Skip to comments.Will Pope Benedict become a Mormon after he dies?
Posted on 02/05/2007 4:05:05 AM PST by xzins
Pope Benedict was baptised at birth and will most likely be baptised again one year after his death, not by his Roman Catholic Church but by a Mormon he never met.
The Mormons, a United States-based denomination officially named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), encourage members to baptise the dead by proxy in the belief they are helping the deceased attain full access to heaven.
Church members are told to focus on their ancestors, a rite understandable in a relatively new denomination founded in 1830. But so many now perform the rituals for celebrities, heroes and perfect strangers that the practice has spun out of control.
Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Genghis Khan, Mao Zedong, King Herod, Al Capone and Mickey Mouse have all appeared for a short time in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for proxy baptisms, said Helen Radkey, an IGI researcher.
"It seems that any kind of name at all may be submitted," said Radkey from Salt Lake City, where the LDS is based. The IGI also accepts names for rites that "seal" spouses in eternal marriage or parents and children in eternal families.
This has outraged Jews and baffled Christians who see it as usurping the memory of their departed relatives. The LDS says it cannot stem the tide of dead baptised in its own temples.
"The only way we could prevent it would be to undertake independent genealogical research on every name that came in, an utterly impossible task with the many tens of thousands of names that are submitted each year," LDS spokesperson Kim Farah said in an e-mail responding to questions from Reuters.
So Benedict looks set to join his predecessor John Paul and a centuries-long list of popes Mormons have baptised -- despite the fact that he, back when he was the Vatican's top doctrinal authority, ruled that Mormon baptisms were not even Christian.
"There is no reason theologically why a former Pope or any other church leader shouldn't be offered the same opportunity given to the rest of mankind," Farah said.
Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims The Catholics are not the only non-Mormons on the church's International Genealogical Index (IGI), a list of those baptised or cleared for the rite in which a Mormon undergoes a full immersion baptism at a temple in the name of the dead person.
Jewish Holocaust victims, Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin and Mohammed ibn Abdel-Wahhab, founder of Saudi Arabia's stern version of Islam, have all popped up on the list.
A purged version of the IGI is online on a website run by the LDS church, but does not show which rites have been performed.
That data is reserved only for Mormons, who can consult it at one of the 3 400 Family History Centres worldwide where they go to enter names for these rites using special software. The rites are then performed at temples off-limits to non-Mormons.
Radkey, who has exposed non-Mormon entries on the IGI for over a decade, alerted United States Jewish groups last December that the famous Jewish Nazi-hinter Simon Wiesenthal had turned up on the IGI as a departed soul cleared for Mormon baptism.
Rabbi Marvin Heir, head of a Jewish human rights group in Los Angeles named after the deceased Austrian, called this "very offensive. Simon Wiesenthal dedicated his whole life to Jews. I don't think he needs help getting into heaven."
The church pledged in 1995 not to list Holocaust victims and other Jews after many names were found on the IGI. It took Wiesenthal's name off its online list but critics like Radkey say internal lists still have large numbers of Jewish names.
Popes and fictional wives Pope John Paul II was baptised not once but four times in April 2006, in line with Mormon practice of waiting a year before starting these rites. He died on April 2 2005.
His name was purged from the online IGI, so a normal search will not find them. But his four now-anonymous files are still in the database and three still show his parents' names.
Pope Pius XII was baptised three times and also "sealed" in eternal marriage to a fictional Mrs Eugenio Pacelli. Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of priests, was also "sealed" to a bogus wife. Catholic clergy do not marry.
Names are purged from the public IGI after being found and publicised. Pope John Paul I and Pope Paul VI were both baptised and were listed on the online IGI in December but removed after Reuters asked about them, Farah confirmed.
But earlier popes, going back at least to the Crusader Pope Urban II (1088-1099), are mostly still there. "They remove any names that could potentially cause criticism," Radkey said.
Father Thomas Weinandy, head of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, described proxy baptism as inappropriate.
"We don't know whether the person would want this or not," he told Reuters from Washington. "Catholics and other Christians feel they are already properly baptised. But it's harmless.
"As for the popes, I think most Catholics would find that somewhat inappropriate but also rather humourous. They're already in heaven! So it's redundant, even if it did work."
Baffling notion Mormons believe the early Christians strayed from the true faith and only the LDS church returned to the right path. All those who lived before 1830 were thus unable to join the Church and have full access to all the glory of heaven.
To trace and baptise these people, it has built up the largest genealogical library in the world, the Family History Library at its headquarters in in Salt Lake City, Utah. This includes public lists of names collected around the world.
Clearly sensitive to questions about the practice, the LDS defends it as a central tenet of its faith. It argues the proxy baptism does no harm because the dead can reject it in the next life, a notion baffling to most Christians.
Farah said Mormons were "always deeply saddened to hear" that non-Mormons might be offended to find their ancestors' names had been harvested from public lists and baptised into a faith they did not follow during their lives.
Church rules say deceased who were born in the past 95 years should not be submitted for baptism without permission from their living relatives, but the IGI shows this is often ignored.
Farah said the LDS church has tried to discourage abuse of the system. "We continue to look for ways to improve," she said. - Reuters
Comparative religion ping.
"They see dead people"
How do you get married to a fictional person?
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However, if Mormonism is the one true religion, then it's fine that someone baptizes me after death. This way, in this life I can enjoy beer, wine, Dr. Pepper and Ice Tea.
If Mormonism isn't the one true religion, which I believe to be the case, then no harm done to me. But I can still enjoy beer, wine, Dr. Pepper and Ice Tea.
I'll never know about polygamy though: I think my wife might be a little peeved if I brought home another wife someday. My wife does watch that HBO show about the polygamist. She keeps asking if I'll watch it, and I keep telling her that the only way I'm watching that show is if she invites over two of her single friends.
I wonder if you can get heavenly married to more than one fictional wife?
Seems just as legitimate as baptizing days old babies...
C'mon, where's your imagination??? If through a ritual someone can turn fermented hooch and a cracker into the body and blood of God, and then claim to eat the actual body and blood of God, anything's possible...
Besides, their unbiblical 'tradition' is just as good as anyone else's...
Funny stuff if it were not so scary... they are clearly a cult. As a Christian I have sent away more than one Mormon from my door with questions in their minds, and I subsequently have prayed for them to get out of their bondage.
1. In Temple recommend interviews, members are told that the interviewer represents Jesus and should answer all questions as if they were talking to Jesus. This is a break down of barriers designed to condition the member to completely submit to churchs authority
2. Naked touching in the temple washing and anointing ritual also breaks down barriers, creates submission to church authority [This eternal ordinance was changed in Jan 2005 see mormon366.htm ]
3. New name, suggests reassignment of identity
4. Temple endowment experience is hypnotic, produces a relaxed, even sleepy alpha like state for receptivity to church indoctrination, oaths, instruction, commitment. Similar to Moonie repetitive indoctrination sessions where chanting, singing, and long periods of lecturing happen.
5. Secret signs, tokens, passwords to get into Mormon heaven. If one does not have this exclusive information, they will be denied access past certain angels along the way back to God's presence. This is an element of control designed to produce exclusivity
6. Requirement to wear church approved underwear night and day, conditioned to believe they possess special protections. Another design to control via exclusivity
7. Strict tithing requirements. Yearly face to face confrontation with a high church authority to declare to him (as the lords representative) how much money the member was able to give to the church. Encouraged to give everything that the lord blesses you with even ones time, talents to the building up of the LDS church. In addition to tithes, generous fast offerings are encouraged. Giving to other charities or worthy causes outside the church is heavily discouraged. The member intuitively knows that the tithing, fast offering, missionary funds and perpetual education funds must be donated to first... and only THEN should outside charities be considered. This cult characteristic, to me, falls under extreme duress to give only to the church organization. The member is even told that if the tithing is not "honest" they will literally burn up at the Lord's 2nd coming.
8. Outsiders not permitted to enter the temple. Exclusivity.
9. Members believe Jesus literally walks the halls of the temples and no other buildings on earth receive this privilege. There is only Faith promoting rumors to back this up of course. Yet it is a very strong and widely held belief in the church that this is so.
10. There is a blatant Us vs. Them mentality. The LDS testimony conditions members to know based on feelings that they are the only ones on earth with the Truth or approved plan of God. Everyone else is wrong and must be saved or baptized into the LDS church. This doctrine goes as far as to maintain that every living human who has ever lived in this earth must be baptized. While logically impossible, the doctrine is widely believed. God will figure it out. This rationality is supposed to support this impossibility
11. LDS church has more evidence to prove it false than it does to prove it true, yet members see this as a test of faith and Gods way of strengthening his "Elect". Or members have been conditioned to never look at this material. Very similar to the Moonie approach that outside information was evil and falls under satanic origins. Anything that could potentially deprogram a Moonie was satanic. Family members, spouses, newspaper articles, radio... you get the idea.
12. Members are encouraged strongly to never look at anti literature. Yet early apostles encouraged the discovery of truth and preached openly that truth would stand up to highest degree of scrutiny. This was before damning evidences to the church's platform of ideology was widely known or even challenged. During this era, the church had a sense of infallibility as the saints were securely sequestered in the desert of Utah. Completely isolated from the outside world.
13. Bishop interviews are obsessed with sexual purity for youth & missionaries. Adults have been told which sexual acts are permissible and which are not. Though, this is not consistent throughout the church. Young people must disclose any sexual acts, even minor ones. This young person (male or female) believes they are talking to Jesus Christ's representative in these interviews. Lying to the bishop is equated to lying to Jesus.
14. Missions are extreme examples of Cult experience.
A. 80 hrs a week free labor (Missionary makes no money) in fact the missionary pays largely for his own meals, lodging, transportation and clothing out of his own pocket. The missionary is told that the 2 years in service is a "tithing" of the first 19 years of his life that God gave him/her.
B. When not working in field one is encouraged to read scripture & pray constantly
C. High amounts of self-indoctrination and mass indoctrination at zone, district meetings. Guilt tactics are used. If low recruit numbers are happening, the missionary is frequently blamed. Reasons for low recruit numbers are tied to unlikely reasons such as a lack of dedication or commitment to mission rules or even a suggestion that too many missionaries were masturbating too frequently in the past month. This is a gross abuse of mind control.
D. Encouraged to frequently recite scripture and hymns, carry a prayer in ones heart at all times so as to fortify ones efforts to keep rules, remain "sanctified to the cause" and not have impure thoughts or masturbate.
E. No outside influences, no TV, no radio
F. Must always be with companion except for showers and toilet
G. Confined to one area, not permitted to go outside geographic boundaries
H. Extreme limited contact with family, letters once a week, no phone call home but twice a year
I. Primary job is to recruit new members, give the prospect milk and NO meat doctrine. Deception (by only telling the rewritten version of the church's history and doctrine) is encouraged most often without the missionary NOT knowing he is testifying to untruths.
J. Every person met is sized up as potential recruit,
K. Current members are badgered for referrals for new recruits, friends and neighbors
L. Loaded language, acronyms. Outsiders cannot follow many regular LDS conversations
15. If one ever leaves the church, they are told and conditioned to think they will be sent to outer darkness in the afterlife. There is a fear of imminent damnation if they leave the group.
16. One man (the prophet figure) speaks for God. Members see this as extremely positive as they believe the prophet will never lead them astray. When confronted that prior prophets in history have been wrong or even preached harmful doctrine that was widely held up as God's word (racial discrimination) the member quickly dismisses this. This is supported by the perceived good works the church produces and the notion that Mormonism produces good people and strong families.
Nothing like covering all your bases.
Optionally, everyone has a right to approach the LDS and complete a form stating they do not want to be baptized after death. That's what I plan to do.
It doesn't worry me -- I have a cousin who is a lunatic-fringe Mormon, with three wives and (at last count) 33 children. He's baptized everybody, including our GGG grandfather who was a Baptist deacon. He told me, though, that everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject the baptism, that nobody is baptized against their will.
So, no harm, no foul. I think that the spokesman in the article is right -- it's kind of amusing, and does no harm. I think the Jews who have been outraged about this are just spinning their wheels and should just laugh about it.
Cousin & I actually have had some interesting discussions about LDS beliefs, he was amazed that I was actually conversant enough to have a reasonable discussion. I'm not going to come down on him like a ton of bricks, although I think he is grievously mistaken. Believe it or not, the LDS church has really straightened out his life, he was going nowhere but big trouble before he converted.
I forgive you for your comment about the Holy Eucharist.
Optionally, everyone has a right to approach the LDS and complete a form stating they do not want to be baptized after death. That's what I plan to do.