Rebaptism, May 20, 1896

-- May 20, 1896
... In baptizing for the dead in the Temples we understand that the form of words used is as follows: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you[,] __________[,] for and in behalf of [,] __________, for the remission of your sins, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. We might go into explanations as to the reasons which have caused this form of baptism to be adopted; but it is not necessary, further than to say that baptisms for health and baptisms for the renewal of covenants, etc., have led doubtless to the adoption of this form of ceremony to distinguish it from others. We have had this matter under consideration from time to time, and supposed that our views had been made known to the Presidents of the Temples; but we understand that they have not been informed upon this point, and that the form above given is still the one used in administering baptisms for the dead. The form we think proper, and that we desire to have used hereafter in administering the ordinance of baptism for the dead, is as follows: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you[,] __________[,] for and in behalf of __________, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. We understand that in some instances baptisms have been administered in the Temples with something like the following ceremony: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for the remission of sins, for the renewal of your covenant, and for the restoration of your health, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. We do not know upon what authority this form of administering baptism has been adopted, but we think it improper. There have been times in the Church when the First Presidency have felt it necessary to call upon all the members of the Church to renew their covenants, and at such times it was suggested that the words "for the renewal of your covenant" be used in the ceremony; but it does not follow that at other times, and in individual cases, that form should be used. We think it improper, speaking generally, for the words "for the remission of sins" or "for the renewal of your covenant" to be used in administering the ordinance of baptism. Where it may be necessary to baptize a person who is already a member of the Church, the form of ceremony which the Lord revealed to the Nephites, and which has been revealed also to us in our day, is sufficient. It is sufficient for a sinner who joins the Church * for through that ordinance and the words of the ceremony which the Lord has given[,] his sins are remitted * and it certainly is for a man who is already a member of the Church, if it should be deemed necessary to administer the ordinance of baptism to him. The practice which has prevailed in some instances where members of the Church are baptized, of using the words "re-baptize" and "re-confirm," we think unnecessary. When we strictly follow the form the Lord has given us we are sure to be right. In cases where people are baptized for their health, we see no impropriety in using the words "for the restoration of your health" in the ceremony. There is a difference between baptism for such a purpose and baptism for admission into the Church. One is an ordinance of salvation * the door provided by the Lord through which His children must enter into His Church and become entitled to the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant; the other, while it may be termed in some respects an ordinance, is not imperative upon the members of the Church. If they have faith and believe, when they have an ailment, that the administration of baptism in that form will be beneficial to them, the privilege is granted to them. But there is a clear distinction between that form of baptism and the form of baptism which the Lord requires His children to obey to become members of His Church. [Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to Temple Presidents, May 20, 1896] (1)

-- Jun 3, 1896
Idaho Mormons are still being rebaptized and restored to priesthood blessings eight years after First Presidency allowed them to be excommunicated in order to vote. (2)

-- Jul 9, 1896; Thursday
... President F[rancis]. A. Hammond of the San Juan [Utah/Colorado] Stake, had an interview with the First Presidency in reference to his position. It had been proposed to release him from presiding over the San Juan Stake, but the people almost unanimously voted for his retention. The reasons advanced for his release were advancing age and ill health, but he believed that his occasional use of liquor and tabacco were the real or stronger reasons for releasing him. He had therefore sought the Lord in earnest prayer, and had been able to put aside those habits entirely, and for a long time past had not used tabacco nor tasted strong drink of any kind, and believed that he never would again. His habits in these respects had been very much exaggerated, and his health also. He was now entirely recovered, felt well and vigorous, and the Presidency being satisfied with his statement, continued him in his office, with their blessing and approval. President Hammond stated that the statistical records of the San Juan Stake were in a deplorable condition, and it was impossible to tell who were really members of the Church in that region. He asked permission for a rebaptism of all the members, that a full record might be obtained; his request was granted.

The following letter was addressed to Elder Abram Hatch, President of the Wasatch [Utah] Stake, which explains itself:

"You ask the question, Are members of the A.O.U.W.,3 who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints entitled to recommends to the Temple for marriages and Temple work"?

["]In reply, we would say that we are not in favor of our Brethren joining organizations of any kind outside of our Church. But we are more especially impressed with the wrongfulness of their joining organiations which interfere with the rights of

their fellow citizens in regard to labor. To illustrate: We think it is wrong, contrary to our religion, and contrary to good citizenship, for men to combine together in any organization to prevent their fellowmen from working because they do not join them or work for such an amount as they think workmen ought to have. This, we think, states our position clearly in regard to those organizations. But this A.O.U.W., as we understand, is not in the strictest sense an organization of that kind. Still we think it would be better for our brethren not to join it. It would not do, however, to refuse a young man who wanted to be married in the Temple a recommend because of his being a member of that organization. We do not wish to drive out people away from the Church and from its ordinances. At the same time we would not like this to be a precedent and for others to say, `Well, the Church has no objection to our belonging to the A.O.U.W., because So and So has received a recommend and he is a member of that Order.' From this we think you will understand our position. If a man desires a recommend, and this is the only objection, we think you should grant it to him, at the same time giving him these views." (Signed by Presidents Woodruff, Cannon and Smith).

3The Ancient Order of United Workmen.


1 - Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History,
2 - On This Day in Mormon History,
3 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes

LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms

Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History