Did you know that Mormons welcome your questions? It is a good, easy way to get them to think for themselves.
We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.
Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [LDS]) believe that they can perform proxy baptisms for the dead to permit the dead to progress in the afterlife. This is the reason they collect genealogical information.
Celestial marriage is a marriage for time and eternity that is performed in Mormon temples. These two doctrines are considered fundamental in Mormon belief.
In the mid-80’s I was asked to meet with some Christian GIs who had asked some Mormon missionaries to come by. It sounded like an interesting opportunity. When they arrived, they wanted to present their usual first lesson. However, I told them I had a couple questions regarding fundamental Mormon doctrine, baptism for the dead, and celestial marriage. I then suggested one of the missionaries go ahead and give their presentation while the other looked up answers to my questions in the Book of Mormon.
I also told them I had read in the Doctrine and Covenants 20:9 that the Book of Mormon (BoM) is called, “the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ …” And in the Introduction to the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith is quoted as saying, “… a man would get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.” They readily agreed.
So, while one missionary was giving their presentation, I watched the other look up baptism in the Index, turn to the reference, pick up the pen to write, put it down and return to the Index. It went on like this for the entire lesson.
When it was over I asked the missionary about the references so I could tell the author of the “anti Mormon” literature he was wrong. I was told they would get back to me soon. That was decades ago.
They can’t find a BoM reference because there isn’t one. The BoM was in print before many Mormon doctrines were presented to the LDS Church.
So your question should be, “Is baptism for the dead and celestial marriage necessary if one is to get closer to God according to Joseph Smith in the BoM Introduction? Then why does the Book of Mormon not teach these doctrines?”
December 3, 2021 E-Letter
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