Tag Archives: Baptism

Reply To A Video: 4 1/2 things Mormons believe that Christians don’t

22 Feb

I was going to comment on the blog that posted the video in question, but I found my comment to be far to long for a comment, so I decided to put this in my blog, mainly because I really wanted to.

So, this post is in reply to a video recently posted at Bearded Disciple titled “4 1/2 Things That Mormons Believe That Christians don’t.” This video was, in turn, a reply to a video that three Mormon men made titled “5 Things Mormons Believe that Other Christians Don’t.” There are several points I would like to make, and I will number them according to the video presentation.

But first, a brief mention of the introduction: You may notice the subtle different in the titles of the video. This is because the bearded one wants to deny that Latter Day Saints are, in fact Christian. This is, of course, false and misleading, but is a common point that has been addressed by many and I don’t think I need to go into full details here. I just wanted to point it out to the readers so that they will understand the man’s starting point when he makes his arguments.

I would also like to point out that the original video is not attempting to proselytize or convince anyone to join the church. The purpose is to simply provide information in a fun way. They are not saying “This is why you should should join the LDS church.” Rather they are simply saying “This is what the LDS church and its members believe that you don’t.” But the response frequently tries to dismiss the original with demands of proof or reasons why he should accept and believe these things as well.

1. Prophets

The three Mormons rightly stated that other Christians do not believe that God currently speaks through prophets. They also state that God always spoke through prophets, at least when he was speaking. In response to this is the claim that the first prophet was Samuel and that the only prophet in the New Testament was a woman. So, let us look at this claim briefly. Let us start with the Old Testament.

Genesis 20: 7 God calls Abraham a prophet. Deuteronomy 34: 10 No prophet greater than Moses, indicating that Moses was a prophet. Judges 6: 8 a prophet came to Israel. 1 Samuel 9:9 prophets used to be called a seer, showing that prophets existed long before this time.

In the New Testament, in Matthew 11: 9 John the Baptist was a prophet, and in Luke 7: 28 Christ declares that there is no greater prophet. Acts 11: 27 prophets came to Antioch from Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 12: 28 in the hierarchy of the church Prophets were second to the apostles. Ephesians 3: 5 God was, at that time, revealing things to His apostles and prophets. James 5: 10 speaks of the prophets that spoke during the life of Christ.

Finally, to wrap it up, Luke 1: 70 God has been speaking through prophets since the world began. So, while many men are not directly called prophets in the scriptures, it is clear that from the time of Adam there were prophets on the earth.

So, while other Christians may not consider these men to be prophets, it is clear that those who wrote the Bible did consider them to be prophets, and not just having the gift of prophecy.


A final point here, in the original video they quote Mark 13: 22, which states “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” In the response the bearded one rightly acknowledges their point that this verse does not completely negate the possibility of future prophets, and then he focuses on Joseph Smith and asserts that there is still reason to reject him as a prophet. The problem is that many Christians deny the very possibility of modern prophets and have frequently said that the roll of a prophet ended with Christ and the early church. So, while the original video is made by Mormons, the point is that we believe in modern prophets. Rather than actually address this belief the response focuses on rejecting Joseph Smith. So, the real question is, if these three Mormons are right about what they say regarding the possibility of prophets, does the bearded one acknowledge the possibility of prophets.


2: Speaking Only to Ancient Israel

The three Mormons mention a common belief among many Christians that God did not speak to anyone outside of Ancient Israel. Now, the video does point out that this is not a universal belief, and so I think it should be amended to God has not revealed His Gospel to anyone outside of the Ancient Middle East. This is a better way of putting it because it is not only more in line with mainstream Christian beliefs, but because most of the Book of Mormon was God speaking to Ancient Israel, just a branch that was not in the Middle East.

However, I think that the main point that the three are trying to make is valid, though somewhat poorly worded, so let me re-iterate the basic meaning they were trying to get across. The LDS believe that God has visited members of many nations and revealed his gospel directly to them, calling prophets out of each nation to preach to the people of that nation. Again, it was poorly worded by the three Mormons in the video. However, they quoted 2 Nephi 29: 7-8 which does state this very clearly.

In the response the bearded first claims they are ignorant as to Biblical understanding and then points out times in the Bible when God spoke to non-Israelites. the problem is that none of his examples actually stand up against the point being made. The video did not deny that God, at times, sent prophets to preach to other people in the Middle East or Mediterranean areas. Rather they are saying that most Christians do not believe that God had an organized religion among these other peoples until an Israelite was sent to preach to them. God did not call a Ninevite to preach, but sent the Israelite Jonah. He did not call a Spaniard to be a prophet, but sent the Israelite Paul. And most Christians would say that God never called a prophet to preach to the America’s, but sent the European Christians.

Another topic on this point is Other Sheep: The original video quotes John 10: 16 and point out that it is talking about Christ personally visiting the other sheep, and thus the work of the apostles cannot be what the passage is talking about. The response wrongly claims that Christ taught the gentiles, as Christ never did. He blessed them at times, but he never taught them. In fact, in Matthew 10: 5 He tells the apostles not to go the the gentiles. Then in Mark 7: 27, when a Greek (gentile) woman approaches him to heal her daughter he calls her a dog and declares that the children must come first. Then there is the story of Cornelius in Acts 10, which is the first recorded baptism of gentiles and something that other leaders in the church (even some apostles) questioned. If Christ had been teaching gentiles all along why would the Apostles, all of whom had known and traveled with Christ, have been shocked at Peter’s actions.

As to the Samaritan woman, the Samaritans were of the House of Israel, though of mixed descent. Thus to teach the Samaritans was still to teach Israel.

On a final point the bearded one sets up a straw man argument with his saying that we don’t include the people of Asia and asking who is included in the other flock. This shows his ignorance, as we include every branch of Israel that was a separate nation at that time of Christ. Christ explained this to the Nephites. In 3 Nephi 16: 1 he declares “…I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister….” So, clearly before Christ visited America He visited other lands as well, and yet more lands after He visited America. Many lands are included in this, and while we don’t know every place He visited, we are confident that He visited all the House of Israel. This would include those living in the East (where the Wisemen came from) as well as the Lost Tribes in the North, and likely others.


3: Eternal Families

I am not going to make any comments on the scriptural nature of the doctrine, or on the passage that is debated (you read the passage here or here). So I make no other comment here, as this is all that the bearded one talks of in the second video.


4. Degrees of Glory

On this point the original video kind of rambles and again fails to effectively portray the topic. But the response to this only to say “You haven’t proved it so I won’t believe it.” Not really effective either.

After that the bearded one makes a reply to something that was said under the topic of eternal families, and it is something that needs to be addressed. That is the idea that Heaven would not be heaven without our families.

Now, in the video it is implied that to have this opinion is to not truly love God. After all, it says in Luke 14: 26 that if we are to come to God we have to hate everyone else. The problem here is that the the bearded one does not actually understand what Mormons mean when they say that heaven would not be heaven without our families.

First, please note that every member of the church, who takes their faith seriously, is willing to give up their family for Christ’s sake. Truly, many members have had their families break over their conversion and have lost loved ones to become a disciple of Christ. Christ is the most important and His gospel is the only way. If following that means losing our families than we are prepared to do so.

Secondly, there will be many who enter the Celestial worlds without all of their family. It will still be heaven to them, even without their families. However, at the same time we all love our families and want to be with them forever. It is not so much that we wouldn’t feel it was heaven without our families, but that we cannot believe that Heaven would not at least have the possibility of our families remaining together.
Heaven would not be heaven without families; that is true. God Himself recognizes the eternal nature of families when He asks us to refer to Him as Father. Individuals may not have all their family with them, and some very unlucky ones may have none of their immediate family with them. But families will exist, and thus there is the possibility and the hope that our families will be with us. That is what makes it heaven. None of this puts Christ as second in our devotions. Rather it strengthens our devotion to Him, as what He has made possible is truly glorious.


5: Baptism

If you noticed the response also altered it to 4 1/2 things on the list rather than 5. This is the one they want to cut in half. The bearded one says that most Christians agree with the point, but then states that they don’t.

Just to clarify, the original video listed number five as “Mormons believe you should get baptized in the same way Christ did.” That is the statement, which is then clarified as ‘full immersion’ and ‘by fire of the spirit.’

The response video says that most Christian are going to agree with this, and then immediately says ‘we look at it and say that ultimately the way and the method that that’s done isn’t really important…’ The problem here is that the way and the method are exactly the point of the original video. It has to be by immersion, in the exact manner that Christ was baptized. The 3 Mormons even discuss to some extent the different methods and ideas surrounding baptism, and point out that Mormons don’t agree with them. So while most Christians may agree that you should get baptized, they do not agree that it should be done in the same way that Christ was baptized.


Sorry this is so long. I really didn’t want to break it up and I had a lot to say.


Little Known Propaganda: 8 – Temple Work For the Dead

8 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7


FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)


First of all, I can’t believe this is little known to the rest of the world. The temples have been in the public view for decades and the church is not shy in stating its doctrine on Salvation for the Dead. In addition there was the controversy of the baptism of Holocaust victims that was finally resolved in 1995. Given the original blog post was in 2008 it is hard to believe that at that time people were not at least acquainted with the fact that the temples are used to do the work for the dead.


As to the doctrine itself, it is in the Bible for those who care to actually let the Bible speak for itself. For instance, as support for the doctrine of the resurrection Paul asks “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) Clearly the early saints were doing baptisms for the dead, and Paul is reasoning that such a practice is not logical unless you also believe in the resurrection.

Then we have the teachings of Peter. He declares that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” (1 Peter 3: 19-20) Later he explains that “for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6) So, Christ preached to the dead in prison so that they may be judged on the same merits as those who were alive, and thus attain the eternal life that God offers to all men.

This brings us to the prophecy that Christ was anointed to “…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61: 1) As Peter says that the spirits of the wicked at the time of Noah were in prison, it is not a leap to see that Isaiah was prophesying that Christ would begin this work among the dead.

Other prophesies are also found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 42: 7 says that Christ is called “to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 49: 9 not only says that Christ will “say to the prisoners, Go forth” but that they will have “their pastures…in all high places.” So, not only can the dead get out of prison, but will be equal to others in salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 declares that by the covenant of the atonement God declares that he has “sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

Another prophecy that speaks to this is found in Isaiah 24: 22, where it is said that the wicked at the time of the second coming with “be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Now, Luke quotes the prophecy from Isaiah 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). John also tells us that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5: 25). Paul tells us that Christ’s atonement made him “Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14: 9) and that the Prophets “without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 40)


All of this establishes a clear understanding that those who have died will be taught the gospel as spirits and will have the opportunity of coming out of the prison they were sent to and gain salvation. This is done through vicarious ordinances, which Paul references in his argument for belief in a literal resurrection.


Now, there is the quote from Psalms that is given above, and it seems to contradict this doctrine. However, when it is looked at and truly understood there is no contradiction.

First, let us look at the context of the quote.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49: 6-10)

What this is saying is that those who trust in their worldly wealth cannot prevent their brother from dying, for all people die. Secondly, as a kind of aside, it points out that it also can’t save the soul, as it is the wrong power. It has no bearing on those who rely on the power of God to save their brother.


Then we look at all the quotes that I gave above. They clearly show that it is not us that saves our dead, but the power of the atonement. God anointed Christ to this power, and while we perform the ordinances, it is the power of his atonement that actually saves. So, no one does have the power to save their brother, but they do have the power to bring them to Christ, who then saves them.

Family Talks – Chryshal

19 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my nine year old daughter. She spoke on Temples.

I was asked to speak to you today about temples. Temples are where you get sealed to your family. Also if you die before you hear the gospel then you can have someone be baptized for you. I went one time to be sealed to my family in the temple and while I was there I got to watch a video on temples. The video said that temples are sacred places and we should care for them like Jesus cared for the people. There are 144 temples in the world that we must care for; the closest temple to us here is in St. Louis. When you go to the temple you can feel the Holy Ghost better than when you are at home, and I can read my scriptures better there. When you are at the temple you need to dress in white to be sealed as a family. When I was sealed to my family I felt like I was being joined as a part of each of my family members. I can’t wait to go to the temple again to be married to my future husband. When I do I will be making the circle of my eternal family even bigger. Temples are really beautiful places to be with your family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Family Talks – Shem

17 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my eight year old son, Shem. He was just baptized this last summer, and he gave the following talk on the Aaronic Priesthood.

While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry had questions about baptism. So they went into the woods and prayed to God for understanding. In answer to their prayer John the Baptist appeared to them and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.

The Aaronic priesthood is responsible for the outward ordinances, and the temporal care of the church. It is through this priesthood that people are baptized into the church, and that the sacrament is blessed and passed each week. It is also the duty of this priesthood to ensure that the church building is kept clean, and that the members of the church are taken care of.

The Bishop is the president of this priesthood. In this calling he is responsible for the care of each member of the ward. But he is to be assisted by all those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.

When I turn 12, if I am worthy, I will be ordained a deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. As a deacon it will by my job to help keep the building clean, but I will also be able to pass the sacrament.

When I am 14 I will be ordained a teacher and will assist the Bishop in caring for the members of our ward.

When I am 16 I will be ordained a priest. Then I will be able to bless the sacrament and baptize others.

I look forward to the time when I will be able to hold this priesthood and be counted worthy to assist the Bishop in doing God’s work.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Articles of Faith: Four

17 Mar

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed the first, second, and third Articles of Faith. Today I will discuss briefly the fourth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In this article Joseph Smith gives us four things that he calls the first. It should be noted that when Joseph Smith wrote this article in the 1840’s he stated it as the first ordinances. The term principle was added in the early 1900’s because the First Presidency recognized that Faith and Repentance are not ordinances. So they made the addition to more fully reflect the intended meaning that Joseph Smith wished to convey.

So, what does it mean that these are the first principles and ordinances of the gospel? It means, very simply, that these are the first things that one must accept and do in order to gain salvation. The gospel of Jesus Christ is “our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness” which is also referred to as the Plan of Salvation. So, this article could also be rendered “the first principles and ordinances of salvation…” This states clearly what the building blocks of our salvation are. Again, we note the order. These four things are not done in any order, but in the specific order given.

The first principle is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just belief, and not faith in just anything. We must have faith in Jesus Christ before we have anything else or nothing else will matter. In lesson five of Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, we read the following:

“Faith without works is dead” -in other words, it does not exist. I think James’ meaning clearly is, “You show me your faith without your works, and nothing will result; but I will show you my faith with my works, and something will be accomplished.” Faith means action. … Faith, therefore, is stronger than belief. …

Faith is a gift from God that we receive we strive to live by His laws. “Faith is the moving cause of all action.” [Lectures on Faith, lecture 1.]; so if we are to do anything else that the gospel requires we must first have faith.

The second principle is Repentance. Repentance is a deep sorrow for past sins and a desire to not engage in such in the future. Paul, in writing to the Saints at Corinth, told them “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7: 9-10). Repentance must come after faith, because only those with faith will feel this godly sorrow; but it must come before anything else, for it is only through repentance that we are made worthy of the ordinances of salvation. Remember that when the Pharisees came to John the Baptist to be baptized he declared “Repent, therefore, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance” and refused to baptize them. (see JST Matt. 3). If we do not repent we are not found worthy of baptism.

The first ordinance of the gospel is baptism by immersion. As I stated in my discussion of article three, we must obey the proper ordinances, and in this article Joseph Smith tells us clearly that only by complete immersion can baptism have any effect. No other form can be counted as baptism. Paul told the Roman saints that “we are buried with [Christ] by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 4) If we are not buried, or immersed in water by baptism than it is not a type of the death of Christ and has no effect.

The second ordinance is the Laying on of the hand for the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is an important ordinance, due in no small part to the fact that most of the rest of Christianity deny not only the need for it, but its very existence. Many teach that baptism brings the gift of the holy ghost, or that this gift is simply given. They give such references as Peter preaching in Joppa when the spirit fell on many and the day of Pentecost. However, Christ taught that a man must be born of water (baptism) and the spirit (holy ghost) (John 3: 5). Paul, when he went to Ephesus found twelve that had been baptized and ask:

Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them… (Acts 19: 2-6)

In the Book of Mormon Nephi teaches “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 31: 17) In the Doctrine and Covenants it is also described as a baptism by fire. Having the spirit fall on one is different than this baptism of fire, which figuratively burns the old sins from us so that we are not only washed in the water but are purified as if by fire.

Articles of Faith: Three

15 Mar

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I other posts I discussed the first and second Articles of Faith. Today I will discuss briefly the third of the Articles, as given below.

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

In this article of faith several points of doctrine are articulated, and many false concepts about the church are resolved.

Note first of all that we believe that salvation comes only through the Atonement of Christ. There is no other way for us to be saved. Without the atonement we would all be damned. I have heard many people try to claim that we do not believe that the Atonement is was saves us, but that it is our own works or what have you. However, this simple statement declares in no uncertain terms that it is through the atonement; and thus the atonement becomes the key to our salvation.

The second part of this article is also very telling, and I do not believe the wording was casual, but was very deliberate. We believe all may be saved, and I would emphasize all and may. We believe that no one is excluded from the possibility of salvation. All have the opportunity of salvation. This is in direct opposition to the common doctrine of Predestination, or the doctrine that everyone is predestined to either salvation or damnation. All may be saved, and so no one is destined for damnation. However, the word may puts a condition on this salvation. We believe all may be saved, not that all will be saved.

So let us look at the third part because here we are given the conditions of Salvation. As I stated before, the Atonement is the key to our salvation, but here we learn what is needed in order to turn that key and make it effective in our lives. After all, what good is a key if it is not used, or is used in the wrong way or on the wrong lock. Here we are given two conditions. We are saved only by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Again, take note of the wording, as I believe it is significant. We are saved through the atonement, but by obedience. The atonement is the medium through which we are saved, but obedience is the processes by which we are saved.

Think of school: the teacher tells you to write an essay and submit it through an online drop box. In order to pass the class you must go through the process of writing and essay and them submit it through the medium as directed. If you try to submit it through another medium you will not get any credit. However, if you do not write the essay you will also not get credit. The required work must be performed through the required medium in order for you to get any credit in the class.

In a like manner we must obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel, but must do so through the medium of the Atonement. If either part is missing we will not be saved. If we live our lives in righteousness, but never accept Christ’s atonement that is like doing the essay and trying to turn it in through some other medium. If we accept Christ and yet do not live righteously that is like not doing the essay, but still working through the correct medium. Either way we have no claim on salvation.

On a last note I find it interesting that the Laws of the Ordinances and listed separately. Since I believe that wording is significant in these articles one can hardly be surprised. The ordinances are not laws, and the laws are not ordinances. An ordinance is a sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood.  Some are essential for salvation, others are not. A law, on the other hand, is a command from God to either do or not to do something. The classic example are the Ten Commandments (8 do not’s and 2 do’s). Now, there are some laws that command us to participate in certain ordinances; such as the command to be baptized (2 Ne. 9:23; 3 Ne. 27:20). However, one can obey this command and not obey the ordinance, as is the case with baptism and sprinkling. Those who practice sprinkling are obeying the law to be baptized, but they are not obeying the ordinance, as the ordinance demands immersion. I believe this is the reason that Joseph Smith made that distinction that we needed to be obedient not only to the commands of the Lord (including those requiring ordinances), but that we need to perform the ordinances in their proper form.

So, we learn many things from this one statement. We declare that it is through the Atonement that salvation is made possible, and that all can attain to it. However, we also declare that we must do what is required of us or the Atonement will not work in our lives. Lastly we see that ordinances must be performed in their proper way or they do us no good.

Articles of Faith Two

13 Mar

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. In my last post I discussed the first Article of Faith. Today I will discuss briefly the second of the Articles, as given below.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s Transgression.

(Now, before I continue, let me just clarify that the word ‘Man’ includes both male and female.)

This article is also very simple and very strait forward in its mean. I would also like to take note as to its placement as the second article. (I will likely do this with most of the articles as I believe the order is very significant.) It was, and to a large extent still is common doctrine among the various Christian religions that the Fall of Adam has caused all people to be born with the taint of sin. Because of this even babies are counted as sinners and require the atonement to save them. Up until the mid to late 1800’s it was common practice among all Christians to baptize infants to save them from this taint caused by Adam. This is commonly known as Original Sin, which the Catholic church defines as “a consequence of [the sin that Adam committed], the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.”

In the simplicity of the second Article of Faith Joseph Smith is declaring that we reject the idea of Original Sin. The implications are huge. If we are not born with the taint of Adam’s actions that are we born sinners? The answer is obviously no, as we at birth we have not had the opportunity to sin. This then shows that babies are innocent, having committed no sin, and thus are not in need of baptism (as baptism is for the remission of sins Mark 1:4; Luke 3: 3). Also, if we are punished only for our own sins, then mortal life and death cannot be a punishment as they are the results of Adam’s actions. This would indicate that mortal life is a good thing, and not a bad one.

Now, there is one more part of this article that we should take note of, and that is the fact that Joseph Smith does not call Adam’s actions a sin, but rather a transgression. The distinction here is important, and it is one that many people ignore. Elder Dallin H. Oaks put it like this:

“This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: ‘We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression’ (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.”

So, this simple statement teaches us many things. First, that we are not born sinners. Second, since children are innocent at birth they have no need of baptism. Third, mortality and even death are good things and are part of the plan. Fourth, that while the act of Adam and Eve was in violation of divine commandment, it was not inherently evil and thus not a sin.