Continuing with the theme of dead works in part 2, we come to the baptism of little children as a natural follow-on to the topic of baptism for the dead. The dead don’t care about whether we baptize them or not! They are not waiting in some proxy-enabled prison release system for our computers to catalogue them as baptized-enabled clearinghouse prize winners so they can move on. But little children are here living among us and this seeming innocent act of baptizing them as children has ramifications for the child far into their future. How better to entrap or ensnare someone into a system of belief than to baptize them at age 8, and then spend the rest of their formative years being indoctrinated before they ever have the opportunity to reach maturity, study things out for themselves, and then make an informed adult decision with their own agency. The parents of course are simply following the dictates of the culture in which they live, and extended family gather to celebrate the sweet occasion and everyone shares in the joy that another soul has been carried into the kingdom.
But wait— what do the scriptures have to say about this important and practical matter? For believing Mormons, this comes down to a question of the Book of Mormon versus the Doctrine and Covenants. Yet because the corporate church sides with the pronouncements of the founder in the D&C, and they want those names on their roster, active Mormons don’t even think about this issue or consider the question as valid or valuable. The prophet and editor, Mormon, felt so strongly about the matter that he wrote a letter to his son Moroni, and had this to say about who should be baptized, “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…” (Moroni 8:10). Mormon defined “accountable” as being the parents, not the children!
Would we expect our eight year old children to make choices about college, a career, marriage, where they want to live, finances, or a host of other things they will face as responsible adults? No, of course not! Then why would we harness them with religious decisions that have lifelong implications that they are incapable of making for themselves at that young and most vulnerable age? Can’t you see how repulsive this is to the prophet Mormon and why he writes that letter to his son who includes those words in the BOM for us? In the 1981 edition of the BOM, the “Bruce R. McConkie” committee avoids this question altogether by writing in the chapter heading, “Infant baptism is an evil abomination,” but the word “infant” is nowhere to be found in Mormon’s letter. This is another clear case of wresting the scriptures to conform to church theology. Passing the buck to “infants” was a cheap shot and abuse of McConkie’s power. It’s exasperating to enumerate all of these evil practices. Now it’s time to review Mormon’s letter and let his words stand as our final word on this matter.
Baptizing Little Children
4 And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you. 5 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children. 6 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle. 7 For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying: 8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me. 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. 17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. 18 For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. 19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy. 20 And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption. 21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ. 22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing— 23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and PUTTING TRUST IN DEAD WORKS. (Moroni 8:4-23)
A visit to the library in the room next door reveals nearly 20 volumes dedicated specifically to studies on polygamy, with many hundreds of additional volumes where the topic is discussed in one or more chapters of the book. One could say it’s a topic of paramount concern and interest within Mormon Studies. But we are concerned with scripture on this blog and not with history per se, but it can’t be avoided altogether. The only reason we bring up the books in the library is to point out that following the Camelot-like days of Arrington’s time as Church Historian, masses of information about Smith’s affair with polygamy became available for the first time. Then a contest ensued for the hearts and minds of the people with historians lined up on opposite sides of the field of battle, and the artillery and small arms fire began. Apologists and critics alike took aim across the battlefield and 35-years later the battle is still raging with Fundamentalists, Mormons, Anti-Mormons, detractors, accusers, defenders, and supporters all laying claim to a piece of the action.
We’ve already stated our viewpoint about Smith’s reprehensible moral behavior in the opening essay to this two-part paper. We’re not here to sully or tarnish these pages with a torrid exposé of Smith’s exploits, because they are well known now, and they remain a disgusting chapter in the Strong Delusion. The consequences of Smith’s actions and theology continue to damage lives to this day because an entire culture of people cling to the concept that the only key to open the door to the highest degree of the Mormon celestial kingdom is through the practice of polygamy. And many active Mormons condone the idea of polygamy because of section 132 of the D&C despite its egregious and flagrant treatment of women. Polygamy of a sort is still practiced in Mormon temples today when a widower is sealed to a second or even third wife in mortality when the prior spouse has passed away. The long arm of Joseph Smith’s dreadful doctrine is the defining low-point of the Strong Delusion. So we must ask ourselves how this man came to assume the right of power to do these things? That answer is simple. Look carefully at the verbiage of this claimed revelation on the day the church was organized. Remember this was received after he tossed aside the “seer stone” and after God told him he only had one gift to translate the record:
1 Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith. 3 Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April. 4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all HIS words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; 5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. 6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory. 7 For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard. 8 Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works. 9 For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart. (D&C 21:1-9)
Have you ever before seen in Holy Scripture a man giving himself carte blanche power like this? Why would anyone follow “HIS words and commandments” as though Smith himself was God? Never has a holy prophet in scripture written that we must follow his own words and commandments as Smith wrote of himself. True prophets always point to God. Paul warned us about that in his prophecy on the “strong delusion” where the man would set himself up as God (2Thes 2). Joseph’s so-called revelation here displays at least two major failures because the cause of “Zion” was not moved but eventually failed totally, and having God’s voice say he will mourn no longer for “Zion” was also a failed prophecy right out of the gate on April 6, 1830. However, the key thing to recognize here is Smith’s egotistical megalomania and grandiose despotism which eventually led to his numerous extramarital affairs beginning early in his career, and ultimately to his doctrine of polygamy to cover his plentiful sins. If any modern Mormon says they would condone such actions today, it would outrage everyone. The closest current model of Smith’s lurid activities with young women which comes to mind is Warren Jeffs. Enough said.
Now let’s see what the Book of Mormon has to say about Polygamy and its close cousins and we will end this portion of the discussion on polygamy with the words of scripture. Then we’ll have some closing thoughts on the Dead Works of the Strong Delusion.
1 And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father. 2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness. (Msh 11:1-2)
29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people? (Msh 12:29 )
5 And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings. (Ether 10:5)
5 And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity. 6 And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. 7 And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. 8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church. (1Nep 13:5-8)
36 Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell. (2Nep 9:36)
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell! (2Nep 28:15)
15 And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son. (Jacob 1:15)
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. 24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. 25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. 26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be ONE WIFE; and concubines he shall have none; 28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. 29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. 30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. 31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. 32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts. 33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts. 34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done. 35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds. (Jacob 2:23-35)
5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them. (Jacob 3:5)
Joseph dismissed the warnings of the very record he translated. There can be no doubt that the Strong Delusion was filled with Dead Works because of the man Joseph Smith who contrived the whole of it. The early followers of Smith were caught between a rock and a hard place if you carefully read D&C 21:9 above. They were promised a great blessing if they believed in Joseph’s words in preference to God’s Word in the Book of Mormon. Thus he set himself up as an idol and remains so to this day.
If any of the Dead Works we’ve discussed in this two-part series were true, then all the holy prophets would have written about them. The scriptures would be full of examples of endowments with signs and tokens and penalties. Baptism for the dead would be common knowledge as well as genealogy work. If the baptizing of children was heaven’s will then all the prophets and apostles would say so. And if Smith’s polygamy was the key to the highest glory in God’s presence, then all the prophets from Adam down to Jesus Christ would have told us so. Smith claimed his work to be a “restoration” of the ancient gospel. The obvious problem is apparent that none of his Dead Works are present in the ancient gospel he claimed to restore. Its time for the O Jerusalem people to awaken and see the evil which has been perpetrated upon them. Please wake up before its everlastingly too late. God gave you the Book of Mormon to awaken you from the sleep of death. And we’ve given you the KEYS to read the scriptures the way they were intended to be read. Our Father knew long ago what Smith would do to usher in the Strong Delusion which is what the O Jerusalem people deserved. Its like Karma. Read Alma 41:12-15 if you don’t understand our words. God’s invitation is for you to wake up.