Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Beginning with Paul’s reference to baptism for the dead and the early Christian practice thereof, many theologians—from Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria to Thomas Aquinas, Joseph Smith, and some of his contemporaries—have discussed the fate of the unevangelized dead. These authors have provided many ideas to solve this soteriological problem of evil; however, until the restoration, none could balance the three truths that God is all loving, one must accept Jesus Christ to be saved, and many have died without knowing about Christ. This article chronicles the thoughts of these and other theologians as well as the development, through revelation, of Joseph Smith’s own thinking on postmortem evangelization and baptism for the dead.