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Do Witnesses To A Baptism Have To Hold The Priesthood?


Duncan

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This might be helpful, Duncan. The answer is yes, the witnesses must be Priesthood holders. I assume, because baptism is an official ordinance of the church.

Two priests or men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood witness each baptism to be sure it is performed properly. The baptism must be repeated if the words are not spoken exactly as given in Doctrine and Covenants 20:73 or if part of the person’s body or clothing was not immersed completely. The person being baptized and the person performing the ordinance are to wear white clothing that is not transparent when wet.

Baptism

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This might be helpful, Duncan. The answer is yes, the witnesses must be Priesthood holders. I assume, because baptism is an official ordinance of the church.

Baptism

I point out that the witnesses must have the authority that they would need if they were to perform the baptism themselves (i.e. be priests in the Aaronic Priesthood or hold the Melchizedek Priesthood). I think Libs is correct in the assumption that, because it is a priesthood ordinance, officiators (including the witnesses) must bear the proper authority.

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Ardis posted a fun historical official take on the question, from 1948:

Q. Is baptism into the Church valid without a witness? – L.A.H., Twin Falls, Ida.

A. If the elder who performed the baptism was a duly authorized representative of the Church with power to perform baptisms under the established authority of the Church, the baptism would be valid.There have been some missionaries in the Church, particularly in olden days, who had to travel alone and who did baptize. They performed that ordinance by the power and authority they held as missionaries inasmuch as all missionaries are authorized to perform baptisms of persons who have been converted to the gospel. If the baptism took place in a ward or stake the ordinance would have to be authorized by the bishop of the ward who would issue the recommend for baptism or by the regular stake missionaries. Under the latter circumstances, there would be sufficient witnesses to remove any question as to the validity of the ordinance. Whenever it is possible there should be witnesses to a baptism. In the case of baptism for the dead in the temple, it is mandatory that a witness be present. See Doc. & Cov., Sections 127-128.

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