Rebaptism, Jan 18, 1923

-- Jan 18, 1923
Correction of custom of temple baptisms and administrations for illness-- Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

It is evident from this letter sent to all Stake Presidencies that a similar letter of instructions had been sent to all Temple Presidents on December 15, 1922.

The subject of this letter is the discontinuance of a custom that had evidently grown up in the Church among some members of going to the Temples to be baptized for their health or for administrations for illness.

The custom was said to prevail "to some extent in our temples" and its discontinuance was called for by the First Presidency. It was labeled as "a departure from the way instituted of the Lord" for the care and healing of the sick.

This letter might well be studied in connection with other instructions issued by the First Presidency on the same subject of healing the sick, during the period 1914-1924.

On October 3, 1914, the First Presidency had written (see MFP 4:312-317):

"It must always be borne in mind that this administering to the sick by the sisters is in no sense a temple ordinance, and no one is allowed to use the words learned in the temple in washing and anointing the sick."

In October, 1922 the First Presidency had written (see earlier in this volume):

"The custom which is growing in the Church to dedicate those who appear beyond recovery, to the Lord, has no place among the ordinances of the Church."

These three examples provide an excellent illustration of the eternal vigilance exercised by the First Presidency lest apostasy or perversions of the ordinances of the gospel gradually enter the Church by custom, rather than having changes occur by revelation and by the authority of the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. The three messages constitute calls to return to the principles and practices enjoined in the original revelation given on the subject through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Edward H. Anderson summed it all up, perhaps, when he wrote, following publication of the October 1922 statement: "Plain and instructive information on how to deal with the sick is also given of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 42:43-48."

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Office of the First Presidency Salt Lake City, Utah January 18, 1923 Prest. Joseph E. Cardon and Counselors

Dear Brethren:

The following paragraph is part of a letter dated December 15th, 1922, from the First Presidency to Presidents of Temples:

"We feel constrained to call your attention to the custom prevailing to some extent in our temples of baptizing for health, and to remind you that baptism for health is no part of our temple work, and therefore to permit it to become a practice would be an innovation detrimental to temple work, and a departure as well from the provision instituted of the Lord for the care and healing of the sick of His Church. And in this connection we desire to say that the practice of Church members going to temples to be administered to is a departure from the way instituted of the Lord, and we are desirous that these things should be corrected and receive attention of the proper authorities in the branches, Wards and Stakes of the Church where they belong, and it will be for you to so inform your temple workers and those who may come to you from time to time for baptism for health and to be administered to."

The Presidency would thank you to convey the information contained in the foregoing paragraph to your Bishops with the request that they issue no more recommends for baptisms for health or administrations to the sick.

Your brother, ANTHONY W. IVINS, In behalf of First Presidency. {1923-January 18-Original circular letter. Church Historian's} (1)

-- Dec 9, 1930
Sylvester Smith: Baptized by proxy into LDS church 9 Dec. 1930 and priesthood restored to him before proxy endowment 10 Dec. (2)

-- May 6, 1931
Lyman E Johnson: Baptized by proxy into LDS church 27 Jan. 1931, after which his priesthood was restored before his proxy endowment 6 May 1931 (2)

-- Aug 25, 1932
William Smith: Baptized by proxy into LDS church 21 June 1932, and priesthood restored to him before proxy endowment on 25 Aug. 1932 (2)

-- Apr 12, 1933
Lyman Wight: Baptized by proxy into LDS church 27 Aug. 1932, and priesthood restored to him before his proxy endowment on 12 Apr. 1933. (2)

1 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)
2 - Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 6, Biographical Sketches of General Officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47,

LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms

Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History