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« When Statistics Lie | Main | Order of the Books of the Bible (Video) »

February 18, 2012

Comments

I agree with you. When I first read about this issue, I tried to put myself in the "shoes of the Jews". Impossible I know, but I thought about how I would react if I found out the LDS had my family records and were being baptized for my ancestors. I honestly don't think it would bother me (other than the fact that they are a very misguided people performing a very misguided ritual). I just don't believe it matters in the very least one way or another.


And the case of LDS, if they actually BELIEVE in what they are doing, shouldn't their attitude be more like Peter and the other Apostles? Act 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Just my $.02

Considering the fact that some LDS members were also Nazi party members, it would seem to me that the baptism into Nazism would be more important to the Jewish community than being baptized into the celestial kingdom. On those grounds the Jewish community would be appropriately outraged at a community that joined those seeking to exterminate them from the face of the earth.

You're right. It is odd. It seems like I had this same conversation with a Mormon once.

It isn't that odd if you consider tha the whole flap is political, rather than religious. The ritual may do nothing to a Jewish person's disposition in the afterlife, but it being conducted here does make them feel patronized and marginalized. And the Mormon apology has everything to do with PR--the LDS is all too aware of what happens when American tolerance for their sect runs dry, and the last thing they want is the kind of attention that comes from stories with "Holocaust" in the lede.

Bennett Exactly right!!!

LDS doesn't want it to get out that Local LDS leader Arthur Zander was a fervent member of the Nazi Party, even to the extent of affixing notices to the church door stating "Jews not welcome" beginning in 1938. If that hit the presses...

Louis,

I'm pretty sure nothing that hits the presses will ever top the stories about Joseph Smith being Joseph Smith. But that wouldn't help much.

This isn't hard to understand at all. Nothing would bring more negative attention to the LDS Church than complaints from survivors of Nazi prisons and their descendants. It is a small thing to assuage their fears for the time being. LDS believe that all the work (baptisms for the dead) will eventually be performed anyway, so it isn't a great setback to restrict them from being performed on this relatively small demographic.

And, as I understand it, (I'm a Mormon), it can still be done by Mormons who are direct descendants of Nazi-era Jews.

All educated Jews know that the actions of one or two long-dead Mormon leaders do not define the Mormons today. Mormons are not Nazis! Like Evangelicals, they see the Holocaust as the great evil it was. The folks at the Simon Wiesenthal Center have been harmed only to the extent that they have harmed themselves by their entirely unnecessary sense of outrage.

Vance,

I'm confused. Is it that the outraged Jews are not "educated", or are they just loonies, to be "harm[ing] themselves"?

I think you'll find that most people, but especially those who are opposed to idolatry and polytheism, will object to the idea that their ancestors (or themselves) could be the subject of a cult's rituals, especially when those rituals imply some sort of kinship or induction ceremony.

Correction: "All educated PEOPLE know that the actions of one or two [Nazi-sympathizing] Mormon leaders do not define Mormons today." Therefore, it is doubtful that LDS officials apologized out of concern over a possible connection (made by the media) between Mormons and the Nazi Party (ref. to Louis Kuhelj comment above).

The names of the dead for whom baptisms are done are not put into the LDS membership records, so why the "outrage"? If I found out that someone was baptized for my dead grandparents, I'd view it as thoughtful but meaningless--pretty much the same way I react when I hear of masses celebrated for the repose of the souls of the dead.

Bennett,

The outraged Jews are educated (though the first line should have read "people"). I was agreeing with Amy's post--i.e., that the reaction seems odd. One might think that the upset folks would have given a higher place to the Mormons' good intentions. I suspect that most Jews would do just that.

Bennett wrote, "I think you'll find that most people, but especially those who are opposed to idolatry and polytheism, will object to the idea that their ancestors (or themselves) could be the subject of a cult's rituals, especially when those rituals imply some sort of kinship or induction ceremony."

The objection, as I understand it, is to the word "baptism." Apparently, some Jews are outraged because the thought of Holocaust victims being baptized reminds them of the stories they've heard about Christians giving Jews the choice of baptism or death.

Yet, they know that Mormons believe the dead are not forced to receive baptisms performed on their behalf, so they know such baptisms are hardly similar to the "baptism or death" proposition, just as they know that Mormon proxy baptisms are much more like prayers for the dead (which some Jews practice) than like forced baptisms.

Vance,

The more I hear about this, the more I think that the Jewish people aren't the odd ones in this mix.

It's all about not "offending people".

This attitude is really getting out of hand! It seems you cannot do or say anything about anything, without being afraid someone will be offended.

Unless, of course, you are insulting Christians, conservatives or Republicans. Then it's open season and you're supposed to sit there and take it.

Bennett: It seems to me that there are some oddities on both sides, but I suspect that most Mormons and Jews--along with Catholics, Protestants, etc.--are happy to live side-by-side with respect toward each other.

Mo: AMEN!

Mo,

Let's not even pretend this has anything to do with political correctness. That's not even wrong.

Vance,

I don't think Jews object to living near Mormons in harmony and respect. The Mormons decided to involve the Jews in their religion, against their will. I'd object pretty strenuously if some acquaintance of mine told me that she and her circle of witches had performed a spell for me at their last coven, ensuring that my soul would be well-received into the nicest, cushiest circle of Hell.

Actually, funny as it may sound, I'd object even more strenuously if they did it to be nice, whereas I'd probably just laugh it off if there were malice involved.

@ Mo you forgot Southerners, you are still allowed to stereotype and offend them...but that could be because most of the liberal world just assumes all Southerners are Christian and conservative.

Ryan,

To be fair, most of us are. But it's still not nice to assume. ;)

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