Comments about ‘Responding to — and explaining — LDS baptisms for the dead’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 17 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

[Mormons say, "No, salvation is open to all people.' In that sense, Mormonism is the most nonexclusive religion in the Christian world.")]

There are plenty of christian denominations like the United Methodist church that don't think it matters if you're of a different denomination. That's how I inherited my tendency to just go to whatever church service I feel like going.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The first point of new family search is to include the names of your family. I entered the name of my living great-grandmother in there so that I could connect my further back decesed ancestors to me. Just putting a name in that database does not indicate intentions to submit it for temple work.

Secondly, I think it would help if people did not start with the assumption of maliciousness. The people involved here truly were trying to do good. They were clearly also acting unwise, but if people tried to understand the actions of others instead of shouting "I am outraged" there would be more good feelings. Some people spend time talking about being civil, but seem only to be able to respond with anger.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The Church has done nothing to Wiesel. It is one individual somewhere who did it. He of all people should realize that it is wrong to attack a whole group for the actions of one person. The Church did not create the database. To act like the contents of a databse are the fault of the Church is just to ignore reality.

Wiesel is also showing his unwillingness to even try to interact with other religious traditions on their own terms. Jews might respond to the advice of well placed notables in their community with no religious authority, but that is not how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints works.

Sandy, UT

While I am very glad the church is sympathetic to the wishes of the jews in this matter, I am surprised at the demanding attitudes of many towards the church. At the end of the day, the church can do as they wish and do baptisms for the dead for whomever they want. Not many people would be as accommodating as church leaders in similar circumstances. Seems the jews should be grateful for every jew baptism the church doesn't do instead of demanding an apology in anger for every one that accidentally slips through


I am not sure they need to explain but evaluate the entire process -- not only for Jews but Christians as well. I personally (and billion) who are not mormons to not appreciate there ancestors or family members undergoing this process.

Provo, UT


The Church does this because we believe God wants us to. Should we fear man more than God? Also, we are supposed to only do work for our own ancestors. Yes, they are also ancestors to non-LDS but that doesn't take away our rights.


This has been a highly sensitive issue with the Jewish community for awhile. So, Wiesel's reaction needs to be viewed in light of this. It's not an isolated incident. They view it as just more of the same.

Sure, the Church can do whatever it wants and ignore the criticism. But that's not likely to facilitate the church's mission to convert people to Mormonism.

Poor Romney:
"Im running for office, for Petes sake,"

Mesa, AZ

I am sure there are many Christian faiths that believe you just have to accept Jesus as the Savior. However, most of those churches, if not all, believe that if you don't, while here on earth, well, then that is it. What about those the never have heard of Jesus Christ? Some denominations believe that God is merciful and will just let them into Heaven while others believe that cannot happen.
To those that believe they will be just be let into heaven I have asked where that doctrine comes from? The answer has been, "God is merciful". Even Jesus Christ was baptized. God has provided a way, through baptism for the dead, for those that never had the opportunity, for whatever reason, to accept this ordinance. That covers it from those that believe "God is merciful", to those that believe it cannot not happen, and everything in between.

Salt Lake City, UT

'Responding to and explaining LDS baptisms for the dead' - Title


I don't want it 'explained' to me.

I want baptism's for people who did not give their CONSENT to them, to stop.

Everyone is asking 'what's the big deal'?

This is not a counter point.

We have this same 'explanation' from the LDS church, every few years. About who 'whoops! We baptized ANOTHER non-believer against their wishes. My bad!'

To be blunt, it is INVASIVE and OFFENSIVE to have a faith 'baptize' you...against your wishes and the wishes of their family.

And yet, it keeps happening.


You are not welcome to invade the memory of a person's faith.


RE: SammyB

Your wrong.... I am not exactly sure where the mormon church thinks they have the right to invade another per persons faith or lack of faith through this ritual but I can tell you Christian and non-Christian faiths alike do not subscribe to this ritual and it is highly offensive - and in some cases taboo. What I am sure of is that the mormon church is not God's restored church (as you claim) and it's teachings are false... And before you ask, yes I have prayed upon it and God has led me to a Christian faith with valid teachings....

ute alumni
Tengoku, UT

I'm outraged that my Dad was part of the 3rd Army that risked their lives for three and half years and liberated people that have no tolerance for religious freedom. Some people have to be outraged at something all the time, one of which cut and pastes others thoughts multiple times on every article.

Salt Lake City, UT

"What about those the never have heard of Jesus Christ?"

Many christians, and large chunks of many denominations that don't personally express this view, believe that God will sort things out in some fair manner. Here's how you can tell they believe this: ever notice how so few Christians proselytize? If they really thought that it was so necessary to accept Christ they'd probably be trying a little harder on that front. Instead you get people like me who really don't care what religion anyone belongs to.

" God has provided a way, through baptism for the dead"

You believe that, but most including myself disagree with that interpretation of scripture. Personally, I do believe something close to the LDS view that everyone will have fair opportunity to accept the truth before final judgment (my beliefs are very much a mix of many denominations and since I don't believe there is a "one true church"... I'm okay with that). I just believe that being baptized in spirit in the afterlife would be valid.

Salt Lake City, UT

'I'm outraged that my Dad was part of the 3rd Army that risked their lives for three and half years and liberated people that have no tolerance for religious freedom.' - ute alumni | 10:43 p.m. Feb. 17, 2012

And yet, you post on a newspaper...

owned by a church.

To rally against, birth control for Catholic women...

that over 80%, already use birth control.

Your religion stops at you.

And should not be FORCED, onto people, who never factually asked you for it.

Ontario, OR

One of my children was born in a Catholic hospital. I wouldn't be surprised if, seeing that the mother was LDS, a caring priest didn't sprinkle my child to save his soul. If so, I think it was an act of kindness. There is no arrogance, no rancor, no animus, from those who quietly labor to b bring others to God -- here or hereafter. If my Catholic neighbor wishes to light a candle and pray for my soul when I am gone, I will be grateful for the kindness. The same goes for my neighbor of any faith.

Iowa City, IA

It's amazing how so many people are "outraged" on these boards.

To one guy, even, "billion" of people are outraged. Really?

"What I am sure of is that the mormon church is not God's restored church (as you claim) and it's teachings are false... And before you ask, yes I have prayed upon it and God has led me to a Christian faith with valid teachings...."

Perhaps you could share what the name of this "faith" is? You see, it's easy to tear up someone elses' beliefs, it's something entirely different to defend your own. By staying generic, you remain above the fray, able to jab at Mormon beliefs while not mentioning specifics of your own. I'm sure it's all valid teachings.

"To be blunt, it is INVASIVE and OFFENSIVE to have a faith 'baptize' you...against your wishes and the wishes of their family."

Get over your rage. How do you know it's against the wishes of the individual? They are dead (well, except Elie of course). There's a lot of things that people do/lifestyles that I find highly offensive, and there are many things I'd rather you not explain to me, Pagan. But here we are.

It's nice to be American. When people are outraged at something they are not at all involved in, I can roll my eyes and say "next."

Arlington, TX

intolerance mounts on all sides. ALL SIDES. I spend much of my younger life in a Jewish home, my best friend was and still is Jewish. I have found as I went to synagogue with him that I was not really welcomed by most as I was a christian and what was I doing in their temple? I quit going. SO did he, well he changed Jewish faiths, he went to a much more liberal group( reformed Jews) Mr. Weisel seems to feel that anything said or done that does not agree with his view is taboo. Yes there is a lot of anti Jewish sentiment, also anti LDS Sentiment. All you have to do is read posts here and on the other paper to see it. Lighten up people. This isn't like grabbing you and dunking you in the water.

We are told to only do the direct line of our ancestors. The person who did this was wrong. But to get your panties in a tight wad is silly. YES SILLY and that is with full compassion and understanding that I say that. SILLY

Sandy, UT

A few years back while I was working at the FHL, in town that week was the National Jewish Geneaogical Society. They were holding their annual convention here in SLC. I spent a day working side by side with a Jewish Lady from NYC. She was using the great resources available to one and all. And just how do you think the LDS Church aquired these priceless records that they were now utilizing?

Elie Weisel is Grandstanding, and it's very unfortuante. He is politicizing this current event.
His political leanings are well known. The Church has apologized for a rogue charachter. These things can happen, but that is not good enough for him. However, Mr. Weisel needs to understand, LDS' have a right to their Religion just as he does. And they have a right to have their hearts turned to their own ancestors. Being familiar with Malachi, he might better understand this concept.

In this particular case, there were simply names added to the Family Search database. That's all. And quite frankly, anyone with access to the data base can add names. I do it just about every day, as we follow and build my wife's Italian Family tree.

Here is what people need to understand.
There are clearly published protocols as to how to govern yourself while accessing Family Search.

1-You are only to do work on your own family trees. Even the Jewish organizations have agreed that if a Jewish name is in your famly line, you can add those names to the database.

2-There is the 95 year rule.
Meaning, that if a person is not a direct ancestor, then permission must be obtained by a direct family relative before adding that deceased persons name. There are to be NO Living persons added to the database unless submiting your own family's names.

3-Famous persons are not to be added at all, unless they are a direct descendant.

People with sincere hearts understand these rules. Others have other motives for creating these dust-ups.

I maintain that there are indeed people with nefarious intent, who purposefully add names, ie Hitler, Mussolini, Ted Bundy etc.. in order to intentionally embarass the Church. There are well known folks who just happen to always find such names and then immediately report such infractions to the National Media.

Really? Just a Coincidence? Or are these sustained and carefully crafted planned assaults?

It's time someone in the Media investigates this aspect of the story.


Nice article! Thank you.

Wow! What a lot of wresting of motives over an expression of love and honor of oneâs neighbors that stretches beyond the mortal realm! Those who criticize speak evil of things they do not know.

Christians accept baptism as a public expression, a beginning and end of their commitment to take upon oneself the name of God, and a sacred ceremony through which one opens a channel to the heart to receive Godâs grace. Even God, as the mortal Jesus, submitted to this public expression.

Baptism for the dead was not invented by Mormons, as the Bible records in 1 Corinthians 15:29, as well as many other fragments from the ancient records. Mormonâs see the symbolism of baptism antedating Jesus in the molten sea and the lavers of ancient Israel.

Mormons offer baptism to those who never had a chance for it because of geography and tradition. It is an expression of invitation and inclusion. We do it because we think they are righteous, not because we think they are stuck in hell. The act itself says that our God wants all to inherit His kingdom. If we are guilty of anything with respect to the holocaust victims, we are guilty of honoring them for their suffering. They are the souls under the alter of God in heaven of those who were slain for being chosen to bear the word of God to the world (Rev 6:9).

Baptism for the dead is done largely by teenagers who selflessly spend half a day every few months, usually on Saturdays, to go to the temple and do for others what they cherish having done for themselves. We do it because we love God and love our neighbor. We say the names of those who have passed on with reverence and love. In serving these through sacred and reverent ceremony, we learn to connect better with the living through selfless service. At times, we think we can feel their gratitude, and their joy brings tears to our eyes.

Rather than condemning Mormons for being Godâs instruments to bring His greatest gift to all, you, whose religions make no such provision, should feel guilty for leaving the unlucky dead behind.

Jews have been maligned and unfairly persecuted. Our Book of Mormon acknowledges this and reprimands all who reverence the Bible for this persecution (2 Nephi 29:4). Those upset with Mormons should pause to consider that the persons who entered the names may have been trying to bring condemnation on the Mormon Church, and were not acting according to Church policy. If persecution is bad, it is bad when applied to any people, not just the Jews.

Hayden, ID

For those who are in disagreement about his issue I have some suggetions that my help you.

#1: If, when you die and someone has you baptised by proxy and you don't agree with it, just tell the Lord, "no thanks".. End of issue.
#2:Disagree if you will but understand that Mormons are the only Christian religion that places no limit on the Lord's grace, even for people who have passed on. We each get to decide how much grace we will accept, the Lord has never limited His offering. That's why we do baptisms for the dead, for those who may choose to accept an unlimited grace of Christ. Its an act of service and grace. Again, if you object or don't want the offer, that's every person's choice.
#3: Of all God's children who have lived on this earth, a relativily small percentage have even heard of Jesus Christ. Therefore baptism for them, who have passed on is a beautiful act of Christs grace extended beyone the grave for billions of these people, if they accept the Lord's grace.
#4:It is a beautiful act of faith and grace, even if you don't agree with it, that's everyone's choice.

Buena Vista, VA

The photo that accompanies this article, of the Logan Temple baptismal font, actually shows the font in the temple before its renovation in the 1970s. The current font looks different.

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