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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. Ungodly Discipline

    Clemenza on Proxy Baptism:

    Come on, don't fool around. Just let your hand drop to your side and the holy water will slip out. Everyone will still think you've got it. They're gonna be staring at your face. So walk out of the place real fast, but you don't run. Don't look nobody directly in the eye, but don't look away either. They're gonna be scared of you, believe me, so don't worry about nothing.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Oh, and don't forget the cannoli.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  2. JB

    None of us are exposed because we still have choice. The dead no longer have choice and I think they already made their decision

    March 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  3. Everything is Upside Down

    How dare those Mormons! Even the Middle Eastern Muslims let them remain Jewish. They only want to kill them, not baptize them!

    Get a grip, people. If the worst thing the Mormons are doing is saying dead people's names and dunking themselves in water as a means of saving them, let them do it all they want.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  4. TommyTT

    Unfortunately, it's not enough to stop the "baptism" of famous names and Holocaust victims. That still leaves the rest of us exposed to this smug and intolerant practice. I don't want anyone thinking they can kidnap the souls of myself and my family without permission, even if it's only a figment of the baptisers' imagination.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • MistahBurns

      Man you just made me laugh so hard. Pretending you are important enough for the Mormons to baptize by proxy. Delusions of grandeur.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  5. JB

    This is a non-starter. The only reason that this is a headline is because Mitt Romney is close to becoming a candidate for POTUS. That is it! CNN go do something productive like reporting on real issues that we actually care about like the debt, gas prices or economy that the current President is failing on

    March 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      On the Belief Blog? What are you talking about? Read the front page if you want that. SomeONE babtize JB QUICK!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam

      But...but that stuff is so boring! This is much more amusing than any of that. C'mon.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Proxy Mormon Temple

      BAM! Dude just earned himself a proxy baptism.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Close call.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • TommyTT

      This is NOT a non-starter to me. It's a highly offensive practice. Through history, Jewish people have been forced into enough false conversions already. To have it going on here in the contemporary United States, even if only to our dead, is intolerable.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dave, CA

      RRRiiiiighhht- So in your "opinion" the LDS Church should be able to go about desecrating the dead bc Obama isn't living up to YOUR ideals. What fantastic alice in wonderland logic you have! Do seizures come with your delusions?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      They are dead.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • JB

      I am Jewish and this doesn't offend me in the least because the dead no longer have choice. I think it is in poor taste and foolish but as long as no one is trying to force the living they can do whatever they want no matter how goofy

      March 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  6. Red

    What about all the Holocaust victims waiting in spirit prison for someone to do their work? I'm surprised the church bowed into social pressure on this issue when souls are at stake.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      They went to the mattresses to get their boy elected.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  7. daveinla

    What's the big issue here?

    March 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  8. ANTIETAM

    No, such baptisms make sense as Mr. Smith found the Book of Mormon on a Jewish resort in the Catskills. Also, Roger Dangerfield, of Jewish persuasion, worked there as a stand up comic at the time, and he used some items from the book. Bus boys and waitresses all followed the Hebrew religion and only served Kosher. Therefore it is fitting that Mormons are going back to their Jewish roots and honoring these prople.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      See Rosalie, I told you it was a joke. Thanks Antietam! Ta Dut, Chi!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Rosalie

    Any person that searches in Heritage ,or anscestors web sites, all the names are use to baptize them as Mormons and enter them in their books, it is not a joke, if one is interested that descendats know their roots, in years to come , they will show as mormons to them.
    I am a practicing Roman Catholic, my children are the same,my husband was Jewish and I want that great great children know who we were and we were not Mormons.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      What a joke.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Critic

      Practicing Roman Catholic? Well you really practiced well sister, you married a Jew and converted him to your religion. No purgatory, or sacraments needed for you. A real Christian is one who either kills a Jew or converts one. Kinda like islam but we will never tell. I wonder who your kids will believe in? If they believe at all!!.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Critic

      If you want to start a huge argument, a fight, a war, make money, start a revolution, destroy someone, some place, or just anything unthinkable.............Start talking about religion. Religion is only good if it is kept personal, the moment it becomes a public debate,. hell breaks loose. Just like today, on this website.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Adam

      I'm sorry, but this is simply not true. The Church does not claim that all those baptized by proxy accept such a baptism nor do they change any records to state that those baptized are now mormons. I appreciate your concern, but it is unfounded.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Psst,

    Religions are for singles and dweebs.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Ungodly Discipline

    Can we talk about toast or pancakes or something? I am tired of mormons.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam

      Homemade rye toast with a little peanut butter. That's the best toast.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Thank you Sam, finally something interesting and relevent. For me, gotta go with that warm sour dough, olive oil and basalmic vinegar. Bad for my middle though.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • TR6

      Pagans, Heathens, blastfemers and republicans, you'er all going to burn in hell! Everyone who is righteous and god fearing knows the only true toast is sourdough with real butter and honey. It says to in the Brindlecrab!

      March 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  12. There. Are. No. Gods!

    Religious people are so crazy!

    March 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  13. dalai dalai dalai

    Prayer is indeed a powerful tool. DEAR GOD, PLEASE CONVERT ALL MORMONS TO GAY NOW! Please make it happen immediately in the most peaceful and loving way. Please convert all mormons to gay in the name of father, son and holy ghost. Amen.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Hey this is my turf! I'm the one who posts the same thing over and over all day every day!!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Dave, CA

      With my pixie dust I convert all post-life mormons into gaydom! Poufffe! All deceased mormons are now Friends of Dorthy.
      Fab-U-lous!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Dr. Howard Dr. Fine Dr. Howard

      There is a website that lets you do that Mormon to gay conversion:

      http://alldeadmormonsarenowgay.com/

      I already took care of Joseph Smith jr, Brigham Young, and "every mormon that ever lived"

      March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  14. Colin

    Can a Mormon please help me? I am having trouble distinguishing which of the following is a sacred religious belief that a person should never criticize or question and which is a child's fairytale that no sane adult would take seriously.

    Joseph Smith stared into the big black hat. Inside were magic gold tablets – which nobody else would ever see- which told Joseph the secrets of the Universe, of life, death and the afterlife. They explained to him how, if he performed baptism ceremonies for dead people, he could cause them to be admitted to heaven and how, if he wore certain sacred underwear, he would be protected from evil spirits in this life and in the end times.

    Harry Potter stared into the big black hat. Inside were magic gold tablets – which nobody else would ever see- which told Harry the secrets of the Universe, of life, death and the afterlife. They explained to him how, if he performed baptism ceremonies for dead people, he could cause them to be admitted to heaven and how, if he wore certain magic underwear, he would be protected from evil spirits in this life and in the end times.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • The Truth

      Your preacher spent entirely too much time coming up with this really poorly contrived example in his sermon last Sunday, huh? Or did you actually come up with that on your own? Poor guy, don't ever try creative writing again, ok?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      @the truth

      You are an idiot. Colin is simply saying that God is imaginary. Creative writing? Where did you come up with that one?

      When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

      • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

      • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

      • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

      The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

      According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example, the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

      Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

      God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary

      March 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • The Truth

      Wow, your sermon has opened my eyes. Oh wait, I already didn't believe... I was simply pointing out that he's ill-informed about Mormons and his writing sucks. Also, you are an idiot. Just another moron (who thinks he's incredibly intelligent) giving atheists a bad name.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      You hurt me with your words.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • The Truth

      I wasn't worried. I knew your ego would cushion you from any real harm.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ah, come on and lighten up. We can Proxy Babtize each other. It will be fun, and I will remember next time that you are a Colin (and me perhaps) hating athiest, but an athiest none the less.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  15. VinoBianco

    Because god is sitting up in heaven in a lay-z boy watching to see if someone get's dunked in a dirty pool full of water before they are allowed to go to to heaven. Because god is watching the mormans and admiting people who have been waiting around in hell to heaven if the mormans do a little abbra-kadabra baptism magic. Uh huh, sure. Makes perfect sense to me. And If I clap my hands three times I'll win the lottery. These people are the definition of OCD, but I guess if you call your mental disorder a religion you won't get committed.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  16. dalai dalai dalai

    DEAR GOD, PLEASE CONVERT ALL MORMONS TO GAY NOW! Please make it happen immediately in the most peaceful and loving way. Please convert all mormons to gay in the name of father, son and the holy ghost. Amen!

    March 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  17. Ungodly Discipline

    They are doing what MUST be done! Everybody on earth now was a spirit in the pre-existence. When we die, our spirits are separated from our bodies and if we were good they go to “spirit paradise.” If we were bad they go to “spirit prison.” The spirit world exists as a place for spirits to go while awaiting the second coming. Do you want bad people to be in "spirit prison"? They don't even have Direct TV there.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • dalai dalai dalai

      DEAR GOD, PLEASE CONVERT ALL MORMONS TO GAY NOW! Please convert all mormons to gay in the name of father, son and holy ghost. Amen.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You mean only basic cable? NOOOOOO!
      I'd better head to my nearest Mormon temple and learn the secret handshake, secret new name, special sealings, don my blessed underwear and give them 10% of everything I own.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Damn straight doc.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Send me the money. I'm planning on going skiing in Utah in a couple weeks..I can drop it off at ze temple. No really.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bucky Ball
      A full 10% of my net value is on the way to you.
      Be sure the entire $1.05 get to Joe Smith!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      WAIT DOC! I might have an investment opportunity for you!

      March 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Gotcha. Dang...not even a lift ticket.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Sorry – all of my money is currently tied up in a real estate deal.
      Can you believe nobody owned the Golden Gate bridge until I bought it last week?

      March 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Don't try to buy the Bay Bridge. It is all mine and I am raising the toll so I can afford a decent Babtism.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  18. dalai dalai dalai

    DEAR GOD, PLEASE CONVERT ALL MORMONS TO GAY NOW! Please make it happen immediately in the most peaceful and loving way. Please convert all mormons to gay in the name of father, son and the holy ghost. Amen.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Eman de Riuqer

      Also, in the name of the wheat, the garlic, and the holy tomato sauce... for any Pastafarians out there...

      March 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I am a converted pastafarian. I am now a vegetarian but I sin a LOT.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • sam

      R'amen.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Cup Noodle

      March 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  19. Jim

    what a bunch a bull-onie. The holocaust will always be a sensitive issue for the Jewish, no doubt. But why should the living, knowing their faith and the faith of those who came before them, give a second thought to the silly things others do. I mean, so what if the mormons say they've baptized the universe...doesn't mean anything unless you choose to believe they have the power to change the fate of the living and the dead. Jez, why does anybody any care! Just go live your lives and let the almighty sort out the good from the bad.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ron

      Exactly what I was pointing out in an earlier post. Well put!

      March 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jim

      Thanks Ron, sorry that I didn't see your post.
      I have one additional comment to make, and hold onto your hats mormons, this one is really gonna bake your noodle.
      Ready? "Jesus was Jewish"...oh, and "Every Christian is Jewish, but there are no Jewish which are christian".
      Hope that helped...probably not.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • someGuy

      You know why people find this offensive. it's not so much that everyone is afraid that proxy baptism's actually work, it's just that it's a dick move. It's insensitive and super arrogant.

      It's just like when I was a kid, the question I had for my christian father was: "what's the difference between our religion, and something like Islam or Judaism? They all claim to be the one true religion." The answer was: we're right.

      This is just a slap in the face from mormons. As if these people they baptize were children and didn't know better.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  20. Eman de Riuqer

    ¡¡¡llɐq ʎʞɔnq 'noʎ ʞɔnɈ

    hey that's fun... how'd you make the upside down k and y, though?!?

    March 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Eman de Riuqer

      Oops... sorry, this was supposed to be attached to "llɐq ʎʞɔnq"'s post... still am not sure how he did that... I just cut and paste most of it... :)

      March 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • amexican

      ǝןƃooƃ uı sǝʇnuıɯ 2 ƃuıpuǝds uɹɐǝן uɐɔ noʎ ʇɐɥʍ ƃuızɐɯɐ

      March 9, 2012 at 3:51 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.