This post received the following anonymous comment (all spelling and grammar left in the original):
"I am a member of the LDS church, and I just want to let you know that you are misinformed on this information. Baptisms for the dead is a sacred ordinance that is preformed, but those who it is done for have the choice of recieving it. We do not make them pay tithing, nor are any of the members of the church made to pay tithing. If you would like correct information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, please visit www.mormon.org or www.lds.org There are alot of crazy things that people have posted about our church that are not true."My response follows:
Thanks for the clarifications. Let me offer one of my own: My remark about tithing was deliberately rhetorical, one might even say sarcastic. In the spirit of civility, I'll leave the sarcasm on a shelf at this point and address some points in a spirit of total seriousness:
OK, serious questions over, back to sarcasm: As long as we're on the subject of crazy, what about the crazy things that your church alleges to be The Truth? I'm talking about the story of Joseph Smith's alleged epiphany. As I stated in my original post, "your faith was founded less than 200 years ago by a guy who claimed he found ancient Egyptian gold tablets buried next to his farm near Palmyra, New York, which said Jesus came to America for a little R&R after the Resurrection and in doing so told some schmuck that the Native Americans were the embodiment of evil (later translated to blacks and now gays), and that they should have as many wives and children as possible." Since you didn't address that assertion, I'm going to assume you're conceding that I have the basic facts correct. This, to me, is such an obvious con by a man obsessed with wielding power over men and having sex with as many women as he could get his "hands" on that anyone with any critical thinking skills should take it to task, especially given the lack of physical evidence (ie: the golden tablets with ancient writing). I feel the same about such stories as the virgin birth of Jesus, Moses talking to the burning bush, the talking snake, Mohammad wrestling with the angel, the Norse account of Ragnarok, and others too numerous to mention. Do you believe in the literal truth of this epiphany, and if so, please explain why?
- You say that "...those who it is done for have the choice of recieving it." Bluntly speaking, I don't believe you. But let's assume you're telling the truth: What if the person to be posthumously baptised is unaware of your practice and does not consent before their death? My mother has been a devout Catholic all of her life. She has no love at all for Mormonism. If her name were submitted for baptism after her death, would my brother, as estate executor, be contacted for permission to do so?
- "We do not make them pay tithing, nor are any of the members of the church made to pay tithing." It is my understanding that if you don't tithe, there are certain privileges to which LDS members are not privy. To wit: choosing not to tithe means you and your family are excluded from worshiping in the main temple in Salt Lake City. If true, this strikes me as passive blackmail. Please comment.
- As I stated in my original post, there is a well-established practice in the Mormon Church of baptizing people of other faiths, even Jewish victims of the Nazi death camps. This article from last year (2008) states that Jewish groups were "...through trying to negotiate with the Mormon Church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice." Does your Church still engage in these Holocaust baptisms, and what are your feelings about them?
- You state that, "There are alot of crazy things that people have posted about our church that are not true." What things by what people? You don't offer specific examples of what people have written, therefore I cannot take your assertion seriously. My high school English teacher would have marked up my paper with the words "Wild, Blatant Generalization" if I'd turned in an assertion like that.
And as long as we're discussing what I and other people have written about your church, there's a difference between being crazy and being critical. You can say what you want, but I'd be careful about tossing out the word "crazy" if I were you. My attacks on religion are quite justifiably based on the harm that religions do with a cloak of morality and righteousness to shield them. And even if your religion isn't guilty of as many atrocities as others, that doesn't mean it still isn't just plain nuts. Just because you don't like criticism of your church, that doesn't give you the right to call it "crazy" (whatever "it" is and whoever the writers are to whom you're referring...). I'm sure I could provide copious examples of people writing "crazy stuff" about your faith for you to rebut, if you're interested.
I await your response eagerly.