The Doctrine of Plural Marriage Part I

I just read an article entitled “Why Did the Church Abandon Polygamy?” and feel a reaction to the justifications given.  The author’s, W. John Walsh, main argument was that the Lord will revoke a law or commandment if it isn’t essential to our salvation.  And thus the practice of polygamy was abandoned by the Church, to get along with the State.

I have to take issue with this.  Firstly, let me say, this might be a fair argument in and of itself – that we be subject to the Law of the Land so long as the conflicting commandment is not pertinent to our salvation – I’ll have to think on that.  He does bring to light a very good reference to this in D&C 124:49-50:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.”

While the Doctrine of Plural Marriage may not be pertinent to our Salvation, is it not pertinent to our Exaltation?  Or is it like Brigham Young taught, that, even if we don’t/can’t practice it, if we have faith in the practice, we can still be exalted?

“If you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained.”

or

“A man may embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart and not take the second wife and be justified before the Lord.”

I liken this idea to those who cannot have children.  Are they unacceptable to the Lord because they did not have any children in their mortal probation after he commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth?  Or does he have compassion on them, knowing they tried to have children and knowing it was a desire of their heart?  Undoubtedly he would not withhold his blessings in eternity from them for that.

I will have to study, think, and pray on the subject more to draw any conclusions.

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part IV

early Mormon Church baptisms

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part I

In 1874 when the United Order was restored in the Salt Lake Valley (after having been practiced in Kirtland), one of the evidences of committing to live the Order was re-baptism.

John Bushman was, in fact, “baptized into the United Order”. (John Bushman diary p. 31)

“Mary, Fanney and myself were baptized for the remission of sin and renewal of our covenants and for the observance of the rules of the United Order…” (Diary of J. H. Standifird)

As part of Marriage Preparation, couples were re-baptized.

“To show their willingness to serve the Lord and to rededicate their lives for His service, they were re-baptized in the ‘Tabernacle Font.’ “(Journal of Edward Wood, Aug. 30 1892)

“September 17th 1886 – As it was customary to get baptized to prepare for my temple ordinances, before going to the temple so as to be free from all evil and wrong… I arranged with Brother Leatham, who has charge of baptisms on the Temple Block, to be be baptized…
I had already made arrangements to get Ida’s recommend to be baptized and at 2 p.m…. I took Ida to the Old Endowment House and after a word of prayer and a few remarks by Brother Leatham, be baptized us and confirmed us for the renewal of our covenants.” (Diary of John M. Whitaker, Book 3, p. 16) 

“It was customary in those days to be re-baptized before being married.  This young couple adhered to that practice, though one foot of ice in big creek had to be broken in order to do so.”  (Life of George F. Richards, p. 8)

I can imagine how beautiful it would be to renew your covenants with the Lord before such a sacred and holy union, to start new and fresh, with a rededicated focus on serving the Lord together.

Re-baptism for the sick was also practiced, though it was never an established order.

When Emma Smith was very sick, Joseph relates this account:

“Wed. 5. My dear Emma was worse.  Many fears were entertained that she would not recover.  She was baptized twice in the river, which evidently did her much good…” (History of Church, J. Smith, Vol. 5; p. 167-168)

In the Life of L. Snow, it is related that one of the Elders “baptized me in the name of the Lord, for my recovery.” (1846, Romney, p. 80-81)

“F. D. Richards, who had been sick for several months, was baptized, anointed, and confirmed; immediately after which he was restored to health.  Mrs. Richards was taken by her brother form a sick bed to a lake from the surface of which ice more than a foot thick had been removed, and there baptized, whereupon she immediately recovered.” (Bancroft’s History of Utah, p. 337)

I think it is important to note what Ogden Krout had to say about the matter:

“Baptism for the sick was never an established order for healing the sick, because the Lord had already established administration by the laying on of hands and the use of olive oil for such healings.  Baptism was a means of remitting sins; and if the devil was afflicting someone with sickness, it may have been through their weakness or sins that he could accomplish it.  Nevertheless, these baptisms were a means of controlling or abating the afflictions of the Saints, even though it had its limitations.”

* The research for these references comes from Ogden Kraut. For more information on the topic, I suggest reading his book, Re-Baptism.

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part III

The Savior's Baptism

 

The Savior's BaptismThe Doctrine of Re-baptism Part I
The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part II 

The four day conference that stared on September 13, 1856 with the theme of “Live Your Religion” had an emphasis on reformation – including re-baptism to bring the Saints back into focus in the work of the Lord.  According to the counsel of President Young, the Twelve were baptized, and,

This,” wrote Apostle Woodruff, “we considered a privilege and a duty…. We felt like renewing our covenants before the Lord and each other. We soon repaired to the water, and President Young went down into the water and baptized all his brethren of the Twelve present.  Brother Heber C. Kimball baptized and confirmed President Young…The whole camp of Israel renewed their covenants before the Lord by baptism.  There were 224 baptized this morning, making 284 re-baptized during the last three days.” (Jedediah M. Grant, p. 130, 138)

Deseret News reporting on September 1856, p. 228 remarks, “nearly 500 Saints were immersed under the direction of President Grant… The Spirit of God was poured out to a great degree, and peace and happiness characterized the whole assembly.”

and page 266…

“The congregation seemed to be lighted up with the Holy Ghost: they prophesied, spoke in tongues, had the interpretation thereof, and the blessings of the Almighty God rested upon them.”

Wow!  Can you imagine that kind of reporting today from Deseret News?  Can you imagine an assembly like that today in our Church?  Sadly, I cannot.  Where are our re-baptisms?  Where are our prophesies?  What does it really mean to speak in tongues, and why, in our Church, is it associated with other languages and missions, but in the Scriptures it is associated with a manifestation of the Spirit after conferring the Holy Ghost?

Obviously these gatherings and re-baptisms were pleasing to the Lord, otherwise His Spirit would not have rested so heavily upon them.

In a letter from Brigham Young to Orson Pratt, he instructed, “when they have sufficiently cleansed the inside of the platter, let them cleanse the outside, and renew their covenants in the waters of baptism.” (Church Chronology p. 58)

These group re-baptisms are replete in the accounts of many early leaders journals and reportings:  Huntington Diary, Hosea Stout Diary, Life of W. Woodruff, Deseret News, John Bushman Diary, Journal of Discourses, Life of John Taylor, Autobiography of P. P. Pratt, History of Utah, C.H.C, D.H.C, Millennial Star, and Church Chronology.

*Continue to The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part IV

* The research for these references comes from Ogden Kraut. For more information on the topic, I suggest reading his book, Re-Baptism.