Mormonism and infant baptism

One of the biggest criticisms of the Christianity of its day in the Book of Mormon was the belief in infant baptism. If we were to go back to Joseph Smith’s days almost all of the churches except the Campbellites and Baptist sects believed and practiced infant baptism. Joseph Smith was reacting against the Protestant sects of his days and preaching the doctrine of Sidney Rigdon in the Book of Mormon. He probably had very little understanding of the Catholic Church’s theory of Limbo, etc. Most Calvinists agreed with Augustine’s teachings that unbaptized babies went to Hell. And the Methodists baptized infants even though they were not Calvinists. In reality Joseph Smith probably had very little contact with Catholics at the time the Book of Mormon was written. Sidney Rigdon’s Campbellite theology is strong in the Book of Mormon. Rigdon no doubt had something to do with it.

I’m not sure this fits into your thread but one of my biggest problems is they will baptize the dead and not baptize a living soul. Shouldn’t the worry about the living instead of the dead?

The Bible is clear that WHOLE HOUSEHOLDS were baptized. I think it is sad that Mormon children are not considered to be part of the household until they attain the age of 8

They are considered part of the household at birth. Unfortunately, the fact some whole households receive baptism in the New Testament does not prove those households had infants baptized. It is not clear.

maybe in name…but the fact they are not baptized till 8, despite the fact that WHOLE HOUSEHOLDS were baptized speaks for itself

I only find two instances in the New Testament where there is a mention that whole households were baptized. There is simply no proof in either instance that infants were baptized. A baby is part of your household as soon as the child is born and Mormons give them blessings to welcome them into their church. I think it is insulting to our LDS and Baptist friends for a Catholic to say that Mormons and Baptists don’t believe an infant is part of their households since they don’t baptize them right away.


What do you think the odds are that, in two WHOLE households, in a culture where lots of children were born, where servants and THEIR children lived, that there were no children?

Household is all inclusive. Not exclusive.

I had a large household when I was in my mid 40s in which all the children were above the age of 8 and below the age of 20. We are not talking about odds. We are talking about what the scripture actually says, and it can’t be assumed that either of these households had young children. We can real only appeal to church tradition with regards to the baptism of young children. We’re not sola scriptura folks.

lol…you in THIS decade in THIS country is MUCH different that a household in 33 AD in a different culture, different time, different country. And exactly how many servants lived with you? Just curious

Would you let a Mormon or a Baptist get away with the kind of assumption you are making?

Would I let them assume that households included everyone? and that things were different back then back there than they are now?


I think the better proof for infant baptism is Paul’s statement that makes it clear baptism is the equivalent of circumcision in the new covenant. This is found in Colossians 2:11-12:

In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ:
Buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him up from the dead.

Since circumcision was given to infants under the Old Testament law it is reasonable to conclude that baptism is the equivalent of circumcision for the Christian only also including infant females as well as males.

both require reasonable conclusions.

Excellent point!! I never looked at it that way before.

I don’t believe that Mormons do baptisms for the dead for those who die before they are eight years old. They believe they are saved without baptism so there is no need to worry about them.

The idea of what baptism does is different for Mormons vs Catholics.

Mormons believe that baptism erases sin (which is strange because you’re not supposed to have the ability to sin before age 8). Not Original Sin, just regular sin. The LDS also confirm at the same time they’re baptized, and that confirmation is what actually brings them into the Church. So basically, 8 year old Children go from having absolutely no responsibility for their souls to having total responsibility within an hour, without a whole lot of prior teaching or training.
I currently have a friend that has left the LDS Church while his wife is still a member, and they have a son that’s about to turn 8. This is a huge point of conflict because he wants to wait until their son is old enough to truly understand what he’s “signing up” for, but his wife is adamant about having him baptized along with his peers.

The Catholic teaching on Baptism is quite different in nature, but even more so in attitude. There are examples of infant baptism in early Christianity, and the object of Baptism is to bring those infants into the Church and remove original sin.

There really isn’t a way to parallel the two, especially when referring to infant baptism in the Catholic Church and baptism in the LDS Church. They have entirely different purposes and meanings.

Isn’t it the case that while Eastern Orthodox baptize infants, they don’t believe that infants are infected with any guilt from Adam? That seems to be a western idea that came from Augustine that never affected the Eastern Orthodox view. They would Adam’s sin as causing death and giving us a natural tendency to sin, but they never believed that children inherited guilt from Adam’s sin. That seems to be very close to the Mormon view.

The irony is still the same

I’ve heard this as well, though I can’t confirm. I don’t think they’ve ever developed the speculation of the Limbo of Infants because of the difference in understanding original sin. Perhaps these links will be helpful:

Also, Eastern Orthodox (and I assume Eastern Catholics) baptize, confirm, and give the Eucharist to infants. The separation of baptism in infancy and confirmation in adolescence is more of a Western practice (I think the Catechism mentions this as well, off the top of my head).

I believe the people of Israel passing through the cloud is another type of baptism as well:

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. (1 Cor 10, 1-4).

It cannot be denied that there were little children in the people of Israel.

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