The Mormon Church has long performed posthumous baptisms, where a living person is baptized on behalf of one who is dead. In the baptism ceremony, the Mormon priest says a few words, including the name of the living proxy and the name of the deceased, and the proxy is immersed briefly in water. While the Church has a policy of only performing temple ordinances for relatives of Church members, deceased who were in no way related to Church members have been baptized without their families' consent. Some members of other religions view such posthumous baptisms of their brethren as an insult, with Jews feeling the most aggrieved, as usual. The Church instructs its members to avoid baptizing Jews who are not directly related to living Mormons, but unaffiliated Jewish names continue to appear on Church baptismal lists.
At first, Uncle Semite was as surprised as anyone that Mormons would baptize dead Jews. His initial surprise was tempered, however, by understanding the motivations of the Mormons in their endeavor - and the motivations of Jews in another.
From Wikipedia on
Baptism for the Dead:
"The LDS Church teaches that performing baptisms for the dead allows this saving ordinance to be offered to those who have died without accepting or knowing Jesus Christ or his teachings during their mortal lives. It is taught that this is the method by which all who have lived upon the earth will have the opportunity to receive baptism and to thereby enter the Kingdom of God.
"The LDS Church teaches that those in the afterlife who have been baptized by proxy are free to accept or reject the ordinance done on their behalf. Baptism on behalf of a deceased individual is not binding if that individual chooses to reject it in the afterlife."
To Mormons, posthumous baptism does not mean actual conversion as is sometimes portrayed. Following are three quotes from jewishgen.org's lengthy accounting of the subject in order from most hyperbolic to least, and two summaries of complaints seen elsewhere:
- "To posthumously baptize a Jew is to rape his soul."
- "Baptism is the second ugliest word in the English language to a Jew. The first is gassed. The third is raped."
- "To those who oppose it, it is perceived as a forced, unrequested and distasteful religious ceremony..."
- The Mormon Church is imposing its will on unaffiliated others, trampling their rights.
- Mormons are performing a service/ceremony against which the initiated cannot defend himself.
If any of the above sounds familiar, it should - especially the part about members of one religion imposing their will on defenseless others, as happens in the case of routine infant circumcision. Even a skeptical reader will understand after doing her own research on the subject that:
- Circumcision is forced on the initiate, who would no sooner consent to genital cutting than would a middle-aged man or woman.
- Restraining a baby spread-eagle and cutting off an important part of his genitals is a grotesque act, made more grotesque by the absence of benefit.
- Of those using their bully pulpits in medicine and journalism to actively promote circumcision, the vast majority are Jewish.
Whereas posthumous baptism is relatively harmless because the baptized is dead and the procedure is only ceremonial, genital cutting causes real harm over the lifetime of the circumcised male. Aside from the doctor who may bill insurance / Medicaid for five minutes of unnecessary surgery, the main "beneficiary" of unnecessary circumcision are the Jewish people, who wish to keep circumcision mainstream and legal so that they may perpetuate this ritual on their own children as their forefathers have done for millennia.
So which is the bigger transgression here?
- Dead Jews being proxy-baptized by Mormons, or live babies being strapped down while the most sensitive parts of their bodies are cut off and thrown away?
- A Mormon teen pitch-hitting in a baptismal font so that a dead Jew may enter heaven, or the destruction of the most pleasurable part of the male body in furtherance of Judaism?
There is one more element to this Jewish/Mormon saga. Please rise as Uncle Semite reads from the Book of Mormon, The Book of Moroni, Chapter 8:8:
"Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me."
In addition to being almost universally harmful to males, circumcision runs counter to the Mormon faith. (Editor's comment: Circumcision has never been a requirement for Christians.) Still, many Jews in medicine and the media actively promote circumcision and withhold information about its harms from parents, including Mormon and other Christian parents.
While circumcision was introduced to this country largely by Anglos and for non-religious reasons, it is predominantly Jews who strive to continue the practice here today, and it is Jews who will be seen as "holding the knife" as American men discover the harm that’s been perpetuated on them. Concluding this religious theme, Uncle Semite must ask American Jews one simple question regarding circumcision: Is this really the hill you want to die on?