Episode 75: D&C 125-128

Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me
Latter-day Peace Studies presents: Come, Follow Me
Episode 75: D&C 125-128
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Ben and Shiloh talk about the letters from Joseph Smith to the Church while he was in hiding concerning the new and unique doctrine of baptism for the dead. These letters show an increasing complexity in Joseph’s understanding of the “Mormon Cosmology” and in how the Plan of Salvation operates. By the time these letters were written in 1842, Joseph had already started secretly engaging in the practice of plural marriage (showing that he had been thinking of the eternal nature of men and women and of humanity’s eternal relationships) and had participated in the rites of the newly established Freemasonry lodge in Nauvoo (which added a new layer of symbolism, rite, and ritual than was ever presented to him before). Additionally, the pain and trauma of losing his brother Alvin had strongly impacted Joseph throughout his entire life. Before Joseph was able to obtain the gold plates, Alvin died rather suddenly prior to choosing to be baptized into any local church. At his funeral, William Smith (Alvin’s and Joseph’s brother) wrote that the Presbyterian minister who presided over the funeral had “intimated very strongly that he [Alvin] had gone to hell, for Alvin was not a church member”. Years later, after the Kirtland Temple dedication, Joseph received a vision wherein he saw Alvin in the Celestial kingdom, and Joseph wondered how Alvin could be in heaven given that he had never been baptized. Joseph was instructed in the vision that those who had died without hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ would have the opportunity of hearing it in the next life. As Joseph would later contemplate over certain passages in the Bible (as shown in Section 128), he mused that “the baptism for the dead” was a “subject [that] seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest.” This is interesting wording and a unique and rare insight into how Joseph received his own divine inspiration. Certainly, we can see that Joseph had used the love and memory of his brother as a mode to find further insight from the divine.

Shiloh lives in Bakersfield, CA, with his wife and four children. He spent his formative years growing up in Memphis, TN, and graduated from Brigham Young University with dual degrees in philosophy and geography. Shiloh is currently a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University pursuing a PhD in religion (focusing on Mormon Studies). He is the founder of Latter-day Peace Studies and co-produces LDPS Come, Follow Me's weekly podcast.