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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 • Holocaust • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Utah

soundoff (1,493 Responses)
  1. Richard M

    If I want to know what Mormon's believe I'll ask a Mormon. Not a bunch of hate filled sociopaths. I have known a lot of Mormon's in my life, and for the most part they seem to be good and honest people. I'm sure there are exceptions, just like in any other group of people, but listening to people that are obviously filled with hate and using misdirection to spread their hate is a meaningless exercise.

    March 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      You really hate people who hate.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Richard M

      I don't hate anyone. But I certainly don't trust people that hate.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      Stolen name alert Tom, Tom the pipers son in area.

      March 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Richard M

      just sayin – I don't suppose you would explain just what it is you are trying to say? So far all you do is put words on the screen that don't have any value or meaning.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Richard, you're showing your mormon manners again with your hateful rantings...you're not doing your church a favor...

      March 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Richard M

      Pastmorm (not)-You're just sad because you can't marry your ferret.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  2. jack leddy

    Prayer changes nothing!

    March 10, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. Need proof? Read above.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • gupsphoo

      @Prayer changes things – If prayers really changes things, you shouldn't need to create another username to continue to troll. Just pray to your god and ask him to block everyone else except those who agree with your gullible stance.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Prayer for the country

      Truth is always in season.

      March 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Notice how the believers have to use multiple handles to appear that there are more on the blog than there really are? How's that "bearing false witness" working for ya?

      March 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • just sayin

      Try reading the actual commandment before commenting and perhaps you can connect the dots, doubtful.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • AGuest9

      So, I guess NOW, you're going to try to instruct ME on what the ten commandments are? You are not to lie. You can go to the this mythical place called hell for it, when you die. I'm not sure what you don't think I can read, just lyin

      March 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Richard M

      That's pretty ignorant Jack. And simple minded to boot. Wouldn't you be more honest to say that "Prayer changes nothing for Jack"? For you nothing works because you don't want it to work for you. Many people choose to change their lives because of prayer. Just because you are you and opinions are like anus' doesn't mean that you have to have three.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. The Dude

    These people are disrespectful cultists.

    No way the US will let one of those magic underwear wearing fruitcakes sit in the big chair.

    March 10, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Many years ago, Christianity was just a cult of Judaism. Same for Islam, really. Most, if not all, religions start off as radical "cults" of other established religions.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Joe

      Speaking of disrespect, here is a good article by a non-Mormon discussing: http://www.fairlds.org/authors/lonsberry-bob/how-about-tolerance-for-all

      Some Muslims wear sacred clothing.
      So do some Jews. The same for Native Americans and some Hindus and others.
      Bits of cloth or string that are physical reminders of God and his bond with man. Sacred things, really. Prayer shawls or beads, head coverings or aprons, medicine bags. Things that are special to people, honorable and good things.
      Things that should be respected.
      One would not, for example, rip the yarmulke from a Jewish man’s head and mockingly fling it like a Frisbee. Nor would you wear a yarmulke as a spoof or joke. Certainly not as an attack on Judaism. Not as a mockery of Jews and their faith.
      Yet something like that happened this weekend.
      In front of thousands of people in one of America’s great cities. An act of religious desecration, bigotry and discrimination.
      And the perpetrators boast of it to the press.
      It was in Salt Lake City. And it was against Mormons.
      And somehow that makes it acceptable.
      Here’s what happened.
      Over the weekend, Mormons gathered for what they call “general conference.” It is a twice-a-year meeting that draws tens of thousands to Salt Lake City and is broadcast around the world to an audience in the low millions. It is a worship service. It is sacred and special to them.
      And each year it is protested.
      So-called Christian evangelists stand on the sidewalk outside the Mormon meetings and shout rude condemnations of the religion to the thousands who pass in and out. It is an odd spectacle, unmatched in American society. To think that crude protesters would stand outside a mosque or synagogue, or a cathedral or church, and harass worshippers and denounce a religion is just beyond the pale.
      It is an act of indefensible religious bigotry.
      And yet it happens, and is often applauded and boasted of.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Joe

      In case the wall of text is too much, I'll say....Many people wear religious articles of clothing, including Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims and so on. Some articles are worn underneath the clothing, some on the outside. Most of these people, in all their diversity, don't believe these articles are "magic." I've never heard anyone saying "Obama's magic cross," "Jews magic yarmulke etc" I doubt, if a Jewish person discussed the factual difficulty of single parenthood, that anyone would say “shove it into your magic hat!”
      I'm not sure why, but normally kind people seem to feel it is ok to mock Mormons on this, but they would be upset if someone poked fun of a Jewish Yarlmukles and TztTzit, a monk's tunic or girding, or a nun's special underclothing.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Joe

      sorry, the link to the article is:
      http://www.lonsberry.com/writings.cfm?story=1248&go=4

      Here is another good one by same author:
      http://www.lonsberry.com/writings.cfm?story=2504&go=4

      March 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  4. Paul Brown

    Jesus Christ performed a proxy ordinance for all of us, but we have to accept it. His atonement was done for and in behalf of us all. Was he being disrespectful to us?
    Baptism is a proxy ordinance that is done on your behalf, but we have to accept it for it to have any affect. How is that being disrespectful?

    March 10, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things !

    March 10, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • gupsphoo

      Like what?

      March 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      Your response

      March 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Nothing important, it doesn't. Then, when everyone realizes that it doesn't change the important matter, it simply "wasn't god's will." More aptly, it's all a bunch of nonsense they keep feeding "the sheep."

      March 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • just sayin

      All history is based on prayer. Substantial change brought to you by God through the prayers of believing people, since creation.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • AGuest9

      All history? No, just the history of the jewish people, and their christian and muslem offshoots. Again, failure to deal with reality.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  6. btldriver

    Cindy, good to hear from you again but its getting late for me and my computer just killed my first response so I'll try to keep this shor so please don't think I am upset by your comments I actually enjoy discussing the Churct. Since I am responding to what could be construed as an "anti-mormon" article, the Church doesn't have total control over what I, or any other Mormon reads, watches or listens to. The Church reccomends stuff that is uplifting but they don't punish you for not following the counsel. I like to read "non-mormon" authors like Asimov, Heinlin(sp), Bova and othe Sci Fi writers.
    The question you refer to is not to question who your friends are for punishment but to help you keep temple promises that you won't discuss temple subjects with people who don't understand or at a time or place that is inappropriate. The infomation is out there so you're not keeping a state secret its so you don't offend God.
    And finally, I have found out for my self. I have had classes in world religions, I have help teach classes where students did research on whatever religion they wanted and listened to their presentation, I kept quiet during the Morom presentation but the student did a good job of it. My parents aren't LDS but belong to different religions and when I was younger, was baptized into the church my Mom belongs to. I have friends in other religions and we have discussionson different beliefs and we remained friends and coworkers. In fact I have had some people have more problems with me and my religious beliefs that I did with them and their religious beliefs. And I have read posts like yours that bring up the anti-mormon slant, so I gues I have studeid a little, maybe not as much as others, and still remian faithful. And the part about Jospeh Smith, not sure if it is true or not, and using the words so and so said it doesn't make it true, so I can't comment on it. But in the end I have recieved that confirmation the Church is true. Not sure if you were a Mormon who fell away or just some one who is looking for fault and finding it through the links and posts of others but in any case I always enjoy having people tell me about my religion with out putting much effort into understanding the whole religion not just what others tell them what it is about. I'll check backl tomorrow and hopefully will find a response.

    March 10, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Ken Oberman

      Wall of text.

      Not read.

      March 10, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  7. Joe

    Generally speaking, religious rites for the deceased are acts of love, and God knows our world could use more of those.
    Baptizing people not related to LDS is offensive to Mormons as well as Jews, and, it seems that these people, who keep hacking the system, are trying to hurt Mormons.
    I think that the fact that people are getting a little carried away with taking offense at things they don't understand only encourages them.

    It is sad that one person can break down relationships between millions of people. Mormons have a longstanding policy against Baptizing Jews (not from discrimination since many Jews request it).
    Baptism for the deceased is an ancient teaching, and many Christians still practice rituals for the deceased. I understand that Jews have also, in times past, and presently offer certain prayers. I hope that Jewish people understand that the Mormons I know would be honored if Jews were to perform rites for them. That goes for anyone with good intentions, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist etc.
    I love all and hope we can all be friends, under one God (even atheists can be friends under God ; ))

    Rites for the deceased are intended as acts of love, to seal families, but when someone intentionally goes against Church teachings on a sensitive issue it hurts all of us.
    I'm sorry this person has done this.

    Also, I hope everyone understands that there are many people out there who delight in stirring bad feelings against Mormons (often gays trained by anti-Mormons, and those on the religious edges). Those who hate us have intentionally misrepresented the purposes of rites for deceased persons. These rites are meant to turn the hearts of the Fathers and Mothers to the children, as Malachi taught.

    Please understand:
    1 Mormons are opposed to this, these Baptisms are meant to seal LDS families together.
    2 Mormons do not believe that Holocaust victims are suffering in Hell or purgatory and that Baptism, like indulgences for the deceased, helps reduce their suffering. Mormons understand that all will be rewarded according to their works. No kind, good person will ever suffer in the next life, regardless of religious affiliation. All are in Paradise and will go to Heaven.
    God is just, and good people will not suffer punishment in the next life.

    3 Baptism is not done to anyone, it is for. LDS believe that people are free in the next life to choose, just as they are here, and Baptism for the deceased gives them the opportunity to make a decision, it does not make anyone Christian or members of the Church. Even without it they can still make choices in belief.

    March 10, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • pastmorm

      Now there's an irony Joe...you're going on about how everyone should accept everyone else and that mormons have more common sense when it comes to practicing religion and then you randomly accuse gay people that are "trained" by anti-mormon people and "other religious people on the fringe." So basically, you're kinda crazy. Where would you get a statistic like that? Geez, to think that my gay friend could be up for recruitment by anit-mormons (who are these people?) is just a LITTLE paranoid. Youza. I think that you're hurting your church more with your posts than you think....

      March 10, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Joe

      Gays and certain non-Christian "Christians" have been trained by exmos and others on how to best go about attacking Mormons. We all know "Christians" hire people to go protest at conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ, and gays have brought in leading anti-Mormons to instruct them in LA, SLC, etc.
      Here is the agenda:

      In Crafting Gay Children http://www.defendthefamily.com/_docs/resources/6390601.pdf
      Dr. Reisman points out that activists have set out "...demonizing those they cannot “desensitize, ” and the “…strategy advocated by M&K – silence those who disagree with the agenda, demonizing them by associating opponents with …murderers, racists and the like."
      We know that Mormons are the “main focus” and the plan is to “destroy the Utah brand...," “drive them into the ground…” and “…band together to get rid of this fringe group known as Mormons.”
      So, it is not surprising that activists are employed trying to do just that…. But why Mormons first?

      March 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Joe

    What Mormons really believe: LDS.org
    What those who hate the Church of Jesus Christ want you to think we believe.... see below......: ), it's like a political add gone really really bad...

    March 10, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Joe

      What the Christianity established by Jesus taught: Temple rituals: (see FAIR lds Early Christian temples, and many Christians still practice these, including the oldest surviving Christian Church-the Armenian Apostolic).
      The doctrine that God, the Son was born of Mary and became man: This is central to all true Christianity, and the doctrine that men can be called gods is central to many Christians (especially Eastern Orthodox etc) and, according to non-LDS scholars, was central to “all” early Christian Fathers. See: 1 Cor. 15:21,Romans8:17, John10, John3:13,Galatians 4: 4, Phil. 2: 9 etc.

      The Christian Doctrine of Deification
      Edward T. Jones
      From early Church Fathers … “this (deification) they (all early Church Fathers) regard as a point beyond dispute, as one of those fundamentals which no one who calls himself a Christian dreams of denying.” ” Irenaeus: "We are not made gods from the first, but first men, then gods’ Polycarp, himself a disciple of the apostle St. John ... man is a creature who has received a command to become God. Basil: “Man received order to become God.”2…Crawford Knox writes that “virtually all the early Church Fathers” taught deification.4 French Jesuit Henri Rondet wrote that “[deification] is found in all the Fathers,” was the “universal teaching of the Catholic Church and her Fathers.” …“most central theological theme of the patristic tradition … “fundamental axioms for the early Church Fathers.”Joyce “the Fathers of the Church from the earliest times with one consent take the apostle’s words [of II Peter 1.4: ‘participate in the divine nature’] in their literal sense. There is no question of any figurative interpretation. They do not hesitate to speak of the deification of men.”
      (You have to wonder how Joseph Smith knew?)
      Many Christians believe that God, the Son died only once for sins and still has His body, most don’t accept that God the Father also has a body, although I don’t know why. I feel that if we’ve seen Jesus, we’ve seen His Father.
      Many early Christians understood there were three levels, I don’t know how many do now days, I’ll have to look into it.
      Biblical Christians practiced Baptisms for deceased persons, and some, besides LDS Christians, reportedly still do (Copts for example).
      Biblical Christians believed we were all children of God, including Satan, who fell.
      Mormons believe that all good people will go to Heaven, and that we are saved by grace, and that “every man” and woman will be rewarded according to our works as the Bible teaches.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • pastmorm

      Joe, we just had to read an entire article about what mormons "really" believe. The videos that are attached to this chat board are what mormons really believe also, but what they don't want people to know. You're really panicking with your posting, over and over and over. There's no way to hide the truth. You mormons believe you'll be gods and you believe that God was once a man like you. Now that's just weird and you have to admit that the rest of the world would think so as well!

      March 10, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Joseph

      It's interesting how much effort goes into disproving mormonism and the intellectual leaps and assumptions that such people make to make their point.

      March 10, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, it doesn't take much more than common sense to realize that a convicted con man, looked in a hat, found, then lost gold tablets, thought it would be really great to be a polygamist, and talked to an angel named Moron-i (I mean, can you read?) was involved in this second greatest con game pulled on people in the name of a spirit in the sky

      March 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  9. warvet55

    acts 2:38. First act is repentance. How are they able to do that? Comes from within the heart of one self. No way works if someone else stands proxy. Mormons are a cult.

    March 10, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  10. Dana Chilton

    Was this a news story or an LDS tract?

    March 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  11. pastmorm

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HSlbuli7HM&w=640&h=360]

    March 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Visitor from Andromeda

      You think that's nuts....just look at this.
      -
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcyzkd_m6KE&w=640&h=360]

      March 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      So, Jesus was the democratically elected savior of humanity, eh?

      By the way, it was partly because of this new doctrine of many gods that a mob stormed the prison where Smith was held up and shot him. True to form, that's how religions usually settled differences of opinion.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Joe

      Here is a little video of an anti-Mormon, these are the people who post this stuff on the internet, do they seem Christian to you?
      http://www.fairlds.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/street03ah.wmv

      Are anti-Mormons Christian?:
      http://www.fairlds.org/authors/mcgregor-russell/are-anti-mormons-christians

      http://www.fairlds.org/authors/misc/neighborly-christian-love-or-hate-speech-anti-mormon-protesters

      March 10, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Joe

      Here is another video, showing you what those who hate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sometimes act like....ask yourself if the Mormons walking by and singing seem more Christian, or the anti-Mormons who make these dishonest movies....that are like a really bad political cartoon from the 19th Century.... : )

      http://www.fairlds.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/street03bh.wmv

      This article discusses the Christian behavior of these people (he is not LDS)
      How About Tolerance For All?
      by Bob Lonsberry

      http://www.fairlds.org/authors/lonsberry-bob/how-about-tolerance-for-all

      March 10, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  12. Gordon G.

    From what I can see, it looks like a lot of self possessed little boys and girls think their opinions are better than the other self possessed little boys and girls.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Zombies Eat Brains - You Are Safe

      Isn't it funny how you can't make a statement like that without becoming what you criticize?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  13. Spence

    PastMorm - From what I've been able to find on this single story, you have been hammering away with your self centered opinions and crying all day long. You claimed earlier to be a psychologist or some such. I guess you don't have any patients. Or are you ignoring them while you surf the web and complain to others while you take the poor peoples money for your failure to even listen to them.

    March 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  14. pastmorm

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKG5kMnZZcM&w=640&h=360]

    March 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  15. wyominguy

    Clearly some have been carried away with the practice, however when one looks at the Value Mormons place on family it is difficult to be critical of the concept. Personally I cannot see the insult, and no I am not an LDS member.

    "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."

    March 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Thomas

      Finally a rational comment! I'd add, as with ALL religions, if you are dead and any proxy ceremony is performed on your name how can that possibly affect or offend you if you don't believe in those religious acts? And how do we know it isn't Radkey who is entering these names in her quest to bring down the Mormon church as it was written she has stated that is her goal!? She has already admitted to fraudulently using other Mormons credentials to enter the same database where these names were entered in the 1st place! And no, I'm not a Mormon either. By the way, I asked a Mormon about this and they say their church requires a family member of the deceased to OK any proxy baptism, as they say there are trouble-makers/bad apples in ANY religion. Can you pick out the names of the non-Mormon trouble-makers in the article? There are so many other living people suffering in this world, use all that energy to help the living instead of adding to that chip on your shoulder by whining about something you don't even believe in.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Thomas
      Put yourself in their shoes. The people who were proxy baptized died believing that they would enter whatever afterlife, or lack thereof, that they believed in in their lives. Mormons want to do some magic and suck these people out of their afterlives and into theirs. Imagine the same thing being done to Mormon ancestors. How would you like some religious group performing rites that supposedly sucked your dead family out of "Mormon heaven" and into someplace else?

      I don't believe that your mumbo jumbo can actually do anything, but I find the lack of respect for other people's beliefs rather telling. You are basically telling these people that your heaven is better than theirs.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  16. comtngirl

    I have active LDS relatives, but am not LDS and never have been. But if they were to posthumously "baptize" me, and I was alive to care, I'd be offended. So would my surviving family. I've already chose to not have a chance to be your slave in your personal kingdom.

    Dedication and baptism to God is a deeply spiritual, personal thing. How arrogant to think you can take that mantle on for someone else! Nothing gives you the right to publicly declare that you've decided some relative (or not in some cases!) should be LDS. LDS members are not God. Leave it to Him to judge who should and shouldn't be part of the Kingdom of God. He'll make a much better decision.

    Scripture to ponder if you so choose:
    John 3;18; John 5:25 – 30;

    March 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Archangel Michael

      "But if they were to posthumously "baptize" me, and I was alive to care, I'd be offended."

      If you were alive, it's unlikely you would be posthumously baptized. Now if you were a spirit and were posthumously baptized, you would be informed of the baptism and be given the choice to either accept it or reject it. It would be your choice. It does not change who you are or were in any way. It does, however, say plainly that a people thought enough of the ordinances set forth by Jesus Christ to want to include you in them. But their belief also leaves the acceptance of such ordinance completely up to you.

      Now if you are not baptized by one with authority and find that you need to be and no one performs a proxy baptism for you, what then? Would you rather have it and not need it, or need it and not have it?

      March 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Zombies Eat Brains - You Are Safe

      All religions have a version of that coercive approach, Archmoron Michael, which they invariably must use because they have no evidence upon which to base a real argument. It's always the cop-out to a form of Pascal's wager, based on terrorist threat.

      Why is your God such a terrorist as to operate that way?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      A little more to read Acts 5: 38-39

      March 10, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • a person of the Name

      Sorry that was 2: 38

      March 10, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  17. One one

    Silly Christians. Myths are for kids.

    March 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Most atheists I know don't need to turn atheism into a fundamentalist religion, complete with its own rallies, chants, fund-raising, war cries and deep-seated need to insult and annoy those who disagree with them.

      What happened to you?

      March 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Jesus returned last year. He likes bird watching and drives a Buick.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  19. Gary Kimball

    Sure sounds like all that noise they made about JFK being Catholic. The anti religion folks just trying to find any reason to whine about anything.

    March 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Ken Oberman

      You believers sure are uppity cocksuckers aren't ya.

      March 10, 2012 at 5:00 am |
    • Gary Kimball

      Ken Oberman - Well, it's pretty obvious that you are certainly a vial and disgusting little ferret murderer.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Spence

    Well, it looks like the Obama propaganda machine is running overtime trying to find anything that would make a conservative look bad even when there is no basis or substance to any of the noise. Much like all of the Obama reign over America as it's first King and Prophet. It's not easy to find a President that can channel Jesus Christ like Obama can!

    March 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Wow Spence, you don't have a job do you? You've been on this chat board fending off non-mormons left and right all day long. Bully for you! Now blaming the anti-mormon rhetoric on Obama is kinda silly don't you think? I mean, that sounds a bit desperate and as you referred to me earlier in a post; it sounds like you're just a miserable person. That's too bad.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Archangel Michael

      Conservatives do not need a reason to look bad...they do that all by themselves. As do Liberals. And everyone else who thinks a label is more important than liberty and honesty and doing service to others even if it means going without that extra 50 lbs of fat around your middle.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Spence

      PastMorm – ???? I make one comment and you slather me with your comments?

      March 9, 2012 at 9:06 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.