In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a boy or a girl turns the age of twelve, they are able to do what’s called “Baptisms for the dead.” This is the opportunity to do the baptismal ordinances for those who have passed on, who didn’t have the opportunity to receive these ordinances on earth. After meeting with the Bishop (leader of a congregation), a boy or girl is given a temple recommend. Once they have received this, they are allowed into the baptismal area, so that they can do the baptisms. People who die without having been taught the gospel may yet be saved in the presence of God. This is made clear in the scriptures. But how? That is the question. Jesus preached to the dead. The Apostle Peter taught this in his day, saying that after the death of the Savior, and while his body lay in the tomb, the Lord, as a spirit, went to the realm of the dead and there preached to the spirits of the people who previously had lived on the earth (1 Peter 3:18–20). Then he gives us the reason for this preaching: “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1 Peter 4:6).
Even though Baptisms for the dead are done for others, it can be something that is a great experience for the individual doing them. As a young woman, I spent at least once a month in the temple, doing baptisms. Being in the temple, and knowing that I was doing something very important for my ancestors and for others’ ancestors, brought me peace and spiritual fulfillment. While you wait for your turn to do the baptisms, they have a waiting area that’s filled with scriptures and church magazines.
I have often times been in a situation wherein I needed help or advice to get through. And time after time, I have gotten those answers while waiting in that foyer. The peace and the satisfaction that you receive from doing that service is beyond description.
Even though the Church has worked hard at doing baptisms for the dead and has made tremendous progress, there are still many people in heaven who are waiting for their baptismal ordinances to be performed. It can be great to go to the Mormon Temple to do baptisms as a group activity, an individual thing, or even a date. My best friend spent at least one day every month, going to the temple with her boyfriend (now husband). They said that it strengthened their relationship in many ways. They were able to move away from the world’s view on an expensive and materialistic way of dating, to sharing something spiritual and important together. I recommend to everyone that is worthy to enter the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to participate in these sacred ordinances.
“If we can baptize a man in the name of the Father [and] of the Son and of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins it is just as much our privilege to act as an agent and be baptized for the remission of sins for and in behalf of our dead kindred who have not heard the gospel or fullness of it” (Kenney, p. 165).