The ongoing dispute between Mormons and Jews took another turn when Jews were informed that their agreement with the Mormons was again not being respected.
The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (try saying that quickly four times) has a strange practice of posthumous baptisms. What is a posthumous baptism, a.k.a. ordinance? Do they dig you up and dip you in water? Muffti isn’t quite certain how the ceremony goes: apparently it involves a dipping in water by proxy. Its intent is to retroactively baptise people who are real believers in Jesus. The practice was first started for ancestors of Mormons but has extended its reach to nearly everyone deceased that they can attach a name to. After all, you wouldn’t want people who believe in Christ not facing an insurmountable aquatic based objection to their entrance to heaven and languishing in either hell or limbo. Even Dante, who relegated such noble types as Socrates to hell carved out an torture-free ante chamber for them to lounge in.
The Mormons agreed in 1995 to stop baptising Holocaust victims and dead Jews because The Lobby found it offensive (hopefully you paused for a second there). Of particular offense is that the Mormons keep a registry of latter day saints and since they assume that no dead person would turn down the chance to go to heaven, they include them in the registry. So the Mormons agreed to stop the offending practice and to purge the appropriate names.
So far so good; except that geneologist watch dogs keep turning up names of victims in the list, including some holocaust victims (Anne Frank has apparently been baptised several times), dead Israeli Prime Ministers, and other Jewish luminaries such as Marc Chagal and others.
Most recently, a New Jersey geneologist examined the records and exposed 1500 names of Dutch Jews which were supposed to have been removed. So, back to the old drawing board. Ernest Michel, whose name turns up in nearly every article on the subject (he is a founding member of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and was apparently instrumental in getting the 1995 agreement put together), claimed:
We’ve been dealing with it for 11 years, since 1995, and we continue to deal with it.
Ironically, the Mormons are somewhat baffled at Jewish objectors. After all, they claim, the baptism is useless if you don’t accept the faith, and surely the dead who get baptized can reject the deal. As Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, put it in a December 2005 interview:
Well, if they [the posthumously baptised] wish to so regard it. But they must realize the performing of the ordinance does not mean acceptance of the ordinance. Those for who the ordinance is done do not necessarily have to accept it…So, there’s no injury done to anybody.
So let Muffti get this straight. The Mormons offer a bargain to the dead involving their supposed salvation. The dead are presumed to take it and so are included in a registry of mormons. The living jews get pissed off because now their ancestors, friends and Holocaust victims are now baptised mormons and kvetch. The Mormons agree and then play fast and loose with honouring the agreement.
One is a little tempted to ask ‘who cares?’ Muffti thought that as Jews we don’t really regard the Mormons as an organization capable of effecting spiritual damage with their silly ceremonies. Why, then, are we up in arms, wasting ink and wearing down keyboard keys? Why not let the Mormons do what they like in peace? Maybe we can cheekily give a few posthumous Hannuka presents to Joseph Smith? There is no ceremony Muffti can perform to metamorphisize Hinckley into a four toed sloth – why think any ceremony Hinckley does will Mormonize Muffti’s late great grandmother?
One ‘argument’ that rears its ugly head involves vague resemblance the ceremony bears to the unfortunate medieval practice of forced Jewish baptism by the Catholic church. Muffti can only wonder ‘so what?’ Another point made is that future historical records will become blurred: revisionist future historians may wonder whether Muffti was a Jew or a Mormon if the latter try to claim him by baptism. To this, Muffti can only respond that it would be much better for the future records if we encouraged them to put such luminaries as Einstein, Ben-Gurion and the like on their records as Mormons. It’s the best way to ensure that reasonable future historians confer absolutely no credibitlity on the compiled list.
One can’t help but shake his head at religion and its follies. At least the two groups aren’t splling blood over it. They better not; it would just give the Mormons more people to baptize by proxy. And you guys wonder why Muffti doesn’t embrace religion.
note to reader: Reading this post, or even failing to read it, is (the only part of) a induction ceremony to Muffti-ism. Congratulations, you are now a Little Muffti and your eternal soul has been disposesed and put into the cosmic and eternal service of your new God and Leader, the Grand Muffti. Bwahahahahaha!