Baptizing Dead Jews

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Baptizing Dead Jews

NPR had a fascinating story the other day on the Mormon practice of baptizing the deceased, including Jews killed in the Holocaust
Jewish and Mormon leaders have agreed, again, to try to resolve a dispute over key elements of faith. The two groups thought they'd done this 10 years ago after some Jews complained that their ancestors, including victims of the Holocaust, were subjected to posthumous baptisms in Mormon ceremonies. Close to 400,000 Jews were then purged from Mormon baptism records, but thousands showed up again.

One of the newest buildings in downtown Salt Lake City is the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church. It's a white, mostly windowless edifice as big as a department store, and it contains records of more than 700 million departed souls. It's the nerve center for one of the most important tenets of the Mormon faith: identifying ancestors and baptizing them posthumously so they can ascend to a Mormon heaven where generations are joined for eternity.


That act of faith has clashed with another: the belief many Jews have that they are indelibly Jewish forever. But hundreds of thousands of deceased Jews, including victims of the Holocaust, were baptized by Mormons.
Mormons seem to think they are doing the Jews a favor, but it is not hard to see why Jewish leaders would be upset. Not only do they have to put it with Southern Baptists trying to convert them when they are alive, they apparently have to worry about the Mormons spiritually kidnapping them once they are dead.

I found this remark from a Mormon official particularly amusing
Mr. CHRISTOFFERSON: They understand that we have core beliefs that can't be compromised and we understand that they have feelings and values as well, and I'm confident we'll have some middle ground there that doesn't compromise either side.
You can see the problem right there: Mormons have "core beliefs" - Jews just have "feeling and values."

So shut your Christ-killing mouths, Jews! You're getting baptized whether you like it or not!

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