Sunday, April 10, 2005

Jews, Mormons to discuss baptism for the dead

Baptisms for deceased Jews alive and well? I would love to hear your comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a 36 year old Jew. I grew up in New York, and moved to Utah when I was 9. So I feel that I am very framiliar with your teachings, considering most of my friends and neighbors are LDS, I have even gone as far to read the 'The Book of Mormon' and have gone to many of your churches activitys growing up.

I understand the good intensions of the Church, and there are many good members. But the baptism of the dead really offends me. My grandparents are holocaust survivors, many of their friends were tortured and killed for their religous beliefs. It makes me sad that the church can be so disrespectful, I understand they think they are doing a worthy thing, but how would they feel if i baptized their dead into being a Jew? Or a Buddist? Or a Catholic?
These people died for their beliefs, and they were not willing to change them, they worshiped in seceret, they prayed in seceret, they celebrated in seceret...The Mormon church should know what it is like to be prosecuted for beliefs, Joseph Smith was not favored with everyone, people thought (and still do) that the idea of having your own kingdom like God is outrageous, but the mormons have continued to have faith in that, and that is ok, but I feel as though the church needs to respect others beliefs, baptizing the dead is wrong!

1:53 PM  
Blogger Kelly Knight said...


Thank you for your interest in contributing to the blog-o-sphere. It is the opinions of those who make comment that makes this technology exciting, and the dialogue profitable. I do wish, however, that you would feel more comfortable in using your real name- Anonymous seems so… well, anonymous.

Anyway, if I may, I would like to address each of the concerns you raise in your comment.

First, the proper terminology is “baptism FOR the dead”, not “baptism OF the dead”. While this may seem insignificant, it really is not. We cannot baptize the dead; baptism is a physical ordinance and the dead are no longer capable of receiving that ordinance. We can, however, stand as proxy for those who have died, in the necessary ordinance of baptism.

Second, and correct me if I am wrong, baptism is actually an ordinance that was practiced pre-Jesus, which accounts for the reason John the Baptist went about baptizing in the river Jordon prior to the advent of Jesus. It seems to me that there is an Old Testament passage that refers to Israel coming out of the waters of Jordon, a referance to the baptismal ordinance.

Third, you may not be familiar with the most recent détente between Jews and the LDS Church. I would refer you to the article posted on this blog “Mormons, Jews reach détente”. It outlines quite clearly the agreed upon future of the ordinance of baptisms for the dead. You stated that it makes you sad that the Church is so disrespectful. The fact is, the Church, with a capital C, has a very clear policy toward the baptism of Jews who are deceased. On the other hand, the church, with a lower-case c, in other words the membership of the church, are human, and subject to the same kinds of mistakes that all humans make. They may lack an understanding of the policy, or be over zealous in their efforts. Whatever the case may be, it is a human fraility not subject to Mormons alone.

Fourth, and the one that has always given me the most pause for consideration, is this- If the LDS doctrine of baptism for the dead is a wrong doctrine, not of God, and of no affect on the lives of those who have had the ordinance performed for them, why all the fuss? The baptism will mean absolutely nothing.

You asked the question of whether I would be bothered by the Budhists performing a similar ordinance for me or my family. The answer is clearly no! I accept that the doctrines and ordinances of the LDS Church are the only valid ordinances available to man for entrance into God’s kingdom, and therefore any other ordinance performed by any other sect would have zero affect. On the other hand, if the Budhist religion, for example, is indeed the only religion that possesses the keys to those ordinances necessary for God’s kingdom, and someone performed them for me vicariously, I would be grateful that someone was so kind as to ensure me or my family the opportunity for admission.

5:20 PM  

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