baptism for the dead
Week 45 is scheduled for study Nov. 1-7, 2021. Baptism for the dead is one of the most original doctrines we possess. No other Christian denomination believes such an opportunity exists.

Day 1

Remember to record your feelings as you study Doctrine and Covenants 125-128 so that you can reflect on them and share them with others.

Doctrine and Covenants 126 – The Lord wants me to care for my family.

I consider this a “mixed message” title on today’s lesson. On the surface, the Lord wanting me to take care of my family is a “Duh!” statement. But the statement was not made directly to me, but to Brigham Young, an Apostle. The calling of an apostle requires they travel the world continually. It is a great sacrifice.

The Church was still pretty young when this revelation was given. The apostles were all young as well. They all had growing families at home. This meant that when they traveled, their wife and children had to struggle to survive without a man (read that as a laborer) at home to help do the work needed to survive. And on at least one of Brigham Young’s missions, he left when he and his missionary companion were so sick they could hardly stand up.

By the time this revelation came, Brigham Young was now the senior apostle, which meant he was the president of the quorum of the twelve apostles. I am guessing that this revelation also set the precedent that the president of the quorum not travel like all the other apostles do. He needs to be at home base coordinating with the First Presidency all that needs to be done by the twelve to run the Church, so he wouldn’t travel nearly as much.

President Young had already proven his faithfulness, his willingness to do anything he was asked to do, even at the expense of his most precious possession, his family. The revelation stating that his sacrifices had proven his devotion to the work of the Lord, and that from this point forward he was to focus on caring for his family, must have been a great relief. As President of the quorum of the twelve it greatly simplified his responsibilities, and as a husband and father this had to be a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with his family. President Young would continue to have children enter his home for at least another couple of decades.

Now, as to likening the scriptures unto ourselves, this statement from the Lord plainly spells out our need and responsibility to care for our family. The Lord’s designation that he “take especial care of your family” means that Brigham was to make his family a priority in his life. Have we made our family responsibilities a priority? It is so easy to get caught up in advancing our job prospects or careers, it can be easy to forget that there is nothing in this life more important, in the long run, than our relationship with our family members.

Day 2

Remember to record your feelings as you study Doctrine and Covenants 125-128 so that you can reflect on them and share them with others.

Doctrine and Covenants 127:2-4 – The Lord knows my joys and sorrows.

There is a basic assumption that all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should have. We should all assume that the Lord’s intentions and designs are that we find lasting happiness. We need to assume that is the reason and motivation behind all of His commandments to us. And knowing the plan of salvation, we know that this life is a time of testing and proving to see if we are willing to do whatsoever the Lord commands us to do.

When we suffer persecution, this means we can assume the Lord is aware of it. When we experience ease and comfort, we can also assume the Lord is still aware of it. We also need to remember that most of our personal growth happens in our times of trial and pain. Section 127 is a great example of these assumptions. Joseph Smith is so accustomed to suffering and trials that he has learned to glory in them, for he has learned the value they can bring into our lives in the form of needed changes and humbling.

The verses of today’s reading demonstrate to us that we should recognize that the Lord is aware of our situations at all times, and that He has blessings already outlined and waiting for those who endure their suffering well. So rejoice, for the Lord is in control, and He has blessings waiting for all who are faithful to His commandments, no matter what happens to us in mortality. For the Lord only sees us with an eternal perspective. His vision of us is never limited to just mortality or to this year, for He sees the end from the beginning. He knows us and our potential. All He wants is for us to claim His highest blessings. He has already made them, and keeps them at the ready. He is just waiting to see who is willing to live up to those precious gifts.

Day 3

Remember to record your feelings as you study Doctrine and Covenants 125-128 so that you can reflect on them and share them with others.

Doctrine and Covenants 127:5-8; 128:1-8 – Whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven.

It may be difficult to think of God, our Father, in terms of legal matters. But if there ever was a supreme lawyer and judge, it is our Father in Heaven. Nothing is haphazard and lazy. Everything God does is clean, with no loopholes, and no sloppiness. All of the bases are covered. This is especially true when it comes to anything having to do with the salvation and exaltation of His children.

Is it any wonder then that when an ordinance of salvation is done in the temple, someone must be an eye witness, AND it must be recorded with additional witnesses as well? Remember, it is God, Himself who gave us the law of witnesses – that there must be at least two or more people testifying of the same thing in order for that thing to stand the test of truth. In the case of ordinance work, not only do we record the work done, but the angels are also recording the work as they see it done. There will be no shortage of witnesses to any ordinance work we have done, either in this life or in the life to come.

Day 4

Remember to record your feelings as you study Doctrine and Covenants 125-128 so that you can reflect on them and share them with others.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:5-25 – The salvation of my ancestors is essential to my salvation.

It can be very easy for us to be unaware of just how privileged we are in this dispensation. We have all of the covenants needed for our exaltation. Not only do we have access to them, but those covenants are available to everyone in the world. All they need to do is repent and obey God’s commandments.

The degree to which we have access to great spiritual power in our lives is unparalleled in the history of the world. It is because of this privileged status that God also requires us to participate in the work of salvation for the sake of His other children who never had the opportunities we currently have. He loves them just as much as He loves us, and all of His children will be given, at one time or another, the same opportunity to accept the gospel Christ brought us.

The key concept here is that the salvation of God’s family is a family affair, not an individual affair. The Plan of Salvation is organized along celestial patterns. None of us can save ourselves. All of us have to have someone else do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. That is the very backbone of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. We are lost without the work he did for each of us. That same principle applies to each of us. We must do for others what they cannot do for themselves. If we refuse to pass along the blessings and opportunities we have been given so freely then we forfeit our ability to enter the celestial kingdom, for no selfish people can live there.

The article below discusses this concept of doing for others what they cannot do for themselves. Just as they cannot be saved without our works in their behalf, our ancestors must be served by us in order for us to be exalted to the celestial kingdom. We all require each other’s selfless service in order to be ultimately saved in the kingdom of God.

FHE/Personal Study

Salvation for the dead, a revolutionary doctrine.

At the time of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel of Christ there was no part of Christianity that taught that salvation was possible to someone who had “missed” their chance at salvation during mortality. If you died without baptism you were damned. Period. End of story. There was no mercy from God on this point. Either you were baptized in life or you would burn in hell. There was no other alternative offered. It didn’t matter what kind of moral and loving life you led during your time here. Baptism was all that mattered. This means that almost every family had to live with the heartache that many members of their families were damned for eternity. Every baby who died without baptism was also damned. Small wonder there were so many tears in many of their funerals. They not only had lost their friend and loved one, but they were taught by their religion that the person they loved so much was going to burn in hell for eternity.

The restored gospel of Christ was more than twelve years old before the first public teaching came out about the possibility of baptising living people vicariously for those who were deceased. Try to imagine the sublime joy and elation the early Saints must have felt to hear that there was a way for them to offer their dead relatives the opportunity for the same salvation they had discovered in the restored church. There was a mad rush by the members to baptize everyone of their deceased relatives they could. Baptism for the dead is a doctrine that sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart from every other Christian denomination, for no one teaches this doctrine but us.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the file.

A Voice of Gladness

Week 45