50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 19)

Tower To Truth Question:

19. Why do you baptize for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death?

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FAIR Answer:

The passage in Mosiah 3:25, and any passages in the Bible which also imply there is no chance of salvation after death, are clearly addressed to those who have the opportunity to repent in this life. Those who have not, by no fault of their own, embraced the everlasting gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death.

The critics are on thin ice with this attack—do they wish us to believe in a God so unjust that He would damn someone for all eternity, simply because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus?

Why wouldn’t members of the Church baptize for the dead, when the Bible teaches this idea? (See 1_Cor. 15:29.)

To learn more:Baptism for the dead

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My Response:

This is another of the most oft-debated issues in the Christian-Mormon dialog. And it is another issue where the LDS system, sadly, has so misinterpreted the Bible that one is hard-pressed to know how to start. But, start we must. Let’s begin with the LDS position, and see how their “scriptures” read.

Mosiah 3:24-27And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls. Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever. And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen.

Notice some things about this passage. Notice that in the Mormon system, salvation comes based on our works. they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations. According to this passage, if our works are evil, we will be condemned. This is a total contradiction of 2nd Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Thing is, The Judgment Seat of Christ is not about “judging” us to determine where we spend eternity. If one is standing at the Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, that man is already saved, and is destined for Paradise. 2nd Cor. 5:9 has a parallel passage in 1st Corinthians 3:13-15the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Will the person be tested by fire? No, his works will be tested. But even if the works are burned up, the person will be saved. The passage in Mosiah is diametrically opposed to the truth of the Bible.

Next, in the verse from Mosiah, the person whose works are evil will suffer “a state of misery and endless torment…” I’m not sure which original Reformed Egyptian word was used here, but in most languages, “endless” means Endless. Without end. Perpetual. Never ending. So, these that are “evil” are in a state of endless torment.

From whence they can no more return. Again, the wording is very clear. They cannot escape the state they are in. “…they can no more return.” What else does it say about these? they have drunk damnation to their own souls. They have been condemned, consigned to a never-ending state of misery, a place they can never leave. Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit. God’s justice must be done, and in order for that justice to be done, these people must be tormented forever. If they are not, then God’s justice is denied. therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever. Once these people have died. Once these people have been condemned. Once these people have drunk down the cup of God’s wrath. There is no more mercy for them. This is right in their very own Book of Mormon! Once this person dies, their chances for mercy have ended! They are consigned to eternal torment.

And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen. Now, look closely. It says their torment is “AS” a lake of fire, &c. They will suffer a fate that feels like a lake of fire, and they will burn forever and ever. No matter what kind of spin they try to put on this, there is no denying that the wicked, who deny Christ in this lifetime and do wicked works, will suffer endlessly, they will suffer by burning, and the smoke that is caused by their being burned will ascend forever. There are no conditions. There are no addendums. There are no escape clauses. There is no “Unless someone does something for them.” This is where the other LDS “scriptures” come in. Since Joseph Smith forgot to put anything in the BOM about baptism for the dead, it had to be added later on, in the other books he fabricated.

In their statement above, FAIR claims, “The passage in Mosiah 3:25, and any passages in the Bible which also imply there is no chance of salvation after death, are clearly addressed to those who have the opportunity to repent in this life. Those who have not, by no fault of their own, embraced the everlasting gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death.[emphasis mine]. Clearly? By whose reasoning? There is nothing in these passages from the Bible that say anything about whether the person “[had] the opportunity to repent in this life.” In fact, what do a couple of Bible passages tell us?

Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment… We are born, we live, we die, we are judged. Notice, the writer says “THE judgment.” We are judged worthy (by virtue of our faith in christ) or unworthy (by our rejection of Him).

Luke 16:25-26–“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'” There is no way for the rich man to leave where he is.

So what does the Bible say about those who never hear the gospel? Romans 2:12, 14-1512 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law…14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them). Those who neve hear the gospel do have the law written on their hearts, although they do not acknowledge it comes from God. They have a conscience, and when they do the things in the Law, even though they have never heard the Law, that conscience carries the ame weight as the whole of the Law. As Paul said in the preceding chapter, so they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

The critics are on thin ice with this attack—do they wish us to believe in a God so unjust that He would damn someone for all eternity, simply because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus?” No, friend. FAIR is the one calling God unjust, because that is indeed what he does. That does not make God “unjust,” contrarily it makes Him perfectly just.

Romans 9:14-16, 19-23–14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy…19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory?

To say that God MUST give everybody a chance to hear the gospel is to command of God that He bend to the feeble whims of human “fairness.” If that’s what FAIR wants to do, then be my guest. I will rather believe in a God who has every right to condemn the whole lot of the human race for our years of rebellion against Him.

Now, as for this matte of “baptism for the dead.” Never has an entire doctrine, built upon such a shaky foundation, ever caused so many headaches. Even the greatest theologians, historians, expositors and commentators who have wrestled with this passage for years are not much closer to an answer now than any have been in the past. But we do know this much: it is NOT talking about baptizing living people in place of dead people so the dead people can go on to some higher “glory.” In fact, there is nothing–NOTHING–that ANYBODY can do for someone, once that person has died. they are dead, they have been judged. Period. Paragraph.

1st Corinthians 15:29–Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? Notice something here: Paul says, what will they do who are baptized for the dead…? If Paul had meant to say that christians can be baptized vicariously for anyone who died before, then it only stands to reason he would have said something like, what will those of us do who are baptized for the dead…? At any rate, this verse cannot mean what the LDS system claims it means, since baptism can only come after a person hears the gospel and believes–and only in this lifetime (See Acts 16:32-33).

2 thoughts on “50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 19)

  1. 1st Why do we do Baptisms for the Dead?
    Jesus Himself, though without sin, was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and to show the way for all mankind (see Matthew 3:13-17; 2 Nephi 31:5-12). Thus, baptism is essential for salvation in the kingdom of God. We learn in the New Testament that baptisms for the dead were done during the Apostle Paul’s time (see 1 Corinthians 15:29). This practice has been restored with the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith first taught about the ordinance of baptism for the dead during a funeral sermon in August 1840. He read much of 1 Corinthians 15, including verse 29, and announced that the Lord would permit Church members to be baptized in behalf of their friends and relatives who had departed this life. He told them “the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God” (Journal History of the Church, 15 Aug. 1840).
    Because all who have lived on the earth have not had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority during life on earth, baptisms may be performed by proxy, meaning a living person may be baptized in behalf of a deceased person. Baptisms for the dead are performed by Church members in temples throughout the world. People have occasionally wondered if the mortal remains of the deceased are somehow disturbed in this process; they are not. The person acting as a proxy uses only the name of the deceased. To prevent duplication the Church keeps a record of the deceased persons who have been baptized. Some have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed the names of deceased persons are being added to the membership records of the Church. This is not the case.
    2nd What is Mosiah 3:25 talking about?
    17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
    18 For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
    19 For the natural man (A natural man is someone who gives in to his worldly/mortal enticing or sins) is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
    20 And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
    21 And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.
    22 And even at this time, when thou shalt have taught thy people the things which the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee.
    23 And now I have spoken the words which the Lord God hath commanded me.
    24 And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.
    25 And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.
    26 Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever.
    27 And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke scendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen.
    SO, in 17-19 King Benjamin is telling his people that unless they repent and come to Christ, their works will be held against them. 20-23 he says that he has spoken the words, that the lord had told him to say. So now this people has been educated as to what they have to do to be saved. And the choice of accepting the gospel and being baptized is up to them. So in 24-27 he says that those who have been educated, and have chosen to continue committing sin, will have their works held against them and be damned.
    So because these people had the opportunity to be baptized on earth, they will not get a second opportunity after death. But people who have not been given a fair chance to receive the gospel in this life, will be given an opportunity after death.

  2. CJ,

    1) You make the natural assumption (as many do) that somehow, God is bound by some requirement of human “fairness”–that He has to give everybody “an equal shot” or a “fair shake.” And that is an incorrect view. God does not have to be “fair” as humans count fairness. If He decrees that some go to destruction without ever hearing the name of Christ, then He is well within His rights to do so. Psalm 115:3–Our God is in Heaven, and He does as HE pleases. As who pleases? As we please? As we would have Him to do, based on our own sense of “fairness”? No. He does as HE pleases. Romans 9:21-22–21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

    2) You make most of your arguments from a book that was the figment of imagination in the mind of a 14-year-old boy, who honed it and crafted it over the years. He even made almost 4000 changes to it after it was first published.

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