Back to the BOAP Web Page

Sermon delivered at General Conference of the Church in Nauvoo, Ill. on October 3, 1841 (Sunday Morning)
Sources: Times and Seasons 2 (15 October 1841):577-78, Church Minutes by Willard Richards (General Church Minutes file, LDS archives), and Jonathan Dunham Diary, LDS Archives

Times and Seasons Willard Richards Jonathan Dunham Diary
Sunday 3rd, A. M. Conference assembled and was called to order by President Marks, and divine service commenced by the choir singing Hymn 274, and prayer by Br. H. C. Kimball.

Baptism for the Dead

¶ President Joseph Smith, by request of some of the Twelve, gave instructions on the doctrine of Baptism for the Dead; which was listened to with intense interest by the large assembly. The speaker presented "Baptism for the Dead" as the only way that men can appear as saviors on mount Zion.1 The proclamation of the first principles of the gospel was a means of salvation to men individually, and it was the truth, not men that saved them; but men, by actively engaging in rites of salvation substitutionally, became instrumental in bringing multitudes of their kin into the kingdom of God.

Angels and Spirits

He explained a difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit, ministering to embodied spirits-- the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits.

Jesus as Spirit and Angel

Jesus Christ became a ministering spirit, while his body laying in the sepulchre, to the spirits in prison; to fulfil an important part of his mission, without which he could not have perfected his work or entered into his rest After his resurrection, he appeared as an angel to his disciples &c.

Translated Being

Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions. The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body.-- Jesus Christ went in body, after his resurrection, to minister to translated and resurrected bodies.

Priesthood Chain

There has been a chain of authority and power from Adam down to the present time.

How to Get Truth

The only way to obtain truth and wisdom, is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer and obtain divine teaching.

All Spirits can Come to God at Any Age

It is no more incredible that God should save the dead, than that he should raise the dead. There is never a time when the spirit is too old to approach God. All are within the reach of pardoning mercy, who have not committed the unpardonable sin, which hath no forgiveness, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

How to Save Spirits - Priesthood

There is a way to release the spirit of the dead; that is, by the power and authority of the Priesthood-- by binding and loosing on earth.

¶ This doctrine appears glorious, inasmuch as it exhibits the greatness of divine compassion and benevolence in the extent of the plan of human salvation. This glorious truth is well calculated to enlarge the understanding, and to sustain the soul under troubles, difficulties, and distresses.

¶ For illustration the speaker presented, by supposition, the case of two men, brothers, equally intelligent, learned, virtuous and lovely, walking in uprightness and in all good conscience, so far as they had been able to discern duty from the muddy stream of tradition, or from the blotted page of the book of nature. One dies, and is buried, having never heard the gospel of reconciliation, to the other the message of salvation is sent, he hears and embraces it, and is made the heir of eternal life. Shall the one become a partaker of glory, and the other be consigned to hopeless perdition? Is there no chance for his escape?

No Provision for the Dead is Worse that Atheism

Sectarianism answers, "none! none!! none!!!" Such an idea is worse than atheism. The truth shall break down and dash in pieces all such bigoted Pharisaism; the sects shall be sifted, the honest in heart brought out, and their priests left in the midst of their corruption.

Why Other Denominational Baptisms Rejected

The speaker then answered the objections urged against the Latter Day Saints for not admitting the validity of sectarian baptism, and for withholding fellowship from sectarian churches. It was like putting new wine into old bottles and putting old wine into new bottles. What, new revelations in the old churches! New revelations knock out the bottom of their bottomless pit. New wine into old bottles!--the bottles burst and the wine runs out. What, Sadducees in the new church! Old wine in new leathern bottles will leak through the pores and escape; so the Sadducee saints mock at authority, kick out of the traces, and run to the mountains of perdition, leaving the long echo of their braying behind them.

Saints More Liberal in Their Beliefs

¶ The speaker then contrasted the charity of the sects, in denouncing all who disagree with them in opinion, and in joining in persecuting the saints, with the faith of the saints, who believe that even such may be saved in this world and in the world to come, (murderers and apostates excepted.)

¶ This doctrine, he said, presented in a clear light, the wisdom and mercy of God, in preparing an ordinance for the salvation of the dead, being baptized by proxy, their names recorded in heaven, and they judged according to the deeds done in the body.

Saints Must Save Their Dead or Be Damned

This doctrine was the burden of the scriptures. Those saints who neglect it, in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation.

¶ The dispensation of the fulness of times will bring to light the things that have been revealed in all former dispensations, also other things that have not been before revealed. He shall send Elijah the prophet &c., and restore all things in Christ.

Saviors shall come up on Mt Zion &-- what is it. & &c-- To preach only? No. In every dispensation something else to do beside preach to all-- neglect the Baptism for the dead.-- Could that man enter into the fullness of his rest? [unreadable] cannot be saviors of man upon any any [sic] other principle than by re'[cei]ving revelation of all the things To trace our family by geneoloy [sic] & Rev[elation] 1st principles of the Gospel no more to the B[aptism] for the Dead. then the dim[m]ist Star is to the Glo[r]y of Yonder Son. All the kindred from the days of Adam dow[n] upon that princple, Universalism is nothing. Jesus contemplated &.-- Jesus went as ministering angel Spirits-- according to what men do fame in the flesh $ live &c-- Jesus could not have enterd & if he had not done this work. Paul-- not be made perfect.-- Jesus ministry spirit & & angel-- Spirits of Just men made perfect & command a co of angels-- spirits & bodies translated-- spirits-- minister to spirits-- angels to angles-- translated bodies cannot enter into rest-- till instructed {by them who had the Key} John you shall instruct or prophecy.-- prophets rose at the Resurrection-- Jesus went with his body & Spirit-- Dispensation of fulness &c-- all dispensations-- things before since the world.-- go to Books [unreadable] Almighty god rend the vails Said Doctors incredible-- why any more incredible that God should save the Dead after the [living?] men never is to ad living or Dead to service the Gospel.-- in or out of the world. unpardonable sin-- sin this world or the world [to come] Spirits after the dissolution of the body-- God is bound to fall[ow] af[ter] the Soul.-- Seal on Earth &c-- seal of Baptism for my father.-- sealed in heaven.-- Books opened-- of I get my father name Enterd. seal him though. &c-- 2. Sons born alike-- one dies character alike-- tomorrow Gospel come.-- M. Brimstone[?] Negros Generation where did Sectarians get their Doctrine.-- from heathen refuse-- brayed common sense out of the world. Mahomet, Judgment, [?] yes Doctrines.-- Old Joe-- [unreadable] of this thesis-- Blasphemy-- voice of God from heavens.-- creeds of men.-- why so tenacous are the mormons? old wine, mend bottles &. New Rev[elation]l in old churches-- old Sadu[c]eess Presbytrian-- into a new church-- drawn ga[tes?] for charity-- man gone flames of hell [unreadable lines] born of water by proxy-- A man is judged according to [his works?] Pulling them out of the fire-- Martin Luther & Alexander Campbell. 2d acts-- no Holy Ghost Dispensation of the fullness of times which reveals in that dispensation all those dispensat[ions] all things before revealed-- Adam did not attend to his progenitors {patriarchal}-- Eligah [sic] [drove?] Israel out of the groves. by the Keys What Paul did not.-- hearts of the children to their fathers &c-- ordinances &-- all things attended to from Adam down-- every gen[era]ten [tion] that have rejected the children fathers must be denied. with [unreadable] fathers-- Baptismal font Geneoly [genealogy] the Dead neglected their dead. doc [unreadable] days attend to [unreadable] just men Spirits of our fathers of angels-- [unreadable] the reaping [unreadable] of angels-- false spirits.-- [spirits?] of just men made perfect-- Angels [unreadable].-- [that won't see?] death [unreadable] prepare your temple [unreadable].-- Do [unreadable] a man has a perfect Right to be [baptized?] by any man who is a kin to him [unreadable] if he can [unreadable] to Adam Spirits 144000-- pray God send spirits & angels to inform them Pray God {for others} [unreadable] of your hands [unreadable] you.-- Be baptized. not without [unreadable].-- angels [unreadable] seek out [unreadable] general conference [unreadable] held here until ye hold it in my house
No More Baptisms for Dead Until Temple

¶ The speaker then announced, "There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord's House; and the church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!"

Commenced at 9 agan Continued unt 5 P.M. A commandment from the Lord that there should no more Conference be held until the house of the Lord should be finished Adjourned with out day or date.


1. See also 21Jan44, 16May41, 12May44.

Copyright © 2000, 2007. W. V. Smith and the Book of Abraham Project. All rights reserved. Files in The Parallel Joseph may be read at this site, but may not be copied to reside anywhere else. They may not be printed or distributed in any manner without written permission of the copyright holder.