Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry


What if the Mormons are right? An alternative view of baptisms for the dead

posted by Dave Banack

A pleasantly entertaining op-ed piece from the Belfast Telegraph: “What if Mormons are right and Catholics and Protestants are wrong?” Not only does the writer cover in short order the ancient Christian tradition of baptism for the dead and why its practice by modern Latter-day Saints shouldn’t really bother anyone … hey, it’s just fun to read Irish! As in this closing line: “If, on the other hand, it isn’t the Mormons at all, those who turn out to have been right can wave a merry farewell to the crestfallen followers of Brigham Young as they trundle downwards to their eternal comeuppance.”

Here are a couple of paragraphs that lay out the author’s basic points.

Indeed, given that all Christian Churches believe that the soul lives on after death and retains understanding and consciousness of self, doesn’t it make more sense to baptise dead adults than live babies?

Apart from which, if the Catholic bishops hold that the beliefs of the Mormons are pure baloney (as they must), and their rituals therefore perfectly meaningless, how can it matter to them what mumbo-jumbo Mormons might mutter over Catholic cadavers?

And just so no one gets the wrong idea, I’ll add that neither the doctrine nor the practice involves cadavers of any denomination or faith.



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NightLad

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:21 pm


>>> Not only does the writer cover in short order the ancient Christian tradition of baptism for the dead and why its practice by modern Latter-day Saints shouldn’t really bother anyone
Unless you happen to be Jewish and these Mormons show up at the grave of your deceased loved one; perhaps especially if that relative happened to have died in the holocaust.
Just one example of many; http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,449727,00.html
You repeatedly write blog entries pleading for understanding and acceptance and tolerance of LDS; which is all well and good. However, next time you find yourself wondering why the Mormon Church is not as popular as it could be, take a moment and research cases like this. There are many more.
As for being “right”… I believe that the only “rightness” of a faith pertains to the individual and how well it enables them to connect with the Divine on a personal level.



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Clean Cut

posted February 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm


Nightlad, the “Mormon Church” isn’t concerned (or at least shouldn’t be) with popularity as much as it is with being portrayed/understood fairly and accurately. If popularity were the issue, we would have given up over a century ago.



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Tom

posted February 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm


For one thing, the verses including baptism of the dead don’t affirm the validity of the practice; they merely beg the question of why would they be doing it superfluously if Christ didn’t conquer death through ressurection.
It makes sense to baptise live babies rather than dead adults because baptism is sharing in the life (and death) of Christ, which would be impossible for someone already dead. Catholic Bishops feel the need to protect the dignity of the sacrament. Also, there is speculation of necromancy in the skyscraping gothic style temples in Utah used for baptism by proxy. Since necromantic practice could serve as a portal for diabolical spirits, then for obvious reasons Catholic hierarchy wouldn’t want to facilate the need for such a practice by providing death certificates or burial records.
I’ve talked with LDS missionaries before and even read scripture with them in two-hour sessions. They dispel their faith incrementally (as I’m sure they are trained) starting of with just another testament of JC (Book of Mormon). The further I delved into the religion, the more I found out how different it is from conventional orthodox Christianity. One of the missionaries was untruthful about the Gods creating such and such in the Book of Abraham (LDS scripture) claiming it was ‘gods’ instead before the other missionary corrected him. Being upfront and transparent about theology would go a long way towards LDSs being ‘portrayed/understood fairly and accurately’.



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Tom

posted February 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm


Correction: ‘facilate’ in the last sentence of the 2nd paragraph should read ‘facilitate’. My apologies.



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RickLDS

posted February 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm


Dave,
I found that piece to be very funny, t’ be sure. Very funny indeed. I took the added pleasure of adding a spry Irish accent to the journalist’s words and it was quite amusing.
On a serious note though, I can see that those relatives and parishoners that lived along side these wonderful people might find it showing a lack of respect for the deceased person’s beliefs to do something for them that they wouldn’t have done for themselves during their own life. Not all have the foresight to see past the veil nor do all of us here have the ability to see whether or not that wily gent or lass will accept it being done on their behalf.
Either way, I thank you for a good read today.
Rick



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Your Name

posted February 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm


You seem surprised that gays and lesbians are upset by their right to marry being taken away from them. How would you feel if–by a vote of Californians (or your home state)–any of the following happened to Mormons (or any other religious, ethnic or gender group):
1. You were not allowed to own property.
2. You were not allowed to vote.
3. You were not allowed to receive equal pay for equal work.
4. You were not allowed to be the religion that you wished to be.
5. You were not allowed to marry someone of your faith.
You would — and rightfully so — be outraged at the terrible injustice. But that is EXACTLY how gays and lesbians feel that their right to marry in California has been taken away — in large part by the outpouring of Mormon dollars (more than $20,000,000) from around the country, as well as substantial support from Mormons in California and Utah who called on phone banks and walked the streets in support of Proposition 8.
Members of the LDS (Mormon) Church seem shocked and surprised that they have been criticized and their churches the subject of legitimate political protests because of their strong support of
Proposition 8. However, when the Mormon church chose to enter the political sphere, the fact that they are a religious institution became irrelevant. They led non-Mormons in their political campaign, and they exhorted everyone – regardless of their religious affiliation — to vote “yes” on Prop. 8, which affected Mormons and non-Mormons alike.
Mormon leaders were acting in their role as citizens in the democratic process. But as citizens leading a political campaign, they cannot escape public accountability for their public actions.
After all that, the leadership of the LDS cannot suddenly change roles, toss up their hands and say, “You can’t criticize us! We’re a religion!” They forfeited that right when they threw themselves enthusiastically into a non-religious, political campaign.
This is not bigotry or discrimination against a religion. They are politicians now, and they deserve the same scrutiny and criticism due to any other political leader or movement.



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Seth R.

posted February 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm


If someone’s great, great, great grandmother wants to become a Mormon in the hereafter, that is, frankly, none of her Jewish descendant’s damn business.
News flash: just because someone was your grandmother doesn’t give you veto power over what she chooses to do with her hereafter. Not even being Jewish gives you that sort of veto power.



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Geoff J

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm


Hmmm, I’m starting to think “Your Name” is really just a robot that posts about prop 8 randomly…
Nice link Dave. Pretty amusing article. Stating the obvious is always good for laughs and this author does a nice job of doing just that.



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Taylor

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm


Ten reasons I agree with Mormon’s baptism for the dead.
First, “your name” Mormons were not allowed to do all five of those things and an extermination order was placed upon Mormons.
Second, baptism for the dead is in the Bible: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 cor. 15:29).
Third, baptism for the dead is a beautiful doctrine allowing people in the afterlife to choose.
Fourth, I have been in Mormon Temples hundreds of times and the only thing done their is praying — no necromantic practices.
Fifth, there is no better feeling then going to the temple for a family member that wasn’t baptized and then preforming that ordinance for them.
Sixth, if you don’t like baptism for the dead just be happy that those crazy Mormons are in the Temple and not on your doorstep bothering you.
Seventh, we believe baptism is for the remission of sins and entrance into the kingdom of God. Children do not have sin and do not need to be baptized. Therefore, child baptism is not needed; children are already saved by the grace of God but adults need to be. We are trying to fulfill God’s plan in the best way we feel possible. At least Mormons are doing something.
Eighth, if we are wrong when you go to the other side you can laugh with all the other angels at all the Mormons wasting their time.
Ninth, why stop someone from trying to do something that is good.
Tenth, my great-grandmother died saying she never found the Church of God. She told my dad he would. My dad was baptized into the LDS church 6 months later. He baptized her a year after that. He feel like she wanted to be.



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Tim

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm


Funny, I think the I Corinthians passage actually DOES have to do with baptizing cadavers.



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NightLad

posted February 20, 2009 at 1:24 am


Taylor;
>>> First, “your name” Mormons were not allowed to do all five of those things and an extermination order was placed upon Mormons.
And now you work tirelessly and donate millions of dollars to causes that help enforce that same ignorance against an entire segment of the population. Well, they say the only type of humour God understands is irony.
But I’m not here to talk about Prop8 and whatever. I ignored the previous comments about same-sex marriage for a reason.
>>>Second, baptism for the dead is in the Bible: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 cor. 15:29).
I’m not Christian. Please understand; quoting of your scripture [for justification] means about as much to me as a Hindu quoting from the Vedas might to you.
Yes, I can appreciate your personal sincerity, and even acknowledge your well-meaning gesture, but at the end of the day…
Third, baptism for the dead is a beautiful doctrine allowing people in the afterlife to choose.
Yes, those are your beliefs. On the other hand, I view it as an affront to the deceased and desecration of the dead. (The Jews from the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors also fail to share your sentiment. See my previously linked article.)
>>>Fourth, I have been in Mormon Temples hundreds of times and the only thing done their is praying — no necromantic practices.
I don’t think anybody is suggesting that the practice is done maliciously.
>>>Fifth, there is no better feeling then going to the temple for a family member that wasn’t baptized and then preforming that ordinance for them.
Personal validation, especially regarding intangible belief systems, is a wonderful feeling. Heck, some people might even find it addictive.
What really concerns me is the fact that it isn’t necessarily the children or even grand-children of people being “baptised” who consent to it. It can be cousins, distant relatives, heck, even people you’ve never met. More on that in a minute.
>>> Sixth, if you don’t like baptism for the dead just be happy that those crazy Mormons are in the Temple and not on your doorstep bothering you.
Please keep reading…
>>> Seventh, we believe baptism is for the remission of sins and entrance into the kingdom of God. Children do not have sin and do not need to be baptized. Therefore, child baptism is not needed; children are already saved by the grace of God but adults need to be. We are trying to fulfill God’s plan in the best way we feel possible. At least Mormons are doing something.
Again, I do not believe you are doing this maliciously or out of spite.
The issue I have is with the concept of disrespecting the life-affirmed spiritual beliefs of the person you claim to be doing this for. To me, such things are sacred. For a third-party to come along afterwards and do something to ‘them’ that they would never, and did not, choose in life is… wrong.
>>> Eighth, if we are wrong when you go to the other side you can laugh with all the other angels at all the Mormons wasting their time.
You completely neglect to consider the living relatives who are often impacted by this.
I read one first-hand account of a Jewish woman who found out that her father, a devout life-long Jewish holocaust survivor, was posthumously baptised by a relative she’d never heard of. She was devastated, hurt beyond words.
If somebody came along and did this to my grandmother, I’d be far less than impressed. Not because I believe for a second that their “baptism” actually affected my grandmother’s ever-lasting soul, but rather the simple disrespect and self-important arrogance of it greatly offends me.
Again, in your entire post you never once considered the impact this has on non-consenting family members. I suppose that if they were to drop dead, you’d do the same thing for them, regardless. My point made manifest.
>>> Ninth, why stop someone from trying to do something that is good.
Good and evil, in a theological sense, are often relative. You think it is good. I do not. You are judging this action only through the lens of your own pre-set beliefs. See it from another point of view for a moment. Heck, read the article I linked to earlier and get a sense of what those Jews are feeling. They are deeply and immensely hurt. They’ve asked for the practice to stop, and it has not. And it will not. Because you believe you are only trying to do something that is “good.”
Well, you know what they say about good intensions.



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Sydna

posted February 20, 2009 at 1:27 am


Civil Unions are not a problem for me and I am LDS. In fact not everyone in the Church was for Prop. 8.
We have many views in our church and if the Prophet receives a revelation that we are against the Civil rights of Gays I will have to pray to receive a witness of the truth. That is how we are different from other religions. We believe in personal revelation and a Prophet.
If we have no way to know if someone is speaking for the Lord we would just be following the beliefs of a man who could lead us astray. We pray to receive a personal witness on all issues in our family decisions and revelations given the Prophet.
I was a convert so I know the difference between what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches and what men who have a license to preach the gospel teach. I prefer the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ a taught by the LDS Chruch.
I also respect people who are Gay and there Civil Rights.



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Seth R.

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:01 am


Yeah Nightlad.
Turns out the Mormons actually take their religion seriously.
What utter arrogance.
Maybe if they acted like about 70% of the rest of America and didn’t give a damn about their religion, they’d be more admirable in your eyes.
Seems that the only religions that are acceptable to you are the irrelevant ones. The moment a religion looks like it may actually have a real world impact, or its members start acting like it does… well now… we can’t have that. Heavens no!
Maybe you’d be more happy with Mormons if they restricted themselves to cleaning up stretches of public highways and holding bake sales. Just so long as no Mormon has the audacity and “arrogance” to act like his religion is actually true.
In short, the only religions you can live with are the pretend ones, not the real ones.



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Bunker

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:31 am


“Yes, those are your beliefs. On the other hand, I view it as an affront to the deceased and desecration of the dead.”
Beliefs. I guess only other people’s beliefs matter. What about LDS beliefs? Should we stop doing what we believe at risk of disobeying what we BELIEVE to be true and a commandment?
“Personal validation, especially regarding intangible belief systems, is a wonderful feeling. Heck, some people might even find it addictive.”
I guess we should not feel good about doing what we BELIEVE is right? Maybe feel bad? hmmmm
“The issue I have is with the concept of disrespecting the life-affirmed spiritual beliefs of the person you claim to be doing this for. To me, such things are sacred.”
Fantastic choice of words. Sacred is the exact word us LDS folk use when describing the work for the dead that goes on in the temples. To us NOT doing their work (baptisms, etc) would be disrespectful. Otherwise when do they get to choose? They could be getting taught right now (belief again, sorry if it doesn’t match yours) and waiting for this opportunity. Performing baptisms for the dead or other temple ordinances doesn’t include dragging a corpse into the temple and doing things with it. It involves a person standing in their place to do those ordinances, in their name. I see nothing disrespectful about that. If a Catholic or Rabbi or whatever baptized me into their church by proxy or performed some other ordinance by proxy for me then I don’t think I would throw a fit. Even if I was dead :-). In fact go ahead. Go do it. See if I care. :-)
“For a third-party to come along afterward and do something to ‘them’ that they would never, and did not, choose in life is… wrong.”
Wrong? You are using “never” rather loosely since you probably haven’t kept track of whether or not some young lads on bikes gave them missionary lessons. Many times these people NEVER had the choice.
In regards to these ordinances offending Jewish peoples or other groups, I cannot comment. I am sure it does offend. But does it offend all or just the Jews that are complaining? I don’t know. What about a Jewish man that converts or is a 2nd or 3rd generation Mormon? He has beliefs too. Aren’t his beliefs and feelings to be considered? They believe they are doing the right thing. Tough question. Not so cut and dry as you make it out to be.
“They’ve asked for the practice to stop, and it has not. And it will not. Because you believe you are only trying to do something that is “good.””
Belief. There it is again. We do believe we are doing something good. I asked a Jewish convert friend of mine about this topic recently. He does plan on getting some of his ancestors temple work done. Is he wrong? Is he not respecting their beliefs? Not for me to judge, nor you.



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Joe

posted February 20, 2009 at 1:38 pm


Nightlad,
It’s this simple…
If you’re so secure in your theological views then you should not care because it will in no way affect the eternal outcome of any of the souls baptized.
It’s funny, I’m LDS, I was married to an Israeli Jewish woman and I am more than happy for a Jew, a Catholic, a Muslim, anyone of any faith to pray for me if I’m having a hard time or feel I need the support.
Even though I am secure in my faith, the charitable act of someone from another faith devoutly following their religion in an attempt “bestow blessings” on me in no way offends. Even though we agree to disagree theologically, the persons sincerity is very appreciated.
But then again, I’m not caught up in my own ignorance or arrogance…



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NightLad

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm


Seth and Bunker and Joe (oh my!):
Perhaps I can sum up my point with an adage; your rights stop where my rights begin.
I’ve repeatedly mentioned specific cases of living people being negatively affected by this practice. My point mostly pertained to Jewish holocaust survivors and their direct descendents (as linked to in an article). By the repeated words of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, they and their religious beliefs are being negatively affected by this practice, which continues to this day without their consent and against their religious traditions.
Do you not think they take their religion seriously?
Clearly they do. You simply view your religion as more “right” (perhaps even “superior”) and even when you are told that this practice [in certain situations] is negatively affecting people and affronting their religious beliefs and ancient traditions, you basically respond with; ‘tough luck.’
You categorically refuse to extend equal respect to people of another faith that you so ardently demand for yourself.
And that is what I consider arrogance.



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm


The original article was a great one. The author, though he doesn’t believe in the Mormon practice, comes up with a great argument for why nobody should care whether we baptize the dead by proxy.
It’s so strange that other faiths have such a vehement problem with the practice.
If you don’t believe in the afterlife it’s a moot point.
If you don’t believe in the doctrine of baptism for the dead it’s a moot point.
If you don’t believe the Mormons have any basis whatsoever for doing it, it’s a moot point.
You’d think that other faiths would revel in the idea that Mormons are “wasting” so much time on a doctrine that means nothing. From their (non-Mormons’) perspective I would think that they’d be delighted that the practice might distract Mormons so much that they’ll lay off active proselytizing.
Yet, so many people just seem to wallow in getting offended….



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Seth R.

posted February 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm


Nightlad,
Doing a temple baptism for a dead Jew does not make them a Mormon. We believe the person has the free will to accept or reject the ordinance.
We aren’t rewriting anything. We aren’t taking dead Jews and making the “Mormon.”
In essence, what we are doing is no more objectionable than sending a couple dorky-looking guys in white shirts and ties to knock on your door. We’re offering an option. End of story. Over and out.
And I don’t think the living have any business dictating what the dead can and cannot do with their afterlife.
In short, take it up with grandma if it bugs you so much. After all, it’s her decision, not ours.



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NightLad

posted February 20, 2009 at 5:37 pm


Seth
I feel that I do understand your point of view insofar as an outsider can. I’ve never suggested that I believe your intention is malicious. What I don’t think you understand, or perhaps even care about, is the views of the people who do object to their deceased relatives being included in your foreign religious practices. You may phrase it as politely as you like, but ignoring their requests for you to stop boils down to flipping them and their religious community a huge middle-finger.
That is how it is perceived. As the antagonist in this situation, it is not up to you to define what constitutes offense. That right rests solely with the community directly affected by your unwanted advances.
PS: I don’t use Ouiji boards.



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Seth R.

posted February 20, 2009 at 7:52 pm


“As the antagonist in this situation, it is not up to you to define what constitutes offense. That right rests solely with the community directly affected by your unwanted advances.”
I disagree.
What matters is how reasonable and based on actual fact their offense is. If you leave it up to the offended party to define what is offensive or what isn’t, what is to stop any fool with a gripe – real or imagined – from demanding the same deference?



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NightLad

posted February 20, 2009 at 8:33 pm


Seth
We are not talking about some individual person whose feelings got hut. Please don’t dilute my point into obscurity with gross generalizations. We are talking about a religious community, one that your Church — your own Church — has acknowledged the offense of its actions against.
But don’t take my word for it…

THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, May 2, 2001 by BOB MIMS
The LDS Church, prodded once again to honor its 1995 agreement to halt proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims and other deceased Jews, will strip the names of more than 200 Jewish people from Mormon genealogical records.
On that list is a veritable “Who’s Who” of the 20th century’s most notable Jews, among them Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel; and more than a dozen relatives of Anne Frank, the Nazi death camp victim whose World War II diary became a staple of Holocaust literature.
“These people were born Jews, they lived as Jews and many of them died because they were Jews,” Aaron Breitbart, senior researcher for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Tuesday. “They would not have chosen to be baptized Mormons in life, and there is no reason they would want to be baptized by proxy in death.” (EDIT: The point I’ve been making. And as you will see, somebody in your Church must have agreed…)
He confirmed that under a deal negotiated over the past several weeks a “list of a couple hundred names” to be deleted was faxed to church officials in Salt Lake City on Monday afternoon.
Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City genealogist, brought the ongoing problem to the attention of the Wiesenthal Center.
Breitbart said the new pact also provides for Wiesenthal Center staff to work with the LDS Church on ways to prevent inappropriate Jewish name submissions.
Baptism for the dead is among the sacred rites performed in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons are taught the proxy baptisms provide those in the after-life spirit world the choice to join — or reject — the faith.
While intended as a rite to offer salvation to departed, non-Mormon ancestors, more zealous Mormons have sought baptism for prominent historical and religious figures.
LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills said that since the 1995 agreement with various Jewish groups, church genealogists have stripped hundreds of thousands of Jewish names from baptismal records. (EDIT: Wow, hundreds of thousands. Somebody must have really agreed with that aforementioned point!)
The only exceptions to the church’s directive to stop baptisms for departed Jews are direct ancestors of living Mormons or when the deceased’s immediate family gives written consent.
However, in a database of billions of names run primarily by volunteers and open to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of amateur genealogists, the task so far has proven impossible, Bills said.
Bills also said church genealogists are engaged in efforts to find a means to filter out Jewish dead from LDS baptismal records in the future. Jewish leaders, here and abroad, say they will be watching.
Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City’s Orthodox Bais Menachem Chabad Lubavitch synagogue was astounded to learn the hero of his own sect — Ba’al Shem Tov, an 18th century Polish rabbi who founded the Hasidic Jewish movement — had been baptized a Mormon.
“The basic ingredient for a conversion to any religion is the perfect knowledge and perfect consent of the person who is converting to abandon his or her previous faith in order to embrace the new one,” he said.
Rabbi Frederick Wenger of Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami applauded the new initiative, though he underscored the need for the LDS Church to “alert all of its members to the offense to Jewish sensitivity caused by posthumous baptisms of prominent Jews and Holocaust victims.”

End



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm


Thank you, Nightlad, for putting into words what i have been thinking. Sounds like people could do more listening to those who are upset.



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Epicurus

posted February 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm


Thanks Nightlad for stating what I was thinking as I read the original post and the comments. Sounds like everyone would benefit from more listening.



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Seth R.

posted February 21, 2009 at 12:35 am


Jews occupy a strange place in the Mormon theological world view. There is a definite sense in Mormon scripture that God has a special time in mind to reclaim His chosen people and present them with the choice of rejecting or accepting Jesus. I would imagine this is why the LDS Church is willing to agree not to proselyte in Israel (not that the LDS Church has a choice in that instance) and to put a moratorium on at least the most controversial Jewish baptisms (unless the person doing the work is a direct descendant).
The second reason is pragmatic – there are plenty of other names to work with without poking a hornets nest by including Holocaust victims.
But the problem is also a practical one. The LDS genealogical database is an open-source system. Anyone on earth can submit names. There simply is no practical way for the LDS Church to constantly monitor every name submission to make sure than nobody ever puts a flagged name in there. The best the LDS Church can really do is conduct regular purges of the system. But it’s just not going to get everyone. That’s just an unavoidable fact of having an open database.
The final reason for regulating the submission of Holocaust victims is a purely spiritual one. The LDS Church discourages personal “vanity baptisms” or “novelty baptisms.” The Church doesn’t want people out there collecting temple sessions for famous people just for bragging rights:
“Guess what – I got baptized for Napoleon Bonaparte!”
Those kind of baptisms are more a personal vanity project than honest worship. This is why the LDS Church tells its members to restrict their own temple work to their own ancestors and quit trying to get “baptized for Elvis” (who by the way, has had his work done dozens of times over).
Part of the 1991 agreement with Jewish leaders was that Mormons could be baptized for Holocaust victims IF it was a direct descendant doing the baptism. This fit in well enough with the way the LDS Church wanted temple work being done anyway that it wasn’t a difficult agreement to reach really.
But people are kidding themselves if they think ANY Mormon would ever agree to a ban on the Church EVER doing the temple work of every last human being who ever lived on this planet. We’ve got a moratorium in place for practical reasons, and because it meshes with independently created Church policy. It’s a gesture of good will that costs us nothing and actually meshes well with our goals. Nothing more.
But I will dispute with anyone that there is anything particularly reprehensible in the LDS Church’s practice of baptisms for the dead. It is not disrespectful. Nor is it reprehensible. And I do think a lot of the loudest yelling about the issue is coming from people who are resentful to find a religion being actually taken seriously.



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Melissa

posted February 22, 2009 at 8:44 am


1. What if someone requested no ordinances after death–say in a will? Would Mormons honor their request?
2. Isn’t it true that baptism isn’t the end point? That the goal is to have everyone “sealed” to those they were married to or had kids with while they were alive? And that this involves looking at records, deciding who needs to be “sealed” to whom, and that if those people posthumously accept Mormonism, they’ll be “married” to them after death?



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Seth R.

posted February 22, 2009 at 10:10 am


“What if someone requested no ordinances after death–say in a will? Would Mormons honor their request?”
Probably not. We figure perspectives will have changed in the hereafter. Since the ordinance is voluntary on the part of the individual anyway, better not risk the possibility the person will have changed their mind after death.
As for the sealing thing. True, multiple posthumous ordinances are performed in the temple – including marriages, and sealing children to parents. But all of them are just as voluntary on the part of the person in question as the baptisms are.



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Toni

posted February 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm


I’m a Catholic that married into a Mormon family, I really do not want to be baptized after I die. I have made this known to everyone, however I fear that somewhere down the road it will happen anyway. I only recognize my baptizism as a Catholic and want to make sure that the Mormon church understands this and respects my wishes.
Is there someone in the Mormon church to contact to have my name flagged in their system to never be baptized after I die?



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Seth R.

posted February 22, 2009 at 11:33 pm


I have never heard of such a flagging system Toni.
I imagine your only safeguard in this respect is by talking with your family. If your family wants to baptize you, I seriously doubt anyone in the LDS Church is going to step into the middle of that.
If it bugs you, my advice is that you do not accept the ordinance in the hereafter. It won’t count if you don’t accept it.



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ama

posted February 24, 2009 at 2:49 am


My main question for people like Toni who are a different denomonation is why does it bother you if you think it’s not a valid baptism anyways if you have someone get baptized for you after you die?



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Your Name

posted February 25, 2009 at 5:20 pm


Seriously. NightLad. I know MANY Jewish people, NOT Mormon, but regular ‘ol Jews that find this to be one of the most insaine things to fight over (next to fighting over a little patch of sand) and agree that this means absolutely nothing. They told me that since they don’t believe in the “ritual” that it has no bearing on their spirituality.
Also, as far as even draging up the notion that the actual body of the deceased person is hauled into temple and some sort of hokis pokis magic voo doo is preformed on it is so out there that what ever the poster that even danced around the use of cadavers undergoing some sort of post death molestation makes me wanna smoke some!
We do not preform these rituals in the RLDS-Community of Christ, but, how is it THAT different than a Catholic lighting a candle, praying for a dead relative asking God to accept that person’s spirit, or reading the name in the Mass?
Go find something better to do with your time like protest the few remaining Ten Commandments still adorning public spaces.



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