days. With the exception of Elder Holland's recent General Conference talk, modern day LDS seldom here talks that have an apologetic flavor to them.
One interesting sermon was delivered by Elder Orson Pratt entitled "Distinguishing Characteristics Between the Latter-Day Saints and the Various Religious Denominations of Christendom."
I include here an interesting part of his sermon about the need for divine authority to administer baptism.
But suppose we speak still further on one principle, and that is the authority to baptize. I might be baptized by a person whom the Lord had neither called nor sent, and that baptism would never be acknowledged in the eternal worlds. I might be ever so sincere, and I might receive the ordinance from the hands of a man who, I really supposed, had the authority and who was a good, moral, upright man, and yet that baptism would not be acceptable in the sight of God, unless he did truly have divine authority.
How am I to know whether a man has divine authority or not? It is one of the easiest things in the world to know. I will tell you how you may know a man who has divine authority from one who has not. If you find a man who, though he may profess to be a Christian minister, says he does not believe in any later revelations than those given to St. John the Divine, and that he was the last to whom the Lord revealed himself, you may know that that man has no authority from God. Why not? Because the Bible says—"No man taketh this honor unto himself"—speaking of the Priesthood—"Save he be called of God as was Aaron." Now, turn to the Bible and see how Aaron was called, see if he was not called by name, by new revelation: that is, it was a new revelation to him. See if he was not called through Moses, the servant of God, who received a revelation commanding him to set apart his brother Aaron to the Priest's office, directing him what ordinance to use, how to set him apart, and giving all the particulars of his calling and ordination to the ministry, and what his duties were to be after ordination. All this was given by new revelation. No man can receive the Priesthood, neither officiate in its ordinances acceptably, unless he is called of God as was Aaron. If Aaron was called by new revelation, then all others who have this authority must be called in the same way, or their authority is not valid, and all ordinances under it are good for nothing.
This is the reason why the Lord commanded this people—the Latter-day Saints—to re-baptize all persons who come to them professing to have been baptized before (Journal of Discourses, 16:293).
So, a couple of questions for my readers.
1. What do you think of Orson Pratt's argument?
2. Do you wish the brethren were more apologetics-oriented today?