News

Mormons perform baptisms on Holocaust victims

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, photo, show Helen Radkey at her home in Holladay, Utah. Mormons are posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims as well as grandparents of public figures like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg, despite church rules intended to restrict the ceremonies to a member's ancestors, according to a researcher Helen Radkey who has spent two decades monitoring the church's massive genealogical database (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mormons are posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims as well as grandparents of public figures like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg, despite church rules intended to restrict the ceremonies to a member’s ancestors, according to a researcher who has spent two decades monitoring the church’s massive genealogical database.

The discoveries made by former Mormon Helen Radkey and shared with The Associated Press likely will bring new scrutiny to a deeply misunderstood practice that has become a sensitive issue for the church. The church, in a statement, acknowledged the ceremonies violated its policy and said they would be invalidated, while also noting its created safeguards in recent years to improve compliance.

Proxy baptisms are tied to a core church teaching that families spend eternity together, but the baptisms do not automatically convert dead people to Mormonism. Under church teachings, the rituals provide the deceased a choice in the afterlife to accept or reject the offer of baptism.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major religion that baptizes the dead, and the ritual has contributed to struggles by the faith to combat the mischaracterization of its beliefs.

The church’s stance on family and the afterlife is behind a massive collection of genealogical records the Utah-based church compiles from around the world and makes available to the public through its website www.familysearch.org . Proxy baptisms are recorded in a password-protected part of the database accessible only to church members.

The ceremonies first drew public attention in the 1990s when it was discovered they were performed on a few hundred thousand Holocaust victims, which Jewish leaders condemned as grossly insensitive.

The posthumous baptizing of Holocaust victims reopens Jewish wounds from being forced in the past to convert to Christianity or face death or deportation, Jewish genealogist Gary Mokotoff said.

After discussions with Mokotoff and other Jewish leaders, the LDS church in 1995 established a rule barring baptisms of Holocaust victims except in rare cases where they are direct ancestors. It also bars proxy baptisms on celebrities.

But periodic controversies erupted when new proxy baptisms were found listed in the church’s genealogical database, including Radkey’s 2012 discovery of one performed on Anne Frank. The church apologized then, sent a letter to members reiterating its guidelines and announced the creation of a firewall aimed at preventing the inappropriate use of proxy baptisms.

“The church cares deeply about ensuring these standards are maintained,” spokesman Eric Hawkins said in the latest statement.

In recent years, it has implemented additional safeguards, including adding four full-time staffers who watch the database and block baptisms on restricted names, he said.

That includes a list of Holocaust victims sent each month by a Jewish human rights organization in Los Angeles.

Radkey, who left the LDS church in the mid-1970s and was later excommunicated after publicly criticizing it, was blocked from the part of the database that shows the baptisms until recently getting a login from a Mormon friend. The suburban Salt Lake City woman has dedicated countless hours to researching proxy baptisms because she believes people’s religious preferences should be respected even after they’re dead.

Printouts and screenshots of Radkey’s latest research show that in the past five years, proxy baptisms were performed on at least 20 Holocaust victims.

They also were performed on Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe; the mother of Queen Elizabeth II; and grandparents of Kim Kardashian and Carrie Fisher and U.S. politicians Joe Biden, John McCain and Mike Pence.

Radkey said she found no evidence of ancestral ties to Mormons.

Mokotoff said Radkey’s findings show the church isn’t doing enough to police the practice.

But Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, the former national director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee, said he’s seen firsthand that the church takes seriously preventing Holocaust baptisms and said leaders are acting in good faith to honor the agreement.

Greenebaum was brought on by the church to help remedy the issue about seven years ago and receives monthly reports from the database team about potential Holocaust baptism attempts. He estimates they stop five to 12 attempts each month. That fact that only 20 slipped through in a five-year period is a testament to how much money, time and effort the church has devoted to upgrading its computing systems to detect and block unauthorized baptisms.

“I’d like to own the baseball team that batted that well,” Greenebaum said. “They’re seriously doing their work.”

There also was a new attempt to baptize the L.A. Jewish organization’s namesake, Holocaust survivor and “Nazi hunter” Simon Wiesenthal, which LDS officials flagged as needing permission.

That type of flagging means a baptism is blocked until the person seeking to perform it can prove a direct familial relationship, Hawkins said. It shows the safeguards are working, he said.

Hawkins added that while some suggest certain names should be deleted from the database, church officials need them there so they can monitor for unauthorized baptisms.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center previously asked that Wiesenthal, who died in 2005, be removed from the database, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, its founder and dean. Hier said he plans to send a letter to Mormon officials asking that his name be removed again.

“They may mean well, but it’s insulting to Jews, and it would be insulting to Mr. Wiesenthal,” Hier said. “He lived a life of good deeds, and he doesn’t need any assistance in getting to heaven.”

Radkey also uncovered attempts to baptize people still alive or recently dead such as O.J. Simpson, Charles Manson and mass shooters Stephen Paddock and Devin Patrick Kelley.

Those requests were blocked and flagged as “not ready” or in need of more information.

Ryan Cragun, an associate professor of sociology who studies Mormonism at the University of Tampa, said Mormons are striving to baptize everyone who has ever lived to help get non-Mormons out of “spirit prison” in the afterlife and receive exaltation.

One reason for performing the ritual on Holocaust victims is that their names are easy to find in government records, which creates an efficient way to quickly baptize more people, said Cragun, who was raised Mormon but no longer belongs to the church.

The baptisms of public figures are likely based on two factors, he added. First, people naturally think about celebrities more often because they see them on TV and in movies or hear them on the radio. Secondly, Mormons are similar to other social groups in that they like to claim famous people as their own.

Posthumous baptisms are performed at the church’s 159 temples around the globe, mostly by young people. Members are escorted to a decorative baptismal font resting on statutes of 12 oxen. An adult or older teen male reads a short prayer, and the member — representing the dead relative — is immersed in water.

Each baptism is recorded in the database.

At a conference this year, top LDS leaders stressed the importance of proxy baptisms — saying God wants all his children “home again, in families and in glory” — and encouraged young members to get involved. The church has nearly 16 million members worldwide.

“Temple work is an act of love,” said Hawkins, adding, “It is a selfless work that builds deep connections to our forebears and a love for God and his children.”

About the author

The Associated Press

84 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • A deeply misunderstood practice? Sounds like the people that understand it do so very well. Fortunately or Unfortunately, the dead can’t speak for themselves.

    Offered the choice of accepting baptism in the afterlife? On the basis of what? Two rocks in a hat? A letter from the baptisee?

    Is there no end to the spiritual and moral arrogance of people who claim to speak for god? No? Probably not.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major religion that baptizes the dead, and the ritual has contributed to struggles by the faith to combat the mischaracterization of its beliefs.

    While the Church is policing the issue, it is based upon beliefs (or superstitions) that remain unrefuted.

  • Basically anti-Semitic to perform a religious ritual on holocaust victims without any family consent. But what else to expect from a religion started by a con-artist that remains more fraudulent than most religions to this day.

  • I can’t agree that Mormonism is “more fraudulent than most religions to this day.” I think it only appears more fraudulent because it was invented in relatively modern times here in the U.S., and that fact enables us to easily discern the fraud which is really quiet obvious.

  • This is not an issue of theology. It is an issue of common courtesy and respect for others. When told for several decades now that these post morten baptisms are considered offensive to the family and descendants of various people and groups, is disrespectful and rude to continue doing so. Meaning well evidently does not extend to avoiding deliberate insult.

  • True to an extent…very old religions get an unfair pass on their fraud. But people two-thousand years ago were primitive, so it is to be expected that they fell for nonsense.

    The Mormons (and Scientology, etc.) have to financially support a huge swindle and con-job to stay relevant.

  • I think that Peter Gilmore, high priest of the Church of Satan since Anton LaVey’s death, should start baptizing dead Mormons, starting with Joseph Smith, into the Church of Satan. They can always choose not to accept the baptism while crossing the River Styx.

  • The baptisms are for data-stuffing so the LDS can boast to future generations how many believers they had and how famous many were.
    Elmer Gantry lives !

    PS – where can I find someone who does DE-baptisims ?

  • The Jews killed in the Holocaust died for who they were, their group identity, not for who they weren’t. The Mormons want the victims to be something they weren’t, Mormons. This is remarkably disrespectful.

  • Cragun is wrong on a major point, those for whom baptisms for the dead have been performed are not and never have been “ours.” You will not find their names on our membership lists.

  • Which is why its especially rude when its done on groups who have specifically told them not to so out of courtesy.

  • At a conference this year, top LDS leaders stressed the importance of proxy baptisms — saying God wants all his children “home again, in families and in glory” — and encouraged young members to get involved. The church has nearly 16 million members worldwide.”

    I totally disagree with those top LDS leaders on this. Holocaust survivors were Jewish, and most likely dedicated, observant Jews. It dishonors their chosen faith before their deity (Yahweh) and violates their sacred choice of how to practice their faith. It forces an unnecessary Mormon baptism on them!

    Those top LDS leaders should mind their own business to instead, concentrate on ways to finally bring this male-dominated church into the 20th century. They could start by giving female Mormons a bigger role in the government of their church so that one day they’re sitting among the table alongside those stern-faced old guys to make decisions for their church!

  • It’s probably not legal, but I’d love to put a clause in my will that reserves money to assassinate any mormon who tries to posthumously baptize me…and blow up any temple that let it happen.

  • What a useless, pettifogging distinction.

    If that’s the *worst* you can say about the article, it’s time to work on auctioning off that FOREST of beams in your own eye.

  • I commend Mr. McCombs on a well-researched article. The LDS Church has the only reasonable solution to the statement of Christ in John 3:5 that everyone that wants to reach heaven must be baptized. Most Christian churches baptize babies, and some conquered entire countries to force baptism on everyone. Many early Mormons, like Jewish believers, were killed for following their religious beliefs, so they would never force their religion or beliefs on anyone, but they do believe in offering heaven to everyone.
    The LDS ordinance of “baptism for the dead” was approved by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:29, and is a voluntary service to adults who are already dead, but were never baptized. If Christ was telling the truth in John 3:5 of the Bible, then this temple ceremony allows people after death to become a Christian, if they so choose. If you don’t believe in the afterlife, you don’t believe in Christianity, or you don’t believe that Mormons have the priesthood to baptize, then it is just a waste of time, but hurts no one. If you do believe in the Bible and baptism as a requirement to become a Christian, then the LDS Church members are giving one of the greatest possible gifts to their ancestors who weren’t baptized during their lives, the chance to accept Christ.

  • Peggy Stack has written at the Salt Lake Trib that current LDS membership is FAR less than reported here.

  • ‘Radkey also uncovered attempts to baptize people still alive or recently dead such as O.J. Simpson, Charles Manson and mass shooters Stephen Paddock and Devin Patrick Kelley.

    Those requests were blocked and flagged as “not ready” or in need of more information.’

    Clearly, the entire #Afterlife Ponzi industry is “not ready” for Prime Time, and its gullible public is definitely “in need of more information.” How about an app which allows the selected and/or dead to move furniture, or a planchette, if they don’t like what’s (allegedly) being done? Maybe pins could fall out of dedicated, personalised dolls? Has anyone checked a calendar, recently…

  • No, it isn’t a “useless, pettifogging” distinction. You’ll never hear Mormons speak of, say, George Washington the same way we speak of Gladys Knight.

    As for the “worst” I can say about the article, there’s nothing really bad to say about it. Outside of that one nonsensical denigration of our motives, it’s an evenhanded report of how well we’ve been doing at preventing proxy baptisms for those Holocaust victims that aren’t direct ancestors. I mean, only twenty in all the proxy baptisms performed in five years? I’d say that’s a success. And of course, it documents the ongoing harassment of the LDS Church by Radkey. You’d think she’s determined to prove the old adage that people can leave the Church but can’t leave it alone.

  • The Book of Mormon, on Jews:

    4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

    5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.

  • I’m not sure what they mean by “in bringing forth salvation to the Gentiles.” It sounds like they’re talking about Jesus as personal savior. Jews never thought the Messiah was a personal savior. That’s why Christianity split from Judaism. If I’m wrong please inform me. Whatever it says in the Book of Mormon, posthumastly conververting Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust for being Jews is antisemitic and it is also a form of spiritual genocide of those Jews who were murdered in a physical genocide. No amount of quoting from the Book of Mormon will change that. Being harassed in the afterlife is not a benefit.

  • In context, it is referring to the Bible and both that Jews wrote it, and that it is the acts and suffering of the Jews recorded in it.

    Except proxy baptism doesn’t “posthumously convert” anyone. It offers a choice, any conversion occurs due to the ongoing missionary effort in the next life and the personal decisions of the beneficiaries of that effort. To demand that proxy baptisms be halted is to demand that the dead must remain what they were whether they wish to or not.

    Also, even when proxy baptisms are performed we can’t claim that anyone has benefited from it. Sure, there are a few personal revelations in isolated cases that they’ve been accepted, but in the vast majority of cases we can only guess.

  • They would never force their beliefs on anyone?

    Prop. 8 called, and wants its notoriety back. Jack Phillips is supported by Mormon briefs, saying that religious discrimination, in this case and in this case ONLY, is just ducky.

  • Did apostle Paul instruct his church disciples in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15 to perform (proxy) baptism of the dead? NO. Or did he use this pagan ritual to illustrate his point about the resurrection of humanity on account of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and his point that even the pagans believe in resurrection (begging the question, So why shouldn’t you?)? YES. Read it for yourself:

    1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 29, 32, 54-57 – “Christ has been raised from the dead … [and so] by [this] man … came the resurrection of the dead. … In Christ all will be made alive. … Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead [i.e. according to pagan beliefs and practices]? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them [i.e. if these pagan people don’t even have a hope in an actual resurrection]? … [Otherwise] if the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die [and that’s the end of it. But that’s not the case at all, because, according to] the saying that is written [in Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14], ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • WRONG!

    Did apostle Paul instruct his church disciples in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15 to perform (proxy) baptism of the dead? NO. Or did he use this pagan ritual to illustrate his point about the resurrection of humanity on account of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and his point that even the pagans believe in resurrection (begging the question, So why shouldn’t you?)? YES. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 29, 32, 54-57 for yourself!

  • As per your usual, you’re at it again, 1/2 truths here, 1/2 deceptions there. I’ve studied with Mormon missionaries for 3 years and they & I have seen their scriptures teaching the Replacement of the Jews as God’s Chosen People, by the Mormons. I can give you chapters and verses if you want, which I doubt you do.

  • Apostle Paul NEVER instructed his church disciples in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15 to perform (proxy) baptism of the dead!

    What he only did was, he used this pagan ritual to illustrate his point about the resurrection of humanity on account of the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Basically, his point was, Even the pagans believe in resurrection – so why shouldn’t any of you, my disciples in the church in Corinth?

    Here’s what apostle Paul meant:

    1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 29, 32, 54-57 – “Christ has been raised from the dead … [and so] by [this] man … came the resurrection of the dead. … In Christ all will be made alive. … Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead [i.e. according to pagan beliefs and practices]? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them [i.e. if these pagan people don’t even have a hope in an actual resurrection]? … [Otherwise] if the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die [and that’s the end of it. But that’s not the case at all, because, according to] the saying that is written [in Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14], ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • “[You]’d love … to assassinate any mormon who tries to posthumously baptize [you]”?!

    And 1 upvote for that war cry?!

    What is wrong with you!

  • But you’re “wrong on a major point” here, though. The entire baptism-of-the-dead practice!

    Apostle Paul NEVER instructed his church disciples in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15 to perform (proxy) baptism of the dead!

    What he only did was, he used this pagan ritual to illustrate his point about the resurrection of humanity on account of the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Basically, his point was, Even the pagans believe in resurrection – so why shouldn’t any of you, my disciples in the church in Corinth?

  • Except “the Church of Satan” doesn’t perform baptism of the dead.

    What do you know anyway about Satanists?

  • And is the god-lessness of these 2 atheists any better? Which to say, your point-lessness is loud & clear.

    (1) Jenny Stanton, “‘Creepy, crazy and weird’: Former classmates say Texas gunman was an ‘outcast’ who ‘preached his ATHEISM’ online before killing 26 in the state’s worst ever mass shooting”, Daily Mail, November 7, 2017.

    (2) Alexandra Wilts, “Devin Kelley: Texas shooter ‘preached ATHEISM’ and was an outcast, say former classmates: The shooting left at least 26 people dead”, The Independent, November 6, 2017.

    (3) Max Jaeger, “Texas church shooter was a militant ATHEIST”, New York Post, November 6, 2017.

    (4) Gianluca Mezzofiore, “Chapel Hill Shooting: Gunman Craig Hicks a ‘militant ATHEIST’ who fantasised that religion would ‘go away'”, International Business Times, February 11, 2015.

    (5) Adam Withnall, “Chapel Hill shooting: Craig Stephen Hicks condemned all religions on Facebook prior to arrest for murder of three young Muslims: Prominent ATHEIST Richard Dawkins has condemned the attack”, Independent, 11 February 2015.

    (6) Anna Leszkiewicz, “The Chapel Hill shooting: White male ATHEIST murders three Muslim students: 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been arrested and charged”, New Statesman, 11 February 2015.

  • I second that. I mean, I fifth that (without pressing the upvote button).

    (Come to think of it, I think social media should ban upvoting, likes, and the rest of this superficial consensus-formation tendencies.)

    Point here is, Right on, ‘bruh! Preach it!

  • Yes I knew I spelled posthumosly wrong. I’m not sure what you mean by “ongoing missionary effort in the next life.” There are no beneficiaries of that effort. You are hurting the dead. You are just trying to impose your beliefs on the dead. You get the same benefits as other Christians get when try to convert Jews. It ‘s all just an excuse. Being harassed in the afterlife is not a benefit

  • Pagans didn’t perform proxy baptisms, or baptisms at all AFAIK — the ceremony is based on a Jewish practice, that I believe is still part of the process of conversion to Judaism. All early references to the practice I can find are applied to Christians of various varieties.

  • I’m sure you can list all sorts of references to Mormons referring to ourselves as a Covenant People and heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant, that’s standard Christian doctrine. What I doubt you can list are any Mormon references stating that the Jews are no longer part of God’s Covenant People. God has made promises to the Jews that He WILL fulfill — He has NOT forgotten his covenant people.

  • Standard Mormon doctrine is that during Christ’s visit to the Spirit World between his crucifixion and resurrection he organized a missionary effort to be carried out among the souls of the deceased that didn’t have the opportunity to accept Christ’s Atonement through baptism. One way or another EVERYONE will have a true opportunity to make that choice.

  • But maybe they should. It would be great PR.

    “What do you know anyway about Satanists?”

    They are largely fictional except for groups which use the imagery and cultural cachet to annoy uptight Christian types or as a statement on undue religious privilege.

  • All stories about the same incident. I wonder which Christian propaganda site you cut and pasted it from.

    What all those quote mines miss is that the shooter had a personal connection with the church, taught Sunday school for it and it was the church of his wife and in-laws. It was personal. Calling him an atheist would be wildly incorrect and defamatory.

  • Its extremely rude to others who are not and never were part of your church. Being rude is being rude. Using religious belief as an excuse does not change that.

    It is an effort to create a public statement to deny and erase the identity of people who were murdered solely on the basis of that identity. Their survivors, family and descendants find it offensive and rude. The LDS officially agrees with that assessment.

    All you are doing is demonstrating the purposeful offense and denigration of other faiths done in service of your own. It speaks badly of your moral and ethical fiber to defend such practices.

  • I think it is Christian doctrine too. Someone tell me if I am wrong. It is extremely offensive to think that Abraham and Moses needed Jesus to save them. I’m sure they chose no as I do whenever Christians of any kind try to convert me. Jews have God as a savior! Jesus is superfluous. As I have said before Jews have never believed that the Messiah’s purpose was to be a personal savior. The Messiah is supposed to bring about a world of peace, love & understanding. That is how we know that the Messiah hasn’t come yet.

  • Standard Christian doctrine is that Jesus descended to Hell between his death and resurrection, so far as I know the doctrine that he organized an ongoing missionary effort is uniquely Mormon — the rest of Christianity either still hold to the belief that you need to accept Christ in this life through baptism, or have dropped the need for baptism for salvation entirely. As for Abraham and Moses, as great as they were I don’t think any Jew believes they were sinless. But I don’t think we need to go through the differences between Christian and Jewish doctrine that everyone here will already know.

  • Not being a Mormon, but being a NT theologian, I assume this is reflective of the Romans 9-11 attempt to determine whether or not the Jews had fallen away from the Covenant, and whether their failure to accept the Revelation of Jesus meant their condemnation. This section of Romans argues that the Jews remained faithful to the Covenant, that their rejection of Jesus was the means by which the Jews will ultimately be brought into the Christian covenant. It stresses that the Jewish Covenant is a promise by God and therefore is still in effect, and that the present day (according to Romans) rejection is for a time in order that the Gentiles (Non-Jews) might be brought in.

    Anyone else?

    PR Chris

  • Susan: As I said in my previous post, Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 9-11 speaks of the issue about Jewish unbelief in Jesus, which was a problem in the earliest Church. If Jesus was the Messiah, whom Jews wait for, why don’t the Jews believe? Paul argues in 9-11 that Jesus is the way in which non Jews are to be given an opportunity to enjoy the same relationship with God which Jews currently have; the Covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Essentially, Paul says: The Covenant given by God to the Fathers is eternal, as is promised. That is because God’s promises are not abrogated; what he promises, is. Paul uses the idiom of the plant and the roots and branches. The root of the plant is the Jewish people and their covenant; its roots are alive. The branches represent the Gentiles who, through Jesus, are grafted into the promise of the Covenant. The Jews don’t need this grafting in; they are in covenant relationship. The present time reality, according to Paul, is for the benefits of the gospel coming to the Gentiles. When all is accomplished, the connection between the Jews and the Gentiles who, by God’s blessing, are now also in covenant relationship with God.

    One of the powerful verses in this text is this text: “I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all. God blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:2-5)

    Paul discusses the history of Israel and its non-acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. Paul says: …of Israel, “all day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” “I ask then, has God rejected his people? By no mean! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew…” (Rom 10:23–11:2a) and he goes along to describe Elijah’s pleas for his people, and of the safeguarding of the remnant…the faithful few who in all times have kept the covenant with G-d alive. He goes on to say: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” (11:5) The chapter goes on to describe the Gentiles being grafted into the Covenant with G-d. It goes on to say, in vv 25 and following: So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: A hardening has come on part of ISrael, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel ill be saved, as it is written: Out of Zion will come the Deliverer, he will banish godlessness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins [Isa 59:20-21 ff].

    As regards the Gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of G-d are irrevocable”.(11:28-29)

    Instead of persecuting the Jews and otherwise holding Christian faith as nullifying the Jews’ relationship with God, we ought to give thanks for their covenant and the suffering that Jews have endured in history. It is because they, the chosen Covenant people, by God’s incredible grace have paid a heavy price, and allows us Gentiles, through Jesus, come into faith in him.

    I think that this reading of Romans hasn’t been read often enough in Christian history. It serves as a reminder of the place of Jews in the Salvation story [Heilsgeschichte]. For nearly 2000 years, Jews have been “graded” by the Christian understanding of what is true Christian faith, required for salvation, and have been considered to have failed. And yet, in these three chapters of Romans, Paul explains that Jewish faith and non-faith in the Messiah have a different standard: The true and eternal Covenant of the Patriarchs and the Jewish people with the G-d who called them into relationship.

    Pr Chris

  • Michael: A couple of comments to the discussion on Mormon baptism. The first has to do with the practice of baptism in Mormon Churches and other Churches has to do both with who can baptize. In most Christian Churches, ANY Christian can, in an emergency, baptize another. In fact, in many situations, it has been held that non-Christian who baptizes another who is dying and desires baptism and no Christian is available. The rite for baptism is included in military Chaplains manuals for use by any person. The Churches normally restrict baptism to their clergy over an issue of good order and decency, not who has the theological chops to baptize.

    The second point is that virtually every Christian faith accepts the baptism of all other Christian Churches. [those churches which do not accept the baptism of someone desiring membership via baptism do so, not because of the form of the baptism, but over the requirement of the one being baptized to understand what is happening. It is over the requirement of “believer’s baptism” not over the form] The Mormon Church’s form of baptism is the only one for whom baptism must be repeated [and that’s not a good word, because it isn’t being repeated, but a corrected form means the first was lacking in doctrine]

    The reason for this requirement to be carried out for a Mormon who wishes to join a Christian Church is that Baptism, as practiced in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and protestant Churches is in the name of the Trinity [Matthew 28:19-20]; Mormon baptism is in the name of Jesus only.

    Pr Chris

  • CalSailor,
    Your points do not address baptism for the dead, which no other Christian Church claims authority to perform. Regarding baptism for the living, the LDS do baptize believers, with Christ’s authority, and in the name of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). Jesus set the proper example by traveling to John the Baptist to be baptized and being baptized by immersion. The LDS Church does it exactly the same way as Christ demonstrated it should be done.

  • HpO,
    Your claim that baptism for the dead was a pagan ritual is only based upon extraneous words you add to the Bible verses. Who gave you authority to rewrite those verses to meet your interpretations?

  • CalSailor & Doug H, It makes not sense. If you really believe the original covent is still in place then Jews wouldn’t need to accept Jesus. It basicaly says that Jews need Jesus to restore them tot he Covenent. Pope Francis has now said that Jews do not need to convert or accept Jesus. If you don’t come to the same conclusion it’s just bs.

  • No, I don’t think any human being is sinless and that includes Jesus. If you think Jews need to accept Jesus as their savior to stay out of Hell, then all that talk about God having a special plan for the Jews is just empty rhetoric.

  • Mormons don’t exactly have a Hell as such, and I don’t remember of any of God’s covenants with the Jews in the Bible involving what happens to them in the next life — for that, we all stand on our own two feet. Or knees, as the case may be.

  • My great-great-great-grandma was a member of that church in Corinth where upon receiving and discussing her apostle Paul’s letter to them, she scribbled those notes down on her copy of the letter. That was her bible study thought in progress. Don’t you do bible study? Oh that’s right, no, you guys just do The Book of Mormon, plus the other Mormon scriptures. I checked. My Mormon missionary guests all confirmed that being the case.

  • Whereas according to

    Matthew 10:23 Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come;

    Matthew 15:24 I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel;

    Luke 24:47 Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem;

    Romans 1:16 It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek;

    Who’s first, who’s last, all got changed by Mormons. For according to:

    1 Nephi 13:42 He shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

    Doctrine and Covenants 90:7, 9 Through your administration they [‘the school of the prophets’] … receive the word, and through their administration the word … go[es] forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews.

    Doctrine and Covenants 107:33-35, 97 The Twelve are … to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews … [and] holding the keys, to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews. … The Seventy are to be … under the direction of the Twelve … in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews … These seventy are to be traveling ministers, unto the Gentiles first and also unto the Jews.

    Doctrine and Covenants 133:8 Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off … first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.

  • “The ceremony is based on a Jewish practice”?!

    Prove it.

    Show me how Doctrine and Covenants 124:31; 127:5; and 128:12 are all “based on a Jewish practice”.

    Give chapters and verses from the Hebrew bible.

  • “There’s some debate historically about this practice and no one’s quite sure where it began. There’s no evidence that it was ever a practice in the Christian Church outside of sects or offshoots of the true faith. But, this much we do know – there was a city north of Corinth called Eleusis. The pagans in Eleusis had a practice of baptizing their converts in the sea as a means of guaranteeing a good afterlife. And, they taught that dead loved ones were still working their way toward Heaven. So, as an aid to your beloved dead, you could be baptized in their place and thus push them along the path of eternal bliss. Now, as you can tell by Paul’s multiple admonitions to the Corinthians, they were heavily influenced by the pagan culture around them. So, there’s speculation that the Church at Corinth was attempting to adopt this practice.”

    “The practice of baptism in pagan religions seems to have been based on a belief in the purifying properties of water. In ancient Babylon, according to the Tablets of Maklu, water was important as a spiritual cleansing agent in the cult of Enke, lord of Eridu. In Egypt, the Book of Going Forth by Day contains a treatise on the baptism of newborn children, which is performed to purify them of blemishes acquired in the womb. Water, especially the Nile’s cold water, which was believed to have regenerative powers, is used to baptize the dead in a ritual based on the Osiris myth. Egyptian cults also developed the idea of regeneration through water. The bath preceding initiation into the cult of Isis seems to have been more than a simple ritual purification; it was probably intended to represent symbolically the initiate’s death to the life of this world by recalling Osiris’ drowning in the Nile.”

  • Your great great great grandmother couldn’t have a Copy of Paul’s letter, since they didn’t have copy machines and she didn’t speak English. By the way, I teach an Old Testament study class, so you had better update your research.

  • What you are referring to are the Eleusinian mysteries which started at Eleusis but came to be recognized throughout the Mediterranean world — the emperor Augustus was an initiate. However, the actual bathing in the sea was carried out at Athens, not Eleusis. Nor does it make any sense to claim that Paul was referring it this, since he was seeking to provide evidences of the resurrection of the dead and referred to people baptized for others: “Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?” But those being initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries were washing themselves in the sea at Athens for themselves, not on behalf of the dead. Here’s an article on what we know about those Mysteries: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/pr/pr04.htm

    No, Paul was a Jew, the earliest Christians were Jews or Gentiles that were interested in Judaism (of which there were many). Those he was referring to were Christians, baptizing for the dead in the hope of the resurrection whose practice Paul that would lend credence to his argument for the physical resurrection.

  • Baptism as practiced by Christians was based on Jewish practice that still exists to this day, and that was what I was referring to. It’s a simple step to posit that if baptism is required for salvation, then Justice requires that everyone must have the opportunity to be baptized … somehow. Though I stand corrected in one respect, that washing in water as a cleansing ritual has been a common practice throughout the world.

  • Yes, the Church founded by Jesus through his apostles came first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. And when Jesus restored his Church through Joseph Smith it came first to the Gentiles, and will later come to the Jews. The first have become last and the last, first.

  • Uh-oh, you’re in trouble now, O “teach[er of] an Old Testament study class”, you.

    Are Doctrine and Covenants 124:31; 127:5; and 128:12 founded in the “Old Testament” or are they brand new heresies I mean post-Hebrew bible teachings?

    DougH says it’s the former. And you say what?

    If Doctrine and Covenants 124:31; 127:5; and 128:12 were originally taught & practiced in “Old Testament” times, prove it by citing chapters and verses.

    Otherwise, what’s the pointlessness of self-servingly declaring, “I teach an Old Testament study class”, if you can’t support Doctrine and Covenants 124:31; 127:5; and 128:12 with the “Old Testament”?

    You have 24 hours. GO!

  • Oh yeah? Then demonstrate how Doctrine and Covenants 124:31; 127:5; and 128:12 are based on 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 29, 32, 54-57.

    You have 24 hours. GO!

    Spoiler Alert: I studied those Mormon scriptures, and no footnotes are associated to them to indicate faithfulness to apostle Paul’s epistle to the church in Corinth. But good luck trying.

  • … but never you mind the nasty subversion of Matthew 10:23, Matthew 15:24, Luke 24:47 and Romans 1:16 in the end?!

    Of course, never mind. New Testament ain’t important, ain’t influential, ain’t decisive, in Mormons’ lives. I know that.

  • Chapters and verses, please, from the Hebrew bible. Chapter & verse is all I’m asking.

    Can do?

    No can do?

    You have 24 hours. GO!

  • Since when are any of these MSM outlets, Daily Mail, The Independent, New York Post, International Business Times, and New Statesman, a “Christian propaganda site”? Your Christians-bashing sometimes makes me laugh, you know.

  • Since you provided no links to those original sources, you clearly cut and pasted them from one that put them all together for a nice cut and paste. A Christian propaganda site which probably quote-mined or misrepresented the stories.

    Really??? This garbage??

    Nobody is fooled into believing you actually quoted those sources directly. This kind of ploy is too transparent and obvious. Its like fools who use a long book quote without online attribution who claim to have typed it from the pages in front of them.

    That was just a pathetic response.

  • Alright, let me prove your fallacy there. But first I need to verify these so-called “fools who use a long book quote without online attribution who claim to have typed it from the pages in front of them.” You give me all the web links to these “fools”. You have 24 hours. GO!

  • ” You give me all the web links to these “fools”. ”

    That is your job. You are the one who claimed to have quoted them directly. I am simply seeing your obvious ploy for what it was. A cut and paste from a 2nd or 3rd hand source of dubious credibility. If you were honest you would not have made your last post or asked me to do your homework for you.

    “Alright, let me prove your fallacy there.”
    You haven’t proven anything. Not even provided links to the articles you claim to have quoted. An honest person could have provided those days ago.

    Its pretty clear you’re a liar and an obviously bad one.

  • You’re so dumb.

    Here!!!!

    Here are those many a “Christian propaganda site” as per your request!!!!

    (1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5053013/amp/Devin-Kelley-outcast-preached-atheism.html

    (2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/devin-kelley-atheism-texas-shooting-who-was-he-creepy-weird-classmates-latest-a8041161.html

    (3) nypost.com/2017/11/06/ex-friends-say-shooter-was-creepy-atheist-who-berated-religious-people/

    (4) ibtimes.co.uk/chapel-hill-shooting-gunman-craig-hicks-militant-atheist-who-fantasised-that-religion-would-1487502

    (5) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/chapel-hill-shooting-craig-stephen-hicks-condemned-all-religions-on-facebook-prior-to-muslim-mass-10038126.html

    (6) http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/02/chapel-hill-shooting-white-male-atheist-murders-three-muslim-students

  • Took you 6 days to do it and several whiny posts. LOL! Way to be full of crap.

    Of course it didn’t help you at all that as I said before we are talking only about the same 2 incidents being reported by 3 separate sources. Only taking the headlines and not even reading the articles.

    The Chapel Hill shooting was a dispute about parking
    The Texas church had a personal connection with the shooter and his ex-wife/in-laws.

  • I mentioned that I teach a study class on the Old Testament not to claim any expertise, but to disprove your statement that Mormons don’t believe in or study the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments are standard works of the LDS Church, and the adult Sunday School classes will be studying them in detail every week for the next two years. You are welcome to come any week to see for yourself. I have no interest in arguing doctrine with you on this website.
    I will give you some information that I have about the modern day revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that you mentioned. Since they were received by Joseph Smith in 1841 and 1842, God addressed them to the restored church at that time, and they are not necessarily “founded” in either the Old or the New Testaments. For example, D&C 124:31 is a new commandment for the LDS Church to build a temple to God. This is consistent with God’s commandment to the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:4-6 and the revelation to David that Solomon should build a temple in 1 Chronicles 22:10. While the Israelites traveled in the wilderness, they carried a portable temple with them. Even Christ cleansed the temple himself, because it was being misused.
    D&C 127:5-6 is a commandment to have baptisms witnessed and recorded, while D&C 128:12 explains that baptism is by immersion in water and explains its symbolism. This is consistent with the New Testament practice of baptism by immersion (Matthew 3:16) and the symbolism of death and resurrection in Colossians 2:12. The Israelites also performed baptisms before Christ came, but their instructions are contained in the Torah (oral traditions) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Moses 6:64-65 says that “…Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized…” The conservative Jewish people still baptize new converts to Judaism by immersion, after repentance, with witnesses, in a baptismal font called a Mikveh, which must contain enough water to cover the entire body. Several of these Mikvehs were found in Herod’s Temple, there is one outside of the Essene synagogue in Jerusalem, and 220 such baptismal fonts have been excavated by archeologists in the Judean Hills and Land of Benjamin.

  • You deceive yourself. Matthew 3:16 and Colossians 2:12 and Moses 6:64-65 have nothing to do with what you guys do, these baptism-of-the-dead things, but which you gingerly if duly acknowledged, “are not necessarily ‘founded’ in either the Old or the New Testaments.” And that’s really how self-deception works. I’ve seen it with my own eyes when Mormon missionaries try to sell the idea that The Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants are in harmony with the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

  • .
    ???

    Do you mean “beliefs (or superstitions) that remain” unsupported? (Or somesuch.)

    You do realize that it is impossible to refute an article of faith, don’t you? Seeing as how by definition a belief or article of faith isn’t based on facts or evidence?
    .

  • .
    My tuppence.

    “There is, perhaps, no passage of the New Testament in respect to which there has been a greater variety of interpretation than [1 Corinthians 15:29]; and the views of expositors now by no means harmonize in regard to its meaning. It is possible that Paul may here refer to some practice or custom which existed in his time respecting baptism, the knowledge of which is now lost. The various opinions which have been entertained in regard to this passage, together with an examination of them, may be seen in Pool’s Synopsis, Rosenmuller, and Bloomfield. It may be not useless just to refer to some of them, that the perplexity of commentators may be seen:”

    It may be “that the apostle refers to a custom of vicarious baptism, or being baptized for those who were dead, referring to the practice of having some person baptized in the place of one who had died without baptism. This was the opinion of Grotius, Michaelis, Tertullian, and Ambrose. Such was the estimate which was formed, it is supposed, of the importance of baptism, that when one had died without being baptized, some other person was baptized over his dead body in his place. That this custom prevailed in the church after the time of Paul, has been abundantly proved by Grotius, and is generally admitted.” (Barnes’ Notes)

    This would follow precisely the example of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who “also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.” (1 Peter 18-21)

    The Harrowing of Hell is the Biblical precedent to Mormons’ baptizing of the dead.
    .

  • .
    (Assuming that you’re an atheist:)

    Why would any atheist get upset about a meaningless ritual performed in impotent worship of a nonexistent entity? (Unless they were actually physically affected.)

    I get why a theist of a differing faith might get offended — they actually believe that there is power and/or meaning in such rites. Their toes are being stepped on.

    But an atheist? I know that I got no dog in that fight.

    Do you? How so?

    (If my assumption is incorrect, please feel free to ignore. (As if that were not the default setting of everyone who ever approached a Comments section.))
    .

  • .

    (Assuming that you’re an atheist:)

    Why would any atheist get upset about a meaningless ritual performed in impotent worship of a nonexistent entity? (Unless they were actually physically affected.)

    I get why a theist of a differing faith might get offended — they actually believe that there is power and/or meaning in such rites. Their toes are being stepped on.

    But an atheist? I know that I got no dog in that fight.

    Do you? How so?

    (If my assumption is incorrect, please feel free to ignore. (As if that were not the default setting of anyone who ever approached a Comments section.))

    Thanks.
    .

  • 2 problemos, signoritta:

    (1) No epistle of apostle Paul attests to his belief “that when one had died without being baptized, some other person [could be] baptized over his dead body in his place.”

    (2) Knowing that “in the days of Noah … the ark was … built … [for] only a few people, eight in all, [to be] saved through water”, why, then, didn’t your Mormon friends perform the baptism of the dead when the floods from Hurricanes Harvey & Katrina came rushing in? (By the way they do believe their religious institution is a post-Noah’s Ark.)

  • “I get why a theist of a differing faith might get offended — they actually believe that there is power and/or meaning in such rites. Their toes are being stepped on.”

    That is really the point. It’s not so much of personal offense but the courtesy towards others.

  • .
    “courtesy towards others”?

    Others whose faith you scorn and whose beliefs you find laughable?

    Why would an atheist take sides in a purely sectarian catfight? What’s your position regarding angels and pinheads?

    I still don’t get it.

    Thanks, though.
    .

  • I am an atheist but not hostile to religious belief of others. Provided one plays well with others. When one doesn’t use religion to excuse bad behavior.

    You are making an assumption as to my beliefs which I never stayed. My scorn is not for the belief but what people do in service of it.

    My position is simply this, “don’t use religion to excuse acting badly to others”. It’s fairly simple and reasonable.

ADVERTISEMENTs