The Baptism of Fire


The following is my current understanding of the baptism of fire.

One baptism in three parts

The gospel of Jesus Christ has one, tripartite baptism consisting of the baptism of water, the baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The purpose of baptism is to witness that there exists a covenant between God and the man being baptized. Unless all three witnesses have occurred, the covenant between him and God is not binding.

The doctrine of re-baptism applies equally to all three

Anyone who enters into an agreement with another is free to witness or affirm the fact of the agreement by attestation for as many times as desired. There is no law of man or God against this. In fact, under the law of God, we are to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” that we may be in, even until death. So, the principle of witnessing and re-witnessing is a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The manner in which man witnesses of his covenant to serve God is through water baptism. This means that in order to re-witness his covenant, he must be re-baptized. Therefore, he may receive the baptism of water whenever and as many times as he desires and must, per his covenant, be ever ready to be re-baptized at all times and in all places, to re-attest of the validity of his covenant. This is the doctrine or principle of re-baptism and it applies equally to both water, fire and Holy Ghost baptisms.

Order: fire and Spirit, then water, then fire and Spirit, etc.

Re-baptism being a principle of the gospel, the order in which these baptisms are received is not all that important. The only necessary thing is that each one is received, for these are really three parts of one baptism. Nevertheless, the scriptural, ideal order is first the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 20: 37), followed by the baptism of water, followed by another baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and thereafter, any part may be repeated multiple times throughout one’s life.

Another thing that the gospel states is that after a baptism of water, the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is supposed to follow on its heels, either right after coming out of the water, or right after confirmation by the laying on of hands.

To demonstrate these principles, Joseph Smith received a baptism of fire during the First Vision, then a baptism of fire during each of Moroni’s visits and during the visit of John the Baptist, then a water baptism by the hand of Oliver Cowdery, followed by a baptism of the Holy Ghost after he came out of the water. Later he received other baptisms of fire with the visits of Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah, etc. He also received another water baptism after the church was legally organized, etc.

Simultaneity

A baptism of fire is always accompanied with a baptism of the Holy Ghost, but a person may be baptized with the Holy Ghost without an accompanying baptism of fire. This is why the baptism of fire is always called the baptism (singular) of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and not the baptisms (plural) of fire and of the Holy Ghost. These two parts of the tripartite baptism occur simultaneously as a single baptismal event whenever there is a baptism of fire.

Jesus alone performs the baptism of fire

Unlike the baptism of water, which can be performed by the hand of a mortal man under priesthood power and authority, the baptism of fire is reserved for Deity alone to accomplish and is based upon the state of a man’s heart and his faith in Him. (See 3 Ne. 12: 1-2; 3 Ne. 9: 20; Matt. 3: 11; Luke 3: 16; JST Mark 1: 6; JST John 1: 28.)

Confirmation is not the baptism of fire

The scriptures say that elders are “to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying of of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.” This is the ordinance of confirmation. Laying hands on someone’s head for the baptism of fire does not baptize anyone with fire. Only the Lord can do that.

When the scriptures say that this ordinance is “for” the baptism of fire, it is using that word “for” to mean “indicating the end with reference to which anything is, acts, serves or is done.” Specifically, the word “for” in that sentence means “as a preparation for” or “with the object of.” So, elders lay hands as a preparation for the baptism of fire, or they lay hands with the object of the baptism of fire.

The ordinance of confirmation, then, is a preparatory ordinance, which precedes an actual baptism of fire. This ordinance is called confirmation because it is intended to confirm the believers’ faith, both that of the one being confirmed and that of those doing the confirming. This is because true priesthood is “inseparably connected with the powers of heaven,” so when true priesthood is exercised as an ordinance of the gospel, there will be a corresponding manifestation of heavenly power. So, after the ordinance of confirmation, there is supposed to be a baptism of fire that occurs, showing that the covenant of the newly baptized person is accepted of God, as well as the priesthood of the one who is doing the confirming.

Binding and accepted covenants

The baptism of fire serves to witness to the new member, to the priesthood holder(s) confirming, and to the church that is present, that the covenant that the man has entered into with his God, witnessed by his water baptism, is accepted by God and is now in force. In other words, that it is binding, both upon the man and his God.

To put another way, water baptism is man’s way of witnessing to God that he has entered into a covenant to serve Him, whereas fire baptism is God’s way of witnessing to man that He has accepted that covenantal relationship.

(Jesus said, “Whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record (witness) of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” See 3 Ne. 11: 35.)

Plasma is the medium

To serve as a witness to all these people, the baptism of fire must be a visual sign. The medium used is not the fire of a gas stove or match, but discharging plasma in appearance as fire. Depending upon where one is located in relation to the plasma display, it may look like the flame of fire, like a palpable or living light, like lightning, or just as immense glory or brightness.

Specifically, the baptism of fire consists of twin plasma filaments, rapidly rotating around a central axis, creating a plasma tube or sheath, or plasma column, in other words, a cylindrical shape around the person being baptized. When viewed from the outside, it appears to be “a pillar of fire.” When viewed from within the tube, the fire aspects may or may not be discerned, but its bright light or glory is apparent. Thus we have the various accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, which was a baptism of fire, using the words “fire,” “flame,” “light,” “brightness” and “glory” to describe the discharging plasma he was witnessing.

Sometimes the twin filaments themselves can be discerned, and so we get a description of “cloven tongues of fire,” meaning twin tongues (or filaments) of plasma flame. Other descriptions are of fire “encircling” the persons being baptized, showing that the filaments rotate around the person.

All of these scriptural accounts are describing the same plasma manifestation observed from different spatial perspectives, and so accounts vary. But even with everything before a person, sometimes details can still be missed, as in 1 Ne. 15: 27.

Other aspects

Fire baptism is by complete, or cellular, immersion. Plasma both surrounds and enters the man, so that he becomes “filled with fire.” The fire can be seen and felt. To the one immersed in it, it initially feels like he is burning to death, in an incomprehensibly complete and rapid manner, as every part of the body seems to have caught on fire. Great fear instantly comes upon the man as he fully believes he is about to die. But in the next instant his mind realizes that death has not occurred, that there is no pain and that there is no apparent cellular damage or harm. The fear leaves just as suddenly as it comes, only to be replaced with a feeling of awe and gratitude as the mind realizes that this same destroying fire, which should have instantly atomized the body, is somehow keeping the body protected from its own destructive power.

The divine plasma has the effect of cleansing the heart of man, purifying it of all dross (sinful desires), so that he no longer desires to sin, but instead abhors it. In this swept clean condition, the Holy Ghost then unexpectedly and suddenly enters the man and causes the individual bits of his soul to shout for joy, because of the presence of Deity.

Fire baptism allows other heavenly manifestations to occur

The baptism of fire purifies a person’s heart and Jesus said that all the pure in heart shall see God. So, whenever a person receives a baptism of fire, chances are real good that they will also see either an angel, vision or God Himself. At the very least some revelation or prophecy will occur along with the baptism of fire, or some other manifestation of one of the gifts of the Spirit.

Fire remits sin

Whenever a person receives a baptism of fire, his sins are automatically remitted. In other words, he becomes justified, or guiltless, before the Lord. Nephi said, “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”

Fire brings forth a new tongue

Nephi also said that when a man receives the baptism of fire he then can speak with a new tongue, even the tongue of angels, and that “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.”

There are only two, definitive, scriptural examples

There are plenty of scriptural verses that mention the doctrine of baptism of fire, but there are only two accounts in our current standard works in which it is definitively stated that actual baptisms of fire occurred. Of those two accounts, only one applies to us in the latter days. They are:

Adam’s baptism of fire
After Adam was baptized by the Spirit of the Lord, as recorded in Moses 6: 64-68, he heard a voice saying, “Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.” Nevertheless, there is no mention of any manifestation of fire in the account. Although quite interesting, this experience was, apparently, Adam specific and is not the template for the baptism of fire among the modern masses.

The Lamanites’ baptism of fire
When the Nephite missionaries Nephi and Lehi preached among the Lamanites and were imprisoned, about 300 souls received a baptism of fire, as recorded in Hel. 5: 20-49. This is the scriptural template of a baptism of fire for all mankind. We know this because the voice of Jesus Christ said so:

And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. (3 Ne. 9: 20)

So, the Lord categorically states in the above scripture that the experience of the 300 souls was a baptism of fire. Additionally, He states that all baptisms of fire that He performs will be “even as the Lamanites… were baptized with fire.” The Lamanites’ baptism of fire, then, is the standard, the rule, and NOT the exception. It is the event that the Lord points to for us to determine whether a baptism of fire has occurred.

(The word “even” in the phrase “even as the Lamanites” means “in or to such (indicated) degree or kind.”)

What the baptism of fire consists of

Based upon the Lamanites’ experience, there are six characteristics of any baptism of fire. They are:

1. Fire encircling an individual, forming a cylindrical shape, such as a column or “pillar of fire” or plasma tube. This would be twin Birkeland currents (plasma cables or filaments) rotating rapidly around a central axis, in appearance like a fire tornado. This is the visual sign to all those witnessing the baptism.

2. The presence and ministration of angels.

3. Justification, meaning a remission of sins.

4. Purification, by fire entering the heart.

5. Sanctification, by becoming filled with (baptized in) the Holy Ghost.

6. Speaking with a new tongue (the tongue of angels, meaning speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost.)

Two more scriptural examples

Using the six characteristics above, we find two more scriptural examples of baptisms of fire which exactly match that of the Lamanites, although the text does not specifically say that they were fire baptisms. They are:

The Nephite little children’s baptism of fire
Jesus baptized little children with fire, as recorded in 3 Ne. 17: 21-25 and as witnessed by 2500 people. These children were encircled by fire, had angels minister to them and spoke in new tongues (see 3 Ne. 26: 14, 16.) Also, we know that they were justified, purified and sanctified, for they were little children and all little children are alive in Christ.

The 12 disciples’ baptism of fire
The fire baptism of these men is recorded in 3 Ne. 19: 11-15. They were encircled about by fire, filled with fire, had angels minister to them and prayed by the power of the Holy Ghost. From the text it is clear that they were justified, purified and sanctified.

Other intimated baptisms of fire

Joseph Smith’s baptisms of fire
As mentioned above, each of Joseph’s angelic ministrations was attended by a baptism of fire (plasma), including the First Vision.

For example, one First Vision account says, “A pillar of fire appeared above my head; which presently rested down upon me, and filled me with un-speakable joy. A personage appeared in the midst of this pillar of flame, which was spread all around and yet nothing consumed…I saw many angels in this vision.”

Another First Vision account says, “while in [the] attitude of calling upon the Lord [in the 16th* year of my age] a pillar of {fire} lightabove the brightness of the Sun at noon day come down fromabove and rested upon me and I was filld with the Spirit of God”. In this account Joseph couldn’t decide whether what he saw was fire or light. He finally decided on light and crossed out fire. The reason for his confusion was that he was witnessing discharging plasma.

I believe that it is reasonable to conclude that the plasma nature of the angel Moroni’s visit (see The plasma aspects of the First Vision and Moroni’s visit) was typical of all angelic ministrations to Joseph, and thus all such events in his life were likely baptisms of fire.

Moses’ vision of God
In Moses chapter 1 it says that “the glory of God was upon Moses.” That sounds to me like a plasma event and that he received a baptism of fire.

Lehi’s pillar of fire
1 Ne. 1: 6 mentions Lehi seeing a pillar of fire. It is obviously a super-duper abridgment of all that occurred, but it sounds like a baptism of fire.

Nephi’s visit from the Lord
Nephi mentions in 1 Ne. 2: 16 that he was visited by the Lord. He doesn’t elaborate but my guess is that this was Nephi’s first baptism of fire. Jesus states in 3 Ne. 11: 35 that when the Father visits people, He visits them with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

Cloven tongues on day of Pentecost
As recorded in Acts chapter 2, there appeared “cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” They were filled with the Spirit, spoke other tongues and spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost. It’s not an exact match of the Lamanite experience (angels are missing), but pretty darn close.

Gentile cloven tongues
In Acts 11: 15 we read Peter’s words about how the Gentiles also received the Holy Ghost. He said, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” That, to me, seems to be saying that the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles in the same way that the Holy Ghost fell on the Jews, namely, with accompanying manifestation of cloven tongues like as of fire. This could explain the astonishment of the Jews who witnessed the manifestation of tongues among the Gentiles. (See Acts 10: 44-47.)

Downgrading the baptism of fire

Now, when you compare the scriptural accounts of the baptism of fire to our modern, LDS definitions, it becomes obvious that we have downgraded the sudden, rapid changes effectuated by the marvelous, visual, power displays of the real deal to something gradual, drawn out, imperceptible and nondescript. For example:

While one definition of this expression (the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost) refers to a cleansing by the Holy Spirit as if by fire, still the scriptures and the writings of the prophets indicate there is something more.

The new convert who has accepted the gift of the Holy Ghost with the right spirit will experience not only a cleansing but a feeling that will give him a new heart and make of him a new person. Sometimes this is immediate, and sometimes it happens over a period of time.

The scriptures, and even our church history, record miraculous instances when visible flames encircled the humble followers of Christ—literal manifestations of fire and the Holy Ghost—but more often this fire works quietly and unseen in the hearts of those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The witness, the change, the cleansing that comes gradually is no less powerful to the person with the right heart, and he or she is impelled to action whether the experience was a sudden, miraculous manifestation or the quiet workings of the Spirit.

(Fire and the Holy Ghost, Loren C. Dunn, Ensign, June 1995)

We have taken away the majesty of the Father’s witness and replaced it with something that goes entirely against nature. Nature is cyclic, cycling between periods of rest and periods of activity. All things work on this principle, including spiritual things. Baptism (all three parts) are designed to be moments of spiritual intensity. You cannot perform a baptism of water over a period of time, or gradually, quietly and unseen. No, you are outside of the water (which can be visually discerned), then you are immersed, and then you come out of the water. There is nothing gradual about it. A single water baptism cannot be performed over days and years. In like manner, the baptism of fire is a punctuated, spiritually intense event.

No one’s spirituality is designed to grow gradually. Gradual spiritual growth is the same as no spiritual growth. There is no such animal as gradual spiritual growth. You either have intense spiritual experiences from time to time or you are spiritually dying. This is why we are commanded to come together often, to intensify the Spirit so as to be capable of growing spiritually.

Joseph Smith’s life was meant to be an example to us. He had multiple, very intense spiritual experiences. It began with a baptism of fire, it continued with more baptisms of fire and it ended in a volley of gun fire. John Taylor said that Joseph lived for glory, died for glory and glory is his eternal reward. Glory = plasma = the baptism of fire. Joseph did, indeed, live for those fire baptism experiences. He had a lot of them, he saw a lot of angels and who knows how many visions, and he wanted to have more of the same. And he tried ceaselessly to get the saints to experience what he was experiencing. So did Moses and all true prophets.

You are either immersed in plasma or you are not. You are either in an intensity phase or in a rest phase of the cycle. There is no such thing as non-cyclic gradualness. If you think you are growing spiritually for the past ten years without any intense spiritual experiences, you are kidding yourself. It means that you have been in a spiritual rest phase of the cycle during this time. No one can remain at spiritual rest for any extended period of time before spirituality begins to decay. It is an impossibility. So, the LDS concept of a gradual, life-long, imperceptible baptism of fire is patently false and leads to spiritual death.

Everyone will receive a baptism of fire

It is not a question of if, but when and how. If a man humbles himself before the Lord and enters into a covenant to serve Him, he’ll receive a baptism of fire in this life, one that will purify and justify him. But there are other baptisms of fire that can be received. For example, one is the baptism of fire that the earth and all those that do wickedly upon her will receive at the Second Coming. Another is the baptism of fire that occurs when the sons of perdition are immersed in the lake of fire and brimstone. One way or another, we are all eventually going to have to go through some type of baptismal fire.

And they knew it not

In closing, let me address one other thing. Jesus said that the Lamanites “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” Some have taken that to mean that the Lamanites experienced a change upon their hearts which they did not perceive, because it happened gradually, over time. In other words, that the Lord meant that there was no great manifestation during the Lamanites’ fire and Holy Ghost baptism. And also that the Lord was not referring to the 300 Lamanites who were in prison with Nephi and Lehi, but was referring instead to other Lamanite converts.

This is an incorrect interpretation.

The real meaning of the Lord’s words is that the Lamanites (the 300 souls in that prison) had a magnificent, visual baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, but did not know what it was. That is all that the Lord meant by what He said.

Any time someone experiences a baptism of fire without first being taught about it, they go through the experience without knowing what it is. Joseph’s First Vision fire baptism was performed on him while he was still a boy totally ignorant of such a thing as a baptism of fire. In my own life, I remember that the first time that I had a baptism of fire (prior to my water baptism) I was blown away and didn’t know what it was. The missionaries that had taught me the gospel had not explained this doctrine, so it came as a complete surprise to me and it was only years later, as I studied and learned more of the gospel on my own, that I was able to determine what the hell it was. Prior to that time, it was always an anomaly to me and when talking to others about the various spiritual experiences I had had over the years, I would always set it apart by saying something like, “The second time the Holy Ghost manifested itself to me was quite different than the other times. It was, well, a really big manifestation with a lot of power and I thought I was going to die, or I did die and came back to life. I’m not really sure what happened. All I know is I was consumed in fire but somehow survived unharmed.” Such were my ignorant descriptions. But of course it was a different manifestation than the others. It was a baptism of fire, for crying out loud! But I knew it not.

And in the same manner, neither did the Lamanites.

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78 Comments

  1. To put another way, water baptism is man’s way of witnessing to God that he has entered into a covenant to serve Him, whereas fire baptism is God’s way of witnessing to man that He has accepted that covenantal relationship.

    Is this not firm evidence that the state of the current church of God is [though still true] a dead church?

    I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. [Revelation 3:1]

    I’ve seen dozens of confirmations in church meetings and none of them manifested a plasma column in discharge — nor have I ever heard of such a manifestation occurring among other LDS.

  2. It is not a question of if, but when and how. If a man humbles himself before the Lord and enters into a covenant to serve Him, he’ll receive a baptism of fire in this life, one that will purify and justify him.
    This is very encouraging… however, like Justin, I have never heard of such a manifestation occurring among other LDS. So how do you explain this? Don’t you think there are people (LDS) who are trying their best to humble themselves and enter into a covenant to serve him? That there are those of us who are trying our dangdest to be purified and justified? Why is this not more common?

  3. Justin asked, Is this not firm evidence that the state of the current church of God is [though still true] a dead church?

    D&C 22 and 2 Ne. 25: 25 come to mind.

    The strait gate is repentance, baptism of water, baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost, according to 2 Ne. 31: 17-18. No one can enter that gate by the law of Moses, nor by other dead works. The law of Moses itself is a dead work, per the above scriptures. Nephi said they were “made alive in Christ” because of their faith. Little children are alive in Christ, and thus are justified, sanctified and purified, therefore Nephi was referring to the same state as little children.

    The church is under condemnation (an unjustified state) per D&C 84: 54-58, therefore, it cannot be “alive in Christ.” The works of the Father (the baptism of fire, the gifts of the Spirit) are not manifest in the church. At one time in its early history there were such manifestations, but no longer. There is no doubt in my mind, then, that the church is spiritually dead.

    Nevertheless, the Lord doesn’t bless you according to the state of the church you belong to, just the state of your heart. What I received from the Lord came to me when I was not a member of the church. After my water baptism and confirmation, there was no firey manifestation that confirmed anything to me. So, my fire experience came apart from the church. It didn’t come to me because I asked or prayed for it, but because of the state of my heart at that time, which was pure and untainted by the lowered standards of the church. I desired the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, as demonstrated by the New Testament saints, and had great desires to follow God and serve Him and my heart was pure and right before him. Unbeknownst to me, my heart had already covenanted with God without me even knowing what a covenant was. It was that covenant, made in heart purity, that caused the fire and Spirit to come upon me, unexpectedly. It was the Lord’s way of telling me my covenant was accepted.

    Once I was baptized, I learned what we all learn: gradual sanctification over many years of church service, the scriptural accounts are marvelous exceptions, not the rule, etc. My previous standards, which were based solely upon what I read from the Bible, were immediately lowered to those of the church members around me. What the leadership taught me ended up hardening my heart so that I lost faith, instead of gaining it. This same thing has happened, I believe, and is still happening, on a church-wide scale. The Spirit touches people’s heart when they hear the gospel message, then they enter the church and their hearts become hard or harder. The manifestations reduce in intensity and frequency and sometimes altogether stop. The baptism of fire, which is directly related to the condition of the heart, never has a chance to occur once they enter the church because they begin to take pride in being members of the only true church.

    We are constantly told that we are the chosen people of the Lord, blessed of Him, the only ones who have a chance at exaltation. All that is needed is to attend meetings, pay tithing, perform callings, follow the prophet, brethren and other leaders, etc., and we will be saved. Such teachings cannot lead to anything but a hard-hearted, exceedingly prideful people who will be damned to hell once they die. The leadership needs to preach repentance to the people, which they never do. We are never told to repent of our hard hearts. Yet, this is the only thing that will cause Jesus to start baptizing latter-day saints with fire again.

  4. BiV wrote,

    like Justin, I have never heard of such a manifestation occurring among other LDS. So how do you explain this? Don’t you think there are people (LDS) who are trying their best to humble themselves and enter into a covenant to serve him? That there are those of us who are trying our dangdest to be purified and justified? Why is this not more common?

    My understanding is that it has nothing to do with trying our best. Our best is never good enough anyway. We shouldn’t try our best to humble ourselves before the Lord, we should just be humble before Him. We shouldn’t try to be purified and justified before Him, because that assumes we have power to be purified and justified. We don’t. No flesh is justified before Him, only in and through the Holy Messiah.

    I’ll use me as an example and draw from my own experience. I never prayed to God at all and yet received a baptism of fire. It had nothing to do with what I did or did not do. It was merely a condition of my heart and my desires. I remember the days leading up to that event in my life and I remember how obsessed I was with the things of God. It wasn’t a theological obsession or an intellectual exercise, but a deep soul-yearning for spirituality and communion with God that I had every waking moment for several months prior. I was pondering continually on the things of God, non-stop. My heart was completely and totally turned towards Him. I believed the Bible every whit (even the corrupt parts, in my ignorance, lol.) There was no doubt in my heart and I did not doubt God in the least. I was seeking an answer to some questions I had about God but did not look for those answers in any religion or church. After months of soul-searching, some Mormon missionaries knocked on my door and I heard the First Vision story and believed it all, without a single doubt, for it answered the questions I had been asking in my heart. Shortly thereafter, I had that fire experience, but without having said a single prayer to God. Nevertheless, the yearnings in my heart towards God were enough for Him to respond. They were like prayers to Him and I guess I had been continually praying to him constantly for months without even knowing that that is what I had been doing.

    Now, when I compare the state I was in for those months prior to my second experience with the Holy Ghost (and first experience with fire), with the state I was in afterward upon joining the church, it was black and white. I became caught up in the dogma of religion and church. Instead of seeking communion with God, as I did before, church became an intermediary. My obsession with God was replaced with an obsession with church and leadership (prophets). In other words, my soft, pliant heart that got such a good start with a baptism of fire before my baptism, became hardened the more church indoctrination that I got. It wasn’t until three or so years after my baptism that I realized what dire straits I was in, spiritually speaking, from where I was when I first started. I could see that my heart was hard, but even then, I didn’t know how it had come to pass. Many years later I began to see that there were things about church that had adverse effects upon my spirituality and I began to make corrections to the theology that had been fed into my brain for years by the church leaders. Today, having had much more experience in the things of the Spirit over many years, I can see that church was the chief problem. I had let church replace God.

    So, to answer your questions, I think that my case is not particularly unique. I think everyone starts out this way, more or less, and then becomes corrupted by church. Church becomes people’s god, not God Himself. The desire to commune with God is replaced with the desire to be righteous and worthy and an upstanding member.

    I am certain that there are people among the LDS who are trying to repent, who are trying to commune with God and humble themselves before Him, in spite of church. But, having gone through some small experience (about nine months) in which I lived the very state that actually causes the baptism of fire to come upon a person, even without actively seeking it out, I can say that it is my opinion that we all are still going about it all wrong.

    The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are faith, repentance and baptism, right? When we think of the baptism of water, we think of baptism by immersion, but there is another baptism of water that should precede it: the baptism of tears. Tears of sorrow for one’s own sins is what brings on a remission of sins and the second baptism (of fire). Without such tears, all effort is in vain. I, personally, do not see such sorrow among the LDS, nor fear nor trembling. All I see is vanity and pride that they are within the covenant and guided by a prophet. We weep, indeed, but not for sin. When we are “obeying all the commandments” and “in good standing” and have prominent callings, we feel safe and secure, despite no gifts being manifest in our lives. Even though we cannot pray to God and receive a revelation, as Joseph did, we take comfort that it doesn’t matter, for we have prophets and apostles and other leaders who will receive messages from God for us. We are a comfortable lot, secure in our possessions and theology and I doubt that there is a single one of us that communes with God, for if that were to truly happen, we’d probably excommunicate him!

  5. I had always thought, till now, that my case was particularly unique, but I now know that perhaps it was not. I could have written Anarchist’s response to BiV, and it would have looked exactly the same. I, too, had received a baptism of fire before I had ever received even one missionary discussion, but never knew it. I can remember the experience quite clearly (to date the greatest experience of my life), and it was gifted to me in the same manner as described by Anarchist, on condition of my goofy-assed, fourteen year old heart being turned completely toward God.

    It was instant, immediate, came with power, and like stated above, came without a single prayer. In that same moment I hunted down two missionaries on the spot (not too hard to do, I was walking around the grounds of the Washington, D.C. Temple at the time) and demanded baptism that day. That’s when I learned that I first had to “take the discussions” and “receive a testimony” of certain things, etc., etc., according to the approved program. OK, whatever, have it your way, if that makes you happy. So I went through all the motions, and like a good little soldier (I was raised in a military home) dutifully took my heart from God and handed it over to religion for further development. Thirty years, one mission and one eternal marriage later, I am still wondering how I let that happen. Not one experience–not ONE–has ever been able to add to, or even match that experience, and I’m not surprised why, and I thank God for being able to have experienced it at least once in my life.

  6. May I add another witness to LDSA and Chuck. The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is the real deal. My story is similar but I was driven to my knees in prayer when I was blessed with the most profound experience of my entire life. I can truly say that after the second baptism, I did indeed feel like a new creature. I felt the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost purge any anxiety and guilt out of my system. It took me many years to figure out exactly what happened but I now know and can attest to this event as the pinnacle in one’s spiritual life.

    In regards to the comment about ‘they knew it not,.’ Elder Packer used this scripture justify his lack of spiritual experiences. In my 1973 edition of the triple combination, there is a footnote linking the ‘conversion’ described in 3 Nephi 9 to Helaman 5:45. This footnote was removed in the 1980 edition of the triple. There was a companion footnote in Helaman 5:45 which still points to the scripture in 3 Nephi. In any case this cannot be used to justify the gradual, imperceptible ‘sanctification.’ condoned by the leadership of the church today.

    I had never considered the metaphysical ‘plasma’ connection. That one I will need to ponder. Great post.

  7. Wow, what a post!! What comments! The ideas of the article sounded so right. I want to re-read those chapters again in the light of new insights.

  8. To anyone who is interested in this topic, I just now re-discovered some posts of Spektator on this blog about the baptism of fire:

    Baptized with fire and they knew it not?

    and

    Baptism with Fire and the Rejection of the Gospel.

  9. Do I think there are people (LDS) who are trying their best to humble themselves and enter into a covenant to serve him; that there are those of us who are trying our dangdest to be purified and justified?

    Sure. Which is telling. Nothing we do can ever justify, sanctify, or purify; therefore, trying harder and “raising the bar” will only lead to frustration in the matter. I mean, really this is how notions like “sanctification through service” come about.

    Humility here is a key. At fourteen I was forced to be humble, to the point that I absolutely had nowhere else to turn (in my mind) except to either death or to “religion”. And I mean no where else to turn. The details in my case are not important, but it is not until a person feels they are the lowest loser at the absolute bottom of the world’s (Babylon’s) refuse pile, is their heart in a place where the Lord can work with it–to make it purified.

    I think this type of humility is hard to achieve in our nice homes, where everyone loves us, and where we feel safe, and with our good educations that give us our nice jobs that we work so hard to excel at in order to be able to eat well, dress well, and to support and sustain our families, and with all kinds of friends to fall back on when we get into trouble, and with all our covenants, proud in the fact that we are “trying our dangdest” to do all the Lord has asked of us (except for maybe seeing ourselves in our own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth–to see ourselves as the losers we really are), week in week out.

    I say us, because I include myself. “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” To which I answer “nay”. And I know exactly why.

  10. I thank God for His timing and teaching. I had not read this article until He first inspired me to ask Him a certain question. The question was, “If I had the faith if Jesus Christ what would I be asking from you for my life?” I pray often and I ask for many things which I know are good things. But this time I paused and wondered what is it God would be wanting me to ask for.
    Thank you LDSA. You have answered a very key question for me and I am sure for others.
    I believe the doctrine of the post. I find no fault with it. I learned things which I had not known before. I sorrow that I did not. But having been raised in the LDS church it would have been very hard for me to learn them. But only now when I have stopped being enslaved by the apostate church is my mind and heart open to understand this doctrine and accept it without reservation.
    I have a suggestion. The post needs to include at least the information you added in your second comment here. I have a very close friend who had his name removed from the records of the church some years ago. He to this day wonders if what he did was right. I said that must be an individual choice between you and God, and have not judged him for it. Now I can go to him and explain why it is imperative that all LDS stop believing the apostate doctrine now taught in the church and stop allowing themselves to be enslaved and damned even if just for this life or a portion of it by cleaving to this apostate organization.

  11. Well now I have a question. It seems like Adam was pretty old when he had that experience. W C Skousen believed Adam was at this point about 60 years after the fall. So why did it take him so long? Was he making no progress a that point or what?
    And regarding the sin of idolatry by Adam and Eve I believe they committed the sin of believing in the knowledge of Good and Evil as described in the templebook which can be found here. http://webspace.webring.com/people/np/potai/tempbook.pdf

  12. I have been fasting and praying about this. I may be feeling like if I don’t have all the same blessing right now that others have I am not as good as they are.
    The idea itself betrays the truth. The blessings of God do not come based upon our goodness, or our works. They come based upon His goodness and the works of Christ. I fell God has accepted my covenant and I have had many visitations of the Holy Ghost. But I have never seen a flame nor felt a burning as described. I have felt heat of the spirit and warmth. But I would not claim to have had fire or visible plasma.
    I have been asking Father what do I lack yet? I have been searching myself, of what can I repent. But again that is LDS thinking as if I can be “righteous enough” to deserve a blessing from God.
    But during the second day of fasting I thought I am feeling like i did when someone was telling me I had to repent. And after years of trying I realized there was nothing to repent of. My true repentance had been done when I sided with Christ much earlier in my life. The accusations were finding fault with qualities God wanted me to have. So efforts to repent of these qualities were fruitless.
    I then remembered the feeling and assurance I had and continue to have that my actions, my heart does in fact please God. I know that. I have perfect peace about it. So when the time comes in God’s economy I will receive the fire baptism. I know in whom I have trusted. I know my Father. I will inherit the kingdom of God. I believe and I have been baptized. There is an idea that came to me that He may want my new wife to be converted to the same gospel I am before he sheds forth these blessing upon us.
    At least I know He has inspired me to seek for the fire baptism. So I am sure He has one planned for me.

  13. I loved this post. i had an experience with the baptism of fire…at least i think i did when i was in my teenage years. i was bearing testimony at a youth conference and while i was speaking i had this feeling of overwhelming joy come over me and things in the room got really bright for a second, the brightness went away but the feeling stayed for about an hour, and i can honestly say i had no more desire to do evil, i looked at people from a total new perspective that wasnt from me but i could tell i was recieving that perspective from something else, my eye was single to gods glory. the feeling only lasted for about an hour but the perspective stayed all day. i was shaking, and people told me i was on fire afterwards, but i think they meant it just as a figure of speech. it happened again just prior to my leaving on mission after a brother of mine helped me shake off the chains after i was terribly scared and confused after my first time through the temple.

    i gave my farewell speech on the second coming and didnt prepare a lick i dont remember much of what i said but i remember that when i was done i was shaking and baling my head off, this wasnt a sad that i am leaving balling but it was a sorrow for sin that was causing it i felt truly broken hearted and like the world was going to cave in, but it subsided when i sat down and was comforted by the spirit. ive always remembered thoose experiences but i never knew how to classify them. idk if i even know how to now.

    Its really hard studying the scriptures and then going out to teach people and all we teach people is the watered down gospel. ive seen what you guys are talking about where someone has an awesome spiritual experience prior to meeting us or on the first visit. One example is a family in my first area, the father had really good quesions all the time. he would read the doctorine and covenants and his quesions about the 3 kingdoms of glory were awesome buut my companion dashed his intrest in it complely by pulling out the chart. the one eternal “line” wasnt quite what he thought the d&c was saying but he just figured my comp new so he shouldnt question. i didnt know what to do, i new it was more than the way my comp was putting it, so i just told him that he needs to continue to think outside of the box. i felt terrible, thats not the only time its happened either.

    Once we met a guy and we taught him the restoration and he loved it the spirit really hit him hard i could see it in his face, so we brought up the question of baptism and he said yes, then he said he wanted it this weekend. of course we had to reply with a well there are some things we need to teach you first……. he accepted and we started teaching him, he came to church and became active got baptized and hasnt been the same since… not in a good way hes a “perfect Member” according to my companion, but the spirit is not there at all not nearly like it used to be. after his baptism in my mission the new member gets a “new member kit” with a set of scriptures, gospel principles, true to the faith, strengeth for the youth, and some other stuff. it wasnt long before his scripture study was replaced by manual/scripture study, and now liahona conference edition study. his quesions have gotten weaker and weaker.
    I dont know what to do in these kind of situations ive tried getting a little edgyer with the way i teach and try to stick to what the scriptures say, but is tough sometimes. im not saying i feel like im teaching false doctrine i just feel like there is much more to offer these people than what they are getting. ive had to correct my companions so many times in the middle of a lesson when they say such things as “the prophet is the only thing we can rely on” im just glad ive been there from time to time to correct the dogma.
    but yeah any advice?….

  14. but yeah any advice?

    First off, I would take any material provided by Church-distribution that you are instructed to teach with and throw it in the trash. If they ask what happened to your “such-and-such” manual or teaching aid — tell them you lost it. If they provide you with another one — throw it away too.

    I would also say you should keep correcting false doctrine when someone attempts to teach it to investigators.

    I’m sure there is more — but individual circumstances can be so varied and unique that provided advice from the other side of the world can be very limited.

  15. ive already done that and ive been on mission for 10 months. in my mission theres this thing called apreach my gospel missionarry certificate, and every zone conference missionarrys get called up and “recieve their reward” . i decided with a determined resolution that i would never get one, i “lost” my pmg in my first area. it was a big uproar when i told my mission president that i didnt believe the white handbook or Pmg was going to determine my “success” and that pmg makes me feel pacified and lulled away when i read it. one long interview and several e mails later and now they are finaly getting off my back about me becoming a PMG missionarry. i find that much fasting and prayer causes people to respond much better to the gospel than hours of “skills training” ever could. i cant even put into words how disgusted ive become because of the new “statistical focus” in the mission……its nice to hear from you on this….thanks for the advice…..

  16. It is interesting to note some of the commonalities in the descriptions of the experiences shared here. Here are some of the phrases and earmarks I have heard: yearning; soul-searching; soft, pliant hearts; brokenhearted; completely turned toward God; humility; new creature; sanctified; purified; purged of anxiety and guilt; as if a load had been lifted; overwhelming joy; visual brightness; clarity; no more desire to do evil; gift of new perspective on life and on other people; ability to see others as God would see them; eye single to God’s glory.

    I have used terms similar to these to attempt to describe the experience through the years…I especially relate to the Elder above, in that though the initial experience goes away, the effects can linger on for days, weeks, months, and years. In my case, the gift of new perspective and love for others is what lingered on with me, and oh how beautiful that was. I would love nothing more than to have that back again!

  17. Keep doin what the spirit indicates Elder. Thank you for sharing too. It really brings back so many memories. I wasn’t near as conscious at your age I dont think…but my mission was so extreme that it forced some pretty bold tendencies to the surface. I too resisted all the steps required to get the special pin they used to promote the memorization of the discussions in use at the time. Unlike you I never did state directly to the Pres. that I would not memorize them. But it was total secret combination within a secret combination and so I knew that my words to certain Elders worked their way to the Apes (A.P.s) The infamous Pres. Walker eventually rewarded me with the silly pin without me having done any of the requirements just to have me shut up about it so my attitude would not inspire other missionaries to start blowing him off too.

    I got a tingle when I heard you correcting subtly your companion in front of and in a conversation with an actual “investigator”. The only thing I feel to advise is to continue in that vein. Be even less subtle and a little more bold all within the flow of the spirit of course. But let people know when they are on the right track as far as discovering Christ and let other missionaries know when they are in the wrong. If you don’t at least stand boldly…not with pride but firm….then they will proceed to “school” the generally humble people of South Africa and lead astray or keep from TRUTH in the way that only white guys in white shirts and ties can in this WORLD.

  18. its really awesome to get your encouraging words… not much of that out here sometimes…. its not like im just bullheaded and dont want to do preach my gospel.. there are positive aspects to it… its just that when i read it i feel like im literaly beeing lulled into carnal security.. its a weird felling its hard to describe.. ….love you guys. talk to you next week

  19. how would you suggest one develops such a desire?

  20. tanner asked:

    how would you suggest one develops such a desire?

    The first choice would be for one to simply exercise his/her will towards humility. However, some find not find that to be so simple.

    So — secondly, if one does not seem able to humble themself before the Lord, then one’s circumstances could compel them to be humble. The poor Zoramites Alma was addressing in Alma 32 had been compelled to be humble by their poverty, for example.

    Finally, if your circumstances do not cause you to be humble, and you cannot seem to muster the will to humble yourself before the Lord, then the gospel provides a set of tools or principles by which any man or woman could obtain humility:

    Nevertheless they did fast and prayer oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in their faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

  21. Putting on whitened baptismal clothing is really a symbol associated with love along with cleaning being a seen signal involving putting on Christ as well as signing up for the latest way associated with living baptism gowns

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience, I really enjoyed reading it. I would really like some advice/counsel myself. I am a fundamentalist mormon and first heard about the “baptism by fire” about 7 years ago from someone who became a very good friend. He experienced it himself and ultimately was excommunicated from the church. Anyway, after we heard his testimony we were all just so incredibly desirous to obtain this blessing ourselves.(We meaning myself, husband and about 15 others who he shared his testimony with) Since then, only 4 of our group have received it and it was very soon after hearing about it. The rest of us just continue to “try” the same as we have for years, and are still(well at least I am)just as desirous to fully repent and obtain a remission of my sins and yet I feel even more confused with how to go about it now than I did then. I know a lot of people who have received this gift and ask them “how, what did you do”? but what worked for them never works for me. I feel so discouraged. Do you think it’s possible that this gift is not for everyone? One of my best friends told me that she got the desire to repent, started confessing her sins, did some fasting and 1 month later she received the gift. I’ve been trying for 7 years! Anyway just wondering if you have any awesome words of counsel to offer;)

  23. You might want to read the following blog posts. Perhaps you will find something that will be of help in your quest:

    How to receive what you ask for

    “…and the labor which they had to perform was to look…”

    New thoughts on prayer

    Also, these might be of help to show that angels and baptisms of fire go hand in hand:

    The role of angels in Nephite preaching

    The gift of tongues (part one)

    The gift of tongues (part two): a Book of Mormon account

    The plasma aspects of the First Vision and Moroni’s visits

  24. Thank you mucho. I seem to be lost in An ldsanarchy vortex. Luckily I’m a speed reader, but there is so much to read! I keep switching from article to article, and my kids keep wanting me to stop and feed them! Breakfast lunch and dinner every day. I just finished reading your journal on your fast and told my kids they should try it so I can finish reading everything on this site! Shouldn’t take more than 40 days I hope. They didn’t go for it:/ Thanks again, I really appreciate everything I’ve read so far, whether I agree with it or not.

  25. Lol. Please appologize to your kids on my behalf. It was never my intention to steal their mother away from them.

    Btw, if you are going through the whole site, you might want to use the Blog Chronology page, which lists all articles in chronological order from every contributor. That way you get to see everyone’s progression of thought.

  26. “As the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham.  That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 149-150

    I know a couple who have both received the baptism by fire and two of their grown children have as well. Neither one of the childrens experiences were nearly as intense. As a matter of fact I don’t even recall them mentioning fire. Although one did see the chains of hell and the veil etc… So my thoughts are that if your parent are born of the spirit and thus become the literal seed of Israel then any children born afterward would also be literal Israelites. Any thoughts on that? Also, I think it would be sweet if you set up a place, similar to where people can share their patriarchal blessings, but for people to share their conversion experience. I love hearing them and reading them so much myself and feel so inspired and compelled. Just an idea for us folks who haven’t received yet and need all the inspiration and compelling we can get.

  27. liv435:

    So my thoughts are that if your parent are born of the spirit and thus become the literal seed of Israel then any children born afterward would also be literal Israelites.

    My thoughts — I don’t think that righteousness can be imputed in such a way — Ezekiel wrote:

    the soul that sinneth
    it shall die
    the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father
    neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son
    the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him
    and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him

    I think something of the sort of unconditional nature you are describing could be said to apply to any and all children born — no matter what may be said of their parents:

    and even
    if it were possible that little children could sin
    they could not be saved
    but I say unto you they are blessed
    for behold
    as in adam
    or by nature
    they fall
    even so the blood of christ atoneth for their sins
    and moreover
    I say unto you
    that there shall be no other name given
    nor any other way
    nor means
    whereby salvation can come unto the children of men
    only in and through the name of christ
    the lord omnipotent

    But once sin is conceived in their hearts:

    salvation cometh to none such
    except it be through repentance
    and faith on the lord Jesus christ

    So — no matter what spiritual experiences may have happened in the life of a child’s parents — the experience must always be brought to life anew in that generation’s life as well. It can’t be carried on as the dead image of another person’s story.

    and the lord said unto me

    marvel not that all mankind
    yea
    men and women
    all nations
    kindreds
    tongues
    and people
    must be born again

    yea
    born of God
    changed from their carnal and fallen state
    to a state of righteousness
    being redeemed of God
    becoming his sons and daughters

    therefore ought ye not to tremble?
    for salvation cometh to none such
    for the lord hath redeemed none such
    yea
    neither can the lord redeem such
    for he cannot deny himself

  28. Justin,
    I was not suggesting that righteousness could be imputed by spiritual gifts the parents received. In the quote from Joseph Smith he stated the manner in which the Holy Ghost falls on the literal seed of Abraham. That would mean that being born as literal seed would automatically make the Holy Ghost work on one in this manner. All I was suggesting was that when two parents are changed into the literal seed (as Brother Joseph described) then their children would naturally be seed of Abraham as well. I, personally, do not think that the seed of Abraham is more righteous based solely on their lineage which is what you seem to be suggesting? The people I was speaking of both had to repent and they both wept and sorrowed. They both felt anguish and helpless. Repentance was not easy. However when the Holy Ghost did fall on them is was more serene than what their parents had experienced. And just a bit more info… The father of these two spent years telling the older one that he had not received the Holy Ghost because he didn’t see the fire. He thought it must have been something else. Not until sometime later did the Lord inform him that not everyone need have the same experience that he had. Sometimes, I think we just decide the way we believe and drive our stakes in and it can be tough to pull them out. I live by what Brother Joseph said that he never knew of a man condemned for believing too much but they are condemned for believing too little. My mind is wide open:)

  29. I, personally, do not think that the seed of Abraham is more righteous based solely on their lineage which is what you seem to be suggesting?

    That’s not what I meant to suggest.

    I thought that when you wrote:

    that if your parent are born of the spirit and thus become the literal seed of Israel then any children born afterward would also be literal Israelites.

    that you meant something different than,

    The people I was speaking of both had to repent and they both wept and sorrowed. They both felt anguish and helpless. Repentance was not easy.

    which is the issue I was addressing.

    Is your question concerning whether the visual plasma display of fire only accompanies the baptism of fire when the person is not by lineage a child of Abraham? And that repentant souls who are literal seed of Israel will not manifest the baptism of fire visually with the plasma display?

  30. Justin,
    Ya, pretty much. I live in a community where the gospel is preached in purity and a lot of my friends and family have received the Holy Ghost. I have not as of yet. So I’ve heard a lot of different experiences. My best friend said for the space of about 4 hours she could not stop shaking, crying, and sweating. She most definitely trembled, feared, and sorrowed. Then when the fire and Holy Ghost came she said it was so intense it almost hurt, yet not. I was with her when she went through it and the girl looked like a mess! She was so weak and quite disheveled,and she said the whole room was filled with fire, and she felt a “fire in her bones”. Very intense experience. So with the other two, I just thought it was odd that although they both had to offer a broken heart and contrite spirit, neither one saw fire or felt weak. They both described the experience as everything becoming clear and feeling a cleansing power. They were both told that their sins were forgiven as well. Obviously not nearly as intense an experience as most people I know. The only difference between them and the others is that they were born to parents who had already been born again. So I was just hypothesizing. I like to hypothesize;)

  31. I have a slightly different understanding of the three baptisms. I believe the three baptisms are water, fire/spirit/Holy Ghost, and blood (see Moses 6:59-60.) I believe each is a process with a distinct beginning and end. The water baptism begins when you begin to desire to be obedient to God or by baptism by immersion, whichever comes first, and ends with the gift of the Holy Ghost beings sealed upon you which is also the beginning of the baptism of fire. The fire baptism ends with you being sealed to another human being and to Christ, which begins the baptism of blood, and the baptism of blood ends with you being sealed to Heavenly Father and your body made incorruptible like His is.

    The first baptism brings us to the Spirit, the second to the Savior, the third to the Father. Each transition produces significant experiences, such as the ones you describe. The immersion in visible fire occurs at the end of the baptism of fire/beginning of the baptism of blood.

    This is what I have come to believe through my studies and pondering.

    Oh, and thanks for clarifying cloven tongues. I always imagined giant tongues appearing over the apostles heads!

  32. Looking over this post again, I see that I wrote something which could be misconstrued. I wrote:

    A baptism of fire is always accompanied with a baptism of the Holy Ghost, but a person may be baptized with the Holy Ghost without an accompanying baptism of fire.

    When I wrote, “a baptism of the Holy Ghost,” I was referring to the baptism of the Holy Ghost that sanctifies a person. And when I wrote, “a person may be baptized with the Holy Ghost,” I was not specifically referring to the sanctifying baptism of the Holy Ghost, but to any experience in which the Holy Ghost manifests to a person, and I was calling these manifestations baptisms of the Spirit. What I wrote then was likely confusing since I had in mind two types of outpourings of the Spirit: one that sanctifies and one that does not. The scripture that speaks of a person being sanctified by the reception of the Spirit is referring to the sanctifying baptism of the Holy Ghost, which comes after a person is purified by the baptism of fire. It does not refer to all the many ways the Spirit can manifest even before the baptism of fire. The two outpourings of the Spirit can both be termed baptisms, but they differ in that in the sanctifying one the Spirit is a more complete immersion, the person’s spirit not being just externally immersed, but also internally immersed (“the reception of the Spirit”), which is made possible by the internal cleansing accomplished by the baptism of fire. Hopefully, I’ve now clarified what I wrote.

  33. LDSA,
    Thank you for this discussion! My experience was different than any I have ever read of, though it included many parts from other peoples’ experiences. I believe you are correct that our recent (10 years or so) emphasis in the church on making everyone good little cookie cutter missionaries and members via a correlated, sanitized, sterilized program is highly detrimental to the reception of the spirit.
    Here’s a good example: I recvd the BFHG many years ago. After that I fell away for a long time and committed many serious sins. A few yrs ago I decided that I had to repent for as long as it took to be forgiven of my many transgressions. I knelt and prayed for a very long time one Sunday morning. After a long time a vision opened to me of the Savior in Gethsemane, but I immediately recoiled and in a flash of stupidity I said within myself, “no, I don’t have time for this now, General Conference is about to start” and the vision closed. Can you imagine how stupid I feel at having turned away from the Savior of the World so I could go watch GC??
    Yes, we are a bunch of stiff indoctrinated nincompoops!
    I have analyzed my inner feelings and beliefs from the time of my BFHG, compared to now and discovered that then I was “IN LOVE WITH” serving the Lord. I did it out of joy and a sincere desire and love of others. Now, it is most often out of guilt or to check a box or some such motivation, with joy a thing of the long ago past. WE JUST GO THRU THE MOTIONS for the most part in this church. Where are the angels? Well, where is the joy in our hearts? Where is the LOVE of the Savior we all give lip service to? Where is the love and joy in our Sacrament meetings, our GD classes, our PH/RS meetings? Yeah, IMHO, the church may still be the receptacle of the Lord’s authority but the power of Charity is almost non-existent, and after all, GOD IS LOVE.
    JR

  34. Your ideas are nothing new about baptism of fire being a physical, shotgun, “plasma” experience, and much like your physical birth you have no control over the time and place of its occurrence! Much like your parents giving you the gift of life whether you want it or not so too is baptism by fire it happens whether you like it or not! I first learned about it 20 years ago on my mission when I was 19 from Mark Magleby in Portland Oregon. Just thought you’d like to know that many LDS are not ignorant and are much more aware of scriptures and their true meanings despite the leadership taking a more basic approach in teaching it. Aloha

  35. I think that because of lack of understanding involving the fourth state of matter, plasma, and the very personal nature of the baptism of fire and the intimate nature of a deeply personal relationship with Jesus Christ might explain why you don’t see plasma and the related baptism with it on the cover of the Ensign which would obviously end up on the cover of the New York Times thus trivializing what God might prefer be kept a little more sacred. That would be my hues rather than jumping to the extreme that the current LDD church is dead and I would caution such thinking while reminding you that even the early apt styles fell away after being quite intimate with God themselves. Beware pride my son and keep up the good work here. Thank you and God bless

  36. Sorry, I should have ended that with….but otherwise spot on. Thanks

  37. i dont think god cares when people mock and trivialize “fools mock but they shall mourn” hes not gonna keep things hidden from those who might benefit because of the risk of some people mocking it. people get offended, god doesn’t really care he’ll forgive you of any word you ever speak against his son, just not against the holy ghost

  38. One thing with rebaptism which I cannot fully wrap my mind around is this situation: if one repents and receives a remission of sins if they immediately proceed to be baptized in water, they get another remission of sins by fire. How can the second phenomenon be a remission if sins if there were no sins committed since the first remission?

  39. jackdale76, the remission of sins doesn’t come from being washed in water. Baptism by immersion in water is for the remission of sins. It doesn’t, in and of itself, confer a remission of sins. The remission of sins comes through the exercise of faith unto repentance. If you get a remission of sins and don’t sin afterward, but then get another baptism of fire, your sins remain as remitted as they were in the first instance, but certainly this will serve to strengthen and confirm your faith. (I am not sure if I understand the meaning of what you wrote.)

  40. I guess you caught the gist of my question by answering “your sins remain as remitted as they were in the first instance”. Thanks.

    Another question:
    If repentance brings sanctification through the baptism of fire and the person becomes a saint, I assume that it is also correct to call that person holy as evidenced by the fact that Jacob would call them holy if they were such.

    Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness;
    (2 Nephi 9:48)

    So, after their repentance this holy person is expected to be baptised in water.
    Then why does Nephi say that it is the unholy who need water baptism?

    O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
    (2 Nephi 31:5)

  41. jackdale76,

    Well, there’s holy, and then there is holy, and then there is holy. There is holy, like Christ, who was sanctified from the get go in body and spirit and never once became unholy. Then there’s holy, who are like the saints, who start out holy in spirit as little children, but unholy in the flesh, then they sin, becoming unholy in the spirit, then they receive a remission of sins, becoming holy again in their spirits, while remaining unholy in their flesh. And then there is holy, like the three translated disciples of Christ, who start out holy in spirit as little children, but unholy in the flesh, then they sin, becoming unholy in their spirits, then they receive a remission of sins, becoming holy in their spirits, and then they receive an additional purification, so that they became holy (sanctified) in their flesh, too. So, which unholy fits in the passage?

  42. Just wanted to make a note that when explaining to LDS folks that remission of sins must come before baptism I encountered a misunderstanding based on

    We believe … third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins;
    (Articles of Faith 1:4)

    Now, it is true that indeed a remission comes AFTER the baptism as Nephi promised.

    However “for” also means “because of” and I feel that this is how Joseph understood it. This is also how baptists understand it to this day when explaining the verse

    38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    (Acts 2:38)

    So, this makes a stronger case for LDS when showing them the 4th article of faith and explaining that the remission comes BEFORE baptism.

  43. Oops, typo. LDSA please edit the 2nd line of my comment to read “remission of sins must come before baptism”.

  44. Done.

  45. Acc.to the verse below, it is not sufficient to have received baptism of water and fire in any order. Regardless of how many fire baptisms one may have had prior to the water baptism, there must be at least one more fire baptism after the water baptism.

    and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen. (Mormon 7:10)

    So the proper order requires all 3 steps to be present: baptism of fire (for the very first remission of sins) -> water baptism -> baptism of fire.

  46. LDSA, what’s your take on this passage?

    31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.
    (Doctrine and Covenants 19:31)

    Some LDS take this to mean that remission comes from water. While I dont agree with that, I have a hard time parsing this verse.

  47. Baptism fulfills the commandment. You cannot obtain a remission of sins unless the commandment is fulfilled. So, yes, remission of sins does come by baptism, which is why we are baptized for the remission of sins. If you get baptized by fire, but don’t get an authorized water baptism, it doesn’t stick. You are made as if you never had your sins remitted. It’s not the water that cleanses the person of sins, but the faith exercised unto the fulfilling the commandments:

    Moro. 8:25And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; 26and the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

  48. So, do I understand correctly your position that after a person received the first remission of sins by fire, that person has to fulfill the commandment of being baptized in water in order to retain the remission of sins. Failing to be baptized in water is a sin which if not repented of leads to the cancellation of the remission of sins?

    Thus you construe the verse in question as if saying:

    31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and < the retaining of the > remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

  49. My understanding is that it’s all the same to the Lord. It’s the same principle as the “I never knew you” thing. Unless you fulfill the whole commandment, fulfilling a part isn’t sufficient to do anything, at all. So, there is no “retaining” anything, it is all just a simple remission of sins, or no remission of sins. So, repentance, faith and baptism (both types, water and fire) are what is needed for remission of sins, while this is what is needed to retain a remission of sins:

    Mosiah 4:11And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

    12And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

    26And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

    Etc.

  50. There are some people who would like to get around the need for authorized water baptism, meaning a water baptism recognized by the church, by saying only faith, repentance and baptism of fire is necessary for remission of sins, thus an authorized water baptism is not needed, hence, you can be saved without being a member of the Mormon (LDS) church. And they will also say that any water baptism is good enough to get that remission of sins. Anything to avoid having to submit to the authority of the church. But the church is the saints of God, and the saints of God are judges of, and will judge, all things, including which baptism is authorized and which is not. You cannot skirt around the saints (the church) and expect to get a remission of sins and be saved. The keys of the church, and of the priesthood, are still here and are still recognized by the Lord, regardless of what these others like to think.

  51. LDSA, so fire baptism makes a person born of God, becoming His son as per

    And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; (Mosiah 27:25)

    However, when Mormon addresses the members of the church (who are supposedly saints who had gone through the process of being born again), he suggests that it is obtaining charity which enables one to become a son of God.

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:48)

    Any thoughts on these passages?

  52. Alma seems to be speaking of the spiritual redemption, which comes with the remission of sins, whereas Mormon seems to be speaking of final redemption, which comes with the resurrection, and in particular Mormon is speaking of being redeemed with the same (exalted) glory that Christ has, becoming just like Him.

  53. as non-lds i believe the so called sacrament/ordinance of baptism has nothing to do with salvation guidelines laid out by J in John 3:16. “whoever believes…” and this belief is engendered by the HS drawing a person to believe in Christ at the deepest possible meaning of that word- complete surrender of one’s total being to J as savior and lord. the HS is the regenerating agent for this born again experience, in which two processes take place – regeneration wherein the person is now “in Christ” and sanctification , where “christ is in ” the person. Most evangelical scholars believe the “fire” in “baptized with the HS and fire” , refers to the second advent (coming) of christ. Connecting the fire with the HS’ work at pentecost or with a second process of the baptism of the HS is an incorrect understanding.

    thanx for the BOM insights-very interesting!

  54. redhat37, I agree that based on the Bible alone I would probably walk away with the opinion that “the baptism of fire” is something undesirable. Thank God I have the BoM.

  55. During this General Conference there was a quote from Joseph Smith which I had never heard before

    Being born again, comes by the spirit of God through ordinances

    Is this a legitimate quote? It appears that Alma Jr. didn’t receive any ordinances in order to become born again.

  56. Is this a legitimate quote?

    I haven’t a clue.

  57. Obviously you have spent lots of time and effort on the fire of the holy spirit and the legalistic -rules, regulations, ordinances that you may have come to believe are a part of it. yet you write that you have had fire experiences perhaps without any legalisms like an ordiance like confirmation attached- was this not true in the mormon kirkland temple experience the HS and /or fire not specifically associated with a ritual engagement. like my experience of spontaneous “tongues’ experience while relaxing in an easy chair when overcome by the grace and love of God with the Holy Ghost entirely in control of the moment and the experience.
    would you consider abandoning the “fire” experience to be one that is totally future- like it will occur when Christ comes on the clouds from heaven to destroy by fire the earth /universe for the descendancy of the new jerusalem ,a new heaven and a new earth go for the old has passed by fire-that’s were i am and other things you have attributed to “fire’ moments i can classify as workings of the gifts of the HG promised on pentecost.
    just askin

  58. Hi, redhat37,

    would you consider abandoning the “fire” experience to be one that is totally future- like it will occur when Christ comes on the clouds from heaven to destroy by fire the earth /universe for the descendancy of the new jerusalem ,a new heaven and a new earth go for the old has passed by fire

    No, I wouldn’t. John the Baptist’s words (in Matt. 3 and Luke 3, the only places anywhere in the Bible that speak of a baptism with fire) were referring to two separate occurrences: 1) a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost performed by Jesus upon the believers who are baptized in water after their repentance, and 2) the final casting of the wicked into the unquenchable lake of fire and brimstone. My assessment is based upon an experience-based investigation, in which I 1) personally experienced a baptism of fire while still a Catholic boy, 2) compared this experience with all the manifestations of the best spiritual gifts that I have (and I have every gift), and 3) compared all of this to what the entire scriptural canon (and not just the Bible) says about the baptism of fire. There is only one inescapable conclusion that all of that leads to: the baptism with fire and the unquenchable fire, spoken of by John the Baptist, are two different things, not the same thing.

    Nothing more than a guess

    You also wrote,

    Most evangelical scholars believe the “fire” in “baptized with the HS and fire” , refers to the second advent (coming) of christ. Connecting the fire with the HS’ work at pentecost or with a second process of the baptism of the HS is an incorrect understanding.

    The people who believe that the baptism of fire refers to the Second Coming of Christ and the burning of the wicked are merely guessing. First, they are only using the Bible and not also the word of God that came through His seer, Joseph Smith, so they have already shot themselves in the foot. Using only the Bible, one finds only one scriptural passage, not two or more, that speaks of being baptized with fire, and that comes from John the Baptist, who was quoted by both Matthew and Luke. So, there is no corroboration with any other scriptures. In other words, the law of witnesses is not fulfilled. The Savior said:

    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matt. 18:15-16)

    Matthew and Luke make two witnesses that John the Baptist actually spoke those words, but as John is the only one in the Bible that ever mentions such a thing, he is the lone witness, and he doesn’t explicitly define what the baptism of fire is. Here are John’s words, as quoted by Matthew and Luke:

    But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them,

    O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves,

    We have Abraham to our father:

    for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

    And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. 3:7-12)

    John answered, saying unto them all,

    I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. (Luke 3:16-17)

    There are only two possibilities here:

    either the baptism of fire is the same as the unquenchable fire of which the chaff will be burned (and where the trees that do not bring forth good fruit are cast),

    or the baptism of fire is something different than the chaff’s unquenchable fire (and where the bad trees are cast.)

    It can only be referring to either 1) the same thing, or 2) different things.

    This presents a problem, for with only one witness and only one mention of this mysterious baptism of fire, and no corroboration by any other Bible writer, and no explanation by John the Baptist as to what he was talking about, those that use only the Bible are left with nothing but a guess, which has a 50% chance of being wrong. This guess would essentially be, then, the flip of a coin: heads they are the same, tails they are different.

    But these people do not merely flip the coin and see what comes up. Instead, they think, “Well, I never had a baptism of fire and I don’t know of anyone else that has ever claimed to have had a baptism of fire,” and then they take this lack of evidence for the existence of a separate baptism of fire and use it as evidence of its non-existence. So their coin becomes loaded in favor of the two being the same. Then they flip (for it is still a guess) and land, lo and behold, upon heads!

    What they have done is not an evidence-based investigation, but a guess based upon lack of evidence. In other words, this wasn’t an educated or informed guess, but an uneducated or uninformed guess, for they have no clue what a baptism of fire is, having never experienced one themselves, and there being no scripture (in the Bible, that is—for there are plenty of scriptures brought forth by Joseph Smith that deal with this topic) that explains it. So, there is no knowledge in their guess, for it is not based upon what they know, but upon what they don’t know. They don’t know what a baptism of fire is and they don’t know of anyone else that knows what a baptism of fire is.

    But that is not the entire truth, either. You see, they do know of someone who has had a baptism of fire, even Joseph Smith, but they don’t believe his testimony. Joseph Smith’s First Vision was a baptism of fire, and also the visits to him by Moroni, but they refuse to believe that his testimony is true. And yet, Joseph Smith was vilely persecuted and never denied his testimony his whole life. Liars, when they are tarred and feathered and nearly castrated and so on, like Joseph was, typically say, “Hey! I was only kidding!” Nobody likes to be persecuted. Telling a lie is only fun if there aren’t any people who are ready to kill you over it. And I have also had a baptism of fire, and when I first told someone about it, I also was vilely persecuted for years, but like Joseph Smith, I have never denied it. But they won’t believe Joseph’s testimony (1 witness) nor mine (2 witness, fulfilling the law of witnesses), nor that of any of the others (for others have had baptisms of fire and testified of the same.)

    Mormon testimonies aren’t Mormon, at all

    Christians (and everyone else) need to understand that the so-called Mormon testimonies aren’t really Mormon testimonies, at all. Joseph was a Bible-believing Christian when he received his testimonies. I was a Bible-believing Catholic when I received mine. In fact, just about all Mormon converts receive their testimonies concerning Mormonism before they ever get baptized into the Mormon church. So, these are testimonies by atheists and by agnostics and by Protestants and by Catholics and by Muslims and by Jews and by Hindus and so forth, these people coming from every possible background and faith (or non-faith) tradition, and they all go through the same process.

    The Holy Ghost only manifests truth, for God is a God of truth and cannot lie. So, if they start out as atheists and seek divine truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest to them that there is a God. Now they are numbered among the believers in God. If they continue to seek truth, then the Holy Ghost will manifest to them that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and that the Bible contains the word of God. Now they shift their belief into the Bible and Christianity, perhaps joining one of the many Christian denominations. Now they call themselves Christians. If they continue to seek truth, then the Holy Ghost will manifest to them that Joseph Smith was called of God as His seer to lay the foundation for the restoration of all things, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that the priesthood has been restored, and so forth. All of this can be termed, Mormonism. Once they find out that Mormonism is true, then they get baptized in the church and fold of God, the LDS church, and start calling themselves latter-day saints.

    The law of witnesses requires asking

    The people who put limits on the Holy Ghost will accept the manifestations that reveal that there is a God, and the manifestations that reveal that Jesus is the Christ and that the Bible contains the word of God, but once the Holy Ghost gets to the next revelations in this ongoing process of revealing the works of God, they don’t want any part of it. At that point they’ll say, “That ain’t the Holy Ghost speaking.”

    But they are wrong because it is they that are the ones who have rejected the words of Jesus in the Bible, not the believing Christians who end up becoming Mormons because the Holy Ghost manifests the next part. Jesus taught the following:

    And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him,

    Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

    And he said unto them,

    When ye pray, say,

    Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

    And he said unto them,

    Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him,

    Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

    And he from within shall answer and say,

    Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

    I say unto you,

    Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

    And I say unto you,

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:1-13)

    The Christians who end up becoming Mormons believe these words and follow them, and so they ask God about Mormonism diligently and persistently and with sincerity and faith in Christ, believing God will answer them, and the Holy Ghost inevitably answers them, telling them that it is true. They ask because the law of witnesses is fulfilled by Mormonism, for there are many latter-day saints who testify to having had the Holy Ghost confirm the truthfulness of Mormonism. So the Mormon position is super-strong and solidly-based on the words of Christ. Anyone who asks God to know the truthfulness of Mormonism, with diligence in prayer and so forth, invariably will get an answer given to him or her by the Holy Ghost in the affirmative. No one, then, has any excuse whatsoever, to reject this message.

    This is why Nephi wrote:

    And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (2 Ne. 33:10)

    True believers in Christ will do what He says to do and ask, when the law of witnesses is fulfilled and people stand forth testifying that the Holy Ghost said this or that, and all their testimonies point to the same thing: that Mormonism is religion revealed by God through one of His seers. Those who are not true believers in Christ, who merely profess to believe in His words and who refuse to ask God, become hypocrites, as Jesus said, quoting Isaiah:

    Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matt. 15:6-9)

    The tradition of the Christians make the commandment of Jesus (to ask, seek and knock) of none effect. They don’t want their people investigating Mormonism, or reading the Book of Mormon, or praying to God to know if Mormonism is true, and so they call it a cult and label Joseph a false prophet, and claim the Mormons are deceived by the devil, etc., and those of their people that do investigate Mormonism, as humble truth-seekers, are no longer called Christians or followers of Christ, unless they deny the further testimonies they have received from the Holy Ghost.

    When presented with the flood of Mormon witnesses, the law of witnesses requires that everyone that finds out about Mormonism get down on their knees and plead with God to know about the truthfulness of this message until He manifests it to them. That is the gospel. But doing this will convert everyone in the world to Mormonism, every last one of them. And this will do away with the need for other churches and religions, uniting everyone into one faith, baptism, church and fold. That’s not something that certain people want to see happen. Plus, nobody likes to be shown to be in error. So, they themselves refuse to ask and they teach others not to believe in Mormonism and most definitely, not to ask.

    Extremism

    you have spent lots of time and effort on the fire of the holy spirit and the legalistic -rules, regulations, ordinances that you may have come to believe are a part of it. yet you write that you have had fire experiences perhaps without any legalisms

    The Jewish leaders during the time of Christ didn’t want to have to submit to the authority of John the Baptism, nor to that of Jesus. They shouted, “The law! The law! We have the law for our salvation! We don’t need a Redeemer! And we are the ones who are in charge! We are the legal administrators!” They were extremists on one end of the spectrum, that of the law and legalisms.

    On the other extreme end of the spectrum, we have the Christians, who reacted to this Jewish extremism by a new Christian extremist doctrine, shouting, “We don’t need any ordinances for our salvation! We are not under the law anymore! We are free, through Christ, of the need for any legal administrator!” So they created a fiction, a “gospel” without legalism, without priesthood authority. They became extremists, just like the Jews, but in the opposite direction.

    But both groups react the same when God sends an actual, bona fide legal administrator. A legal administrator (John the Baptist) comes on the scene and the Jewish leadership rejects him. But he’s amassing quite a group of believers, so he’s got to go. Another legal administrator (Jesus of Nazareth) shows up and they reject him, too. This one, also, is amassing a large group of believers, so he’s got to go, too. The apostles are also legal administrators, so they have also got to be rejected and terminated. That’s what the Jews did. But when God sent yet another legal administrator, this time in the form of a seer (Joseph Smith), the Gentile Christians largely rejected him and when he started having more success than they’d liked him to, well, he had to go, too.

    All of this is extremism. One takes the baby (Jesus) and throws out the water and tub (the need for ordinances, priesthood authority, and obedience to commandments), the other takes the water and tub and tosses the baby. But the gospel requires both. And the Mormons continue to say, “Hey, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just ask God and He’ll tell you that we speak the truth.” It can’t get much easier than this.

    Conclusion

    You are free to say my testimony is false or made-up or whatever. To each his own. You are entitled to your own beliefs. But this much I know, if you ask God to confirm my testimonies concerning Mormonism, whether it be my testimony of Joseph Smith, or of my baptism of fire, or of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, if you are a humble truth-seeker and apply the words of Jesus concerning how we are to pray and receive anything from God, with diligence and sincerity, etc., He will confirm them. Any man can go to the Lord and with humble diligence in prayer to Him, get Him to reveal these facts.

    (Btw, I am going to include the Matt. 3 passage, taken from the Joseph Smith Translation, so that you can see how he corrected it.)

    But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them,

    O, generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Why is it that ye receive not the preaching of him whom God hath sent? If ye receive not this in your hearts, ye receive not me; and if ye receive not me, ye receive not him of whom I am sent to bear record; and for your sins ye have no cloak. Repent, therefore, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves,

    We are the children of Abraham, and we only have power to bring seed unto our father Abraham;

    for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children into Abraham.

    And now, also, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water, upon your repentance; and when he of whom I bear record cometh, who is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, (or whose place I am not able to fill,) as I said, I indeed baptize you before he cometh, that when he cometh he may baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire. And it is he of whom I shall bear record, whose fan shall be in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but in the fullness of his own time will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (JST Matt. 3:33-39)

     

  59. LDSA, while I believe that water baptism does not rid the person of sins, there are two places that can be construed as if water indeed washes away sins. What is you take on these verses?

    Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins
    Acts 22:16

    Come and be baptized unto repentance that ye may be washed from your sins
    Alma 7:14

  60. LDSA, in Mosiah 5 the people of king Benjamin receive a remission of sins. Do you think that was their first baptism of fire or was the re-baptism principle at play there?

    On the one hand, it seems like they must have already received their baptism of fire acc.to the description of their righteouness:

    and this I do because they have been a diligent people in keeping the commandments of the Lord. (Mosiah 1:11)

    this highly favored people of the Lord (Mosiah 1:13)

    But then on other hand, some verses suggest that this was their first encounter:

    if ye have come to a knowledge of … the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world (Mosiah 4:6)

    the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil (Mosiah 5:2)

    for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; (Mosiah 5:7)

  61. jackdale,

    And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—they are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. (D&C 76:50-53)

    The Acts and Alma scriptures you cited follow this same principle.

  62. jackdale76, this was a time in which the church of God was not established. They were operating under tribal protocols. The people obviously were obedient to the commandments of God (the Ten Commandments) and also, then, the statutes and judgments of the law of Moses, but to what extent they had been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ is unknown. There isn’t enough information given in the text for me to even make an educated guess. The tribal operations are still unknown to me.

  63. The Acts and Alma scriptures you cited follow this same principle.

    This principle is the same that I already asked you about earlier: if the person gets his first baptism of fire and then proceeds to be baptized in water, he must get another baptism of fire upon coming out of the ater and if there were no sins between his 1st and 2nd baptisms of fire, then at the time of his 2nd baptism of fire his sins count as remitted.

    But Im still not sure what exactly Ananias means by “Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins”. Since Paul must have received a remission of sins after he heard the voice (in order to be deemed worthy of water baptism), he must have committed fresh sins. So, what were they?

    A. Since the time of Paul’s repentance (while he was led to and dwelt in Damascus), Paul again committed sins.

    B. The fact that Paul was not proceeding with baptism by water sooner (after he heard the voice) accounted to Paul as sin. This is the sin that Ananias said should be washed away.

    C. Any other explanation?

  64. jackdale76, it’s still the same principle. If I see someone, who isn’t a member of the church, have a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, I’ll say to that person, “Okay, now that you know the truth about Jesus, get baptized so that your sins can be washed away.” Unless you obey the commandment, no number of baptisms of fire and of the Holy Ghost will remit your sins. It is the commandment, or obedience to it, that brings salvation. Using the language of my latest post, think of baptism as “sealing” the remission of sins to you. Nothing sticks without obedience to God’s commandments.

  65. I’m not sure I wrap my head around the baptism of the Holy Ghost yet. Is that kind of the same when you feel the Holy Ghost from time to time?

    I’ve had great changes of heart (twice), but I’ve never considered them THE change of heart. I was given gifts of not desiring to sin, I changed as a person, but I never *saw* the fire like you said either. Eventually, my gifts dissipated, yet better than I was before. I still seek a true baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost experience.

    I’m also stuck on the re-baptism. I was baptized in the church. Isn’t that enough? Am I understanding wrong? I was almost re-baptized as per Denver Snuffer’s suggestion and almost became excommunicated. I wasn’t re-baptized and stopped associating myself with him altogether. I still come out thinking that was a great decision. But how would a re-baptism be possible in the church?…because it’s not.

  66. A water re-baptism is not currently possible in the church. In the future, though, I suppose it will again be practised.

  67. I’m a bit confused: if water baptism “seals” the remission of sins, why does the Scripture say that there should be a post-water baptism of fire? What does it accomplish? Is this some sort of a “second seal” without which the remission of sins is cancelled?

    and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen. (Mormon 7:10)

  68. I’m a bit confused: if water baptism “seals” the remission of sins, why does the Scripture say that there should be a post-water baptism of fire? What does it accomplish?

    From the post:

    The baptism of fire serves to witness to the new member, to the priesthood holder(s) confirming, and to the church that is present, that the covenant that the man has entered into with his God, witnessed by his water baptism, is accepted by God and is now in force. In other words, that it is binding, both upon the man and his God.

    To put another way, water baptism is man’s way of witnessing to God that he has entered into a covenant to serve Him, whereas fire baptism is God’s way of witnessing to man that He has accepted that covenantal relationship.

    (Jesus said, “Whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record (witness) of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” See 3 Ne. 11: 35.)

    You also asked,

    Is this some sort of a “second seal” without which the remission of sins is cancelled?

    I suppose you can think of it that way. So we have the temple anointing and then the second anointing, and we have the first baptism and the second baptism. But whereas the first and second anointings are performed by mortals, the second baptism is performed by God.

  69. LDSA, I had a friend of mine read this article and Im posting questions here on his behalf.

    then a baptism of fire during each of Moroni’s visits

    Does that mean that any angelic visitation is accompanied by baptism of fire. Did Joseph Smith feel that overwhelming sensation of being consumed at that point when lying in his bed? If so, when did this happen? Just before he saw Moroni by his bed or while Moroni was speaking to him?

  70. Does that mean that any angelic visitation is accompanied by baptism of fire.

    Yes, every angelic ministration is accompanied by a baptism of fire (unless you are an impenitent sinner, that is, like Laman, Lemuel, Alma the Younger, the sons of Mosiah and their comapanions.)

    Did Joseph Smith feel that overwhelming sensation of being consumed at that point when lying in his bed?

    Joseph stated,

    When I first looked upon him [Moroni], I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

    When the fire came upon me, I first feared I was going to die, but that fear turned to wonder that I was still alive. We all notice what we notice. Lehi sees the water, but only Nephi notices that it is filthy. Is there a difference between the fear you feel being encompassed by a plasma glow discharge and the fear you feel when a plasma arc mode discharging angel appears like living lightning? I felt the fear and noticed the fire upon and in me. Joseph felt the fear and saw the lightning angel. Each person notices what they notice.

  71. LDSA, what’s your take on the following verse? Doesnt it suggest that they had no BoFaHG before their water baptism?

    16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)(Acts 8:16)

  72. I would suppose not necessarily or necessarily. They might have experienced fire before or some or none necessarily as most of today’s baptism{- opinion only}(acccording to God’s will and wisdom) or felt the Spirit’s power before baptism. As was told, God’s influence will not remain without passing through John’s water baptism. It is one thing to to have a foretaste from the wine in some amounts than the guests who did not yet tasted once. And it is another to have their cup filled all the time.

  73. Looking back, to the last question I overlooked as yet: those believers baptized by John’s baptism have to wait for an apostle or those who have authority for the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It meant they got their baptism from person who has authority over it except the ordinance of bestowing of the gift.

  74. jackdale76,

    LDSA, what’s your take on the following verse? Doesnt it suggest that they had no BoFaHG before their water baptism?

    That refers to the ordinance of confirmation, in which one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. They hadn’t received that ordinance, yet, so the Holy Ghost didn’t tarry upon people, yet they still received witnesses from the Holy Ghost. Peter is a prime example of this (when Jesus asked him who He was and Peter said He was the Christ and Jesus said to him that the Father had revealed to him that fact.) See Matt. 16:13-17.

  75. But don’t we have another ocassion where the Holy Ghost both fell on people and was called “the gift of the Holy Ghost”?

    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
    45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    (Acts 10:44–45)

    Does this also refer to the ordinance of confirmation by the laying on of hands? Apparently not, because the folks weren’t even baptized prior to it.
    Care to expound on this?

  76. jackdale76,

    But don’t we have another ocassion where the Holy Ghost both fell on people and was called “the gift of the Holy Ghost”?…Does this also refer to the ordinance of confirmation by the laying on of hands? Apparently not, because the folks weren’t even baptized prior to it.
    Care to expound on this?

    Everything we get from God is technically a “gift” and in that instance the text is not talking about the ordinance of confirmation, but just the fact that God gave (gifted) the Holy Ghost to Gentiles, so that they also experienced a manifestation of the Spirit. They still had to be baptized and receive confirmation in order to obtain the right of having the Holy Ghost always be with them.

  77. LDSA, when you were born again did you behold the marvelous light? If so, what kind of light was that. How would you describe it?
    But if not, why not? Doesnt Alma teach that whosoever is born of God must

    …have seen eye to eye as I have seen
    (Alma 36:26)

    and what Alma saw among other things is the marvelous light

    20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold;
    (Alma 36:20)

  78. LDSA, Im bumping my previous question to you.

    Also, for those interested:

    Baptisms with fire and Holy Ghost happened in India in 1905.

    http://www.evanwiggs.com/revival/portrait/ramabai.html

    Mentions burning, light, joy, trance.

    Also, from another source describing the same event

    When they became conscious they told of seeing a throne in Heaven, a white robed throng, and a glory so bright they could not bear it.


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