[James E. Talmage]
I brought before the Presidency, asking for rulings, the following subjects:—
1. The changing of Article 4 of the Articles of Faith from the old form:
4. We believe that these ordinances are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
so as to designate faith and repentance in some other way than as ordinances which they are not. The following form was adopted
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; (4) Laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
2. The proper form and ceremony of baptism whether in case of rebaptism or in any other occasion, additions to the revealed formula, such as, "for the remission of your sins" or "for the renewal of your covenants." The decision was that any additions to the revealed form, or any other departure therefrom is unauthorized, and to be deprecated. The authorized form is that given in the Doctrine and Covenants.
3. The authority for rebaptisms:—The authorities were unanimous in declaring that rebaptism is not recognized as a regularly constituted principle of the Church; and that the current practice of requiring rebaptism as a prerequisite for admission to the temples, etc. is unauthorized. Nothing should be put in the way of anyone receiving his covenants by rebaptism if he feels the necessity of so doing: and of course, in cases of disfellowship, or excommunication, a repetition of the baptism is required, but the making of rebaptism a uniform procedure is not proper. It was declared to be at variance with the order of true government in the Church to require baptism of those who come from foreign branches to Zion, bringing with them certificates of membership and of full standing. Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon expressed the opinion that the practice of repeating baptism came from the example and teaching of Pres. Brigham Young in the days of first migration to these parts: when the journey meant a long separation from organized branches and wards of the Church: and consequently an interruption in the observance of regular Church duties. The conditions are changed now: and the counsel given for special circumstances should not be made applicable to general procedure under all circumstances. Danger was seen in the practice of repeated baptisms:—such may be made like the confessional of the Catholics: a premium on sinning [?].
Several minor points were ruled upon, comprising—unpardonable sin: murder and shedding of innocent blood.
In the afternoon a meeting of the Presidency and the Twelve was held at the Temple, at which all the points named above were ratified as set forth.
[The Journals of James E. Talmage—Excerpts, Compiled by J. Trevor Antley, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dOE6pgN6OkBJIq-X73JGpCdt0p5b8_UdfTfLREz4uTg/]