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mariakitty 04-16-05 03:08 PM

Mormon baptizing of the dead
 
As a hobby I trace the genealogy of my family, and I recently came upon some information that I would like to learn more about. My family is not mormon, but I have discovered that my great-grandfather has been "baptized" since his death as a mormon. I have two questions about this: 1) What is the basis of baptizing dead individuals according to mormon teachings and 2) can this be undone?

Here is a bit of background. My family is Roman Catholic and my great-grandfather was very devout. My grandmother is also a devout RC and as his only remaining living child she is not very happy about my little discovery. It is for her that I am asking these questions. I think what bothers her is that a stranger has baptized her Catholic father without her consent. Is this common practice? Being 83 she does not want this to happen to her after she dies and she wants to know if there is anything she can do to prevent it.

I myself am not sure this is a big deal as I fail to see how sometime can be baptized after death anyway. I do look forward to an interesting discussion on the issue. :)

Dalvin 04-16-05 03:12 PM

Goldberg or Ric should be able to answer you questions. Both are very intelligent guys with great answers regarding the LDS faith.

Numanoid 04-16-05 03:22 PM

Tell your Grandmother not to worry about it. Let's get real. It would be meaningless without the consent of the person involved, and since they're dead, that ain't happening. Would you be worried if a group of Wiccans ran through the cemetary claiming they were baptizing everyone into Wicca? I'd tell them to go right ahead, they're only entertaining themselves, their actions have no real-world (or after-world) effects.

Besides, I'd imagine that your grandfather had already been baptized as a Catholic. It looks like the Mormons typically do this for dead people who were never baptized: http://lds.about.com/library/weekly/aa112902d.htm

Also, it looks like Mormons teach that baptism by immersion is the only way to baptize. Are they immersing corpses?

Dalvin 04-16-05 03:25 PM

I love about 80% of the LDS faith that I have studied so far. It's that 20% that bothers me.


WOW we certainly seem to be the Mormon bandwagon this month

mariakitty 04-16-05 03:28 PM

I did tell my grandmother not to worry about it, but she is getting old and as such she gets fixated on things. I am hoping that by telling her I have at last asked the question about it that she can move on to another fixation. ;)

I have heard that often teenagers or missionaries are actually immersed in water at the time of baptizing the dead. I guess a name is read, the person is immersed to baptize by proxy and then another name is read, and so on. I just don't get all of this "by proxy" stuff, it seems rampant in the mormon religion.

OldDude 04-16-05 03:28 PM

I'm not Mormon either, but my wife is, or was. I've also run into this in the case of genealogy. I found this had happened to my grandparents, as well as greatgrandparents. Turns out I had a second cousin (or first cousin once removed?), my grandmother's brother's daughter had become a "stealth Morman" without telling anyone in the family, and baptized everybody who was dead that she could track down in her genealogy. I stirred up a can of worms when I discovered this in the LDS genealogical records and mentioned it to my mother (I didn't initially know who had done it until I got the microfilm.)

You will probably find it is some relatively tenuous relative, not a complete stranger. I certainly question the belief, but they apparently believe they are giving you a last chance to be "saved" by being baptized posthumously in the Mormon faith. So if you take the origin of the LDS Church as around 1840 or so, it seems to me that everyone who died after that had a chance to find out about the faith, and accept or reject it for themselves. "Converting" them after death seems "way wrong."

I don't know what you can do about it. You can go to a LDS family center and locate the microfilm records behind the data base. That would allow you to determine who submitted the genealogical information, and, as I recall, who performed the baptism of the dead. Maybe your grandmother should speak to her priest. I have no idea whether the Catholic Church would think this had any impact or feel the need to do anything to assert your grandfather's Catholic faith.

OldDude 04-16-05 03:30 PM


Originally Posted by Numanoid
Also, it looks like Mormons teach that baptism by immersion is the only way to baptize. Are they immersing corpses?

No, a living relative is supposed to stand in for you as a surrogate.

Numanoid 04-16-05 03:35 PM

Tell your grandmother that I'm going to re-baptize your grandfather as a Roman Catholic when I take a bath tonight. :)

mariakitty 04-16-05 03:38 PM


Originally Posted by Numanoid
Tell your grandmother that I'm going to re-baptize your grandfather as a Roman Catholic when I take a bath tonight. :)

LOL! She is SAVED!

kvrdave 04-16-05 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by Dalvin
I love about 80% of the LDS faith that I have studied so far. It's that 20% that bothers me.


WOW we certainly seem to be the Mormon bandwagon this month

:lol: It's like the candidates running for president on the no-name tickets. You read awhile and they sound like they have great ideas, and then the last line talks about going back to the gold standard, or something.

Gallant Pig 04-16-05 04:25 PM


Originally Posted by kvrdave
:lol: It's like the candidates running for president on the no-name tickets. You read awhile and they sound like they have great ideas, and then the last line talks about going back to the gold standard, or something.

:lol:

JasonF 04-16-05 05:51 PM

I don't see why people care. I mean, some yahoo can come along and say my deceased grandfather invented the pogo stick, but that doesn't make it true. Likewise, some yahoo can say my grandfather has been baptized and as a result, he's now a Mormon, but guess what -- he never was a Mormon.

So yeah, it's somewhat disrespectful to the people who are being posthumously baptized, but ultimately, if you don't believe in Mormon doctrine on posthumous baptism, it's a non-issue.

Goldberg74 04-16-05 06:36 PM

To answer mariakitty's questions:


Originally Posted by mariakitty
1) What is the basis of baptizing dead individuals according to mormon teachings?

Like was mentioned before, our church believes that true baptism is by immersion by one who holds the proper authority. We believe that there are many people in the world have not had the chance to be baptized, so members of the Church can perform these ordinances on behalf of their ancestors who have died, standing in proxy for them (we do not dig up the dead and baptize them).

Since we believe that all men must be baptized to enter into the Kingdom of God, this is a necessary step. Like most other religions, we believe that when a person dies, their body goes in the ground and their spirit goes to heaven to await the Resurrection of the Dead. Now, I understand that this might sound a little strange, but the person (who has died) that the work is done for does not have to accept it (on the other side). That is still their choice. They still have their free agency. When a member of the church performs the work for them we do not chalk it up as another convert or bloat the numbers of our membership, its just a service.

The names of those who we baptize for the dead come from the membership of the church through geneaology research. So somewhere down the line the probably have a relative with the same ancestor who happens to be LDS and they have submitted their name as one who needed to be baptized.


Originally Posted by mariakitty
2) can this be undone?

You are exactly right JasonF.


Originally Posted by JasonF
So yeah, it's somewhat disrespectful to the people who are being posthumously baptized, but ultimately, if you don't believe in Mormon doctrine on posthumous baptism, it's a non-issue.

If you do not believe it, then it has no effect on you.

As for it being reversed, there is really no need. It is their choice whether they accept it or not.

Now before anyone else brings it up... there was an incident quite a few years ago from the Holocaust Foundation that said that names were harvested from their list by someone and submitted for baptism for the dead by non-family members in the church. This has been resolved and you can read the article here if you'd like:

http://www.sltrib.com/search/ci_2651844

Goldberg74 04-16-05 06:58 PM


Originally Posted by OldDude
I don't know what you can do about it. You can go to a LDS family center and locate the microfilm records behind the data base. That would allow you to determine who submitted the genealogical information, and, as I recall, who performed the baptism of the dead.

The name of the proxy is not on the record, but the name of the person who submitted it is (or should be) on the card.

I had a friend who was a convert to the church and when a member of her family found out she was a member she yelled at her "If you baptize me for the dead, I will come back and haunt you!"

Trout 04-16-05 07:08 PM

I thought that baptism was done before you die so you wouldn't have to die. Baptism by proxy? Don't think I read that in the bible before.

wildcatlh 04-16-05 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by Goldberg74
Now before anyone else brings it up... there was an incident quite a few years ago from the Holocaust Foundation that said that names were harvested from their list by someone and submitted for baptism for the dead by non-family members in the church. This has been resolved and you can read the article here if you'd like

It was more recently than "quite a few years ago", and I read less than a month ago that despite the claims that it's stopped, it hasn't stopped.

Ranger 04-16-05 08:40 PM


Originally Posted by Numanoid
Are they immersing corpses?

I hope they really scrub down the tub after each use or at least change the water from the tub for the next live/dead person being baptized...

Goldberg74 04-16-05 10:39 PM


Originally Posted by WildcatLH
It was more recently than "quite a few years ago", and I read less than a month ago that despite the claims that it's stopped, it hasn't stopped.

I remember it better from when it happened about 10 years ago. Doing a new search on it brought up the article from a few days ago.

I have lived in UT for nearly 4 years now, so I'm out of the loop on that stuff.

sracer 04-16-05 10:52 PM


Originally Posted by mariakitty
As a hobby I trace the genealogy of my family, and I recently came upon some information that I would like to learn more about. My family is not mormon, but I have discovered that my great-grandfather has been "baptized" since his death as a mormon. I have two questions about this: 1) What is the basis of baptizing dead individuals according to mormon teachings and 2) can this be undone?

Here is a bit of background. My family is Roman Catholic and my great-grandfather was very devout. My grandmother is also a devout RC and as his only remaining living child she is not very happy about my little discovery. It is for her that I am asking these questions. I think what bothers her is that a stranger has baptized her Catholic father without her consent. Is this common practice? Being 83 she does not want this to happen to her after she dies and she wants to know if there is anything she can do to prevent it.

I myself am not sure this is a big deal as I fail to see how sometime can be baptized after death anyway. I do look forward to an interesting discussion on the issue. :)

Don't worry. The moment your great-grandfather passed away he was immediately present with the Lord. (I know that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that souls of believers go to purgatory first... but that's an issue for another thread)

A Mormon baptism of the dead is meaningless and has no effect on your great-grandfather's soul. We are all responsible for the decision effecting our salvation, no one can make it for us, no one can change it for us. Your great-grandfather accepted Jesus... he's in Heaven. Please tell your grandmother that she can rest easy knowing that he is, and that he won't be leaving. ;)

Venusian 04-18-05 09:43 AM


Originally Posted by Goldberg74
Since we believe that all men must be baptized to enter into the Kingdom of God, this is a necessary step.

where does this belief come from? Is it found in the book of mormon?

Venusian 04-18-05 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by sracer
Don't worry. The moment your great-grandfather passed away he was immediately present with the Lord.

i vaguely recall this being brought up here before, but i could be wrong. would you please provide scripture to back up that statement, thanks.

adamblast 04-18-05 10:25 AM

It's a real problem, silly as it sounds. Mormons are always looking to baptise all their old dead family tree--they think it helps them get into heaven--and they don't much care what their other non-Mormon decendants think about it. If you're not religious--like myself--then so what? But if you're devoutly *something else* then it's upsetting to have your past being tampered with and people being "claimed" after the fact *away* from their native religions.

It's a huge and ongoing issue with Holocaust victims. I mean, these people were murdered *because* of their jewish religion, so I can understand why present jews are ticked at Mormons trying to claim them...


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