[Baptism for the dead represents the Saints' response to the doctrinal dilemma: if, as the Saints believe, baptism is essential for salvation, what becomes of those who never had the opportunity to receive baptism? Joseph Smith resolved the dilemma by preaching that the living could be baptized vicariously for the dead, who then had the opportunity, in the spirit world, to accept or reject the ordinances performed on their behalf. Not only baptism, but every ordinance believed by Latter-day Saints to be necessary for salvation (including the endowment and temple marriage) can be performed vicariously in temples. The Saints' famous zeal for genealogy grows out of their quixotic mission to perform vicarious ordinances for every person who has ever lived.]
[Baptisms for the dead are performed underground, in the basement of the temple, as a similitude of the grave. Traditionally, the baptismal font rests on the back of twelve oxen, like the molten sea in Solomon's temple.]
[The officiator and the proxy stand together in the water. The officiator raises his right arm to the square and pronounces the following words.]
[The officiator then immerses the proxy completely underwater.]
[The officiators lay hands on the proxy's head. The officiator who is acting as mouthpiece pronounces the following words.]
Brother _________, in the name of Jesus Christ, we lay our hands upon your head for and in behalf of _________, who is dead, and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you: Receive the Holy Ghost. Amen.
[The officiator lays hands on the proxy's head and pronounces the following words.]
Brother _________, having authority, I lay my hands upon your head, and confer upon you the Melchizedek priesthood, and ordain you an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for and in behalf of _________, who is dead, and seal upon you every grace, gift, and authority appertaining to this office in the holy Melchizedek priesthood, for and in his behalf, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.