Child Baptism

Mormons routinely baptize children at the age of eight for “SIN”:

And their children shall be baptized for the REMISSION OF THEIR SINS when EIGHT YEARS OLD [3rd grade] (D&C 68:27)

These are some of the questions baptismal candidates are asked during the baptismal interview:

Do you feel that you have repented of your past transgressions?

  • Are you now on probation or parole?
  • Have you ever participated in an abortion?
  • Have you ever participated in a homosexual relationship?

What do you understand by the following standards?

  1. The law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relationship outside the bonds of a legal marriage between a man and a woman.

The practice of baptizing children for the “remission of sins,” and the discussing of such matters with 3rd graders should be forbidden, either because the Book of Mormon condemns it (Mor.8.9), or out of common sense.

Note: Jesus likened the “kingdom of heaven” to children who were old enough to choose to believe in him; yet who were unbaptized:

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which BELIEVE IN ME, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18)

“When” a person is “accountable” is not the issue, but rather, “when” they “sinned against God,” that is the question.

Related: Baptism, Key Things, More Than One Baptism

Baptism

Paul said he received instructions for the ordinances directly from Jesus Christ:

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. (1 Corinthians 11)

Unfortunately those instructions became lost, and all that remains are its rude reflections. Thankfully, they are found in the Book of Mormon as Jesus gave them:

1. By Water

a. Both Were Buried

12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.
14 And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit.
15 And again, Alma took another, and went forth a second time into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself again in the water.
16 And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. (Mosiah 18)

b. Belong to the Church of God

18 Therefore, Alma did go forth into the water and did baptize them; yea, he did baptize them after the manner he did his brethren in the waters of Mormon; yea, and as many as he did baptize did belong to the church of God; and this because of their belief on the words of Alma. (Mosiah 25)

c. Priests and Teachers Were to Baptize

13 And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized. ( Alma 15)

d. Method and Power

21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. (3 Nephi 11)

e. Children Don’t Need

9 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.
10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!
13 Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.
14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.
15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.
16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear. (Moroni 8)

2. By Fire and the Holy Ghost

20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost , even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. (3 Nephi 9)

Authority

One of the biggest issues with certain denominations is authority. We have the Roman and Orthodox churches claiming direct lineage back to Peter. Then we have so-called Restoration (Joseph Smith related, not Campbellite related) churches claiming there was a fall or break in the line that had to be “restored.” Biblical verses can be cited in favor of each position.

The Lord did tell Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. (Matthew 16:18) And Paul did warn there would come a falling away first, before the coming of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:3); but in the reformation a new view emerged.

To counter the Roman view, Calvin and others proved through verse that the authority of God was successfully given through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18) to all believers (John 16:23) saying, where two or more are gathered, or where two agree, Jesus will be there and the Father will respect it (Matthew 18:19-20).

And so the power shifted from a priesthood line to all true believers. The same was made clear during Jesus’ lifetime when his disciples demanded that he stop others (not ordained as they) from using his name to cast out devils. But Jesus warned them to “forbid him not” (Mark 9:38-40).

Likewise, the call of Paul to be an apostle came directly from the Lord without either priesthood or church authority (Galatians 1:1,11-12). In fact, when he and Barnabas were called on their first missions, they were called by God’s prophets in Antioch, not from Peter, James, or John in Jerusalem (Acts 13:1-4).

[It is important to note that most of the New Testament and early churches were written and planted by Paul.]

Therefore the case for authority through lineage by the Roman, Orthodox, and Restoration groups doesn’t even apply. The question is, what does The Book of Mormon say about authority?

In The Book of Mormon, we find both types of authority being used – the spiritual and the priestly. When it comes to the spiritual, most Book of Mormon readers have assumed that Alma, and the church that he started in the wilderness, “must have already been given authority to do so.” That was not the case however, for he was not ordained until after he and his church arrived at the land of Zarahemla:

And it came to pass that King Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church. (Mosiah 25:19)

This also explains why he had to baptize himself with the first person in the wilderness – there was nobody else with authority in the area to do so. His cry to God made it clear that he was asking for authority for what his group was going to do. Upon receiving the Spirit of the Lord, Alma knew he had received authority from God:

And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.
And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.
And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit. (Mosiah 18:12-14)

To make this point absolutely clear, Jesus spoke these words to Alma when he was in Zarahemla regarding the church he started in the wilderness, near the waters of Mormon:

And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying:
Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi.
And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them.
And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people.
Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.
And because thou hast inquired of me concerning the transgressor, thou art blessed.
Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep.
And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive.
For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive. (Mosiah 26:14-22)

Neither Alma nor his people had authority prior to going into the wilderness to start a church or to perform baptisms, but rather, they did have faith in the words of the prophet Abinadi, and faith in the love and fairness of God. That he would hear their prayers and help their group, i.e. their church.

This confirms that the baptisms and the church performed and formed by Alma (as did Paul in the New Testament) were approved of the Lord – they being done in the name of the Lord and in the presence of witnesses—without priesthood authority.

So what was lost through the Dark Ages? Was it priesthood like the many followers of Joseph claim? Or was it something else? According to The Book of Mormon, if angels don’t appear, if miracles are not performed, it is because of the lack of one thing—FAITH, not priesthood:

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, If these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief and all is vain.
38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name (not priesthood); wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has FAITH ceased also (not priesthood); and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. (Moroni 7:33-38)

Apostasy

Mormons proclaim an apostasy from the first century church and therefore a need for restoring what was lost; things like priesthood, church, a prophet, apostles, polygamy, endowments, sealings, the Word of Wisdom and temple marriage.

LDS apostle Dr. Talmage, in his The Great Apostasy book had this to say:

As one of the effective causes leading to the apostasy of the Primitive Church we have specified: Unauthorized additions to the ceremonies of the Church, and the Introduction of vital changes in essential ordinances. (James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Deseret Book, 1968, p. 113. Emphasis his.)

“Unauthorized additions” would apply to Joseph Smith and his “revelations” in the Doctrine & Covenants that went beyond what the Book of Mormon said. Jesus warned him not to:

I will bring to light my gospel (Book of Mormon)…yea, the only doctrine which is in me. (D&C 10:62, dated Summer 1829)

Whoso among you shall do more or less than (‘my gospel’ as found in the Book of Mormon)…the gates of HELL are ready open to receive them. (3 Nephi 18:13)

The gospel in the Book of Mormon is simple; Mormonism is not. In fact, Joseph’s gospel bears little resemblance to the gospel in the Book of Mormon as several LDS professors have admitted:

It has often been pointed out, however, that those beliefs most commonly associated with Mormonism are nowhere to be found in that text. Those expecting an exposition of peculiarly Mormon doctrine will be disappointed. (Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 186)

Despite the effort that went into the translation, Joseph Smith did not make the book the foundation of the church. (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 1984, p. 142)

Thus, the evidence of apostasy identified by Dr. Talmage from the original church can apply likewise to the original church started by Joseph:

The ridicule heaped upon the early Church by the pagans on account of the simplicity of Christian worship has already received mention. The cause of reproach was none the less emphasized by Judaistic critics, to whom ritual and ceremony, formalism and prescribed rites, figured as essentials of religion. Very early in its history, the Church manifested a tendency to supplant the pristine simplicity of its worship by elaborate ceremonies, patterned after Judaistic ritual and heathen idolatries. (James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Deseret Book, 1968, p. 113)

You wonder if Talmage realized he was describing the inclinations of Joseph Smith and what started as a simple Book of Mormon fellowship became a Super Doctrine & Covenants Church? Dr. Talmage drew particular attention to changes made in the second and third century Church to the sacraments:

  • Baptism (p. 116)
  • Communion (p. 119)

The red flags of apostasy for Dr. Talmage are in fact the same red flags for Book of Mormon believers. Book of Mormon believers take note that the Book of Mormon says not to baptize children, yet Joseph Smith made a revelation mandating the baptism of all children when eight.

Communion, according to the Book of Mormon is only for the baptized, yet Mormons give it to infants, investigators and the comatose.

According to Dr. Talmage, the Mormon Church has slipped into an apostate state, which was prophesied of:

Wo be unto him that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner (original sin & child baptism) for they shall perish except they repent behold I speak with boldness having authority from God (Moroni 8:16)