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Dibs on the dead guy -- take II

Last night, I stirred up a bit of controversy when I discussed certain Mormons' habit of baptizing by proxy the deceased, in particular Jewish victims of the Holocaust. My disapproval of that practice started a bit of a hullabaloo in the comments section, so I thought I'd expand and elaborate on my take on the matter.

But first, a couple of stories I recall from the last few years. (Dammit, I can't find the accounts, but I'm 99% I recall the details correctly.) The first story was about a private school in -- I think -- New York, where one of the teachers took the children away from the school and had them baptized, without the parents' knowledge.

The second story I did find online. An elementary school had an Islamic "trainer" educate the children on Islamic traditions and history. As part of the program, he led the children in reciting the Islamic Proclamation of Faith.

The only problem is, under the Tenets of Islam, simply reciting that Proclamation is enough to establish one as a Muslim. From that point, leaving Islam is considered apostasy, and to many parts of Islam, apostasy is punishable by death. Those children are, technically, bould to obey the rules of Islam for the rest of their lives, upon pain of death, for participating in a required classroom exercise.

And then we have the Mormons, who hold baptism ceremonies for those who died in the Holocaust.

All three examples have one element in common: people inducting others into their religion. People who are not legally capable of making such commitments on their own. And those inductions are being made not only without the consent of those authorized to make such decisions, but in direct contravention of their wishes. And that I find utterly unacceptable.

Now, I freely admit that the Mormons' offense is orders of magnitude less than the other two cases, but I think I am more bothered by the Mormons' because I have always expected more from them. With one slight exception*, every single experience I've had with Mormons has been unerringly positive. I have a few issues with some of their doctrine, but the individuals have almost always struck me as fine, upstanding, decent, moral people. I'm very impressed with Mitt Romney, the current governor of Massachusetts, and I think he's eying the White House for 2008 -- and I think the GOP could do worse.

But I keep coming back to one image, one speculation in the case of the Mormons baptizing Holocaust victims. I keep seeing some Jewish man approaching a Mormon and speaking to them:

"My grandfather was born a Jew. He was raised a Jew. He lived his entire life as a Jew. He died as a Jew. He died because he was a Jew. He was murdered simply because he was a Jew. Who are you to try to take that away from him?"

And I don't buy the argument that it's done for selfless reasons. It's not selflessness, it's arrogance. And especially in light of the Mormon Church's agreement in 1995 to stop baptizing Holocaust victims, it's even more reprehensible for them to continue the practice. If a church can't be trusted to keep its word in a matter such as this, then where is its moral standing?


(I've closed the comments in the previous thread. If you want to continue the discussion, do so here.)

Update: I accidentally posted the wrong link on the first posting. The story on the baptisms is here.

*The Mormons really, really need to re-think one aspect of their practices. I've encountered many of their younger missionaries, and they've never been anything but unfailingly polite, respectful, and courteous. But I really, really just can't bring myself to take seriously some pimply-faced teenager who's half my age and wearing a badge proclaiming him an "elder." That's just abuse of the language.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Dibs on the dead guy -- take II:

» Aaron's cc: linked with Mormons Converting Jews... The Final Cut

» The World Wide Rant - v3.0 linked with A Post in Search of a Title

» The Jawa Report linked with Nazis, the Holocaust, and Mormons

» Florida Cracker linked with Prepare To Be OUTRAGED

» Mind of Mog linked with Tempest In A Tea

Comments (147)

I can't believe I have to s... (Below threshold)

I can't believe I have to say this, but no one can be converted against their will. Because someone else may think they have converted you doesn't mean that you have actually been converted. To give it any more meaning than it merits, which is nada, is just baiting.

Oh, while I have your atten... (Below threshold)

Oh, while I have your attention, what is your authority for the numbers you cited regarding the Catholic Church sex scandal? I asked you several times already to provide your proof. So, put up or shut up.

Tell that to the Jews, Juli... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Tell that to the Jews, Julie. They have a rather lengthy history of being told to convert or die, convert or get exiled, convert or be tortured, etc. etc. etc. After a couple thousand years of repeated persecutions, they're understandably a smidgen touchy. Add that to their past history of being secretly put on lists, and they got MY sympathies in this matter.


Jay,Could you plea... (Below threshold)
Steve Egbert:


Could you please provide links to stories about the most recent cases of Mormons performing proxy baptisms for Jews? I'm not doubting your claims, but you make it tough to respond when you provide no details.

My own take on this is, onc... (Below threshold)

My own take on this is, once the people are dead, no church can touch them -- and God isn't suddenly going to turn His back on someone's soul because of some ritual conducted back on earth. I imagine Him and the souls of the posthumously converted sitting up there in Heaven, looking down on the ritual and having a good laugh.

Only assuming, of course, that the Mormons are wrong...

Being a Methodist I do find that assumption easier than Gov. Romney might.

Or to put it more bluntly: ... (Below threshold)

Or to put it more bluntly: If somebody decides to have me baptized as a Mormon after I die, they can have at it. It will only matter to other Mormons, and it certainly won't matter to me.

Tell that to the Jews, J... (Below threshold)

Tell that to the Jews, Julie.

I have, and I will again: It ain't for real!

I have also stated for the record that they are entitled to their feeling and to object to the practice. But you are not entitled to pretend that you are on higher moral ground for your position.

Now, why don't YOU tell us what is your authority for the stats you cited?

I'm mad at you enough to fu... (Below threshold)

I'm mad at you enough to fucking convert just so I can convert you, Jay Tea!

Hey, Steve. I tried that ap... (Below threshold)

Hey, Steve. I tried that approach last week. It didn't work.

It's a symbolic act, nothin... (Below threshold)

It's a symbolic act, nothing more, but it's the presumptive arrogance that bothers me. I don't believe for a minute that it will affect whether or not anyone goes to heaven or hell but it's a matter of respect or lack of to treat another's beliefs that way and it's compounded when the other side's complaint is looked at as bashing. That's the equivalent of playing the race card. It would also be nothing more than a symbolic act if I rented a billboard on every main highway into Salt Lake City and that said "All Mormons Must Repent or Face an Eternity in Hell!" but I probably wouldn't live long enough to pay the second month's rent. They are telling everyone that's not a member their church the exact same thing, repent and become a Mormon or you'll burn in hell and want us to ignore it and consider it as something harmless. The act itself is harmless but the message it carries is offensive to me and should offend every non-Mormon in the world. Like I pointed out, it's not just jews who are being told that our religion is worthless, it's everyone, including the Roman Catholics. No other group has looked into this practice like the Jews have but I bet if they did they'd see that these lists include people already baptized in other Christian religions. There are less than 15 million Jews world-wide, around 1.9 billion Christians, 1.1 billion Muslims, and about 5 billion others spread out among the other faiths or having no faith at all. How many other people have they added to their "master list" of people they are willing to share space with in heaven? To argue that the other faiths also believe they are the ones with a pass for the pearly gates is downright silly, that's comparing apples and oranges, the other faiths aren't committing these proxy baptisms, at least that I know of. The Mormons appear to have a religious arbitron ratings system going, at least in their own minds, they seem driven to boost the numbers any way possible. There's something very, very wrong with that kind of thinking.

I can't decide who I think ... (Below threshold)

I can't decide who I think is sillier. Those who think they're "converting" the dead, or those who are worried about it.

They are telling everyon... (Below threshold)

They are telling everyone that's not a member their church the exact same thing, repent and become a Mormon or you'll burn in hell and want us to ignore it and consider it as something harmless.

Big deal! People have been telling me that in one form or another all my life. Try having some guy follow you around downtown Oakland screaming "Whore of Babylon!" at you. It didn't mean I was a whore (tho, I have been to, Babylon). Anyway, you know what I mean.

You want an example of very very wrong thinking? How about somebody who makes up statistics in order to portray a religion in the worse light?

Julie, if you are referring... (Below threshold)

Julie, if you are referring to me and saying that I'm making any part of this up I'd sure like to know what part you think that is.

Update: I accidentally p... (Below threshold)

Update: I accidentally posted the wrong link on the first posting. The story on the baptisms is here.

What? No time to find and post the link I requested?

Hey Bullwinkle:... (Below threshold)

Hey Bullwinkle:

It would also be nothing more than a symbolic act if I rented a billboard on every main highway into Salt Lake City and that said "All Mormons Must Repent or Face an Eternity in Hell!" but I probably wouldn't live long enough to pay the second month's rent.

Uh, as the saying goes, been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Do really, really believe all that loony drivel about the Danites and Mormon murderers and other such nonsense?

I attended a session at the LDS General Conference in SLC just 10 days ago, and the sidewalk next to Temple Square was lined with about a dozen evangelical street preachers who were carry signs and shouting a nearly identical message.

Not one was injured or molested, despite the fact there were thousands of Mormons surrounding them.

So if you do wish to rent said billboards, come on over. There's several evangelical Christian groups that consider it their sacred mission to bash the Mormon religion, right outside Temple Square, and I'm sure they'd be glad to support your efforts.

Almost everyone else will just yawn and keep walking.

Don't read things into what... (Below threshold)

Don't read things into what I am saying, please.

Read what I quoted. I don't care what other people think is going to happen to me in the afterlife.

I'm with you on this, Jay. ... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

I'm with you on this, Jay. The whole "elder" thing is absolutely ridiculous, and a complete slap in the face to Biblical theology and etymology. I too have seen the "elders" much younger than myself, and I'm not even 29 yet (not by much tho). I was, however, amused one time at the DFW airport to see an "elder" picked for a gateside security search on a flight to Knoxville.

Oh, and damn you, Jay, for locking the other thread (kidding, of course :-D ). I had a nice, loooong post written up about some of the really weird beliefs (and an explanation of why it's considered a cult) held in Mormonism. And I didn't spare the Catholics, either. Oh well...<sniff>

The Mormons really, real... (Below threshold)

The Mormons really, really need to re-think one aspect of their practices.

Oh, yeah? Maybe you really, really need to re-think one of yours? You know, the one where you rely on statistics but can't cite where you got them from?

I'll give you a personal ex... (Below threshold)

I'll give you a personal example of this practice
5yrs ago my daughter's Godmother lost her duaghter to a highway shooting. Being Greek Orthodox the body lies in an open casket for 24 yrs before the funeral. Sometime during the early morning hours of the vigil at the church this baptism was performed and evidence was left in the coffin.
Perhaps it was meaningless act on this young woman's soul. But for a family going through more grief than anyone deserves, it was one more stress that they didn't need.

Yep, they'll just keep yawn... (Below threshold)

Yep, they'll just keep yawning and walking and promising to stop a practice that shows a total lack of respect for anyone else's beliefs and keep doing it anyway. Then when someone complains they'll feel like they are being persecuted, maybe even promise once again to stop doing it. if they truly are going to be in the special inner ring of heaven I'll opt for one for one the outer rings where the honest religions hang out. Just to give everyone else that hasn't had the honor of visiting Utah I was arrested in the early 80's for having a Budweiser beach towel in public view at the Great Salt Lake and refusing to hide it. They sure didn't keep yawning and walking that day.

I assume, DianeK, that you ... (Below threshold)

I assume, DianeK, that you meant 24 hours, not 24 years. :)

RE: 24yrs-24hrsYes... (Below threshold)

RE: 24yrs-24hrs

Yes Raina. Thank you :)

I just knew you were a conv... (Below threshold)

I just knew you were a convicted felon!

Uh, you do know you can be arrested/ticketed in Venice, Italy for being inappropriately dressed on the street, i.e., no shirt, don't you? Damn Italianos!

"All three examples ... (Below threshold)

"All three examples have one element in common: people inducting others into their religion."

No, only two of those examples are of people inducting others into their faith. The Mormons baptism for the dead does not induct others into their faith. It has absoutely no efffect on those people as far as their current status is concerned in this life or in the next life unless they accept there.

OBTW, I agree on the origin... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

OBTW, I agree on the original story too, Jay. The Jews have had too much suffering (albeit some of it due punishment for rampant sinfulness centuries ago) for such an insult to be taken lightly. The Jews are still God's chosen people, and we as Christians are adopted Jews, in a sense. The Mormons, OTOH, can't hold a candle or even a spark to the amount of suffering the Jews or even the Christians have suffered (yes, I do separate the Christians from the Mormons). The Jews have Hitler and Babylon, the Christians have Rome and Nero, the Mormons have Nauvoo and polygamy (although I'll have to grant the polygamy; some people have trouble with just 1 mother-in-law. Some of you guys had literally dozens!). Come talk to us in another 1800 years; we'll compare "religious scars".

Sorry, a little "persecution pride" showing there, I guess. (smacks self on cheek) Equating Mormon suffering with Jewish suffering (just in the 20th Century alone), and then in essence taking even that from them to assuage some misguided sense of righteousness, seems to me the height of arrogance. That's more intolerant than most people think mainstream Christians are. That is obscene.

It was a misdemeanor and I ... (Below threshold)

It was a misdemeanor and I fought it and won. I also learned a very important term for the people of Utah from my lawyer during the trial, Utards. Fitting, to say the least. No about you getting arrested for going topless in Venice, we need more details.....

That should read "Now, abou... (Below threshold)

That should read "Now, about you getting arrested in venice" but I was laughing too hard to type.

In light of some of my comm... (Below threshold)

In light of some of my comments in the previous thread, I really should keep a lid on my emotions and discuss the issues at hand.

But I am truly amazed and even frustrated by the sheer amount of ignorance and even bigotry towards Mormonism displayed by otherwise decent, intelligent and educated persons.

It makes me realize that when some people call Mormonism a cult, they really do consider it to be a cult. To them, it's not a "legitimate" religion, and thus its members have no inherent "right" to their own beliefs (the "we've been around for 4,000 years and you've only existed for 175" argument).

For example, no one in their right mind would suggest to Jews that they stop observing their religion because it might offend Muslims (well, no one other than the French government).

Yet when some Jews are offended by Mormon practices that by any measure, way, shape or form are not equivalent to violent, forced conversions of living persons, Mormons are expected to immediately abandon the practice and modify their beliefs.

This issue will never be resolved, because to resolve it Mormons would have to essentially give up a signficant part of their religion. After all, if we allow the Jews to dictate who we can baptize by proxy, who's next? I'm sure many Catholics are offended by proxy baptisms.

Come to think of it, alot of people from many different religious traditions would be. So the only way to "fix" the problem is for Mormons to stop being Mormon.

Sorry, can't do that. First Amendment and all that stuff.

I wonder how many millions ... (Below threshold)

I wonder how many millions and billions of infants have been baptised in the world without their knowledge or consent?

And I wonder how many millions and billions of prayers have been said for dead people without their knowledge or consent?

Do you equally disparage the people of the world that engage in these customs?

And if not, why the intolernance for Mormons?

That should read "Now, a... (Below threshold)

That should read "Now, about you getting arrested in venice" but I was laughing too hard to type.

I hope you laughed as hard as I did when I read that you had pay for a lawyer. :p

Diane K:I'll gi... (Below threshold)

Diane K:

I'll give you a personal example of this practice
5yrs ago my daughter's Godmother lost her duaghter to a highway shooting. Being Greek Orthodox the body lies in an open casket for 24 yrs before the funeral. Sometime during the early morning hours of the vigil at the church this baptism was performed and evidence was left in the coffin.
Perhaps it was meaningless act on this young woman's soul. But for a family going through more grief than anyone deserves, it was one more stress that they didn't need.

You have got to be kidding me.

You actually believe that this was a proxy baptism conducted by Mormons?

Do you even have a clue how proxy baptisms are performed?

Come to think of it, does anyone here have a frickin' clue how proxy baptisms are performed?

Based on some of the comments that have been posted, that would be a definite NO.

DianeK,The person ... (Below threshold)


The person whom you said was allegedly baptized as she lay in state was not baptized by the LDS Church.

I'm not going to get into the argument of whether it's right or wrong, but I can tell you, we do not dunk dead bodies. We do not sprinkle dead bodies. We do not sprinkle ANYONE. Baptisms for the dead are done by proxy, i.e. a stand-in and they are performed in the LDS temples and ONLY in LDS temples. We are not hanging around funeral parlors with a pitcher of water waiting for the next available cadaver to splash.


And, that shd have read, I ... (Below threshold)

And, that shd have read, I hope you laughed as hard as I did when I read that you had to pay for a lawyer. :p

I'd like to blame it on laughter, but it's due to lack of sleep. But, I won't go to sleep until I confront Jay Tea. Have you seen him? Where's he hiding?

As a Mormon I'd like to poi... (Below threshold)

As a Mormon I'd like to point out a few things.

We (as a rule) aren't simply baptizing everyone who had died. We are baptizing those who have had the "work" done for them. Meaning someone has researched their family history, found someone who isn't a member and prayerfully put forth their name for consideration. That means, in most cases, the name has been submitted by someone who is in a position to make such a decision by virtue of being a descendent.

Aside from that, there is also the fact that the dead are under no obligation to accept the work that has been done for them. If you accept the premise that God exists and in some manner we continue after death, just because we have baptized them (or sealed them, etc) doesn't mean they automatically accept this. They can still say no.

Mormonism is big on freedom of choice (as a church, but as for some members...well I can't think of saying anything about that that wouldn't make me sound like a hypocrite so I won't).

Also, I'd like to ask, what does it really matter? If Mormonism is the one true church then this work is being done at his command. If its not, then so what? I fail to see how the God of the one true church going to hold our actionsagainst those who had no part in it.

It was either pay a lawyer ... (Below threshold)

It was either pay a lawyer or plead guilty, the judge wouldn't allow me to defend myself. No way in hell was I going to pay a fine, even if the lawyer cost me 10 times what the fine was. My insurance paid the legal bill anyway, so I wasn't out much more than having to stay an extra day.

Bullwinkle:Just... (Below threshold)


Just to give everyone else that hasn't had the honor of visiting Utah I was arrested in the early 80's for having a Budweiser beach towel in public view at the Great Salt Lake and refusing to hide it.

Interesting. I'm quite familiar with Utah law, but I've never heard of a law against that.

Do you remember what the exact charges were?

And for extra credit, what public beach were you at?

(Keep in mind there are only two public beaches at the Great Salt Lake)

Scott, the articles clearly... (Below threshold)

Scott, the articles clearly state that these are not requested by family members, the majority of them were names found on concentration camp roles. I believe they claimed to remove over 300,000 names in 1995, surely you don't expect us to believe that 300,000 people came forward requested something they find offensive.

So, based on this, um, "thr... (Below threshold)

So, based on this, um, "thread theory," everytime someone writes various hexes and poxes and such "upon" anyone else, we are all (the rest of us who don't so engage) should rise up and protest?

Because, both are mere exercises of someone's "faith" which to many others, can and is simply an act of the imagination (simply enough defined here outside of one's own comprehension about what defines religious practice and what does not).

That is, if and when anyone pronounces various whatevers upon and about whomever else, without the consent of the whomever else and willing participation of same, you've just got imagination at work.

Next we could move on to what we are all to do about the cartoons that some people draw about others, the photographs that some say "capture the soul" of he/she/that which is photographed (and against their will! captured! taken away!)...

I mean, I'm with Spoons on this: I can't figure out which is sillier -- the people who are doing these acts (the baptism about a deceased person by the living) within the context of TCLDS or the people who are bothered by it.

Thank God, I'm already baptised. Another approach won't harm, won't help, except to bring comfort and assurance to those who believe there is some reward involved. And, my baptism is reaffirmed time and again, not like someone's add-on after I'm gone will harm ME, offend ME, make much difference as to MY circumstance. I wonder as to anyone else's but then again...

The practice -- although I UNDERSTAND to a great degree where Judaism is concerned, why some would then project negativity onto this behavior by Mormons -- seems to be rooted in love and caring. Surely cannot hurt anyone within that context. All the other wordly outrage about it seems misguided, to my view. As I wrote earlier, MANY if not all religions believe and instruct that their way is the way -- nothing new here -- it is what motivates dedication to various by various. Most people dedicate themselves to dogma and don't run around attempting to explain why to others. You just try to live in peace and abide by your codes and beliefs...most do.

Try to think of it this way... (Below threshold)

Try to think of it this way: be glad and rejoice that, after you have died, someone, somewhere will think of your soul and pray for you. And even congregate with others about that and remember you, with fondness and caring.

Cup, she is half-full...</p... (Below threshold)

Cup, she is half-full...

Bullwinkle: Now I... (Below threshold)


Now I know what you were getting at. No, Jay is the one who makes of statistics.

NPR covered this story on t... (Below threshold)

NPR covered this story on their 4/12 "Morning Edition" program: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4586805

Capt & MikePerhaps n... (Below threshold)

Capt & Mike
Perhaps no ceremony was performed at the church that morning but literature was left in the coffin to let those concerned know that this "baptism" had been performed. And perhaps the local faithful didn't follow the accepted practice, but the evidence was there.
And Please don't question me on the added pain I saw on the Mothers face.
And you're absolutly right I had no prior knowledge of this practice, I only saw the aftermath of one.

Captain, Mormonism is consi... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Captain, Mormonism is considered a cult because it denies 2 major tenets of Scripture.

(Pulled from here; much more info available here)

1. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is not God, but rather a created being, begotten of God and a goddess wife. The Bible teaches that Jesus is God and always has been. He was the method through which God created everything that exists or has existed in the physical universe, and therefore cannot be created but must Himself be fully God. In Mormonism Jesus is merely a god; in the Bible (which Mormons say the Book of Mormon expands upon), Jesus is God.

2. Because Jesus is just a god to Mormons, Jesus cannot forgive all the sin of mankind; he can only forgive some (if any) of it. Thus the Mormon is left with his sin, and must therefore atone for himself through works. The Biblical Jesus, being God incarnate, is more than sufficient to erase (not just cover) all the sin of mankind; therefore, the Christian needs to do nothing more than believe in Who Jesus is, and what Jesus did. No works necessary.

Oddly enough, though the Mormons claim to trust in what the Bible says, they add the proviso that "it must be translated correctly". They use their own presuppositions based on the Book of Mormon and Smith's and Young's other writings to interpret the Bible, rather than letting the Bible speak for itself (which it is more than capable of doing).

One final quote from the site linked above:

"Why is Mormonism a non Christian cult? Because it adds works to salvation. It denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator. It alters the biblical teaching of the atonement. It contradicts the Christian teaching of monotheism. It undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible."

And one final note: the baptism of the dead (by proxy or whatever it's called) is an interesting practice. Interesting in the fact that it predates the Mormon church as a ritual performed in Satan worship, that is.

DianeK...my sincere symapth... (Below threshold)

DianeK...my sincere symapthies and empathy for what you relate, but the mother had also just lost a loved child and found that, during the night (really and figuratively) a stranger (the worst kind under these circumstances) had been close enough to the body of her lost loved one as to touch where she lay.

It's a traumatic circumstance, yes. Very few if anyone would ever doubt that it was, that circumstance. In that case, however, it had to be someone who knew the deceased while alive. Not saying it's right, not painful to a parent, to consider that, but, well, you know, I kissed my father as he lay in his coffin and many people gasped in horror when I did...it was an impromptu act of overwhelming love that I still believe I'd never have done had I contemplated the act, but did because it was an act of love, in all sincerity.

I'm just saying, someone loved someone and the mother missed that part there. Not as she did, would, but it still shouldn't be perceived in horror, what took place.

Red Five, you're fucking ov... (Below threshold)

Red Five, you're fucking over the top.

Red Five...I agree with you... (Below threshold)

Red Five...I agree with you in a point of faith...thanks for writing that.

My other comments here are an effort to comfort the psychology being related. Although I'd never condone (for reasons you describe) this practice by some Mormons, it also doesn't psychologically result in much that is near good, constructive, to wage dogma wars across racial types and practices -- which I, truthfully, in agreement with what bullwinkle and others have written, as have you, find unacceptable. I just mean that, once dead, any acts by Mormons to baptise anyone into their faith practice is not effective...except as a point of fantasy to those so engaging.

I believe in the power of prayer but also in God's authority (as you appear to, also).


Well, I knew it wouldn't ta... (Below threshold)

Well, I knew it wouldn't take long for the religious bigots to find this thread. Build it and they will come.

By inference, Red Five has just called every religion in the world a "cult" except for a few Christian sects stemming from the reform movement 400 years ago.

-S- : If you are comparing ... (Below threshold)

-S- : If you are comparing Mormon practises with devil worhip you're fucking over the top, too.

DianeKSorry but it... (Below threshold)


Sorry but it is not true. It does not happen like that. The local faithful would not do something like that. It would not be done. Here's the rub, Dianek, The place and language is prescribed and is only considered valid when done as prescribed and ONLY in the temple and only by immersing the proxy.

We do not have renegade congregations sprinkling bodies in a funeral home. If they are doing that, they are NOT LDS.

We only baptize by full immersion. That means the whole body gets dunked. We do not sprinkle anyone, living or dead. We have no literature or pamphlets that I am aware of to leave on a casket/body.

I have served in various leadership positions within the Church and understand the doctrines concerning baptism. I do not know what you saw or what someone said, but it was not the LDS church that did that.

I don't doubt your sincerity, but you may be confusing us with someone else.

The men's group in the ward (congregation) that I attend is focused on Temple work and part of that work is the baptisms for the Dead. We do not sprinkle bodies in the middle of the night in funeral homes. Doing it that way wouldn't be acceptable and is quite possibly illegal in some places.


If a church can't be tru... (Below threshold)

If a church can't be trusted to keep its word in a matter such as this, then where is its moral standing?

If a blogger can't be trusted to not make up statistics to support his position, then where is his moral standing?

Diane K:Please acc... (Below threshold)

Diane K:

Please accept my apologies if I sound insulting. I don't intend to.

And I certainly do not wish to imply that you are lying.

That said, there is simply NO WAY a proxy baptism would have been performed this quickly. I have performed hundreds in my life, both as baptizer and baptizee, and it's not a spur-of-the-moment thing.

A deceased person has to be identified, and then the name "cleared" by persons who examine birth, death and marriage records of the Church to make sure the work hasn't already been done.

After the name is "cleared", it is sent or taken to one of the temples for the ordinances to be performed.

The process sounds simple. But it usually involves several layers of bureaucracy, unless the whole process is done by a relative of the deceased person.

It isn't done overnight.

And we certainly don't send information to the next-of-kin or leave pamphlets in the caskets of newly deceased persons after the work has been done.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of names submitted for baptism come from records that are hundreds of years old. The Church genealogical records deal only with persons who are certified to be dead.

For the sake of argument, I will concede that it is possible that a local member saw the obituary, submitted and cleared the name himself the next day, took it to the temple and performed the work, and then went back to the casket and put a note in it.

It's possible. But highly unlikely. And I would note, also in violation of Church policy.

julie: to LITERALLY answer... (Below threshold)

julie: to LITERALLY answer your question, no, I am not "comparing Mormonism with devil worship..."

O.K.? About the finer points being understood by some others here, you are missing them. Which is fine up to a point but it leads you to allege certain inanities, such as, that I am "comparing Mormonism with devil worship..."

I wrote earlier that TCLDS is regarded by most Christian groups as a cult. Alright? Just leave it at that because I think that's about where your understanding of this issue reaches. Just saying...you don't appear to have a grasp of finer points in many regards here.

Cultism is not necessarily nor inherently "worship (of the) Devil."

In Christianity, there is Light and there is Dark. Not much in between, however.

No, McCain, you just called... (Below threshold)

No, McCain, you just called...etc.

You just did. Red Five quoted some definitions, you're applying some emotionally outraged language to what you read.

Is that what the thread is for? I'm now wondering...I get the impression that there's just a hacking away lately on Wizbang about Christianity. No, wait, about Christianity. No, wait, about Christianity. No, wait, about...

Perhaps people desire to know more? Otherwise, why all the questions?

Don't look now, but the Sal... (Below threshold)

Don't look now, but the Salt Lake Tribune has weighed in on this.


Screw you, suzie. Don't lec... (Below threshold)

Screw you, suzie. Don't lecture me on what you think I am missing or what you think I don't understand or what you think are the finer points. I don't care what you think. Maybe you should read what you endorse first. Red Five is nothing but a bigot. I'm sure she appreciates your support in her bigotry. She's got plenty of nasty things to say about catholics that I am sure she would just love to share with you.

Red Five:Whatever.... (Below threshold)

Red Five:

Whatever. There are several errors in your explanation of Mormon doctrine, but I'm busy enough trying to simply educate people about proxy baptisms to get involved in a Scripture-quoting battle with you.

For those who are curious about the accuracy of this and countless other anti-Mormon sites, I think I have amply demonstrated in this thread that there is alot of misinformation about Mormons and Mormonism, and the best way to truly find out what we believe is to simply ask us.

Learning about Mormonism from anti-Mormons is kind of like learning about Judaism by reading The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

bullwinkle -Given ... (Below threshold)

bullwinkle -

Given your offense to the baptism of dead Jews by Mormons, which I find understandable if a bit over the top, I'm curious as to what you would think of the Mormon belief that Mormons are adopted upon baptism into one of the 12 tribes of Israel. If a Mormon goes through a process called a patriarcial blessing, they find out which tribe they were supposedly adopted into. Just curious.

Looks like the SLC Trib is ... (Below threshold)

Looks like the SLC Trib is playing the "see it's not only us" game on this subject:


I'm not sure I've ever heard of Jordan's little-known Gnostic Mandaean sect. with two stories on the same subject in the same paper, you can bet this is a splinter in the foot of the LDS church. They are paying some serious media capital to distance themselves from this practice. Now why would they do that? Truth hurts?

No S, I am reflecting upon ... (Below threshold)

No S, I am reflecting upon Red Five's definition of a cult.

Points one and two rule assign cult status to all of the non-Christian religions in the world.

His requirement that religions embrace "faith alone" assigns cult status to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian religions, oh yes, and his dreaded Mormons.

Oh, and then there is that enlightened part about disallowing differing interpretations of the bible. Remind me which Christian sects actually believe that?

It seems to me that Red Five has created a definition of cult that includes almost everyone in the world, oh wait, except for himself. Come to think of it, that means he is the cult. But really, this is just more religious bigotry, with the Mormons representing the target du jour.

After reading the SL trib's... (Below threshold)

After reading the SL trib's article I think we may have found the group behind the hanky panky in the Washington state elections. Names disappear and reappear as if by magic! The next defender of the practice that dishonestly claims that this is only done when requested by a direct family member needs to take the time to read any of the articles available before they make those claims. Whatever the head office is claiming isn't being followed through on by the branch offices, and the head office admits it.

McCain, no I haven't, just ... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

McCain, no I haven't, just the ones which claim to be Christian but are provably not. Mormonism is one, Jehovah's Witnesses are another. I would go so far as to say that the Catholic Church is borderline idolatry (its near-worship of Mary and the saints being the key here); however, since it neither denies the nature of Jesus' deity nor His death, burial, and resurrection being totally sufficient for the forgiveness of ALL sins, it is not a cult. Mormons believe (and if you read some of the literature in the link I provided above, you'll see) that their Jesus can only forgive sins which are not murder (willful killing) and serial adultery; thus the need for works to get that last bit of salvation. That means that Jesus is NOT God, but is merely a god, and is not all-powerful like He says He is.

The link I provided above has discussion transcripts with Mormons, quotes from their own sacred writings, and more resources and research available. If I make a statement and provide backup for that statement, how does that make me "f**king over the top", Julie?

BTW, McCain, if you consider what I said to be calling most world religions a cult, and that I'm a religious bigot, then you'd better add Jesus Himself to that club (and not the Mormon version either). He did mention at one time or another that He was "the Way, the Truth, and the Life", and that "no one comes to the Father but through" Him. That statement by its very nature excludes any religion which does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection was the payment for all the sins of mankind, from beginning to end.

If that belief makes me a "religious bigot", then boo-frickin-hoo. Just let me practice my religion, and I'll let you practice yours. Part of mine suggests that I might want to go out and try to save some folks from an eternity spent in Hell from time to time. If you don't want to believe, that's fine. I won't condemn you or anything. That's not my place.

BTW, the Bible passage quoted by Mormons to justify the practice of post-mortem baptism (1 Cor. 15:29) was in reality explaining a pagan practice occurring regularly near the city of Corinth in Greece. The Apostle Paul was making an analogy, based on the fact that even the pagans baptized for the dead, so that their resurrections and afterlives might be spent in a better place. Paul's equation was this: if resurrection won't happen, then why do even the pagans perform rituals based on a belief that it will? If there is no ressurection, then why do Christians (or followers of The Way, as it was called at that time) allow themselves to suffer for something that won't happen? The Corinthian Christians (or any others, for that matter) were not themselves engaging in that particular baptism practice, because as screwed up as the Corinthian church was, they knew that this was "baaaad mojo".

Before you hurl more obscenities and bigotry charges at me, READ THE FRICKIN' LINK I posted above. The guy there has researched it extensively and has documented his sources, most of which are Mormon documents.

Jonathan provides yet anoth... (Below threshold)

Jonathan provides yet another example of the abundant ignorance of Utah, Mormons, and Mormon Doctrine.

They are paying some serious media capital to distance themselves from this practice.

Jon, sorry to burst your bubble, but the Salt Lake Tribune is the "anti-Mormon" paper in town. It was founded by, is owned by, and is operated by non-Mormons.

The LDS Church has no editorial control over it whatsoever.

Arrrghhh. I've had enough. I have to work tomorrow, so I'm off to bed.

You stupid fool! How about ... (Below threshold)

You stupid fool! How about if I make an anti-semetic statement and provide backup for that statement. You think that makes me any less anti-semetic? Damn right you're a bigot boo-fucking-hoo. You bragged earlier about having some good anti-Catholic shit. What? Aren't going to link to it?

The problem Red Five, don't... (Below threshold)

The problem Red Five, don't you see, is that you set yourself up as judge of all Christian faiths. As a fallible mortal, you are incapable and unworthy of such a responsibility. My Catholic Church, which you generously allow is only a borderline cult, is the dominant Christian sect in the world. By far. We are not a borderline cult. Your own beliefs represent a TINY FRACTION of Christians in the world. That doesn't make you necessarily wrong, but it does suggest reflection on your own understanding of Christ's mission. And yes, of course you are free to practice your narrow sectarian religion, as a bigot or otherwise.

Hey McCain, why don't you a... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Hey McCain, why don't you actually read what I wrote? My definition was actually quite limited (and backed up by other theologians; Google is your friend). I stated that a cult is anything that claims to be Christian (i.e. claims respect of the Bible etc.), but whose doctrine directly opposes major tenets of Christianity. Last time I checked, Hinduism does not use the Bible, nor do Islam, Bhuddism, Zoroastrianism, Voodoo, Satanism/occult, Wicca/witchcraft, and on and on and on. These are therefore NOT cults, by definition. The ARE, however, pagan (just like the group near Corinth who used the baptism rite mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 15:29).

My definition DOES, however, include Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and certain other Christian sects which CLAIM TO USE THE BIBLE, but believe that Jesus Christ is not sufficient to atone for all the sin of mankind or do not believe that Jesus is fully God. These are doctrines which are judged to be basic and essential for salvation (as stated by God Himself), and are therefore not negotiable. Some of these cults claim to be "True Christians" (red alert #1), and often claim to have special revelations subsequent to Jesus Christ Himself (red alert #2). They also usually add the REQUIREMENT of good works, odd diets, and outward clenliness as NECESSARY for salvation.

There are other Christian sects which hold highly legalistic beliefs (King James only or strict dress codes for women, for instance); I believe them to be borderline cults because they also add works and outer evidence of piety (which may or may not be true), but not necessarily as a requirement of salvation ("you don't need to do this, but it's better if you do...")

Captain, I actually talked with a Mormon youth leader more than a decade ago when I was assembling a report for a senior lit class. The research I did jives with what I'm finding on this other site above, and I'm sure I could find more similarly well-researched sites than I could twirl a dead cat at with a couple quick Google searches. If you try to tell me that what I found 11 years ago isn't what things are like today, that'll just be red alert #3. Oh wait, I know a couple things have changed, like attitudes towards Blacks. Oops.

Julie, <a href="http://www.... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Julie, this page has info on the Catholic Church which you might find interesting. Keep in mind that it is only my opinion that it is borderline idolatry (NOT a borderline CULT, McCain). I base this on the fact that the Church seems to add much more to to salvation and church life than Jesus Himself says, or what Paul or Peter or other apostles expound upon. It does not, however, subtract anything vital from salvation or Jesus' work (listen up, McCain, there is a difference), and is therefore in my opinion (which I believe would be backed up by other evangelicals) NOT a cult.

McCain, if you would cure your own cranial sphinctosis for a few moments and actually read what I wrote, and then do some research yourself, you might find that the definition I am using for cult is not my own invention. You might also find that Christians are supposed to discern (or judge, if you're so inclined) what is truth and what is falsehood, based upon what God says in the Bible. I am not judging people; I am discerning that a particular belief system is a false teaching and is therefore not beneficial for my eternal destination.

McCain & julie, I'... (Below threshold)

McCain & julie,

I'm really having a hard time understanding why Red Five is being a religious bigot.

I mean let's say a Catholic or a Mormon or a Baptist came up to me and said I wasn't a Christian or that I was a member of a cult, or a member of a borderline cult for that matter. I'm having a really hard time imagining that I would be terribly offended and consider that person a religious bigot.

Now we might discuss his reasons for thinking so, and if he turned out to not know what he was talking about, I might think he was an uninformed idiot - but a bigot? No. Perhaps we would be able to discuss the matter in a calm rational way and I might be able to convince him. Or I wouldn't, and we would both walk away thinking the other was wrong, but hopefully still having some respect for each other and each other's beliefs (the two aren't mutually exclusive, you know.)

Pretty much all religions think people who don't adhere to them in the right way are wrong, are going to hell, are not "____", are some kind of heretic...whatever. So the hell what?

(And before you jump all over me and swear at me and call me names, remember I already said that I thought Catholicism was Christian and that to think anything else was absurd. Although if I didn't think that, what I said above would still be valid.)

Oh, my! I missed it. You ha... (Below threshold)

Oh, my! I missed it. You have already switched over to anti-Catholic mode. Borderline idolatry, huh? Good. Keep showing us your true colors. No wonder you felt a special kinship with Jay. You can make the anit-Catholic statements and Jay can make up the research to support them. A power couple!

Red Five, I did read it, an... (Below threshold)

Red Five, I did read it, and now you are narrowing the application of your definition. I accept that clarification.

Faith alone is not enough for salvation, by the way. Your view is held by a distinct minority of Christians. If a cult is "a small religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist" it still appears that you are a member in good standing. You are the cult.

Julie, this page has inf... (Below threshold)

Julie, this page has info on the Catholic Church which you might find interesting. Keep in mind that it is only my opinion that it is borderline idolatry (NOT a borderline CULT, McCain).

Jesus S. Christ! You think calling a religion bordeline idolatry is a complement?

Oh shut up Julie. Your case... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Oh shut up Julie. Your case of cranial sphinctosis appears to be more serious than McCain's. Read my response to McCain's first accusation of bigotry against me. I never once claimed that the Catholic Church was a cult, then reverse from that claim. McCain skreeched that I had just damned all religions to the status of "cult-hood" with a broad generalization, when in fact I was fairly specific. Besides, the Catholic Church had already been mentioned in other contexts on this thread and the previous one, so it's not like it came out of the blue. I was attempting to clarify my position, since it seems that "rectal-cranial inversion" is the malady of the night.

I didn't even make any "anit[sic]-Catholic" stataments, as you so...eloquently stated. I just said that I think their beliefs border on idolatry because they add so much reverence for Mary and the saints, and hold their own traditions as high as Scripture itself. I will add that we Protestants and (especially) Evangelicals would do well to add some of the reverence of God and Jesus that the Catholics tend to have.

Red Five, don't sweat it. I... (Below threshold)

Red Five, don't sweat it. If your beliefs about what constitutes true Christianity makes you a bigot in McCain's eyes, then he puts you in great company. Because you see, many a leader of the LDS church who have made similar pronouncements about the apostasy of non-Mormon religions as well. So he's unintentionally paying you a compliment.

Let's not fool ourselves here, folks. Obviously none of us can be 100% sure we're pursuing the right spiritual path. But you owe it to yourself to be as sure as you can. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, as we Christians put it. And when you do that, you are inevitably going to put yourselfs at odds with people who fearfully tremble their way along a different path. That's just the way it is.

What the hell (pun intended). Let's each pray that the other ones of us find the right path before it's too late. That'll cover us all as best we can.

Because Raina, bigoted opin... (Below threshold)

Because Raina, bigoted opinions like the one's expressed by Red Five have had real consequences in the real world. Religious sects have been persecuted by obtuse thinking like this, where one is not merely content with their own religion, but must make effort to tear down others. The assertion of supreme truth, whether it be by Red Five's minority Christian view, or Christians generally over others, is a good practice to avoid. Love of neighbor is a WORK practiced by Jesus, and He is a good person to emulate.

mcq: Are you sayi... (Below threshold)


Are you saying that mainstream Mormons are comparing other religions with devil worship? Not that Red Five is mainstream anything, she's just a fringe nut.

Shut up yourself, Red Five.... (Below threshold)

Shut up yourself, Red Five.

“I never once claimed that the Catholic Church was a cult.”

No, you idiot, you claimed it was borderline idolatry. Jeesh!

McCain, read the book of Ja... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

McCain, read the book of James in the New Testament. He was the brother of Jesus (same mother), and he states quite clearly that works do not save. It is faith ALONE which saves, but faith without works is dead. It is sufficient to get one into a more pleasant afterlife, but only just.

Works are the proof of your faith. Works show that you talk the talk AND walk the walk. Recall the thief on the cross back at the end of all four gospels. He simply asked Jesus to remember him when He got to Paradise. Jesus saved him. Where were the works then? The thief died shortly thereafter; no time for works on a cross.

Salvation simply requires belief in Jesus, confession of sins, repentance (a desire to change one's ways and then acting upon that desire), and acceptance of the gift of grace provided by Jesus. Salvation doesn't even require baptism, though obedience does. Salvation is a one time event which erases our sin off the books.

Justification, however, does require works, because it is ongoing until we die. Justification is the process of purification, often through persecution or trial, so that we are perfect at the final judgement. It is the process by which we align our human will to the Will of God, so that we surrender control of our lives to Him to do as He will.

Minority belief or not, it is what Jesus and the Apostles seemed to teach.

Julie, take your blood pressure medication and re-read my last post. I explain myself pretty clearly there. It is only my opinion (though I do know others who hold similar opinions), but I base it on what I know of its practices and traditions. God Himself states very clearly in the Bible that we are to have no other gods before Him, and that we are to serve only one Master. By highly revering Mary and other saints as the CC does, it comes a little too close (IMHO) to idolatry to me. Not quite there, but if the next pope manages to elevate Mary to the status of Redemptrix (as other popes in the past have tried to do), it will have crossed a very dangerous threshhold (again, IMHO). And no, it's not a compliment. It wasn't really intended to be. I was simply trying to maintain a distinction between idolatry and cultism (which are very different).

Take your psych meds, Red F... (Below threshold)

Take your psych meds, Red Five. And stop telling me to read your crap. Once was quite enough.

Um, julie, Red Five is very... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Um, julie, Red Five is very much "he", thankyouverymuchly. Just asky my wife and my 6-month-old daughter. I stated pretty clearly that it was my opinion that the CC was nearly (That's NEARLY, as in CLOSE, but NOT QUITE) idolatrous. If you don't believe that, that's fine; just don't you dare criticize me obscenely if I do.

McCain, Jesus did indeed say that we are to love our neighbors, and the Good Samaritan parable basically opened that up to everyone. However, Jesus was the ULTIMATE supreme truth. He did not come to judge people, but to save them. That includes saving them from religious systems which did not follow the Truth. Judaism had nearly become such a system by His time. As followers of Jesus, Christians are supposed to display Christlikeness in everything they do. Sometimes, that might mean righteous anger at an injustice (Terry Schiavo, anyone?), or trying to appeal to someone about whether a particular belief is true or not. But it certainly does not mean forcing someone to believe a certain way (like the Catholic Church has done quite a bit; I'm sure that Protestant and Evangelical churches have had their share of such doings, though I haven't come across much in that arena). Someone makes a statement about the way they think things are, someone else makes a contradictory statement with proof to back it up, and let the chips fall where they may.

MCG, well put, even the intentional pun ;-).

Well Red, you are rehashing... (Below threshold)

Well Red, you are rehashing the arguments from 450 years ago. Let's not go there. I will concede that you are accurately stating a (literally) unorthodox and minority Christian view. I have no problem with it.

MY psych meds, Julie? You'r... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

MY psych meds, Julie? You're the one blowing a gasket just because I have an opinion with which you disagree. That's typically called intolerant, and in some circles might even be called bigoted.

OK, McCain, so pretty much ... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

OK, McCain, so pretty much all evangelical churches (and maybe the Protestant ones too) are cults?!? Just because it's "unorthodox" doesn't make it heresey. Remember, Luther was "unorthodox" too, in his day. He was the first to

All the evangelical churches I've ever been involved with or know of hold strongly to the doctrine of "Faith alone in Christ alone".

Julie, one last thing before your brain blows a fuse: The Catholic Church gets the fundamentals right, but it adds a bunch more stuff that it says are additional requirements. However, they are not biblical, but merely traditional, and are actually not supported by any Scripture. These additions are held up to be just as important as Scripture, and this is why I have the OPINION which have stated as such ad nauseum (a little Latin lingo, there).

Go ahead, blow your cerebral fuse now.

I'm not interested in being... (Below threshold)

I'm not interested in being screwed by you, julie. So, no thankyew.

McCain: there wasn't a definition of a cult (that you then responded to) but Red Five offered some reprint of the defintion from a Christian theological perspective as to what a cult is...there's a difference (as to who defines what and how).

However, I don't have a problem theologically as to what was reprinted there as to how a cult is defined from a Christian perspective. Unfortunately, people without an understanding or relationship with that theology will and inevitably do (read this thread) then run rampant with pejoratives as to whatever about Christians and Christianity. The tiresome "bigot" is never a surprise, just meaningless when used by someone who characterises bigotry in personality, intolerant of Christian theology while also not knowledgeable about it, certainly not interested in the message that it provides.

I've written this before and will again and that is from anyone's brand or version of what represents their accepted "religious" dogma, theirs works best, supercedes others, their solutions are. If you're going to approach a theology or even all theology (long list here) as a comparative list of ideals, whatever, you end up with something akin to race wars and thread flames...no one makes any more sense than anyone else and everyone makes no sense all together.

I can speak about my own beliefs and that is that I do believe that Christianity is the only means to salvation as I understand that to be. I don't, however, "put down" or demean everyone/anyone else who reconciles to some other theology. It's our freedom and my concept of civility on a social sense.

And, likewise, it bothers me little as to intolerance of others other than I feel concern for them.

There are a few groups among self-labelling "Christians" (as among other religious beliefs) who engage in and promote unaccepted (to the greater body of believers) methods and distortions of Christianity. People like that exist all over the world, among all "religions" and some do, yes, characterise cults and cultist behaviors, with central human figures elevated abnormally and followed (which is where that earlier definition related to TCLDS is correct, generally, as to why some characterise TCLDS as a cult). It's not something I opined, it's academic within the theology of Christianity.

But, I've known people of all religious practices, including several Satanists. I had work to do, I got along with those I was required to interact with and that's that. However, whatever their beliefs were/are were opposite to my own but everyone disconnected after work was done and there were no problems or difficulties accomplishing work tasks because of those differences.

I've worked with and known (and know) rather well many Orthodox Jews, some atheist Jews, many, many atheists in general -- but it's usually atheists who throw tantrums and threaten others about issues of religion, and particularly as to Christians. I'm sorry they do but it's really their problem and I pray for them, as I do those on this thread.

Don't want the prayers? Fine, I'll pray anyway.

I don't condone this controversial "baptism after death" practice that's been described, this thread, while I also don't condone writing that people should "go f*** themselves" and such (what does that accomplish? Waste o' space to my view). I can sympathize and have with bullwinkle's perspective as he's iterated it, this and previous thread, but I can't see writing flaming caustic content about TCLDS members because of that.

I'm sure there are enoug offenses here and earlier about Mormons that render null most all the complaints about them, however, from a point of humanity alone.

Jesus Christ cautioned his ... (Below threshold)

Jesus Christ cautioned his followers to "(not) cast pearls before swine..."

The point as I've learned about that statement by Christ was that His message and Word were pearls and precious and that when cast about too freely among beastly congregations, would be trampled underfoot, run into muck.

I'd say that it's not productive to share precious information with some among humans because what ensues is, well, "the mocking of Christ." Not that Christ cannot handle that but that it's non productive and demeaning to the message itself.

So, again, what is the thread about? A Mormon kick fest? julie's emotional tirades? What?

If it matters, I never "lectured" you, julie, or anyone. If you find the opinions of others quite so threatening, you might reconsider your own aggressive personality that attacks anyone, everyone, whenever you have time to do so.

Why, I have no idea.

Red Five: we Catholics do ... (Below threshold)

Red Five: we Catholics do not "worship" Saints, statues, relics or other items. We revere and honor Saints and relics and we regard statues and religious art as inspirational beyond the norm.

But, there is actual instruction by the Catholic Church as an aspect of being a Christian that cautions against "worship" of anyone except The Holy Trinity -- God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We Catholics do not (even) worship Holy Mother Mary. We revere her. We pray for her intercession. But we do not worship her nor any Saint nor all Saints.

There's a vast difference.

There's also a going and inaccurate story by some about Catholics that we "worship statues" and are "idolators" and similar because of that misinformation, all of which could not be farther from the truth (as I explained, earlier).

If you revere a beautiful occurence and it inspires you to consider God and eternity, anythign similar to that is the same as how Catholics regard inspirational works. But there is no idolization of works or human figures by Catholics.

A slight problem with your ... (Below threshold)

A slight problem with your analogy there, Jay Tea. The other offences you describe required the forced participation of the offended parties. This is a ritual done by Mormons in the hope that they can convert the people they are standing proxy for in the next life. This is not a forced conversion, just filling in a technicality should they convert.

Arrogant? Maybe, but so is sticking your snoot into the religious practices of others that do you no actual harm.

If you stick your nose in someone else's ass, don't complain about the stink.

Raina and others: it's rea... (Below threshold)

Raina and others: it's really simple as to the cult aspect of TCLDS...they do not recognize Holy Scripture as what it is (suggest modifications to that inorder to explain their beliefs), there's that refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Son of God and more...mysticism of a non scripturual basis and more.

You aren't Christian in the same sense that most Christians are Christian. Your "bible" includes content that has been added to Holy Scripture by humans who created your group and purpose and you hold beliefs that are not, not at all, supported and supportable to Bible based Christianity.

Thus, defined and regarded as a cult by most.

But so is the Church of Scientology for similiar reasons.

No one is catching Mormons and Scientologists and The Family members and such and harming them or holding them up for ridicule among most of Christianity. There's a Freedom of Religion in the U.S. and eveyrone I know gets along as civil neighbors and tolerant individuals, free to believe as they chose.

Strife, troubled emotions, creating generally bad feelings, even illness, in human groups is not a product of the Holy Spirit. Which is what I was referring to earlier as to Light and Dark. You CAN tell a person by their "fruits" and that's also something Jesus Christ taught us, teaches us still.

I realize that what I believe is not what others believe. I'm not making demands that anyone believe as I do. But it's impossible to have discussions about religious beliefs when so many attack others for the differences. And, any of us can only explain what we believe or don't but it's non productive and actually harmful to strike out at others about perceived "offenses" and such. THAT seems to offensive in and of itself.

bullwinkle is offended as a Jew about the post-death-baptism by Mormons. On the other hand, there's enough offense here and elsewhere about Catholics to amply offend Catholics, if that's the goal. I'm just saying, stop it with all the offense about theologies because they all differ and they all are based upon unique premises. I believe in what I do (Christianity, a Catholic here) because it is sense and truth. Someone else writes that that belief of mine is "offensive" because it implies their truth is not sense and truth. It isn't to me.


Red Five:Yeah, you... (Below threshold)

Red Five:

Yeah, your psych meds you little bigot you. Making these weird allusions to idolatry and devil worship, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt: your're mentally ill. And please don't lecture me on religion. I am sick of hearing you go on and on about religion when there is nothing religious about you.

And again, Fuck you, suzie. You lecture everyone. You never stop lecturing people. I am not threatened by your opinions. I AM BORED BY THEM. Why don't you reconsider not lecturing and boring anyone, everyone whenever you have time to do so.

"From that point, leaving I... (Below threshold)

"From that point, leaving Islam is considered apostasy, and to many parts of Islam, apostasy is punishable by death. Those children are, technically, bould to obey the rules of Islam for the rest of their lives, upon pain of death, for participating in a required classroom exercise."

Yea, and if you say "Bloody Mary" into the mirror three times, you'll die.

Man, you guys are down in t... (Below threshold)

Man, you guys are down in the gutter nasty! Doesn't it come down to which group you respect more? I have to side with and respect the religion that does not impose itself on another. In this case it would be the Jewish people. Mormons, leave’em alone, they made their choice and will live with it for eternity!

Don't sweat it! Over in th... (Below threshold)

Don't sweat it! Over in the newsgroup alt.slack, I'm starting a movement to retroactively induct Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and eventually all dead LDS members into the Church of the Subgenius, so soon the Mormons will cease to exist as a religious denomination.

Praise "Bob"!

I'll start by confessing th... (Below threshold)

I'll start by confessing that I haven't read all (90!) the comments posted here, so what I say may well have already been covered, to some degree.

The problem here is essentially a matter of sensitivity. The Mormons believe that any non-adherents to their beliefs will die in their sin, and be prevented from enjoying the blessings of paradise. To say it another way, they believe that their way is the only "right" way. This, my friends, is the nature of religion. Consider how foolish I would be to be a Christian, but turn around and say that I think Islam is the true religion of God. If you ascribe to any belief, you do so because you're convinced to some degree that it is right, and most any religion in the world teaches some degree of exclusivity.

The Church of LDS is being a bit insensitive towards an oft-persecuted religion in the way they've carried out this baptism towards Jews, but it's really no more offensive than missionaries going into the more primitive regions of Africa and introducing Christianity to people who have practiced a polytheistic religion for the entire history of their civilization. In a sense this is a case of the Jews wearing their feelings on their sleeves, and it's exacerbated by the fact that the Mormons aren't so bound by societal expectations to turn their back on what they believe is their duty to God. It's unfortunate for both sides that it's played out this way, but the more I hear and understand about the practice, this is more of an over-reaction by the Jews in question, and I venture to say that a majority of Jews just give this whole situation a quick perusal, shrug their shoulders, and go on with their lives, understanding that they have much larger problems to address as a people.

In short, I don't believe this practice is any more offensive than Christians praying for the conversion of non-Christians, whether Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, or Jewish. This is a problem with the "any belief is equally valid" axiom of our day, when any statement of doctrinal error is seen as persecution. The Jews need to toughen up, and the Mormons need to keep on doing what they feel called by God to do, although it wouldn't hurt for them to be a bit quieter about it.

Are you saying that main... (Below threshold)

Are you saying that mainstream Mormons are comparing other religions with devil worship? Not that Red Five is mainstream anything, she's just a fringe nut.

No, I'm saying that LDS leaders have made pretty serious condemnations of a similar ilk. Not these days, at least not in public, of course, it's not politically correct.

Man, it is always amazing t... (Below threshold)

Man, it is always amazing to see how fast people can turn on each other.

Sometime during the earl... (Below threshold)

Sometime during the early morning hours of the vigil at the church this baptism was performed and evidence was left in the coffin.

Okay now, that would bother me. It's also a crime and I hope you got the police involved. (Apologies if anyone else has pointed that out. Too many comments, too little time.)

Full disclosure statement: ... (Below threshold)

Full disclosure statement: I am a Mormon of Jewish descent and I have myself been a proxy in the baptisms of many of my ancestors, some of which are Jewish.

I am very busy and won't have time to continue to follow this thread and respond to anyone's comments, but I'd like to make my voice heard.

I can state definitively that Red Five is full of crap in his statements of "Mormon doctrine". We do believe that Christ's atonement is central to salvation, and without it we'd be unable to be forgiven of our sins. We don't believe Mary was a "goddess" as Red Five states. We aren't called The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints because we believe Jesus was just one of a bunch of gods. The acronym "TCLDS" is not only not complete, it represents a deliberate omission of one of our most central beliefs. Also, Mormons don't believe in "hell" as it is commonly conceived. People who are murderers etc. will eventually go on to an eternal life in a beautiful place. It just won't be the best possible paradise, and knowing what they're missing could be construed as torment. For full details go to www.mormon.org and check out the Plan of Salvation.

As for the doctrine of baptism for the dead: If you're a Christian, the alternative is to believe that everyone who isn't a member of your church is going on to torment. The Lord must have loved you more than some poor benighted baby in Africa, because YOU had the opportunity to be baptized and go to heaven, and HE didn't. Who's more arrogant-- the person who presumes that someone who's dead might want to be saved too, or the person who revels in the fact that he gets to be saved even though others never even had a chance? Mormons believe the Lord is so fair that He offers this opportunity even to those who never had a chance to hear about it and decide for themselves.

Finally, on the issue of unwanted proxy baptisms: There are two ways names are submitted. One is by individual members who are relatives of the deceased, and one is through "extraction" programs where names are systematically copied out of registers. Members are not allowed to submit names of those not directly related to them; although (gasp) there are some less-ethical people in the church, it is impractical to police this. Extraction is done on records over 100 years old; you can't track down all the descendants of people who died over 100 years ago for purposes of consent. So the only way Holocaust names could have ended up on the baptism rolls are if the church made an exception to their usual policy, or if a rogue member submitted the names himself. Either way, I think it's reasonable for the church to remove the names. We can always do the work again in the future. We have at least 1000 years left in which to do it; we don't have to do it all right now.

I have to say, this discuss... (Below threshold)

I have to say, this discussion is one of the greatest wastes of bandwidth I have ever seen.

But then, it is coming from the Blog of the Defenders of Creationism™, so I shouldn't be surprised.

That's nice but that's not ... (Below threshold)

That's nice but that's not what you originally said. Your initial response was in support of Red Five's current beliefs which include the ideas that mormonism is based on satan worship and catholicism is idolatry. Apparently you believe such bigotry is excusable because of alleged past statements by some LDS leaders? Wow.

McGeehee: A vigil ... (Below threshold)


A vigil in a church and yet no witnesses. Call me skeptical.

The 11:11 A.M. post was mea... (Below threshold)

The 11:11 A.M. post was meant to be in response to mcq.

Bullwinkle wrote: It... (Below threshold)

Bullwinkle wrote:
It would also be nothing more than a symbolic act if I rented a billboard on every main highway into Salt Lake City and that said "All Mormons Must Repent or Face an Eternity in Hell!" but I probably wouldn't live long enough to pay the second month's rent.

Actually, Joseph Smith said something quite similar, so no, you would probably live to make the 2nd months rent. Problem is, it isn't something Mormons haven't heard before. In fact, except for what you believe Hell to be, we believe that as well.

I'm not mormon, I don't cla... (Below threshold)

I'm not mormon, I don't claim to understand this completely. But from what I remember, don't you get to choose whether to accept your baptism by proxy or not? I don't think that just by them baptising you, you automatically become mormon. You just get on last chance. That seems a bit friendlier, them giving you the option, than most of the other groups who just comdemn you once you die.
One more thing...I grew up in a "cult". Recovering Jehovah's Witness. I really don't like them. But I still hate hearing them called a cult. It's just not a nice word.

julie, get a life. You deli... (Below threshold)

julie, get a life. You delight in reading far too much into other people's statements to twist them for maximum offensiveness.

I neither offered endorsement or agreement with Red Five's precise assessment of the Mormon church. I'm simply saying that it's a bit disingenuous for LDS'ers to be so darn horrified by such claims against their church. Joseph smith himself believed that the entire Christian church had descended into apostasy---and that's just the beginning.

But my ultimate point was that it doesn't matter. If a religion claims to have an exclusive corner on the ultimate truth, as nearly all do, then you're just going to have to decide for yourself whether it is right or not. And then just relax for crying out loud.

Note to all LDS'ers: you are more than welcome to conduct a proxy baptism after my death. Go ahead. I personally don't believe it will have an effect. But I appreciate your genuine concern for my soul. I do hope you don't mind that I pray that the veil is lifted from your eyes as well and that you see the great errors in your doctrine, turn from it, and return to trinitarian Christianity.

I take major exception that... (Below threshold)

I take major exception that the mormons are normal people, good people - maybe they are at your door but mormons are whackos and we should not have to put up with them at all. Egads, I think I dislike them the most.


If you're one the several t... (Below threshold)

If you're one the several that have stated that I have no reason to be offended by church sanctioned acts against my religion but are arguing against an individual's personal opinions and comments about your own you might want to reconsider whether or not Jews have a valid point here. If you are one of the Mormons that have told me it's no big deal and I shouldn't be bothered by proxy baptisms but have accused me of bashing your religion simply because I've stated that I think it's wrong and should be stopped you might want to reconsider that too. It looks like to me that everyone is sensitive about their religion and more than willing to defend it but at the same time they really don't think any other religion is worthy of that.

As a believing Mormon and r... (Below threshold)

As a believing Mormon and regular reader, I'd like to enlighten the wizbang masses regarding the proxy-baptism issue and Mormonism in general. (There seems to be a lot of misinformation.)

Yes, we Mormons do proxy baptisms. And yes, it is something of a (ahem) unique practice...Biblical...but unique.

We mean no offense, we are simply trying to live our religion as we feel it has been commanded of God.

These baptisms are performed as a no-obligation gesture for those we hope have accepted the Gospel while waiting for the resurrection. We are not forcing conversion on anyone, saving anyone, or making anyone a post-mortem Mormon.

We do not target Jews for proxy-baptism. We have added names to the list, and a few have turned out to be Jews.

• In regards to the specific current controversy that Tea J has referred to -- genealogists found less than 6,000 names of Jewish names in a database of 400,000,000 people. That is what the latest brouhaha is all about.

The Mormon Church has honored the 1995 agreement in full. Some Jewish groups are simply frustrated that there are still a tiny number of names being added to the genealogical database that are discovered later to be Jewish. (As per the 1995 agreement, the Mormon Church has immediately deleted any Jewish names that have been identified as Jewish.)

The issue has been resolved. The Church met with the offended Jewish Groups this week. The meetings were warm and productive. (http://www.sltrib.com/search/ci_2651844)

The 1995 agreement was reaffirmed with only the slight modification that a joint Mormon/Jewish working group would be formed to better understand how Jewish names are accidentally being added.

On Mormonism in general, you may be interested to know:

• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) is the fourth largest Church in the United States. We are pluralists in regards to how we co-exist and live among people of all faiths. About the only folks that call us a cult today are extremist Evangelical Christians. (But then...they generally think anyone they do not agree with is a cult.)

• Mormons consider ourselves to be sincere, dedicated Christians. Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

• Mormon do believe that we have the correct and God-approved version of the Gospel. No offense intended...but that is what we believe.

• Mormon love and read the Bible. (We prefer the KJV) Research by the Barna Group found that Mormons and Pentecosts are more likely to read the Bible than any other Christian groups.

• Mormons believe in Christian service. We have our own complete welfare system of farms, food-factories, and production centers to provide welfare assistance to the needy. As a Church, we fast one day a month and donate the money we would have spent on food to the needy.

• Mormons are as human and flawed as anyone. We try to be good, decent, caring people. Please excuse us when we fail. Please understand that when our beliefs conflict with yours, we'll try to be as respectful and non-offensive as we can.

I hope that helps a little.

Sure. I suppose you have a ... (Below threshold)

Sure. I suppose you have a right to be offended when a person of a certain religious bent acts in a way that suggests that your religious bent is false, misguided, or heretical.

But you're going to be offended by just about everyone outside of your faith, then. So I hope it's worth your time.

Bullwinkle:I disti... (Below threshold)


I distinguish between baptism of the dead and saying a religion is based on devil worship. I don't see much difference between that and stating Jews drink the blood of Christian babies blah blah blah, which I am sure I can find a link for. However, it doesn't make it true and it won't make me not an anti-semite.

Mcq: You get a life. They ... (Below threshold)

Mcq: You get a life. They are your statements. If they make you come off as a jerk, that's your problem, not mine.

I stated pretty clearly ... (Below threshold)

I stated pretty clearly that it was my opinion that the CC was nearly (That's NEARLY, as in CLOSE, but NOT QUITE) idolatrous. If you don't believe that, that's fine; just don't you dare criticize me obscenely if I do.

Red Five: The caps for "nearly", "close", "not quite" are classic. Here's some more caps for you: FUCK YOU.

I'll gladly let people comp... (Below threshold)

I'll gladly let people compare my words with yours side by side any day, julie.

For all those other blogger... (Below threshold)

For all those other bloggers that have said this was a stupid topic and a waste of time, how many of you got this many comments at your blog in the last few day? How many of you got a link from Google news?

Dibs on the dead guy -- take II
Wizbang, DC - 13 hours ago
... of controversy when I discussed certain Mormons' habit of baptizing by proxy the deceased ... I keep seeing some Jewish man approaching a Mormon and speaking to them ...


Julie, the Mormon church is... (Below threshold)

Julie, the Mormon church is say that Judaism is based on nothing by doing proxy baptisms of Jews. Kinda funny that feel that way though, since all Christianity is based Judaism. Everyone keeps assuming that only jews are victims of this, it's been proven that at least one Roman Catholic was baptized by proxy also. If they inducted Adolph Hitler into their own verion of the sky lounge club what makes anyone believe that that haven't done the same for millions of other Catholics? The same goes for Protestants too. Their official spokeman and several church members commenting in here made it clear that only Mormons are going to heaven as far as they are concerned so I think it's a pretty safe assumption that if they removed 380,000 Jews from the list in 1995 that their list could easily have members of other religions numbering in the tens of millions.

The Mormons' practice of pr... (Below threshold)

The Mormons' practice of proxy baptism is always blown out of proportion. Put simply and accurately, a proxy baptism is directly akin to giving someone a ticket to concert and saying, "Here, you can use this ticket if you want to. You'll have to find your own ride to the concert (i.e., you have to do something yourself to make use of the ticket), but it's yours if you want it.

Mormons don't force anyone to join their religion and a proxy baptism is simply a free gift to be accepted or not accepted as the individial desires.

Regarding the comment about "arrogance", the Mormons' belief that there are three "glories" (or heavens--as the KJV New Testament refers to them as) is perhaps the least arrogant and most merciful and gracious belief regarding heaven and hell that could be found among modern religions. Strictly speaking, Mormons do not believe in "heaven and hell" but rather believe that all people on the earth will go to one of three good places--places that are far better than the world that we currently live in. Only a few people (like Judas Iscariot) will be consigned to "Outer Darkness", which could be described as a hell-like place.

To go on and on saying Mormons are arrogant because they believe that only they can go to heaven is completely erroneous and ignores the actual doctrine.

Bullwinkle: "I think it'... (Below threshold)

Bullwinkle: "I think it's a pretty safe assumption that if they removed 380,000 Jews from the list in 1995 that their list could easily have members of other religions numbering in the tens of millions."

That is true. We Mormons believe that every human that has ever lived, is living, or will live is a son or daughter of God. When it comes to procy baptisms, we make no judgements or distinctions. All are God's children and recieve proxy bapstims without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic group, religion, status, or whether or not they were good or bad people here in mortality.

Hope that helps.

Derek, from what you have s... (Below threshold)

Derek, from what you have stated we can assume that Mormons ARE arrogant, incredibly arrogant, and believe that no other religion can make into the "super deluxe" accomodations of heaven without getting the Mormon first class upgrade. Everyone else flies coach. I usually don't make asumptions but in the case of Mormons I'm willing to make an exception, your arrogant religion keeps assuming that anyone not a member needs your help to get the upgrade and assuming the first class accomodations exist in the first place.

BoDiddley; The dif... (Below threshold)


The difference between a Christian missionary and this practice is that a missionary should proclaim the gospel in the firmest yet most polite way they can. This follows Gods example of free will. I will admit that some over zealous followers (Crusaders?) will cross that line, but it is not and should not be accepted practice.
The practice of this discussion is that no choice (from what I can tell) is given to the person this is being performed for (butchered that sentence, but you get the idea). This practice is just wrong.

Just John;

Can I be a charter member?

Bullwinkle, for there to be... (Below threshold)

Bullwinkle, for there to be a "victim" there must be actual harm inflicted. You have yet to establish that any harm has been done to dead people, Jew or otherwise. What is the harm, precisely? There is a presumption in my question that you are speaking on behalf of these dead people rather than your own feelings. I am trying very hard to understand what their sensitivity to this affront might be, but I am failing.

It bothers me none that Mormons are baptising dead Christians or anyone else supposedly incapable of making this choice. We baptize babies incapable of making this choice, and we pray for people of other faiths, even Jews.

Then the the comparison wil... (Below threshold)

Then the the comparison will have to combine yours with Red Five since yours endorsed hers.

Bullwinkle just wants to be... (Below threshold)

Bullwinkle just wants to be offended, that's all. It just happens to be the Mormons he's pouncing on today. But by his own standards it won't be long until he's pissed off at conservative Christians, pre-Vatican II Catholics (and even to an extent post-Vatican II Catholics), Muslims, Jehovas Witnesses... or maybe he'll be pissed of at atheists who deny any afterlife whatsoever.

"For all those other blogge... (Below threshold)

"For all those other bloggers that have said this was a stupid topic and a waste of time, how many of you got this many comments at your blog in the last few day? How many of you got a link from Google news?"

Is that how you judge whether a topic is worthy? I once got 97 comments on a post about farting.

The practice of this dis... (Below threshold)

The practice of this discussion is that no choice (from what I can tell) is given to the person this is being performed for (butchered that sentence, but you get the idea). This practice is just wrong.

No, your understanding of it is wrong. Yes, the proxy baptism itself is done without the permission of the person---which would be difficult to secure anyway because he is dead. But all this does, if you believe the Mormon doctrine on the issue, is clear a pathway for said dead person to make the choice for himself. Free will is not sacrificed here.

Or are you also offended at anyone who prays for the souls of people who are outside of their religion? That's basically the same thing.

Michele, was fart worthy of... (Below threshold)

Michele, was fart worthy of a Google news link? If so please keep a safe distance away from me......

bullwinkle, to be fair, ... (Below threshold)

bullwinkle, to be fair, whatever Wizbang talks about will end up in Google News, because Google News preapproves the sites it searches. So if Wizbang wants to talk about farting, it'll show up on Google News eventually.

Jay, I hereby induct you in... (Below threshold)

Jay, I hereby induct you into a new religion I made up; if you don't like it, TOUGH. You seem to miss the fact that freedom of religion means people can do this - IT'S JUST A BUNCH OF MUMBO JUMBO IN THEIR OWN HOUSE OF WORSHIP. Get over it.

Justin B missed a few possible outcomes though.
What if the Evangelicals are right, and BOTH the Jews and the Mormons who posthumously baptized them end up in hell - will they blame each other?
What if the Hindus and Buddhists are right and the Jews come back as Mormons and the Mormons come back as Jews - paybacks are hell. What if the Catholics are right and re-baptism condemns one to hell - then everybody BUT the Jews has a bone to pick with the Mormons, because the Jews were never baptized while alive. Wow, it's just so complicated. When they're baptizing them, if they float (or weigh less than a duck) are they then exposed as witches and damned anyway?

Jay, are you beginning to see just how ridiculous your outrage over this is?

Mcq, the Mormons are accusi... (Below threshold)

Mcq, the Mormons are accusing me of bashing them simply because I stated that one of their practices is offensive me but they, like you, see no offense in them have a policy that states that my religion is worthless. If you can't see the difference and think that I shouldn't be offended by that there is something very wrong with you. You just commented about my be offended is somehow offending you. I cetainly haven't ever claimed that their religion is worthless, or that Mormons can;t get into the inner ring of heaven, if I had I'd understand how they could take offense at that. All I've said is that they have a pratice that involves my religion that I don't think is right. I think one practice of their religion is wrong, they claim that my whole religion is wrong.

Damn, this has been an acti... (Below threshold)

Damn, this has been an active thread. Anyways....
If it's "no big deal" - why do it in the first place? If it's out of respect, well, it's causing a whole boatload of DISrespect. I don't need a relatively new religion telling me that mine is somehow deficient - may be to them it is, but right back at ya, and I at least have a rather extensive history to back me up.

Wacky Hermit, while I'm glad that you have found spiritual contentment, I certainly hope we're not related. My ancestors lived the faith, some died for it, and I'd hate to think that what they lived and died for is being discarded.

You need to grow a thicker ... (Below threshold)

You need to grow a thicker skin then, Bullwinkle.

Let's go to the Bible for a moment, and set aside any LDS reinterpretations thereof.

Jesus Christ must be offensive to you. After all, he said "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me." And everyone seems to know John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world..."), but how odd that John 3:18-19 is glossed over: "Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."

So there you have it. Right from Jesus' own mouth. You don't believe in Him? You are condemned. And this is not just some random practicer of the faith, this is the creator of the faith himself. He was either a bit off his rocker or we'd darn well better listen.

So like I said, quite a few religions claim an exclusive corner on the truth, including what it takes to either 1) avoid eternal torment or 2) achieve eternal bliss. What are these religions' adherents supposed to do, just give you a pass? Decide that God must have it wrong because he's just not playing nice enough? I for one believe that God is good, and that when we die, it will be clear to everyone that he is being fair and just---even if that means some, or even many, are in hell. I don't quite see how, but I see through a glass darkly now anway.

Furthermore, the Mormon's don't have a practice that "involves your religion." Nothing they are doing is preventing you from practicing your religion. But what they are doing is doing everything they can do to make sure that if they are right and you are wrong, that you get the best shot possible. If they are wrong and you are right, then what they are doing is worthless.

And just to be clear, I DO ... (Below threshold)

And just to be clear, I DO believe that these proxy baptisms are worthless. But futile or not, I appreciate the fact that they care enough for non-believers to do what they can for them.

Julie - I've been reading s... (Below threshold)

Julie - I've been reading selected comment threads and have noticed a lot of people calling you a troll and haven't known why. Now I do. I find it very interesting that you're opining on Red Five's religiousness while calling people names, swearing, and basically ignoring every rule of polite discussion. Add me to the list of people who will refuse to talk to you, even when you are being polite.

McCain - I agree that bigoted opinions have a consequence in the real world - but I still fail to see how Red Five's opinion is bigoted. Misinformed, perhaps, but not bigoted.

-S- - As I said previously, I'm an EX-Mormon, and I do believe that the Mormon religion is not Christian, although I'm not going to call it a cult because that generally gets you nowhere. There's certainly a lot of problems with it, like the ones you mention, and I could go way into it with reasons and explanations...but then all the Mormons on here will protest "but we DO believe Christ's atonement is necessary for salvation and the forgiveness of our sins and we DO believe in the Bible and read it all the time"...etc. And they do. The problem is that unlike other Christian religions, in the Mormon religion Jesus and the Bible become a few more variables in the equation rather than the be all and end all that they are elsewhere. When you go to a Christian service the songs, the testimonies, the prayers, the sermons are 90% about Jesus and God. When you go to a Mormon service, there's Jesus and God and Joseph Smith and the president (of the church) and the Book of Mormon and the priesthood and the temple etc. etc. Jesus kind of gets lost in the shuffle. I do think there are some Mormons who really do get it, but I think the majority don't see around all the stuff in the way.

That's why it's really hard to talk to them about it. In a doctrinal sense, yes, most of the stuff central to Christianity is there in some way or another, so just calling them un-Christian because of this and this and this is not going to cut it. I don't think most Mormons even realize the difference between their religion and the regular Christian religions. Their take on it all is that we're missing all this stuff...my take on it all is that they've got so much other stuff going on they're losing sight of the most important thing.

BoDiddly - Nice quote. Some here would do well to listen to it. "This is a problem with the "any belief is equally valid" axiom of our day, when any statement of doctrinal error is seen as persecution."

My ancestors lived the f... (Below threshold)

My ancestors lived the faith, some died for it, and I'd hate to think that what they lived and died for is being discarded.

Well, then don't think that. Just don't. It's pretty simple. After all, why in the world would anything that some ritual that an LDS'er is performing in a temple hundreds of miles away from you affect what you think about what your ancestors did for your faith?

I don't exactly have a copy... (Below threshold)

I don't exactly have a copy of the bible laying around here, but I have read it. The book that I consider to my "bible" stops before any mention of the world's most famous Jew. Nowhere in that book does it say that skies darkened and a voice came out of the sky and said, "I was just kidding guys, disregard everything I've said up until now, I've decided to institute a policy change", so I'm not too inclined to share your beliefs on the matter. I don't share your beliefs but I don't think you're going to hell if you don't change them either. You seem to think I'm going to hell if I don't adopt yours and don't mind telling me that and telling me I need to grow a thicker skin. You might understand why I'm offended if I was as intolerant of your beliefs as you and the Mormons are of mine. While it may seem to you and to the Mormons that they are somehow doing me and my people a favor it's unwanted and we've made it clear many times in the past that we find it offensive and would like to see it stopped. It's a favor we can get by just fine without and they could certainly struggle through life without doing.

What to say?1) Peo... (Below threshold)

What to say?

1) People who are offended by proxy baptisms (no corpses involved) choose to be offended. Anyone is free to induct me into their chosen religion after I shuffle off this mortal coil because I trust that God will judge me on my own actions.

2) While I'm open to criticisms of the LDS church, distortions of my beliefs are quite another thing. Upset that we think we're the only ones right? Well, we do believe that. Claim that we believe we're children of a polygamous alien on Kolob? There's a distorted statement, and I will object to it.

But really, the problem here is that an LDS practice is offending some non-LDS people, with this offense resulting either from ignorance or caring too much what Mormons think of you. Yes, we think Jews are theologically wrong. We think that of all other religions. We won't actually interefere with your practice of said religion, and we certainly should be kind to you (your milage may vary, depending on the actual Mormon), but we think you're wrong.

Recently, The Vatican reaffirmed its position that LDS baptisms are not considered valid because the LDS church, in their opinion, falls outside of the Christian realm. From my experience, this generated a general shurg from the Mormons I know because we don't care what the Pope thinks. To us, Christians are people who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that forgiveness of sins occurs only because of His sacrifice. In that sense, most Mormons would agree that Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, etc. are Christians as well (misguided, yes, but I'm not one to quibble).

As far as the term 'cult', this is about as useful a term as 'zealot' or 'fanatic'. It's a loaded terminology whose actual definition varies from person to person. I find the term unhelpful at best and do not use, and I suspect most professional researchers (ie, ones who don't have an axe to grind) avoid the term as well.

Add me to the list of pe... (Below threshold)

Add me to the list of people who will refuse to talk to you, even when you are being polite.


I once asked an evangelical... (Below threshold)

I once asked an evangelical Christian friend of mine a hypothetical question.... Let's say that a child is born in the middle of Calcutta, India. He lives in poverty and has no education. He dies at the age of 20 having never even heard of Jesus Christ. What happens to him in the afterlife?

My friend answered that according to his belief the young man would go to hell.

Wow. So God is that unmerciful? The young man doesn't even get a chance to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior?

The practice of proxy baptism by the Mormons is practiced under the belief that what Christ said, "only through me" can one enter the Kingdom of Heaven was true.

We therefore offer a baptism and a chance to accept Christ to everyone who has ever lived in the world--regardless of their race or religion. We, like the Jews, like the Catholics, like so many other religions, believe that we are the correct choice as far as religion is concerned. When you look at the actual doctrine of most religions, faiths, and churchs, there is a core belief that only they are right and correct.

It's generally only wishy-washy members of religions that choose the philosophy that "all roads lead to heaven".

One great problem is that people view the Mormon proxy baptism practice through their own "religious filters". They insist on applying a heaven/hell simplicity to it when that is not the true Mormon doctrine. They also insist on defining proxy baptism as instant membership in the Mormon church when it is not. They also choose to view it as an affront when it is only gift--to be accepted or not based on individual free will.

I'm constantly surprised by critics of the Mormon church who make blanket statements in ignorance and who don't seem to pay any attention to what our true doctrine is. There are lots of expamples of this type of ignorant "argument" (if one could call it that) on this thread.

When it comes to Mormons, critics always seem to assume guilt before even listening to what Mormons have to say.

Show me another religion, faith, or church who has an answer to the "child in Calcutta" question. There is a great, ponderable question there...how can God be merciful if he insists (Christian belief) that everyone must accept Jesus, yet there are still those in our modern world who will never even hear his name mentioned?

Well, bullwinkle, your prob... (Below threshold)

Well, bullwinkle, your problem then is not with the proxy baptism ritual in particular but the doctrinal claims of exclusivity in general. And while I can certainly understand your justifications of offense in that general sense, I frankly feel it is a simply waste of your time.

Incidentally, since we do share a good chunk of Scripture in common, I wonder if the Egyptians were offended when God decided to teach them that their gods were false by killing their first born. Or I wonder if the various tribes that God had the Israelites exterminate had wished that they wouldn't do them that "favor". (My point here is only to point out that there is even in the Hebrew scriptures a clear sentiment of absoute right and wrong, and that the Israelites were the exclusive purveyors of it.)

Derek - Where did ... (Below threshold)

Derek -

Where did you get the idea that every religion has to have an answer to every question? I'm sure there is an answer to the "child in Calcutta" question, I just don't know it...but I trust that God has one. But for the time being, I'm forced to assume that the only path to salvation is the only one that he laid out in the Bible.

I don't think it is lost on... (Below threshold)

I don't think it is lost on the casual observer that those representing themselves as Mormons on this thread have been the most civil among us. It seems to me they are embracing and practicing the love of Christ as He taught us to do through Works.

In times of dire emergency, it is allowable for laymen to baptize others. I am declaring such an emergency on Wizbang today based on the animosity towards Mormons that I find here.

So who wants to be a Catholic, and I mean right now? I have already proxy-baptized several of you, by the way, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but I want to make sure thatI haven't missed anyone. And Catholicism being the only completely true Christian faith, this may just protect you against those darn Mormons when you are dead.

Raina:Nowhere did ... (Below threshold)


Nowhere did I say that every religion has to have an answer to every question. I was illustrating the fact Mormons are one of the few faiths that submit an answer to the question.

Derek - The submission mean... (Below threshold)

Derek - The submission means nothing if the answer isn't true. I mean it's real nice that you have an answer to a difficult question, but that doesn't mean it's the correct answer.

I have read every comment, ... (Below threshold)

I have read every comment, including the "dead guy #1" comments.

Umm, you know how you can get yourself placed on a "Do Not Call" list concerning telemarketers? It may be a good product, but you just don't want to hear about any product at all in this manner.

Do you know what a "Do Not Resuscitate" order is, concerning certain hospital patients? Yes, I know the doctor means well, but the patients wishes come before the actions of the well-meaning doctor.

I think what would satisfy bullwinkle (sorry if i'm putting words in your mouth), is if there is a way to "opt-out" of this well-meaning program. Better yet, you should probably have to "opt-in" to it. Geez, maybe we need to add a(nother) clause to our wills to address this.

Is there a "Do Not Baptize-by-Proxy" list that you can get yourself on?

Is there any way to "opt-out" of this program?

ClusterChuck:No ne... (Below threshold)


No need to put it in your will. There has always been an "opt-out" clause. You as an individual simply don't have to accept your proxy baptism (if it is ever done for you). The worst that can ever happen to you is that your name will appear on a list of those who have been offered the gift.

"Is there any way to "opt-o... (Below threshold)

"Is there any way to "opt-out" of this program?"

From what I understand, you can opt-out after you are dead.

But you can't opt out of MY program as I continue to proxy-baptize bloggers Catholic here on Wizbang. And I continue to pray for all who come to this thread, without exception, whether you like it or not. Those prayers are there, stuck to you like glue. No opting out.

Thanks McCain! Now I've be... (Below threshold)

Thanks McCain! Now I've been baptized three times for myself alone, not to mention those 10 proxy-baptisms I did when I was Mormon. I feel properly baptized now.

Wow! Lucky us, the Columbia... (Below threshold)

Wow! Lucky us, the Columbia House of religion allows us to opt out after they opt us in without asking and against our wishes. Just fill out the simple form and they'll remove us from the list we didn't want to be on in the first place. How generous of them.

Bullwinkle:Your la... (Below threshold)


Your last comment illustrates perfectly how critics prefer to to distort the facts rather than stick to them. Nobody is "opted-in". The gift is presented and anyone can refuse it if they wish. The fact that we keep a list of those who have been offered the gift is simply standard record-keeping so that we don't waste our time doing it again and again.

The only distortion made by... (Below threshold)

The only distortion made by me was implying that Columbia House somehow compares, they don't sign you up without being asked to first. What gives the Mormon church the right to make a list of people they don't feel able to get into heaven? Maybe the Jews needs to make a list of people that aren't allowed to visit Israel, Mormons. I'm positive that the Mormons wouldn't find that offensive based on their statements about Jews having no reason to be offended by their list. After all, it would only be a symbolic act, denying access to the holy land for the short time Mormons spend on earth compared to the eternity they say we are denied going to heaven.






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