D&C Section 127

This section is one of the letters from the prophet, Joseph Smith, to the saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He wrote it in September of 1842. At this time, the prophet was in hiding due to threats against his life. The saints had already received revelations about the principle of baptism for the dead. This letter gave additional directions to the saints about this ordinance.

Mesa, Arizona Temple 2010

1 Forasmuch as the Lord has revealed unto me that my enemies, both in Missouri and this State, were again in the pursuit of me; and inasmuch as they pursue me without a cause, and have not the least shadow or coloring of justice or right on their side in the getting up of their prosecutions against me; and inasmuch as their pretensions are all founded in falsehood of the blackest dye, I have thought it expedient and wisdom in me to leave the place for a short season, for my own safety and the safety of this people. I would say to all those with whom I have business, that I have left my affairs with agents and clerks who will transact all business in a prompt and proper manner, and will see that all my debts are canceled in due time, by turning out property, or otherwise, as the case may require, or as the circumstances may admit of. When I learn that the storm is fully blown over, then I will return to you again.
2 And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.
3 Let all the saints rejoice, therefore, and be exceedingly glad; for Israel’s God is their God, and he will mete out a just recompense of reward upon the heads of all their oppressors.
4 And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven.

The prophet was hiding because of false accusations against him, and the Lord had warned him of his enemies and their intentions. The prophet made sure to let the saints know why he was gone and that he fully intended on returning. It is interesting that the prophet says “the perils which I am called to pass through”, because it implies that when we are chosen for a particular work, there will be trials that we are called to experience as well. This makes sense to me, because Satan would do anything to stop the work of the Lord. When we are called to do the will of the Lord, we are guaranteed to have trials and hardships to experience. Also, I know that we are allowed certain trials that will make us stronger and more faithful. These trials give us a greater ability to do the work we are called to do. Joseph Smith was called to do the greatest work in this dispensation, and so it is fitting that he would be also called to go through a lot of trial and tribulation.

Even knowing that he would continue to have trials, the prophet told the saints to be exceedingly glad. We are also to be glad, because we know that the same God who has saved His people in the past, is our God. We will be blessed and eventually all those who persecute us and try to stand against us, will receive their own reward. Joseph went on to tell them to give all of their efforts to finish the building of the temple and to continue to do the work. They did the work, and suffered through tribulations, because they had hope in the blessings of heaven. We also need to have hope in these blessings. When times get tough and we feel like our lives would be easier if we did not have to work so hard to live righteously, we need to have hope in the plan of happiness and the great promised blessings. With this hope, we need to faithfully continue to obey the commandments and keep all the covenants we make at baptism and in the temple.


5 And again, I give unto you a word in relation to the baptism for your dead.
6 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning your dead: When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder, and let him be eye-witness of your baptisms; let him hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth, saith the Lord;
7 That in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven;
8 For I am about to restore many things to the earth, pertaining to the priesthood, saith the Lord of Hosts.
9 And again, let all the records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple, to be held in remembrance from generation to generation, saith the Lord of Hosts.
10 I will say to all the saints, that I desired, with exceedingly great desire, to have addressed them from the stand on the subject of baptism for the dead, on the following Sabbath. But inasmuch as it is out of my power to do so, I will write the word of the Lord from time to time, on that subject, and send it to you by mail, as well as many other things.
11 I now close my letter for the present, for the want of more time; for the enemy is on the alert, and as the Savior said, the prince of this world cometh, but he hath nothing in me.
12 Behold, my prayer to God is that you all may be saved. And I subscribe myself your servant in the Lord, prophet and seer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph Smith.

The Lord revealed that the saints needed to have someone keep a record of baptisms for the dead. The footnote for recorded (v. 7) references the book of life. When we keep a record of the ordinances performed on earth, it is recorded in our own book of life in heaven. Heavenly Father is a God of order, so it makes sense that he would expect us to keep records and keep them in an ordered archive.

The prophet had received revelations about baptisms for the dead, but he was unable to teach about them properly because he could not come out of hiding at the time. Instead they were going to be receiving his words by letters. In the time while the saints were in Nauvoo, the prophet received great revelations regarding work in the temples. This was a wonderful and extremely difficult time for the saints. We are blessed so greatly today for the revelations that were received them. I am so grateful for the blessings of the temple. I am also very grateful for the work of these early saints, who even in the face of extremely difficult times, showed faith and did so much to prepare the way for us today.


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