Date: February 16, 2012 01:10PM
President Boyd K. Packer from General Conference:
"There are several religions larger than most Christian denominations, and together they are larger than all of them combined. Their adherents for centuries have lived and died and never heard the word baptism. What is the answer for them?"
"That is a most disturbing question. What power would establish one Lord and one baptism, and then allow it to be that most of the human family never comes within its influence? With that question unanswered, the vast majority of the human family must be admitted to be lost, and against any reasonable application of the law of justice or of mercy, either. How could Christianity itself be sustained?"
"When you find the true church you will find the answer to that disturbing question."
"If a church has no answer for that, how can it lay claim to be His Church? He is not willing to write off the majority of the human family who were never baptized."
"Those who admit in puzzled frustration that they have no answer to this cannot lay claim to authority to administer to the affairs of the Lord on the earth, or to oversee the work by which all mankind must be saved."
"We have been authorized to perform baptisms vicariously so that when they hear the gospel preached and desire to accept it, that essential ordinance will have been performed. They need not ask for any exemption from that essential ordinance. Indeed, the Lord Himself was not exempted from it."
"Here and now then, we move to accomplish the work to which we are assigned. We are busily engaged in that kind of baptism. We gather the records of our kindred dead, indeed, the records of the entire human family; and in sacred temples in baptismal fonts designed as those were anciently, we perform these sacred ordinances."
"“Strange,” one may say. It is passing strange. It is transcendent and supernal. The very nature of the work testifies that He is our Lord, that baptism is essential, that He taught the truth."
"And so the question may be asked, “You mean you are out to provide baptism for all who have ever lived?”"
"And the answer is simply, “Yes.” For we have been commanded to do so."
"“You mean for the entire human family? Why, that is impossible. If the preaching of the gospel to all who are living is a formidable challenge, then the vicarious work for all who have ever lived is impossible indeed.”"
"To that we say, “Perhaps, but we shall do it anyway.”"
"I bear witness that this work is true, that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that there is on this earth today a prophet of God to lead modern Israel in this great obligation. I know that the Lord lives and that He broods anxiously over the work for the redemption of the dead, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
- President Boyd K. Packer, "The Redemption of the Dead" Churchwide General Conference, October 5, 1975, Church Ensign Magazine, Nov. 1975, page 97http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1975.htm/ensign%20november%201975.htm/the%20redemption%20of%20the%20dead.htm