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Question

 

Gramps,

Will everyone who lived in mortality need the ordinance of baptism to be eligible to receive  a resurrected body?

Justin

 

Answer

 

Justin,

Thanks for your question.  The Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants provide a great deal of detail about the resurrection of the dead.  They teach that the resurrection is a gift that comes to all who came into mortality, our second estate, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus taught:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29, emphasis added).

There are multiple resurrections, at least one for the righteous and one for the wicked.  Nevertheless, the resurrection is a universal blessing.  Paul wrote:

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, emphasis added).

Likewise, the Book of Mormon prophet Alma referred to the resurrection as a “restoration.”

44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous… (Alma 11:44, emphasis added).

Although all people will be resurrected, there are differences in the glory of the bodies they will receive in this restoration.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead… (1 Corinthians 15:40-42)

These scriptures establish that the resurrection is an unconditional gift.  Even the wicked get resurrected.  The difference in glory is a function of one’s faith, as shown by obedience to God’s commandments, and receiving gospel ordinances.  An attentive reader of Doctrine and Covenants Section 76 will discover that the only mention of baptism is for those who inherit the celestial glory.

They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power… (D&C 76:51-52, emphasis added).

If you continue reading Section 76, you’ll find that there is no mention of baptism as a qualification for the terrestrial or telestial kingdoms.  Baptism is not required to be resurrected and to live in the lower two kingdoms of glory.  Baptism is the gateway to the celestial kingdom.  When we perform proxy baptisms in the temples for the deceased, it is to provide the opportunity to receive celestial glory contingent upon their receiving the gospel message, repenting of their sins, and accepting the ordinances of the gospel performed in their behalf.  It offers them the opportunity to be resurrected with the blessings of the celestial glory.  If they reject the gospel, the atonement, and the ordinances of salvation, they will still be resurrected, but with a lesser degree of glory in a lesser kingdom.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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