As the Strong Delusion gained steam and the momentum of Smith’s lust for power carried him further into his delusion as prophet, and in order to expand his egocentric enterprise, he generated one dead work after another by his policies, his craft, and his theology. All of which led Mormons away from scripture, and into the clutches of this man whose creative genius for ostentatious ordinance is unrivaled; even if he had to step over the Apostle Paul to do so. Nauvoo saw the pinnacle of Smith’s “prophetic” pronouncements, and in the aftermath of his deceit and deception, the church he founded was left floundering in a sea of unscriptural edicts and injunctions. The believers of the Book of Mormon (BOM) were trapped in a paradox, an enigma of contradictions with the BOM on one hand, and Smith’s bizarre pronouncements on the other hand which bound them to a host of heretical beliefs. These contradictions controlled their lives and their worship of God, which was now an eccentric mixture of rites, philosophies, ceremonies, observances, ordinances, overflowing scriptures, commentary, assertions, customs, and odious morals the likes of which the Christian world had never seen.
Joseph managed to pull off this escapade through the sheer power of his will and his charismatic claims of heaven’s approbation, only because the one ancient record was true and the Holy Spirit spoke of its truth to believers. But that singular sign of heavens support unleashed a man with a ravenous appetite for self-grandeur and the need to satisfy his unbridled lustful passions which led to the grossest moral misuses of his power; the insidious inception of polygamy with its inherent evils. The coattails of the BOM carried Smith into a career as perhaps the most successful religious fraud in modern times. This fraud has debilitated and incapacitated generations of otherwise good people, to give up their common sense of reasoning, and to spend their lives, labor, and livelihood performing dead works. Then they live in stress and worry over whether their sacrifices were sufficient to save their “forever families” and usher all of them into the Mormon celestial kingdom. The modern church goes to extreme lengths to contort and wrest the scriptures to align with their most absurd rendering of Jesus’ beautiful and beloved gospel. The church only gives the Bible and Book of Mormon a mere glance when it’s convenient for them, and in an ironic twist of circumstances, they hide behind the coattails of Smith himself when it serves their purposes, in order to avoid the scrutiny of scripture.
Now we come to the first of the dead works which must be addressed as part of the Strong Delusion. In a macabre twist of meaning, Joseph took Paul’s otherwise clearly structured statement against baptism for the dead and perverted its meaning to suit his own purposes. Mormon scholars and church authorities alike demonstrate an uncanny dissonance for truth as they distort and deform Paul’s clear language about baptism for the dead in order to conform to church doctrine. The problem lies in selective reasoning because you have to be in line with church theology regardless of what the scriptures really say. Wresting and contorting God’s Word is a way of life in Mormonism because you’re forced to take a single verse out of context to make your doctrine stick. The verse in question is found in Paul’s stellar sermon contained in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Let’s examine the entire chapter and verse 29 in context.
Baptism for the Dead
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul provides eight articulate arguments against the doctrine of baptism for the dead. Eternal lives is the key element of his argument against that false doctrine. Let’s see what Paul has to say.
Paul explains as his evidence that
- Resurrection is true and he draws on Jesus as proof of one kind of resurrection, v. 4-18.
- If we only have one life and one opportunity, then we are the most miserable of creatures, v.19.
- Through mortal man comes death, and through mortal man comes resurrection or rebirth. v. 21.
- He shows us the true work of the Father and the Son. v. 22-28.
- He admonishes us not to be deceived but to awaken to the truth. v. 33-34.
- Paul teaches about how we gain a new body. v. 35-39.
- He introduces differing degrees of progression. v. 41.
- Reconciliation of the soul to its higher self is taught. v. 42-55.
This paper intends to explain why Paul was speaking out against baptism for the dead, and not in favor of the practice as the Mormon Church claims. Paul understood the deep things of God which he clearly teaches in this remarkable chapter. The mechanics of eternal lives are at the core of Paul’s doctrine and teachings.
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (Notice Paul says these remarkable things he’s about to teach ARE THE GOSPEL! Remember that Paul saw Jesus Christ.)
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (These things Paul will teach are the true plan of salvation! Unless you understand what Paul is teaching then you believe in vain things. The traditions of men are nothing but vain belief.)
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (Paul received these things by vision and by the Holy Spirit.)
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (Paul begins his discussion on resurrection. He wants his readers to know that resurrection is real, and that at least one way it occurs is when Jesus (God) takes up his mortal body because he has a work to finish in that body. Mortals typically are resurrected through the process of Eternal Lives as taught in scripture.)
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (Traditional Christianity teaches that everyone will be resurrected the same way Jesus was. The KEY here of course is to know the true meaning of the word resurrection and how the prophets use the word in concert with the concept of Eternal Lives. Without that understanding, this treatise from Paul will never make sense. See the posts on Eternal Lives .)
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. (Paul never says this is the only exclusive way that the dead rise, but he’s using Jesus’ resurrection as a proof that the dead do indeed rise.)
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (This is the next big KEY Paul gives us….. “if in this life only” which is a clear explanation of eternal lives. Paul is telling us if we have eyes to see, resurrection is a mystery contained in having hope in more than this one life. This is critical to remember when we reach his words about baptism for the dead.)
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (Notice his critical words here; “by man came also the resurrection” because resurrection is not simply limited to the type of resurrection Jesus experienced. Resurrection universally comes to all mankind according to Paul’s words! How does it happen? Being reborn as a child, the same doctrine Jesus taught Nicodemus (John 3). This doctrine of Eternal Lives is important in Paul’s lead up to condemning baptism for the dead. If people don’t comprehend this, then the rest of the chapter will not make sense.)
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (Mortality brings death, and the sacrifices of the Son to drink the dregs of each repentant soul’s cup, allows those souls to be made alive again, and continue the process of Eternal Lives.)
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (This means that every man and woman will come and progress in their perfect order, because of Christ’s work as the first and then the last. The word “firstfruits” refers to Jesus’ first work, and the word “afterward” refers to The Great and Marvelous work. See Isa 41:4.)
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (This is Paul speaking of the Father’s work in the GMW which we discussed in the topic “The Father’s Work.”)
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (This is potter’s wheel imagery. When the “second death” or lake of fire and brimstone, or the potter’s wheel has completed its work, then death, meaning the death of souls whose light has extinguished, is finished and destroyed. That will be the end of death in this world.)
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (This is beautiful imagery like we see in 1 Corinthians chapter 12.)
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (So we come to this verse which has been perverted by the church. Even a simple reading of this verse makes it clear that Paul is stating the dead do rise based on the discussion above. Paul asks, why in the world are you baptizing for the dead? Paul has taught them about rebirth or resurrection BEFORE he chastises them about baptism for the dead. Below he will expound other doctrines and all of them taken together clearly destroy the concept of baptism for the dead.)
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? (Why are you so ignorant of these truths that you feel you and your dead are in jeopardy? If you understood Eternal Lives then you would know of the mercy and love of God who will provide you every opportunity to gather light in eternal progression.)
31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. (Paul dies daily for many reasons including the amazing awe he feels as the mysteries of godliness come into view more clearly. He is reborn each day into greater levels of understanding as he lets go of false traditions which allows the Holy Spirit to teach him even greater truths. Thus he dies daily as we all should…. It also infers that we come down through eternal probations until our work is finished.)
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. (If the dead don’t rise in Eternal Lives, then lets party and live it up because as Paul said in verse 19 above if we only have hope in this one life we are most miserable.)
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (Some evil communication from somewhere fooled the people into performing baptisms for the dead. We of course have the same issue and problem in our day. Taken a step further, the so-called “revelation” on baptism for the dead had its source in an “evil communication.” The natural man always falls into these same traps where they feel the need to perform these dead rituals for their dead ancestors, but it’s not in accordance with scripture.)
34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (Paul clearly speaks of baptisms for the dead as a sin based on ignorance of the true ways and knowledge of God. There is no new thing under the sun. Men always fall backwards into the traditions of men. He is speaking very strong words to their shame and to our shame. Next Paul moves into an explanation of the mechanics of Eternal Lives which is more evidence of why baptisms for the dead are an abomination.)
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? (What body indeed? Paul is telling us they come back, born again into bodies.)
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: (Paul knows his readers are fools on this matter. This is the beginning of Paul’s great sermon on Eternal Lives; just as Jesus taught in John 12, Paul employs the metaphor of planting seeds and the cycle of grain to demonstrate Eternal Lives. A seed is placed in the ground just like a body in placed in the ground at death, and when the seed dies; it germinates and sprouts and is quickened and produces new life. In the same manner, when a person has finished their mortal life, their body is placed in the earth, and a similar process occurs through rebirth which is a quickening for that soul.)
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: (See John 12:23-24)
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. (Yes to every seed his own body! Can it possibly be anymore clear as to why baptisms for the dead are an abomination?)
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (This is a description of advancement and levels and grades of bodies for souls garnering light unto themselves through Eternal Lives. It’s not about some fixed kingdom of glory as taught in D&C 76 by Joseph Smith. Paul has been teaching about the advancement of souls and the bodies they will take in mortal probations. This is another example of scripture taken totally out of context in Mormon theology in Smith’s strong delusion.)
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. (Paul continues telling us that the bodies these souls will use come in a great variety.)
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: (This doctrine is also taught elsewhere in scripture. See Alma 41:12-15; 2Cor 5:17-21; Rom 1:12; Amos 9:1, 11; Jac 4:11; Alma 36:28; Eph 2:16; Dan 7:13-14, 22; Zech 14:9; Alma 41:2-4, 15; Alma 40-17-26; Alma 5:14; Matt 18:7-9; Isa 26:19; Rom 8:19-21.)
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: (This beautifully described the process of losing light or gathering light to oneself through the process of Eternal Lives.)
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (It dies a mortal body and is sewn or buried in the earth and raised to join its higher spiritual self.)
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (Adam was a mortal. When he died, he was quickened to join his higher spirit.)
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (Each soul has to first go through the natural process of birth, life, and death. Then it joins the spiritual or it’s higher self.)
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (He keeps repeating the same thing over and over hoping we will see it. Without understanding Eternal Lives, Paul makes no sense at all to occidental people who are typically ignorant of these things.)
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (Hopefully you can see that he’s saying here that in our spirits we bear the image of our higher self.)
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (The Mormon concept of taking our physical resurrected bodies to heaven is totally untrue. We addressed elsewhere that God does not have a body of flesh and bone either as Smith claimed. See the posts on The Nature of God. These mortal bodies are corruptible and will be left in the earth. Only the spirit with light will be reabsorbed back into its higher self. Paul puts to rest the satanic Mormon phrase that says, “Do all that you can do and Jesus will make up the difference, and you can inherit the celestial kingdom.” There are no shortcuts, and no easy salvation. Everyone will work the same work required to attain salvation.)
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you what this means.)
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (Amen the natural man must put on immortality and incorruption through Eternal Lives.)
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (Thus we see eternal and endless progression at work. One eternal round.)
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (The meaning of these verses should be perfectly clear by now! The death of our physical bodies will no longer matter to us when we put on immortality in the process of Eternal Lives.)
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (God himself coming down makes all of this possible. See Msh 15:1-5)
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
How could any thinking person possibly find approval for the doctrine of baptism for the dead in Paul’s words? There is nothing more to say. Smith was and is wrong as proven by the Holy Scriptures. Related to baptism for the dead, and endowments for the dead, is the endless and fruitless work of genealogy work. Let’s see what Paul says:
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. (1Tim 1:4) (Fables? That says it all. The endless genealogies in our culture have spawned massive computer data bases and keep people busy wasting their lives away researching names and dates and then rushing to the temple to do the work for the dead where questions are ministered to us with each endowment. This busy work keeps us from studying our scriptures and getting to know God. No wonder Paul called these kinds of things “evil communications.” See 2Tim 4:3-4 regarding fables.)
Eternal Lives is the central foundation in the plan of God for souls to progress; baptism for the dead has no bearing at all in the work of God. The idea that we only have ONE CHANCE to gain eternal life is nonsense. All kinds of false fables have sprung up as a result of the precepts of men and false traditions which have governed our lives. May we be freed from the chains which bind us down, and may freedom come to mankind when God’s Servant arrives on the scene is our hope and prayer!