Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mormons and Jews and Their Dead, Oh My.

If you keep up with world news, you've heard of the ordeal between the LDS church and the Jewish people and the issue of baptizing the victims of the Holocaust. If you haven't heard about it, the argument lies in the fact that the Jews don't like that the Mormons are baptizing their dead people and destroying the "Jewishness" of their ancestors.

Which makes me wonder if the Jews really understand what happens when we do the ordinance of baptizing for the dead. Just because the ordinance is performed doesn't mean that great-great-grandma Mabel is going to accept the ordinance and become a Mormon. If you tell me that in her life on Earth she was the most strict, devout Jew you'd ever known, I don't doubt that she is, right now in the spirit world, the most strict, devout Jew you've ever known. Will she accept the gospel when it is preached to her? Who knows. But to be fair, the members of the Mormon church do temple work - which involves baptisms for the dead - to give her an opportunity.

Why would you get mad at another church for performing an ordinance that can, if anything, only help your dead relatives?

If the Methodist church started doing baptisms for all of my dead, Mormon ancestors, would I mind?

No. Honestly, I wouldn't care at all.

You might ask "How can you not be offended that they may be turning your ancestors to their church?"

The answer is simple: I, and those of my faith, believe that only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds the authority to perform such ordinances. Any other church doing the same thing is doing so in the absence of authority. It would have no value on the other side. It's water under the bridge.

This leads me to believe that these Jews, who are angered by our practice of baptizing for the dead, must believe that we have authority from God to do so. Which I will take as a compliment. :) Why else would it matter to them what we do? You don't hear the leaders of the Baptist church coming forward to complain about this. Why? Because they think we're just a bunch of peculiar people with large families and no beer in the fridge. They let us go on with our practices and ordinances with a measure of respect, and probably figure we're going to hell anyway, so our so called "authority" has no meaning. That's okay with me. Let every man worship as he sees fit.

Here's the thing, though: In the Millenium, baptisms for the dead will be performed for every single person that has lived on this earth that didn't have the opportunity to receive the gospel in their lifetime. This includes the victims of the Holocaust. The work will be done, now or later, which is why the Mormon church is glad to refrain from doing the work for those people at this time. Why cause a ruckus? Let things work themselves out in their own, due time.


P.S. I have nothing against the Jews for this at all. Like I said before, I take this entire action as a compliment, because they obviously respect our church or they wouldn't care what we did in behalf of the dead. I just wanted to express some ideas that came to mind.

1 comment: