What Is Baptism For The Dead?


With the recent news that some members of the LDS Church have continued to perform baptism for the dead on behalf of deceased Jews, readers might wonder: what, exactly, is baptism for the dead?

In our book, The Concise Guide to Today’s Religions and Spirituality, we define baptism for the dead as:

(The) practice of the LDS church based on an unusual interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29, whereby living members are baptized by proxy for people who have died without knowing the LDS gospel. If the dead accept the LDS gospel while in spirit prison, they can potentially have access to full salvation or godhood (exaltation). This ceremony is performed only in a Mormon temple.

You can learn more about the way in which the LDS Church misinterprets 1 Corinthians in our article, “Twisting 1 Corinthians 15:29 – Mormonism’s Baptism for the Dead.” You can also learn more about the concept of spirit prison – and spirit missionaries – in our article, “Hell, Paradise and Spirit Missionaries.”

Finally, you can watch a short video of James Walker talking about the issue in Watchman Fellowship’s What’s the Deal with Mormons Baptizing Dead People?