But she didn’t laugh when I told her not to baptize me—or any of my family, living or deceased. Ever. Period. I requested and received baptism when I was twelve years old and a Methodist. That’s the only baptism I need or will ever need, thank you very much. Been there, done that. A valid baptism only needs to be done once. And mine was. As for my family, all my relatives (all the ones I ever knew personally, anyway) were baptized Methodists or Baptists. I could look up their geneaological records and have them baptized (or re-baptized, if “necessary”). If I were Mormon.
Never heard of this practice before? Well, it’s been going on for a long time. This is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints has the largest collection of geneaological records on the planet. (Ever hear of AncestryDOTcom? And that’s only one of the many collections owned by the Mormons. Don’t post your family tree online! Of course, they also have records stored in a big underground bunker.* Protection against the bomb, you know. All hades breaks loose, Temple work can still go on.)
Why all the records? So they can perform “baptisms for the dead”. Yep. Old Uncle Earl—who passed away thirty years ago and was buried in the cemetary outside Pine Hill Methodist Church where he was a tithing member and Sunday regular for his entire ninety nine years of church-going existence—may have been re-baptised by some young zealous member of a group he would barely recognize as Christian. Re-baptized as a Mormon. Infant baptism a problem for you? This one ought to make your head spin. Baptism by proxy, they call it. So the dead can be in death what they chose not to be in life, ie, Mormon.
Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. Mormons regularly perform marriage by proxy too. That’s what they call it. Marriage by proxy. (When you search for it, be sure to include “Mormon” in your search terms.) Marriage for the dead. So the dead can be “sealed for time and eternity” and they can become (the men, that is) gods on their own planets in the next life.
Head spinning yet? Mine was when I first found out about these things. If I was an atheist reading about so-called “religious” beliefs and practices like these, I’d be tempted to throw my hands in the air and walk away (run, even!) from all religion as fast as I could. No wonder! And who could blame me? Good grief.
Bottom line: If you are a Christian who has been baptized into the Body of Christ, then stay away from this nonsense. If your family member or friend has died, then that person has already gone onto meet his Maker Who is rich in mercy and compassion. The idea of being baptized “by proxy” for someone else doesn’t even make any sense, and if it did, it would completely ignore the free will and choice of the person being “baptized”.
How does this differ from baptizing an infant? In this way: baptism is the ritual initiation into the family of God, the Body of Christ. We don’t ask children if they want to be born into the family, we don’t make them wait to gain entrance into the family until they are old enough to ask us. When they are older they can freely ask for confirmation or they can go their merry ways and toss aside all they’ve been taught. It’s up to them.
Baptism by proxy, on the other hand, does not allow a person to make his mind up now or later. Someone else decides to proceed and the baptized person never has a chance or choice to accept or to refuse or to follow up on it with confirmation or not. His will or choice is ignored, not even considered. There is no way to ask him. It’s not a matter of baptizing now and letting him grow into it or reject it later. There is no possibility for him to choose at all, ever. It is sheer arrogance to do such a thing. Unmitigated gall.
I told my friend not to do this for me or any of my family or friends. She was very quiet when I told her. And she agreed not to. But I should not have to tell anyone not to do this. No one should have to. Least of all those who will never have the chance to speak for themselves this side of eternity.
*Just do a search for LDS or Mormon geneaological records and see what all pops up. Not all of those are Mormon but notice how many are.
Read more about it:
Vatican Warns of Mormon ‘Baptism of the Dead’: http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=27825
Genealogy and the Mormon Archives: http://www.pbs.org/mormons/etc/genealogy.html