Utah’s Latter-day Saint youths soon will be able to return to their faith’s temples to be baptized for their deceased ancestors.
At various points in April, according to a news release Monday from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these vicarious baptisms will again take place at all 15 operating temples in the Beehive State.
On April 12, the Bountiful, Brigham City, Draper, Jordan River (in South Jordan), Logan, Monticello, Ogden and Oquirrh Mountain (in South Jordan) temples will resume the religious rite in which members — particularly faithful teenagers — are baptized for their dead forebears.
On April 26, the Cedar City, Manti, Mount Timpanogos (in American Fork), Payson, Provo, Provo City Center and Vernal temples will join them.
By that date, some 53 Latter-day Saint temples across the globe will be offering baptisms for the dead as part of the Utah-based faith’s phased reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The temple baptistries will welcome small groups, particularly youths who take part in this volunteer work. Performing baptisms for the dead has become a religious rite of passage of sorts for Latter-day Saint teens.
The release notes the online scheduling system for each temple will be activated on the Monday afternoon the week before the scheduled start date.
A proxy baptism doesn’t mean that the deceased person automatically becomes a Latter-day Saint in heaven. The church’s doctrine holds that those who have passed on can choose to accept or reject this ordinance. And those names are not counted among the church’s 16.5 million members on its earthly rolls.
Come April 12, some 86 Latter-day Saint temples around the world will be providing ordinances such as marriages, or sealings, for living individuals, not vicarious rites for the deceased. Members believe that married couples and their children can be sealed in the afterlife as families.
By that time, 26 temples will be offering limited vicarious rites such as sealings, along with all living ordinances.