So I realized something new (to me) today, while reading some comments on a Huffington Post article about Mormons posthumously baptizing Jewish holocaust victims--most notably, Anne Frank.
Baptism for the dead is NOT SCRIPTURAL. The Mormon Church has taken the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 out of context. Paul was not commanding posthumous baptisms to be done, nor did he even suggest that it should be done. In this particular chapter he was addressing some conflicting beliefs among the churches, involving the concept of resurrection and the practice of baptism. Some people (the verse never clarifies which people, only “they”) were performing baptism for the dead, yet at the same time many of Paul’s audience either did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, or were questioning the reality of the concept. Paul simply pointed out that contradiction by posing the question, "Why are they baptizing for the dead, then, if the dead aren’t going to be resurrected?" By saying “they” are being baptized, he may not have even been referring to his church, but some pagan group who was performing the ritual. Paul never states “we” baptize for the dead, rather he uses the fact that some people were baptizing for the dead to support his belief that the dead would eventually be resurrected.
Nowhere else in the Bible is baptism for the dead even mentioned. So it is clearly not a command to believers of Christianity. As for Mormons, baptism for the dead doesn't appear in the Book of Mormon either, so it was not a part of the belief system of those who wrote the book.
Furthermore, the Book of Mormon explicitly teaches that "THIS LIFE is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold THE DAY OF THIS LIFE is the day for men to perform their labors... do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end... if we do not improve our time while IN THIS LIFE, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be NO LABOR PERFORMED. ...that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world." (Alma 34:32-34)
"For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and ALSO all THEY THAT ARE WITHOUT THE LAW (meaning those who have not learned of the gospel). For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing--But it is a mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works. Behold my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law." (Moroni 8:22-24)
So, according to the "most correct book on earth" (Joseph Smith), not only is baptism for the dead rendered meaningless, because one cannot change one’s belief system in the afterlife, but it is also a mockery to god to perform such a work.
The Mormon church is contradicting its own scriptures by performing baptism for the dead. So either the Book of Mormon is false, or the current teachings of the Mormon Church are false, or possibly both are false. But when two ideas contradict each other they cannot both be true.
In the British papers too! Princess Di..................................lil
Interesting thoughts. After looking into the practice (I must have had too much time on my hands) and reading some Bible commentaries... The confusion seems to originate in the translation from Greek (Paul is writing in Greek) of the word which normally means "washing" and in some places does refer to baptism. In the Greek, it definitely does NOT mean baptizing people in the place of people who are dead. Baptism was not a Jewish custom and the Corinthians were not baptizing people.
So the error comes in because the Mormons only use the King James version of the Bible, and do not read earlier versions in the original languages. People probably were attracted to the idea that their ancestors could yet be saved. Now, the Bible does talk about people (Moses, Abraham) who appeared with Jesus and seemed to be in Heaven. They certainly were NOT in Hell!!! And those people died long before baptism, long before Jesus. So we have evidence of people who were not baptized and were not Christians - but they apparently are in Heaven. So maybe people today that are not baptized and are not Christians still might end up in Heaven?? I hope so since I have lots of pals who are Jewish and Hindu and Muslim.