Whenever "baptism" is spoken of in the scriptures, it is necessarily talking about "baptism for the dead." For Joseph Smith said in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life—The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.
Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead, and that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly.Joseph described the ordinance as very "particular," and that "the Lord ordained and prepared [it] before the foundation of the world." There should be no doubt, therefore, that baptism for the dead was instituted before the world was, and that baptism for the living was introduced in this realm, to become a likeness of the original ordinance, and to create a "welding link" between the children and the fathers.
Furthermore, while it is not explicitly stated, the record keeper of these performed baptisms must have "a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living," (the "key of knowledge"). Otherwise, how else would the "earthy" records be bound in heaven?
I want you to remember that John the Revelator was contemplating this very subject in relation to the dead, when he declared, as you will find recorded in Revelation 20:12—And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
You will discover in this quotation that the books were opened; and another book was opened, which was the book of life; but the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; consequently, the books spoken of must be the books which contained the record of their works, and refer to the records which are kept on the earth. And the book which was the book of life is the record which is kept in heaven; the principle agreeing precisely with the doctrine which is commanded you in the revelation contained in the letter which I wrote to you previous to my leaving my place—that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven.
Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.The principles which bond the living to our dead cannot be lightly passed over, for their salvation is necessary to our own. Peter (petros, "the rock"), was shown to us as the "precedent" of one possessing this "binding" or "recording" power. The Lord's "church" was built on that foundation, for Peter was given the "keys of the kingdom," presumably to weld the children to the fathers.
Seeing as how the binding power "has always been given" whenever the Lord has blessed man with a "dispensation of the priesthood," it would be wise to look at Joseph Smith's guidance in regards to how our earthly records become sealed in heaven. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?
I beheld that I was wandering a dark cave, in search of some sort of artifact. After a while of searching, I stumbled upon exactly what I was looking for (whatever it was). I don’t know if these were plates or stones or parchment records or even certified documents or what, but it seems like they had a “supernatural” essence to them. Perhaps it was the information they contained that possessed this quality. As I was examining them, a Native American man came in, asked if he could borrow the treasure for a little bit, so I agreed. He grabbed the artifact(s) and walked into a neighboring room. A bunch of people started walking in and sat down in chairs. I can’t say if they could see me, but no one seemed to notice that I was standing there.
The man started lecturing about the artifacts and the others took notes. I tried to follow along, but the words made no sense to me, so I just waited until the end of the lecture. A few people stayed after and talked to the man, and once they were gone, I approached him. As I came closer, I realized that this man was a good foot taller than I am (very tall, indeed!) He leaned down as I reached up to whisper in his ear. I notice that his face was etched with deep creases and bold features, which seemed indicative to me that he was Cherokee or Shoshone, but I was positive that he was a North American Indian. (Side note: in later studies I discovered that “Cherokee” means “dweller of the caves.” “Shoshone” means “people of the low valley.”) He seemed middle-aged, but he was strong and healthy, with dark hair about shoulder-length. There was something very familiar about him.
I whispered, “I have seen the Elders.” He looked at me with some sort of recognition, then said, “Ahh, so you have. Now you must receive the eagle feather”♤ As he said this, an image of a star inside a circle appeared in my mind. I’m not sure how many points it had, but felt that this detail was unimportant. I know it was not the Star of David. It seems, though, that it was significant to understand that each point was an iteration of the whole, and that the star symbol had to do with the book.
He continued, “The feather is easy to find, if you know where to look. I will show you if you can catch me.” With that, I chased him around the room. He laughed at the “game” like he thoroughly enjoyed it (he wasn’t mocking me, just having fun). Finally, I snatched him, and pulled him into my arms, but all that was there was his colorful tunic. I heard a voice from the other side of the room where he appeared. “You got me. I will reveal the location. You can find the feather of the eagle….” And then the vision ended, without hearing the rest of his sentence.
But I now know that he was about to say, “...if you put on the coat. Then you will see for yourself.”
The sun rose on a magical new day…
Over the whole earth they came,
The people of every color,
Sister, Brother, Father, Mother
Traveling over many a land
With treasure from deep caves
People of the Mountain
Children of the Valley,
With a fresh glow
Singing a new tune
Finding their path
More joined the song,
A song for the soul…
A new way to live,
A new way to see,
It was free
And a new song,
That came from within
The song was not compelled
Neither was it commanded
No two sang the same way
"If you can find
the Star in the Circle,
And the feather of the eagle
Within, then you will find…
What is… What was…And what will be…
You see, it happened this way…
Can you hear?
Will you sing?"
Blue and Red Katchinas
Wildest Dreams, I Know You're Out There, The Voice
Next post: Sunday, August 24