I tend to agree with my fellow libertarian Penn Jillette about people of different religious backgrounds attempting to convert me: I’d be more offended if they didn’t. It shows they care about me temporally and eternally. So I don’t personally share the disdain so many people have for the Mormon practice of baptism of the dead.
But ABC’s Jake Tapper has a rather interesting story headlined “President’s Late Mother Improperly, Posthumously, Baptized as a Mormon.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints confirmed Tuesday afternoon that someone improperly, posthumously baptized the late mother of President Obama into the Mormon faith.
Last June 4 — the day after then-Sen. Obama secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nominee — someone had the president’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham, who died in 1995 of cancer, baptized.
On June 11, she received the endowment.
Tiny quibble here but it’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not Latter-Day Saints. I’m not sure what it means that she received “the endowment” a week later and would like to know more about it and how it differs or expands upon the baptism. But what I really want to know is when and how the Latter-day Saints “confirmed” that they improperly baptized President Barack Obama’s mother. Here’s the only quote on the matter in the Tapper piece:
Mormon Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said that “the offering of baptism to our deceased ancestors is a sacred practice to us and it is counter to Church policy for a Church member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related. The Church is looking into the circumstances of how this happened and does not yet have all the facts. However, this is a serious matter and we are treating it as such.”
I could be reading this wrong but it seems to me that Farah is saying that the church has a certain policy on the matter and they’re looking into whether policy was followed.
I’m also confused by this section:
The Provo Daily Herald notes that the LDS Church “has run afoul of Holocaust groups multiple times,” because of efforts by Mormons to posthumously baptize Jews killed during the Holocaust. “Leaders said in November that they are making changes to their massive genealogical database to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy.”
Those changes obviously did not come quickly enough for the late Mrs. Dunham.
How, exactly, would an effort to make it more difficult to enter the names of Holocaust victims in a genealogical database affect Obama’s mother? And, further, that last line seems to say it’s a foregone conclusion that she should not have been baptized by the LDS. That’s a fine position to take, of course, but it might be nice to get some different perspective as well.
The Daily Herald provides a bit more information about what the Mormon teaches regarding baptism by proxy. And Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune has much, much more on the practice, how the church views it and how people who oppose the practice view it.
Image via Wikimedia.