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Jewish, Mormon leaders issue joint statement

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  • Gifford VanBuren
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:13 a.m.

    Maybe the church should go Independent so that they can have more control of their own destiny and brand.

  • TJMcDonald
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    I thought Church doctrine was that ALL souls would have the opportunity to have proxy ordinances before the second coming. I am not questioning the decision of the Church to remove these names, but it is sad that a doctrine given by Christ has to be changed because of hurt feelings.

  • Cabinfever
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    Silly comments aside... (10:13am) I'm proud to belong to a church that goes out of their way to do the right thing!

  • ECR
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:33 a.m.

    What a shining example of how to resolve difference between organizations. Nations of the world, world religions or, for that matter, our own Congress should do likewise to make life better for everyone. What a momentus day.

  • MoJules
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:33 a.m.

    One thing, when the LDS Church gives their word, they keep it, but we as members of the church have to do our part. So if countries permit our presence there and ask us not to teach others, then we do not teach others. The best way to teach, is be a good example and the best way to be a good example is to honor the word given by the Church to other people.

    As Indexers we sign an agreement, first not to take information from other sources and second that we do not take names we find while indexing to the Temple. All the indexed names will go to Record Search and then we can go there to find our family names.

  • groy
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:39 a.m.

    @Gifford - Maybe that's a dumb idea.

  • VF
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    I believe that ALL souls WILL have the opportunity to have proxy ordinances done for them BEFORE the second coming of Christ. That will take time for it to happen but they will be given the right and privilege to do what they will want to have done for themselves AND their descendants.

    Amen.

  • bribri86
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    The first shall be last and the last shall be first. The Jewish people were first to receive the gospel when the Savoir was here, and then the gentiles afterwards. Now the gentiles have the gospel, and the Jewish people will have to wait, even in the next life.

  • mkSdd3
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    @TJMcDonald

    Your wrong about your understanding of proxy ordinances being preformed before the second coming. Proxy work for the dead will continue through out the millennium, it will not be complete at the return of Christ. No doctrine of Christ is being changed here. There is a difference between hearing the gospel and having all the proxy work completed.

  • Chris B
    Sept. 1, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    At the end of the day, even if I don't agree with Mormons beliefs, they have the right to do what they please in terms of who they do those baptisms in the temples for. Unintentionally offending someone, or even intentionally offending someone is not illegal.

  • gonefishin67
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    @ 10:28
    "But many that are first shall be last: and the last shall be first." Matt 19:30

    They were the first to receive the truth and lost it, they have simply assured they will be the last to get it back.

  • Pete in Texas
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:10 a.m.

    Amen TJMcDonald and Cabinfever.

    The church is well aware that it is better right here and now to try and be a 'good neighbor' knowing that the work for these individuals who have passed on WILL get done. It's unfortunate it will have to be postponed, since that means longer waiting for those who are waiting for it to happen, but I applaud the church for being as accomodating as they can to try and soothe relations in this manner.

    Great church. Great leaders. Great decision.

  • Zed
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    This is a significant blow to Helen Radkey. She has had a single-minded agenda to foment relations between the LDS church and Jewish organizations. Perhaps now she'll fade into obscurity as has every other unfortunate soul who leaves the church but then cannot leave it alone. I genuinely feel sorry for her.

  • Tom in CA
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:23 a.m.

    @ Gifford 10:13

    You comment was brilliant - reflective of the highly educated person you are.

  • lin
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    much ado about nothing.....since the Jews don't believe our doctrine - that proxy baptisms have power - then why be upset at all.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    Jews killed in the Holocaust were killed because of race, not because of religion. To try to claim it is an affront to their death to perform baptismal rites for them is disingenous.

    A large portion of the Jews killed in the Holocaust had rejected the existence of God or had no clear views on the matter. Others were converts to Christianity, including all converts to Catholicism in Belgium.

    The Nazis attempted to define Jews as a racial group and enialate them on this basis. The fact that inter-marriage between Jewish Germans and Christian Germans, often after the Jewish Germans conversion to various forms of Christianity, meant that the Nazi program was impossible to be fully implemented in Germany, but there were many Catholics in the "Warsaw Ghetto".

    The Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, as well as the makers of many Holocaust Memorial Museums have misappropriated the memory of the Holocaust by speaking so heavily of Jewish religion that they give the false impression that Jews were killed because of their religion. They were killed because of their race.

    Also, the fact that the Gypsies are so heavily ignored is saddening.

  • Chachi
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    To ChrisB: You're right; the LDS Church would be protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment if it continued to perform baptisms on behalf of Holocaust victims. It's doing this not because it's legally required to, but because it wants to go out of its way to show sensitivity to Jewish people.

  • first2third
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    Understanding the doctrine and thinking of all the trillions of people who have ever lived on the earth, one can surmise that there are plenty of souls who can be baptized. The souls during the millennium that want the work will communicate with the living and their work will be done then. Offending ANY religion is not Christian and is not part of the LDS faith. We seem to do enough of that without even trying, so efforts to heal those offences should be celebrated by all members.

  • snowman
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:41 a.m.







    If lds families have jewish ancestry and want to do their temple, it can be done.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    TJMcDonald,
    Church doctrine has consistently been for years that you should do the work for your own ancestors.

    I have heard it taught on multiple occasions that many converts join the Church because of the direction of their own ancestors.

    It is also against Church policy to perform temple work for anyone born less than 95 years ago without approval of their closest living relative. In many ways the G of HS constitutes "the closest living relative".

    since President Woodruff's direction in the 1890s Church policy has been that baptisms for the dead need to be performed for your own family.

    The current policy allows people who actually have ancestors who died in Auschwitz and Treblinka to perform baptisms for them. As King Benjamin taught it is neccesary that everything be done in wisdom and order, and performing baptisms for the dead for people who died in the last century who have living relatives who see this as extremely offensive is not such, espeially if they are relatives closer to you.

    On the other hand if you want to do the temple work for your widow, your child's objection is inmaterial.

  • Relocated Southerner
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:43 a.m.

    I agree with Lin. If you don't believe the baptisms are valid, why are you even upset? My mother, who was not Catholic, had my older sister in a Catholic hospital. When it was obvious the baby would die within a couple of days after birth, one of the sweet Catholic nuns "baptised" my sister, fearing for her eternal soul, and she apologetically came to my mother after the fact to tell her what she had done. My mother was never upset with this sweet sister; she had, after all, done what she did out of love and concern for my sister's soul. Since my mother did not believe in infant baptism or that the baptism was valid, she was never upset over it. I do have to commend the Church for taking the high road in this debate, however; it is better to keep a good relationship with these people now knowing that the Lord will provide for all of his children, one way or the other, either in this life or the life to come.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:51 a.m.

    mKSdd3,
    That is the teaching I have generally heard.
    How exactly are we supposed to perform the work for the millions of Native Americans who died of small pox. The millions who died in the Dominican Republic/Haiti due to diseases between 1492 and 1510, whose number is anywhere from 600,000 to 60 million. If we have no clue what numbers we are talking about, how do we do temple work that requires knowing names?

    I have had ancestors doing family history work since the 1870s if not longer. Yet on other lines we can not even clearly identify all our ancestors in the 1870s. One of my ancestors who joined the Church (about 1850) my dad has spent three our more years trying to track down his parentage. He has tentatively identified the father and done the work for many on that side. He has yet to identify the mother.

    At last check New Family Search identified having about 500 million names. If we make the false assumption there is no duplication, this is still less than one sixth the current world population.

    Achieving all temple work has a long way to go.

  • Idaho Coug
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    The new temple work software is a wonderful advancement. Prior to this new technology a HUGE percentage of temple work being done was duplications. Some names were having work for them done literally dozens of times. I know work for the dead is primarily a service opportunity for those doing the work but this will GREATLY enhance efficiency and accuracy for those who have died.

    I imagine those who have died and did not accept the ordinances under the old system saying something like, "for the fifteenth time, I said no thank you!" At least they can't say they didn't have a chance.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:59 a.m.

    Zed,
    You probably should have said "foment discord". I hope the contention-mongering lady has not managed to get an account on New Family Search.

    Her goal is not just to divide Mormons and Jews, but to get everyone mad at Mormons. Of course, some of her angles that get spread in the blogosphere and the another Salt Lake paper (which is the main reason anyone has ever heard of the contention-mongering lady) are latched on with glee that makes no sense.

    If some of the interpretations of the poll that found Mormons approve less of the current presidents performance than other religious groups, with "Protestants/others" having the next lowest performance approval (the later is best described as non-Mormon and non-Catholic Christians, including Episcopalians, Southern Baptists, Oriental Orthodox, United Methodists, Presbyterians and possibly even Unitarians) are correct than one of the CML's war cries is taken up illogically. Specifically, if Mormons disapprove of Obama's job performance because they think he is inherently "evil", than why would they do temple work for any member of his family?

    Sorry if I am a bit oblique, but some people do not deserve name recognition.

  • The Rock
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    What kind of God would negatively impact the salvation of one of His children because of what somebody else did after they died?

    If they are not baptized at first, they will be baptized at last. No doctrine has changed, only policy.

    What a joy it will be for the Jewish people when they learn on the Mount of Olives that He who has wounds in his hands and feet is indeed the Messiah. Once they have this knowledge the Jewish people themselves will perform the baptisms for their kindred dead.

    Very wise move. Avoid offending the chosen people of the Lord and let them experience the joy when they are ready.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:13 p.m.

    Another reason for the animosity is that baptismophobia has spread to a belief that Christians in general are liars who seek to decieve.

    This is represented by two false charges against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that began with apostates but have been accepted by some Jews to justify their anger.

    One is that the Church has such high growth rates because of baptisms for the dead. This is false. The Church does not count baptisms for the dead in convert baptism statistics. In fact, the Church seeks to not have people still on the records who are dead, and I know of a case of one person being listed on Church records as dead who was still alive.

    Secondly, some claim that those who have had temple work done for them will be said in later times to have been Mormons. This is false. No responsible writer, commentor, reporter, historian or other figure would ever do this.

    The fact remains Utah was the second state, only beat out by Idaho, to elect a Jew as governor.

  • Zed
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    JPL,

    Good catch and good comments. Thanks.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:23 p.m.

    I think people must bear in mind the Jews who have been advocating on this issue do not understand, let alone embrace, the reasons for baptism at all.

    People like me who can not recall when they first learned of baptism for the dead and have taught it in many ways at many points can not fully comprehend why people find it offensive.

    However, we have to recognize that some people sincerely do, but that no one intends to give offense in doing it.

    If those who dislike it would accept that offense is not intended, and those who support it would accept that groups like the Gathering of Holocaust Survivors have sincere disagreements with it, whether or not they are logical or informed by an accurate understanding of the past, we can move forward.

    The myth of te Holocaust as motivated by Christian hate of Jews, the myth of "anti-semitic passages" in the New Testament, and myth of those killed in the holocaust being mainly a religious people, have sunk deep. The reality is different, but will require going beyond out-of-context quotes and falsely represented photos. Till then we just need to be civil.

  • CB
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:27 p.m.

    It never hurts to maintain PEACE.

  • Bubble
    Sept. 1, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    In response to a few of the posters: You're right - how dare the Mormon Church act in a Christlike manner and show respect for fellow humans and their religious beliefs!

    The shame of it!

  • bikeboy
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    Good news. I'm thankful for my baptism into the Kingdom at age 8, and for the opportunities I've had over many years to participate in proxy baptisms, one way or another. No work is more important, IMO, other than personally living a life fit for the Kingdom.

    FOR THE RECORD...

    I'm a devout, practicing "Mormon." However, if you would like to do ANYTHING on my behalf, based on your own set of beliefs, that you feel might improve my chances of salvation and eternal life, I'll gladly accept those efforts, and sincerely thank you for your concern. (Frankly, I can't understand why our Jewish brothers and sisters wouldn't be grateful for the service, once it's been explained to them. Either it's a fraud, in which case nothing is lost. Or it's valid, and anxious recipients will be forever grateful.)

  • Not_Scared
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:18 p.m.

    The photograph is interesting. Where did all the leafs go in the background?

  • h3tec
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:28 p.m.

    It's good to get along! I am a Mormon convert and I think it is very respectful to do what another religion requests. What we believe is ours. Others don't have to believe that, but this shows the strength of the ordnance. Why would anyone object if they thought it to be incorrect or without power?

  • patriotandmore
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:34 p.m.

    Baptism for the dead was practiced in the Bible.
    "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?" (1 Cor. 15:29, NASB).

  • Bucket
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:35 p.m.

    I fail to see why anyone would complain. Do they really believe they will lose members to the LDS after death? We should be grateful that LDS members (or anyone for that matter) sincerely cares about the eternal opportunities available to all people. If you don't believe in this religion,how in or out of this world does Temple work hurt you or your family? What if you found out you or your grandparents were prospective Muslims on some computer system in Iran and that a cleric had pretended to be you for a brief ceremony? (It certainly beats them wanting to kill you!) Would you freak out? Apparently some people would. Why don't you spend your time trying to get off junk mail lists. Make sure you're on the "DO NOT CALL" list for telemarketers, but don't worry about membership in a religion which may take effect only after you're dead with your permission. If it so happens to be valid, wouldn't you want to be in the true plan of redemption? I would, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • Doctor
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    Onlyin the LDS church can this be considered a service opportunity. Feed the hungry.

  • Andersonsue
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    I have Jewish ancestory and my husband is a converted Jew to Mormonism. Lighten up Jews! Who cares.

  • skeptic
    Sept. 1, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    @John Pack Lambert, and what race do you think the Jews are?

  • Still Jim
    Sept. 1, 2010 2:00 p.m.

    Hillary Clinton said she would support a lawsuit against the church with respect to this subject. She also offered to represent them. Of course since there is little record of her ever winning anything we have to believe the church probably would have been able to continue. It is best in this case to try to get along with your neighbor. Now my neighbor who cut a hole in the back yard fence...

  • DrW
    Sept. 1, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    I agree with Lin, and never understood what the fuss with the Jews was all about.

    After all, would any of us be upset if some primitive tribe in a desert or jungle was passing bones around a campfire in our name and intoning religious chants? That would have nothing to do with our own lives, and neither does baptizing the dead have anything to do with our lives now.

    I have an extremely nasty and mean Mormon nephew, who is always threatening to baptize ME after I am dead! So what? My main knowledge of the usefulness of baptism is ANY form is that all over the U.S. one can usually get baptized -- complete with baptismal certificate -- for a contribution of as little as ten dollars -- and have whatever name and birth date one chooses on the certificate. It is an uncertain world, and who knows when it will be useful to get across a border under a different name and age?

  • AzLassie
    Sept. 1, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    To TjMcDonald: Yes it is our doctrine. But I look at it this way, during the Milenium there will be Temple work going on all day long. I am sure that HF knows what is best at this time and will provide a time and place for this precious work to go forth. Until then, I like what the church is doing in trying to find a peaceful solution. Hope that helps answer your concern,

  • Macaw
    Sept. 1, 2010 2:16 p.m.

    "The photograph is interesting. Where did all the leafs go in the background? "
    It must be a conspiracy. Maybe the leaves were removed in Photoshop?

  • Vicki Baker
    Sept. 1, 2010 2:56 p.m.

    Response to TJMcDonald - The churh has many times postponed things to have them take place at a later date when it would be less controverial. Just like a parent postponing giving a child at toy/opportunity until that child is best ready for it. I believe the Church acted wisely in this matter. As my mother always said "it's easier to catch flies with honey than sandpaper". Well Done LDS leaders for making peace now, so that in the future we as members will have smooth sailing when doing the Lord's work.

  • witch39
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    To the person who noticed no leaves on the trees. Good observation. it's probably a file foto.

  • Mags
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    @John Pack Lambert: What is your source for statement that many of the Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust did not believe in Gd? While it is true that there were many secular Jews living in Europe at the time of the Holocaust, that does not necessarily mean that they did not believe it Gd- it means that they did not follow Orthodox Judaism. It is possible to be a Jew, to believe in Gd and not follow Orthodox Judaism. The Nazis and their Allies may have murdered the Jews because they identified Jews as a "race" (despite the fact that there is no such thing as a Jewish race), but this does not mean that they were not religious. A relationship with Gd is a personal thing - and it is a disservice to the victims of the Holocaust make judgments about the religious beliefs of those who were murdered.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    To skeptic,
    It does not matter what race I think the Jews are in discussing the holocaust.

    What matters is what the Nazis thought. What the Nazis thought was that the Jews were a unique race.

  • understandingheart
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:38 p.m.

    @VF - Temple work will continue during the 1,000 year millenium for all those who have lived on the earth. The work will likely be at far less that the halfway point when the millenium begins. It is truly an immence, and blessed work.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Mags,
    It is also possible to be a Jewish atheist.

    My source that many of the Jews killed were such is Dr. David Weinberg, my professor of Holocaust History at Wayne State University.

    My source for there being Catholics in the Warsaw ghetto is Ringleblums's notes from the Warsaw Ghetto, a book written in the Warsaw Ghetto to facilitate a planne later work that was not done because the author was murdered.

    Anyway, my main point is that the extent to which the Jews killed in the Holocaust believed in God and what their religious views were is an issue misappropriated by those who seek special sensativity in religious matters for Holocaust victims.

    The Holocaust was not a religious persectution, it was a racial persecution. Dr. Weinberg attempted to drill this into our heads over and over again. To act as if it was a religious persecution is to mis-remember it.

  • The Atheist
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:53 p.m.

    John Pack Lambert,

    It is also possible to be an LDS atheist. I am one.

  • Common Sense Czar
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    To Doctor @ 1:38 PM
    "Only in the LDS church can this be considered a service opportunity. Feed the hungry"

    WE DO!!

  • understandingheart
    Sept. 1, 2010 3:58 p.m.

    It is my understanding that baptism is an earthly ordinance...even Jesus, the only perfect person to walk the earth, was required to be baptized while upon the earth. Temple ordinances for the dead, including baptism, will be the major work performed during the millenium.

  • RN4moms
    Sept. 1, 2010 4:37 p.m.

    Thanks to Relocated Southerner for summing it up so well. My feelings exactly.

  • davidutefan
    Sept. 1, 2010 5:16 p.m.

    Maybe I'm just dumb but, unless Jews believe in the validity of said baptisms? why should it matter?

  • Paw
    Sept. 1, 2010 6:19 p.m.

    I applaud the Church's decision. If we can quote doctrine to support proxy baptism of every soul, and use persuasive logic to explain why Holocaust Survivors should not be offended, but have not charity, we are nothing.

  • Soul
    Sept. 1, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    With all due respect, people should worry more about the security of their personal finances in cyberspace than a religious ceremony done in behalf of their DEAD ancestors' name.

    Many organizations already have your name, your ancestors' names, your living children's names, grandchildren's names; AND are doing whatever they so please with your indentiy. No complaints of insensitivity there!

  • snowman
    Sept. 1, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    understandingheart: That is why people on earth are baptized for the dead.

  • Mc
    Sept. 2, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    "It's doing this not because it's legally required to, but because it wants to go out of its way to show sensitivity to Jewish people."

    Would that some Muslims in NY could show such sensitivity!

  • Belching Cow
    Sept. 2, 2010 8:52 a.m.

    @The Atheist
    "It is also possible to be an LDS atheist. I am one."

    Now that is interesting. Could you please explain to me how that is possible?

  • Woody
    Sept. 2, 2010 9:26 a.m.

    I do not want anyone outside my family performing ordinances on behalf of my ancestors and relatives. I want to do it. When I joined the Church I was rewarded by the opportunity to take the names of several generations to the temple. Had I found the work was already done by someone unrelated, I would have been deprived of a true blessing.

    I have enough work of my own family to keep myself busy. I have friends that ask for help with theirs. I know that the we are to serve our "kindred" dead. In due time holocaust victims will have the blessings of the ordinances. The one who does it will be honoring their "kindred".

  • suechology
    Sept. 2, 2010 9:46 a.m.

    I would hate to take responsibility for someone elses choice in the next life. If someone took away my choice I'd get pretty ticked.

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 2, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    For those pondering the weighty question of no leaves on the trees at Temple Square, just drop your gaze a bit to the caption appearing under the photo.

  • Doctor
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    What happens if I, non LDS but obviously aware of the religion, die and no one performs a proxy baptism for me? What's the downside to not having this done? Serious question.

  • BP in SG
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    Interesting comments, I agree with many, disagree with a few.

    @ The Rock: Good sincere thought, communicating Doctrine and the reality that will one day be for the Jewish people. They ARE a Chosen and Blessed people, and will ONE day come to a true knowledge of the Savior. The Messiah was never meant to be a Political or Secular King like figure for the Jewish Nation to rally around for Temporal salvation. But rather He was, and IS, The Prince of Peace, The Almighty God, King OF Kings. His Kingdom is not of this world. It is IN the world, not OF the world.

    @ patriotandmore: I don't think enough has been said on that powerful scripture, and others in the Holy Bible. To make the obvious point, that scripture (and others) teach us that many of the Jews in Christ's time performed Baptisms for their Dead in the Holy Temple. When enough Jews recognize their true heritage as the Covenant People, all will come back full circle and those pure in heart will embrace The Messiah. This scripture is paramount to what is happening today. There is a prophetic reason the LDS and Jewish people are making amends.

  • BP in SG
    Sept. 2, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    One more note:

    It's important for any of the Jewish readers to know that we as members of Christ's Church today don't believe the Jewish people are inferior or secondary, just because we believe your nation will be LAST to hear the Gospel in these last days.

    In the days of Christ, we THE Gentiles were LAST to hear the Gospel of Christ. In these Last days, we were first, for God's own purposes that not even we fully understand (and won't until the Messiah's Second Coming). My opinion on the matter is that, in both cases, the "group" that was LAST to hear Gospel was meant to be humbled and reminded that the Blessings of Salvation are sacred and require a pure heart. But Jews and Christians alike are in the same boat because we've both been LAST at some point or another.

    All that our loving Father in Heaven cares about is the "Immortality and Eternal Life of Man". Immortality (living forever with our bodies and spirits) has already been granted to ALL. Eternal Life is Life with God, and that is reserved for the righteous (OF ALL NATIONS).

  • BP in SG
    Sept. 2, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    @ Doctor:

    It's a good question, and I don't know the answer for sure. What I know is that our Father in Heaven requires the specific and proper ordinance of Baptism for Salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of the Father (as evidenced by the Bible and Book of Mormon doctrines). And the Lord also tells us that ALL souls will have the opportunity to be baptized, whether in this life or the next (it is the same).

    I would suspect that somewhere down the road, one of your posterity will perform the work for you while you are in the Spirit World. Better yet would be for you to be baptized in THIS life, not because you'll be any more saved than you would by having it done proxy for you, but because you'll have that much more time on Earth to progress with your Body joined with your Spirit. That is one of the many blessings of accepting the Gospel in THIS life. There is much more to know on the subject if you'd like to inquire further.

  • Mel50
    Sept. 2, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    I am also puzzled why it matters so much if we are not of the true church and don't have any divine authority to perform these baptisms? If that were the case, then baptism for the dead would have the spiritual significance of a 5 year old baptizing his teddy bear in the bathtub. For the people who say they don't want their ancestors to be "made Mormon", are they then giving tacit acknowledgement that we have divine authority? That said, I do applaud the church leadership for addressing the issue and seeking to find a compromise with the Jewish people. The work will be done eventually, but now is not the time.

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 2, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    I have read all of these comments - many with great interest. Is it just my imagination, or are the comments on DN articles getting more sane and reasonable? It used to be (months ago) while I was always interested in what others were saying and thinking about a news article, I always felt like I needed to wear hip-waders to go through all the sewage that passed for commentary. Not that is necessary for others to agree with my POV (whatever that may be), but rather that the postings be well thought out and reasoned. Its much better now - whoever is responsible, and so the reason for this thank you.

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 2, 2010 2:59 p.m.

    Good to read that most of the comments above are positive and not attacking other posters’ characters. Good to see lots of interesting points of view and outpouring of understanding Church doctrine.

    I have taught many family history classes for the Church and am very specific about doctrine and policy with class members, both veteran and new Church members. Some of the elements the Church wants people who submit names for temple work to be sure about (and now certify as part of the submission process) is that they are related to the person whose names are submitted; to request permission if they are not more closely related than the living spouse, child, parent or sibling of the person whose name is submitted (aka, “Rights of First Refusal”) and to respect if such a closer relative refuses and move on to the next generation, etc., understanding that the work for all people will be done in due time. Or perhaps another child or sibling or parent will provide permission.

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 2, 2010 3:00 p.m.

    So many people misunderstand what baptism means, since the doctrine and practice has been twisted for so long in the “Christian” world since the Great Apostasy began. No wonder so many people fear it. For example, how many Jews during the Spanish Inquisition were forced to recant their beliefs and be baptized or be tortured further and die? And history is rife with many other such patterns. The whole concept of infant baptism is another example of subtle corruption. The list goes on and on. All of it has instigated fear and therefore a loathing reaction in succeeding generations, as we can see in the present case.

    Some who oppose the LDS practice of proxy baptism fear it so much because WE BELIEVE it so much. And their fear of our belief propels them to deny us any such perceived power over them. It is a perception, though falsely incited, but which rouses their emotions and motivations.

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 2, 2010 3:01 p.m.

    It occurs to me that all these events, even the nastier ones, happen for reasons, not all of which are apparent to us at this or even a near-future time. The Church’s policy, as exemplified in the recent announcement of understanding with Jewish Holocaust groups, for appeasing and respecting the wishes of these established groups will have resulting blessings and is done in the Lord’s wisdom. Sometimes we learn a goodly reason is to teach patience–remember Job? Think of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Junior, also. Even all the reasons for their ordeals are yet to be revealed. And the Savior taught, turn the other cheek.

    Maybe a prime reason is that Church members must learn to practice obedience in ALL things. As one poster above brought out, the Church’s directive about doing temple work ONLY for one’s OWN KINDRED dead has been around since proxy work was restored for general Church members to practice again, during the administration of Pres. Wilford Woodruff and the baptristry at the St. George Temple. Even when our desires are righteous, Sisters and Brothers, we must be obedient, else our faith is weaker than we had supposed.

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 2, 2010 3:01 p.m.

    Another reason, I suspect, is that the Lord’s House is a House of Order, as He has repeated in revelation a number of times. The proxy temple work needs to proceed in an orderly fashion and doing temple work for one’s OWN KINDRED dead is an orderly way to proceed, minding that we keep accurate and verifiable records, etc.

    Don’t forget that this work concerns ever greater blessings than the sublimity of baptism, of which Jesus Himself showed the way. Once baptized, greater blessings are in store and that work needs to be done in an ORDERLY manner, not just names left in the baptistry’s files. How is it orderly if we do baptisms and then neglect the other blessings?

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 2, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    Which reminds me: in teaching family history and temple work, one way I learned to mitigate the misunderstanding and fear about baptism is to approach non-believers in terms they can understand. For example, when asking them for permission, say something such as ‘you want to take the names of these loved ones, which you care about as well, to the temple to ask for further prayers and blessings in their behalf, as an expression of your faith in asking God’s blessings for these loved ones now departed.’

    In that way, for example with Catholic relatives, they can understand that what you are asking is like, in their terms, a Mass or prayers offered in the behalf of souls departed. Faithful people everywhere offer such prayers even beyond the funeral services for their loved ones; there is a reason for this widespread belief in blessings for the dead and departed…think about that.

    And this in no way mitigates or trivializes what the LDS faithful are doing in the temple. Each of the temple ordinances ARE prayers and blessings.

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 2, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    I have read all of these comments but I have yet to see anyone really address what is puzzling to me except for the one just posted by Mel50.

    If you are Jewish, heads-up please.

    If any of the Jews who are reading this felt offense at the practice of a few overzealous but faithful Mormons to perform proxy baptisms for Jewish holocaust victims, please step forward and help the rest of us understand why the angst?

    As has already been well explained elsewhere here, if the baptism is without authority, it is a non-issue. So, really, why does the idea of a religious group (other than the one you profess belief in), performing a baptism for a departed relative feel so offensive to you? What is it about this that sets your strings vibrating? Because some of these Jewish protests in the past have been intense. Actually, I felt the reporter doing the article should have addressed this issue as it is central to the story. It goes to motivation and the reason for acting as they have, in anger.

    Many of us would like to understand this.

  • Vanka
    Sept. 2, 2010 6:01 p.m.

    Abinidi7,

    First you offend us by assuming you have any business doing ANYTHING with regards to our deceased relatives, then you argumentatively demand us to justify why we are offended?

    And you wonder why Mormon narcissism isn't spreading like wildfire around the world?

    And you wonder why people aren't knocking on Mormons' doors asking to be baptized instead of 60,000 unwelcome missionaries knocking on everyone else's doors?

    Sheesh. How dense can you be?

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 2, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    @Vanka

    Thank you for stepping forward and for your response.

    I think I can understand the first part of your first sentence as to the idea of doing anything with regards to your deceased relatives.

    But I don't feel that I was argumentative in what I wrote. Certainly I did not intend to be argumentative. That is one of the problems with this form of communication. It is impossible to get all of the non-verbal clues (tone of voice, facial expressions, body language) which would make it clear that the intent behind my question was anything but argumentative. But if anything I wrote gave offense, I assure you that it was not intentional at all.

    (My, this 200 word thing is limiting)

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 2, 2010 9:47 p.m.

    @Vanka

    What I was thinking about when I wrote that was that I know of Jews who have entered the LDS waters of baptism and have susequently been doing vicarious work for their own kindred dead. When the work being done includes a grandfather that this woman is a direct descendant of, some of that grandfather's other descendants got very exercised and perturbed by that baptism. She and I were discussing this and she didn't understand their anger at all. Hence, the reason for my posting.

    I was seeking understanding, NOT looking to offend.

    The rest of the post I will not respond to because it would probably just lead to more misunderstanding and that is not my desire or way of doing things. Suffice it to say that you have me all wrong and I will let it go at that.

  • annie
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:00 p.m.

    I don't pretend to speak for the Jewish people, but I think the issue for them is a historical one. Jews have been repeatedly victimized by so called Christians for hundreds and hundreds of years and for a Christian group to come and baptize their ancestors and put them in a list as having Christian ordinances done is highly offensive. Mormons understand our doctrine of apostasy but Jews don't. They lump us together with all other Christians. And while the Jewish people have forgiven others for their history remarkably well, they don't necessarily want their ancestors and their history messed with by some of the perpetrators.

    My husbands grandparents are Jewish and don't want their ancestors messed with. We still do the family history and spend forever trying to convince other Mormons that it just isn't are place to go against their wishes.

  • county mom
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    "Atheist" We believe in Christ, we teach of Christ, we follow Christ. He is the Son of the living God, in whom we also believe. How can you beleive in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and by definition not believe in God?

  • John K
    Sept. 3, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    I just don't understand why it had to come to this. You would think we could have handled this in such a way that Jewish leaders would see that this is not an offensive practice. If they don't believe in our ordinances, why would they think their ancestors would be hurt by what we are doing?

  • morpunkt
    Sept. 3, 2010 1:47 a.m.

    I have a close family member, who happens to be Jewish. I love him more than anything. He also has relatives who are linked to the Holocaust. He says he's not offended in the least, regarding this matter.
    Oh well.

  • Paul in MD
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    Regarding comments about the photo, the caption says it was taken in 2005, but not what time of year. Given that there are no leaves on the trees, but there is a photographer in short sleeves and no one with a heavy coat, I'd guess it was in the spring.

  • Paul in MD
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:27 a.m.

    Doctor, many churches consider praying for the deceased to be an act of service. We just take that a step or two farther.

    We also perform many acts of service as you suggest. My ward takes several turns each year to provide food for a local shelter for battered women, usually having our youth put bag lunches together among other items. We also collect items and put together back-to-school backpacks for a local charity supporting under-privileged kids. Our ward also, like every other unit in the church, does its best to provide for the needs of the local members - assistance with food, rent, clothes, whatever is needed - to get them through the rough patches that most of us face at one time or another.

  • Paul in MD
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:44 a.m.

    I have not had a conversation with any of my Jewish friends on this topic, but I remember that my father's parents were adamant on the topic. They made him swear that he would not baptize them after they passed on.

    Many Christians believe that we each bear some accountability for Adam's transgression, so the idea of being adversely affected in God's eyes by someone else's action is not a foreign concept in theology.

    I've also heard of others who have been offended by the idea of our church baptizing their ancestors. This isn't unique to the Jews, but this is the most publicized incident. I applaud the church for it's efforts to be sensitive and accommodating.

  • Abinadi7
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    If readers here have not had the opportunity, you may want to read the article entitled "Mormons, Jews In New Pact On Baptisms written by the editor of the periodical "The Jewish Week". Since the policy of DN is not to allow URL's in these postings, I will not provide a link, but the newspaper and the article are easily available through a search using the name of that publication.

    I found that The Jewish Week article did a very good job of shedding more light on the question I raised earlier. I also found it interesting to have a perspective from 'the other side' of this news story. It was particularly illuminating to see how the controversy developed over time and the details of the earlier attempts to resolve this to everyone's satisfaction.

    It was also interesting that this policy is described as "the Church has carved out Jewish Holocaust victims as the only exception to a universal doctrine" with specific questions to be asked of submmitters in future name submissions for proxy baptisms. All in all, a very satisfactory conclusion.

  • path6
    Sept. 3, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    DEUT30:19
    I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

    JOB16:19
    Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

    D&C128:9
    It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of–a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

    I include those verses from the Old Testament as proof of the assertion ‘in all ages of the world…’

  • P
    Sept. 4, 2010 8:45 p.m.

    @ Paul in MD | 6:44 a.m. Sept. 3, 2010

    My Mother as well made me promise not to have her baptized after she died. She fed the Elders when they came by, she made sure we were rady to go to Sunday School with Dad etc. She indeed was proabably a better person than I am, or most of the friends I have.

    The brethern made the decision and I am sure it was not without a lot of prayer and I accept it and recognize it as a good solution in getting along with our fellow inhabitants.

    If yhere had be a decision that everyone had to have their Mother & Father baptized by next week regardless of their thoughts or wishes (or promises in my case) I might have to struggle whether it was a good decision or not and if I was "in" or "out." It might have been harder because it was effecting me personally.

  • snowman
    Sept. 5, 2010 9:24 a.m.

    P : Think of it this way. if you don't baptize your mother, you won't be an eternal family.

  • Not_Scared
    Sept. 5, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    "I believe that ALL souls WILL have the opportunity to have proxy ordinances done for them BEFORE the second coming of Christ. That will take time for it to happen but they will be given the right and privilege to do what they will want to have done for themselves AND their descendants."

    There are 36 temples. There are currently 6,697,254,041 on earth. If you baptized one dead person every ten minutes you get 72 per day per temple. Your current capacity is 2592 per day. It would take 2,583,817. days to baptized all these people or 7078.951083 years. There were 150,000 births today or 2083 or 5.7 years temple days of new baptisms.


    Humans have been around for 2,000,000. Writing has been around for 5500 years. Most lives aren't recorded.

    Do you see the problem?

  • snowman
    Sept. 5, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    Not_Scared: I don't know where you have been living but there are over 100 LDS temples. Ordinances for the dead need to be performed on earth.

  • Oh, please!
    Sept. 6, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    It's too bad the Muslims in New York City can't take the lead from the LDS Church and do the "right" thing.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 10:17 p.m.

    Acording to a hate rag that is published in Salt Lake City this piece was considered so "non-journalistic" that it caused an employee of the DN to quit.

    Such is just down right narrow-mindedness. The fact of the matter is this was a well written article. Some people may feel that it lacks journalistic digging to get another side, but in some cases such digging will only lead to more issues.

    Anyway, the hate mongers who seek to spead anger at the practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have no lack of voices.

    At least the Deseret News fully admits who the author is and what his connections are. Other papers that have written articles related to this subject have tended to put a name on the articles other than the name of the person who did most of the development of the article, and have misrepresented the back ground of the person they credit while failing to even deal with the background of the real source.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 10:24 p.m.

    I guess it is possible to be an LDS Atheist, but for totally different reasons than it is possible to be a Jewish atheist.

    You can be an LDS atheist because being LDS technically just means you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You remain LDS until your name is removed from the records of the Church either by your request or though excommunication.

    On the other hand in Judaism the way you are removed is unclear. According to the prevelanet but never fully articlualted view, you loose Jewishness not by rejecting the existence of God, but you do if you accept that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

    You do not even loose Jewishness if you become a Buddhist, at least if you limit it to fairly quite explorations of Buddhist thought as Ben Gurion did.

    It is not 100% clear if you loose Judaism if you accept Jesus as the Messiah but do not enter a formal rite to acknowledge such. Under the Israeli law of return if you do not enter the formal rite of baptism, you probably can still return.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 10:47 p.m.

    Abinadi7,
    You are right that in general the tone and quality of comments have inproved.

    The locked-in registration really helped this. I can not tell you how many times people posted using my name before locked in registration.

    As it is the "of Michigan" part of my name does not exist, as some may thing, to point out I am not in Utah at every chance I get.

    It exists because someone else had signed up to use my name without the of Michigan before I did. I complained about this, and that identity was supressed.

    However, since I think we should all only have one ID I have not created the second one. Thus, if someone comes on using John Pack Lambert witout "of Michigan" it is someone else.

    I do however think we still have too much of the back-lash comments. The primary haters are not as present, but the people who are on-edge and too sensitive because of the hating core are still too common.

    I would say those who support baptisms for the Dead need to figure out why Holocaust survivors oppose them. The response "I would not oppose such" fails.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    At some level I would say the main problem in all of this is people doing temple work in the wrong way.

    You are supposed to submit the names of your own ancestors for temple work. You are not supposed to submit the names of celebreties for temple work.

    On previous discussions on this subject I have seen people say things like "I would have no probelem with Catholics praying for me after death" or in respnse to "what would you do if the FLDS performed 5 additional marriages for your grandfather" people answer "I would ignore it totally".

    These are sincere answers in the latter case to a question that I find hard to believe was sincere, and if it was it was clearly ill-concieved.

    My deepest expose to the Jewish view on this was the expressions of the Jew in the work "The Mormons" on this.

    The problem is that paired with other over-blown arguments that one was hard to understand. I want to think the guy was sincere, but it is just so foriegn to my mind the way he approached it, I can not fuly graps the idea.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    I actually think it would be good for the DN to run an article entitled something like "why the baptisms for the dead of Holocaust victims are toubling".

    However, that may actually need to be explored in BYU Studies or a forum where long discussions are possible.

    The problem I have is that most discussion I have seen are build around such flawed understanding of what Baptisms for the Dead really mean and what the meaning and intents of the Holocaust were, that it is hard to give them credence.

    What someone needs to do is write a work entitled "Baptismophobia and the use of memory of the Holocaust". The problem is that probably even suggesting the title I will be branded an anti-Semite (despite having a grandmother who was raised as a Jew and being generally a strong-partisan on the side of Israel, I will point out that Palestians have the vote in Israel but not Lebannon). I am an ardent supporter of the three state solution, adding a state of Palestine to the current states of Jordan and Israel in historic Palestine.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    24waystospellit,
    The Spanish Insquisition did not force anyone to be baptized. By its very definition it only had authority over members of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Only people who had been baptized ever came under the purview of the inquistion. The general accusation was that these were "crypto-Jews" who had coverted either for higher position or the save their lives from a crazed mob, but still practiced Judiasm.

    Some have argued the real desire was to removed those of Jewish race from power, and it was a racist movement. However, these have been post-Holocaust writers who were also strong partisans of Israel. Others allege the cryto-Jews were actually practicing Judiasm and punished for this.

    I would take a middle position. I think Netanyahu (father of the current PM) is right that the issue was more power than religion. However I think his race profile is wrong. I think class is probably more accurate, the established old-families not wanting to be displaced by upstarts.

    The other issue too few have explored is whether the Jews still practicing their faith made them insincere converts. Not eating pork was grounds to be brought before the inquistion.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    Sept. 6, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    The debate over the origin and function of the Spanish Inquistion's treatedment of Jews has usually assumed that either the Jews were seccretly practicing their faith and thus insincere converts or that they were framed for political reasons.

    While some have admitted there may have been people identified in both rubrics within the Inquisition's setof victims, few if any have admitted that the possibilities are more complexed.

    On one hand, no matter how fake the Jews' conversion may have been, that does not prevent the Inquistion from being an excuse by one group to remove another from power.

    On the other hand, the assumption that any level of Jewish practice and Christian religion are incompatible needs to be examined more closely. No one questions that Daniel Rona and many other LDS Jews who do passover seders and such are Latter-day Saints. How much of Judaism can a Christian practice and be a Christian?

    In many ways, with the Messianic Jewish movement as well as the more vocal but also different Jews for Jesus, we have groups that have forced more thought on this by Christians but not any real contemplation by Jews.

  • 24waystospellit
    Sept. 10, 2010 1:04 a.m.

    John Pack Lambert of Michigan (6 Sep 2010): Strictly speaking about the practice of Spanish Inquisition, your statement about Jews not being forced to be baptized is correct. Ferdinand of II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile set up the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in 1478, and its stated intent to maintain the orthodoxy of Jewish and Islamic converts to the Catholic faith. For the Jews, it evolved into much more.

    Before and after the formal Spanish Inquisition began, long-term persecution of Jews and Muslims in the Spanish lands had led to the one-way-or-the-other forced conversions of non-Christians to Catholicism. Thus the stage was set for the Inquisition joining long history of European de facto abuse against Jews, converted and otherwise, as their race was against them as much as their religious traditions.

    And so, the obsession against Christian baptism of living OR proxy baptism for the dead, understandably leaves a revulsion for those descendant Jews who survived but continued to hold the memory of the centuries of injustice.