Comments about ‘Jewish, Mormon leaders issue joint statement’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 2 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Paul in MD

Regarding comments about the photo, the caption says it was taken in 2005, but not what time of year. Given that there are no leaves on the trees, but there is a photographer in short sleeves and no one with a heavy coat, I'd guess it was in the spring.

Paul in MD

Doctor, many churches consider praying for the deceased to be an act of service. We just take that a step or two farther.

We also perform many acts of service as you suggest. My ward takes several turns each year to provide food for a local shelter for battered women, usually having our youth put bag lunches together among other items. We also collect items and put together back-to-school backpacks for a local charity supporting under-privileged kids. Our ward also, like every other unit in the church, does its best to provide for the needs of the local members - assistance with food, rent, clothes, whatever is needed - to get them through the rough patches that most of us face at one time or another.

Paul in MD

I have not had a conversation with any of my Jewish friends on this topic, but I remember that my father's parents were adamant on the topic. They made him swear that he would not baptize them after they passed on.

Many Christians believe that we each bear some accountability for Adam's transgression, so the idea of being adversely affected in God's eyes by someone else's action is not a foreign concept in theology.

I've also heard of others who have been offended by the idea of our church baptizing their ancestors. This isn't unique to the Jews, but this is the most publicized incident. I applaud the church for it's efforts to be sensitive and accommodating.


If readers here have not had the opportunity, you may want to read the article entitled "Mormons, Jews In New Pact On Baptisms written by the editor of the periodical "The Jewish Week". Since the policy of DN is not to allow URL's in these postings, I will not provide a link, but the newspaper and the article are easily available through a search using the name of that publication.

I found that The Jewish Week article did a very good job of shedding more light on the question I raised earlier. I also found it interesting to have a perspective from 'the other side' of this news story. It was particularly illuminating to see how the controversy developed over time and the details of the earlier attempts to resolve this to everyone's satisfaction.

It was also interesting that this policy is described as "the Church has carved out Jewish Holocaust victims as the only exception to a universal doctrine" with specific questions to be asked of submmitters in future name submissions for proxy baptisms. All in all, a very satisfactory conclusion.


I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of–a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

I include those verses from the Old Testament as proof of the assertion ‘in all ages of the world…’


@ Paul in MD | 6:44 a.m. Sept. 3, 2010

My Mother as well made me promise not to have her baptized after she died. She fed the Elders when they came by, she made sure we were rady to go to Sunday School with Dad etc. She indeed was proabably a better person than I am, or most of the friends I have.

The brethern made the decision and I am sure it was not without a lot of prayer and I accept it and recognize it as a good solution in getting along with our fellow inhabitants.

If yhere had be a decision that everyone had to have their Mother & Father baptized by next week regardless of their thoughts or wishes (or promises in my case) I might have to struggle whether it was a good decision or not and if I was "in" or "out." It might have been harder because it was effecting me personally.


P : Think of it this way. if you don't baptize your mother, you won't be an eternal family.


"I believe that ALL souls WILL have the opportunity to have proxy ordinances done for them BEFORE the second coming of Christ. That will take time for it to happen but they will be given the right and privilege to do what they will want to have done for themselves AND their descendants."

There are 36 temples. There are currently 6,697,254,041 on earth. If you baptized one dead person every ten minutes you get 72 per day per temple. Your current capacity is 2592 per day. It would take 2,583,817. days to baptized all these people or 7078.951083 years. There were 150,000 births today or 2083 or 5.7 years temple days of new baptisms.

Humans have been around for 2,000,000. Writing has been around for 5500 years. Most lives aren't recorded.

Do you see the problem?


Not_Scared: I don't know where you have been living but there are over 100 LDS temples. Ordinances for the dead need to be performed on earth.

Oh, please!

It's too bad the Muslims in New York City can't take the lead from the LDS Church and do the "right" thing.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

Acording to a hate rag that is published in Salt Lake City this piece was considered so "non-journalistic" that it caused an employee of the DN to quit.

Such is just down right narrow-mindedness. The fact of the matter is this was a well written article. Some people may feel that it lacks journalistic digging to get another side, but in some cases such digging will only lead to more issues.

Anyway, the hate mongers who seek to spead anger at the practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have no lack of voices.

At least the Deseret News fully admits who the author is and what his connections are. Other papers that have written articles related to this subject have tended to put a name on the articles other than the name of the person who did most of the development of the article, and have misrepresented the back ground of the person they credit while failing to even deal with the background of the real source.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

I guess it is possible to be an LDS Atheist, but for totally different reasons than it is possible to be a Jewish atheist.

You can be an LDS atheist because being LDS technically just means you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You remain LDS until your name is removed from the records of the Church either by your request or though excommunication.

On the other hand in Judaism the way you are removed is unclear. According to the prevelanet but never fully articlualted view, you loose Jewishness not by rejecting the existence of God, but you do if you accept that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

You do not even loose Jewishness if you become a Buddhist, at least if you limit it to fairly quite explorations of Buddhist thought as Ben Gurion did.

It is not 100% clear if you loose Judaism if you accept Jesus as the Messiah but do not enter a formal rite to acknowledge such. Under the Israeli law of return if you do not enter the formal rite of baptism, you probably can still return.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

You are right that in general the tone and quality of comments have inproved.

The locked-in registration really helped this. I can not tell you how many times people posted using my name before locked in registration.

As it is the "of Michigan" part of my name does not exist, as some may thing, to point out I am not in Utah at every chance I get.

It exists because someone else had signed up to use my name without the of Michigan before I did. I complained about this, and that identity was supressed.

However, since I think we should all only have one ID I have not created the second one. Thus, if someone comes on using John Pack Lambert witout "of Michigan" it is someone else.

I do however think we still have too much of the back-lash comments. The primary haters are not as present, but the people who are on-edge and too sensitive because of the hating core are still too common.

I would say those who support baptisms for the Dead need to figure out why Holocaust survivors oppose them. The response "I would not oppose such" fails.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

At some level I would say the main problem in all of this is people doing temple work in the wrong way.

You are supposed to submit the names of your own ancestors for temple work. You are not supposed to submit the names of celebreties for temple work.

On previous discussions on this subject I have seen people say things like "I would have no probelem with Catholics praying for me after death" or in respnse to "what would you do if the FLDS performed 5 additional marriages for your grandfather" people answer "I would ignore it totally".

These are sincere answers in the latter case to a question that I find hard to believe was sincere, and if it was it was clearly ill-concieved.

My deepest expose to the Jewish view on this was the expressions of the Jew in the work "The Mormons" on this.

The problem is that paired with other over-blown arguments that one was hard to understand. I want to think the guy was sincere, but it is just so foriegn to my mind the way he approached it, I can not fuly graps the idea.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

I actually think it would be good for the DN to run an article entitled something like "why the baptisms for the dead of Holocaust victims are toubling".

However, that may actually need to be explored in BYU Studies or a forum where long discussions are possible.

The problem I have is that most discussion I have seen are build around such flawed understanding of what Baptisms for the Dead really mean and what the meaning and intents of the Holocaust were, that it is hard to give them credence.

What someone needs to do is write a work entitled "Baptismophobia and the use of memory of the Holocaust". The problem is that probably even suggesting the title I will be branded an anti-Semite (despite having a grandmother who was raised as a Jew and being generally a strong-partisan on the side of Israel, I will point out that Palestians have the vote in Israel but not Lebannon). I am an ardent supporter of the three state solution, adding a state of Palestine to the current states of Jordan and Israel in historic Palestine.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

The Spanish Insquisition did not force anyone to be baptized. By its very definition it only had authority over members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Only people who had been baptized ever came under the purview of the inquistion. The general accusation was that these were "crypto-Jews" who had coverted either for higher position or the save their lives from a crazed mob, but still practiced Judiasm.

Some have argued the real desire was to removed those of Jewish race from power, and it was a racist movement. However, these have been post-Holocaust writers who were also strong partisans of Israel. Others allege the cryto-Jews were actually practicing Judiasm and punished for this.

I would take a middle position. I think Netanyahu (father of the current PM) is right that the issue was more power than religion. However I think his race profile is wrong. I think class is probably more accurate, the established old-families not wanting to be displaced by upstarts.

The other issue too few have explored is whether the Jews still practicing their faith made them insincere converts. Not eating pork was grounds to be brought before the inquistion.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan

The debate over the origin and function of the Spanish Inquistion's treatedment of Jews has usually assumed that either the Jews were seccretly practicing their faith and thus insincere converts or that they were framed for political reasons.

While some have admitted there may have been people identified in both rubrics within the Inquisition's setof victims, few if any have admitted that the possibilities are more complexed.

On one hand, no matter how fake the Jews' conversion may have been, that does not prevent the Inquistion from being an excuse by one group to remove another from power.

On the other hand, the assumption that any level of Jewish practice and Christian religion are incompatible needs to be examined more closely. No one questions that Daniel Rona and many other LDS Jews who do passover seders and such are Latter-day Saints. How much of Judaism can a Christian practice and be a Christian?

In many ways, with the Messianic Jewish movement as well as the more vocal but also different Jews for Jesus, we have groups that have forced more thought on this by Christians but not any real contemplation by Jews.


John Pack Lambert of Michigan (6 Sep 2010): Strictly speaking about the practice of Spanish Inquisition, your statement about Jews not being forced to be baptized is correct. Ferdinand of II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile set up the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in 1478, and its stated intent to maintain the orthodoxy of Jewish and Islamic converts to the Catholic faith. For the Jews, it evolved into much more.

Before and after the formal Spanish Inquisition began, long-term persecution of Jews and Muslims in the Spanish lands had led to the one-way-or-the-other forced conversions of non-Christians to Catholicism. Thus the stage was set for the Inquisition joining long history of European de facto abuse against Jews, converted and otherwise, as their race was against them as much as their religious traditions.

And so, the obsession against Christian baptism of living OR proxy baptism for the dead, understandably leaves a revulsion for those descendant Jews who survived but continued to hold the memory of the centuries of injustice.

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