The Latter-day Saint reader will be interested to know that all deceased relatives of Richard T. Martin that are recorded in these histories and were born before 1909, have had their temple ordinance work completed with only a few exceptions. However, most relatives born in the last 110 years (i.e. born after 1909) have not had ordinance work performed on their behalf.
Work for the dead is a central doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baptisms for the dead were performed in the original, ancient church and that such an ordinance was done in those early days is acknowledged in the commentary of the current Catholic Bible (The New American Bible Revised Edition, page 262, published in 1970).
After quoting I Corinthians chapter 15, verse 29, which reads, “Otherwise, what will people accomplish by having themselves baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them?” The commentary reads: “Paul concludes his treatment of logical inconsistencies with a listing of miscellaneous practices that would be meaningless if the resurrection was not a fact. Baptized for the dead: This practice is not further explained here…but Paul cites it as something in their experience that attests in one more way to belief in the resurrection.”
My purpose here is not to go into a lengthy discussion of this subject, but, simply stated, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that baptism by immersion, by one having authority, is the first ordinance essential for salvation. Most people never hear the gospel in this life and for this they are not condemned.
God in His mercy has provided that everyone that has ever lived will have an opportunity to hear and learn the fullness of the Gospel after they die. This will take place in the Spirit World, the intermediate place that everyone goes to before the Final Judgement. After being taught, those who believe and want to be baptized can accept the baptism that has been done in their behalf here on earth. Free will is always present and those who do not believe it do not have to accept this work and can ignore it, as most people do in this life. God will give to everyone as much as they are willing to receive. This is part of the Plan of Salvation.
I realize that this teaching is not something that most people are aware of, and it may sound foreign. Yet throughout history people have lit candles and prayed for the dead. They have wanted to do something meaningful for those who have passed on to the other side, but are limited because they have not learned more about the Plan of Happiness. It is a wonderful, bold doctrine and gives those who believe something special to do on behalf of their dear, departed loved ones.
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Richard T. Martin