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The LDS (Mormon) Church and Proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims.

So I was just going to reply to “Anonymous'” comment under my last post in the comments section itself, but I thought I’d just go ahead and address this up front. Because I’m mad. If this one person can be SO misinformed, I’m sure there are more. I’m pretty sure this person was just doing it to bait me, because a quick Google search can show how erroneous this post was, but either way. Here goes.

Here’s the comment:

“Speaking of the subject of this blog…I would really like to hear what you, as a Mormon, think about your church’s proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. I enjoy reading your blog and the blogs of other LDS women, but it truly disturbs me that there has been NO condemnation of this atrocious, violating practice. I speak as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. It’s particularly troubling that you would so strongly speak out against the abortion of fetuses who test positive for Down Syndrome while at the same time staying silent on this issue, which is, after all, an issue of LIFE — respect for the lives of these individuals, respect for their religion, respect for their legacy.”

This is offensive to me. On SO many levels. We do not, I REPEAT, do not do proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. Here’s the Church’s stance on it:

“Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims. If members do so, they may forfeit their New FamilySearch privileges [access to the church’s genealogical holdings]. Other corrective action may also be taken.” This has been the policy for well over a decade. 

Here’s an entire article on it:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53635455-78/mormon-lds-church-members.html.csp#disqus_thread

Another fantastic article on the subject, written by a member of the Jewish faith no less is here:
http://articles.boston.com/2012-02-29/opinion/31106883_1_proxy-baptisms-mormon-temple-mormon-church/2

There are 13,000,000 members of the LDS church. As much as  some would love to believe that the Church micromanages every detail of our lives (and as you can tell from this blog that it doesn’t or it wouldn’t have such potty language), they do not. Mistakes are made. People do things that they shouldn’t. There isn’t another church in the world that has 100% perfect members who never do anything they shouldn’t (otherwise they would have been translated like the City of Enoch). I hope that the people who did go against the church’s will in this area know what they did and have apologized. But saying that the church practices this as a whole is completely false.

Let’s talk about what “proxy baptisms” are.  From www.lds.org (emphasis added):

 Jesus Christ taught that baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on earth (see John 3:5). Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority. Because God is merciful, He has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of baptism. By performing proxy baptisms in behalf of those who have died, Church members offer these blessings to deceased ancestors. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what has been done in their behalf.

We go into our temples and stand as “proxy” for those who are dead. For those who do not believe, this is tantamount to us “pretending” we are someone else and being dunked under water for them. Even if the church DID do proxy baptisms for Holocaust victims, why would it even matter to someone who does not believe the way we do?

So for you to compare this- a ritual done behind closed doors in our sacred houses of worship- to the systematic murders of 6,000,000 of your own ancestors to me is offensive. It should be offensive to any member of your faith.  It cheapens what happened to those people. Then to go ahead and jab me one more time and say that it’s equivalent to aborting babies with Down syndrome, again, is offensive. My standing in a pool of water, doing something you don’t believe to be true, is the same as aborting a child because they have an extra chromosome? Explain yourself.

To learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints you can visit www.lds.org. To learn more about our temples, please visit http://www.lds.org/church/temples

The Mount Timpanogos Temple, where Lance and I were sealed together for time and all eternity.

 

72 thoughts on “The LDS (Mormon) Church and Proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims.

  1. My understanding/belief on the sealing ordinance is that you are actually sealed to the promise of the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom. If you look at it that way, it makes more sense. I know that there are so many situations where this is an issue. I have a friend who is sealed to her first husband, but he died before they had any children and she had kids with her next husband. That is just one such example where we don't know the details of how it will be worked out. I have faith that God has it all under control. Like I said above, simple faith. I don't feel that I'm ignorant, I just believe that my lack of understanding on some of these things isn't reason enough for me to not believe in the gospel as a whole. Nor do I have issues with those who don't want to accept the things they don't have complete understanding about.

  2. Anon #3 to Jenny: In this thread you declared that you "grew up in the LDS Church. . . . went to church every single Sunday of [your] life. . . . went to YW every Tuesday . . . did the early Morning Seminary before school during the week . . . ," etc. Unequivocally, you know that I'm referring to the belief that we are living in the end of times, days that will try and test disciples of Christ, days wherein the Adversary will unleash all that opposes anything sacred or true. If you detected a negative/preachy tone in my comments, it is an error on my part; I failed to articulate and covey my true intent—to echo the words of the prophets and invite others to better their lives. Until I was 25 years old, I walked a wide, broken path of which I hope I have truly repented. In those days, I loathed organized religion and proselytization. After reading the Book of Mormon, I have since applied the aforementioned principles and it has brought nothing but light and happiness into my life. Jenny, it is not happenstance that we meet on a blog thread. I only chimed in because my wife, who follows this blog—we have a grandson with DS—asked me to. Further, referring to your most recent comment, of course you're not "burning in hell just because [you] do not believe every thing the Church teaches." You don't believe that and the church doesn't teach that. The tone of your comments reflects a "good person," as you've avowed, filled with great passion and compassion. Jenny, come back and try it again. As a (retired) physicist and university professor, I have formed many theories based on repeated observations and testing of widely-accepted hypotheses, only to return years later and form a different theory. You have nothing to lose, Jenny. A ward and stake would benefit greatly from a woman with your courage to speak out. Return, Jenny and bring that red-wine-drinkin', cussin', ain't-going-to-the-temple attitude with ya. 🙂 Oh, how you remind me of myself, when I wore a much younger man's clothes. Your barbed wit and enthusiasm are refreshing and intoxicating, especially to an 78-year-old physicist. My grandchildren say I'm a nerd; I embrace it. Ha! Come back, Jenny. Retest your theory as I did. Respectfully, William (Anon #3)

  3. I read your blog because you are such an advocate for you children not to get into religious discussions. Whether or not I agree with your religion is irrelevant to the topics you discuss.

  4. I think that there are about 12-ish "sticking points" that come up again and again with people who are "questioning" or challenging the Church. These are things that, on their surface, might make us question how inspired our church leaders have been throughout our history. The Church doesn't try to silence people's earnest questions (though some individuals, when confronted with something they don't fully understand or don't have the answers to, might get defensive and tell you to quit digging or something)–on the contrary, we're told that our testimony is very personal and we need to come by it all on our own, through testing Gospel principles and prayer, and not relying on others' testimonies or affirmations. I have had several periods where I've come across some of the "deep, dark secrets" of the Church, and my testimony was subsequently shaken. When I've turned to sources that have an agenda that might include discrediting the Church, I've felt more confused and troubled. But I've found that most of the answers I seek to these questions can be answered on lds.org. There's also a great website–fairlds.org, which is a group of LDS scholars and scriptorians who devote themselves to answering the questions or accusations people have made against the Church. They don't shy away from any topic, but look at the different issues thoroughly, fairly, and in the proper context, which is really important. There are a couple things that I still don't fully understand from our history, but here's the thing: if anything incorrect *was* ever preached by Church leaders, which subsequently led members astray, those leaders will be severely judged and rebuked on the other side. I can let it go and know that God will sort it all out in the end. And then I can focus on the important stuff, like how to live my own life in accordance with the teachings of Christ and His prophets. When I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, I feel a peace and a calm, and a reassurance that these are important principles I need to apply in my own life. When I listen to the talks in General Conference, I don't feel brainwashed or uneasy–I feel peace and hope, and I'm uplifted and inspired to do better and be better, and to draw closer to God for everything. And during those times when I've really been doubting or questioning, I've listened to or read the words of these leaders and thought to myself, "So…. what evil, WRONG thing are they conning me into here? To love my neighbor? To serve others? To become a better, more Christ-like person?" And I've realized that in spite of any questions I may have, living by the principles which are taught in this church brings me incredible joy that doesn't come from anything else I can find in the world. I'll join with "Anon #3 (William)" up there and extend an invitation to any who are doubting or questioning or challenging the Church to give the Gospel of Jesus Christ a sincere chance by *proving it* to themselves. You can't prove it right or wrong for yourself by standing on the outside and relying on others to convince you one way or the other–you've got to get into the thick of it, live it and study it and pray about it (all the "Sunday School answers–pray, read scriptures, go to church, etc.), to know for yourself whether or not it's really true. If you're sincerely doing those things, you'll be open to receiving inspiration about them. There is most definitely an element of faith in all things spiritual, but our faith doesn't have to be perfect. God will make up whatever is lacking in *anything*, through the atonement of Christ.

  5. You're so much braver than I am Lexi and talking about religion. Religion and politics are two subjects that I don't like talking/arguing/debating about. I am Mormon too…been my whole life. I've been inactive for a little while and have gone back to church every now and again…but still not fully active now. But I still believe that the church is true and even though I may have questions about some stuff…I have faith that I'll get the answers I need through prayer(now if my lazy ass would just be more motivated to pray more, maybe I would get some answers, haha! 🙂 I love my ward(well most of them)…even though I don't go to church…there are some great ladies and friends that don't make me feel bad for not being there and are very friendly/welcoming. And my home teachers are great! I couldn't live without the church in my life. Even now when I'm going through my rebellious stage(I think I'm making up for all the goody to shoo years of growing up) 🙂 I enjoy reading your blog and all your fun stories and stuff. Just keep being you and posting cute pictures of your kids…they really are cute…Abby is adorable! 🙂 I love that you're so open…way to go! 🙂

  6. Anon #3…Your comment has moved me to tears. I feel you understand what I am trying to say, or what I am feeling at least. Thank you for taking the time to respond. And you caught me…Haha…Yes I did know exactly what you were talking about…I know you meant we are living in the last days. The truth is you and I both no there is no place in the LDS Church for someone like me. Some one who questions…Some one who does not agree with the Temple and the things done inside. You either believe, or you do not. It is black and white…There are no shades of grey. I would not be welcome in the LDS Church because I could not follow it whole heartedly.I have more I wouldn't mind speaking to you about…Just not on here. I think my email address is on my profile if you want to drop me a private line.To all the people who are annoyed that this all turned into a discussion on the Mormon religion, please keep in mind Lexi's post was about some of the LDS beliefs…Last I knew blogs were about having meaningful discussion. Sharing ideas or opinions is not a bad thing. I think everyone on here was very respectful of each other. Actually this was one of the most mature discussion I have ever seen about the LDS Church…Although the fact that some Anonymous person even questioned Lexis belief on a post that had nothing to do with that topic whatsoever was kind of shitty. lolLexi you have done a great job with this post and thank you for allowing some of us to discuss things on here. That was kind of you….we now turn the blog back to you! LOL

  7. I'm a jerk. Melissa, that was beautiful. I don't call you "Melissa the Awesome" for nothing.Jenny, I really am glad that you posted here. In the beginning, I was really tempted to delete your first post about all of the things that trouble you. Because many of those things are what have troubled me and others. I didn't want it to be something that drove people from the church-that's the last thing I'd want with a discourse on this blog. But I have really eaten up the conversation. So many things I needed to see and learn myself. I think it was very brave of you.My wonderful brother in law said something super awesome to me a couple of weeks ago. We had a little big of a disagreement on our family site. I won't get into that. Basically there was one point of church POLICY (not doctrine) that I'm having a hard time with. He has recently come out and told his family that he doesn't believe in the church anymore. He called me and said to not let something like that policy stand in my way of going to church. He said he still goes and tries to get something out of the meeting. He reminded me of all the GOOD there is in the church. I've been "stuck" on a few pieces of history and policy that bother me. It doesn't mean that EVERYTHING else is SO GOOD. I go and learn how to be a better person, a better mother, a better follower of Christ. And in recent weeks (when Abby hasn't been sick) I've realized that it isn't just about me. I think about what dark pockets of the world the church kept me out of as a youth. I would have SURELY been a drug addict teenage mother without the church- I was almost one WITH the church. I can't even imagine. My kids need the gospel as much as I do. And they love it. I'm not going to take that away from them because of my own questions. Just as there's room for everyone in God's kingdom, there's room for you at church. If we lived close, I would gladly sit by you (and we could snicker at the lady with the gargantuan bosoms). If I haven't been struck by lightening there yet, I'm pretty sure you're safe. Jenny, this is going to sound so full of cheese- but I feel A LOT of love for you and what you are going through. I don't think any of this is coincidence. This post, the people who have come to comment, etc. William- my kids are short a grandfather- would you like to be a surrogate? You sound amazing.

  8. Hey Shelby- you should write a post about when Camryn got saved at the Baptist preschool. Mom reminded me of it yesterday. Funniest thing ever.

  9. You're right about the large paragraph. It's huge, like a massive wall of words. I need to quit commenting from my phone, where I can only see about 4 lines at a time and can't see the urgent need for paragraph breaks.

  10. I really liked this discussion. I read every last post and I never do that if they are 10 or more long. Jenny I am inspired by your willingness to open up on what can be such a personal subject. And there has been a change from your first post to your last. Lexi, It amazes me how through your blog you can touch so many people. Me included.I am LDS and I hold my faith very dear to me. I have appreciated all the comments and questions. As one commenter said above. This has been a good healthy discussion about religion and the LDS faith.

  11. Hey, I know I'm late to the party, but I did want to address something that was brought up in the beginning (sort of) the comments. The person (and I'm sorry, I don't have time to scroll back and see who) talked about how mormons don't get that we are only saved by grace. Well, I would just like to reassure you, that actually, yes, we DO believe that we are totally, and completely saved by grace. However, the way that we differ from the other Christians, is that we know that we are being saved FOR something. Contrary to popular belief, we *don't* believe that we can earn entrance into heaven by our actions, but we know that in order to be comfortable in heaven, to feel completely at Home with our Heavenly Father, that we need to be better, and be more of who He knows we can be. We can only do that through His grace, AND by putting our money where our mouth is. It is for that reason that we live our faith, and do all of those things that we're encouraged to do– not because we are trying to check off a list that wil gaurantee our entrance into heaven, but because we want to be heavenly people. There is a FANTASTIC talk that was given by Brian Wilcox (BYU professor) called "His Grace is Sufficient" that I can whole-heartedly recommend to both members wanting to learn more, and to those wanting to know what we ACTUALLY believe.http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2968

  12. i think everyone questions their religion. for me, questioning is the way i learn something is true or not. not just in regards to religion.anyhow, i had asked someone about feeling doubts or wondering about specific things about the church. the person asked me if i believed in Christ. i replied yes. they then told me that was the first puzzle piece – that everything else will fall into place as it's supposed to in its own time. and the puzzle will eventually be complete. hearing that made me feel better. that i WILL understand things. eventually. i just wish i were more patient. cuz i'm not.

  13. I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm LDS too and also have a son with autism, and I swear (at least in my head) all the time. We have SO much in common!Anyway, thanks for addressing this! It looks like there has been much debate, so I won't add to it. Just think this post is cool.

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