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Why Mormons baptize their dead ancestors

Granted, baptisms for those who are deceased sounds kind of deranged — like a zombie apocalypse — but it’s based on 1st-century Christian practice. The apostle Paul wrote, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29)

Baptism is a big deal in most churches. It’s always been a big concern; if you weren’t baptized before you died, you were in big trouble, consigned to purgatory or some awful fate, like hell.

“Historically, Christians have been exclusive,” says Terryl Givens, an expert on Mormonism at the University of Richmond.‘Catholics have taught that only Catholics are saved, and evangelicals say only if you confess according to their tradition. Mormons say,… salvation is open to all people.’

‘In that sense Mormonism is the most nonexclusive religion in the Christian world,’ Givens says.” (CNN)

Agency is a primary principle in Mormon doctrine. The purpose of this life is to provide space and time to make choices. Therefore, it’s against our theology to force anyone to do anything, especially join the Church. All participation is voluntary — baptism, church attendance, temple marriage, tithing. You’re invited to come to the party (or not); it’s your choice, in this life and the next. But we don’t want to leave anyone out that may want to come.

“’This is about putting names on the guest list,’ says Terryl Givens. ‘They might not go to the party, but they are given the chance.’”

Yesterday, hubby and I went to the temple. We added his great uncle, Harry Savage, to the guest list. Yep, that’s right, Uncle Harry Savage. Sorry, there Harry, I can’t help but chuckle over that name.
We also included his wife, Florence. They can accept it or not. They do not automatically become Mormons.

Mormons believe that after death you go to a spirit world before the final judgement. A world that is much like this one, where our ancestors are interacting, studying, learning, and possibly accepting greater light and knowledge. (1 Peter 4:6) If they do accept the gospel, that saving ordinance is performed — through proxy baptisms.

“It presents the gospel of Christ in probably a more enlarged scale than some have imagined it.” (Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman)

Since 1995, Baptism of Holocaust victims is strictly forbidden. ( statement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple baptismal font Photo (c) 2002 by Intellectual Reserve Inc.
12th Century Christian baptismal font (Temple Study)

And a little humor, because as I’ve said it is good and Godly to have humor: I love this –

Featured Image: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

4 Comments

  1. dgenetaylor
    dgenetaylor02-20-2012

    Love the Zombie song..

  2. Ria
    Ria02-21-2012

    Ha Ha! That song is awesome.

  3. Courtney
    Courtney02-23-2012

    Putting names on the guest list. That is the best analogy I have ever heard in this subject!

    Loved your post oat latter-day homeschooling. Thanks for spreading the word!

  4. Julie Harward
    Julie Harward02-23-2012

    I liked your Zombie dance…and I love your posts. I wish I could just sit and talk with you on all these kinds of subjects! Have a great week. :D

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