Jewish columnist calls LDS proxy baptism 'eccentric, not offensive'

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  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    March 4, 2012 11:28 p.m.

    My brother-in-law happens to be Jewish. He says he had no problems with my sister-in-law doing baptisms for the dead, for his deceased relatives. Since when are people like Rabbi Cooper the only voice of the Jew, concerning this matter?

  • CreamOfWeber OGDEN, UT
    March 4, 2012 7:02 p.m.

    Do you people really not understand how this if offensive?

  • bluejean Farmington, UT
    March 3, 2012 2:21 p.m.

    Thank you Jeff Jacoby for being a peacemaker and one with a voice of reason. Members of the LDS faith should reciprocate and not provoke as well.

  • Independent Woman West Jordan, UT
    March 3, 2012 12:08 p.m.

    To atl134. Yes, we do believe that your Catholic baptism is invalid which is why you would need to baptized into the LDS Church if you chose to join. That doesn't change how you feel, nor should it cause you to be offended. We aren't offended by your beliefs: you should give us the same courtesy. You believe what you want, and we will believe what we want. There should be no animosity involved.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    March 3, 2012 11:14 a.m.


    I am less concerned about how I sound than learning what is true. It is very sad that political manipulations can so easily take place because people have been herded to a sheep mentality of being terrified of labels.

    Do you believe that we have advanced beyond what history shows of the constant political conspiracies that have shaped the world? Personally, I believe in living in reality and not in fear of labels. Yes, conspiracies exist. I reject most of them until logic, reason, and research suggests I look more closely.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2012 10:04 a.m.

    Conspiracy theories? Really? There's 13 million worldwide members in the LDS church, it's not unreasonable to think there's a handful (it doesn't take many) who are overzealous in proxy work.

  • fender Washington, UT
    March 3, 2012 9:55 a.m.


    Do you get how paranoid guys like you and John Pack make Mormons sound? People are out to get Mormons or Mitt Romney, because they bring up documented facts about Mormonism? If you're gonna swim in the mainstream as a church and political candidate, you can't hide past or present practices and policies.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    March 2, 2012 9:36 p.m.

    I'm glad the article mentioned that it is possible that this was done on purpose to embarrass Mitt Romney. I like to keep my finger on the pulse because I have a political blog. It is my guess that the Obama re-election committee has put surrogates in motion to make Mormonism an issue right now.

    For those of you who think this is a conspiracy theory, let me say that I am a historian, and history is replete with constant examples of conspiracies, especially in politics. Political correctness has taught people to plug their ears when they hear the word 'conspiracy'. Most of America is now well trained. But I doubt that we have now become such a righteous people that no one would ever think about conspiring quietly in back rooms. No, human nature has not changed. Read your history.

  • rok San Diego, CA
    March 2, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    If people complain that they don't like baptisms for the dead, the church should just say, "Oh well."

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    March 2, 2012 6:52 p.m.

    Christians are offended as well, not only Jews. This is just a bad spot for all involved.

  • PMA Santa Paula, California
    March 2, 2012 5:17 p.m.

    Had an evangelical friend once send me a large parcel of anti-LDS literature. I thought about being upset for about two seconds, then realized that when I reach out to others to tell them about the Church it's because I love them. And I have felt his love for me ever since. It's a decision to see the other side of any point of view. Sure does save a lot of feelings of being offended when none was meant!

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    March 2, 2012 4:54 p.m.

    The Pearl family. See the article link under the name Daniel Pearl, does in fact find proxy baptism of their Late son Daniel. offensive.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    March 2, 2012 4:48 p.m.

    So now Jewish people are telling Mormons that Mormons don't have to follow Mormon leaders, and this is considered a good thing.

    If you put so much weight in what the Jewish community thinks, and so little weight in what your Church leaders tell you to do, why are you Mormon in the first place?

    Some Mormon individual - either in an effort to do what they thought was right or as part of some covert operation to make the Mormon Church look bad - lied, cheated, and violated Church policy. The LDS Church immediately acted to condemn this behavior.

    And instead of honoring Mormon leaders and the Mormon Church position, posters decide to make a mockery of it and denounce the Mormon position in favor of the positions of other individuals and churches on this matter.

    It totally blows my mind that so many Mormons are so unable to publicly support their Church on this issue. Do so many of you really disagree that strongly with your Church on this?

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    March 2, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    You know what else is eccentric but not offensive? Claiming that Mormons are not Christian.

    And besides which, if you don't believe it, why does it matter?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 2, 2012 3:54 p.m.

    "and aren't meant to disount a persons past jewishness, catholicness"

    It definitely discounts a person's Catholicism because the notion of the proxy baptism being needed for a Catholic is the assertion that the Catholic baptism didn't count.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 2, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    That sounds like a very level-headed assessment of it to me. Pretty much the same take Gandhi's grandson had I might add.

    I can see how it would seem excentric to someone who didn't totally understand it. But I can't for the life of me see how someone would be OFFENDED by it.

    #1. If you don't believe another group's baptism has efficacy... then their performance of the ordinance would have totally no effect. So WHY would it OFFEND you???

    #2. If you understand that it's only done out of LOVE, respect, and care, for the an ancestor... why would it OFFEND you?

    #3. If no offense was intended... why would you go out of your way to BE offended?

    #4. Keep in mind that even IF Mormon baptism has any affect in the after-life... the doctrine is... that it only has any affect IF the person it was peformed for ACCEPTS the ordinance that was performed for them. If not... it's null and has absolutely NO AFFECT.

    You may say, "you don't know how they feel because it's never happened to you". Well, isn't it the same as when people of other faiths said to me at my father's funeral that they would pray for me or my father? Even non-christians said they would pray for my father and my family... did it offend me??? NO... it COMFORTED me.

    Why would performance of something I didn't competely understand or believe in OFFEND me???

    It doesn't! Or it shouldn't.

    When I see my Muslim friends kneeling and praying in the hall of my office building... They could be praying for me... does that OFFEND me? I don't think so. If they are... should I get all upset and tell them to stop? I don't see what right I have to tell THEM how to worship, or to not care about me, or do what they feel would bless me... It's pretty much the same thing. It doesn't make you a Mormon... unless the person beyond the veil accepts Christ and the proxy baptism.

    I don't see the reason to be offended.

  • vinniecat Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 2, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    I'm intrigued by the Vatican's letter. According to my parents, I received a Catholic baptism, as did all babies born in the Catholic hospitals at that time. As non-Catholics, they were not offended but considered it an act of compassion from people acting on their own faith. I consider the Mormon baptisms to be in the same spirit.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    March 2, 2012 3:18 p.m.

    @John20000. The issue is not whether proxy baptism in the LDS Temples have power or not to the Jew's thinking. Rather if you knew your ancestors were forcibly baptized to be made Christians, That symbolic act would tend to rub them thewrong way. Did the forced baptism make the Jews Christian? I don't think so...

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    March 2, 2012 3:07 p.m.

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have always been taught admiration and respect for the Jewish people (and for all people regardless of lineage or religion). The Jews are GodÂs chosen people to bring His word to the world. Our Master is of the lineage of Juda. We hope that God adopts us into the house of Israel. We believe that AbrahamÂs seed will bless the world. We have prayed and prophesied for the return of the Jews to their ancient lands, and pray for peace and understanding for all in those lands.

    If the Holocaust names and other notables have attracted LDS members attention, it is for respect and honor. We devote a lot of time and energy to remembering the dead for whom we do proxy baptisms.

    Proxy baptism has never done harm to anyone. No other church recognizes the LDS baptism as making anyone Christian. Baptism can never change lineage. In fact, temple ordinances hope to make lineage eternal.

    I think the indignation on the part of certain Jews is understandable given the history of oppression and murder. However, it is misguided. Of all people who understand persecution and murder, it is the LDS people. Four times they were forced to leave land and homes and murdered leaders, including women and children, to find a place where they could worship in freedom. They were forced out of the United States, to a wilderness desert, and even then the United States Army was sent like a flood after them. The early founders chose a land where a large fresh water lake flows into the Salt Lake by way of a river named Jordan.

    The furor is also due to disaffected members and others who are curiously obsessed with fighting against the Church. Because the Church made it genealogical data base public, free of charge, these people can abuse this great resource. The LDS Church did not make proxy baptism or the names a public spectacle.

    Is it possible for knowledge and understanding to alter attitudes? That is the great challenge!

    Thank you, Mr. Jacoby, for rising above the hysteria and thinking for yourself.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    March 2, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    If you believe the Mormon baptism has no power, then why would you care? If you believe the Mormon baptism has power, then why aren't you Mormon?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 2, 2012 2:41 p.m.

    Finally somebody writing with some common sense. It isn't as big of a deal as it is made out to be. The intentions aren't malicious, and aren't meant to disount a persons past jewishness, catholicness, etc. I hope every religion baptizes me after I die, then I am sure to be covered.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 2, 2012 2:22 p.m.

    "No after-the-fact rites in this world can possibly change the Jewishness..."
    "...efforts to make salvation available..."


    In the spirit of cooperation and mutual efforts to listen from both the Jewish community and the LDS community- I hope that more Jewish persons will take the time to learn more about the nature of our practices and the doctrines behind them. The first quote is not just Jacoby's opinion, but it aligns with our doctrine as well. These ordinances are not performed to convert people, nor do LDS beliefs suggest such a thing. The ordinances simply extend the choice to people. It is no different than offering a Book of Mormon to a living Jewish person today. No one is converted, nothing is 'done' to anyone. The only thing created from this is an offer. Jews have made this same offer to others. While the Jewish world has felt misunderstood for a very long time, I only hope that as many Jews who feel threatened by a people they don't understand- rather than judging us without knowing us, I hope they will take the time to listen as they have asked others to do for them.

    I believe many Jewish persons have done this and most concerns have been addressed. It seems the primary criticisms and judgement are coming now from those who would simply fight the LDS Church, such as former members, etc. To them, I have no comment. I simply would voice that I believe much of the heat is coming from them.

    Regarding the Jewish community- I simply hope as many who are willing to listen will take the time to look past media prejudices and hateful critics and learn about who they don't understand rather than to make uninformed decisions about how they feel about us. I would never make a judgement about a Jewish ritual without understanding it completely. I only hope they will extend the same courtesy. So far, many have. For that, I am grateful.

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    March 2, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    In a world where people are looking for any excuse to be offended (specifically non-Jewish anti-mormons) it's always nice to hear a reasonable voice like this.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    March 2, 2012 1:01 p.m.

    If I found out Muslims were praying for me to find Allah, or that my former Baptist neighbors were baptizing my deceased ancestors to save me, I'd just smile and say, "Thanks for the thought."

    It doesn't "mean" anything unless you believe in it. If you don't believe in it, then you just consider that these people are wasting their time. In any case, it doesn't hurt anyone.

    I lived in a town where the Pentecostals held some kind of prayer circle to exorcise the demons from their Mormon neighbors. I thought it was a lovely gesture. I don't think it worked, but it was nice to know someone cared about our salvation!

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    March 2, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    Ok, who's going to keep track on the Non-LDS members who don't find the practice offensive?
    So far the number is 1 (One)and counting. I'll start a spreadsheet.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 2, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    Rabbi Cooper and others of those who have been most vocal in attacking the Church turned down an offer to create a comprehensive not-allowed names list in the past because they were banking on people violating the agreement with less stringent rules and making it a chant again.

    Rabbi Cooper's ultimate goal is to force the Church to accept his view that Jews can be saved fully without baptism. Until we admit that he will view us as anti-semintes. Esperson's intelectually dishonest book about Joseph Smith's views on Jews and their need to accept Jesus Christ for Salvation is a big contributor to men like Cooper falsely believing their misguided campaign has any hope of success.