The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part II

Baptism | Christian Art

*If you haven’t already, read The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part I

Re-baptism was in fact so prominent a doctrine, that there were rules laid out for it:

 “Baptism for the dead and for the healing of the body must be in the font, and those coming into the Church and those re-baptized may be baptized in the river.” (H of C 4:586)

(This, introducing us to a new doctrine of ‘{re}baptism for the healing of the body’.)

Joseph Smith was baptized once when John the Baptist appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery (P of GP, JS 2:70) in May of 1829, then nearly a year later, he was baptized again on the day of the organization of the Church. (Deseret News, March 30, 1935, p. 6)  Nine in all were re-baptized a second time for entrance into the Church.

Frederick G. Williams was converted and baptized into the Church in 1830 but in 1837 he lost confidence in the Church for a time, and though never excommunicated, chose to be re-baptized. (Aug. 5, 1838 D.H.C. 3:55)

B.H Roberts wanted to make it clear that, “this procedure must not be regarded as casting any doubt upon the validity of their original baptisms, or repudiation of it as a sacrament.  It was only to make more solemn the renewal of covenants with God.” (C.H.C. B. H. Roberts, 2:286-287)

In Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, he relates the account of The Twelve apostles being re-baptized, and it was not because they lost their records or had apostatized!  (Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 6, 1847)  Brigham Young led the way and set the first example.  Some 300 Saints followed in re-baptism. (History of Utah, 1840-86, Bancroft, p. 265)

Speaking of re-baptism, John Taylor was quoted as saying, “The Saints generally responded to this requirement…” (Life of John Taylor, by Roberts, p. 193)

The practice was still being taught and practiced 18-years later, not only in the Salt Lake valley, but abroad in England.

“Now it was almost a general thing through England that the Saints were being re-baptized, for they had many and mostly become old and cold and it required a renewal of covenants and fresh works together with mere faith and diligence, to give the work new impetus and revive the dropping spirits of the Saints and the work generally.” (Huntington Diary, Feb.7 1847, p. 114)

So now we know, there is no arguing that re-baptism was only happening while the Church was getting established, and it wasn’t only for apostates, or for those who had their records lost.  Re-baptism was done for all members of the Church with various callings when they simply wanted to renew their covenants.

I love my baptism experience and making the covenants I made with my Father in Heaven.  There are many occasions I have felt the desire, and even urgency, to get re-baptized, renew my covenants, and start clean and new.  Taking the Sacrament is one way to renew your covenants, but it is not the same way as re-baptism.  And I would love to experience that again like the early Saints got to.

*Go to The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part III

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

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