Redemption of the dead and the testimony of Jesus were the topics of Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk in the Saturday morning Conference session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Christofferson, a member of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy, said vicarious service, referring to acts like baptism for the dead, should not seem strange to any Christian.
“In the baptism of a living person, the officiator acts, by proxy, in place of the Savior,” Elder Christofferson said.
He said that this vicarious work, or redeeming the dead, gives individuals who have died the opportunity to accept the gospel in the next life if they choose to do so.
He said the anxiety to redeem the dead testifies of five things: Christ’s resurrection, the infinite reach of His atonement, that He is the sole source of salvation, that He has established the conditions for salvation and that He will come again.
Elder Christofferson quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley, saying vicarious sacrifice is given with love, without hope of compensation or repayment or anything of the kind.
Elder Christofferson said God is no respecter of persons. Everyone that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted by him, he said.
He said the Lord invites everyone to partake of His goodness, and that all are alike unto God.
Elder Christofferson said to receive the Lord’s grace, everyone must meet certain conditions. He named these conditions using Acts 2:38.
“Repent, and be baptized every one … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and … receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Christofferson said, quoting Matthew 7:14, for those who follow these things, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life.”
He said as many as will believe and be baptized – even vicariously – and endure in faith, shall be saved.
Elder Christofferson stressed the importance of vicarious service and how Latter-day Saints are an important part of this plan.
“The earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other – and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead,” Elder Christofferson said, quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Elder Christofferson said that because of the Savior and his grace, the dead can be freed from spiritual prison.