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miked

proxy temple work

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just a question, since i'm not completely familiar with this.

when did the church start performing proxy ordinances for the deceased (rather than for the person receiving the ordinance)? were these ordinances originally performed in the temple, or in some instances outside of the temple?

also, how established were the guidelines or rules for temple worship at the time of joseph smith's death? were they pretty much as they are today, or did they evolve more under brigham young?

any recommendations on books or articles that deal with this topic?

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Guest Just Curious

I read somewhere that the first proxy baptisms were not done in a temple but in a river during Josephs day...

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Guest Just Curious

Also there were religious sects practicing baptism for the dead in Northern Pennsylvania (close to New York) over 100 years before Josephs birth so baptism for the dead was well known in the area of New York and Pennsylvania (where Josephs wife was from)

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when did the church start performing proxy ordinances for the deceased (rather than for the person receiving the ordinance)? were these ordinances originally performed in the temple, or in some instances outside of the temple?

also, how established were the guidelines or rules for temple worship at the time of joseph smith's death? were they pretty much as they are today, or did they evolve more under brigham young?

Outside the Temple, this is why they had to be redone later. Sorry, I can't remember the reference.

I have my own "pet" theory on Temple work and how the whole revelatory/prophet process works. Reading about early proxy work is what made it "click". Gotta go...

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thanks for the few replies. if anyone else has any more insight or information on this topic i would appreciate it.

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I don't believe they were performed until the Navoo temple was build. There was an endowment house built for much of the work. I am curious now about the history. As reluctant as i am to agree with Just Curious, I think I must. Many Catholics, in effect, perform proxy work for the dead through prayers and proxy work was carried by the maccibees on behalf of dead soldiers who defiled themselves according to the law of Moses.

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This is what PRESIDENT WILFORD WOODRUFF said:

Discourses Delivered at the General Conference of the Church, the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 18, 1894.

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Also there were religious sects practicing baptism for the dead in Northern Pennsylvania (close to New York) over 100 years before Josephs birth so baptism for the dead was well known in the area of New York and Pennsylvania (where Josephs wife was from)

I wonder if you're referring to the Ephrata Commune, in Ephrata, Pennsylvania? John Brooke claims that they practiced baptism for the dead. His claim may be true, but I'm not entirely confident and I know of no evidence for it. During a summer I spent back at Princeton, in 1994, Bill Hamblin came to visit me. One day, we headed off to Ephrata for a tour of the site of the former community there. While on the site, we asked the people in charge of it whether they knew of any practice of baptism for the dead among the Ephrata community. All we received were blank looks and negative replies. They'd never heard of it.

Incidentally, for our evaluation of John Brooke's The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844, see William J. Hamblin, Daniel C. Peterson, and George L. Mitton, "Mormon in the Fiery Furnace, Or, Loftes Tryk Goes to Cambridge." It is available on line at

http://farms.byu.edu/publications/reviewvo...lume=6&number=2

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When did the Church start performing proxy ordinances for the deceased? . . . . Any recommendations on books or articles that deal with this topic?

The links below will take you to the following PDF format articles:

Alexander L. Baugh,

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thanks tubaloth and Helorum, those were very informative posts. i will try to read the articles you linked to when i have a spare moment.

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Guest Just Curious
I wonder if you're referring to the Ephrata Commune, in Ephrata, Pennsylvania? John Brooke claims that they practiced baptism for the dead. His claim may be true, but I'm not entirely confident and I know of no evidence for it.

Yes I believe that is the group Dan. However you will have to forgive me, I had an excellent web link for it and evidently in my housekeeping on my favorites list I inadverdantly deleted it. I have been trying to find in since yesterday with no success. It was not anything by John Brooke but some excerpts from very old books. If I remember right the leader of the group/sect actually died sometime after Joseph was born but prior to the BoM being published. I know my critics will jump on me for not providing the link, but I think you know me better than to say I had something and not provide proof and it be a totally made up lie. If I can ever discover the link address again I will be happy to post it or email it to you Dan for your review..

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Guest Just Curious

Dan best I can figure after googling for hours is that it was something that came out of Sachse (sp) book about the Ephrata group and how they came to be then basically more or less have gone away since about 1930...that could be why none of them knew much. It appears that they dwindled to low numbers in the 1800's and by 1900 were pretty much history then kind of just went this way and that into other denominations...

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Guest Just Curious
Many Catholics, in effect, perform proxy work for the dead through prayers

As much as I hate to agree with Freedom (especially since some of my ancestors were gulp....Canadian--EGAD !!!) The Catholics (of which I was one for 30 years-oh yeah, altar boy, catholic school, priest in the family...whole routine) do practice a form of proxy work so to speak, for example having a mass said in someones name supposedly takes time off of their sentence in purgatory...also certain prayers said will take time off of their sentence too...I personally never understood just how it happened and didn't ever really believe that you could take time off of someone elses sentence, so to speak, for doing someting on their behalf. Of course random catholic may disagree but that is his personal perogative. To me there is a certain similarity....and here it is. To have a mass said on someones behalf you actually have to have the person's name put up for the mass and that costs you $$$. When I was a kid it was like I think $20.00 for a mass. And to enter the LDS temple you have to do what...guess...LOL put up $$$ how much you ask... 1/10 of your income. Now I look at this and say...WOW what a strange coincidence...both churches say you can help your dead ancestors (which anyone who loves them would want to do) and yet both churchs also say... BUT it is going to cost you $$$ to do it. What a wonderful Christlike thing.... You know come to think of it, when was the only time you ever heard of Jesus loosing his cool and going ballistic....yep....you are right....when he ran the money changers right out of the Temple. Yikes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Almost exactly ten years ago, I did a little bit of checking with regard to the Ephrata Commune, and never saw anything about any practice, by them, of baptism for the dead. If they did baptize for the dead, their practice of the rite doesn't seem to be well known, and, so, I'm not sure that there's any reason to believe that it was ever well known (if, indeed, it ever even happened).

In order to believe that the isolated and largely German-speaking Ephrata Commune (also, significantly, known as the "Ephrata Cloister") of Pennsylvania influenced Joseph Smith in this regard, one has to assume (1) that it practiced baptism for the dead in the first place, (2) that Joseph Smith was aware of this practice despite the fact that Ephrata is well over a hundred miles from Harmony, Pennsylvania, his nearest place of residence, in a day of poor roads and communication, and despite the fact that the Commune had clearly passed its prime by the American Revolution, was essentially defunct by the year of Joseph's birth [1805], and lost its last surviving full [celibate] member in 1813, (3) that the practice struck him positively, and (4) that he nonetheless remained silent on the subject until roughly 1840 in Illinois, a decade after his last days in Harmony.

Each of those propositions seems to me unlikely. And why invoke Ephrata anyway, when the practice of baptism for the dead is explicitly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29 -- a text with which we know Joseph Smith was familiar?

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Guest Just Curious
Almost exactly ten years ago, I did a little bit of checking with regard to the Ephrata Commune, and never saw anything about any practice, by them, of baptism for the dead. If they did baptize for the dead, their practice of the rite doesn't seem to be well known, and, so, I'm not sure that there's any reason to believe that it was ever well known (if, indeed, it ever even happened).

Have you read Sachse book?

In order to believe that the isolated and largely German-speaking Ephrata Commune (also, significantly, known as the "Ephrata Cloister") of Pennsylvania influenced Joseph Smith in this regard, one has to assume (1) that it practiced baptism for the dead in the first place, (2) that Joseph Smith was aware of this practice despite the fact that Ephrata is well over a hundred miles from Harmony, Pennsylvania, his nearest place of residence, in a day of poor roads and communication, and despite the fact that the Commune had clearly passed its prime by the American Revolution, was essentially defunct by the year of Joseph's birth [1805], and lost its last surviving full [celibate] member in 1813, (3) that the practice struck him positively, and (4) that he nonetheless remained silent on the subject until roughly 1840 in Illinois, a decade after his last days in Harmony.

Of course I unequivocally said this is where Joseph got baptism for the dead right? Nope, I simply said there was a religious sect in his area of the country doing this long before him.....it is entirely possible he had heard of it and knew of it just as it is entirely possible he had never heard of it. I inferred nothing...you assumed...remember when you assume what it does...

Each of those propositions seems to me unlikely. And why invoke Ephrata anyway, when the practice of baptism for the dead is explicitly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29 -- a text with which we know Joseph Smith was familiar?

I dunno...I guess I was just answering the question the poster asked that's all

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