In continuing my series on the statements of the Church Presidents on Temple work and baptisms for the dead, I found that President Grant had a number of opportunities to speak and write on the subject. Here are a few excerpts from his talks and writings.
I took out of my pocket a book that I always carried, called a Ready Reference, and I laid it down on the stand in front of me, when I stood up to speak. It was opened at the passages that tell of the vicarious work for the dead, of the announcement that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. I intended to read about the baptism for the dead, and I intended to preach upon the fact that the Savior of the world had not only brought the gospel to every soul upon the earth, but that it reached back to all those who had died without a knowledge of it, or in their sins, that they would have the privilege of hearing it; that, as I understood and had read in the D&C, Jesus came into the world to be crucified for the world and to die for the sins of the world and that he saved all except only those who denied the Son after the Father had revealed him -- those who had lived and those who had died. Conference Report, October 1922, p. 189.On another occasion he said the following:
This Church is … a marvelous work and a wonder. There is nothing like it in all the world, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God established it, and is the head of it; because Jesus Christ manifested himself to the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery, and to others; and because God, in answer to prayer, has given to people all over the wide world where the Gospel has gone, an individual knowledge and testimony regarding the divinity of the work in which we are engaged.
The mountain of the Lord’s house has been established in the top of the mountains, and people from all nations have flowed unto it [see Isaiah 2:2]. Through the blessings of the Lord upon their labors the desert has been subdued and made to blossom as the rose. Solitary places have been made glad because of them. [See Isaiah 35:1.] Cities have been established, springs of water have broken out which have given life to the thirsty land, music, and the voices of children are heard in the streets where desolation and silence had reigned for ages.
Temples have been erected in which the work of redemption has been done for an innumerable host of the living and the dead. … Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, (2011), 11–21President Grant said,
The Latter-Day Saints believe in baptism for the dead, in salvation for those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel--that all human beings should have the privilege of receiving or rejecting the gospel. Heber J. Grand, April 17, 1892.
One of the great works in this gospel of salvation, devolving upon us as Saints, is to labor in the temples of God for the salvation of our dead. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, p. 87, October 1913.
These temples, erected by this Saints in the days of their poverty, bear witness to all the world of the inspiration of God to those men and to the truthfulness of the visions of the Kirtland Temple. No men and women would spend their money by the millions of dollars for the erection of temples, and spend their time year after year, laboring for the salvation of their dead, if they did not have the witness of the Holy Spirit that in very deed the promise has been fulfilled that was made to the boy Joseph Smith 96 years ago, that Elijah should come and restore these keys. Heber J Grant, Conference Report page 23, October 1919.
We have the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to us, we have the plan of life and salvation: we have the ordinances of the Gospel not only for the living, but for the dead. We have all that's necessary not only for our own salvation, but that we may be in very deed "Saviors upon Mount Zion," and enter into the temples of our God and save our ancestors who died without a knowledge of the gospel. Heber J Grant, Conference Report, page 28, April 1899.President Grant offered the dedicatory prayer for the dedication of the Mesa, Arizona Temple. In that prayer, he said,
Bless those, O Father, who have been called to preside and labor in this temple and also in other temples that have been erected to Thy Holy Name. We thank Thee for all of the temples that have been erected in this last dispensation, and we pray Thee choice blessings to be and abide with all those who minister there-in. We pray that the same sweet spirit which is present in all of the temples that have heretofore been erected may abide with all those who shall labor in this holy house.For the complete dedicatory prayer See Mesa Arizona Temple, Dedicatory Prayer.