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. roger

    Mormons are now running their own form of propaganda on all forums when it comes to any critic of their religion.You can see it on this story already.Say Jorge and Canadianlady and many others.Baptisim is for the living not the dead and the reasons for Mormon baptisim is suspect at the very foundation of their baptism policy.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • jp

      Can you repeat in English this time?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • souptwins

      Are you saying Mormons have no right to be here and defend or set the record straight when others misinform or attack? Wow, so American of you!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  2. jj

    They are the most judgmental people in the world and yet they can go as baptize the already dead, as if god wasn't powerful enough to save whomever he chooses. The more in the back country you get the more screwed up they are. It's like going back in time when people used to drown people to make sure they were not witches. .

    March 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • bfin

      No jj, You sound like your the most judgmental person in the world.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Sean D

      "They are the most judgmental people in the world." Said the judgmental JJ.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  3. Ed Killer

    Not sure what the big deal is. By the reaction to this it almost feels like the proxy baptism has validity in the afterlife to those being proxy baptized. Do Jewish people truly believe their deceased ancestors are accepting this Mormon invitation, because when you read closely, that's all a proxy baptism is, an invitation. It's no different than a Mormon missionary knocking on your door. Despite some obvious missteps (Prop 8), Mormons have always attempted to be inclusive, not exclusive. You shouldn't be offended. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. If it's not your dead ancestor's thing, it's not their thing (assuming the proxy baptism has validity). Frankly people need to be less offended by every little thing, there's much bigger problems in this world to worry about.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Pizzagirl1986

      No, I don't think Jews really think that dead relatives are going to be concerned about this...but I am guessing that Jews will be offended. And since I am Jewish I can say this confidently.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • mike

      Damn straight there are problems in this world that deserve more attention than this story.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. jake

    I have learned Mormons don't have use for us non Mormons. Hell people we can't even do to the same heaven they go to. That is reserved for mormons. Baptisms by the mormon church is very minor. We should be worried about how the mormon church is going to rule from the white house. Romeney is high up in the mormon church. Do you really think he ever do right by us non mormons.


    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • All Religions are Dangerous

      No better than the Evangelical "force our Christianity down your throat" coming from the other Republican Candidates.

      Any form of Radical Religous belief is harmful. Hell the so called "Christian" Leaders don't even look out for women of their own faith much less any outside group. For them it is all about men (more white men than men in general). If Santorum had his way you would be free to pracitice any relgiion you wanted as long as it was a pre-approved Christian religion.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • souptwins

      Only 2 things should have a place in presidential politics concerning religion. 1– Does the candidate respect people's right to worship as they see fit 2– Do they respect the separation of Church and State. Other than that, it shouldn't matter. So far it seems Romney does a better job with those 2 things than the others.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Sean D

      Jake. Since you seem to be the self proclaimed expert, please tell me what position exactly it is that Mit Romney currently holds in the L.D.S. Church that makes him, as you say, "high up in the mormon church?"

      March 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Sean D

      Another thing Jake.. So are you really so naive to believe that if Mit Romney is elected as president, one of his first acts will be do "do wrong" to all you non-mormons???? I'm thinking he might just have a hard time getting some of those scary laws that a running around in your imagination through Congress. What do you think?

      March 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  5. bfin

    I am LDS, I have the right to baptize for my own Ancestors that are dead. I can only extract names from my own lineage. BTW I wouldn't care if another religion had my name and baptized it by proxy, I don't believe in other church's beliefs so it wouldn't make a difference, and if I die and found out that what that church did was out of love and respect and had some truth to it, I would be grateful. The LDS church has nothing but complete respect and love, what is done on Earth is bound in Heaven.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Republican Class Warfare

      Then you will be alright when I sacrifice a goat and baptize in blood tonight in the name of my god, sweet Satan?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Oh wow. Mormons wouldn't know what complete love and respect were if it slapped them in the face...several times. They are the most judgmental, condemning religion on earth. Just look at what you do! You believe that if everyone, including dead people aren't mormon than they aren't good enough to be with god. Talk about a god complex...oh that and the fact that you believe you'll become gods...now that's just creepy and silly!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  6. AZkid

    i Cor. 15:29 – 29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

    Proxy baptisms and other ordinances have been performed for the dead since the ancient church. This is not new. All the living and the dead will have the opportunity to be taught and accept or reject the Gospel.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Madame Laveau

      Mormons simply have had their post-mortem practices outed. I keep mine strictly under wraps.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  7. CFan

    When I'm dead, they can baptize me as often as they like. I ain't gonna change anything.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. jp

    And this is front page news...why? As a former Mormon that chose my own path, I am not a representative of the religion, however I do have a unique perspective. The Mormons believe that baptism is a physical rite that must be performed on Earth. Additionally, they believe those that weren't baptized on Earth should have the option to accept baptism in an afterlife. Yes, I know it sounds odd, but who are we to judge. They believe that this baptism isn't forced upon those that have passed on, only gives them the option to accept it. Their beliefs, no matter how crazy, are being misrepresented and demonized.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  9. obi

    There are so many things done in the name of religion. How about peace does that matter? If it does then let it be!!! God will decide and there is nothing anyone can do about it! I used the LDS site to find my uncle, he died in a concentration camp. He was a German soldier. Go figure?

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  10. Dude

    There are two reasons that they are doing this now.

    1. Politics

    Oh wait, I miscounted.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  11. demo joseph

    Personally I think this yo yos need to clean their own back yard and stop worrying about my soul. That is the most "holier then thou kind of individual. Save your soul, let me worry about mind.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mike

      You as well as 99% of others misunderstand this practice! This is by no means Mormons doing baptizing for deceased people and saying: "There, now that you are dead and have no choice we are going to offer a baptism for you and you are now a member of our church whether you like it or not" It's not at all like that! We believe simply that there were many people that lived here who had they had the chance to hear our Gospel would have liked to have been baptized in our church! Because we believe in the after life, we believe that those that never had the chance to say "thanks, but no thanks" or "yes I would like to be baptized" will still get that chance in the afterlife, but because they no longer have physical bodies to be baptized themselves a person acts in Proxy for them! Then they can have the same opportunity in the afterlife as they did here to say "no thanks" or "thank you for giving me the chance". So we are by no means saying that we have officially forced dead people to become members of our church whether they want to or not! This is very misunderstood by people!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  12. kris in detroit

    Is this some sick attempt to put a shadow on Mitt Romney. Cnn is absolutely shameless in their devotion to their messiah Obumma

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Pizzagirl1986

      No, it's the fact that some sickos think it's okay to do this. And guess what, it's not!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Sly

      Oh my... 'shameless'.

      It's all a big conspiracy by those Black men who really run this country for the past 200 years.

      Black men are the most powerful guys in America right?

      What a terrible conspiracy by Satan Santorum to say such bad things about Mormon Mitt, and it's really all the President's fault.

      Wah ... "where is his Birth Certificate? Huh? HE isn't really President ... and what's that Black Man doing in My White House?"

      March 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  13. Mike

    And let the Mormon bashing begin by CNN! Although it's a little earlier than I thought! I thought they would wait until about June or July when things really get kicked off between Romney and their beloved Obama! And to think I was starting to find myself warming to CNN a little more because I thought they were doing a decent job covering the Republican campaigns! Now I see that they are just playing nice this whole time but are Wolves in Sheep clothing that will make sure at all costs that Obama wins again!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  14. Paulo

    IT's hard to take the LDS religion seriously when they change doctrine to suit political climate. First it was polygamy so they could enter (utah) the union, then it was enabling blacks to become elders during civil rights turmoil. Now this baptism of the dead. It almost seems a mockery of true spirituality. I know there are some terrific mormon people but it does seem to be a cult they is hard to explain.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mike

      I know you are sooo right and intelligent! I'll forgive you though because I'm sure you forgot to mention how there are literally dozens of different versions of the Bible that all religions have changed multiple times over the years to fit their needs and their are still religions taking verses out that they don't like or changing the wording a little bit! I'm sure you forgot to mention how many churches change their beliefs and practices over time because it's almost all of them! So you know exactly what you are talking about don't you Paulo?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  15. coyoteliberty

    Look, not a Mormon, but I have to say that I don't get what the fuss is all about.
    If you're Mormon, then clearly this ordinance is important to your belief system and an act of service. If you're not, it's mythology and doen't matter in the least. What actuial harm is being done, by any standard of the word that has any meaning?
    As far as people like Wiesel beating up on Romney for not taking his church to task, there is a basic misunderstanding here. Churches take members to task, not the other way around.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Randi

    1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

    33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

    Someone cared for the soul of another - so great is the coming Kingdom of God, that one person took the effort to baptize someone, who died, into that kingdom. I'm not a Mormon, yet I am not against this practice. Jesus taught us to love one another. Let the LDS Church practice their faith and their belief in the teachings of Jesus. From what I have read, the proxy of baptism for the dead does not baptize you into the LDS church, but rather Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of their sins through His death.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • marragor

      It matters, Randi, because millions of people were/are MURDERED based mainly on their religious beliefs. I'm not Jewish, but I am furious that the Mormon church feels the need to save their souls. Are they having trouble finding living people?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • asdf

      No, they need to be charged with defiling the dead.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • souptwins

      asdf– You realize the dead people aren't physically baptized, don't you? No one's digging up bodies. Basically the persons name is spoken. That's it. So anyone speaking the name of a person who's died is defiling the dead?

      March 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  17. Monica


    March 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • pastmorm


      March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Dude

      Sorry Monica, you are no longer Catholic. You are now a Pagan. You worship an idol of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

      I converted you.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  18. Bible Clown™

    Other people's weird religious beliefs are obviously wrong. Mine are obviously right.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  19. Phil from Dallas, TX

    I just tried that website and converted Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to Gay. Seemed to work just fine. I'm not gay but now they are.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Actually Joseph Smith may have been gay (besides being a pedo)...he did get sealed to a man in one of their temple rituals...

      March 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • marragor

      FANTASTIC!!!! LMAO!! Very, very good!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • GMcG

      Phil, you are my new hero.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Dude

      I wish I had read this comment earlier. I just converted Joseph Smith myself.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  20. bud in NC

    Hey folks. IN my weekly talk with God, He told me how to undo this mess. It is called Reversed Baptism. I lie down underwater in the tub, my trusted friend then lifts me out of the water while I say very loud ALL YOU WHO HAVE BEEN WRONGLY BAPTISED, BY THE POWER GRANTED TO ME, BE NOW UNBAPTISED. poof, all undone and everybody except the Mormons are happy. But most important, God is happy. It wont work for you unless you get permission from above as I have.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • bud in NC

      Forgot to mention this. For a very significant fee I am authorized from heaven to pass my hands over you and give you the power also. Checks not accepted. Cash only.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • marragor

      Thanks for the laugh!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Pizzagirl1986

      That is awesome!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
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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.