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.

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