The Mormons Aren’t Hurting Anyone
While post-mortem baptism of Jews by Mormons may upset some members of the former group, the outrageous reactions by members of the Jewish faith is not unmerited, but also discriminatory against members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The antics and caustic remarks of certain Jewish individuals regarding the well-intentioned behavior of the Mormons are a result of Jewish snobbishness and inflated egos of those who assume that their religion is better than that of others, and, interestingly, a fear that it may in fact be inferior to the same. Additionally, the vitriol and anger that have been expressed by certain members of the Jewish community may also be explained by a lack of mutual understanding between the Mormons and Jews.
The majority of the outrage felt and demonstrated by Jews following the baptism of Daniel Pearl, a Jewish reporter killed by terrorists in February of 2002, stems from the belief that Pearl’s baptism discredits his Jewish faith, and also is disrespectful of his lifelong non-Mormon religious beliefs. This belief is the result of the oversized egos of many members of the Jewish community, who believe that their religion is superior to that of the Mormons. However, if we truly are to believe in “God’s motherly love for all Jews and Gentiles” (the Gentiles in this case being the Mormons) as referenced in Fred Bert Ithurburn’s God Loves Everyone, we can only assume that God’s love for the Mormons is no less than that for the Jews, and that therefore neither religion is inferior or superior to the other. If God loves Daniel Pearl, Anne Frank, and Elie Weisel as Jews as much as God would love them as Mormons—and let us remember that a posthumous baptism does not necessarily result in a conversion—, then the fact that the aforementioned individuals were all baptized by the Mormon church makes no difference. To assume that posthumous baptism is a corruption of the deceased’s religion is foolish, for God recognizes each individual not as a Jew, a Christian, a Mormon, or a Pastafarian; rather, God recognizes us all for our humanity, and therefore post-mortem baptisms do no harm.
The hostile reactions of some Jewish individuals may also reflect an insecurity in their own religion. If we choose to assume that the Jews are correct in assuming that their religion is, in fact, the “correct” one, and that the Mormons are simply a bunch of lunatics, then we must question if their outrage is anything more than the result of a highly irrational fear. If the Jewish version of that which many individuals call God does in fact exist and has in fact decided to save only the Jews, then the Jews have absolutely no reason to fear that the deceased members of their congregation will be damned for eternity, simply because of the fact that the Mormons’ practice of posthumous baptism would accomplish nothing in this scenario—it is simply preposterous to assume that an individual may be granted salvation by Heavenly Father if Heavenly Father does not actually exist. Furthermore, when remembering that a post-mortem baptism of an individual does not result in a conversion of the soul of the deceased, this irrational fear becomes even clearer. Because the soul of the baptized individual must choose to convert to the Mormon religion, the opposition to the practice as a whole may be used to indicate that the Jews’ uncertainty in their faith is even more prominent than it may have first appeared; if the Jews are God’s chosen people, there is no rational reason to speak out against a religion that is, in their eyes, anything more than a farce.
While the Jewish community may claim that the practice of posthumous baptism of non-Mormons, particularly Jews (living or dead), by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is disrespectful of the Jewish faith, they simultaneously have been equally disrespectful of the Mormon faith. As we have explored more than once before, a certain half-Jewish individual reacted to the post-mortem baptism of Daniel Pearl by creating the website alldeadmormonsarenowgay.com, which claims to possess the ability to convert deceased Mormons to homosexuality, without even extending the courtesy of choice to the soul of the deceased, as the Mormons do to the soul of a deceased individual undergoing a baptism after death. The disrespectful connotations of this website towards homosexuality and the entirety of the gay community notwithstanding, I submit that this is merely the result of a grave misunderstanding between faiths. The Mormons, as it has been established, do not intend any illness towards the deceased, regardless of faith. Rather, it is the desire of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that every individual, living or dead, be given the chance to spend eternity with Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. The Jews, however, misunderstand this tenderhearted practice. Rather than being seen as a gesture of love for humanity and a desire universal brotherhood in Heavenly Father (not unlike the brotherhood in Christ that many Christian individuals so frequently reference), the practice of posthumous baptism has been misconstrued as a disrespectful, sneaky, underhanded attempt by the Mormons to convert the deceased to their own religion, rather than allowing the dead to rest in peace. The Jews, unfortunately, have failed to understand that the Mormons are not desperately grabbing for converts any more than Jewish or Christian missionaries who travel the world preaching that which they believe to be true. 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.