Welcome to Gospel Tangents, the best source for Mormon history, science, and theology. I’m your host Rick Bennett. Dr. Jonathan Stapley devotes an entire chapter in his book, The Power of Godliness, to baby blessings. Given that baby blessings are not considered salvific, why spend so much time on that? Jonathan says it was his favorite chapter of the book!
Jonathan: There’s this exchange of letters between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer in Zion. Whitmer is the ward clerk. He has a Book of Remembrance. Book of Remembrance is the book that Adam creates. And so, he has this sacred document in which he is to inscribe the inheritance of Zion. And if you come to Zion, you receive an inheritance, that is your inheritance for time and eternity, while the earth shall stand and in eternity when it’s renewed. When babies are blessed, their name is written in the Book of Remembrance and they receive this inheritance. They’re essentially brought into this salvific community where salvation is no longer an individual affair. But it’s not really an individual affair in Mormonism ever. But this explicitly communal salvation, in Zion that’s just really remarkable and that Zion essentially fails. The Zion project, burns, and the saints moved to Illinois. And we have the Nauvoo Temple liturgy and the cosmological priesthood that reorders the world and universe of Latter-day Saints. We see the baby blessing becoming an annunciation of children’s sealed position in the cosmological priesthood.
Had you considered that? Check out our other conversations with Jonathan.
Check out our conversation…..
166: Mormon History of Folk & Alternative Medicine (Stapley)
165: Elder Oaks Groundbreaking Talk on Women & Priesthood(Stapley)
164: The Mormon Priestess & Ordain Women (Stapley)
163: Women Healers in LDS Temples (Stapley)