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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Importance of the temple recommend and "baptisms of the dead" in the Mormon Church

Hassan discusses two important elements of the Mormon Church—the temple recommend and "baptisms of the dead." According to Hassan, baptism of the dead was one ritual that young people such as herself participated in frequently. She describes it as a means by which people who had previously passed (often the relatives or ancestors of those being baptized in their name) could choose Mormonism in the afterlife.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Wanted to know now since we mentioned have spoken about the temple tell me a little about going to the temple. How one is able to go the temple, what are some of the requirements to be able to go to the temple, just the whole significance about going to the temple because that's different and apart from just going to your regular church ward for services.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Because actually the temple isn't open on Sundays because it's all volunteer work. People do the desk in the front. Usually you have to have a temple recommend and to get your recommend you have to be keeping the laws of the Gospel. You can't be smoking or drinking or doing drugs or having sex. You have to be keeping your morals.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Integrity, chastity.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I know to go to do certain things in the temple you have to have gone through like sacred covenants. Some of the stuff I don't know a lot about like having your (endowments) taken out. I've never done that so I don't. But it's like that's when people get their undergarments that they wear. So I don't know too much about that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
You don't know too much about?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I don't know, I've never done it. I know you're basically making a covenant that you're going to, like you're not going to do stuff, and it's a pretty strong covenant with God of stuff that you make between you and God. I've never done that so I don't know. I know the youth do a lot of baptisms, and they call it baptisms for the dead. What that is you they believe when you die that your spirit goes to the spirit world, and everybody gets judged but like when Jesus will come. But as far as the spirit world goes it's like there are people who have accepted the Gospel or know the truth, and there are people who don't have the Gospel, and they can't progress I guess. Basically what baptisms for the dead is you're baptized I guess in the name of that person. So they can, it's kind of a complicated thing because we believe like when Jesus died, he went to preach to the spirits because it talks about that in the Bible, and so basically we believe the same. In the spirit world people have the opportunity because God is a fair God. So everybody has the opportunity to know the Gospel. So we believe that up there people are taught the Gospel and things like that. But you need a body to be baptized like Jesus was by immersion. Of course he was perfect so he didn't have to do it, but he did it as a commandment. So basically baptism for the dead is like a person like I guess I would be baptized in the name of somebody, and then we believe that then they can either accept it and be confirmed a member or not. So basically a lot of youth do that because that's what they can do because it's basically the same rules. You have to be keeping the law of chastity and your morals.
BARBARA COPELAND:
The youth do this on behalf of their—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Ancestors.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Right.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Or basically just names that people. People all over the world are doing their genealogy. It's just any, they're just, they need people to help because there are so many names. So the youth do that usually, usually you're doing it for people that you don't even know. But I remember I got to do it for my grandmother, and that was very special for me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So you've been to the temple before. You've participate or performed a baptism for your grandmother.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, because I know she was thinking of joining the church, but she died.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay before she was able to become a Mormon. So then what this baptism does then essentially is gives her the opportunity of becoming a Mormon in the afterlife.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. Of course I didn't explain it very refinely. I don't have all of the—
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's okay. It's okay. I had to take a course on Mormonism, and I just took my final yesterday. A lot of the details that takes places within the temple and the details about the temple recommend, getting a temple recommend I had to study for. So I happen to know it, but it's always good to hear coming from a member what their experience is, and so that's why I was asking those questions to see how you interpret it and what those experiences are for you being able to go to the temple. What was the experience like getting a temple recommend?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I don't have a permanent one. Usually you have to go through an interview with the bishop, and then he says that you can go. It's you just, it's good to know that you can go just because I think if I had done stuff that would have prevented me from doing my grandmother's baptism I think that would've—. But it's basically you just, it's not nobody's looking down on you or saying shame on your or anything like that. You just go and you talk with the bishop, and he asks you some questions.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Then if you are able to answer to those questions favorably, then that's what gives you.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. Right.