Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism

In talking about the different ways the LDS Church has implemented Scouting, compared to other chartered organizations, I can't help but think about different modes of baptism as well.

A few years back, a story hit the news circuit about how the Catholics would no longer accept LDS baptisms but rather require that converts from Mormonism to Catholicism be rebaptized. This was supposedly a blow to our attempts over the past decade or more to appear more Christian to other churches around us.

Well, in case you hadn't noticed, we don't accept anyone else's baptism. So what's the big deal if they take ours or not? I know it's strange that Catholics and Protestants would share their baptisms with each other but not with us. It does display a lack of respect and understanding on their part. But if someone has left the church and joined another one, shouldn't that just be considered standard practice that they are baptized by their new church?

An influential leader in the Episcopalian church, Carolyn Tanner Irish, was raised LDS, left the church when she went off to college, and eventually joined the Episcopalian ministry and became a Bishop in that church. She was never rebaptized, but some people wanted her to, since the Episcopalians don't accept our baptism either. It was ruled, however, that since back in the day when she left our church for theirs, they did accept our baptisms; even though that policy was changed later, she would not have to then be baptized again.

We believe that a baptism must be done by the power of the Priesthood and in the right form, under direction of the appropriate presiding authorities according to the keys they hold. If anyone rejects that covenant and goes after what we would consider to be a false church, who cares if they are rebaptized or not? It's nice to know we have that power and that we are guided by revelation to make those decisions, instead of having to just argue about what policies to set.

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