Two centuries ago a young man went to a grove near his home to plead with God for guidance.
Ten years later, this young man published a book of scripture from ancient peoples who had lived in the Western Hemisphere and have believed in the Judeo-Christian God in ways surprisingly resonant with long-forgotten teachings of early Church fathers.
Twenty years later, the now-mature man would reiterate the necessity of baptism,[ref]Joseph Smith addressed the need for baptism during the Spring 1840 General Conference, citing Jesus’s teachings to Nicodemus.[/ref] declaring that this salvific ordinance could and must be performed on behalf of all God’s children who had died without having received this ordinance.[ref]The concept that individuals could perform proxy ordinances on behalf of deceased loved ones was first articulated at the August 1840 funeral of Seymour Brunson.[/ref]
Oh, how lovely God’s love for us, that He would make it possible for all His children to return, no matter how much His good news was forgotten or misunderstood or denied us in this life!