“My nonmember friends ask why we do baptisms for the dead. How do I answer them?” New Era, Jan. 2010, 31
The Savior taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means that in order to receive eternal life—the purpose of our existence—a person must be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.
Although baptism is essential, there are several reasons why many people have not been baptized. Some lived without a knowledge of the gospel, and others were baptized without the correct authority.
Because our Heavenly Father is merciful and just, He does not condemn those who did not have the opportunity to be baptized during their lifetime. In order for these deceased persons to have the opportunity to receive eternal life, baptisms for the dead are performed in their behalf by worthy Church members in temples (see 1 Corinthians 15:29; D&C 124:29–36; 128:18).
The deceased persons, who are in the spirit world, choose to accept or reject the gospel and the ordinances done on their behalf (see D&C 138:58–59).
By performing baptisms for the dead, you are giving more of Heavenly Father’s children the opportunity to receive all of His blessings.