home
RSS
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. Who

    Who cares? Why should this make people so angry?

    February 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • D

      Definitely not angry. Confused and disappointed that people would believe in such obvious nonsense though.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Lew

      When Obama and Hillary were psoturing the public for the nomination, you didnt see anything on CNN about their religous views. And if you did...it was brushed off as no big deal and slid under the rug. But Republicans get raked over the coals for anything they believe in. Religion has no place in politics but the Liberal Media makes it this way.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • asdf

      @Lew : the GOP's religion is constantly talked about because they won't shut up about it. They are constantly trying to out-bid one another as the most christian, and they admit that their religion should affect our policies! Of course it gets talked about.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Who

      If you don't think people are getting angry about this, just look at these comments. It's ridiculous. People get so upset about things that have absolutely no impact on them specifically.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Harris

      Every individual on the planet has a unique belief system. Even if you belong to the same country, religion, fraternity, household, whatever, you will not have the exact same belief system. What you think is rational, others will not. What you think is good, others will not. I encourage you to get out and spend more time with others of different cultures and beliefs. Might not change your beliefs, but it might help you to feel a little more kindness and empathy toward other people, and a little less hate and criticism.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Allison

      Harris-well said. Thank you!

      February 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. WWJD

    What is wrong with people? There is NO grey area here folks. When we die, you go to one of two places. Heaven or Hell. There is NO "spirit prison". There is NO in-between. If you read the bible you would clearly understand that!

    February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      When you die there is nothing or we currently don't.. Thats it, deal with it and live a good life

      February 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • achepotle

      Not so fast...the Druids believed the soul went into the nearest host...could be a nurse, could be your cat.....I think that is just a good common sense America-first policy,

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • tickled

      You go where you were before you were born. The land of non-existance. You don't exist!

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • ELH

      Please cite your authority for making that audacious claim. I, for instance, will go to Andromeda when I die. A long ways to travel but the climate beats the one in Minnesota.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • asdf

      @achepotle – very funny.

      Also, its funny people put so much stock in the bible being correct about the afterlife, as A) it doesn't really say much and B) The writer's opinions are as valid as anybody else's opinions. Which is to say not at all.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • not as naive as you

      Please, spout more nonsense. It makes me laugh.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Robert P

      To WWJD: If your comment was written tongue-in-cheek, I commend you. If you meant your comment seriously, I feel compelled to ask: don't you see that your own inflexible doctrinaire beliefs are exactly as logically unsupportable as the Mormons' inflexible doctrinaire beliefs? You are rejecting their beliefs out-of-hand, but your own beliefs have no more evidence in support of them than the Mormons have in support of theirs.

      The Bible, you say? But wasn't there a Council of Nicaea, three centuries after Jesus died, in which a bunch of church executives decided what the Bible would be, and what books would be accepted? And if that is so, what makes you think those old men chose the right books? What makes you think that a bunch of guys, deciding about events three hundred years in the past, were correct in their conclusions?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bible

      1 Peter 3:18-20; **1 Peter 4:5-6**

      February 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  3. Temple of Zeus

    I hereby induct Mitt and his entire family into the Temple of Zeus he must now relinquish belief in Athena, Apollo and Moroni as well as the secondary Gods of Mormonism Jesus and Marsupial.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  4. Marlena

    As a Christian, I wouldn't like it if a Mormon baptized me after death but I can't say that I feel it has any relevance TO ME personally. I have my own set of beliefs, feel that I am "right" with my Savior, and, in the end, this is between me and God someday so it doesn't really matter what words some person speaks over me after I'm long gone. However, that being said, what massive and unbelievable audacity. Many other religions believe that this would be desecrating a deceased person, their soul, etc. How DARE they?!?!?!

    February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Baptism

      LDS Baptism for the dead does not make the person a Mormon. It is a gift offered to the person. If someone offers you a free Book of Mormon, you can decline it. Since nobody is being baptized against their will, but a stand in is offering it, it too can be declined by the person.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Marlena

      OOOHHHH so the dead person can decline the baptism? I see. How silly of me to think that it was out of the person's hands at that point.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Religion

      If you don't believe in life after death, then maybe you would think it was out of their hands. But then again, the whole point becomes moot. You say you are a Christian. Don't Christians believe in life after death?

      February 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Pastor Dingwell

    Wonder practice if you believed in it and it was based on scripture. How do the Mormons justify the scripture that we of the Evangelical faith subscribe to when Jesus clearly made the statement that NONE can come through the Father but through the Son.. Also the scripture tell us that none can come through the Son unless the Holy Spirit draw them. Thank you

    February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  6. John Henson

    Mormon baptism for the dead is a misapplication and misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29. They take this verse out of context to make it prove what they wish. Mormonism has been shaped for years on incorrect interpretations and the polluting influence of Smith's infatuation with worldly religions and even Freemasonry.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Trevor

      So what does it mean then?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Religion

      Every religion or even individual thinks that they have the right interpretation. I for one am not offended if someone thinks they have the right interpretation.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  7. D

    If you can read this article and not think "my goodness, these people are crazy or stupid (or both)" then you might need help!

    February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • asdf

      And if you think that, and don't also take a long hard look at your religion, you still need help.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • D

      hehe, what religion? 😛

      February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Critic

      I think both. Now they even want to convert the dead. Is R-money going to baptize the nation too. This country is going back where Europe was more than 1000 years ago. Religion has no business in government.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • asdf

      lol bingo. ATHEIST INTERNET HIGH FIVE! *SLAP*

      February 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • D

      *high fives!*

      Yes! I love that nickname for Mittens. he should totally man-up and own it, imo. that'd be baller!
      R-Money in thu hizzy!

      February 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Nathaniel Wilkinson

    Why are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints singled for these diatribes? Do LDS insult Catholics for their beliefs concerrning their sacriment? Do LDS insult others when they handle snakes during their church services? Do we insult others when they pay loud music during their services? Or build church buiuldings large enough to hold sport events?
    The important aspect to remember is that we do this practice based on scripture. People need to be baptism, as Jesus Christ said himself. People who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel will be taught the gospel in the spirit world. If I go and have someone baptized – they still have the agency to accept or decline it. There is no force here. These people do not become "forced Mormons" This is about service to people who stand in need of help.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Marlena

      Oh please. CNN is daily publishing articles bringing up the ins and outs of other religions and people come on here bashing or supporting away. Mormons aren't being singled out any more than anyone else.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Lew

      Its a simple hit piece because Romney is a Mormon. If a democrat running for office was a mormon, you wouldnt see one character on the faces of CNN's page about mormonism. Dont take it too personally, its just a typical CNN partisan political move to make a Republican look like a Religous fanatic. This is normal for CNN and liberals.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Religion

      We ought not judge a person's church by a political figure. Harry Reid tells everyone he is a Mormon and yet Mormons don't seem to support him.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Terry Milani

      I can't believe that anyone thinks this makes sense, this only goes to show the audacity of people of faith that they somehow know what's better for someone else. What makes you think you can decide for someone who can no longer defend their position on a matter like this. I can only relate my own experience with baptism this way, my first daughter was baptized against my wishes by my wife to appease members in her family. I was against it on the ground that it would be hypocritical of me to do that and lie to the parish priest to come to mass and be an active member ( which most do and then never come back after the baptism ) When my second daughter came to be baptized I put my foot down and wouldn't allow it because as a family we hadn't gone to mass since the baptism of my first daughter and didn't care what others thought. But before I made that decision I we went to see the priest and I told him honestly that I wouldn't be an active member but that my wife wanted her baptized and would he do it. He said no he wouldn't so I asked him, what do you think would happen to her if a day after she died and hadn't been baptized ? remember we are talking about a 6 month old baby here. He said she would not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven, and I being a what most would consider a rational man said , she is six months old how could she be capable of sin or capable of doing anything that would stop her from finding salvation. Before anyone comments I know all about original sin etc... and the reasons people of faith cling to about these matters because I was raised in a Catholic home and schooling. I looked at the young priest and said to him... do you really believe that ? or do you say that because that's what you have been taught and don't question it ? he said he believed it. I said well anyone that believes that God or any higher power would actually condemn a baby because of the beliefs of her father doesn't have the gift of reason that is innate to us all. To have the audacity to think just because you were raised in one religion that only you know the right path to salvation because of what someone wrote in a book long after Jesus died to me goes against some of the better things said in the bible about compassion and forgiveness. The rules were written by followers long after his death and all human's can be guilty of deception and those that think the bible is a handed down words of God are fools

      February 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  9. GAW

    At first glace it seems well intended but when you really look at it closer it looks more like coerced conversion.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Nathaniel Wilkinson

      The key aspect of this practice is agency. I can have every person in my family lineage baptized, but they all have the agency to accept or decline the act of baptism. Just because the work is done – the person still has the God given gift of their agency to choose "Yes or No"

      February 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • toad

      in no way shape or form is that an accurate statement

      February 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • dave

      How is it coercion?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Scott

    The bottom line is members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints see this as an offering of kindness which people are free to accept if they choose.

    As a member of this faith, I can tell you that it is crystal clear that we are only to submit names of our own ancestors for temple work. I don't understand the person who submitted these people's names. When the church became aware of the issue, the church fixed it and has committed to putting in place stronger protections.

    Everyone may have a different opinion, but this is a kind church that does a lot of good, has a lot of normal people in it like you and me that are just trying to be a little better, help others, and honor God. I am glad that I live in a country where freedom of religion is a right to all of its citizens.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • D

      ah, so it's not "universal acceptance" like they suggest in the article? it's restricted to family lines. classy!

      February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • tickled

      Whether it's your ancesters or not, what about all the ones that don't get done (billions !) You are handling a grain of sand on the beach.
      And if there are other ways that happen later, then why waist your time on this small grain of sand now?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • penquin

      I have family members who are Mormon. I am not. I have family members who have died as Lutherans or Catholics. It would not be right for those of our family to take it upon themselves to baptize those who have gone before as a different faith. Did you ever think that perhaps those who have died would be highly upset that someone did this to them? You give them no choice. It is now in some record somewhere that they were baptized as Mormon.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Doug

      Penquin,

      We don't think that those who have died would be highly upset that someone baptized them. They aren't Mormon if they don't accept it in the afterlife. Why would they be upset if they don't accept the baptism?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Religion

      Penquin – God will know the difference as to which church that person wanted to join. Nobody can save or condemn anyone. But people can assist in helping.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  11. Conrad Miller

    And did you think they were copying and digitizing all those thousands of census, parish and pension records, immigration lists, birth and death certificates and newspapers just so you could find your great grandaddy's second cousin twice removed was hung as a horse thief? Not bloody likely. And it is almost certain he now has The Mormon Option for the Ticket to Paradise in whatever limbo he's been waiting in. Faith is the most beautiful thing humankind ever realized; religion its worst. All organized religions are ma-made B.S. designed to keep the masses in place for fear of some boogie man in the hereafter; Mormonism seems especially ludicrous only because its roots do not lie in the dim and distant past, but in a time when its growth was reported on. So, why did Joe Smith's wife leave him? Why were Mormons hounded out of every city they congregated in? And why did the US government wage a war against them? Now, of course, there has been over 150 years for this stuff to be swept under the rug, a number of generations brainwashed, and so now, to point these things out, it counts as religious persecution. Sorry, but if Bozo founded a religion, in 150 years it would still be clownish.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  12. sdl

    They're actually an interesting study of how a cult grows to the point where it starts to become main stream. When you look at their beliefs, they are nowhere near close to what Christians (and I use the term in it's broadest sense to include Catholic and Protestants) believe in. I'm sure ancient Jews must have felt the same way about the Christians, who started out as another branch of Judaism and slowly developed a whole new belief system. Of course, the Mormons will say that the Christians got it all wrong and that Jesus' mission failed and God had to take his church up to heaven for nearly 2000 years before Joseph Smith was chosen to get things right.

    By the way, I'm not religious, so I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do find observing religious people fascinating. I think it's disrespectful to baptize the dead of other religions and cultures, but in the end, in my view, it doesn't change anything – they're still dead. Now if we can ever interview a soul, then let's get all worked up, but I'm not holding my breath.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • dave

      Their "beliefs are nowhere close to what Christians" believe in? Which beliefs specifically are you talking about? That Mormons believe in God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost? Their believe that only through Christ you can be saved? Their belief that we should show kindness and try to model our lives after Christ's example? I thought those were what made Mormons and others with similar beliefs Christians.

      Also, regarding your statement: "the Mormons will say that the Christians got it all wrong and that Jesus' mission failed" – absolutely untrue.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Mr Realist

    Let's calm down, everyone. I'm an atheist and I believe that when you die, that's it. Game over. The likelihood is that I'm right, and that an afterlife is wishful thinking. Think about it for a while. Mormons baptizing the dead is only offending the living – I could give to poops and a turd if they baptize me after I'm dead. I'm just not going to know, or care, at that point. Neither are you.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Mr Realist

      My mistake: should be "two poops and a turd."

      February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • asdf

      I agree, but some people do care, and a posthumous religion change irks me even as an atheist.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Lew

      The earth is too perfect for their not to be anything after it. Dont get me wrong, the people are not perfect but the earth itself is. Look at the system which isnt man made. Air, Trees, Plants, Animals, Fish, Water, DNA, Blood, Birth. Look around you, open your eyes. To not believe in something greater than yourself would be foolish.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • M

      As an athiest you have it correct that when you die you die....there is not afterlife. The Bible even teaches that. Christendom has take the scriptures out of context when it comes to this subject.
      A God of Love does not torture people for all eternity because of wrong they committed.....A God of Love does not take a child and strike them with cancer so he can have another angel in heaven.
      When you die you die. “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4)

      February 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  14. Tom

    It’s clear that baptism is a necessary ordinance to salvation. There are many scriptures in the New Testament to verify this. Jesus taught that baptism is a necessary ordinance when he was baptized by John the Baptist – whom Jesus sought after because John had the authority to baptize. In Matthew 3:13 it reads: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him”. In John Chapter 3 verse 5, it reads: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. With that said, think of the millions of people that have lived on the earth that have never even heard of the name of Jesus Christ. If baptism is necessary, then all people who have ever lived on the earth need to be baptized – according to the Savior Himself. Jesus taught that He would also teach to the dead. In John 5:25, and 5:28 and 29 it reads: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” . In 1 Corinthians 15:29 it states that baptism for the dead was practiced by the early church that Christ set up. In 1 Peter 3: 18 – 22 it verifies what Jesus said in John 3: 25, 28& 29 when Peter wrote: “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: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 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. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” Peter also states in 1 Peter 4:6 that the spirits would be judged as any others who would be taught the gospel “For 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”. So, there is a loving Heavenly Father who gives everyone a chance of salvation in His eternal kingdom through His only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. These sacred ordinances of baptism for the dead performed in the holy temples of God fulfill the Savior’s requirement that all have to be baptized. It makes the Gospel of Jesus Christ fair and complete for every living and deceased soul who accepts this Gospel and the ordinances therein. These baptisms are an action of love performed by the living for all of the sons and daughters of God who are deceased and who are taught and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world where they continue to live, communicate, and make decisions.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • asdf

      But...what if you are a reasonable person who understands that a book written by barely-literate goat herders two thousand years ago is as valid as any other work of fiction?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Sybaris

      This only shows that this Jesus guy was a mortal man who had no supernatural powers and incorporated the baptismal act found in other religions of the day.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  15. nonyabidness2

    You can have all the baptisms you want, but not accepting Jesus in your life will never get you into heaven. John 14:6
    New International Version (NIV) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • dave

      Sure, what's your point though? Mormons believe that too – there is no other way except for Christ.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Yohanon

      Yep, Aint gonna do you no good if you are DEAD

      February 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Mike

    It's their way of getting back at all the people who refused to answer the door to missionaries when they were alive.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Allison

      Nah....didn't really make me that mad.

      February 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  17. Will

    What a cult practice.........

    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  18. LOL

    You need to remember the LDS use the Book of Mormon more so than the Bible.
    Now if they would just believe what the Bible says about the soul they would see that their baptizing is usless.
    “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) The distressed prophet Elijah “began to ask that his soul might die.” (1 Kings 19:4) Likewise, Jonah “kept asking that his soul might die.” (Jonah 4:8) Yes, the soul dies when the person dies; it is not immortal.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Thomas

      According to the NKJ version, it does not say "soul", it states that they are asking God to kill them because they do not want to live anymore. It has nothing to do with the soul perishing.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • LOL

      Thomas the problem with a verison is that it is a VERSION not a translation. You need to go back to what the original Hebrew Scriptures say or at least the oldest one that exists and you will see that Man becam a living soul.....and if there was a hell would not God have told Adam and Eve if they disobey him they would go to hell.....no he said they would die.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • LOL

      But what about Bible texts that speak of the going out and the coming back of the soul? Concerning what happened to Rachel when she gave birth to a son, the Bible says: “As her soul was going out (because she died) she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.” (Genesis 35:18) And referring to the resurrection of a widow’s son, 1 Kings 17:22 states: “Jehovah listened to Elijah’s voice [in prayer], so that the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life.” Do these passages indicate that the soul is some invisible, shadowy part that can escape from or enter a body?

      Well, remember that one meaning of the word “soul” is “life.” Hence, Rachel’s soul was going out in that her life was going out. In fact, some Bibles render the phrase “her soul was going out” as “her life was ebbing away” (Knox) and “she breathed her last” (Jerusalem Bible). Similarly, in the case of the widow’s son, it was life that returned to the boy.—1 Kings 17:23.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Truth

      Clearly, the Bible shows what man is. He does not have a soul; he is a soul. Because of what man is—his nature—any hope for future life for the dead depends on a resurrection, a raising up. The Bible promises: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus’] voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29)

      February 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Thomas

      Well, according to my Church Adam and Eve did go to Hell. And everyone prior to Christ's death went to Hell. When Christ died, he went to Hell and freed all the souls that were there.

      However, I know that every Church teaches something different and that we could argue about this all day. I am not a theologian, bishop or priest for that matter. I respect that people can have different beliefs.

      However I do have a problem when people claim that the oldest Church is the Catholic Church, when it clearly isn't. I wish people would look into Church history more, and see that something existed before Catholicism, that is closer to the Apostolic teaching.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Sybaris

    It is interesting that Jews would be upset over the Weisenthal baptism.

    If you don't believe it is effectual then what's the harm?

    For instance I scoff at anyone who curses me in the name of Zeus.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Scones

      One day, you are going to get hit by a lightning bolt.
      HAIL OLYMPUS!

      February 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  20. asdf

    I'd love to know what size of secret underwear Romney wears.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Doug

      Probably L or XL.
      Do you have any other things you would love to know?

      February 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
Advertisement
About this blog

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.