The 19th Century Origins of Mormon Posthumous Celebrity Baptism

Given the ongoing public discussion of the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead, and particularly how this ritual been conducted by Latter-day Saints in behalf of notable public, “celebrity” figures, it seemed appropriate to post a piece of my ongoing research into this singular religious concept. Specifically, here I note the emergence of the doctrine and practice of baptism for the dead and how it initially came to be performed on behalf of celebrity figures. Of course, the development of baptism for the dead fits into a number of larger contexts, including currents of developing Mormon theology in Nauvoo (as Sam Brown’s new book shows), and into a broader culture where Christian baptism was a common but diversely understood and valued practice.
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