Mormon Baptismal Font: plenty of room for everybody.
Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: We have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the Mormons. Whereas we struggle with faulty humankind, inquisiting people, torturing them, trying to shove them toward the true faith, the Mormons have worked out a way to avoid so much heavy lifting. They take care of things after death. Dead people, y’see, are so agreeable. No backtalk. If you tell a dead guy he’s now a by-god upstanding member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you won’t get any argument.
Of course, such a bold approach to gathering souls is bound to involve a lot of blowback from the older religions. Especially the Jews—you know how they are. For decades now Jewish leaders have been trying to get the Mormons to stop baptizing their dead relatives, especially the victims of the Holocaust. As Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, points out in The New York Times, “They suffered enough.”
The suspicion is that, in spite of a 1995 agreement to lay off the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, the Mormons might be continuing their all-inclusive practice of baptizing the dead by proxy.
“Might be continuing…?” Of course they are; they’re Mormons. Bizarre secret rituals are their dish. Rest assured they’ve already baptized your dead grandmother. They’re baptizing dead people right now, this minute, in a big pot standing on the backs of twelve sculpted cows (see photo). What did you think all that geneology was about? It’s not just a hobby for the Mormons. They’re taking names, assigning them live proxies, and dunking them in the cow-pot. Devout Jew or devout Catholic or devout Holy Roller, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, doesn’t matter—everybody into the pot. They’ve done Einstein; they’ve done Hitler; they’ve done the popes even after the Vatican declared all such baptisms invalid. They’ll get around to you eventually.
The rationale is that they’re helping all the heretics who are going to show up on the Other Side and get a nasty shock when they see it’s Mormonland over there. If you’re not a Mormon you can’t get into heaven, or rather, into any one of the hierarchical heavens they’ve set up. But if somebody baptizes you by proxy back on earth, you can at least start training for one of the lower heavens. See? All pretty straightforward when you look into it.
For those who are offended at the idea of their dead grandparents getting baptized by a bunch of oddballs they never met and probably wouldn’t like, the Mormon party line is, “Well, if you don’t believe in the power of our rituals anyway, what does it matter?”
Pretty effective line. Like I said, chutzpah. They’ll get right up in your face, Mormons will.
Statement of the Defense: But by that logic, the power of their rituals is vulnerable to all sorts of counter-spells.
For example, on the Salamandar Society website, the self-identified “ex-Mormon Petros” makes this modest proposal for de-hexing the deceased:
Fine. I will institute a ritual (inspired by God of course) of anti-baptism, by which any baptisms by proxy can be immediately nullified and rendered void. This sacred rite (for which I shall have a special temple constructed from donations) shall be first applied to all Mormons who have died before it is applied to anyone else. Thus, they will be given the opportunity in the afterlife to repent of having followed the false doctrines of Mormonism while alive. Of course, they still have the free will to decline this special benefit if they choose to remain damned.
I will be happy to extend this great blessing to all of your deceased ancestors if you will simply send me their names and birth dates.
(Wait a minute, revelation coming in . . . okay, God says I will not need any names or birthdates in order to perform this sacred work. What a great blessing from the Lord! He’s just made my work far easier. Thank you Heavenly Father!)
Consider your ancestors anti-baptized by proxy.
And on the same site, Enoch Ipsen conjures up an even more deleterious counter-spell called “Buggery for the Dead”:
I have heard many of my Mormon co-workers and acquaintances shrug off the proxy baptisms of Jewish Holocost [sic] victims by the LDS church. The prevailing attitude seems to be, “If you don’t believe it, then it shouldn’t make any difference.”
I agree. This shouldn’t be at all offensive to anyone, even if their family members may have died for their own religious beliefs. I’d like to send out a certificate to families of recently deceased Mormons. The following example would be sent to the family member of a son who dies while serving a mission. Now, remember, if you don’t believe it, it shouldn’t be offensive:
‘Dear Brother and Sister Smith:
‘We send our sincere condolences in this difficult and trying time. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and that there is a special ray of light and hope for you and your family.
‘We are pleased to announce that your son, Nephi, is now a homosexual. He was posthumously inducted into our organization along with Spencer W. Kimball, in a sacred initiatory ritual known as “Buggery for the Dead.”
‘You will be excited to know that Nephi won the coin toss and was allowed to be the top in the posthumous pairing and Spencer was the bottom. In case you are not aware, top and bottom mean, respectively, buggerer and buggeree. They are sacred terms in Librachese, the ancient homosexual code revealed to us by a Friend of Dorothy….’
Verdict: Hmm. Yeah, I see how it could get complicated. Expression of admiration withdrawn. Chutzpah ain’t everything.
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