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My afterlife conversion


To whom it may concern,

let it be known that however I am a secularist, an agnostic with an atheist inclination, if in the far future, my descendants want to convert themselves to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to include myself in that conversion, I have no objection and I wish that the winds shall push them on their way.

Really, why should I care ? They shall live their lives and I shall have lived mine.


April 11, 2004 NYT
Mormons Criticized Again for Posthumous Baptisms By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY, April 10 (AP) — Researchers say Mormons have continued to baptize Jewish Holocaust victims into their faith posthumously, despite having promised to discontinue the practice.
"We are very hopeful that we will be able to convince the church to stop," Ernest Michel, chairman of the New York-based World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, said Friday. If not, Mr. Michel said, his group will consider other options, "possibly legal steps."
A spokesman for the Mormon church, Dale Bills, said in a statement Friday evening that church officials "welcome the involvement of any who seek to resolve amicably the concerns expressed by some of our Jewish friends."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long collected names from government documents and other records worldwide for posthumous baptisms. Church members stand in to be baptized in the names of the deceased non-Mormons, a ritual the church says is required for them to reach heaven.
The practice is primarily intended for the ancestors of Mormons, but many others are included, since the church believes that a person's ability to choose a religion continues after death. Non-Mormon faiths have objected to the baptisms.
"Even if they say they want to do somebody a favor, it's not a symbol of love," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "It's a symbol of arrogance."
In 1995, the Mormon church acceded to demands by Jewish leaders that it stop posthumously baptizing Jews. But Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City researcher, said Friday that she had found posthumous baptism records for 268 Dutch Jews killed in Polish concentration camps, which she described as a "small sampling." All were baptized well after the 1995 agreement.
Mr. Michel's group asked Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, to intervene. Senator Clinton met last month with Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and a Mormon, though neither would comment on the session.

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by Editor @ 09:19 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 6 comments

The inherent problem in this situation, as I see it, is not theological or dogmatic. It's respect for the living.

All the names of the dead, as they are run swiftly through the LDS temple procedure of baptism, confirmation and endowments represent a person - a person that most likely has many living relatives that are loyal to their own religion and culture and would be hurt and appalled by the LDS listing this ancestor among its members.

I think that any organization, churches included, should be legally barred from inflicting membership or any other rite/treatment on anyone who has not formally consented to the act.

Posted by Airmid @ 04/14/2004 06:46 PM CST

Hi Aimid,

You shall note that my intervention was giving the right to convert me after my death to my dscendants, nobody else.

True, it is quite questionable to convert "the dead of sdomebody else". This is going against ethic.

That being said, to make a law that forbids the practice seems to me to try to prevent a slight with a serious restriction of the religious freedom.


Posted by Paul @ 04/19/2004 12:47 PM CST

Could/would all the preceding 'Prophets' of The Mormon Church appreciate it if they were to be baptised into another religion because another religion felt in would be in 'their best interest'..------concerning 'their best interest'...make your own conclusions about what this phrase could/would imply-------... ;?)

Posted by FC Mellon @ 04/19/2004 07:39 PM CST

Hi FC,

Like I said before, "I am a secularist, an agnostic with an atheist inclination" It seems difficult to class me as a "'Prophet' of The Mormon Church"

As I don't believe in afterlife, I just don't care if they baptize me but if I were a believer, a Christian or a Jew, why should I care?

I would know that I have the Truth and that this mormon practice is just nonsense and has no impact on my afterlife.


Posted by Paul @ 04/20/2004 04:07 PM CST

Who can possibly care about such nonsense? Once we are dead we are gone and eventually forgotten. Religions are some of the most brilliant examples of science fiction and the effects of mass delusion. Let the LDS do as they please, it is really totally irrelevant and of no consequence, just as any other religious ceremony or act.

Posted by Edward @ 04/24/2004 05:09 AM CST

Regardless of what your view is on this subject, the facts ought to be straight. Let me first say that I am no expert on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… the Mormons. But it seems I have something to offer, so I’ll chime in.

Mormon’s take Christ's words in the New Testament literally, and they believe that baptism is a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God. Likewise, Mormon’s believe that God, being just, withholds final judgment until all the facts are on the table and an individual is able to make an informed decision regarding God and His plan for His children. As indicated in the Associated Press article, “the church believes that a person's ability to choose a religion continues after death.” The Mormon’s, therefore, perform proxy baptisms for the dead, to provide for the possibility that the deceased individual MIGHT accept the gospel (as taught by the LDS church).

The proxy ordinances do not result in or impose conversion/membership any more than the scholarship offers some students receive coming out of high school, to use a crude analogy. The scholarship offer only means that, should a graduate elect to attend that particular school, the way is paved and some of the requirements are taken care of; the graduate does not automatically appear on the school’s membership role just because the offer was made.

The “listing” referenced in a previous post… listings such as those found at www.familysearch.com, the LDS church’s online genealogy resource… is not a membership role. Just because Great-Great-Grand-daddy shows up on the site does not mean he is any less Jewish, or Catholic, or Buddhist, or whatever, than he was in those beloved old pictures you have on your mantel. Recognize the “listing” for what it really is, take advantage of the resource, and learn more about these ancestors whom you, obviously, have a keen interest in.

Posted by Aaron @ 04/24/2004 01:08 PM CST

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