Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: A Lutheran bishop's perspective on Mormon baptism for the dead’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 5:00 p.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended

Thank you for this article.

Sorry Charlie!

It is very nice to know what a Lutheran Bishop said. And the fact that he was positive and complementary is fantastic.

What is even more important, however, is what LDS leadership has said about the practice:

"The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism.

"It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place.

"While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions, we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitterâs access privileges. We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.

"It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Churchâs policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention. "

It doesn't matter if some people (or even the majority of people) don't find it offensive, it doesn't matter if you don't find it offensive, or if you don't understand why others find it offensive. THE LDS Church's position is crystal clear - and no one who claims to believe the LDS Church is true and led by a living Prophet should be making excuses for those who violate this policy.

Home Town USA, UT

This is a very well written article and quotes included of the (now deceased) Swedish Lutheran Bishop/Professor Stendahl regarding baptism for the dead. It is an objective point of view that is credible from a non-LDS. Bravo! Thank You.

This should abate the naysayers and clarify the blessing it is for our kindred dead to have/receive the same opportunity to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Spirit world. It is doctrinal and in the New Testament.

Who can argue that? And why would it need to be argued?

Miami Area, Fl

"It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place."

Can someone please explain WHY anyone would do it?

If you believe in the LDS religion, why would go to such lengths?
Does someone believe that they will be "rewarded" when they go against church policy?

What is to be gained?

It reminds me of those who swindle money and then pay a tithe on that money.

The logic escapes me.


This is a nice try and very much a strech on Mr. Petersens part. Sorry but look at Stendahl's other aspect and you might think differently.. Take this all into context and it does not support mormon beliefs.

across the sea
Topeno, Finland

25 years ago the Madsens visited our home in Helsinki, Finland. We, among other natters, talked about Bishop Stendahl. His statement stands by itself, especially as he wrote, approved it with all of it's content. This coming from a man of his statue is valuable and indeed shows the extent of the friendships created. Knowing Truman, as I do, he would NOT have compromized on his friendship with Stendahl. What a great reunion they, Stendahl and Madsen, have had in the spirit world.
As we read these articles, it is good for us to consider, that the very bases for Christianity is the work for proxy. The Savior died for us, and now it is for each one of us to accept that sacrifice personally, or not.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Actually mightymite it supports it quite well. I can see why you wouldn't think so but it is doctrinal and it is an act of love.

Joe Blow: There are some who feel an active member or less active member or members are purposely fueling this debate either because they disagree with the practice or have an axe to grind against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Regardless there are also some who feel they are above the Prophet of the Lord and thus can do as they please. Any of these scenarios would answer why. If it is the former and not the latter then there is a larger problem in this. There is some things stated by Radkey that seems to support the former. I would hope it is the latter because that is easier to defuse. If the former it is putting a mockery on the practice itself.

Again it is doctrinal.

Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

Two Mormon mentalities stood out to me in this article.

1) It's us againts the world

2) Deep down everyone knows the churh is true they just choose not to join for one reason or another

layton, UT

Bill in Nebraska : A Lutheran bishop's perspective on Mormon Baptism for the dead.
he (Dr. Stendahl) described himself as feeling "Christian envy" for the Mormon practice of performing ordinances in the temple on behalf of deceased ancestors.

As a religious leader with the World Council of Churches and other bodies, Dr. Stendhal, a[liberal] Lutheran, fought for the ordination of women and gay men and lesbians and against the use of sexist language in Scriptures, saying that Jesusâ maleness was no more significant than the color of his eyes.
Dr. Stendahl pushed Christians toward ecumenicism, not only among denominations, but also with other religious traditions. He urged believers to find beauty in other faiths, a phenomenon he called âholy envy.â
Among Lutherans there are many denomination(synods)form liberal to conservative(LCMS)
Mormons have FLDS, RLDS and etc.

Orem, UT

Is anybody else out there having computer problems? "Full-on double rainbow" and I seem to have read two entirely different articles, and I can't figure out how on earth that happened. Maybe the hard copy version will help to resolve the question?

Layton, UT

Great article. Right now this is just another means that politically motivated pundits have to attack a certain political candidate. It's never been about the beliefs of the church, but about the chance to scare voters. A thoughtful consideration of religious belief takes away from the biased-media's agenda to reelect the current president.

Leesburg, VA


Salt Lake City, UT

Thank you for this interesting summary of thoughts by others. Sometimes the apparent new is simply a restoration of the old.

Bountiful, UT

LDS have unique views. Not unique from the perspective of the Bible, but unique from the perspective of main stream Christianity.

They are criticised by the main stream for these beliefs, which is curious because you can support them from the Bible.

1) People can become Gods. What does the Bible call people? The children of God, and what do creatures grow up to become? Like the parents. Things other than humans are refered to as creations of God, but people are children.

2) Paul in the New Testament uses Baptism for the Dead as evidence that people live after they die. (1st Corinthians 15:29)

Main stream Christians do no interpert this as LDS do, but then they should say, LDS beliefs are not in accordance with our interpertation of the Bible. Instead they say LDS beliefs are anti Biblical, which it clearly is not.

gramma b
Orem, UT

I could never understand why people don't see through to the fundamental irrationality of those who make a big issue out of our baptizing for the dead. We don't get anywhere near the bodies of the dead. We do a private ceremony in which the name of the dead person is repeated. There is no impact on anyone living.

And, unless you believe we have the power to make the baptism effective beyond the veil, there is no impact on anyone who is dead. If you think we are wrong, then we are just wasting our time performing a meaningless ordinance. If someone gets exercised about the practice, it seems they are making a tacit admission that we can do something which has an impact beyond the grave. And, if you admit that, then you have admitted we are right.

A to Z
Bountiful, UT

It's interesting that we use 1 Corinthians 15:29 to teach about baptisms for the dead. This scripture doesn't really teach anything about the practice, but rather it is an evidence that the practice was done anciently. The scripture is actually testifying of the resurrection, saying that if there's no resurrection, then what is the point of doing baptisms for the dead? The practice of baptisms for the dead is stated matter-of-factly... it's a given.

What a wonderful practice, and evidence of the love and mercy God has for all of His children.

KC Mormon
Edgerton, KS

I am copying this from another thread I posted it on yesterday because of the importance of understanding it.


You said "Let's at least keep this 'tempest in a teapot' factual, if not Biblical"
I agree. While I do not know of any Jewish sect that performed Baptism for the Dead it is also not "factual that no other Christians than the Corinthians practiced it. It was in fact Practiced as late as the fifth Century. We know this by the writings of Epiphanius. While he did not believe in it he did say it was being practiced from Asia to Gaul (present day Spain and France)
"From Asia and Gaul has reached us the account [tradition] of a certain practice, namely that when any die without baptism among them, they baptize others in their place and in their name, so that, rising in the resurrection, they will not have to pay the penalty of having failed to receive baptism, but rather will become subject to the authority of the Creator of the World. For this reason this tradition which has reached us is said to be the very thing to which the Apostle himself refers when he says, "If. the dead rise not at all, what shall they do who are baptized for the dead"
Interesting that in the fifth century they were using the same scripture as the LDS Church. On top of that we see it as far back as the Second Century (some claim the First) in the "Shepard of Hermas" were he speaks of the Apostles being Baptised for the Dead.

Tucson, AZ

Great article!

Here, UT

Doesn't baptizing the dead violate their Constitutional Right to Choose their own religion - which they did while they were living?

You are forcefully switching their religion after they can no longer say "no".

I know, you say they can "choose" to accept the ordinance in the afterlife, but still, you're violating their Choices made while yet alive.

Weiser, ID

I don't think Stendahl would complain too loudly if his work was done vicarously in a temple. Peterson is right, there is a lot of "noise" going on about this issue. I stand by Gameliel in the New Testament as people then persecuted the Church of Jesus Christ and His apostles in that day. Gameliel stood up and rebuked the men saying that if it is a man made church, it will kill itself and it doesn't matter one bit, so don't get so combative about it, but if it is of God, then you are fighting against God. (Acts 5:34-39) I say the same thing to all who seem to critisize so loudly, if it isn't true, then the church will diminish and kill itself--So don't get so belligerent about it. But if it is true, then you are fighting God. Just calm down and love one another.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments