Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Baptism after Death

The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead has been a rather controversial one of late.  I would like to bring something up that might clear the air a bit.

Firstly, the Church recognizes that the Jewish people do not want their ancestors baptized.  Fine.  We support that.  We love the Jews profoundly. And in fact, a posthumous baptism cannot happen without the consent of the next of kin.  It's against Church policy.

That aside, I have a question to ask those outside the Mormon faith.  What does it matter if a person gets baptized for the dead if one doesn't believe in the validity of the baptismal authority?  If Mormonism is wrong, then what they do has no binding authority in heaven and therefore the dead person has not been affected in any manner.  If Mormonism is right, and has God given authority to baptize for the dead, why fight it?  If God authorized it and it pleases Him, then isn't that the path to follow?  If not, if God does not authorize Mormon baptism, then the dead person is no worse off.

Let me put it another way.  I have several close relatives who have died.  If perchance a native of some obscure Pacific island were to come to me very seriously and sincerely and say "I love you and those of your family.  I want to perform a sacred rite in which I balance on my head, scream to the elements, jump up and down, and whisper your relative's name and this will protect him from the everlasting ghosts of Christmas past.  May I do so?"  I would probably grin and say "Sure.  Thanks so much for caring" because I would attribute no authority to his religious rites.  But I would be appreciative that he cared.

Make your own decision.  If Mormonism isn't ordained of God, then what difference does it make that they perform some rite or other involving a dead person's name?  If it is true and authorized of God, why would it be offensive?

6 comments:

  1. I don't find it offensive. It is actually a loving act. Paul does speak of being baptized for the dead so I can see where this came from.

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  2. Well done Michelle...My thoughts exactly on it. xo

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  3. Very well said. I have had this discussion many times.I am sure over the next 200 days, we will all be discussing such things.

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  4. Belle was right about Paul who spoke of it in 1 Corinthians in the same manner you spoke about it.
    That settles it for me as well. Good post my friend.

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  5. This is the most hilarious thing you've ever written. Oh my gosh! So funny about the fictional polynesian. HAHAAAA!

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  6. It's been in my mind for a while, Crys. The vision of the guy and his sacred rites involving headstands.

    I appreciate the kind comments, everyone. I know about the 1 Corinthians passage of course, but since many of those who find this offensive or irritating do not believe in the New Testament, either because they are Jews or because they are atheist bashers (I was thinking more of the latter at the time) I had to make it a bit more universal.

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