Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quote of the Day: David O. McKay "Baptism for the Dead"

David O. McKay:

"To repeat, if baptism is essential for one man, it is essential for all. Then the question may be asked as was asked by a Chinese student, a graduate of one of our leading colleges, who in conversation with a Protestant minister said, “What about my ancestors who never heard of the name of Jesus Christ?”

“Oh,” was the reply, “they are all lost.”

The Chinese student’s sense of justice was offended, for he immediately said, “I’ll have nothing to do with a religion so unjust!” Had that Chinese professor, or doctor, asked a Mormon elder that question, the latter would have answered, “They will have an opportunity to hear the gospel, and to be baptized, to be born of the water and of the Spirit, that they might also enter into the kingdom of God.”

What about your great-great ancestors who never have heard of the name of Jesus Christ? What about the millions who died without having heard his name? They are all our Father’s children as much as you and I. Is it the act of a loving Father to condemn them forever outside of the kingdom of God because they have had no opportunity to hear the name of Jesus Christ?

No, it is not. “We believe that … all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” And we also believe that those who have died without having heard the gospel here in mortality will have an opportunity to hear it in the other world.

Where did Christ’s spirit go while his body lay in the tomb? The apostle Peter tells us that he went to preach to the spirits who were in prison, who were once disobedient in the days of Noah when the ark was being prepared. (See 1 Pet. 3:19–20.) Those who died thousands of years ago were still living in the spirit world, and the gospel was taken to them as it will be taken to all of our Father’s children.


Looney said...

I am curious of your thoughts on Luke 23:43 - "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'". This is said to the thief on the cross who confesses Jesus as Lord, yet it is clear that he is never baptized. And then the thief is to be with Jesus the same day in heaven?

Delirious said...


We have to first understand the definition of "paradise". Jesus said to the thief, " you will be with me in paradise." But three days later, when he appeared to Mary in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, "...Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17
Jesus had already been to "paradise", but had not yet ascended to the heaven where God dwells. Clearly these are two separate places. Paradise is the world of spirits where after death we await the resurrection. Within this "spirit world" are two regions: paradise, and spirit prison. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Christ visited that spirit prison during those three days before His resurrection: "18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

In latter day revelation we read further that he organized a great missionary effort among the spirits of the dead. " 30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead." (Doctrine and Covenants 138:20 )

This "paradise" where the thief was to be with Jesus, was not his final resting place. After Jesus' second coming, and the resurrection of all men, then we will all be judged, and then we will be assigned to the heaven that we have earned.