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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:15PM

The Church Handbook of Instructions (2006 edition) says, about the wording of the baptism ordinance: "The baptism must be repeated if the words are not spoken exactly as given in Doctrine and Covenants 20:73," implying that if any other words are used the baptism is not valid.

The wording in D&C 20:73 is:

" Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

So I ask a Mormon:

Me, to Mormon: Does this mean that if different words are used, even though they mean the same thing, the baptism would not be valid?

Mormon: That's correct.

Me: So, saying "I have been commissioned of Jesus Christ, and..." would not be valid?

Mormon: Correct. The wording must be precisely the same.

Me: If the baptizer were to say, instead, "Having authority given me of Jesus Christ..." it would not be valid?

Mormon: Aren't you listening? The words have to be exactly like D&C 20:73!

Me: Well, the words I just quoted are exactly the words that Jesus told the Nephites to use, in 3 Nephi 11:24-25. So those would not be an effective baptism?

Mormon: Well,...

Me: John the Baptist restored the true baptism in the Latter Days, when he visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, right?

Mormon: Yes, that is correct.

Me: So John the Baptist must have used the correct wording, so that the baptism would be valid?

Mormon: Of course.

Me: So, when he baptized the Savior, did he say, "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ..." or did he say, "Having been commissioned of you..."

Mormon: Whatever he said, it was a valid baptism.

Me: So it really doesn't matter what the exact words are?

Mormon: You are just being argumentative.

Me: I'm searching for the truth. But then was Helam's baptism valid, in the Book of Mormon? Alma didn't use the correct words. He said: ""Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world." (Mosiah 18:11-14)

It sounds to me like Alma's baptism was not effective?

Mormon: You need to repent.

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Posted by: Chump ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:23PM

Nicely done!

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Posted by: jujubee ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:23PM


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Posted by: obiwan ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:31PM

Nicely done. I had not even thought about this until now.

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Posted by: En Sabah Nur ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:43PM

This is the value of reading scripture as a nonbeliever: there's a treasure trove of nonsense and contradictions just waiting to be exposed. Whereas this particular inconsistency isn't likely to deconvert anyone, it's yet another amusing example of the ridiculous nature of Mormon belief.

Thank you for fighting the good fight, Mr. Packham. You're a goddammed inspiration.

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Posted by: elciz ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:46PM

There are things like this, the baptismal prayer, or the sacrament prayer, where EXACT wording is to be used. Of course in the scriptures, different wording was used, like in the case of the baptism in the BOM you mentioned. They tell Mormons to do certain things in an exact and certain way now-a-days. Of course the idea that a small slipup invalidates somethng is ridiculous, or it should be. On the other hand, the ordinances are made up anyway. So I guess if you want to tongue tie a Mormon you can argue this way with them. I just don't see any of it as being important anymore. They can swing whichever way they want on their made up ordinances. I don't care, and I wouldn't bother arguing with them over it.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:50PM

ROTFLMAO. Too good!

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:51PM

"Are baptisms then all done in English?"

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:53PM

RPackham Wrote:

> Mormon: You need to repent.

Translation: "I have to go now. Mom's calling."

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 07:25PM

zenjamin Wrote:
> RPackham Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Mormon: You need to repent.
> Translation: "I have to go now. Mom's calling."

GA: "I have documents right here in my briefcase that
completely refute your, frankly, pathetic, arguments. However
I have to catch a plane, or otherwise I'd share them with you."

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Posted by: Mormoney ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 03:55PM

I remember reading that in the BOM while on my mission and noticed the difference. I just figured that the rules back during the era of the law of moses were more relaxed, err... wait.

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Posted by: Surrender Dorothy ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 04:10PM

You, Richard Packham, are THE BEST!

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 04:15PM

One-Man Battalion!

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 04:25PM

I actually had to repeat a baptism because I said: "of the father, of the son, and of the holy ghost". I had left out the intermediate "and" which is not used today in English! I also can't be positive I didn't leave out the bestowal of the HG in one of the confirmations which was not repeated. Also, I think a foot might have come out in one of the baptisms which wasn't caught. Yep, the Mormon God is a stickler and I guess if we fell asleep and forgot to nod our heads during an endowment, some unlucky person is lost forever.

And another thing which must be perfect: the sacrament prayer. In 32 years I was only asked to say it ONCE. It seems my pronunciation of "that" was "thit" or "thet" and it wasn't good enough. After three tries, they let it go. I could not understand what was wrong. In English the word is only pronounced the LDS way when it is used in a particular way, which is not the wording in the sacrament prayer. Specifically if I were referring to "that woman" it would be pronounced the LDS way, but not in the wording used in sacrament. Anyway, for the next thirty years, I was never called on.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/2013 04:31PM by rhgc.

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Posted by: presleynfactsrock ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 07:03PM

Being that I was born part of the "most blessed" gender and told I should birth babies right and left, (but not told about the baby package deal having TWO parts: 1) unbelievable agonizing horrible will-it-ever-stop? pain and 2) a tiny red miracle bundle), I was not allowed to pray the sacrament prayer or pray the baptismal prayer. Nope, not a chance in hell that I could say either one. I did not have the right package for this very sacred, not secret ritual.

Seeing how embarassing it could be for the people born in the "not-so-blessed" gender to be asked to repeat and repeat over again a messed-up sacrament prayer or a babtismal prayer, I said to myself that maybe there was a touch of truth that I had been born into the most blessed of all gender clubs.

As a teenager, I was very concerned for a very humiliated and very cute kid giving the sacrament prayer when he had said the incorrect wordage not once but twice. He was told he had to repeat that stupid prayer. And how did he know that he had finally achieved the perfection that was required? Why, those who sat higher up in the PH pecking club gave him a sanctimonious NOD. Yes, a goddamn nod.

I had a heart-pounding-crush on this cute sacrament-prayer-maligning-kid, and I so wanted to run up and and take him by the hand and rescue him (and have him sit right by me, of course).

Then I could give the white shirts a nod of my own.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/2013 07:08PM by presleynfactsrock.

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 08:36PM it when you all can stump them.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 09:27PM

Too true, RPack. And some Mormons are so simple they can be stumped by a mushroom-shaped rock.

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Posted by: Lostmypassword ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 09:41PM

So John baptized Jesus in English? Glad we cleared that up.

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Posted by: ZIP ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 10:02PM

Suppose someone said the prayer wrong BUT NO ONE EVER NOTICED?

Would generations of so-called "members" be lost over time? Suppose this error had happened back in - say - 1910 to some key person.

Thousands, maybe ten-of-thousands of addition baptisms, and priesthood ordinations, and marriages, and children blessings, and baptisms for the dead, and endowment sessions, and ....


Can you really be sure that every single word ever spoken in every single baptism has been absolutely correct for all those millions of Mormon baptisms?

It would only take ONE to screw everything up big time!

Oh the horror!

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: November 23, 2013 10:17AM

Actually, that is why the "restoration" was necessary, lol. The idea was that somehow apostolic succession had failed. The answer I have been given is the usual: "God knows..." The son who may not have gotten the HG has baptized others, etc. Of course, the question is moot because TSCC doesn't have any real priesthood authority.

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Posted by: Davo ( )
Date: March 28, 2014 03:18AM

Maybe that's why we're all Former Mormons now.
SOMEONE in our past didn't say the sac. prayer perfectly and now we're cursed, lost our testiphony, and ended up kicked to the curb, all because some jackass couldn't read.

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Posted by: Non-believer ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 11:30PM

LOL well done.

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Posted by: anoynumu ( )
Date: November 22, 2013 11:39PM

Socratic approach.......very effective.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: November 23, 2013 12:24AM

Are the magic words only valid if they are spoken in english ?

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Posted by: Heartless ( )
Date: December 28, 2013 10:37PM

No they are translated...sometimes poorly or incorrectly....into a host of languages.

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Posted by: releve ( )
Date: November 23, 2013 01:00AM

You must be the average Bishop's worst nightmare. I sure wish I could watch you in action it must be very entertaining.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/2013 11:06AM by releve.

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Posted by: ladell ( )
Date: November 23, 2013 10:31AM

Hah! Of course the idea that an omniscient and omnipotent god demands everybody gets a dunking with a perfect script is preposterous in and of itself.

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Posted by: Hillary25 ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 12:13AM


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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: December 29, 2013 02:56AM

"You are just being argumentative."

Commonly used phrase that means, "Oops, you're right."

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Posted by: alyssum ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 07:49PM

Yeah... whatever. The temple words are supposed to be perfect in the iniatory, but they are not always. I know. And it's a darn lot to memorize even if you do have a cheat card. There are slips that most people don't catch, and if you do catch it just causes a snag in the routine and the workers would rather just let it slip. So... imagine the line of people in the next life who have been told, "sorry, the workers slipped up. you can't come in yet." haha. One thing I learned on my mission was, they don't really mean everything. Take it with a grain of salt. Some rules only apply when they are useful for crowd control. Which inconsistency definitely contributed to my realizing the scam since I was a 100% die-hard true-blue believer.

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Posted by: bonebxtch ( )
Date: January 26, 2022 12:44PM

Stumbled across this website recently, It's amazing how much information there is here! It can keep me occupied for hours!!!

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Posted by: bonebxtch ( )
Date: January 26, 2022 12:49PM

(yes i am aware that this comment is a decade late to the post lol)

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: January 26, 2022 01:01PM

Welcome - and don't worry about it. I agree it's full of fascinating stuff. When I first came here, I spent about three months reading nothing else...


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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: January 26, 2022 06:38PM

This was one of a series of 13 posts over several months.

The entire series is now at

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: January 26, 2022 03:12PM

Now that's funny! Always good to bamboozle a TBM.

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