Comments about ‘Mormon Media Observer: What the media often misses in LDS baptism stories’

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Published: Monday, March 5 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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Huntsville, UT

"So, I believe the news media in their coverage of this controversy have mostly missed three important things: First, they have missed how much this ordinance means to Latter-day Saints like my mother and Willett; second, they have missed how much this ordinance is central to our perceived duty as Latter-day Saints; and third, they have missed how much this ordinance comes from the Bible."


(1) It doesn't matter how much the "ordinance" means to the LDS. The LDS completely ignore how much it means to the family of the one being baptized that their family member NOT be baptized into another faith after their death.

(2) It doesn't matter that the "ordinance" is central to LDS doctrine. It is STILL OFFENSIVE to the families of those who are being baptized by the LDS Church after their death.

(3) Even if the ordinance comes "from the Bible", what you are telling these folks is that "your baptism while you were alive doesn't count! because you WERE IN THE WRONG CHURCH". That is offensive.

Your article implies that people of other faiths should take the LDS feelings into consideration; you fail to realize that it is a two-way street and YOU should take the feelings of others into consideration as well.

Richard Larson
Holladay, Ut

Right on RanchHand!
I totally agree!

Radically Moderate

Hey RanchHand,

Your third point confuses me. As I understand things, Catholics (as just one example) believe that Mormons are going to be in Hell (or possibly limbo of some kind) for all eternity for dying in the "wrong church", whereas Mormons believe that Catholics (and everybody else) still have a chance to become part of the "right church" even after they die. Most people I know that understand both position, even if they don't accept either, find the first much more offensives.

TR 4 President

I think that few people understand how central to LDS practice is the work for the dead. Indeed, as I understand it both the end of Polygamy and the end of the Priesthood ban came about because of considerations for temple work and work for the dead, not because of outside pressure or other concerns.

Huntsville, UT

@Radically Moderate;

The point of #3, which may not have been clear; even if the Catholics (and other religions) feel that Mormon's are going to hell because they are in the "wrong church", they aren't baptizing them after the fact.

This article says: "Take the Mormon perspective/feelings into account"; yet it completely ignores the perspectives/feelings of the non-Mormons whose family members are being "re" baptized.

I totally understand the Mormon perspective (having been an active Mormon for over 30 years). Having been on the outside for a couple of decades now though, I can also see it from an outsider's perspective.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Third, this doctrine is biblically grounded. One of the odd criticisms of the Latter-day Saints is that we arenÂt grounded in the Bible. Yet 1 Corinthians 15 specifically mentions the practice of baptisms for the dead."

A more accurate way of putting it is that the LDS church believes the doctrine is biblically grounded. Most religious scholars and denominations disagree with that view.

Tooele, UT


Your words remind me of the ACLU and Unitarian Church sponsored street preachers who stand in front of the Conference Center every General Conference weekend, holding up signs which tell people all Mormons are going to burn. They then drag copies of the Book of Mormon across the ground and pretend to use LDS temple garments as toilet paper.

Your words also remind me of the number of times any journalist, politician or activist outside the LDS Church has spoken out against the tactics of these ACLU and Unitarian Church sponsored street preachers.

Answer? I'll give you a hint. The number is below one.

Salt Lake City, UT


You talk about two way roads and then say "it doesn't matter" for any LDS views. That's rather hypocritical.

@Radically Moderate

"As I understand things, Catholics (as just one example) believe that Mormons are going to be in Hell (or possibly limbo of some kind) for all eternity for dying in the "wrong church""

The Catholic church believes that people won't be punished for a lack of knowledge of Christ. This is also how Catholics address the question of those who never had the opportunity to learn of Christ that the LDS church uses temple baptisms for... the Catholics just trust that God will take care of things in some fair manner and that nothing has to be done on Earth for them. With Mormonism it's a bit tricky because they don't recognize it as a Christian faith like they do with most of the other denominations. From what I've read though, I don't think the Catholic belief is that all Mormons go to hell.

Tooele, UT


You said - "This article says: "Take the Mormon perspective/feelings into account..."

Brilliant word shuffle. There was nothing in this article which said anything about the "feelings" of Latter-day Saints. Your attempt to portray LDS people as thin skinned, shallow individuals is quite silly.

You might think LDS people are surprised that others find our practices offensive, but we're not. Just like freedom of speech, freedom of religion is bound to cause certain people to be offended by those with whom they disagree with.

Other churches may not be performing proxy work on behalf of dead LDS people (and if they did, I wouldn't care and I doubt my dead ancestors would care either) but there are ministers, writers, bloggers and others who continue to drag the names of LDS people, living and dead, through the mud.

How many times have LDS pioneers been described in books, movies and websites as nothing but a bunch of blood thirsty savages who stole land and killed anyone who stood in their way?

How many times, on any number of websites, have current and past LDS leaders been attacked as racist, sexist, money hungry charlatans?

In a nutshell RanchHand what you're saying is, "Do as we say, not as we do."

Tooele, UT

@atl134 - "A more accurate way of putting it is that the LDS church believes the doctrine is biblically grounded. Most religious scholars and denominations disagree with that view."

This is correct. In my life I've heard many conversations between people of various faiths, both in and out of the LDS Church, regarding various interpretations of Bible scriptures.

Sarah Nichole
West Jordan, UT


"Most religious scholars and denominations disagree with that view."

Actually, these days most religious scholars and Christian historians acknowledge that the Christians of the Apostalic Church (those that were taught directly by Christ and His Apostles) did in fact baptize by proxy for the dead. It's mentioned by about a dozen independent sources, including Josephus, Eusebius, Justin Martyr and many others. The practice was officially done away with in the Nicean Councils pf the 4th and 5th Centuries, but had fallen out of wide favor by the mid-2nd Century or so. Only a few branches of Christianity were still following the practice beyond that point.

Most scholars do agree, though, that for about a century after the Resurrection, baptisms for the dead were a common practice among the followers of Christ.

Huntsville, UT


I've never protested outside the temple during Conference nor do I approve of it. On the other hand, I've NEVER voted against the rights of other Americans as have Mormons.

I disagree with your subsequent post.


It isn't hypocritical to tell Mormons that their "feelings" (beliefs really) have no relevance in relation to Baptism for the Dead. The FEELINGS of the dead one's FAMILY are important; not those of people completely unrelated/unafiliated. I would tell the same thing to ANY other Church trying to posthumously poach another Churches members. The point is: Many of the people the LDS Church "baptizes" have ALREADY been baptized during their lifetime. Again, the LDS Church implicitly tells others that YOU ARE WRONG by performing this ordinance.

Rugeley, Staffs

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

How much clearer can this be? All die, all are resurrected. Paul is saying, "They wouldn't do it if it wasn't necessary." My former Minister did not teach it that way. He made it a negative statement. (Despite all of the preamble)

Rugeley, Staffs

RanchHand, I think you misunderstand the LDS reason for Baptisms for the Dead. it is not to "poach" members from other Churches. We believe Baptism is :
a) A necessary Ordinance.
b) To be performed in the proper mode. (In the name of Christ, by immersion, and for a remission of sins.)
c) To be performed by the necessary Authority. (Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthoods are the only two mentioned in the Bible.)
d) As a precursor to receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Any other way is not complete, in our teachings, and I understand that may sound a little "arrogant." However, if it is true, it is important.

The last point is, IF we are correct, it is a vital work, and your family member will be pleased with the ordinance. IF we are wrong, your family member has not been baptised after death by any authority, and it will not be efficaceous. Either way, your family member loses nothing.

layton, UT

RE: English Alan, I understand that may sound a little "arrogant.

Jesus warns to not trust in sacred(secret) places: In John (4:20-24), Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem[Temple], worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

I have spoken openly to the world, Jesus replied I always taught in synagogues or at the Temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in Secret.(John 18:20 NIV)

Jesus¦ them, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. They replied, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? But the temple he had spoken of was his Body. John 2:19-21 (NIV) Jesus is The Christians Temple

Huntsville, UT


I am quite familiar with the reasons the LDS Church offers; I was an active member, born and bred, for over 30 years (I just don't believe all the hocus pocus anymore). ALL of my family has already been baptized in the LDS Church during this life and won't need the ordinance once they die.

Arrogant only mildly describes the attitude.

"Necessary authority", "proper mode", "necessary ordinance", "Any other way is not complete, in our teachings"; all terms that denigrate other religions. As to (d), what need have the dead of the "Gift of the Holy Ghost"? Isn't that supposed to be something to guide us through this life? What need have they of it in the next?

Last point: IF it is a "vital" work, then it can be done during the "millenium" - there'll be plenty of time then, right? - IF that even ever comes to pass.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Sarah Nichole
I meant that they disagree with the verse suggesting that proxy baptisms are proper and allowed. The groups practicing it long ago were generally splinter groups and the Nicean council doesn't mean that's when it was ended. Consider the recent statement by the LDS church condemning the views some have as to why the priesthood ban was in place. That wasn't a new statement inasmuch as it wasn't saying anything new. It was reiterating something that'd been a position for decades. So the Nicean decrees against baptizing for the dead don't necessarily mean the church was previously supportive of it, just that some were doing it (perhaps comparable to how some Methodist pastors in California were marrying same-sex couples when it was legal there, going against the leadership of the church).

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

The Catholics in my family have Mass said for their deceased on certain anniversaries.

If one of them were to do so for one of my immediate family, I would not be offended. I would take it as the gesture of love and respect that it is. Nothing more.

I do understand that baptism is a step beyond that. But I think the same principle holds.

Brigham City, UT

If you're really concerned about them mormons "poaching" your dead relatives, there must still be some sort of inkling that their church and teachings realy are valid....

Here, UT

@Twin Lights;

The key phrase in your comment: "their deceased:".


If you're really concerned about them mormons "poaching" your dead relatives, there must still be some sort of inkling that their church and teachings realy are valid....

--- "there must still be some sort of inkling that their church and teachings realy are valid...." How so? There must be no such thing; those of different religions don't want Mormons baptizing their dead. Isn't that clear enough? It has nothing to do with validity of any religion; it is about respect for the beliefs of others (something Mormons are lacking when it comes to the Baptism for the Dead issue).

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