My study of the scriptures has had a profound effect on my life. As I have studied, I have grown closer to God and found answers to real challenges in my life. This blog is a scripture journal that records insights I have discovered in the past and continue to gain as I search, ponder, and pray.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Matthew 3 and 2 Nephi 31 Baptisms for the Dead and the Gift of the Holy Ghost

I had the wonderful opportunity today to take my daughter to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms for the dead. This was her first experience doing vicarious baptisms. Then as I got ready for bed, I opened my scriptures and found my bookmark at 2 Nephi 31. What an appropriate chapter to read.

As I watched the baptisms take place, I was filled with indescribable joy as I felt the presence of my ancestors eager to accept the work and enter the covenant with the Savior and our Heavenly Father. They have now passed through the gate and are on the straight and narrow path. They have covenanted with God to live his Gospel, and he has promised to bring them home!

Over the years as I've done family history work, I have come to appreciate the vital importance of the covenant of baptism. Today, however, I found a deeper appreciation of the fourth principle of the Gospel. When it came time to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost upon these individuals, I thought about my recent insights on the Holy Ghost and baptism by fire. I was struck by how important this ordinance is for them, too, even though they have already died.

Sometimes we think of individuals needing the gift of the Holy Ghost because we are living in a temporal world. The Holy Ghost can teach us things, even math; help us remember the things we have studied for that math test; comfort us when we are facing strange situations; warn us; reveal God's will for our choices, etc. These are all very great blessings, but they are used for our temporal needs in many instances. While I know that those who have died are still bound by time, the temporal aspects of their lives are greatly diminished (I think). As such, I've never really associated these kinds of needs with them.

However, as I participated in the temple work, I thought about the Holy Ghost as a sanctifier. Even those who have passed through the veil need to be sanctified. They need to become purified and be able to stand in the presence of God being holy. The bestowal of the Holy Ghost truly is an essential ordinance that changes them to become like God. It is not just an extension of baptism. It is not merely for our temporal help on this earth. Without the gift of the Holy Ghost which baptizes by fire, they, like me, cannot be sanctified and enter the Lord's presence.


  1. Hi Michelle! Nice to meet you via my blog...thanks for your comments!! I'd love to hear how you incorporate the FP into FHE!

  2. I think it's interesting that John uses the same word for "advocate" to describe Christ's role in bringing us back to the Father (1 John 2:1) as he does for "Comforter," which is the Holy Ghost (John 14:26).

  3. Hi! I'm visiting from Casual Bloggers.

    I think this is why we are instructed to go to the Temple and read the scriptures often. Those insights make our daily experiences so much more rich and meaningful.

  4. wow, that makes it all mean so much more, their need is greater then I understood before. I never really thought about how then need us to help them before they can stand before God. But what's more they need the Holy Ghost with them. It makes Baptism for the Dead that much more important.

    I really appreciate your blog!