The Mormons Aren’t Hurting Anyone
Even though turban-wearing scammers and the producers of horror novels would love to claim otherwise, dead people can’t talk. Because of this inconvenient truth, there is no possible way for them to object to being baptized by the Mormons, thereby leaving we living folk to argue over whether or not it is wrong to subject Holocaust victims to post-mortem baptisms performed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Jews, advocating on behalf of their dead brethren, indignantly claim that the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims is both morally wrong and disrespectful. However, I submit that this indignation and the rather vitriolic actions of the Jews are merely the result of a misunderstanding between faiths, and that the practice of posthumous baptisms does not, in fact, bring any harm to even a Jewish fly.
After Daniel Pearl, a Jewish reporter, died at the hands of terrorists in February of 2002, the Mormons promptly baptized him. Many members of the Jewish community, believing that Pearl’s baptism discredited his living faith, immediately spoke out against the LDS Church, with Rabbi Moshe Waldocks saying that the act sent the message that “If you [Mormons] can’t get them [non-Mormons] while they’re alive, you’ll get them while they’re dead.” While the Rabbi’s observation may be somewhat merited, it is fundamentally flawed in its assumption that posthumous baptisms are performed only for the sake of converting people to the Mormon religion. Rather, baptisms such as Daniel Pearl’s are performed merely as an offering of what the Mormons believe to be a key part of salvation. Indeed, Michael Otterson, a spokesman for the LDS Church, asserted that “[t]he sentiment is one of inclusiveness and reaching out, that God loves all his children.” While it is true that all religions, Mormonism included, are interested in growing their congregations, the Jews have unfortunately failed to see Pearl’s baptism for what it truly is—a message of interfaith brotherhood, caused by a belief that God desires that all humans be saved, regardless of religion.
If we are to believe in “God’s motherly love for all Jews and Gentiles” referenced in Fred Bert Ithurburn’s God Loves Everyone, we can conclude that God loves all humans simply for their humanity, and not for their religion. God, being rather busy with running the universe and damning sinners to eternal suffering, cannot be bothered by how a person chooses to worship, and is unlikely to believe that a Jew’s salvation will be perverted simply because said Jew was baptized by a Mormon. Using God’s love as a measurement of a religion’s validity, and knowing that God loves Daniel Pearl, Anne Frank, and Elie Weisel equally as Jews or Mormons, we can reasonably assume that because God loves all people equally, no religion is superior to another; the Jews are therefore wrong and egotistical to claim that the posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims are a discredit to their “superior” religion.
Assuming that the Mormons are in fact a bunch of lunatics and that Judaism has been the right religion all along, we can still conclude that the Jewish discontent is a result of a religious insecurity. If God wants to save only Jews, then the Mormons can send as many people to their fictitious “Heavenly Father” as they please—it won’t matter, because God will ultimately decide who is saved and who is given a one-way ticket to Hell. Furthermore, we also must remember that the Mormons insist that the dead individual must choose to become a Mormon. The Jews, however, seem to forget this and reflect their fear of a farcical religion by speaking out against a group that, unlike themselves, are not believed to be God’s chosen people.
As a result of their snobbish indignance, the Jews have been just as disrespectful to the Mormons as they believe the Mormons have been to them. Following the death of Daniel Pearl, one individual took it upon himself to convert dead Mormons to homosexuality, without even offering the deceased a chance to accept or refuse the conversion. Disregarding the disrespectful gestures towards the gay community that come with this website, I submit that the website was created because of a misunderstanding.
There is a fundamental disagreement between Mormons and Jews when it comes to the idea of post-mortem salvation, presenting the opportunity for even the most thoughtful of actions to be taken as offensive. Because many Jews have very deep-seated beliefs, they simply misperceive the baptisms of Holocaust victims as a personal attack on their faith. Alldeadmormonsarenowgay.com reflects this sentiment, as it aims to do the same thing that the Jews believe the Mormons are doing: going after another religion’s deceased. This misunderstanding results in the anger that has been seen in the Jewish community.
The Mormons, as it has been asserted, do not intend any ill will towards the Jews, or any other benefactors of posthumous baptisms. Rather, they seek only to save as many people as possible, regardless of their state of life or their religion. The Jews, however, not believing that a person can be saved after they die, mistake this gesture of inclusion for a disrespectful and sneaky attempt at converting dead Jews to the Mormon religion. Unfortunately, the Jews have failed to recognize that by baptizing the dead, the Mormons are not trying to gain converts any more than a Christian missionary—that may be a part of the motive, but it is most certainly not the entire reason. Ultimately, the reactions of the Jews to the practice of posthumous baptism can be explained in one simple sentence. First said by John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, “People are frightened by what they don’t understand.”
The Elephant Man. Dir. David Lynch. 1980. Film. *new source
Oppenheimer, Mark. “A Twist on Posthumous Baptisms Leaves Jews Miffed at Mormon Rite.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Ithurburn, Fred Bert. God Loves Everyone. 1st ed. Trafford, 2012. 51. Print. *new source
“All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay.” All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Feedback was requested.
Let me gently suggest again some trimming of the non-essential and some syntactical smoothing that will exhaust readers less than your sentences now do. Just the first paragraph.
I don’t think anything is lost. [There’s no need to claim that someone would LOVE to claim something if they in fact claim it.] [There’s no need to argue whether it’s NOT wrong if you’re arguing that it IS wrong.] [etc.] I submit that readers will appreciate the brevity.
P2. Another example of telescoping to achieve economy. Many Jews objected, sure; Rabbi Waldocks in particular, OK. They said nothing quotable, but you quote him. Fine. Have him speak for them.
Now that we know he’s speaking to Mormons on behalf of Jews, we don’t need the [Mormons] and [non-Mormons] notes.
I truly love the “message of interfaith brotherhood.”
Make no mistake, you’re doing fine work here, douglasadams. I just hate to see you waste your skill on sentences that work against you. Feel free to disagree.
P3. Let’s just fix this problem by eliminating your unnecessary and counterproductive claim that “no religion is superior to another.” What you clearly mean but have not yet decided to say is that no religion earns more of God’s love.
However, (and I appreciate this might be two non-believers arguing about whether angels can breathe underwater), being loved by God does not guarantee salvation, does it? Doesn’t God love the souls he casts into hell? Just sayin’. So, out of pity, God may love us, but that certainly does not mean there isn’t a religion that could get us closer to heaven. Feel free to disagree.
Maybe adherents of that religion, based on its ability to deliver salvation, might consider it superior. They’d be rightly pissed to be traded to the losing team for a player to be named later.
P4. None of which changes your point of view in this paragraph, which evenhandedly suggests they might all be nuts.
“not believed to be God’s chosen people” by whom?
P5. Let’s not call them snobs if you’ve already allowed that they might simply be defensive. And let’s not call them disrespectful (only ungrateful) if your only example of their disrespect is the satirical blog of a comic Jew who might only be imitating outrage.
P6. That’s better. They misperceive.
P7. This is not right as stated: “Unfortunately, the Jews have failed to recognize that by baptizing the dead, the Mormons are not trying to gain converts any more than a Christian missionary—that may be a part of the motive, but it is most certainly not the entire reason.”
Altruistic or acquisitive, the Mormons seek converts. Just as much as Christian missionaries, less so, or more than is irrelevant. Just say, as you have, that they want to offer conversion as a blessing and a gift. They do want it to occur, but they don’t want to coerce it. Fair?
Very fine work, douglasadams.