggressively against Joseph and the Church. He began to publish false claims against the Prophet and against Porter Rockwell starting rumors that spread far and wide very quickly. All of this combined to make things extremely dangerous for Joseph. By the first of August, 1842, warrants were issued by Governor Carlin of Illinois for Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell. Adams County undersheriff, Thomas King, and his men arrived in Nauvoo on August 8 to make the arrests. Joseph had been arrested by Thomas King the year before and had been acquitted by Circuit Court Judge Stephen A. Douglas. On this round, Joseph was saved by a writ of habeas corpus under authority of the city charter of Nauvoo.
Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful. In this case, it probably saved Joseph’s life—and it enraged Governor Carlin who felt undermined by a city charter over his executive office.
So, you can see with all this going on and attempts of extradition of Joseph to Missouri, he had to make a careful plan. As author Morris Thurston relates in a BYU Studies article: “On August 11, [Joseph] called an unusual council meeting after nightfall on a small island in the Mississippi River between Nauvoo and Montrose, Illinois. His wife Emma, his brother Hyrum, and other Church leaders and Mormon lawmen, including Newell K. Whitney, George Miller, William Law, William Clayton, and Dimick Huntington, set off from the Nauvoo shore in a skiff. Shortly after they arrived on the island, Joseph Smith and Erastus H. Derby arrived in a skiff from the Iowa side. There in the darkness they discussed the state of affairs and what to do about them. Judge James H. Ralston of Quincy, Illinois, and lawyer Stephen W. Powers of Keokuk, Iowa, were nearby, having promised to stay vigilant and to provide legal assistance on both sides of the river as needed by the Mormon prophet.”
Joseph determined to go into hiding. This helps you understand the first sentence in Section 127:
1 Forasmuch as the Lord has revealed unto me that my enemies, both in Missouri and this State, were again in the pursuit of me; and inasmuch as they pursue me without a cause, and have not the least shadow or coloring of justice or right on their side in the getting up of their prosecutions against me; and inasmuch as their pretensions are all founded in falsehood of the blackest dye, I have thought it expedient and wisdom in me to leave the place for a short season, for my own safety and the safety of this people.
Joseph went into hiding for a number of weeks. He had a secret, hidden room for emergencies beneath his own dining room in the old homestead where his family was living at the time. But he would spend time in various safe houses and locations in Latter-day Saint communities in Illinois and Iowa and in the attic of Edward Hunter’s home in Nauvoo. Edward and Ann Hunter’s home was located just below the temple construction site on the slope coming down from “the bluff” to “the flats” of Nauvoo.
Remember, this is hot, humid Nauvoo where the temperatures can soar to over 100 degrees and the humidity be 95 – 99%. This is late August and early September. Joseph is hiding in the attic of the Hunter’s home. Where does all the heat of the house go in a setting like that? To the basement? No! To the attic. So, amidst all the strife and the possees coming after Joseph and the fear for his own safety and being separated from his precious family, he writes the following words:
22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!
Isn’t that just stunning?! In that setting—he calls for courage and reminds us of this great cause.
Maurine, you know this, but when we took our four grandsons this past June to Nauvoo, this was our morning and evening ritual after our prayers with them. We put our hands all in at once and then folded them together like a cinnamon roll and said, “Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!” This really bound us together.
And I have to say, it would be hard for any person to not be discouraged or at least extremely worried in the circumstances he found himself in, but then look what he does: He reviews some of the major blessings of the unfolding restoration:
20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed.
[so there he reminds us of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, given to Joseph by an angel of the Lord]
A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book!
[There’s the reminder of the fulfillment of prophecies that three witnesses would be shown the plates by heavenly means and that this, indeed, did take place.]
The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light! The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!
[This was the reference to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the apostolic keys being given by the ancient apostles and that Satan was thwarted by Mighty Michael himself to stop it]
21 And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
[That’s a fascinating reference to something we do not know about: the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer. And he says it quite casually like Amulek in the Book of Mormon who, when he introduces himself, talks of his ancestor, Aminadi, “and it was that same Aminadi who interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God.” (Alma 10:2) What?! We know nothing about this story!
And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope! (D&C 128:20-21)
This method of communication and teaching that Joseph is using is brilliant. In hard or extremely difficult times, remind yourself of all the things that YOU DO KNOW and this will draw you closer to the Lord and His Spirit, yes, even “confirming our hope!” Nephi used the same method as he tried to get his brothers to help him build the ship. He reminded them no less than ten times of the things that he knew they knew. (See 1 Nephi 17: 17-48 and count the times Nephi says: Ye know or Ye also know)
It’s a great teaching approach when a child is discouraged or has lost her way to remind her what she already knows. Start with the simplest things: “Darling, you know that you have had your prayers answered in the past, like at girl’s camp. You know that the priesthood works, remember when Daddy was healed from that horrible brown recluse spider bite? You know that the Spirit is real, remember our family home evening when we were talking about your great grandmother and you felt that feeling of love in your heart?” See, the Lord wants us to never forget our roots, never forget His teachings, His foundational truths—and as we remember, we will be lifted out of immediate darkness and discouragement.
And I know that this doctrine, this most glorious and beautiful doctrine and ordinance of Baptism for the Dead is part of the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a sure sign of the character and nature of the God we worship that He is bringing about the salvation of His children on both sides of the veil. It brings us such joy to talk about these things. And we have to end this podcast with a tender story from our family.
In 2007 we spent the entire summer in the British Isles with our two youngest daughters, Mariah, age 17, and Michaela, age 12. We were mainly doing family history research and just immersing ourselves in our ancestral homelands. These islands are very dear to our hearts. We planned one morning to do baptisms for the dead in the Preston England Temple. This would be Michaela’s first time to experience this. I remember as we went in the door to the temple, it was like we were going through a waterfall of the Spirit. We all felt it. The temple workers were so kind to us as visitors from America. Every part of the experience was wonderful and we were able to do a number of baptisms and confirmations, this same ordinance that had been revealed to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.
On the way out of the baptistry area, just before leaving the temple, this kind, courteous, wonderful older English brother stopped our two girls to talk to them. He taught us all something we will never forget. In his beautiful English accent he said, “You know, I spent my career with the Royal Air Force and one of my duties on occasion was to stand near the Queen as she would lay a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier. And you know what? That’s all she could do for the dead—she could only lay a symbolic wreath of flowers as thanks—but what you two have done here today in the temple is provide real saving ordinances for the dead. This is something that really counts. You have done more than the Queen of England for the dead. And I thank you for your service here this morning.” He then kind of stepped back and saluted our daughters and said, “Thank you again.”
And so it is, in the ongoing restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days, one of the great and wonderful truths restored is that all who have ever lived on this earth will have the opportunity to accept the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost whether in this life or in the next. That is stunning.
[Together] Shall we not go on in so great a cause?!
That’s all for today. We have loved being with you and talking about these great truths for Sections 127 and 128. Next week’s lesson will cover Doctrine and Covenants Sections 129-132 entitled: “When We Obtain Any Blessing from God, It Is by Obedience” Our sincere thanks to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins, our daughter and the wonderful young 12-year-old who grew up and now produces this show. Have a wonderful week and see you next time.