Monday, April 2, 2012


This is the last in the series on baptism for the dead, a subject currently brought into the public eye with the recent proxy baptisms in the LDS temple of Holocaust Jews, Mahatma Gandhi and other famous celebrities.

In the last two posts (if you missed them, scroll down), you learned:

  • Why the Mormon Church performs proxy work.
  • The probability of your name being submitted for proxy baptism after you die.
  • What takes place in the temple in proxy work for the dead.
  • The three sources the LDS Church uses to validate temple work for the dead. (e.g., Joseph Smith, I Cor. 15:29, and Gnostic documents)
  • LDS writers proudly admitting that Mormon beliefs are Gnostic, and quote Gnostic documents to verify their beliefs and practices.
  • The identification and explanation of Gnostics in the Corinthian church who were baptizing for the dead.
  • The Christian church's repudiation of Gnostic practices.
  • Joseph Smith's adoption of Gnostic beliefs and passing them off as revelation.
  • Baptism for the dead is a prerequisite for the rest of the proxy work performed in LDS temples.

In this post, you'll discover that I Cor. 15:29 wasn't Joseph Smith's only source for his practice of baptism for the dead, or for the teachings in his temple ceremony.

Where else did Smith learn about baptism for the dead? You are already familiar with the reformers in the Protestant Reformation who migrated from England. But there was also a movement in Europe called the Radical Reformation, led by utopian prophets who felt the need for direct revelation and a literal setting up of God's kingdom. They began to incorporate concepts and beliefs in opposition to orthodox Christianity, one of the beliefs being baptism for the dead. They, like Joseph Smith, probably gleaned what they could from unorthodox books, manuscripts and myths.

The survivors of the Radical Reformation migrated to New England, where baptism for the dead continued among the Quakers and Germans, particularly by the "Zionitic Brotherhood of Priests" in the Euphrata community of Pennsylvania. Their practice spread among the local Germans and survived into the 1840s, Joseph Smith's time. Professor John L. Brooke, in The Refiners Fire, p. 19, states that the Radical Reformation in Europe was the "immediate precursor of critical themes in the popular religion of the early American colonies."

What other teachings were promulgated by the Radical Reformers? There were the "cunning folk" who used folk and occult magical methods to find buried treasure, which had a definite impact on Joseph who tied it to his discovery of gold plates. There were also the "Hermetic Magi," called this because they took their metaphysical teachings from the Corpus Hermeticum, one of many manuscripts found in Macedonia in 1460, supposedly containing revelations from the Greek god, Hermes Trismegistus to an ancient Egyptian prophet older than Moses. Within the Corpus was a book called the Pimander, nicknamed the "Egyptian Genesis."

The Pimander introduced the idea of creation ex deo, creation out of God instead of the biblical creation ex nihilo, creation out of nothing. It also taught that original primal matter, from which sprang the entire universe, was the Divine spirit; also, that the beginning of matter and the beginning of God Himself came out of that "primal divine intelligence." It also taught three heavens. It also taught universal salvation, emphasized free agency, portrayed a divinely empowered Adam helping in the creation and voluntarily giving up his divinity to "mate with matter," and declaring his fall voluntary, not a sin. (Those familiar with Mormon beliefs will recognize these concepts.) The Hermetic Magi also incorporated alchemy into Christian beliefs, as well as pagan beliefs from the Kabbalah (Rabbinic Judaism's esoteric teachings explaining creation and the universe and a means to attain spiritual realization).

Alchemy's main teaching was the belief that base metals could be transmuted into gold. But it also had a mystical side, the origins of which came from Greco-Roman Egypt. Alchemists believed they could use the same principle of transmutation to divinize human beings. Through this, man could recover the divine power and perfection Adam possessed before the Fall. (Divinizing Mormons into Gods is the main thrust of Mormon teachings.)

Joseph Smith, therefore, gleaned his doctrines from the Pimander, Kabbalah and Hermeticism, plus teachings of the 12th to 17th century individuals listed in red below. For those familiar with Mormon teachings, the parallels can readily be seen. For those not so familiar, a more definitive list of what Mormons believe, based on the teachings of the following individuals, will be listed below this list.

<>John Saltmarsh: Taught three heavens comparable to the sun, moon
and stars. Universal salvation. Matter preexisted. Creation cannot be
from nothing.

<>The Muggletonians: God is a finite being with body parts.

<>Paracelsus: Restoration necessity of the primitive church and a new
dispensation to be inaugurated by the coming of Elijah and Elias.
Heaven is of three substances.

<>Emmanuel Swedenborg: Marriage for eternity as the "new covenant."
Eternal marriage, Claimed he was appointed by God to write a doctrine
to reform Christianity; that he could visit freely and talk with angels and
other spirits. Conversed with spirits from Jupiter, Mars and other planets,
including the moon. The Lord appointed him to reveal the spiritual
meaning of the Bible and that he would be guided in what to write.

<>Jacob Boehme: (German mystic and theologian) Did not believe in
justification by faith; the fall was necessary.

<>John Dee: Studied astrology, alchemy, divination and Hermetic
philosophy. Taught hierarchy of priesthoods, man has potential for
divine powers, angel magic, used a crystal ball for scrying.

<>Anabaptists: Claimed a New Jerusalem, United Order, polygamy and a
Melchizedek priesthood.

<>Christian Rosencreutz, founder of Rosicrucianism, a secret society:

Teachings founded upon esoteric teachings of the Middle East.

<>Masonry: (temple rituals) Use of square and compass as symbols.

Participants in ritual advance in degrees learning something new in
each, including secret signs, handgrips, oaths and passwords.

<>Masonry/Rosicrucianism: Myths of buried treasure in underground


<>Folk and occult magic: Divining rods to locate buried treasure, animal

sacrifice, magic circles to overpower guardian spirits assigned to the
treasures. (gold plates buried in ground, guardian spirit: Moroni.)

Fascinated, Smith studied them and gradually incorporated those he liked into his new church, claiming them as revelation. His followers had no reason to question him. After all, someone who declared that God and Jesus appeared to him couldn't be wrong.


<>Preexistence of spirit and matter. (Hermeticism and John Saltmarsh)

<>Creation ex deo, creation out of Godmeaning eternal divine matter
instead of the Biblical creation out of nothing. (From mystical
Hermeticism and Egyptian Pimander)

<>The first God came out of the sea of Intelligence (primal matter) from
which also sprang the entire universe and all lesser Gods. (Hermeticism
and Egyptian Pimander)

<>A pre-mortal world (Hermeticism, Kabbalah and the Egyptian

<>God gained bodily parts. (Muggletonians)

<> Divine intercourse  takes place between the divine Mother and Father; 
therefore humans can become Gods through sexual union. (Kabbalah 
and Zohar)

<>Adam was divine and his fall not a sin(Hermeticism, Jacob Boehme

and the Pimander)

<>The LDS Church is a restoration of the primitive church. (Paracelsus

and John Winthrop, Jr.)

<>A New Jerusalem in the U.S. (Anabaptists)

<>Three heavens comparable to the sun, moon and stars (Jacob

Boehme, Paracelsus, Kabbalah and John Saltmarsh)

<>Polygamy and spiritual wifery (Anabaptists and John Finney, Jr.)

<>Temple work inaugurated by the appearance of the prophets Elijah and
Elias. (Paracelsus)

<>Temple rituals (Masonry, Gnosticism and Rosicrucianism)

<>Temple rituals dramas played by actors, in which participants watch.

(mystery religions)

<>Celestial marriage for eternity, described as the "New and Everlasting

Covenant". (Hermeticism, Emmanuel Swedenborg and John Finney, Jr.)

<>Use of the square and compass as symbols (Masonry)

<>Temple secret signs, handgrips, oaths and passwords to pass by the

guardians of heaven's gates(Masonry)

<>A new name for use in the resurrection. (Gnosticism and Masonry)

<>A Priesthood with three hierarchies (John Dee)

<>A Melchizedek priesthood (Anabaptists)

<>The divinization of human beings. (Alchemy, Hermeticism and John


<>Angelic visions (John Dee)

<>Instigation of a United Order. (Anabaptists)

<>Use of occult methods and divining rods to seek buried treasure. (folk

and occult magic)

<>Animal sacrifice and ceremonial magic circles to overpower guardian

spirits assigned to guard buried treasures. (folk and occult magic)

<>Gold plates (Hermeticism)

<>Buried treasure in underground vaults, and gold plates with a guardia

spirit (e.g., Moroni) (Heremeticism, Masonic-Rosicrucian myths, folk
and occult magic)

<>Divining rod to locate buried treasures. Also used in the temple to

receive answers. (folk and occult magic)

<>Use of astrology and occult talismen used by Smith and his brother,

Hyrum. (These have been preserved by their descendants) (Masonic-

<>Joseph Smith appointed to reveal spiritual meaning of Bible. (Emmanuel


<>Use of a seer stone (John Dee/crystal ball scrying; folk and occult


<>Universal salvation through works (Emmanuel Swedenborg and Jacob


I was going to list all the books containing the above teachings that were in print and available to Joseph Smith at the time, but decided it would make this post too long. However, they can be found in my book, "The Mormon Missionaries, p. 109-112)

Summary of Parts 1 through 3.

<>Baptism for the dead was practiced by the Gnostics who infiltrated the
church at Corinth.

<>The Gnostics' belief that only the spirit would rise in the resurrection
contradicts Paul's teachings. If Paul had known this at the time, he would not
have used it to reinforce his teachings on a bodily resurrection.

<>The early Christians who joined Gnosticism and practiced baptism for the
dead and other secret Gnostic rituals, were pronounced as heretics by the early
church whose stance was that full salvation was provided at Calvary, 
bodily resurrection was provided with Jesus' resurrection; therefore, additional rites were unnecessary.

<>Temple work was done away with at Jesus' death. (See. Col. 2:14)

<> Mormons use of I Cor. 15:29 to validate baptisms for the dead as
Christian, is invalid.

<>Quoting of Gnostic literature by BYU scholars to corroborate
baptism for the dead and LDS temple rituals, is invalid.

<>Mormons teach, believe and perform Gnostic and other Kabbalistic and
Hermetical beliefs that are unbiblical and in opposition to orthodox

Should you be concerned if the LDS Church baptizes you after you are dead? 
Part I presented this eventuality. But, some argue . . .

"If you don't believe in Mormonism, why should you care if they baptize you after you're dead?

Others say:

"We believe that rituals do matter, and somehow will have a real effect in the hereafter."

"It offends the faith of our families, some of whom died for their faith.”

Whatever your opinion is, you at least have a better understanding of why the LDS Church practices vicarious work for the dead, where they got it from, and orthodox Christianity's stance.


Click on cover
I'm not sure what I'll post on my blog next time (April 17). I am still recuperating from a bad bout with pneumonia, so am not up to doing anything too laborious. Therefore, I may do something more simple, like post one of my short stories for you to enjoy. Or, maybe not . . .

Until next time,

Blog Pinger Free

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