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March 9th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Mormons crack down on proxy baptisms; whistleblower’s access blocked

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - In response to recent media reports that well-known Jewish Holocaust victims and slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl were baptized by proxy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is renewing and revamping efforts to crack down on the practice and, some believe, stop the attention.

The church said this week it had implemented a “new technological barrier” to prevent abuse of its massive genealogical database, parts of which have been used to carry out – as well as expose - proxy baptisms.

"The church is committed to preventing the misguided practice of submitting the names of Holocaust victims and prominent individuals for proxy baptism,” spokesman Michael Purdy said in a written statement.

“Anyone trying to access names that have been restricted will have their account suspended and be required to contact [the church] to establish their family relationship in order to have their access reinstated. Abuse of the system will result in the permanent loss of database access."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Whistle-blowing ex-Mormon researcher Helen Radkey, who uncovered the proxy baptism records that made headlines recently, says an account she was surreptitiously using to gain access to the database has been blocked.

“I have been effectively stopped,” Radkey told The Salt Lake Tribune. She said the church was “of course” targeting her.

The church, though, says Radkey’s blocked account was part of its effort to stop inappropriate proxy baptisms and not about Radkey.

“It is ironic for someone to claim they are being targeted by the measures we have taken to prevent unauthorized submissions for baptism,” Purdy said. “We are doing exactly what we have been asked to do and what we said we would do - denying access to names that should not be submitted because they are against our policy.”

Purdy said no one by the name of Helen Radkey has an account with the church’s database, known as New FamilySearch.

“If she, or anyone else, is misusing a church member’s identity to search for Holocaust names, then the system is set up to block those kinds of activities. There have been a handful of accounts blocked so far.

“We have said before that no system is foolproof but that we were committed to improving our ability to prevent unauthorized names from being submitted for baptism,” he continued. “To complain about us doing just that is baseless."

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

Word of the new measures and blocked accounts comes on the heels of a statement from top church officials that was read to congregations across the globe last weekend clarifying what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to proxy baptisms.

The statement said Mormons’ “pre-eminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.”

“Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances [rituals] any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” the statement read. It warned that members who violate the rules could lose access to the system and added, “other corrective action may also be taken.”

Efforts to deal with proxy baptisms are nothing new. Instructions on how to use and contribute to the database grew out of a 1995 agreement with Jewish groups that were horrified to find that people who died because of their faith were being baptized by proxy in Mormon ceremonies.

After the recent flood of stories, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel appeared on CNN and called on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reprimand his church.

Romney, meantime, has been asked if he has ever partaken in proxy baptisms. He says that he has, but so have most Mormons who are eligible to participate in temple ordinances. Also referred to as temple work, ordinances are the sacred ceremonies performed within LDS temples for the living and the dead.

Explain it to me: Mormonism

Proxy baptisms are part of that work, and Romney's participation was likely decades ago. The baptisms are generally completed by younger Latter-day Saints, between the ages of 12 and 20, with males and females being vicariously submerged for deceased persons of the same gender, explains senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“A white-clothed young man or woman, standing in a font of water about waist-high, represents the dead person,” she writes. “He or she is then immersed after the adult male baptizer (also wearing white) says these words: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and in behalf of [name of the deceased] in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Mormons, usually ages 12 to 20, are baptized for the dead in LDS temples.

To be sure, for the Jewish people, who have experienced their fair share of forced conversions over the centuries (think the Spanish Inquisition), the suggestion that victims like Holocaust victim Anne Frank or Pearl might be baptized after death can be horribly offensive.

Others might view the practice of proxy baptism as simply strange or utterly meaningless. If you don't subscribe to the Mormon belief system, some might say, why does the practice matter to you?

Still others view the practice as nothing short of laughable and have made a mockery of what Latter-day Saints view as sacrosanct. The website “All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay” lets users enter the name of a dead Mormon and click the "Convert!" button to make them gay. Comedian Stephen Colbert responded on his show by slicing off the tips of hot dogs, thereby proxy-circumcising dead Mormons to make them Jewish.

A special invitation, attendance optional

This isn’t a laughing matter to Mormons, not least of all church officials, who say they wish 100% of its members would abide by their instructions. Putting a definitive stop to inappropriate proxy baptisms, however, is complicated, if not impossible.

“With more than 14 million members around the globe, the church is no more able to guarantee compliance of every member with its policies than other worldwide faiths are able to guarantee theirs,” Michael Otterson, who heads up LDS Church public affairs, wrote in a piece for the Washington Post.

The practice of performing proxy baptisms isn't one that's going away.

Believing as Jesus taught that baptism is essential to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5), Mormons believe they are extending a loving invitation to those who died without having the opportunity for this rite. They point to 1 Cornthians 15:29, in which Paul spoke of baptizing the dead, a message LDS Church founder Joseph Smith took to heart.

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In doing proxy baptisms, Mormons do not claim to make anyone Mormon. They believe spirits in the afterlife are being exposed to the gospel, and a proxy baptism provides an opportunity to the dead to either accept or turn down the invitation to believe and find salvation.

Central to LDS Church teachings is the belief that families across generations can be united for eternity. Performing proxy baptisms for the dead is what makes eternal togetherness in heaven possible. Family history research for Mormons, as a result, is of sacred importance.

Members have been in the business of family research since the 1840s, writes Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune. So it’s no coincidence, then, that the LDS Church boasts the most comprehensive genealogical records available.

The church has compiled more than 2.64 billion searchable names in its online historic records collection, and more than 250 million names are added to the database each year, LDS Church officials say. Every year, FamilySearch produces more than 160 million digital images from source documents.

The database is accessible to the public online or at more than 4,850 LDS Church family history centers and libraries in 126 countries.

LDS Church members are given special accounts that allow them, in a separate process, to submit names for temple rites by proxy, as well as see other names that have been submitted and baptized. Such details are off-limits in the public version of the database.

“Our doctrine is for members of the church to submit names of their own relatives for temple work,” church spokesman Purdy wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Over the years the church has provided eligible names to take to the temple [for ordinances], but it is the primary responsibility of members to submit family names.”

In baptismal fonts in the 136 LDS Church temples that span the globe, temple ordinances for the dead take place every day but Sunday. So an overzealous or troublemaking Mormon in Sydney, Australia, for instance, might ignore instructions and enter a slew of names of people he’s not related to into the system. And then, sometime later at the temple in, say, Accra, Ghana, the people on that list might get baptized by proxy.

Because officials back at LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, can’t monitor what each member does, whether with good intentions or not, names slip through – names like Daniel Pearl, Mickey Mouse and Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother.

Understanding 'the messenger’

Often at the center of breaking proxy baptism stories is Helen Radkey. Touted as a whistleblower, the 69-year-old researcher has shamed the LDS Church time and again for objectionable or embarrassing baptisms.

An ex-Mormon who was excommunicated from the church, she is often seen by some observers as an obsessive agitator. Others praise her for her dogged commitment.

Radkey says she was active in the church for less than five years in the 1970s. In a 2009 profile in The Salt Lake Tribune, it was reported that this “Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-New-Ager” left her first husband and children to join the church because she wanted in so badly.

A grown son from a later marriage was quoted as saying, “She was on a crusade … to single-handedly take down the Mormon religion. She was so consumed by that, we had a hard time relating to it.”

But the Australian-born Radkey, who lives in Salt Lake City, points out that it’s often others who come to her looking for names, because she has found ways to get access to records and knows how to navigate the system. She suggests journalists, hungry for anything Mormon-related during this election season, have brought her down.

She says someone from a British newspaper asked her to look up Princess Diana, who was baptized in 1999. A wire service reporter called, she adds, wanting to check to see if there’d been a proxy baptism for Gandhi; there had in 1996. And it was a reporter from The Boston Globe, at the prodding of his editor who had once worked with Pearl, who reached out seeking info on his status, the results of which created the latest hubbub.

Helen Radkey is often at the center of proxy baptism stories.

Though Radkey says the church blocked the account she most recently had been using, she hints that she has other accounts available, though she won't divulge details or confirm anything. She also says, “I’m not looking up any more names.” This, however, is a claim she's made before, as she did in the 2009 Salt Lake Tribune profile.

Over the years, she says she’s heard people accuse her of trying to get rich off her efforts. “I don’t make a living,” she says. “I have to do other work, and I get Social Security.”

At one point, about 10 years ago, the head of a Holocaust survivors group paid for her time to accumulate a list of 1,000 Holocaust victims who had been baptized, after the LDS Church claimed the Jewish community was “overreacting to the problem,” says Gary Mokotoff, a Jewish genealogist in New Jersey who has been following the issue for 22 years, long before it made headlines.

Besides being compensated by the same group for her time and expenses in appearing at a news conference in New York a few years ago, “that is the only time [she] received compensation for her effort,” Mokotoff wrote in an e-mail. “Helen puts in hundreds of hours per year on the matter without compensation (and she complains to me about it).”

Others, Radkey says, have speculated that she’s entered the names of those she later finds in LDS records, a charge she denies, calling it “out of date and out of line.”

“The inference that I enter names into the Mormon system, which I never have, usually comes from a Utah mindset that would ‘kill the messenger’ rather than deal with the results of my work,” she wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Not only have I never done this, I should not have to explain away this false charge because there is not one shred of evidence that I have ever done such a thing.”

The upside for others, including Jews

For Mokotoff, a professional genealogist, there’s an irony to this issue that isn’t lost on him.

The past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and co-owner of Avotaynu, which publishes resources for Jewish genealogists, Mokotoff is beyond grateful to the LDS Church. He leads trips to Salt Lake City, ground zero for family research. He has benefited directly from the care Mormons take in gathering, preserving and sharing records.

“They have 2.5 million microfilm rolls that represent billions of names,” he says. “I traced back my ancestry to 1727 in Poland because they had made copies of birth, marriage and death records in Warka, Poland, the ancestral town of the Mokotoff family.”

But even so, he remains firm in his belief that the LDS Church must stop baptizing Holocaust victims, and preferably deceased Jews in general, by proxy.

Granted, he respects the caveat that the church has always maintained, that if a Mormon is descended from Jews or Holocaust victims, those names are fair game.

Mokotoff says he recently got an e-mail from someone who was concerned that a niece was marrying a Mormon, would likely convert and would then potentially baptize others in the family.

“She has that right,” Mokotoff answered. “It’s her religion.”

But just as she has that right, the Jewish community has a right to remain concerned about what's happening in a Mormon-only system it can't access.

Blocking a whistleblower like Radkey may slow the ability to keep tabs on proxy baptisms, but it's not insurmountable, Mokotoff says.

“The Mormon church thinks they have found a way to end the controversy between the church and the Jewish community: stop Helen Radkey,” Mokotoff wrote late Thursday in an e-mail. “Ten years ago, their religious database, then called the International Genealogical Index, was accessible to the public. Now it is a secret database that can be used only by password. Helen Radkey has found ways of getting around the church's barriers in the past. She is a resourceful woman. I am sure she will find ways in the future.”

‘It’ll never be perfect’

There are outsiders who wish the LDS Church would just stop the proxy baptisms altogether. But that’s both unrealistic and disrespectful, says Rabbi Gary Greenebaum of Los Angeles.

Greenebaum is intimately involved in the issue as a liaison between the LDS Church and the Jewish community.

“I can work with [the church], and I can suggest strongly what kind of actions they can take,” he says. “But when it comes to their own theology, I don’t have much of a place to tell them what they should believe.”

What the former American Jewish Committee director of interreligious and intergroup affairs can do is take his cues from Holocaust survivors.

“The issue is their relatives lived as Jews and were murdered because they were Jews,” he says. “The whole Jewish sense of never forgetting means remembering who died and why they died.”

To that end, he has worked with LDS Church insiders to alleviate concerns.

He also has seen up close the frustration within the church. He feels for the officials. He applauds them for the statement they issued to members on Sunday and the reminders of guidelines that appear on FamilySearch. He sees how they have made tweaks to the system, established safeguards and how entries are flagged for review, for example, if deaths were during World War II and in places bearing names of Nazi death camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka.

He has observed the new hires, the additional hours and money spent. With several million submissions of names in FamilySearch each month, he says he persuaded the church to do computer runs more frequently to help prevent inappropriate proxy baptism requests from seeping through. When violations appear, someone phones the submitter for a discussion.

When the church first worked out an agreement on the proxy baptism of Holocaust victims back in 1995, there were 8.5 million LDS Church members, Greenebaum says. Now that number is 14 million, and between Internet access and computer advances, the system is enormous and not easy to control.

As a result and despite the hard work, mistakes are bound to happen.

“It’s moving closer to being figured out,” Greenebaum says. “But it’ll never be perfect because it’s just too vast. And it’s important to appreciate the problem they’re dealing with.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Faith Now • Holocaust • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Utah

soundoff (1,493 Responses)
  1. oneSTARman

    The Temple Baptismal Font at Salt Lake City is surrounded by 12 Golden Bulls with Horns – Which might be where what I SMELL is coming from. I think if the Mormon Church can determine NAMES to Block accounts; they know the NAMES up for PROXY BAPTISM at 136 Temples.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  2. Benjamin

    Mormon theology is quite ridiculous.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Observer

      Well, it's a work in progress.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • A Random Californian

      I know. This crazy baptism by immersion stuff and laying on of hands by the gift of the holy ghost...Jesus never did any of that stuff, man. Oh...wait.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  3. New Jersey

    Thank you, CNN, for the most complete and fair analysis I have seen on the issue by a large, widely read media organization!

    March 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  4. Hypatia

    Really? Do they think they are Iran and able to bs and lie their way out of this grotesque practice over and over? The database is still open to the public. All their protestations in 1995 meant nothing but a plug nickel. LIARS and graverobbers.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  5. LaLa

    So are they going to "take back" the proxy baptisms ? Apologize to the individual families ? I won't hold my breath.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • MomofPlenty

      How does one take back a proxy baptism? That makes no sense.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  6. Tutuvabene

    Why such an uproar. For non Mormons, proxy baptisms are meaningless. Did the practice really make Ann Frank or Daniel Pearl any less Jewish? For someone who is secure in their faith, the matter would be "so what."

    March 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • oneSTARman

      The Protesters from that Topeka church carry sign at Dead Soldiers Funerals proclaiming 'something like' GOD HATES FLAGS' and THAT doesn't make it TRUE -It just shows AMAZING DISRESPECT

      March 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Rebeckah

      Another example of an abuser denigrating the feelings of others. It hurts because it hurts to see our family hijacked and associated with a religion that is so abusive to others.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  7. Michael

    Oh for goodness sakes, who cares what a bunch of folks do with their time? Its just a group with particular beliefs performing a ritual meaningful only to them and having no impact on the souls of anyone. No-one should care in the slightest, it has no power over anyone.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Where exactly are their souls ? Be VERY specific.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • *facepalm*

      I would agree that it's a silly ritual that has no direct impact (of course, I would also state that there is no soul, so it's hard to have an impact on an imaginary thing).

      that said, I get the controversy. This is one religious group going out and telling another that their views are superior. When you start messing with the dead, you're walking on some touchy ground. I can easily see how someone would find this rude and offensive.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Rebeckah

      Family members care. It is a violation of the memory of our beloved dead.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  8. M3

    All you need to know about the Mormons and their leaders... The massacre of innocent travelers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre

    March 9, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • BHS2PSU

      Have you ever heard of the Haun's Mills massacre or extermination order from the Governor of Missouri making it legal to kill a member of the LDS church. Those people did something atrocious, but did so on their own accord. No church leader told them to do so.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Rebeckah

      BH, how many Mormons were killed in Haun's Mill? How many killed as a result of the extermination order (which FOLLOWED a Mormon sermon calling for the extermination of non-Mormons)? And how many were killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Oh the hypocrisy!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Steve

      It was never clear who exactly was responsible for the Mountain Meadow Massacre. There is no clear evidence it was ordered by higher leadership or whether it was a few local individuals acting on their own behalf. The LDS church has more than apologized and even erected a monument to the victims of that tragedy.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  9. christards

    christards

    March 9, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  10. Get a Life

    How come everytime l look at belief blog comments it's the same 5 losers posting everytime and saying the same things?

    I feel bad for some of you.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Bugs Bunny

      Aside from you, who are the four other lossers?

      March 9, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • And that makes you....

      You're obviously a xtian. It's readily apparent by your holier-than-thou and hypocritical attitude

      March 9, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Pot, meet kettle

      Yes Just sayin/GodsPeople/Atheism is bad for..., we're oh-so envious of you.

      Troll.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  11. abinadi

    You must realize that proxy baptisms don't mean anything to absolutely anyone except members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why should anyone care? It doesn't affect them in any way. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt by enemies of our church to embarrass us!

    March 9, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Brad

      I agree. Insensitivity comes into play when the practice is advertised to the world, which doesn't seem to be what Mormons intend.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      No one can embarrass you. You embarrass yourselves. The Book of Abraham....indeed.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Michael

      I agree totally. You only give this silly ritual power by paying attention to it and believing in it. Otherwise, its just nonsense.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Grampa

      But wouldn't you agree that there is a certain hubris involved in presuming to baptize dead strangers who never shared your faith? How would you feel if Pastafarians presumed to baptize dead Mormons into the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

      March 9, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Laura Gun

      Grampa, this is why people in the church do work for their own kindred dead. The article points out (which is true) that members of the church are allowed ONLY to do the work for their own ancestors. It isn't just some random group of people who have no meaning to them. But some names have slipped through the cracks, and the church works to correct that.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Reply: To Grampa

      If any religion took the time to care about me after I was dead, I would be flattered. Whatever "rituals" each religion performs it's privy to those that believe and follow its intent. If other religions want to burn me in effigy after I'm six feet under, go right ahead. This is what this country is founded upon. Religious freedom. (For the most part.) Let others worship how and what they may. And if anyone out there wants to baptize, induct, or sprinkle me after I'm dead please do so. Thanks in advance. (You see why I just wrote that? Because I'll be dead) ;)

      March 9, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Rebeckah

      Apparently you have your "empathy" receptors turned completely off. Obviously it DOES matter to nonMormons. We loved our deceased family members and are hurt and appalled that Mormons are so arrogant and hard hearted as to hijack their memories so they can earn brownie points with their imaginary friend. We care - get used to it.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  12. Get a Life

    How come everytime I look at belief blog comments it's the same 5 losers posting everytime and saying the same things?

    I feel bad for some of you.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    March 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Bill

      [citation required]

      March 9, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      It never seems to change your posts.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • mb2010a

      Prayer doesn't change things...
      Proven.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • xesor

      If you are going to pray, make sure it is to the right God though. Jesus, Apollo, Alla, Budda, Obama or Bush, if you don't chose the right one, it could be your life. Like the ones praying in the trailer while the Tornado struck.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    your whistle has been blown!

    March 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  15. Chris

    Mormons incorrectly believe in baptizing the dead and misunderstand baptism in general. However, I'm not sure why they'd want to stop this practice if it's something they believe.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's simple enough to stop. All they have to do is realize that their actions are offensive and unwelcome.

      Okay, maybe it wouldn't be so simple. They'd have to learn human decency and respect for others, something that the radically religious don't seem capable of grasping.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Cindy

      They will never stop. That is how they get their "faithful" in the temple. It is misleading to say that temple work is for the "living and the dead". A living person only goes through ONCE for themselves. Every single other time they walk through the temple it is to take on a dead person's name. They will begin with baptism. It doesn't end there. It will continue through the endowment session, which is where the living person (pretending to be the dead person) puts on funky clothes that includes sashes, fig leaf aprons, veils and hats, repeat chants, and make promises to NEVER reveal what just occurred or else willingly sacrifice their physical body spiritual soul to a gruesome death for eternity. Until the late 1990's, they actually made everyone go through the motions of slitting their own throat and disembowling themselves to get the point across of the seriousness of these "sacred" vows. The crazy doesn't stop there – they learn secret handshakes, code words, specific chants that they are supposed to "remember" AFTER death to get to the other side. If you don't remember, you don't get in, which is how they keep the LDS people coming week after week after week. They are worried they won't remember these things upon their death and be stuck in Spirit Prison.

      It is misleading to say that Romney only participated in these proxiy's "decades" ago. He may not have physically participated in the baptisms, but each time he walked through the door, he participated in the other ordiances by proxy for a dead person the LDS church believes is required to attain the highest degree of glory – the Celestial Kingdom. I find it difficult to believe that Romney, a "devout" Mormon, hasn't been in the temple for decades.

      The LDS church's audacity to infringe upon your rights, even dead, and your children's rights, by forcefully and secretly making them part of their crazy cult is just one example of their lack of respect and personal boudaries for everyone on this planet. They believe they are following a "higher law" and they are following God's commandment, so your personal desires, wishes, feelings, and respect are of no concern to them. They will continue to baptize Holocaust victims and anyone else who had died, whether they died yesterday or a 1000 years ago. Since they are *this close* to getting a Mormon as president of the country, they will just block their dishonesty on this issue from being made public and pretend to be a "normal" version of Christianity.

      As for Romney, I wouldn't vote for him if he was the only choice. When a man isn't allowed to make a choice as simple as choosing what underwear to put on (because the Mormon church controls EVERY choice in their member's lives – including their underwear), he shouldn't be making choices for our country or creating laws on our behalf. Do not fool yourselves....if Romney is elected as President, you've just put the Mormon Church in the driver's seat in your life.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Reply to Cindy

      Wow! Your really have issues. See a therapist. Soon! And stay away from pills.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Willard Mittes

      Maybe they should just move their headquarters to Mexico. That's how they got around the pre-reuiqsite of banning polygamy to become a state no???

      March 9, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Cindy

      Feel free to point out ONE thing that I wrote was untrue. C'mon...speak up...oh wait, you probably won't... you're worried about those death oaths aren't you? I think that makes you the crazy one, sweetie. :)

      March 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • btldriver

      Cindy
      Not sure why you put faithful in quotes unless you think being temple-worthy is some sort of club that a committee chooses who to let in and keep out. If you're a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can go into the temple if you live up to the simple rules.
      And I think you have "secret" and "sacred" mixed up. Secret implies some sort of punishment if revealed, i.e. military secrets, and sacred means its a person experience that others may not understand and so mock the experience, i.e. casting pearls before swine. Temple worship is not secret, but sacred, as seen by your post unless some police squad showed up on your doorstep recently to punish you.
      And yes I did go through once for me to take out my endowments after that it has been a learning experience because, like reading a book over and over or seeing a movie more than once, you learn different things depending on what's happening in your life at the time. As for the underwear thing, I choose to wear my temple garments but I also have regular underwear for activities where temple garments may be inappropriate, such as some sports like basketball or running, and if I choose not to wear them there aren't any goon squads out looking for me.
      Finally, if Romney gets elected I really don't see Pres. Monson offering advice on how to run the country, not his job, he has members all over the world to be concerned about so I'm sure he'll let Romney do what he's elected to do.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Not sure how Mormons misunderstand baptism. They believe it is a symbolic gesture of having their sins washed away and coming unto Christ. They believe it is the first open ordinance or ritual that reconciles the soul with God. They practice baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, through faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ. Seems pretty clear and understood to me.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    I bet the new "security measure" is changing the password to their database server from "m0r0n1" to "j0e$m1th".

    March 9, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  17. Four Jumps to Insanity

    ...
    no educated person could take this cult seriously
    ...
    ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

    March 9, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • BHS2PSU

      As an MD/PhD I am both highly educated and know that this is the churhc the Chirst directs. Those who do not understand the meaning behind the "rituals" is because they have not studied what we believe and what Christ did on the earth and after he died. Learn something, ask appropriate questions, then you can comment without looking ignorant.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Too bad you know nothing about Quantum Physics, and Scripture. As I said NO educated person can take this crap seriously.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Madame Laveau

      BHS2PSU,

      There is just as much verified evidence that my rituals are effective as there is for yours.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Doctor, let me help you. Have you seen the examination of the Book of Abraham ? If so, you could not be rational, and still accept it. If THAT is BS, so could ALL the rest of Joe Smith's nonsense. If you WERE educated in scripture and religion, you would KNOW what is essentially UNCHRISTIAN about this cult. It does not lie within, and stem from "christian" origins. NO Christian mainline sect arises from ONE man. Christianity arises from communities, or it is declared "heresy". Joe Smith was a heretic.
      ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE

      March 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      March 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Cindy

      The doctor will never watch the clip because it's not "church approved" and he wants to remain in "good standing" in the church by disassociating himself from apostates and "anti-mormon" information. The doctor has made his conclusions based on what the church has allowed him to see, read and hear and has told him how to feel. They've even told him the "thinking has been done", so there is very little chance he/she actually did a thorough study of the church, it's history and it's prophets before deciding it was "the true church."

      He may be a good doctor, but his "education" on THIS matter is full of gaping FACTUAL holes and therefore, meaningless.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • btldriver

      So FJtI and Cindy,
      What makes you experts on why Mormonism isn't a religion versus Doc' opinion? Are either of you theologians and have studied many religions to determine the correct one? Maybe you are and did and I don't know it. Did you produce the video that you linked to or did someone else send it to you and you took it at face value that it was correct and didn't really investigate it? One thing members of the LDS faith are encourage to do, unlike some other religions, is to know for themselves what is true and to not rely on what someone else says is true. We are encourage to study, understand and gain our own testimony of truthfulness and not just take someone's, regardless of their position, word that it is true. So that would be my advice to you, study it with an open mind, meaning you might learn that in fact what you are saying could be wrong. Don't take what someone else says, posts, sends a link for, or creates a website about as the total and absolute truth, because really with the right spin truths can become lies and lies become truths as we can see in the court systems. Learn for yourself and follow the admonition found in James 1:5 – 7 and the God will let you know the truth if you're ready because right now you may not be ready but later on in life you might be.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • btldriver

      FJtI,
      On your post about "NO Christian mainline sect arises from ONE man." John Smyth was the founder of the Baptists, Martin Luther disagreed with the Catholics, posted his thesis and shortly began the Lutherans and we see this with the Calvins, Wesleyans and other religions. Yes there are some religions started by groups but other main stream religions were started by one man and then spread to a society or collection of people. If you study the Joseph Smith History, he was looking for a church to belong to and would have been perfectly happy as a Methodist or Protestant, so he wasn't looking to start a new church he just wanted to know which was true, but when he prayed about which church was true it was then he received his answer. No matter what you think, agree or disagree, Joseph Smith at least claimed to build God's church according God's direction as opposed to others who simply disagreed with their religion and started something according to how they think it should be done.
      Finally, in the end weren't all Christian/catholic religions started by one man-Jesus Christ?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Cindy

      Oh btldriver, sorry to bother you AGAIN with the facts, but we both know that Mormons aren’t allowed to read, study, watch, listen, or associate with people who aren’t fully supportive of the church. They label them “apostates” and ask that very question in your temple recommend interview, which I’m sure you’ve answered numerous times with a resounding NO.

      “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

      This is just one example as to how the LDS church controls ALL information you are allowed access to. I guess this just means we can’t be friends or else you’ll be banned from the temple, because if you were even to consider agreeing with me – a total stranger – you’d be quickly labeled an apostate. Do you really expect anyone to believe, given this massive amount of control over the members lives the LDS church exerts, that you would even DARE pick up a book that could be construed “anti-Mormon” or click on a link that wasn’t on the church’s website? Yes, the church encourages you to study the scriptures, church books, church magazines and pray to base their testimonies on, but all of those “resources” are produced by the church, bought in your bookstores and sent by subscription to your home.

      I never said Mormonism wasn’t a religion. I think it’s a religious CULT, but it’s still a religion. It was started by a man whose creditability is zilch. Ask yourself if you’d willingly hand over your 14 year old daughter to some guy who claimed an angel with a flaming sword commanded him to marry her, and that this sacrifice will guarantee the entire family’s exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. Ask yourself why he was killed IN A SHOOTOUT he participated in while he was attempting to break out of jail. And WHY was he in jail? Why did Joseph Smith change his first vision story many times before the church settled on the sugary version memorialized in the First Vision move? The only “spinning of truths” that is occurring is from your church leaders. I could go on and on with examples of the twisted of this cult, but already know it’s really is falling on deaf ears. I encourage you to take your own advice – FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF and NOT RELY ON WHAT YOU ARE TOLD before reaching your conclusions. It’s quite possible you’ll discover the lies and who created them might shock that magic underwear right off you. More than likely you won’t and continue to spout things you’ve been told from the pulpit or read in the Ensign. because like your very own Boyd K Packer stated, “Some truths aren’t very useful.”

      March 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Don't bother praying there is no god.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  19. MarkinFL

    Its pretty obvious that her use of a surrept.itious account would come under the heading of misuse. She exposed the problem, part of which was obviously the ease of access that allowed her to log in in the first place. Also, how can you argue against having an improper account removed? I'm certainly not a Mormon supporter, but I am a logic supporter.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Louise

      Good point. If she lies about who she is to improperly access information she shouldn't, who's to say she is honest enough to trust when she says she hasn't submitted any names herself?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 9, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Spam for breakfast!

      March 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Good morning troll program. Why don't you stop lying to everyone and just stop posting the same thing on every article multiple times without ever responding to comments? Oh yea, that's right, because that's just standard procedure for all theists. Keep saying something enough and hope someone will believe you. You can tell the same lie a thousand times but it never gets anymore true.

      March 9, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Jesus

      ~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...

      March 9, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • boocat

      Here we go again......

      March 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      This is just a spam-bot. Sadly, it's "Just Sayin's" only friend.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Hugh G. Rection

      Yeh, it makes planes fly into buildings, it makes people wipe out mayans, it stifles progress as in the dark ages.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.