Rebaptism, Jan 12, 1909

-- Jan 12, 1909
[Apostle George Albert Smith Journal] "Was present in Temple when Father baptized F.M. Lyman for his father and Pres Jos F. Smith restored his rights etc in the Priesthood. My Grandfather Lorin Farr, died in the bath at the Hot Springs North of Ogden 88 years old. He was alive at the time but was probably stricken with apoplexy. He has spent the latter part of his life working in the Temple." (1)

-- Tuesday, Jan 12, 1909
[Apostle John Henry Smith Diary] Salt Lake City

At 4 p.m. I baptised Prest. Francis M. Lyman for his father Amasa M. Lyman. Confirmed by Prest. Jos. F. Smith.

We received the sad news that Father Lorin Farr had died of heart failure at the Ogden hot springs. Geo. A. went to Ogden. (2)

-- Nov 10, 1910; Thursday
Letter read from President B[righam]. A. Hendricks of the South African Mission, dated October 4, addressed to President Rudger Clawson, stating in substance that a serious race question was confronting himself and associates, missionaries, on account of the doctrine having been taught to some of the negro saints that they could perform certain ordinances in the House of the Lord, and he desired an answer to this question: "Is it possible for a promiscuously bred white and negro to be baptized for the dead?" adding that a great many blacks had become members of the Church in South Africa, and were good, honest people. President Hendricks also stated that by asking this question he did not wish it to be inferred that he and his fellow missionaries were directing their work among the white race.9

President [Joseph F.] Smith remarked that he saw no reason why a negro should not be permitted to have access to the baptismal font in the temple to be baptized for the dead, inasmuch as negroes are entitled to become members of the Church by baptism.

9This letter reads, in part: "A serious question is confronting us in this land in regard to the race question. There are many of our black saints who have been taught that they can perform certain ordinances in the Temples for their dead ancestors. I know it is impossible for a negro to hold the priesthood. ... Is it possible for them to be baptized for their dead?" (Brigham A. Hendricks, letter to Rudger Clawson, October 4, 1910, LDS Archives). In response, Clawson wrote: "No work is being done in the Temples at present neither has any been done in the past for the negro saints. Priesthood cannot be given to a negro and this rule apears to hold good regarding other ordinances of the Temple.


-- Nov 18, 1910; Friday
This is in answer to President B[righam]. A. Hendricks' letter to you of the 4th ult. with respect to the right of Negroes to be baptized in behalf of their deceased ancestors. It is true, as intimated in yours of Oct[ober]. 25th to President Hendricks that no ordinances are being performed in the temple in behalf of deceased Negroes, neither can temple ordinances be performed in behalf of the Negro race involving the bestowal of the holy priesthood upon them. But inasmuch as Negroes living in the flesh can become members of the Church through baptism, we do not hesitate to say that Negroes may be baptized and confirmed in behalf of their kindred dead, which is all that can be done for tem until the Lord shall direct otherwise.

But in thus answering we do not wish President Hendricks or his successors in office to encourage the Negro saints of South Africa to emigrate to Zion in order that they may be in a position to do temple work in behalf of their dead. In fact, the same general instructions apply to our elders with respect to the Negro race as applies to them with respect to the whites, and that is not to preach the gathering or encourage any to emirate, but rather to leave this entirely with the saints themselves, so that they cannot truthfully blame the Church should any of them come here and become dissatisfied and want to return.

We note that President Hendricks says in his letter to you in effect that the labors of himself and elders are among the white class of people, and not the blacks. This is as it should be, and we trust that this understanding will be clearly had by all of our missionaries laboring in South Africa, and who may be called to labor there hereafter. In the Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price) Chapter 7, verse 12, we learn that Enoch in his day called upon all the people to repent save the people of Canaan, and it is for us to do likewise. But at the same time where honest-hearted

Negroes who perchance hear the gospel preached, become pricked in their hearts and ask for baptism, it would not by becoming in us to refuse to administer that ordinance in their behalf. And where such brethren and sisters desire to have their temple work done in behalf of their deceased kindred, let them furnish the Mission President with the names of their dead, together with the genealogy, as fully as they may be able to give it, who may forward the same to us, and we will see that baptism is performed in their behalf, and we will instruct the temple recorder to inform the Mission President when the work shall have been done. (4)

1 - Journals of George Albert Smith
2 - Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990,
3 - Excerpt from the Minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
4 - Joseph F. Smith and Anthon H. Lund to Rudger Clawson, LDS Archives

LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms

Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History