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Outrage Over Proxy Baptism

February 21, 2012

Baptism for the dead is one of the least understood practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it’s understandable why people are upset that the work is being done for Holocaust victims.  I would like the opportunity to explain some things.

1.  We believe that we are all God’s children.

2.  We believe that in order to go to Heaven, we need to be baptized.

3.  We believe God made a way for everyone to be baptized.  That is by baptism by proxy in temples. 

4.  If a person never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel on earth, we believe missionary work continues on the other side and that when the ordinance is performed on their behalf, they have the choice as to whether they accept it or not.

5.  There is a waiting period to do baptism by proxy after a person dies.

6.  We are supposed to submit names of our ancestors to have temple work done for them.  When a celebrity dies, it is inappropriate for church members to submit their name unless they are family.

7.  The deceased person’s name isn’t added to our membership roles.  A record is kept that the work has been done for them.  Only they know if they chose to accept it.  We don’t believe a person can be forced to be a member of the church anymore than they could in this life.  I’m a little confused by comments that we’re forcing people to be Mormon.  First of all, if you don’t believe our religion is valid, then of course that means the ordinances isn’t binding.  Second, if we have it right, wouldn’t that be a good thing that the person has the opportunity?

8.  Our goal is to find all of our ancestors and be baptized on their behalf.  We aren’t singling out Jews, Catholics, or anyone else.  We believe all of God’s children need to be baptized to return to Him.  The idea of excluding anyone is upsetting to us.  

Furthermore, if I thought anyone were performing ordinances to make my relatives Catholic, Jewish, etc., I would be all for it.  If they sincerely believe they know the pathway to God, I would consider it a positive thing.  I come across missionaries from other churches who want to share their beliefs with me and I think that’s wonderful.  

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