The LDS Temple Baptismal Font
The LDS Church teaches that baptism by immersion is a priesthood ordinance required for a person's eternal salvation (Mark 16:15-16). When someone is baptized into the LDS Church, that baptism is usually performed in a font located in a local church building. The baptismal font in an LDS temple is set apart specifically to perform proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased persons. We believe that those who died without having the opportunity to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and either accept it or reject it will have the chance to be taught in the next life prior to final judgment. Learn more about the Bible foundation for our belief in salvation for the dead.
Everything about the temple is designed to teach gospel principles through symbolism; including the baptistry and font. For example, the baptistry is always located on the bottom floor of the temple, symbolizing the beginning of the person's path along God's Plan of Salvation. Proxies are baptized by immersion to symbolize being buried with and rising again with Jesus Christ. The font itself sits on the back of twelve oxen which represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and is a replica of the brazen sea that sat upon twelve oxen in the Temple of Solomon, as described in the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah.
Names of deceased persons vicariously baptized are not added to LDS Church membership records and are not counted in LDS Church membership numbers. Deceased persons are not considered de facto Mormons. They are still free to choose to accept or reject the baptism that was performed on their behalf. The practice is a demonstration of God's mercy and justice because it shows we're all judged the same, instead of God judging people on different standards on where and when they were born.
Learn more about proxy baptism at the official LDS Church website.
Baptismal Font in the Manaus, Brazil Temple
The baptistry has a very nice 3-panel mural of the Baptism of Jesus Christ.
Baptismal Font in the Nauvoo, Illinois Temple
The Nauvoo Temple is a rebuilt replica of the original temple that was burned down by an arsonist in the late 1840's. The weight of the font in the original temple caused the feet of the stone oxen to sink into the basement floor. When the temple was rebuilt in 2002, they gave the new font the same appearance as an homage to the original edifice.
Baptismal Font in the Gilbert, Arizona Temple
To complete the baptism, the priesthood holder who is performing the baptism and the person acting as proxy for the deceased individual, stand together in the baptismal font. The priesthood holder states the name of the deceased and that the person is being baptized in the name of The Father, of The Son and of The Holy Ghost. The proxy is then baptized by complete immersion. Two witnesses sitting next to the font observe to make sure the baptism is performed correctly. If not, the ceremony is repeated.
Baptismal Font in the Boise, Idaho Temple
This picture is how it looked after the renovation in 2012. The baptistry features paintings of The Restoration of the Priesthood and stained glass of The Sacred Grove.
Baptismal Font in the Copenhagen, Denmark Temple
This temple baptistry also features a striking mural of the baptism of Christ, which is pictured in the banner of this page.
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
1 Corinthians 15:29