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February 16th, 2012
01:36 PM ET

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The recent disclosure that Mormons baptized the dead parents of Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal by proxy has sparked outrage in the Jewish world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for the baptism, which it says resulted from the actions of a church member acting in violation of church policy. The LDS church vowed to stop baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims in 1995.

But proxy baptism for the dead is a proud Mormon tradition. Here are the basics about how it works and why Mormons do it.

Why do Mormons practice proxy baptism for the dead?

For Mormons, baptizing the dead solves a big theological problem: How do billions of people who never had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ – including those who lived before Jesus walked the earth – receive salvation? By baptizing the dead, a practice known as posthumous proxy baptism, Mormons believe they are giving every person who ever lived the chance at everlasting life. That includes Muslims, Hindus, atheists, pagans, whoever.

“Mormons believe that there is a place the dead go where they are in ‘spirit prison’ and where they have the chance to accept the Christian baptism,” says Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar at Columbia University. “But it’s a duty to actually perform Christian ordinance of baptism, so Mormons seek out every last person who ever lived and baptize them.”

Many Mormons are proud of the fact that they attempt to make their faith universal through baptizing the dead. “Historically, Christians have been exclusive,” says Terryl Givens, an expert on Mormonism at the University of Richmond. “Catholics have taught that only Catholics are saved, and evangelicals say only if you confess according to their tradition. Mormons say, ‘No, salvation is open to all people.’”

“In that sense Mormonism is the most nonexclusive religion in the Christian world,” Givens says.

So are all those who are baptized after death considered Mormon?

No. Mormons believe that baptism provides the deceased with the opportunity to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but not the obligation. They don't know if the dead actually accept Jesus. “This is about putting names on the guest list,” says Givens. “They might not go the party, but they are given the chance.’

How does the church decide who is baptized?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages its members to baptize the dead in their families going back at least four generations.

The church also has teams at headquarters in Salt Lake City and that travel around the world to identify as many people as possible to baptize, whether or not they’re in the lineage of present-day Mormons. “The church is constantly going through parish records, wills, deeds and every other genealogical source so they can extract names and put these people through the temple process,” says Bushman.

The LDS says it does not know how many deceased have been baptized. Experts say the number is in the millions.

There is no way for a person to prevent himself or herself from being baptized by the LDS church after death.

After Jews complained about baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims, saying such baptisms deny the Jewish identity of those who died because of their faith, the LDS church worked with Jewish groups to stop the practice. But the system of preventing the baptism of Holocaust victims, initiated in 1995, has not been foolproof, as was shown this week with the disclosure about Wiesenthal’s parents.

What are Mormon baptism ceremonies like?

Baptisms for the dead happen inside Mormon temples. Members of the LDS church volunteer to undergo full immersion baptism while the names of the dead are read. An LDS member might participate in 10 or so posthumous proxy baptisms at a time. Young Mormons especially are encouraged to participate, as a way to participate in temple life.

How old is the practice of baptizing the dead?

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, introduced baptism for the dead in the 1840s. Mormons cite Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as precedent to the practice. “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead not rise at all?” reads Corinthians 15:29. “Why are they then baptized for the dead?”

For Mormons, baptizing the dead is not seen as a new Mormon tradition but as a practice that ancient Christians practiced and that the LDS Church has reintroduced.

What other questions do you have about the practice? Let us know in the comments below.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • Mormonism

soundoff (2,301 Responses)
  1. tashdown

    It's amazing to see the ruckus this stuff causes amongst people who have such a bone to pick with Mormons. If I found out that some witch doctor was practicing voodoo with my name or my great grandfather's name, I could care less. If I found out that every religion other than my own was doing something with my name that they thought would improve my posthumous experience, I would thank them. What is the big deal?

    February 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      it's not a big deal amongs secularists. The issue is with other people of faith. It's an open insult, our religion isn't good enough for salvation, only being baptized as a mormon will save your soul.

      the very concept is offensive.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kurt Kammeyer

      Jews don't believe in Salvation. The very concept is foreign to them, a Christian dogma designed to exclude non-Christians like them. Also, the Jews are acutely sensitive to attempts to forcibly "convert" them to Christianity, and for good reason. The Catholic Church and other faiths hounded the Jews mercilessly for centuries, blaming them for killing Christ, poisoning water wells, cannibalism, and all sorts of outrageous accusations. This may explain the acute sensitivity of Elie Wiesel and other Jews to the Mormon practice of proxy baptisms for the dead.
      The Mormon Church agreed in 1995 to stop baptizing in behalf of Holocaust victims, but occasionally some well-meaning knucklehead will come along and violate the rules.
      It's also woth pointing out that this whole controversy started when a disaffected ex-Mormon sifted through the Church records, found these Jewish names and immediately reported them to the Huffington Post and NPR, with the tagline, "Why doesn't Mitt Romney DO SOMETHING about this?" thus, politicizing the whole kerfuffle.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  2. hemo

    all mormons are born dead

    February 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Catholic

      all morons are born brain dead, they just add the middle "m" later to become "mormons"...

      February 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  3. Mike

    It's the only way Romney can resurrect enough voters to win.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  4. ginx

    If you get to know the mormon religion you will find out they are even more messed up then you originally thought. This proxy baptism is just another way to take your values that you held away from you.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      You will find in Mormon.org descriptions of Father, Son, and Holy Sprit in a way that does not reveal that the meanings have no relation to that understood by Christians. Such equivocation merely adds to confusion, as when Evangelicals claim to have found some commonality with the Mormon candidate, unaware that the feeling is not mutual (www.irr.org).

      February 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Calitone

    "Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. But a certain difference is found among ends" Aristotle

    Let happiness be each his/her own. Everyone wins.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      But only is an atmosphere of mutual respect. It is no insult to note that Jews, Muslims, and Mormons do not accept what they consider the errors of Christianity, that Jesus is the co-eternal equal with God the Father, along with the Holy Spirit. But it is deceptive to engage in equivocation, as if we all meant the same thing. Muslims, for one, do not equivocate when they interpret Biblical reference to the Messenger (Holy Sprit) as being Mohammad. Mormons have a unique interpretation as well, with nothing in common with the Christian conception, but this is not clear from reading Mormon.org, perhaps to confuse prospective converts.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Mark R. Bradley

    HARE KRSNA, HARE KRSNA, KRSNA, KRSNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE.

    in the Bhriadnada Purana, it is stated that in this age of quarel and deciet (Kali Yuga) the only way to salvation is to chant the holy name of God. There is no other way, no other way, no other way! Take your baptisim and was your own souls.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Not helpful to equivocate the term "salvation." Each religion has its unique conception of the afterlife, and how to attain whatever bliss it may afford. Heaven has nothing in common with Nirvana.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Mark

    Dan Gilgoff, do you have to say "Mormons baptize the dead"? It makes it sound like Mormons dig up dead bodies and douse them with water. You know that you are using this phraseology to sensationalize the topic and get more viewers. But you don't even explain what you know is true in your article.

    Your sensationalizing the article makes CNN more like, e.g., the National Inquirer - you lose credibility for CNN.

    As you recognize in your article, I Corinthians 15:29 Paul describes the Christian practice people being "baptized FOR the dead", meaning, a live person is baptized in the place of, e.g., one of their ancestors. No dead bodies.

    The context is that Paul was discoursing on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He argued that there is resurrection of the dead, just as Jesus rose from the dead. As part of his argument, he pointed to the an ancient Christian practice of baptizing for the dead. There is resurrection, he argued, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" I Cor. 15:29.

    The other part of your article address the choice which Christians anciently recognized belongs not to those live poeple performing baptism for the dead, but to the spirit of that person who has passed from our world. This belief is based upon what Peter explained in I Peter 3:18-20 and II Peter 4:6:

    I Peter 3
    18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
    19 By which also HE WENT AND PREACHED UNTO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON;
    20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    I Peter 4
    6 FOR THIS CAUSE WAS THE GOSPEL PREACHED ALSO TO THEM THAT ARE DEAD, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

    Dan Gilgoff, you work for a serious news reporting organization. Please provide serious journalism commeasurate with that of the organization you represent.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • DS

      Amen, amen, and amen

      February 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      Peter 3:18
      For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure thruogh the lusts of the flesh, through much wantoness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

      where do you even get your Bible quotes from?
      they aren't anything like you're quoting in your post.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • RJC

      He did... maybe you should read the article again. It is not his job to explain all the beliefs of the Mormon faith, just enough so that the rest of us understand the concept of the practice so we don't think that Mormons are crazy.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      nvm, i was quoting II peter 3:18,
      I peter 3:18 is what you said it was : )

      February 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Kurt Kammeyer

      Other than that rather sensationalist headline, I must say that this is one of the best-written articles on this subject that I have ever seen written by a Gentile (oops, non-Mormon).

      February 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Mark, it appears that you are asking the columnist to read a Mormon version of the Bible, and accept a Mormon interpretation of its edited wording, There has been much debate concerning the value of baptism and the status of those who have died, either in the flesh, or who are alive, but "dead" in spirit. Each Christian denomination has its preferred translation, and the Mormon organization has made revisions to suit its own beliefs, as you know.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mikey

      Ancient practice?? Paul could not be discussing an ancient practice of Christians as at the time the Letters were "written" not even Christ's followers were calling themselves Christians. This was all shortly after Christ died so really ancient does not come into it. Not to mention that the disciples all had their own spin on everything.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  8. The MagusNYC.

    The Mormon organization does not offer a "Christian" baptism in the commonly understood sense. By "Christian" Mormons mean something that contradicts what Catholics and Protestants maintain in common, the status of Christ as co-eternal equal to the Father. Mormons claim to have "restored" the original sense of Christianity, with Jesus as merely the created spirit brother of Satan. Thus, when 97% of Mormons claim to be "Christian," they are in effect saying that Catholics and Protestants are NOT, and do not accept those apostate baptisms. It would be less deceptive if Morman.org made this more explicit rather than engaging in equivocation (www.irr.org).

    February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • DS

      Your logic is ridiculous.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • GodPot

      Christ never baptized anyone with water. He himself did not get baptized till he was 30. The Christ in the bible was humble, thoughtful, and did not associate with the religious elite of his day. Instead he chose to hang out with the prostltutes and tax collectors and performed miracles at party's when they ran out of wine.

      Christian: Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.

      I have yet to meet a true Christian in my lifetime, but i've met an awful lot of imposters.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      If DS has detected an error in my claims, let him/her speak freely. Mormon "restored Christianity" has virtually nothing in common with Christianity as commonly understood, which was the whole point of Joseph Smiths' crusade. Muslims are proud of Mohammad's setting the record straight, and surely Mormons are equally confident in rejecting the Christianity that came out of 3rd Century Nicea now practiced by Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Dear Godpot, long ago a Muslim asked me about my Christianity and I used your definition of being Christ-like. I even joined a Unitarian Church, not realizing its rejection, along with Mormons, of the creed coming out of Nicea in the 3rd Century, proclaiming the Triune nature of God. Now I understand that your definition is all inclusive, the acceptance of Jesus as a good model of behavior being accepted generally, even by Hindus and Muslims. To make a meaningful distinction between religions of works and the Christian religion, one has to understand Christ as uniquely co-existing eternally with the Father as the ultimate sacrificial lamb in the Jewish tradition, not even as some created spirit brother of Satan who only made a down payment on our salvation, one having to follow a number of rituals and works to pay off the balance. One may reject the concept entirely, but this is what distinguishes Christianity from other religions, including Mormonism (www.irr.org), with no insults or lack of respect intended.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Kurt Kammeyer

      If the Catholics and other faiths can sprinkle water on an 8-day-old infant and call it a "baptism", then I believe the Mormons also have the right to call their sacrament a "baptism" – especially since it is done according to the way Christ was baptized, as described in the Gospels: by immersion.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  9. W.C. HARROP

    If you don't believe in what Mormons are doing then don't worry , But if they are correct and are following what they have been asked to do by Jesus Christ , then that might be for some deep study and prayer to find out if it is a true principle.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      All one might reasonably ask is that Mormons make explicit that they are not offering a "Christian" baptism in the sense that Catholics and Protestants consider themselves "Christian." That Mormons consider their faith to be a restoration of the original, authentic faith, and that those who call themselves Christian today, Evangelicals and Catholics, are mistaken, and that their babtisms are invalid. Please advocate for a more explicit contrast rather than engaging in deceptive equivocation.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • DS

      MagusNYC.....this is easy. The baptisms of Catholics and evengelical Christians are invalid because they don't have the priesthood authority to baptize. You know....the authority Christ gave to his apostles Peter, James, & John? This priesthood authority was lost from the earth when the apostles were murdered. Almost 1,800 years, the same Peter, James & John appeared to Joseph Smith as angels, laid their hands on his head, and conferred the Priesthood authority that they received from Christ.
      That is unless you are like the Saducees and Pharisees and don't believe in modern day miracles.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Exactly DS, and thank you so much for the clarification. This presidential campaign is a great opportunity to reduce the confusion and mystery concerning Mormonism, especially with many Evangelicals apparently unaware that the Mormon faith was founded on the assumptions you describe, not unlike the revelations of the Prophet Mohammad, sent by God to correct the excesses of Nicea. Recall how bizarre it was when a prominent Evangelical in South Carolina was impressed with the Romney's claim concerning salvation by means of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, apparently unaware that the Romney's consider her claim to be Christian, false. Let the distincions be made with clarity and without prejudice. My rural MN Lutheran sister supports Mitt Romney on the basis of opposing abortion, putting faith differences aside.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  10. asdf

    The second paragraph of this article points out how flawed the logic of the religious is: we have a theological question that doesn't make sense – Let's double down and start ignoring the fact that other people want no part of our religion! that'll solve everything!

    February 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Florence Neubauer

      I'm curious about any objections. It is a practice of love, offering a chance to our loved ones if they missed out here on earth. We lovingly place flowers on grave sites, yet nonbelievers don't criticize this. I prefer to not limit God's love towards His children (and I also don't think He's limited by Time and Space), so I'm grateful for the principle. Flo

      February 29, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  11. tony

    50,000BC

    2

    8,000BC

    5,000,000

    80

    1,137,789,769

    AD1

    300,000,000

    80

    46,025,332,354

    1200

    450,000,000

    60

    26,591,343,000

    1650

    500,000,000

    60

    12,782,002,453

    1750

    795,000,000

    50

    3,171,931,513

    1850

    1,265,000,000

    40

    4,046,240,009

    1900

    1,656,000,000

    40

    2,900,237,856

    1950

    2,516,000,000

    31-38

    3,390,198,215

    1995

    5,760,000,000

    31

    5,427,305,000

    2011

    6,215,000,000

    23

    2,130,327,622

    Number who have ever lived: 107,602,707,791

    February 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • You're crazy!

      What the hell is this numbering system, you nut?

      February 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Actually, I think the figure is about double today's population; that is, about half those who ever lived are alive today. This makes the claim that "God wishes that all should be saved." quite a challenge considering the exclusive claims of the various faiths, and the denials of others. So existence per se is a great enigma, and from the Book of Job, it is pretentious to question the mind of God and His ways. Every faith tradition is rooted in mystery and magic, so we may examine each respectfully, neither fearing nor mocking distinctions, and choose whatever safisfies one's heart and mind.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Carl

    Thanks to this weird Mormon practice, Christians and Jews can know how creepy it is when they offer to "pray for" an atheist.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • asdf

      HAHA like Christians will ever admit to that.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  13. DS

    "A man must be born of the water and the spirit or he cannot enter the kngdom of God"

    Anybody that has a problem with vicarious proxy (in this case baptizing for those who have died) has a problem with Christ's vicarious proxy of dying for our sins. Those that call themselves "True Christians" need to take a serious look at the doctrine their church teaches. Baptism for the Dead is a Christian vicarious work...plain and simple.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Chris Synfield

      No, it isn't. Plain and as simple as you are.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • DS

      Chris...don't be stupid. Are you suggesting that Christ died only for his sins? The very definition of vicarious proxy is doing something for someone that they can't do themselves. You need a physical body to be baptized in physical water. Mormons use their physical bodies in place of someone who has died.....just like Christ used his physical body to die and pay for sins that others can't do. This is Christianity in its purest form holmes.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      I appreciate your making the distinction between those of us who consider ourselves to be "True Christians" and those 97% of Mormons who claim to be "Restored Christians." Too many people confuse the terms, equivocating on Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and salvation, when they have nothing in common between the two faith traditions. Yes, agreed, we all have much to learn from the insights and practices of each other, without conflating incompatible beliefs. Thanks for expressing such openness.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • DS

      My argument about vicarious proxy is a slam dunk. What gets me about those who profess to be "True Christians" deny the miracles that Christ performs, both anciently and modern-day miracles.

      Modern day revelation? Answer given: "Not in these days anymore. God did his work and left it in the Bible"
      Priesthood Power? Answer given: "Not in these days anymore. God did his work and left it in the Bible"
      Additional Scriptures than the Bible? Answer given: "Can't add or take away from the Bible"
      Modern day prophets? Answer given: "We can all be a prophet to ourselves...yaaaaay"

      You deniers make me sick

      February 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • AC

      DS, Please read for me in the real Bible (Not the Mormom Bible) where anyone from Genesis to Revelation was instructed by God to baptize physically dead people! I can save you a little time, it is not in the book, but please don't take my word for it, feel free to check for yourself. What you will find in Deut. 4th chapter, is that you are not to add unto the word of God or deminish from it, this is without question one among many things that the Mormon church has simply made up that is completely unsupported by real scripture. I look forward to your response...

      February 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • W247

      DS – so are you saying that Mormons are equating themselves with Christ when they stand in proxy during this baptizm of the dead ritual?

      Jesus Christ, is the only One, THE ONLY ONE who can make that claim of being able to take on proxy for the world and it's sins. That is a very arrogant assumption to think that we are mere sinful humans can do that.

      February 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  14. Kirk Harrington

    It goes beyond this too. I'm not sure Jews realize this. I heard inaccurately said once that a proxy baptism makes someone a gentile. Thats not the case. Actually, we believe that the proxy baptism is a fulfilling of two things...that the hearts of the children will turn to the fathers in the last days (Prophet Elijah) AND that these baptisms represent the great 'gathering of Israel' that would also occur. Therefore, you're really not becoming a gentile when you're baptized, but a member of the house of Israel (or one of the tribes). Judah, for example, was one of the tribes (what would be seen as the Jews today).

    February 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Thanks for clarifying distinctions between what is commonly understood as "Christianity," and what Mormons consider a "restored Christianity," with little in common. Admire your insights and sharing during this time when a Mormon may become a model for the world to admire.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  15. Mabel

    The Mormon's religion comes straight from the fiery pits of HECK!

    February 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Dear Mabel,
      I understand how some of the practices may offend, as in the building of temples you cannot enter, and exclusion from your childrens' marriages and baptisms, and labeling what you consider Christianity an error dreamed up during the 3rd century at Nicea. But one needs to show respect for such a proud and rich religious tradition with members we admire, and all religions have their mysterious beginnings, Joseph Smith, for example, like Mohammad, calling attention to what they considered the errors of Christiandom.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  16. Ron Reissberg

    So, as an observant Jew, I want to know if the food served at the "afterlife" party is kosher. If Mormons want me to respect their religion they should respect mine. Also, please don't have it on shabbos. I'm assuming there are kosher caterers in the Next World. If not could we please at least order in Chinese?

    February 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • GodPot

      All Christians, including Mormons, believe the Jew's lost their seat at the table of God and that if the Jew's would just accept their Christ they could get rid of the Mosaic law and start eating heavenly bacon as their God intended...

      So, they may give you a small amount of respect, but it's always rolled up with a large helping of egotistical pity.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Rinsewind

      🙂

      February 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  17. WC

    ...because it's better than molesting them?

    February 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  18. Peter

    If you don't believe in their religion then why do you care whether they "baptize" you in it or not? If I was dead and someone tried to baptize me I'd think "that's nice" and then go back to being dead. Really, there are so much more important things to be worrying about right now.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • JoshuaAss

      Because, it is extremely disrespectful. you may not care, but as a Jew....it is a little different. You won't understand, so don't try to. Just know that it is extremely disrespectful

      February 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      And it is deceptive, because the Mormon baptism is not accepted by any Christian organization; and that is no insult, because it goes both ways. Mormons do not accept as valid any part of the Christian religion as practiced by Protestants and Catholics.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  19. Nikki83

    This baptism practice is how they also got in trouble with the Pope. He has told Catholic parish priests in Poland to not allow the Mormons to microfilm their parish records so those Catholics listed cannot be "baptized" into the Mormon faith. As a genealogist, I appreciate the access that the LDS church has provided to records around the world. But it are these types of "abuses" that hurt their reputation.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Yes, and imposing temples on communities, as when Senator Oren Hatch pushed to get a massive temple built in the heart of the most exclusive Kennedy North area of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As any Ecuadorean how the feel about that!

      February 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  20. Jadhavacarya Das

    This is an example of profound spiritual arrogance and ignorance. How dare they assume a monoply on salvation! To believe that only Christ can give salvation is to smack in the face other religions whose understanding and belief in God is just as capable of providing salvation and rewards to going to heaven to be with God eternally. This process shows how ignorant the Mormons must be, because when the soul leaves the body it is gone on it's way according the the words and deeds performed in life. Please don't put me on your list, I am wholly confident that my understanding of God and the spiritual world are more than sufficient to proved eternal life in bliss and knowledge without anyone elses intervention.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Sorry you find the exclusivity of some religions to be offensive. Those who truly believe that they have found truth feel compelled to share it. Those who conflate all religions need to inquire what is the ultimate goal, and what one is required to do to achieve it. Whatever your conception of paradise is, and whatever you feel you need to achieve it, is up to you. But it is not surprising that if one has found a passage to paradise, that one may claim to have the key to enter. You may fashion your own vision and craft your on key, and when you do, we will not be offended by your offer to share.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:11 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.