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Comments about ‘Jewish, Mormon leaders issue joint statement’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 2 2010 1:09 a.m. MDT

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Abinadi7

For those pondering the weighty question of no leaves on the trees at Temple Square, just drop your gaze a bit to the caption appearing under the photo.

Doctor

What happens if I, non LDS but obviously aware of the religion, die and no one performs a proxy baptism for me? What's the downside to not having this done? Serious question.

BP in SG

Interesting comments, I agree with many, disagree with a few.

@ The Rock: Good sincere thought, communicating Doctrine and the reality that will one day be for the Jewish people. They ARE a Chosen and Blessed people, and will ONE day come to a true knowledge of the Savior. The Messiah was never meant to be a Political or Secular King like figure for the Jewish Nation to rally around for Temporal salvation. But rather He was, and IS, The Prince of Peace, The Almighty God, King OF Kings. His Kingdom is not of this world. It is IN the world, not OF the world.

@ patriotandmore: I don't think enough has been said on that powerful scripture, and others in the Holy Bible. To make the obvious point, that scripture (and others) teach us that many of the Jews in Christ's time performed Baptisms for their Dead in the Holy Temple. When enough Jews recognize their true heritage as the Covenant People, all will come back full circle and those pure in heart will embrace The Messiah. This scripture is paramount to what is happening today. There is a prophetic reason the LDS and Jewish people are making amends.

BP in SG

One more note:

It's important for any of the Jewish readers to know that we as members of Christ's Church today don't believe the Jewish people are inferior or secondary, just because we believe your nation will be LAST to hear the Gospel in these last days.

In the days of Christ, we THE Gentiles were LAST to hear the Gospel of Christ. In these Last days, we were first, for God's own purposes that not even we fully understand (and won't until the Messiah's Second Coming). My opinion on the matter is that, in both cases, the "group" that was LAST to hear Gospel was meant to be humbled and reminded that the Blessings of Salvation are sacred and require a pure heart. But Jews and Christians alike are in the same boat because we've both been LAST at some point or another.

All that our loving Father in Heaven cares about is the "Immortality and Eternal Life of Man". Immortality (living forever with our bodies and spirits) has already been granted to ALL. Eternal Life is Life with God, and that is reserved for the righteous (OF ALL NATIONS).

BP in SG

@ Doctor:

It's a good question, and I don't know the answer for sure. What I know is that our Father in Heaven requires the specific and proper ordinance of Baptism for Salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of the Father (as evidenced by the Bible and Book of Mormon doctrines). And the Lord also tells us that ALL souls will have the opportunity to be baptized, whether in this life or the next (it is the same).

I would suspect that somewhere down the road, one of your posterity will perform the work for you while you are in the Spirit World. Better yet would be for you to be baptized in THIS life, not because you'll be any more saved than you would by having it done proxy for you, but because you'll have that much more time on Earth to progress with your Body joined with your Spirit. That is one of the many blessings of accepting the Gospel in THIS life. There is much more to know on the subject if you'd like to inquire further.

Mel50

I am also puzzled why it matters so much if we are not of the true church and don't have any divine authority to perform these baptisms? If that were the case, then baptism for the dead would have the spiritual significance of a 5 year old baptizing his teddy bear in the bathtub. For the people who say they don't want their ancestors to be "made Mormon", are they then giving tacit acknowledgement that we have divine authority? That said, I do applaud the church leadership for addressing the issue and seeking to find a compromise with the Jewish people. The work will be done eventually, but now is not the time.

Abinadi7

I have read all of these comments - many with great interest. Is it just my imagination, or are the comments on DN articles getting more sane and reasonable? It used to be (months ago) while I was always interested in what others were saying and thinking about a news article, I always felt like I needed to wear hip-waders to go through all the sewage that passed for commentary. Not that is necessary for others to agree with my POV (whatever that may be), but rather that the postings be well thought out and reasoned. Its much better now - whoever is responsible, and so the reason for this thank you.

24waystospellit

Good to read that most of the comments above are positive and not attacking other posters’ characters. Good to see lots of interesting points of view and outpouring of understanding Church doctrine.

I have taught many family history classes for the Church and am very specific about doctrine and policy with class members, both veteran and new Church members. Some of the elements the Church wants people who submit names for temple work to be sure about (and now certify as part of the submission process) is that they are related to the person whose names are submitted; to request permission if they are not more closely related than the living spouse, child, parent or sibling of the person whose name is submitted (aka, “Rights of First Refusal”) and to respect if such a closer relative refuses and move on to the next generation, etc., understanding that the work for all people will be done in due time. Or perhaps another child or sibling or parent will provide permission.

24waystospellit

So many people misunderstand what baptism means, since the doctrine and practice has been twisted for so long in the “Christian” world since the Great Apostasy began. No wonder so many people fear it. For example, how many Jews during the Spanish Inquisition were forced to recant their beliefs and be baptized or be tortured further and die? And history is rife with many other such patterns. The whole concept of infant baptism is another example of subtle corruption. The list goes on and on. All of it has instigated fear and therefore a loathing reaction in succeeding generations, as we can see in the present case.

Some who oppose the LDS practice of proxy baptism fear it so much because WE BELIEVE it so much. And their fear of our belief propels them to deny us any such perceived power over them. It is a perception, though falsely incited, but which rouses their emotions and motivations.

24waystospellit

It occurs to me that all these events, even the nastier ones, happen for reasons, not all of which are apparent to us at this or even a near-future time. The Church’s policy, as exemplified in the recent announcement of understanding with Jewish Holocaust groups, for appeasing and respecting the wishes of these established groups will have resulting blessings and is done in the Lord’s wisdom. Sometimes we learn a goodly reason is to teach patience–remember Job? Think of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Junior, also. Even all the reasons for their ordeals are yet to be revealed. And the Savior taught, turn the other cheek.

Maybe a prime reason is that Church members must learn to practice obedience in ALL things. As one poster above brought out, the Church’s directive about doing temple work ONLY for one’s OWN KINDRED dead has been around since proxy work was restored for general Church members to practice again, during the administration of Pres. Wilford Woodruff and the baptristry at the St. George Temple. Even when our desires are righteous, Sisters and Brothers, we must be obedient, else our faith is weaker than we had supposed.

24waystospellit

Another reason, I suspect, is that the Lord’s House is a House of Order, as He has repeated in revelation a number of times. The proxy temple work needs to proceed in an orderly fashion and doing temple work for one’s OWN KINDRED dead is an orderly way to proceed, minding that we keep accurate and verifiable records, etc.

Don’t forget that this work concerns ever greater blessings than the sublimity of baptism, of which Jesus Himself showed the way. Once baptized, greater blessings are in store and that work needs to be done in an ORDERLY manner, not just names left in the baptistry’s files. How is it orderly if we do baptisms and then neglect the other blessings?

24waystospellit

Which reminds me: in teaching family history and temple work, one way I learned to mitigate the misunderstanding and fear about baptism is to approach non-believers in terms they can understand. For example, when asking them for permission, say something such as ‘you want to take the names of these loved ones, which you care about as well, to the temple to ask for further prayers and blessings in their behalf, as an expression of your faith in asking God’s blessings for these loved ones now departed.’

In that way, for example with Catholic relatives, they can understand that what you are asking is like, in their terms, a Mass or prayers offered in the behalf of souls departed. Faithful people everywhere offer such prayers even beyond the funeral services for their loved ones; there is a reason for this widespread belief in blessings for the dead and departed…think about that.

And this in no way mitigates or trivializes what the LDS faithful are doing in the temple. Each of the temple ordinances ARE prayers and blessings.

Abinadi7

I have read all of these comments but I have yet to see anyone really address what is puzzling to me except for the one just posted by Mel50.

If you are Jewish, heads-up please.

If any of the Jews who are reading this felt offense at the practice of a few overzealous but faithful Mormons to perform proxy baptisms for Jewish holocaust victims, please step forward and help the rest of us understand why the angst?

As has already been well explained elsewhere here, if the baptism is without authority, it is a non-issue. So, really, why does the idea of a religious group (other than the one you profess belief in), performing a baptism for a departed relative feel so offensive to you? What is it about this that sets your strings vibrating? Because some of these Jewish protests in the past have been intense. Actually, I felt the reporter doing the article should have addressed this issue as it is central to the story. It goes to motivation and the reason for acting as they have, in anger.

Many of us would like to understand this.

Vanka

Abinidi7,

First you offend us by assuming you have any business doing ANYTHING with regards to our deceased relatives, then you argumentatively demand us to justify why we are offended?

And you wonder why Mormon narcissism isn't spreading like wildfire around the world?

And you wonder why people aren't knocking on Mormons' doors asking to be baptized instead of 60,000 unwelcome missionaries knocking on everyone else's doors?

Sheesh. How dense can you be?

Abinadi7

@Vanka

Thank you for stepping forward and for your response.

I think I can understand the first part of your first sentence as to the idea of doing anything with regards to your deceased relatives.

But I don't feel that I was argumentative in what I wrote. Certainly I did not intend to be argumentative. That is one of the problems with this form of communication. It is impossible to get all of the non-verbal clues (tone of voice, facial expressions, body language) which would make it clear that the intent behind my question was anything but argumentative. But if anything I wrote gave offense, I assure you that it was not intentional at all.

(My, this 200 word thing is limiting)

Abinadi7

@Vanka

What I was thinking about when I wrote that was that I know of Jews who have entered the LDS waters of baptism and have susequently been doing vicarious work for their own kindred dead. When the work being done includes a grandfather that this woman is a direct descendant of, some of that grandfather's other descendants got very exercised and perturbed by that baptism. She and I were discussing this and she didn't understand their anger at all. Hence, the reason for my posting.

I was seeking understanding, NOT looking to offend.

The rest of the post I will not respond to because it would probably just lead to more misunderstanding and that is not my desire or way of doing things. Suffice it to say that you have me all wrong and I will let it go at that.

annie

I don't pretend to speak for the Jewish people, but I think the issue for them is a historical one. Jews have been repeatedly victimized by so called Christians for hundreds and hundreds of years and for a Christian group to come and baptize their ancestors and put them in a list as having Christian ordinances done is highly offensive. Mormons understand our doctrine of apostasy but Jews don't. They lump us together with all other Christians. And while the Jewish people have forgiven others for their history remarkably well, they don't necessarily want their ancestors and their history messed with by some of the perpetrators.

My husbands grandparents are Jewish and don't want their ancestors messed with. We still do the family history and spend forever trying to convince other Mormons that it just isn't are place to go against their wishes.

county mom

"Atheist" We believe in Christ, we teach of Christ, we follow Christ. He is the Son of the living God, in whom we also believe. How can you beleive in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and by definition not believe in God?

John K

I just don't understand why it had to come to this. You would think we could have handled this in such a way that Jewish leaders would see that this is not an offensive practice. If they don't believe in our ordinances, why would they think their ancestors would be hurt by what we are doing?

morpunkt

I have a close family member, who happens to be Jewish. I love him more than anything. He also has relatives who are linked to the Holocaust. He says he's not offended in the least, regarding this matter.
Oh well.

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