Baptism for the Dead Is the “Most Glorious of All Subjects Belonging to the Everlasting Gospel”
Doctrine and Covenants 128:17–18
17 . . . I will give you a quotation from one of the prophets . . . [about] this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead; for Malachi says, last chapter, verses 5th and 6th: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
18 . . . the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. . . .
Elder D. Todd Christofferson said:
“Our work for the dead bears witness that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth. . . .
“In an inspired commentary . . . , the Prophet Joseph Smith stated, ‘The earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead’ (D&C 128:18).
“The vicarious ordinances we perform in temples, beginning with baptism, make possible an eternal welding link between generations that fulfills the purpose of the earth’s creation. Without this, ‘the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [Christ’s] coming’ (D&C 2:3; JS—H 1:39). Elijah has, in fact, come as promised to confer the priesthood power that turns hearts and establishes the welding links between the fathers and the children so that once again what is bound on earth ‘shall be bound in heaven’ (Matthew 16:19; see also Matthew 18:18; D&C 132:46). When he came, Elijah declared, ‘The keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors’ (D&C 110:16).
“We are anxiously about the task of searching out our fathers and mothers of generations past and binding them to us and us to them. Is not this the strongest possible evidence of our conviction that Jesus Christ will come again to reign upon the earth? We know He will, and we know what He expects we will have done in preparation for His return.”
(“The Redemption of the Dead and the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 11.)