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Rescue for the DeadThe Posthumous Salvation of Non-Christians in Early Christianity$
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Jeffrey A. Trumbower

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195140990.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction
Source:
Rescue for the Dead
Author(s):

Jeffrey A. Trumbower (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195140990.003.0001

The introduction looks at the posthumous salvation of non‐Christians in the nineteenth‐century American context as practiced by Shakers and Latter‐day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons), in order to set the stage for the study of the ancient texts. The Shakers experienced a form of spirit possession by which dead non‐Christians, especially Native Americans, would enter into the bodies of living Shakers and thereby be saved. Joseph Smith, prophet and founder of the Latter‐day Saints, introduced the ritual of vicarious baptism for the dead based on his reading of 1 Corinthians 15:29 and his encounter with the biblical prophet Elijah. This ritual is still practiced today in the LDS church.

Keywords:   baptism for the dead, Elijah, Latter‐day Saints, Mormons, Native Americans, Shakers, Joseph Smith, spirit possession

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