Rebaptism, Jan 10, 1912

-- Jan 10, 1912
President [David H.] Cannon spoke concerning shoes worn while receiving endowments. He said, put your moccasins on over your shoes. This is the word from the Authorities. A sample of this was given by President [Brigham] Young; he wore his moccasins over his shoes when receiving endowments for [the] deceased and we should follow his example. Baptisms cannot be administered by persons standing out of the water. Innovations must not creep in, in any manner of thing. [The] speaker said, "It is my business to see that right is maintained here no matter what is done elsewhere. If what is done is done right, they, the dead[,] and we can pass to our exaltations, otherwise not." [Temple Minute Book, St. George, Jan. 10, 1912] (1)

-- Jan 19, 1912
President [David H.] Cannon remarked that yesterday in the prayer circle held by the brethren a question arose as to the requirements made by the Doctrine and Covenants of the recorder at the baptismal font. I hold the right in this temple to decide that matter and President Joseph F. Smith has the right to reverse my conclusions on this or any other point whatever. He [Cannon] read of Doctrine and Covenants, Sec[tion] 127, sixth verse and from [the] 128[th] Section regarding the duties of the Recorder at the baptismal font and said, The Lord has never given a revelation to his people that the terms thereof could not be carried out in the spirit thereof. The witnesses to the baptisms in this temple faced the east end of the font. The candidate for that ordinance is brought by the baptisor with his face toward the witnesses and is placed under the water eastward * the baptisor standing between the applicant and the Recorder [and] mak[ing] it impossible for the Recorder to see that the applicant is completely immersed. The Recorder however should distinctly call [out] in the hearing of the Administrator and see the person or proxie answering thereto. [He should] see that the person baptizing repeats the name without variation. The witnesses should be satisfied that the person is totally immersed; then in confirmation the name given should be distinctly heard by the Recorder and he records the baptism and confirmation of the said person[,] [and] the name of the person administering in each ordinance[,] the names of witnesses[,] and his own name as Recorder are attached. This[,] President Cannon said[,] is the plain duty of the Recorder and constitutes the eye and ear witness [ * ] at the Baptismal Font. [Temple Minute Book, St. George, Jan. 19, 1912] (1)

-- Sep 11, 1913; Thursday
The following is the report of the regular meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles held this morning in the Temple at 10:30. ...

The question had arisen as to the origin of Baptism for health by Bro[ther]. Hyrum M. Smith, seeking information on this subject.

President Smith remarked that it had been customary to baptize for health from the early rise of the Church, and he related specific incidents showing the good effects resulting therefrom.

Pres[iden]t. Lund also related incidents of a like character which had taken place in the Manti temple, and remarked that there evidently exists some connection between forgiveness of sin and healing, and that this understanding obtained in the days of the Savior and the Apostles afterwards. And while he felt that we should not encourage the idea of baptism for health, he felt that we should not discourage it when the desire was prompted by those asking permission to be baptized for their health. ... (2)

-- 2nd Decade of the 20th Century
Uncertainty about baptism for health arose in the second decade of the twentieth century. With improvements in modern medical science and Mormonism's more general integration into the larger society, Church leaders began to avoid ritualistic practices that, in turn, appeared increasingly magical. Consequently, the therapeutic use of oil, notably manifest in repeat anointings, anointing the area of affliction, and drinking consecrated oil fell out of favor. These rationalizations of the healing liturgy spilled over into a debate surrounding baptism for health; and Joseph F. Smith and Anthon H. Lund, both of the First Presidency, emerged as defenders of the practice. (3)

-- Apr 26, 1916
Joseph F. Smith rules that Salt Lake temple have daily limits for proxy ordinances: 240 endowments and 1,200 baptisms for the dead. As example of changes in that policy, Salt Lake temple performs 4,718 endowments on May 21, 1967. (4)

1 - Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History,
2 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes
3 - Stapley, Jonathan & Wright, Kristine, '"They Shall Be Made Whole": A History of Baptism for Health,' Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2008
4 - On This Day in Mormon History,

LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms

Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History