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January 15, 2007



I don't think the Church could ever come to a definitive decision on the validity of RLDS Baptism. Their doctrine appears especially fluid and their community is prone to schism. On the one hand, they have adopted a more traditional view of the Holy Trinity, but on the other, they started to ordain priestesses.

I also feel they should be commended for their change in views regarding the Holy Trinity, but at the same time, I cannot help but feel how you define God to be THE most important aspect of theology. And here they are changing their definition.

If they were willing to change in regards to this, what guarantee is there they will not change again?

Meh, I suppose that is how the Protestant cookie crumbles. (I know they are not officially Protestant but their movement was born of a Protestant atmosphere).

Tim J.

I find the passages highlighted in red somewhat troubling, especially given that (in my experience) Mormons often talk as if they believe substantially the same things that Christians do, when, with a little probing, this can be shown clearly not to be the case.

The statement says "One God in three persons", but then goes on to use language that treats these "persons" more like "modes" or roles that God plays.

Of course, I've heard the same language in homilies. I've been given supposedly "Catholic" Cathechetical materials that had "Father", "Son" and "Holy Spirit" in quotes. Blecch.

God bless this man and his family as he walks the road to Catholic Faith.


I was baptized in RLDS when I was 8 or 9, and when I converted to Catholicism five years ago I was told my baptism had been valid.

Last August, I was talking with my parish priest (not where I was confirmed) and he dug up a document from a couple of years ago that our diocese (Charleston, SC) had put out defining RLDS/CoC baptisms as "most probably invalid." Of course, this really didn't seem to settle anything for certain, so he went ahead and conditionally baptized me.

Please pray for all members of the CoC (especially my family) that they will continue to seek God with sincere hearts.

Ed Peters

Jimmy, is this a case where the simple rule applies: if it looks Trinitarian, it is treated as valid, unless Rome says otherwise (as it did with Mormons)?


The Book of Mormon itself frequently speaks of God in a modalistic vein. I suspect that the RLDS are not at all clear about their own doctrine (the LDS Mormons are clear about theirs... NOT Trinitarian at all). Flirting with Modalism would make me uneasy about their baptisms... go for a conditional baptism.


I have been involved in conversations with Mormons before who try to paint the Church in intolerant colors (like who doesn't) because she rejects their form of Baptism nor does she consider them Christian because of their broken concept of the Trinity.

But do the Mormons consider the Jehovah's Witnesses Christian? (I am asking here. I presume the answer is "no" but I would like to hear from someone who knows for certain.)

Also, I think as time goes on the necessity of conditional baptisms will only grow because of the increasing number of Protestant denominations fiddling with or doing away with the Holy Trinity.



Interesting point about the LDS theology of the Trinity being modalistic. But my understanding of why LDS baptism is invalid is their concept of monotheism. Because Mormons believe that God is the God of *this* universe and humans can become gods of other universes, the LDS idea of only worshipping one god while holding that others exist is incompatible with Christian monotheism. I don't know if this idea of monotheism is also held by the RLDS. Hadn't head about the Trinitarian aspect, but I must admit I did not read the document that came out a while back so I may be wrong on this.

Some Day

I would never it another thought.
Conditional Baptism.
Nothing to lose, everything to gain.

Ed Peters

No, SomeDay, et al. Conditional baptism is not a kind of spiritual insurance policy. It is not to be freely applied, for the simple reason that we are talking about situations that COULD, objectively, be sacrilegious (re-iteration of a character sacrament). The canons are clear that serious doubt persisting past careful examination are need for conditional administration of this sacrament. Beware the slippery slopes here.

Some Day

I know, I mean inside such a situation.
I understand you.

Another Tim

I agree with Tim J that the language used to describe Jesus and the Holy Spirit looks awfully modal. Note also that they don't talk about the Father.

I wonder how the Community of Christ would respond to the questions, "Is Jesus God?", and "Is the Spirit God?" The answers might be very telling.


Does any one know if someone who was baptized in the United Church of God, which is a splinter of World Wide Church of God, would require a conditional baptism?

They did baptize by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But they don't believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit.

This is from their fundamental beliefs booklet:
"God," as used in the Bible, can be a reference to either the Father (e.g., Acts 13:33; Galatians 4:6), Jesus Christ the Son (e.g., Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1, 14) or both (e.g., Romans 8:9), depending on the context of the scriptures. The power and mind that proceed from God are called the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Timothy 1:7). The Holy Spirit of God is not identified as a third person in a trinity, but is consistently described as the power of God. The Holy Spirit is given to mankind upon repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) to serve as an earnest payment on eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14 [both KJV]).


Bob Moore

Joseph Smith taught that the there are 2 personages in the Godhead (Lectures On Faith). The Holy Ghost is the mind of the Father and the Son -- so did Clement of Alexandria. Joseph Smith's son, Joseph Smith III, the first president of the Reorganization (RLDS) taught the same. Two articles in the Saint's Herald (1880s), which he edited, state that the First Presidency decreed this view, but it was not unanimous. Three men make up the First Presidency, the church President and 2 counselors. A unanimous decision becomes unalterable church law. The 1 dissenting vote left the issue alterable. For about a century, the nature of the Godhead was a less significant issue and various views were privately held by members. When the RLDS Church began rethinking its theology, it tried to become more orthodox, but in the process disorganized the RLDS Church and organized the COC. The RLDS Church remains, but that is a different story. I thought you would like to know. I am a member of the continuing RLDS Church and an opponent to modalism. I am not a Trinitarian in the Catholic sense.

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