The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead has been the subject of heated discussion of late by many who seem to not understand the practice. Suprisingly, one of the most sympathetic views of this ancient practice come from an eminent New Testament scholar named Krister Stendahl. Professor Stendahl served as chaplain and dean of Harvard Divinity School and as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm (i.e., effectively, as the head of the state church of Sweden). Professor Daniel Peterson shares how Professor Stendahl became the author of the article on baptism for the dead in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

The articles referenced by Dr. Peterson include: 1) “Salvation for the Dead in Early Christianity,” by Roger D. Cook, David L. Paulsen and Kendel J. Christensen; 2) “Baptism for the Dead in Early Christianity,” by David L. Paulsen and Brock M. Mason; 3) “Redeeming the Dead: Tender Mercies, Turning of Hearts, and Restoration of Authority,” by David L. Paulsen, Kendel J. Christensen and Martin Pulido; and 4) “Redemption of the Dead: Continuing Revelation after Joseph Smith,” by David L. Paulsen, Judson Burton, Kendel J. Christensen and Martin Pulido. The first three are accessible online at; the most recent article is available in print, but hasn’t yet been put online.

Dr. Peterson also referenced the video entitled “Why Mormons Build Temples.”

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Daniel C. Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU, where he also serves as editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and as director of advancement for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He is the founder of Daniel Peterson is the author of many books and articles, including Offenders for a Word, which is available, along with other talks by Brother Peterson, at the FAIR Bookstore.

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