Evidence of the LDS Church from Early Christian Teachings

One would think that the Gospel restored by Joseph Smith should at least somewhat reflect the teachings of the early Christian Church. It turns out to have more than just a few similarities.

Wonderful insights:

Barry Bickmore gives a presentation on this same topic: similarities between the restored church and the early Christian church.

Baptism for the Dead

Starting with the 3 Mormons:

1 Corinthians 15:29:

“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?”

The baptismal font at St Bartholomew’s Church, Liège was made between 1107 and 1118 now in St. Bartholomew’s Church in Liege, Belgium.   The font sat on twelve oxen (two are now missing).

Rick Bennett at Gospel Tangents does a helpful interiew:

The Ensign, “Salvation for the Dead“.  February 1995.

John Tvedtnes:  “Baptism for the Dead

Jeff Lindsay shares many articles on this topic here.

Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times by Hugh Nibley.

Mormon scholar, John A. Tvedtnes says: “Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage (397).   Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice.”

Code of Canons of the African Church as canon 18, reads: “It also seemed good that the Eucharist should not be given to the bodies of the dead. For it is written: ‘Take, Eat’, but the bodies of the dead can neither ‘take’ nor ‘eat’. Nor let the ignorance of the presbyters baptize those who are dead.”

Image result for tertullian quotes

Tertullian attributes the practice of 1 Corinthians “baptised for the dead” to the Marcionites.  

Epiphanius of Salamis (between 310–320 – 403) reported that he had heard it said that, among followers of Cerinthus, if one of them died before baptism, another was baptized in that person’s name:

For their school reached its height in this country, I mean Asia, and in Galatia as well. And in these countries I also heard of a tradition which said that when some of their people died too soon, without baptism, others would be baptized for them in their names, so that they would not be punished for rising unbaptized at the resurrection and become the subjects of the authority that made the world.

Image result for Marcionites

John Chrysostom (c. 347–407) mockingly attributes to the Marcionites of the late 4th century a similar practice: if one of their followers who was being prepared for baptism died before receiving baptism, the dead person’s corpse was addressed with the question whether he wished to be baptized, whereupon another answered affirmatively and was baptized for the dead person.

Cover

An interesting example of the views of a prominent non-LDS scholar is related by R.L. Anderson in Understanding Paul, Deseret Book, SLC, Utah, 1983, p. 413. It’s a transcript of a conversation with Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed, an authority on the New Testament and early Christian documents:

Interview between Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed and Paul R. Cheesman, held in Dr. Goodspeed’s office on the campus to the University of California at Los Angeles during the summer of 1945.Cheesman: Is the scripture found in 1 Corinthians 15:29 translated properly as found in the King James Translation?
Goodspeed: Basically, yes.
Cheesman: Do you believe that baptism for the dead was practiced in Paul’s time?
Goodspeed: Definitely, yes.
Cheesman: Does the church to which you belong practice it today?
Goodspeed: No.
Cheesman: Do you think it should be practiced today?
Goodspeed: This is the reason why we do not practice it today. We do not know enough about it. If we did, we would practice it.
Cheesman: May I quote you as a result of this interview?
Goodspeed: Yes.

Other religions pray for the dead, and some even offer food to the dead.  We  baptize proxies for the dead.

Unique perspective of a non-Mormon who had been Dean at Harvard Divinity School: