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The Latter Day Saints were headquartered in Nauvoo, Illinois. Many who were already baptized members of the church, were rebaptised either to show a renewal of their commitment to the movement or as part of a healing ordinance.
After the martyrdom of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844, rebaptism became an important ordinance in faction of the church led by Brigham Young. Young led his group to the Great Basin in what is now Utah, and most of his followers were rebaptised not long after entering the basin as a sign that they would rededicate their lives to Christ. During the "Mormon Reformation" of 1856–1857, rebaptism became an extremely important ordinance, signifying that the church member confessed their sins and would live a life of a Latter-day Saint. Church members were rebaptized prior to new covenants and ordinances, such as ordination to a new office of the priesthood, receiving temple ordinances, getting married, or entering plural marriage.
Rebaptism remains a practice in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but today, it is practiced only when a previously excommunicated member rejoins the church. In such cases, the wording of the ordinance is identical to that of the first baptismal ordinance.
Among the Latter Day Saints who remained in the Midwest, rebaptism generally has been practiced only when an excommunicate rejoins the church. When Joseph Smith III and his mother Emma Hale Smith Bidamon joined with the "New Organization" of the church in 1860, their original baptisms were considered sufficient. This organization, now known as the Community of Christ, occasionally cited their avoidance of rebaptism as proof that theirs was the true continuation of the original Latter Day Saint church.
- Peterson, Paul H. (1989), "The Mormon Reformation of 1856–1857: The Rhetoric and the Reality", Journal of Mormon History 15: 59–88.
- Quinn, D. Michael (1978), "The Practice of Rebaptism at Nauvoo", BYU Studies 18 (2): 226–32.
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