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Duncan

Why do baptisms for the dead have to be done in Temples?

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Why do baptisms for the dead have to be done in the Temple? I know initially they were done in the Mississippi River but then the Lord changed it to the Temple but why though? Any clues?

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Why do baptisms for the dead have to be done in the Temple? I know initially they were done in the Mississippi River but then the Lord changed it to the Temple but why though? Any clues?

Just off the top of my head, the only reason the Lord permitted them outside of the Temple was due to the poverty of the Saints, where no such building yet existed. Once that was no longer the case, only the Temple could be used for it. I don't believe the Lord supplied a reason for this.

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Why do baptisms for the dead have to be done in the Temple?

The Temple is the only place (when one exists on the earth) where the Melchizedek Priesthood functions on behalf of the dead. As you note, when there is no Temple, the Lord can authorize us to use natural places "apart", where the sacred nature of the ordinances can be maintained away from prying eyes and where no evil, spirit or otherwise, can enter.

(The Endowment, for instance, was performed in the Endowment House, but only for the living. It was the same in the Red Brick Store and on Ensign Peak in the Salt Lake Valley. It was not until the St. George Temple was dedicated that there was a place on the Earth where higher ordinances for the dead were permitted.)

Look at the ordinances (which I will not list here) that we perform in Temples. All Melchizedek ordinances are done for both living and dead. But because the Melchizedek Priesthood is required to officiate in ordinances for the dead, it is in the Temples where we do these salvific ordinances for the dead.

Lehi

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Much of what goes on in the temple has deep symbolic meanings. The basins for baptisms for the dead are conducted below ground. I Cor. 15:29 indicates that baptisms for the dead were going on, but clearly it wasn't being done in the temple. In the Secret Gospel of Mark, we read of a “young man following [Jesus] with nothing but a linen cloth about his [naked] body.” (Mark 14:51) This has generated a great amount of discussion among all sorts of groups and Clement called it an “initiation into the great mysteries.”

As Hugh Nibley pointed out, the Lord appears to the apostles for 40 days after his resurrection and teaches them what? Nothing more than what had already been revealed? Well, that doesn't make sense. When the enemy came to take Jesus, they seized the youth “but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.”

There is clearly more that happened than we know about.

.

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Much of what goes on in the temple has deep symbolic meanings. The basins for baptisms for the dead are conducted below ground. I Cor. 15:29 indicates that baptisms for the dead were going on, but clearly it wasn't being done in the temple.

Actually, I Corinthians 15:20-29 comes directly from a Temple context, not only because Christ himself is the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world as a Sin Offering specifically approved by the High Priest in Jerusalem, but because the very concept of a sin offering for the dead was already operative at the Temple in Jerusalem. Paul already knows the context (the resurrection), and so do the Corinthians who receive his letter. Only we are oblivious to the context.

The late James Barr pointed out long ago that the language of I Cor 15:29 is actually based on II Maccabees 12:44 and the surrounding text. Several Jews had fallen in combat and were found to be wearing sacred tokens of pagan gods. This would foil any hope for their resurrection. Consequently, a collection was taken and paid as a sin offering at the Temple, along with prayers on behalf of these dead men. As explained in II Macc 12:44-45 (NRSV),

"For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin."

Of course in Joseph's day, KJV Bibles all contained the Apocrypha, and this was also true of Joseph's copy of the Bible (a Phinney Bible purchased at E. B. Grandin's Bookstore).

Another thing: It might be well to bear in mind that only in the baptismal font and confirmation rooms nearby can unendowed members of the church participate as proxies. I think it a lovely opportunity for young people to participate in some of our most important rites. I have sometimes been so moved while performing those rites that I had to stop speaking for a moment. Those for whom we perform those rites are palpably there participating with us, even though we cannot usually see them.

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