Tuesday, February 06, 2007

That Double Baptism Danger

I'm not sure that this is necessarily something to particularly worry about but it is amusing all the same:

Pope Benedict was baptized at birth and will most likely be baptized again one year after his death, not by his Roman Catholic Church but by a Mormon he never met.

The Mormons, a U.S.-based denomination officially named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), encourage members to baptize 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 for proxy baptisms, said Helen Radkey, a researcher specialized in the IGI.

"It seems that any kind of name at all may be submitted," said Radkey from Salt Lake City, where the Church 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 Church says it cannot stem the tide of dead baptized in its own temples.

The thing is, if the Mormons are right, then they're doing everyone a favour. If they're wrong, as Christians and Jews (and all other faiths, of course) insist, then it doesn't matter a damn. So why get upset by it?

1 comment:

Akaky said...

On the other hand, the Mormon doctrine that you can baptize your dead ancestors is a boon to genealogists, since the LDS now has the world's largest genealogical library in Salt Lake City. Of course, the notion that I will have to spend all eternity sealed with my relatives brings a whole new terror to death.