thing is simple in the mechanical part of it, but sublime and eternal in itssignificance.
This is, after all, the Restoration, and about that the late, great Professor Frank Moore Cross of Harvard had to say:I am both interested and delighted to see so much of ancient religious tradition,particularly Biblical tradition, taken up into the religious structures and rituals of the Mormons.
Professor Cross also said:Someone who does not know much about temples, and Mormons buildingtemples, should be directed to the Bible.
Our Church is well-known (even infamous) for this Baptism for the Dead, and we often referinvestigators to Paul’s words in I Corinthians 15:29,Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why arethey then baptized for the dead?Paul is asking the rhetorical question: Why is there baptism for the dead, if there is noResurrection? From which we conclude that, since there is a Resurrection to come, thenbaptism for the dead is essential in order to fulfill all righteousness.According to the late British scholar James Barr (a non-Mormon), what Paul was saying here wasnot a novel principle at all, and was based on the pre-Christian practice of proxy sacrifice for thedead conducted at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem: Even using the same reasoning from anevent in II Maccabees 12 (in the Apocrypha), in which some dead Jewish warriors were found
to have pagan idols hidden in their clothing, apparently for good luck. Their comrades-in-armswere horrified and immediately took up a collection of 2,000 silver drachmas to pay for an
Quoted in Gregory Prince and William Robert Wright,
David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern
(SLC: University of Utah Press, 2005), 277, citing address at Mesa, Arizona, Temple, Dec 30,1956
Frank Moore Cross, Professor, Harvard University, spoken in the LDS video, “Between Heaven
DVD (Intellectual Reserve, 2002/2005), at 35:28. James Barr,
Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism
(Westminster, 1983), 40-43, n. 19.