Mormons and the worldwide flood

When I was Mormon, the default belief was that the flood during Noah’s day was a worldwide flood. They saw it as a type of baptism for the earth.

I notice several LDS are now stating it was a localized flood. For example, this is from FAIR:

They say it isn’t necessary for LDS to believe in a worldwide flood. Since the flood is seen as a type of baptism, doesn’t that mean the LDS should accept sprinkling if they don’t accept the idea of a worldwide immersion?

Erm… I don’t think you’re going to get a very… Mormon… answer here. Especially considering that the Church doesn’t recognize Mormon Baptism as valid.

However, to answer your question, if the purpose behind full immersion was to reenact the world-wide flood, assuming the LDS now accepts belief that it was a localized flood, it would stand to reason that a localized baptism would suffice as well.

Interesting that you posted this because I have been thinking about this particular Mormon teaching for a while. It is interesting that FAIR is saying that there is no need to believe in a worldwide flood, especially since the global flood as Earth’s baptism is taught in seminary and Sunday School. How in the world can they get around the belief that the Flood was the baptism of the Earth and it not be global (i.e., by immersion)?

As you know, the LDS church strongly teaches that baptism by immersion is required, and if even one hair on the head isn’t immersed, the baptism must be redone. If the belief of a localized flood is permitted, then maybe baptism by immersion isn’t required and that particular criticism of the Catholic Church goes away. This is just another thing that undermines the supposed authority the LDS church claims they have. So LDS friends, if LDS prophets have been wrong about the Flood, what else are the LDS prophets wrong about? The Book of Mormon? Priesthood? Polygamy?

Baptism by immersion isn’t a mormon thing because we believe it’s symbolic of a worldwide flood, it’s a mormon thing because it’s in our scripture: “The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water”

(And for the record, I don’t criticize other churches for holding different beliefs about baptism or doing it differently. Sprinkle all you want.)

I’m sure you’ve encountered the answer before, iepuras. We don’t believe a prophet stops being a fallible man when they become prophet. “Error-free” or “infallible” aren’t words we associate with our mortal church leaders.

I’m sooooo glad you brought this up. :smiley:

Is a mormon prophet infallible when he reveals a “revelation”, which is supposedly deigned by God?

Even in matters of faith and morals?

What about all the admonitions to “follow the prophet”?

What of the many declarations that God will not allow the prophet to lead the church astray; that rather than allow that to happen, God would “remove the prophet out of his place”?

Sounds like infallibility in matters of faith and morals to me.

OTOH, if the prophets can teach falsehood in matters of faith and morals (and according to you they often have) then why on earth would you follow him? How is following your fallible and false-doctrine-teaching prophet any more reasonable than following pastor Billy-Bob over at the local bible church?

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

God revealed important truths to Joseph Smith about the flood…

The place or country where Noah’s ark was built was designated in my hearing by the Prophet Joseph Smith as being in or near South Carolina.– Told by Oliver B. Huntington in Hyrum L. Andrus, They Knew the Prophet, p. 65

God lied to us about the Flood?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit