Tag Archives: Baptism

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.

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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.

Salvation for the Dead

14 May

The doctrine that ordinances can be performed through proxy for those that have died without having the gospel is a unique doctrine of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Partly because of this we are frequently criticized and the claim is made that the doctrine is not taught anywhere in the Bible. Despite the fact that it is mentioned directly by Paul the critics come up with many reasons as to why that reference cannot mean that such was practiced by the early saints. So, I have decided to write this article explaining not only how this one reference means exactly what it says, and proves that this was practiced in the early years of the Christian era, but also to show just how frequently the Bible references this doctrine and thus teaches it clearly, if not plainly to those who seek to criticize. In this article I will begin with the Old Testament, showing how the work of Salvation for the dead has been prophesied of by the ancient prophets. Then I will address those references in the New Testament that taught this doctrine to the early saints, and which teach it to us.

In the Old Testament there is six times in which Salvation for the Dead is prophesied. Not all of them are in the same context, but let us consider each of them one by one.

Isaiah 24: 22 “And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” This chapter is a prophecy of the second coming, detailing what will happen. In verse 21 Isaiah states the wicked will be punished, and then states they will be gather into the prison in verse 22. However, you will notice that he does not prophecy that they will be left there, but clearly states that they will eventually be visited. Now, this is talking of those who will be destroyed at the second coming, but can we honestly say that if they will be visited that the wicked who died before that event won’t be?

Isaiah 42: 7 “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. Isaiah again prophecies that the prison will be opened, and this makes a direct statement that the prisoners will be brought out. This time we have a direct statement that the dead who died in wickedness will have the opportunity to be brought out of that damnation that they will have to endure, at least for a time.

Isaiah 49: 9 “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.” Once again a direct prophecy that the prisoners will go forth from the prison, and will be in the high places.

Isaiah 61: 1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” The opening of the prison to them that are bound. This is the third time that Isaiah prophecies that the prison will be open, and Christ even quoted this verse in a declaration of who he was and what he was to do (namely, the opening of the prison).

Obadiah 1: 21 “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” I take note that this verse cannot be speaking of Christ, as it declares that saviors, or many acting in the capacity of savior will be called on to judge Esau. In this verse Esau becomes symbolic of the wicked nations, and thus many will be called to bring salvation to the wicked. Of course, we don’t really get the idea of salvation for the dead unless we read in context back a few verses back where it says “and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau” in verse 18. Thus this is also a prophecy of the second coming, when the wicked will be cast off the earth, and then saviors will come to judge them and bring them salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” Here we not only have the direct prophecy of the prisoners coming forth, but are told they are coming forth from the pit, a clear reference to hell.

These verses all clearly teach that those who died in wickedness and were cast into the pit, or hell, or prison, will be given the chance to repent and come forth from their prison, and even attain to the high places. This was a principle looked forward to by the ancient prophets.

Then, in the days of Christ and His apostles this same principle is taught, not only as a future event, but also a past event that had already happened as well as a practice that they followed. There are five verses total that speak to this principle, two of which are Christ teaching it.

Luke 4: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Christ here is quoting Isaiah (see above) and is declaring that this prophecy is fulfilled. Now, this does not mean that he has already opened the prison, but that he is the one that has been given power by God to do so. He is declaring that now there is one on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests sufficiently to enable these things to happen.

John 5: 25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” Christ is here declaring that shortly thereafter the dead (meaning those who had died before his ministry and were not in the world of spirits) would hear his voice; or in other words, would have the gospel preached to them.

1 Corinthians 15: 29 “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? Here is the only verse in the Bible that mentions this practice by name. In order to understand this verse let us consider the context. Chapter 15 of First Corinthians is a discourse of the resurrection. Paul declares that this was the first thing he taught to the Corinthians (verses 3-4) in regards to Christ. In fact the first eleven verses of the chapter are Paul’s reaffirmation of the resurrection of Christ. Then in verse twelve he gives his reason for addressing this subject; “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Everything he says after this is to prove and teach the doctrine of the resurrection. Thus verse 29 is given as a proof of this doctrine. What is Paul saying regarding the Baptism for the Dead? He is pointing out that if the resurrection was not a reality than there would be no point in performing such an ordinance. Now, many people come up with creative ways to explain this verse away. The most popular I’ve seen is that Paul was referring to a Pagan group which lived north of Corinth, and was arguing that the saints should believe in the resurrection considering that these pagans obviously did, considering their practice. This makes no sense, as why would Paul reference a false sect to prove the truth of the gospel?

1 Peter 3: 19 “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”

1 Peter 4: 6 “For, 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.” I include these two verses together as they are truly part of the same discourse from Peter. The first declares the prophecy that the wicked would be visited and taught the gospel has been fulfilled, as Peter states plainly that Christ visited the spirits in prison. Actually, in verse 20 he declares that many of these spirits were those who were killed in the great flood at the time of Noah. He continues his discourse and in chapter four he declares why this was necessary and what it accomplished. The gospel was preached to them to give them the same chance than men in this life have, being judged as if in life, but through the mercy of Christ.

All of these passages from the Bible teach the reality that the gospel would go, and now has gone to the dead who died in wickedness. Christ has breached the gulf that once separated the spirits of the righteous from the spirits of the wicked (see Luke 16, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man) and the great commission is carried out not only in the world of the living, but in the world of the dead. The ancient prophets knew this would happen, and the early saints performed the work that was prophesied of many years previous. It is an eternal principle directly attached to the mercy of God.