For my research essay, I will be exploring the practice of posthumous baptism by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the ethical and practical issues therein. Evidently, it is a common practice for the Mormon Church to baptize people after they day, so that they may be saved and enter the Mormon’s idea of heaven, known as the Celestial Kingdom. This idea seems unusual, as it may seem odd to believe that someone may be saved after they die. However, there is a more unusual aspect to this practice that makes the concept of posthumous baptism seem quite normal—apparently, one does not even have to be Mormon in order to be baptized by the Church.
Relatively recently, in the year 2012, none other than Anne Frank was baptized by the Mormon Church. As anyone with a decent understanding of history knows, Anne Frank was most certainly not Mormon, but rather Jewish. Furthermore, the Church once baptized Elie Weisel, who is not only not Mormon, but also not dead. In my essay, I intend to explore the various facets of this unusual practice, as well as the odd lack of prerequisites that a dead person must have in order to be baptized. As this is not practiced by any other major religion, I plan to understand and analyze why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints carries out this seemingly preposterous custom.
Background: This is a Frequently Asked Questions page on Mormon.org, explaining why and how the deceased are baptized by the Church.
How I Intend to Use It: This will allow me to explain and elaborate upon the practice of posthumous baptism.
Background: This article contains a list of people who were posthumously baptized by the Church, none of whom were Mormon.
How I Intend to Use It: I will use this article to further outline the counterintuition of posthumous baptism by giving further examples of non-Mormons who were baptized by the Church.
Background: This article discusses the fact that the Jewish church has taken issue with members of their faith being posthumously baptized.
How I Intend to Use It: I will use this article to explain the various reactions to the posthumous baptism of non-Mormons, and question why the Church continues to baptize members of other churches after their death in spite of requests not to do so.
Background: In this article, the practice of posthumous baptism is further explained, as well giving information on certain historical figures who have been baptized after their death.
How I Intend to Use It: This article will allow me to analyze the people who have been baptized after their death, and investigate apparent lack of any qualifications that one must have in order to be baptized by the Mormon Church
Background: This article explains how and why the Church baptizes people after their death, as well as provides information on the Church’s reasoning behind the process. Additionally, it offers a list of people (not Mormons, mind you) who have been baptized by the Church after their death.
How I Intend to Use It: I will use this article to analyze the practice of posthumous baptism, as well as the rationale behind the practice. I will also use it to elaborate on the counterintuitive idea that one does not have to be Mormon or dead to be posthumously baptized by the church.