Catholic-Mormon tension over LDS baptism of the dead

May 8, 2008

Salt Lake Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, 28 May 2007/Lucy NicholsonThe issue of Mormon proxy baptisms has resurfaced with the news that the Vatican has written to Catholic dioceses around the world telling them not to provide parish records to the Genealogical Society of Utah. As the Catholic News Service reported last week, the letter calls proxy baptism using these records “detrimental” and says the Vatican did not want Catholic parishes “to cooperate with the erroneous practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Mormons use genealogical data to find names of people to baptise posthumously, a practice the Roman Catholic Church rejects on theological grounds.

The LDS Church has not yet replied, but the comments section of the Church-owned Deseret News has erupted with hundreds of entries. Many are from Mormons who cannot understand why anyone would object to their baptism of the dead. Several criticise the Vatican for withholding the data, arguing it actually belongs to the general public. Other blogs have also been commenting for (mostly Mormon — see here, here, here, here, here) and against (mostly Catholic — see here, here, here, here, here). There are also critical comments from Mormons and ex-Mormons (see here, here, here).

Most of this commentary misses the point. There is no way either side is going to agree on proxy baptisms; different religions exist precisely because they disagree on fundamental issues. It is also futile to argue about religious freedom, because obviously both Churches have the right to practise their faith. The idea that one religion’s teachings give it a right to another religion’s data is also a non-starter.

Evangelilcal Protestant baptism in the Jordan River, 17 Oct 2005/Gil CohenThe real issue is not theology, but privacy. The Vatican does not recognise Mormon baptisms anyway, so it has long ignored the proxy baptism issue. However thanks to the Internet, large numbers of names of saints, popes and average Catholics have been published in recent years on Mormon baptism lists that are available for all to see. Pontiffs have even been “sealed” in eternal Mormon marriage to fictitious wives despite the celibacy rule for Catholic clergy. Is publishing names for posthumous baptism on the Internet (in its International Genealogical Index – IGI) an invasion of privacy, especially when done without the permission of the living families of the people concerned?

This is not just an issue for Catholics, Jews asked similar questions in the 1990s, after finding Holocaust victims on the IGI. After strong Jewish protests, the Church agreed in 1995 to stop proxy baptising them, a step that seemed to indicate some recognition of a problem. However, names of Jews have continued to appear over the years, including that of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in 2006. According to Helen Radkey, a researcher who specialises on the IGI, “In 2008, the Church is still posthumously baptising Jewish Holocaust victims, against the terms of the agreement it signed with Jewish groups on May 3, 1995.”

(NB: The Vatican has had its own issues with offending Jews and Muslims and was roundly criticised for them.)

We have tried asking about the privacy issue in the past but got no answer. The spokespeople at the LDS Church in Salt Lake City were invariably polite, helpfully provided detailed information about Mormon beliefs and said Mormons were “deeply saddened” to learn that some non-Mormons were offended by seeing co-religionists or deceased family members on the IGI. However, they did not address the key question about publishing this. When asked why they did not at least monitor the list, which includes many noted and notorious names, they said too many Mormons submitted too many names every year for proxy baptism for the Church to vet them all. Mormons were supposed to ask living family members before baptising anyone born in the past 95 years, but the records show this is often ignored.

Catholic baptism (by Pope John Paul II in the Sistine Chapel), 7 Jan 2001/Vincenzo PintoThe question here is not about the rights or wrongs of proxy baptism. That is an internal Mormon issue and, since they are performed secretly in temples that non-Mormons cannot enter, it can stay an internal Mormon issue. When the names of those proposed for baptism are published on the Internet for all to see (even if lists with all details of the baptisms are kept in genealogy centres only open to Mormons), is this still an internal affair or does it enter the public sphere?And if it does, what should the LDS Church do to respond to other faiths offended by this? The usual answers — that this is an important Morman practice, a gift to the dead, one that they can decline — have not convinced Jews or Catholics.

While trying to come up with a counter-example to illustrate this problem, I came across a post by Sharon Lindbloom on the Mormon Coffee blog (whose name alone shows it is not orthodox Mormon). She asked what the LDS Church would think if “a powerful and influential group” created a public database of prominent Mormons and “attached to each name is a letter of resignation from LDS Church membership, sent by proxy to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.” She concluded: “I suspect Latter-day Saints would be very upset over Mormon pioneer proxy resignations from the LDS Church. They may even believe it to be an injustice to the memories of their loved-ones…”

37 comments

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I’m not Catholic … but the Vatican is right on this one! It is very much an issue of privacy, and of the Morman “church” being completely oblivious and uncaring.
Additionally, there is a very key issue hidden in the beginning of this article: when the LDS “goons” come around for parish records and town records, they don’t just make copies and leave. They TAKE THE ORIGINALS! Sometimes they leave digital copies (which are of dubious worth considering how fast our technology changes). THEY TAKE OUR HISTORY! And put it in the temples where non-Mormons are forbidden. THAT is an even bigger reason for the Vatican to correctly direct parishes to protect their records.

Posted by TJ White | Report as abusive

As a former Mormon, and now Catholic, this practice by the Latter Day Saints is just one of many that I personally find offensive, and is one of many reasons I left the church. They seem to feel because they believe they are the “one true faith”, that they not only have carte blanche to do whatever they feel is appropriate, they feel it is their duty to cram their beliefs down the throats of others. Religion and Baptism are a personal choice, and those who have passed have already made their choices, The LDS church should learn to respect that.

Posted by Steven Cornman | Report as abusive

If the LDS leadership tell the Mormon faithful to only submit deceased relatives names for this proxy work, the membership will comply whole-heartedly. In most cases, LDS families are encouraged to do and are doing their own family history…this has become more of an emphasis in the last few years. I’m not sure who is zeolously grabbing non-related names and submitting them for the work…I suppose they are gotten from public records that are to be seen by all. That is precisely why the Catholic Church is hiding away their records. As far as “secrecy” goes in the Temple…if the work is so secret, then why is the LDS church putting this information for the world to see on the internet…that doesn’t sound too secret to me.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Steve,

I’m sure that, as you say, in the most cases LDS families are doing their own family history and nothing more. That’s fine, there’s no problem with that. They are the ones who are responsible for the memory of their relatives. But there are obviously enough people submitting names of total strangers that large numbers of famous people are there too, including many foreign personalities such as historical figures, national leaders and famous dictators from around the world. I’m not sure either who is zealously grabbing non-related names, but a lot are being grabbed and Church spokespeople have admitted they cannot vet them all. That’s how Simon Wiesenthal’s name got on the IGI in 2006. It seems very unlikely that surviving Wiesenthals agreed to that.

As for your disagreement with the word “secret,” how would you describe a procedure where (1) only certified members of an organisation are allowed to participate and (2) many of the results are not open to the public. I did not go into the details but you surely know that the names posted on the public IGI are only part of the total. Names are taken off that list when there are complaints, but that does not mean they have been taken off internal lists. To check those, one has to go to a Family History Center, which is off-limits to non-Mormons. Also, the public IGI you refer to does not show all the information about the proxy baptism, which the internal file does. One important fact missing from the public IGI is the name of the person who performed the proxy baptism, which if known could give a lead to someone who wanted to object to the proxy baptism of a deceased relative. If all that doesn’t qualify as secret, please give me an alternative to describe this level of concealment.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

By this does the Pope mean to imply that the Mormon baptism is effectual? Does he really think that it changes the statis of Catholics, or anyone else in the afterlife? The Mormon’s do all the work and bare all the expense of making copies to preserve these disintgrating records and then they make them available for everyone to use. What is the problem with that? I can’t understand why anyone cares if they do baptisms for the dead, if it gives them comfort. That is small enough pay for this service which they provide for all of us to use these records. They don’t take the original records and hide them away, but that is what the Pope is trying to do. I am a genealogist who has Irish Catholic Ancestry. I have used the Mormon Genealogical Services and Websites. They are incredible. What has the Pope to fear, or anyone else for that matter. Let the Mormons do all the work and pay all the bills, so that the records are preserved and those of us who are interested in finding our ancestors can more easily do so.

Patricia

Posted by Patricia L. | Report as abusive

Patricia, this is a very interesting side issue to the proxy baptism question. While searching around for comments on blogs about this, I found several contributions from amateur genealogists who praised the Mormons for making all this information available for them. They certainly have made huge amounts of data available and helped many amateur genealogists find family information. But they do not do all this work as a disinterested service to the public, as your comment implies. They do this for a specific reason, which is to provide data for proxy baptisms. If someone is offended by the proxy baptism of a relative, the fact that all this information has been made available to grateful amateur genealogists is not going to change that at all. The fact they make this data available is simply a positive side effect.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

As a private entity, the Catholic church has every right to choose what records to make available, to whom, and for what purpose. Unfortunately, the genalogical process may be less convenient now for some, but there are still other ways to gain access to these records (call/visit the diocese, parish, etc.).

Maybe we should blame the LDS church for providing a seemingly-altruistic service to cover up the culturally insensitive (and disrespectful) practice of attempting to alter the identity of dead people. As a descendent of Catholics, the idea of someone trying to change my ancestors’ religion is absolutely disgusting. I hold nothing against anyone who would try to block it with whatever means they have.

Posted by Paulina | Report as abusive

As a reply to Tom, Family History Centers are open to the public and are not off-limits to non-Mormons. As to your reply to Patricia, what is to be done in a situation where a deceased individual has descendants in multiple faiths? Are all descendants to be barred from performing their respective religious rites for their ancestors because one faith does not believe in the tenets of another? If anything, allowing all people of faith the opportunity to perform whatever rites they believe in for their ancestors (prayer, proxy baptism, etc…) is giving more choices to these deceased individuals and isn’t forcing them into a decision.

As a reply to TJ, Mormon is spelled with an ‘o’ and not an ‘a’. I would hardly call the volunteers who microfilm records “goons.” It is my understanding that they obtain permission from every records custodian whom they work with to make these copies of records prior to any work being done on the records. They either go and invite these custodians or are invited by them. Many of them are retired couples who are friendly and kind, not “goons” by any stretch of the imagination.

As a reply to Steven (not Steve), the attitude and comments you have made towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be said also of the Vatican. Both churches are doing what they feel is right. Both believe they are the “one true faith.” As you state, baptism and religion is a personal choice. Many though who have died had no “choice” as to what faith they belonged to. For many millennia the Catholic church was the only faith, the state faith, one in which if you left the faith you were shunned, ostracized, and sometimes faced severe penalties or death. It is the belief of the LDS Church that those who have died still have as much opportunity to reject this work done for them as they would have if they were alive. The LDS Church does respect that. Baptism is a physical ordinance which is hard to participate in when one is not alive with a physical body. That is the purpose for proxy baptism. Not performing this ordinance is also denying those individuals their choice. It could also be asked, is not the Vatican denying these deceased individuals the choice they did not have while alive by making such a blanket statement to close these records from those who believe in such practices? We do not know what these individuals decide, these ordinances are not effective without their consent, but are not possible as a choice without their performance.

As to my own comments, I am not aware that the LDS Church has made any official statement as to the situation. I would be hesitant to assume I know the thoughts of the leadership and therefore avoid any statements that assume such. It is my opinion that this blanket yet pointed statement is unfairly targeted as well as unrealistic in the ability to enforce. How are the local priests and records custodians supposed to know the membership status of individuals who approach them outside of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) itself? At least in the US, that is discrimination that should not be tolerated. Is the loss of records to decay worth the loss of the ability for individuals to learn of their history? It is very impractical for individuals to be expected to travel to these parishes, verify their religious belief, and then personally search delicate records when despite objections the GSU has the resources (financial and people) to preserve these for whatever uses may come in the future. As stated earlier, Family History Centers of the LDS Church provide free access to these records, access is expanding through digitization of already obtained records and the Indexing program (see http://www.familysearchindexing.org or search.labs.familysearch.org). This is a resource to all people and not just members of the LDS Church. This resource will be of limited use to many if access to Catholic records (which are the primary and sometimes only records available in certain periods) worldwide is denied. If anyone knows of another organization in the world which is dedicated to investing the time, people, and resources to obtain and safely preserve historical records for genealogical purposes as the GSU, feel free to share. As the nature of the media and society in which we live, the rare and unfortunate times (that a few individuals perform proxy baptism for non-family members who are well-known or in groups that have requested no work be done) get the most attention. It is unpractical to expect the LDS Church to monitor every name that is submitted for proxy baptism.

In all this is a polarized issue with real concerns on the part of both sides. I hope that some compromise can be reached between the LDS Church and the Vatican that will allow for continued genealogical research by LDS and non-LDS alike as well as provide for the preservation for the primary source of the world’s history over several millenia by an organization (GSU) willing to provide such preservation. All preservation is done by consent of the records custodian and should not be considered as “goons” tracking records down and forcing them away from anyone. As with any organization making a blanket generalization statement intended to limit certain actions, there will always be indivduals who will find a way around the artificial rules in the system and obtain the goal they seek. I imagine it would be no different in this case.

Posted by Karl Greenwood | Report as abusive

As a counter reply to Karl, I understand your point, however I do not agree with it. To say the same could be said of the Catholic church, in my opinion, is inaccurate at best. The Catholic Church, in this case, are not, to my knowledge, taking records from other faiths, and using them to perform misguided rituals, that are offensive to the members of the faith to which they “acquired” the records from in the first place. In this instance, the Catholic Church is simply protecting their own records, which are, I believe, sacred to them. To quote former transgressions of the Catholic Church, in this context, is irrelevant, as it has no bearing on the subject at hand. It seems to me as if you are saying that because the Catholics have, in the past, done much that is innappropriate, that it is okay for the LDS church to do so in this case. Two wrongs do not make a right. As for the matter of choice, I agree with you that in the past, many may not have had much of a choice, but with the Mormons taking records that do not belong to them, and performing proxy baptisms whether they are wanted or not, it seems as if the choice has been taken away yet again.

Posted by Steve Cornman | Report as abusive

Well, I will certainly be very upset if I find out that the mormons have put any of my ancesters in their list. They do not have the right to do so because it is a lie. Somebody should stop those fanatics from wrongdoing. They might think they´re free to mess around with any catholic record, but they´re not. Besides the mormons are just a silly sect for silly people doing silly things, created by a silly fanatic outlaw.

Posted by Sarah | Report as abusive

Lets get some misconception out of the way here. The LDS baptism for the dead is not making dead people Mormons. It is a virtual baptism that only makes it available to people in the after life if they choose to accept it. We believe that if God says only those baptized can enter his kingdom then He must provide a way for all, even those who have never heard the gospel, to either accept or reject that commandment. Otherwise He would be making it impossible for many to return to Him. That is not the action of a loving merciful God worthy of worship.

Ken: What are you saying? That the mormons know better than God? There is no misconception there, as far as I can see. What you mormons are trying to do is to cheat history. Who are you to go messing around with catholic records (catholic because they have already been baptised) even in Europe? Do you really think that many lies make a truth? Virtual baptism…the after life…that´s a good one too!
And now, let me tell you something: either you like it or not, your born european ancesters were NOT mormons and they will never be. Amen

Posted by Sarah | Report as abusive

So this is what the Mormons are doing with the records? I do appreciate that this group is taking the time out to collect such records and to make them available to the public. I too am trying to trace my ancestry. However, why on earth would anyone in their right mind bother baptising a dead person? Especially someone they never knew? Someone has a lot of time on their hands and it appears they don’t know how to use to their best advantage. Pardon my ignorance but by doing this ritual, how does it help to better society or the dead people concerned? Previous blogger said, “Many though who have died had no “choice” as to what faith they belonged to. …. It is the belief of the LDS Church that those who have died still have as much opportunity to reject this work done for them … Baptism is a physical ordinance which is hard to participate in when one is not alive with a physical body. That is the purpose for proxy baptism. Not performing this ordinance is also denying those individuals their choice.” Huh, when? What stranger has the knowledge to assume or evidence to support that the dead individual had been denied such choice in the first place? This could easily be perceived that the LDS proxy baptisms are making the choices for these dead people and are “putting them in the position as to what faith they belong to”. Thus denying those individuals a choice. For heavens sake leave the dead alone. If they aren’t tortured souls haunting the earth let them RIP. Does this mean now I have to stimulate somewhere that I do not want a Mormon proxy baptism for when I go onto the next world…….

Posted by Conscientious Observer | Report as abusive

Ken – How many people have lived leaving no written, verifiable record of their existence? Would a ‘loving merciful God’ penalize a deceased person for not living in a society or circumstance where records were kept? Are these people out of luck, denied their heavenly reward for circumstances beyond their control, denied their means to ‘return to Him’? If the answer is no, then why must anyone be baptized by proxy? In my experience, such questions are ducked by the membership and leadership of the LDS church. I was raised in an LDS household and find the theology of the church riddled with such inconsistencies and gaps in logic.

Sarah – Take it down a notch. Of all of the responses to this article, only yours comes off as fanatical.

Posted by Exmo | Report as abusive

I would not want to find my ancestors names on that list either. In fact I think they would roll over in their graves if they knew. If the mormons feel they can put everyone on this list, then they should allow everyone to look at it, and get their relatives removed if they so desire.

Posted by sashalee | Report as abusive

Mormons cannot impose their will on the dead, get over, freewill is God given and not subject to Mormon opinion. How dare they think they can disrespect another religion and forcibly baptize a dead person. Sounds like a cheap desperate attempt at obtaining new converts, even dead ones at that!

Posted by Not Religious | Report as abusive

“I suspect Latter-day Saints would be very upset over Mormon pioneer proxy resignations from the LDS Church. They may even believe it to be an injustice to the memories of their loved-ones…”

Um, NO. I, as a member of the LDS church could frankly care less. Please do not create assumptions based on your personal values and apply them to me.

Posted by Cliff | Report as abusive

“THEY TAKE OUR HISTORY! And put it in the temples where non-Mormons are forbidden.”

Um, no. They don’t. They keep any history they have in a climate controlled vault and they make all the information as accessible to all as possible.

And if they take any originals, it would only be with permission of the Catholic Church – and access by the Catholic church to those originals would NEVER be restricted.

Posted by Cliff | Report as abusive

“How dare they think they can disrespect another religion and forcibly baptize a dead person. Sounds like a cheap desperate attempt at obtaining new converts, even dead ones at that!”

Why do you assume that we believe we are forcing ayone into anything? We only believe that we are offering people a choice to accept an ordinance necessary for their salvation.

They can choose whether they accept it or not.

On a very simple level, baptism for those who have passed on is no different than if I were to offer a drink of lemonade, even though you usually drink sasparilla. All that has happened is I have offered you a drink that is different than what you have known. What is offensive about that? If you don’t want it, you don’t have to drink it. The only one who is out anything by the offer is me, and that was my choice to put forth the effort.

The LDS church is NOT trying to force anyone into anything – living or dead. We merely want to give our ancestors the opportunity to accept something that is necessary for them, but they can no longer do for themselves because they have passed away. It is an OFFER, and not even intended to be coercive in the least.

Posted by Cliff | Report as abusive

“Ken – How many people have lived leaving no written, verifiable record of their existence? Would a ‘loving merciful God’ penalize a deceased person for not living in a society or circumstance where records were kept? Are these people out of luck, denied their heavenly reward for circumstances beyond their control, denied their means to ‘return to Him’? If the answer is no, then why must anyone be baptized by proxy? In my experience, such questions are ducked by the membership and leadership of the LDS church. I was raised in an LDS household and find the theology of the church riddled with such inconsistencies and gaps in logic.”

I’m not sure who in the church has ever “ducked” any questions like this, but here is an answer from a member of the LDS church.

God expects us to do all we can with all we have, and whatever we are unable to do before Christ returns will be made possible during the millenium when he reigns on the earth before the last and final judgement day.

You are right about one thing – a loving God will not allow one to be eternally damned just because his records don’t exist. Christ said: “I know my sheep, and am known of mine.” He will provide the way for that work to be done.

The only inconsistencies you find in the LDS church are those you manufacture in your own mind by refusing to look at the things you were (or at least ought to have been taught) in your LDS upbringing.

Posted by Cliff | Report as abusive

Ok people,

I have seen a plethora of misconceptions listed on this blog. Please, please, please, do not assume what the LDS church believes or practices just because of what you see in one article or hear from a few different people.

If you want to form an opinion about and discuss the beliefs of the LDS church, please make sure that you first actually understand what the LDS church teaches and practices. Talk to an active member of the LDS church. Visit http://www.mormon.org. Whatever you do, please do not form assumptions based on random comments posted on some message board.

Posted by Cliff | Report as abusive

I have enquired several times of LDS members whether or not the Muslim dead are ‘baptised’ without the consent of their living relatives. I have never received any response. I suppose that any admission that it did occur might result in a more dramatic response than that from the Jews or Catholics but any denial would be interpreted as a refusal to undertake work that the ‘prophets’ claimed to be vital.

Posted by Estaban | Report as abusive

In the battle for souls, a little bit of marketing has crept in. Certainly everyone thinks his brand of religion is the correct one. I can’t think anyone believes they belong to the wrong church. Recently, the LDS have been making serious conversion inroads amongst Catholics in Latin and South America in addition to other places including Africa and Asia. It seems to have become a turf thing. While Mormonism was merely an amusement but nothing serious amongst many denominations, they have now recognized that these Mormons have serious and growing influence. Up until now they have been content to stay in Utah and the western US wastelands. But that has changed. Even the august Southern Baptist Conventions Dr. Richard Land has openly acknowledged that the 300,000 Baptist converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has opened Evangelical eyes to the competition.

What makes this growing influence even more troubling to traditional Christianity is Mormons tell people they don’t have to rely on some priest or pastor to interpret scripture or provide the last word on doctrine. Mormons say everyone can find out for themselves whether what they preach is right or not by humbly reading the Book of Mormon and approaching God for a confirmation of whether it is as they say, the restoration of Christ’s original church and His original doctrines. Given there is considerable difference between the old traditional doctrines and LDS doctrine, there isn’t much negotiating room or even a place for traditional Christian beliefs such as the Nicene and other related creeds. They even offer New Testament passages as proofs and then say to put everything to the test by asking for Holy Spirit confirmation – even the doctrine the LDS Church teaches.

The interesting thing about how this whole affair has evolved is how the traditional Christians have responded. Rather than acknowledging the effectiveness of recommending people humbly approach God in prayer and fasting as to whether what the traditionalists say is true, they have demonized Mormons and attacked them as an enemy. They have placed the correctness of the Nicene Creed and others as the bedrock of their doctrine and understanding to the point where there is no wiggle room for discussion. If the NC is not correct then much of their religious doctrine is not correct. The traditional Christians have used individual differences between the two doctrines as proof of Mormon heresy. But it is almost always through the lens of the Nicene and other traditional creeds and relies on mankind’s understanding and traditions. But to Mormons, the discussion ought to be whether God has in fact opened the canon and restored prophets and apostles to lead His restored Church. They offer direct access to God as their proof. Their detractors offer tradition and the understanding of men as their proof. Or so it seems to me.

Posted by JLF | Report as abusive

I think LDS is a crazy organisation but the Vatican has a nerve saying they conduct “erroneous practices”.

What about letting AIDs spread in Africa because of the ludicrously outdated opposition to contraception? What about the wacky practice of metaphorically drinking blood like a vampire and being a symbolic cannibal…yes Im talking about the communion.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Great thoughts will be checking back on your blog often.

We must remember as Christians that baptism for the dead has been banished from “proper Christian” denominations for about 1800 years now, and for us to let this extremist and unorthodox group of people stomp over the memories of our relatives is foolish and weak. For instance the mormons who want to baptize the jews who died in ww2, they died for there religion i don’t think that now they would say oh your right i would rather be a mormon then a jew after dieing as such.

Posted by kevan | Report as abusive

I am a non-Mormon relative of a converted Mormon and worry that my Presbyterian ancestors names will be baptized Mormon. They fought and died for their faith and it wasn’t the Mormon faith! This practise should be illegal.

Also, the LDS is a tax-exempt organization, yet they access and use public records for religious purposes. These public records have been created and upheld with taxpayer’s money. Shouldn’t they have to pay a fee or at least be required to notify the living members of the families that they get off the public records and obtain their consent?

Thousands, even millions of years from now that LDS bunker full of names will survive (it’s eerily built to survive anything) and future generations will think all of us were Mormon.

Posted by heidi | Report as abusive

I visited a local LDS Family Research Center trying to find the source of a birth record on a deceased, Catholic, family member.I’m assuming the information came from Catholic Church records but I was hoping to find out the exact Parish. The volunteer who helped me was very nice but couldn’t seem to retrieve the information from their computer records.

I was referred to the Temple to get theinformation. When I told them I’m non-Mormon, the response I got was blatant “Oh,well!” And that was THAT. No other assistance was offered. The experience was humiliating!

Don’t kid yourselves, LDS isn’t providing all this labor
and information for free. Some LDS affiliate genealogy
website subscriptions are very expensive.

It’s simple to me. They baptised my late, Grandmother’s
sister, without asking permission, but they won’t tell me where her birth record originated.

That’s not benevolence, that’s thievery.

Posted by Debbie | Report as abusive

because the Mormons have so many false doctrines whatever they do is totally irrelevant and should be laughed at instead of wasting space and time discussing them.

One thing that should not be laughed at can be found at the official LDS website below:

http://www.lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer  /19_Ash_Hollow.html

This site continues to state that the murder of women and children was a significant victory. Even the Army admits that it was a massacre on September 3, 1855 against the Little Thunder band of Lakota.

It is hypocritical and sick that the LDS have done proxy baptisms for General William S. Harney, and George Armstrong Custer, but continue to claim that this atrocity was a “significant victory”.

How can proxy baptisms for Jewish Holocaust victims still be done even after the agreement, and at the same time the deasths of another group of victims are referred to with words contrary to history?

Posted by Mike M | Report as abusive

How does one find out if their relatives have been proxyed into the Mormon faith?

My grandmother is 96 and doesn’t want to be posthumously baptized. But one of our relatives (who has recently converted to Mormonism) has stated that this is his intent following her death.

I don’t want to be posthumously baptized, either.

Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening?

We want to (as politely as possible) decline the LSD offer of eternal salvation. We want privacy. We want our wishes respected, but we don’t know what to do.

Posted by Jennifer | Report as abusive

I find this article and the views of a lot of the folks that post to be rather humorous.
1. Most genealogical records are not marked with where they were acquired…but many are
2. If you don’t believe in Mormon baptism for the dead….Uh, why would you care? If you do care that suggests you feel the Mormons have some power over your spirit after death. In either case you have some religious issues to work out.
3. Mormons don’t go near or try to convert Muslims and will never do baptisms for them.
4. “These records are from public sources aggregated by tax payer money.” That is not true, the records from america and other modern coutries…maybe. But most records come from the Catholic church(s). Lets face it the catholic church readily sold those names to the mormon church. Or barter for technologically advanced media if you will.
5. That ash hollow crap has no bearing on anything and is not related to the mormon church in any way.
6. The mountain meadow massacre was not sanctioned by the Mormon church…period. It was undertaken by Mormons who lost their lands and family members to the “SAME” people that were heading out from Missouri…where they had taken mormon land and lives by force with the help and blessing of both the governor and the military. And they stated they were going to do the same in UTAH. Some people overreacted and killed them all. This has nothing to do with the mormon church. To the best of my knowledge the “Mormon” Church is (was) the only religious organization to directly confront the US military and to be under siege by them.
7. You dont have the option to opt out of baptism for the dead….get over it. Just dont accept the work on the other side. Problem solved.
8. “…Given there is considerable difference between the old traditional doctrines and LDS doctrine, there isn’t much negotiating room or even a place for traditional Christian beliefs such as the Nicene and other related creeds.”
This is a statement of ignorance. Do the research read the history….most religions based on christ have the same tenants in the beginning and only change over time. Catholicism is a great example.
9. …”We must remember as Christians that baptism for the dead has been banished from “proper Christian” denominations for about 1800 years now, and for us to let this extremist and unorthodox group of people stomp over the memories of our relatives is foolish and weak. For instance the mormons who want to baptize the jews who died in ww2, they died for there religion i don’t think that now they would say oh your right i would rather be a mormon then a jew after dieing as such.”
lol…really? what would you consider “proper”? List some history… you have no basis in history or fact. Christians did not exist as such “Officially” until Constantine became one and made it the defacto religion.
And that wasnt 1800 years ago.

Anywho, guess it’s entertaining to hear from the ignorant on subjects they have no knowledge of.

I just found out that one of my ancestors from Tudor England was given a proxy baptism by the LDS Church. I am angry. I think it would be hilarious and quite fitting if a very different faith such as Islam or Hinduism would usher in all people of LDS ancestry into their faith postumously and see how LDS families like it. Bet they wouldn’t say “well we don’t believe in that, so it doesn’t matter.” It does matter and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by Holly | Report as abusive

These baptisms are not meant to be forced on people. They are names (usually donated by the deceased family members.) All the “baptism” is is a blessing on their soul and and invitation to reach salvation through the lds belief system. When they do this- they deceased soul has the opportunity to except this blessing and the Lds faith, or decline it. This is done just so that they have a chance to except the faith in the after life- even if it wasn’t provided for them in this life. (If they so choose). None of it really matters unless they choose to except the blessing. Nobody- including God- has the power to force religion on an unwilling soul.

Posted by Shanae | Report as abusive

Don’t mind but, I think LDS is a crazy organization.

You quoted a blog as saying: “I suspect Latter-day Saints would be very upset over Mormon pioneer proxy resignations from the LDS Church. They may even believe it to be an injustice to the memories of their loved-ones…”

Actually, since I don’t recognize the authority of a non-Mormon to resign for a deceased member I would not be bothered at all. Sorry.

I guess that’s why I don’t understand why people are offended when someone with authority they don’t recognize performs an ordinance for a deceased relative. Maybe they do recognize our authority after all. If you do, why condemn yourself by not joining what you consider to be the Church with authority to act for God?

Posted by Tomnjeri | Report as abusive