“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
The Mormon Church struggled to understand what happens to loved ones who never heard of the Prophet Moroni or the Book of Mormon. They felt it wasn’t fair for those who never heard the “truth” to be denied salvation for something that was beyond their control. So, genealogy became vitally important. They would go through their family tree, baptizing the dead, so they would be incorporated into the Mormon Church and hence be prepared for the apocalypse. Those dead who are unbaptized remain in “spirit prison” waiting for the opportunity to avoid damnation.
Thankfully, we do not need to require human initiative for salvation of our ancestors, to say nothing of ourselves. First, God is not a vengeful deity waiting for us to screw up or follow the wrong path, so we can be cast into hell. God created us in love, redeems us in compassion, and sustains us in joy. God’s power to provide grace is more powerful than our ability to sin. God’s love, compassion, and joy trumps our sin. We don’t need after-death baptism, extreme unction, or any other means of securing our own salvation. God is totally in control of our salvation and God loves us and desperately wants us to be with God for eternity.
Today, offer God your prayer of confession and lay out your life to God. Ask God for forgiveness and then trust God to provide. Then, think about the people you love most in this world. Every one of them has sinned and falls short of the glory of God. Yet, you love them and would never want them to experience eternal damnation. How much more loving is God than you? Thank God for being so forgiving and loving. Throw your life on God’s altar and let God forgive you and the rest of God’s people on earth. Trust God to forgive and restore all creation! Praise God!