I thought I was done blogging about Mormons for a while and that I'd get back to telling you our family secrets and sharing the hilarious hijinks of the assisted living set. But NPR goaded me this morning. Blame them.
Apparently Mormons are again being baptized by proxy for dead Holocaust survivors and other dead Jews. Believe it or not, living relatives of these new converts are upset! Ungrateful! Their dead relatives are being given the sacred opportunity to become Mormons and enjoy all the benefits of Mormon heaven and they are not one bit happy! Tsk.
Ten years ago the LDS church agreed to stop this practice when Jews found out their dead relations were being baptized by proxy and having other sacred (and secret) church rituals performed. It's an odd practice, this proxy thing -- I'm pretty sure no other Christian religion does anything remotely like it. Any non-Mormon is vulnerable -- even Hitler and Eva Braun have been baptized by proxy, more than once I'm told.
Baptisms and other rituals for the dead form the basis for all the great geneological research done by Mormons -- they're basically harvesting names from public records to add to the list of future Mormons (by proxy). It's said that dead souls can accept or reject the ordinances performed for them but honestly, Mormons don't think that's likely. Heaven! Eternal happiness with your family! Or, well, we don't really know what the alternative is. Whatever heathens get when they're dead. Not eternal joy, that's for sure. At best, eternal mediocrity. Eternal humdrum. Eternal envy of the lucky lucky Mormons (who might have been Jews or Muslims or Pagans or Buddhists here on Earth), now at the great big banquet table that is the Celestial Kingdom. Oh, and the possibility of becoming gods and goddesses of their own worlds. But that's something the Mormons don't talk about so much these days because it freaked out the other Christians a little too much.
When I finally get around to putting my will together, one key provision will be that no one performs proxy baptism for me after I'm dead. It would be just like my family to try to "save" me once I'm no longer around to stop them. If I die before I get that will written, let this be a record of my wishes: If any Mormon dares to perform baptism or other rituals in my name after I am dead so help me God I will come back and verily my wrath will be great and its days long. There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I promise. Not only that, but my heirs are fully empowered to sue the living crap out of anyone daring to be dunked in my name. Sue the church, too. They have some deep, deep pockets.
KSL in Salt Lake City, of course, has a much happier spin. Notice the photos of warm hugs and handshakes between the Mormons and Jews. In Mormonspeak, Jews (and all other non-Mormons) are referred to as "gentiles." So Mormons would refer to that picture as "a Saint and a gentile" shaking hands. Crazy, huh?