“What If the Mormons Are Right?” Asks Journalist

In response to some objections by a different denomination to LDS baptism for the dead, the Belfast Telegraph has a remarkably sensible article on the topic (hat tip to Stan Barker): “What if Mormons are right and Catholics and Protestants wrong?” by columnist Eamonn McCann. Read the whole article, but here’s an excerpt:

Why are the Catholic bishops so concerned about Mormons baptising dead parishioners? The Mormons didn’t invent baptism of the dead. The practice has a significant history within mainstream Christianity. The decision to order its abandonment was taken only after heated debate, and was a close-run thing.

What’s the difference, anyway, between baptising the dead and baptising babies? A tiny infant will have as much understanding as a dead person – none at all – of the complex philosophical belief-system it’s being inducted into when baptised, say, a Catholic. Transubstantiation? There’s daily communicants go to their deaths without any clear understanding of the concept. So what chance the mewling tot?

Indeed, given that all Christian Churches believe that the soul lives on after death and retains understanding and consciousness of self, doesn’t it make more sense to baptise dead adults than live babies?

Apart from which, if the Catholic bishops hold that the beliefs of the Mormons are pure baloney (as they must), and their rituals therefore perfectly meaningless, how can it matter to them what mumbo-jumbo Mormons might mutter over Catholic cadavers?

No cadavers are used, of course, just data. So if it is mumbo jumbo, who cares whether a Mormon computer lists Leonardo DaVinci as having been “baptized” vicariously as a result of some LDS guy getting baptized in an LDS Temple somewere? Even if it’s not mumbo jumbo and even if DaVinci accepts the baptism we do for him, that doesn’t make him “Mormon” as I see it – just a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. So what we do is merely intended to give someone an option to more fully follow Christ and doesn’t make a person a “Mormon.” The antis probably have some other nickname for the broader Church on the other side of the veil, and maybe even some shocking spirit literature to dissuade DaVinci et al. But mumbo jumbo or no, if DaVinci prefers being Catholic, he still is. No trauma inflicted!

Now maybe those who are overly concerned about Mormon temple practices can get back to worrying about real issues, like, say, why the mega-Enron-like leaders behind the current financial disaster aren’t getting the same treatment as Enron executives? And you thought theology was puzzling!


Author: Jeff Lindsay

42 thoughts on ““What If the Mormons Are Right?” Asks Journalist

  1. Before I was a member, while studying Greek we studied 1 Cor 15:29 and I realized that while I didn’t know what Baptism for the Dead was, that we, as Christians should be practising it.

    After I stopped going to church, I decided when I found one that did this thing and was headed by Phrophets, Apostles, etc. like in the book of Acts, I’d go to it. I didn’t think for a minute I’d actually find one.

    When the Sister Missionaries told me about Baptism for the Dead, the Spirit burned within me and I realized I needed to learn more about this Church.

    In the end after my prayer of faith, with the determination to follow the answer, I received the testimony of the truthfulness of the Church, that it is indeed the Church of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

    I am grateful each and every day for that priceless knowledge.

  2. Thanks, Jayleen! It really is one of the truly remarkable evidences of God’s fairness and love, and a witness of the reality of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the coolest thing, too! What a selfless way to serve others.

  3. this is an issue i find funny. I am a convert, the only member of my family and both of my parents are deceased. Most people in my family thought i was stupid for joining the church, and think that we know nothing. But yet they object so much to the idea of me taking their names through the temple.

    If you believe i know nothing and this religion is a joke, then why does it matter to you? Let me entertain myself and keep on living my life and you live yours.

  4. Mormanity—-would you be happy if some outlandish group admitted your ancestors w/o permission? I would feel bad about them maligning my Dad and Mom.

    Re: baptism of the dead——You may be missing an important part of Catholic Theology. I saw the ordinance performed 3 times in the Catholic Church last week.

    Also—-remember LDS people are really hung up on being right and perfect. Many are studying Canon law in Rome at the Vatican. Let’s be easy on them. they are only doing their very best.

  5. halibut: Why on earth would you be upset that someone mentioned the name of one of your ancestors in a private religious ceremony with which you have no connection, which affects you in no way, and which you also believe affects your ancestor in no way?

  6. Why on earth would I be upset?
    1. My deceased folks are not faceless people. They are real people with dignity and integrity.
    2. Mormanity asked about Da Vinci–apparantly it is not private.
    3. How about if they were adopted by Nazis? The KKK? the order of Ghengis Kahn? John Birch Society? I take offense to that happening to my dad and mom.
    4. I have had Temple work done for my folks and ancestors. I keep it private and sacred. And, if I know that someone else is using my folks name I find that offensive.
    5. Remember that the LDS stopped baptism of the Holocost victims.

  7. Halibut: Re: baptism of the dead——You may be missing an important part of Catholic Theology. I saw the ordinance performed 3 times in the Catholic Church last week

    I’m really interested to know about the context of your experience.

  8. Halibut: I deny your assertion that vicarious baptisms for the dead are not private. For all practical purposes, speaking from my own experience, they most certainly are. While individual members can foul things up, the guidelines are clear. We only submit names that are our ancestors, not celebrities. We obtain permission of the closest living relative if the individual has not been dead for quite some time (50 years, I think?). The example Jeff gave of Da Vinci was only an example, but not of typical circumstances. However, there is not to my knowledge any guideline preventing members from talking about who they may have performed ordinances for.

    Still, it’s not like we publish the names of individuals. Some may be of the opinion that being in any way associated with our church is offensive, for whatever reasons. But we don’t publicly declare any of that information. We take seriously the desires of living relatives, and we strongly declare that the deceased also have their agency, even in death.

  9. “…that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time thatye go out of this life, that same spirit willhave power to possess your body in that eternal world.” Alma 34:34

    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

    We should take care about giving offense. The consequences could be eternal for both the offended and the offender. Follow the rules regarding the submission of names to the temple and avoid pride.

  10. Our Jewish community certainly knew that we were baptizing those murdered in WW II. And, in the old days we used to extract names at random. I do not know if that still occurs.

  11. : I deny your assertion that vicarious baptisms for the dead are not private.

    I have heard that the info is available on the LDS Geneaology website for people who register.

  12. Billow,

    I saw another instance of a casket being sprinkled this morning. Often the Priest will read from his book “The order of Christian Burials”. The words speak of the deceased parents bringing him to the alter as a child for baptism. the sprinkling is done in rememberence of that baptism.

    At Baptism in the Catholic Church a white garment is placed upon the child. The white garment is strikenly similar with words that you have heard in the Temple.

    After sprinkling the casket a white pall is placed over the casket in remeberence of the baptism again.

    Baptism of the Dead.

  13. Halibut: You say, “How about if they were adopted by Nazis? The KKK? the order of Ghengis Kahn? John Birch Society? I take offense to that happening to my dad and mom.”

    But that’s just the point: According to everything you believe, that isn’t happening to your dad and mom. The actions of such a group is having no effect at all on your parents. Why, then, bother to be ofended by it?

  14. I would be offended because they were using my dads name in vain.

    I would not want his name listed as a member of the NAZI party.

  15. @ Halibut

    I think that your comment at 5:42 pm shows where the misunderstanding can be found.

    When a baptism for the dead is performed, that deceased individual does not go into any books as being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even when the ordinances are listed on FamilySearch and other LDS databases, it merely states that the ordinance has been performed. If every deceased individual’s name had been added to the records of church membership, I’m pretty certain that church membership would far exceed the 13,000,000-some that is currently listed.

    When an ordinance is performed, it is still up to that individual, no longer living on this earthly plane, but surely still alive in spirit, to accept it or not. If they were automatically enrolled as Mormons, they would not be given that choice. And that would be contrary to all of God’s plan.

  16. I just did a private vicarious ritual in my basement representing all of humanity. You’re all Democrats now! Well, only if you accept the ordinance and act accordingly. Sorry to you offended Republicans.

    Oh, I got your ancestors, too. They all have the option to be Democrats. (Don’t be surprised if a lot of them vote in November!)

  17. I haven’t had anyone yell at me for doing temple work, but when one does, about the first thing I’ll say is that, in addition to why we say we’re doing temple work for the dead, when we’re doing temple work they (the complainers) can be sure that none of us will then be trying to commit adultery with their spouse, so that’s at least one advantage to them of our service.

    Halibut–I’d just laugh at their wasted time and efforts since it means nothing to me. Records of Temple work done for the dead are only available to church members, who have to make an account with personal information and a password to sign in. Anyone who doesn’t sign in can’t get the temple information, but can see all the other information in the database.

    When my wife’s older brother died, a close family friend (Catholic) told us at the funeral that he’d had a mass said for her brother. We thanked him for his thoughtfulness and caring–how could we be offended when someone cared enough to try and help her brother? My wife has non-member relatives who’ve supplied us with information so we can do their ancestors’ work; one aunt even requested that my wife do her temple work after she died–which she did.

    It’s also interesting that one of my grandfathers has had his temple work done several times by those too lazy to correctly clear anyone’s names–he did all of his temple work himself long before he died 50 years ago, and it’s long been on IGI. Someone also did my brother’s work, which he’d done for himself while alive. Mormons doing temple work for my family and ancestors makes me angry, because if they would have learned to clear names correctly they wouldn’t have wasted all that time!

    Mormanity–After ACORN that’s really not a joke, however it’s true that many of the dead will be voting Democrat in November.

  18. Dan

    You have a good attitude and seem to recognize noble intentions. I know of many who would be angry that someone had a mass said for them in a catholic church.

    When my parents were young there was great intolerance between Catholic and Protestant people. My mom and dad had no problem with me joining the LDS church. My mother was concerned that I married a Catholic though.

  19. I think it’s fair that we should respect and appreciate Catholics who might say a mass for us our our loved ones, and even be grateful to others who pray for the welfare of our souls, thinking we Mormons are hopelessly lost. One could take offense, but let us be grateful for the sentiment – one of love, mingled with a touch of misunderstanding, perhaps. Let us not be offended.

    Let us also hope that those who are offended by the practice of LDS baptism for the dead will understand it as an innocuous, well-intended expression of love which does nothing at worse and even if we are right, only gives the departed soul the option of accepting baptism if they so desire. Frankly, this is one area where the truly compassionate position is to be pro-choice. No one gets hurt, apart from those who choose to be needlessly offended.

  20. HI All,

    I’ll weigh in here breifly. I tend to agree with Halibut, but maybe he’s not making the point very clearly. I would find it offensive if an LDS member baptized my deceased family members. The reason is that there is a certain amount of respect that we have for our ancestors, at least we should have for those ancestors. It really isn’t about being right. Its about the memories we have of those folks, and respecting what they valued and held dear.

    My family is predominantly Catholic. Were someone to just start baptizing them into the LDS faith, that would be a form of tarnishing their values. Had they wanted to be LDS, they may have converted when they were alive. But those ancestors did not, they lived and led their lives as catholics, and went to the grave with that belief. The offense occurs in the disrespect that is shown by just taking names and baptizing without considering the feelings and wishes of the family.

    I think this is the point Halibut was trying to raise. Its probable that the general LDS member doesn’t just arbitrarily pick names and start baptizing. But, there certainly is a history of the mainstream church taking names and baptizing without obtaining the permission of the family. The Holocaust Jews for example. Based on that history its fair to be suspicious of the well intentioned LDS member.

    Jeff, contrary to what you think, baptism for the dead isn’t innocuous and innocent to us non-members. Its one of those areas of your church that we regard as unchristian and cultish in feel. I’m not saying your church is a cult, mind you, but baptism for the dead is one area that raises the hackles of the rest of christainity and causes us great concern. Its disrespectful to think that arbitrarily baptising our family members is harmless. It isn’t harmless to us.

    Catholic Defender

  21. How very grateful I am to have been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in this lifetime. I know that there are so many people who haven’t and will not have the same opportunity, but to know that they can still choose after they pass is just amazing to me. That even the dead will still have that agency.

    I wonder what they might be thinking about when they find out that someone has just given them a chance to choose? Some might not even care. But I know some will be very happy.

    I guess people need to keep in mind that it is still their choice. They have a right just like every living person does to choose. And it is just that: giving them a chance to choose. We are not getting their names to curse their souls or their family. We are not doing it to hurt anyone.

    Anyway, if I were dead and I hear about this for the first time I’d probably wonder why this is the only Church practicing this now.

    Aren’t the dead just as important as the living? Aren’t we all children of the same Father?

    I really liked this post. Lately I’ve been having dreams about the dead and have been hearing so much about baptism for the dead at church constantly, that I feel I should get moving on my Geneolgy work cause I gots a big family!Thanks a bunch.

  22. Catholic Defender,
    I’m curious about your statement that “[baptism for the dead] is one of those areas of your church that we regard as unchristian and cultish in feel…baptism for the dead is one area that raises the hackles of the rest of christainity and causes us great concern.”

    The source of Baptism for the Dead is from the New Testament (1 Cor 15:29:” 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?”). How is that “unChristian”? The motivation for LDS people to perform proxy baptisms for the dead is love. What we believe brings us great peace, hope and happiness. We wish others to have the OPTION–not a forced opportunity, but the OPTION–to have what we have, and so we act–if they choose–in their behalf, out of love. How is that “unChristian”? We believe in an eternal and unchanging Heavenly Father who loves ALL of His children, and wants all to return to live with Him, and so has commanded us to work hard to allow as many as possible to have that option. How is that “unChristian”?

    When I perform baptisms for the dead, I feel incredible respect and concern for those for whom I will be baptized (which baptism, again, is ONLY valid, and ONLY affects that person, if he or she WANTS it to). I do it precisely because I have an understanding of that individual as more than a name, but a person with hopes and desires and life experience and beliefs of their own, and I deeply respect that sacredness and want to preserve that person’s right to choose. It is an ordinance through which I can serve God’s children and partake of the light and love of His gospel, as Jesus himself taught it. How does that make you shudder? I do not believe that the pure feelings of love and joy I have experienced in my sincere attempt to serve God can be the result of something dark and “cultish”.

    We all spend out entire lives choosing, both on this earth and when we have departed from it. That is what life and death are all about. Believing that, how can I not act out of respect for those who have gone before?

    I remember when I accidentally learned that my dearest friend–she was and still is a sister to me–was praying daily, and had asked her mother to pray as well, for me to join her religion. I was honored that she cared about me so much and wanted so much for me to have what she sincerely believes I need to have eternal happiness. Likewise, she is cheerfully respects my desire share the beliefs that bring ME joy with her and her family. Because we both know of the love and respect we have for one another, and because we both humbly and faithfully ask God to help us do what is right and to help us help each other, we have an incredible friendship that blesses my life daily.

    I truly believe that that sort of friendship and understanding–free of “shudders”–is possible, when people allow themselves to see the faith, love and respect that motivates honest Christian action.

  23. Seems a bit of hypocrisy is going on. I asked several LDS friends if, after they died, they would mind if the Catholics perform sacramental baptisms and weddings and confirmations on them and every one of them exclaimed “NO!” I asked why. I was told that since Catholic Sacraments are done with no authority, they did NOT want those performed on them after death.

    Why mock Catholics for feeling the same?

  24. Anon:

    Let your LDS friends speak for themselves. As for me, it would certainly be unexpected (I would wonder why the sudden turn of doctrine…just to get back at us??), but if I knew it were sincere, why not? What could a beautiful ritual–albeit a void one–hurt when done in love for the deceased?

  25. There are many great Christian and non Christian people in this world. (Many, if not most Christians put LDS in the Non-Christian slot).

    They do not have an understanding of the LDS ordinance.

    1. They object to a Non-Christian Church (IE: LDS) doing what the LDS consider a Christian service.

    2. The LDS Church is very inviting regarding helping people do genealogy. People (non-LDS) think that the church is being nice.

    3. When the non LDS people find out that the real reason for the Church helping with genealogy is to perform what they consider Non-Christian ordinances……..

    4. Non-LDS people see it as abject arrogance that LDS people think that they alone will save them.

  26. Anon,

    I’m with Russtafarian on this one. I would not be offended in the least of any (or all) of my friends of other faiths chose to have their ordinances performed on my behalf. Just as I am not offended when they pray for the welfare of my soul.

    Personally, I’m glad to know that they care for me as much as I care for them!

    But I suppose most of this discussion is really moot, since there seems to be the assumption that Mormons are just out proxy-baptising anyone who happens to be dead. The church has a rather strict policy about only submitting your own ancestors’ names for proxy work!

  27. Becca,

    I admire you. I Understand you, and I share your testimony. I also have done many baptisms. However can’t you see how others would, or could see your comments as “arrogant”.

    Russtafarian–Yes it would be void–however—would it be good? If done in a humble and beautiful manner would the Savior hear it? Would those extending their hand be blessed for their work?

  28. Halibut raises some good points and as a faithful member of the Church, he is prodding us to open up our sensibilities to the feelings of others. While I can say that no one should be bothered by our practices, his comments force me to realize that what we say, do, and think really can put others off. If I was browsing through records of the Catholics and found that all my kids were listed as Catholic members by a kindly monk who was beefing up the membership list, I would be surprised and irritated. Now that’s not what we do, but others don’t know understand that. They don’t understand our practices and intent, and the thought of us trying to “make Grandma a Mormon” is bothersome. Especially when we say or do things that convey arrogance or a sense of religious superiority. The issue is more complex than I’m used to thinking about.

    But, if any other religions would like to do any quiet, posthumous ceremonies for my eternal benefit that don’t desecrate my grave, you have my permission. But you do not have my permission to speed up the posthumous part.

  29. I hadn’t thought of this for a long time, but I’m remembering from back in the time–maybe early ’90s–when we didn’t have blogs or forums, but only “bulletin boards” we were having this same basic discussion. This one guy said very vehemently that he didn’t want any **** Mormons digging him up after he died and baptising him. It was so funny.
    I’m grateful for the graciousness of the commenters here who, though some may not yet understand, are courteous and decent about expressing their anxieties.
    PS–I was a Temple Ordinance worker some years ago and I can guarantee as a fact that nobody ever got dug up to be baptised. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  30. HI Becca,

    I’m going to try not to sound insulting or divisive here, but I may fail so I’ll apologize in advance. The verse you sited from Corinthians is interpreted differently depending on what faith you are brought up with. You being LDS, have been brought up with the understanding that St. Paul is encouraging baptisms for the dead. Hence your interpretation of 1 Cor 15:29.

    But, those of us who are Catholic, and I believe many protestants, though I can’t speak with certainty on that, have been brought up to understand that St. Paul is not condoning the practise, but is actually condemning it. The wording of that passage lends itself to either interpretation, which is why there is such a disagreement over the practise. Its also the dispute in how to interpret that verse that gives a reason for non-LDS folks to veiw your church as a cult. There are other reasons as well, but this is one of them. I don’t personally view your church as a cult. I see you as protestant christians walking a different, and somewhat misguided path back to God. That’s not meant to be insulting. If you look at some of my earlier posts, I’ve expanded on that a bit.


    Catholic Defender

  31. “I see you as protestant christians walking a different, and somewhat misguided path back to God. That’s not meant to be insulting.”

    Don’t worry CD, we aren’t insulted. We see Catholics and other non-Mormon Christians as trying really hard but unable to quite get there without the baptism by someone with the proper authority. Hence the baptisms by proxy and a huge missionary program.

  32. Of course that verse is open to interpretation. How could I possibly think any word, spoken or written, wasn’t? What an embarrassing revelation of personal naivete that would be 🙂
    My point is that, like all faithful Christians (and I will continue to call myself a Christian, just as I will continue to allow others to decide for themselves whether I am or not), LDS people are basing their belief in a particular form of worship upon their interpretation of the Bible. Aren’t the differences between the thousands of Christian denominations largely based on slightly differing interpretations of the Bible? Whether or not other aspects of the LDS faith seem Christian or “unChristian” to specific individuals, I hardly think a differing interpretation of specific verses of scripture qualifies for the latter label.

  33. oops, I was signed into a different account when I posted the most recent comment. It was also written by me (becca).
    I will also be away from internet access for the next 4 days, so if you reply specifically to me and am ignored, don’t take it personally.

  34. I just wanted to throw in a different look of reading the verse.

    In 1 Corinthians 15, there is the verse that says: “Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?”

    Well, Paul is saying, “Why are people baptizing for the dead if there is no resurrection?” And we are saying, “What in the world does he mean by that?” Right? “What is the Baptism for the Dead?” It isn’t even important what he means–to us. People then knew what he meant. There was some pagan cult at that time that was doing Baptisms for the Dead. But, all Paul is trying to say is, he is trying to prove the validity of resurrection in general. In other words, the whole chapter is to prove that there is a resurrection, and all he is saying is, “Even the pagans understand that there is a resurrection, or else why would they be baptizing for the dead?” In other words, he is only using what we would call a natural argument rather than a supernatural one.

    Like we say, for example, the old story of immortality that is told about the little blind boy that was sitting on the top of a hill and he had a kite, and the kite was pulling against the wind. Somebody said to him, “Can you see the kite?” He said, “Oh, no sir.” And then he said, “Well then how do you know that it is in the air?” “Well,” he said, “I feel the tug on the string that I hold in my hand.” The old adage was that’s the way it is with immortality–even pagan people feel the tug of immortality–that there is life after death. That is why Indians buried ponies with the dead braves. That’s why people in Greece put a coin in the mouth of the dead body, so that they could pay their fare across the Mystic River of Death. That’s why they put a canoe in a Pharaoh’s pyramid, so that he could go down the River of Life in his canoe. In other words, there is something in the human heart that longs for immortality, and Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 15, “If there is no resurrection, then why are these people baptizing for the dead? Even the pagans feel the pull of immortality.” And of course it [Baptizing for the Dead] was in error, and it still is with the Mormons that do it.

  35. Hi Bunker,

    The difference of opinion that you and I have, is that you recognize your church members as having the authority to perform baptisms, I do not. I certainly recognize a Catholic Priest as being someone called by God, to be a spiritual leader, and to live a spiritual life. But, I do not believe that God calls all of us to that kind of life, and I do not believe he grants the “priesthood power” to all worthy males who reach the magical age of 12, and are baptized into the LDS faith. 2 Corithians, I think chapter 10 pretty much denies the LDS teachings on that subject. That’s the part where St. Paul is talking about each of us being given different gifts, and each of us being called to different vocations within the church. Some are called to be priests, some are not. I figure you’ll interpret that differently than I do.


    I think that you are mostly correct in that many of the non-catholic faiths arose because of different interpretations of the bible. But, I would add, that many of those protestant faiths also arose because of disputes in the leadership of the Catholic Faith. The Anglican Church exists because the king of England didn’t like what the pope had to say about divorce. The King James Bible, arose partly as a result of that dispute. That by the way is something I’ve always pondered…why does your church recognize the KJB as the most correctly translated, when that version of the bible was one of the more politically motivated translations. Doesn’t make much sense to me, and seems inconsistent.

    Catholic Defender

  36. “I figure you’ll interpret that differently than I do.”

    CD, you hit the nail on the head. Every church interprets things differently hence all the different churches. Even people within the churches may interpret things differently then will even split once again. (polygamy?) I respect your assertion that priests within your church are “called”. I think for the most part they are men of God. Just like the Pope, our Prophet and most everyone else that is in tune/touch with the Spirit.

    My argument is with authority and I am guessing we can both go back and forth like 7-year-olds but in the end we all have our beliefs and our interpretations.

  37. HI Bunker,

    According to my wife I behave too much like a 7 year old at times, so I won’t go back and forth about authority with you. Suffice to say, you believe your prophet has been given authority, I believe the pope and the priests below him have been given authority. Who’s right…doesn’t really matter since its God’s call as to who gets back to him, not ours. Our job is basically to live as Christlike a life as we can and let God judge our efforts. Enjoy the journey.


    Catholic Defender

  38. Gotta throw in my two bits…

    What’s interesting to me about bunker’s and CD’s exchange is that even as they think themselves to be particularly ecumenical, they have just accepted a new dogma of agnosticism (they know that we can’t really know).

    That’s fine…just don’t think you’re being a less dogmatic than the wild-eyed Christian who rails on about angels on the head of a pin…

  39. Catholic Defender: "why does your church recognize the KJB as the most correctly translated"?

    In General Conference Elder Robert D. Hales said the following:
    "We express gratitude to all who lived in England and throughout Europe who helped kindle that light. By God’s grace, the light grew brighter. Aware of the divisions within his own country, English King James I agreed to a new official version of the Bible. It has been estimated that over 80 percent of William Tyndale’s translations of the New Testament and a good portion of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch, or Genesis through Deuteronomy, and Joshua through Chronicles) were retained in the King James Version. In time, that version would find its way to a new land and be read by a 14-year-old plowboy named Joseph Smith. Is it any wonder that the King James Version is the approved English Bible of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today?"

    Read the whole message for more on that: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=20a078de9441c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Robert D. Hales, “Preparations for the Restoration and the Second Coming: ‘My Hand Shall Be over Thee’,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 88

  40. See also President Boyd K. Packer, “On Zion’s Hill,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 70


    Work was done centuries ago to prepare for our day. Ninety percent of the King James Bible is as translated by William Tyndale and John Wycliffe. We owe much to those early translators, those martyrs.

    William Tyndale said, “I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than [the clergy].” 2

    Alma had come through great trials and faced even greater ones. And the record says, “And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God” (Alma 31:5).

    That is exactly what we had in mind when we began the scripture project: that every member of the Church could know the scriptures and understand the principles and doctrines to be found in them. We set out to do in our day what Tyndale and Wycliffe had done in theirs.

    Both Tyndale and Wycliffe were terribly persecuted. Tyndale suffered in a freezing prison in Brussels. His clothing was worn to rags, and he was terribly cold. He wrote to the bishops asking for his coat and cap. He begged for a candle, saying, “It is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark.” 3 They were so enraged at this request that he was taken from prison and, before a large crowd, burned at the stake.

    Wycliffe escaped death by burning, but the Council of Constance had his body exhumed, burned at the stake, and his ashes scattered. 4

    The Prophet Joseph Smith had borrowed the volumes of the Book of Martyrs by the sixteenth-century English cleric John Foxe from the mother of Edward Stevenson of the Seventy. After he read them, he said, “I have, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, seen those martyrs, and they were honest, devoted followers of Christ, according to the light they possessed, and they will be saved.”

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