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17 November 2008

big nasty mess involving Souls trying (or not trying) to get to Heaven

Click image for larger, I hope.

Vleeptron has recently shown you what God looks like and what Satan looks like, courtesy of the English mystic poet and artist William Blake.

Now we got Souls, they look like this as they attempt to wend their way Heavenward. Or that's how Gustave Doré saw them.

You wouldn't think there'd be much friction and controversy over Souls trying to get to Heaven. You die, and then (assuming there is a Heaven, and assuming Souls exist, and assuming yours is Eligible to go to Heaven, rather than to Hell, assuming there is a Hell) your Soul wafts straight to Heaven.

Check out this nasty fistfight over Souls becoming Eligible to be Reunited with other Souls in Heaven.

It could be uglier and nastier, but I can't imagine how. Feelings could be hurt worse, and sensibilities and religious beliefs offended worse. But I can't imagine how.

No wonder people become atheists. Atheists just skip all this stuff.

Well, doctrine shmoctrine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints used to believe in polygamy. They don't anymore.

They used to believe only Caucasians could be eligible for the LDS priesthood. They changed that, African-descent Mormons are now eligible for the priesthood.

Wonder how this one will straighten itself out. You can see Mormons baptizing dead people (without their consent) by proxy in the PBS documentary "The Mormons."

~ ~ ~
The Associated Press
(newswire USA)
Monday 10 November 2008

Jewish group wants Mormons
to stop proxy baptisms

by Deepti Hajela and Jeffifer Dobner

NEW YORK (AP) -- Holocaust survivors said Monday they are 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.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say 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, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.

But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."

"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our 6,000,000 Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."

Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, are over. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."

In 1995, the church agreed not to perform baptisms or other rites for Holocaust victims, except in the very rare instances when they have living descendants who are Mormon.

Church spokesman Mike Otterson said Michel's decision to publicly denounce the church seems like a unilateral termination of the discussion.

"Those steps by Mr. Michel on behalf of the American Gathering were both unnecessary and unfortunate and belie the long and valued mutual respect that we have had in past years," Otterson said in an e-mail.

Posthumous baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.

Using genealogy records, the church also baptizes people who have died from all over the world and from different religions. Mormons stand in as proxies for the person being baptized and immerse themselves in a baptismal pool.

Only the Jews have an agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered specifically because of their religion.

Michel suggested that posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims play into the hands of Holocaust deniers.

"They tell me, that my parents' Jewishness has not been altered but ... 100 years from now, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?" Michel said Monday.

Under the agreement with the Holocaust group, Mormons could enter the names of only those Holocaust victims to whom they were directly related. The church also agreed to remove the names of Holocaust victims already entered into its massive genealogical database.

Otterson said the church has kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 200,000 names from the genealogical index.

But since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.

The researcher Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database.

She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate Mormon religious rites, including baptisms, had been conducted for these Holocaust victims, some as recently as July.

"I've seen a steady procession of Jewish Holocaust names, especially names with camps linked to them, going to the International Genealogical Index," said Radkey, who acknowledges that she has limited access to the records. "There's no possible way of knowing exactly how many names, but it's substantial."

Church officials say a new version of the database — called New Family Search — will fix the problems. In the works for six years, the new database will discourage the submission of large lists of unrelated individuals. It will also separate names intended for temple rites from those submitted purely for genealogical purposes, the church states in a letter sent to Michel on Nov. 6.

"The names of any Holocaust victims we can identify in the database are to be flagged with a special designation — not available for temple ordinances," the letter states.

The church also proposes jump-starting a monitoring committee formed in 2005 to review database entries. The committee has met just once since 2005.

In May, the Vatican ordered Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from Mormons so that Catholics could not be baptized.

Associated Press Writer Jennifer Dobner reported from Salt Lake City.

(This version corrects that Radkey is an independent researcher.)

- 30 -


pattheescholardant said...

A minor correction: Paolo and Francesca are not trying to get to Heaven since they have permanent lodgings in the Inferno or Hell. See, Francesca was supposed to be married to this bloke which she detested and fell in love with Paolo instead. The other bloke found out and killed them both. Now they are doomed to reside in Hell, their souls swinging forwards and backwards without a chance of meeting again. The story is based on real events well known to Dante and his contemporaries.

As for the morons, eh, mormons....

patneedsanewnotebook said...

Blast, it should be patthedantescholar...bloody keyboard...

Vleeptron Dude said...

mille grazie for the Dante correction! i confess i am largely Clueless re Dante. Mostly I know

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate

and I don't even know that real good.

Did she just fall in love with Paolo, or did they smooch? I don't see why they should end up in Hell forever just for Bad Thoughts. Sounds like F & P were the victims here.

Well, that's Theology Biz.

patfromch said...

Ye who enter, abandon all hope (direct translation: Those who enter, let go of all hope)

More on Dante, Paolo & Francesca:

I reckon that they ended up in Hell for cheating, it must also be said that Dante pitys them and weeps as he talks to them. Not theology, artistic freedom I reckon.
The Divine Comedy is available online in several translations including the italian original here:

As for the mormons kwetsching...just let em kwetsch.

patfromch said...

Remember Roberto Begnini ? He is currently touring big stadiums in italy with dante, he even got a TV special.
Here is Canto V, the one about Paolo and Francesca

I think we got off-topic now. Poor morons, eh, mormons.....

Vleeptron Dude said...

Well, you have caught me, I am a Dante ignoramus. I do better with his guide to the Underworld, Vergil.

The first time I saw Benigni was as the taxi driver in Rome in Jim Jarmusch's "Night on Earth" / "Une nuit sur terre." He was hysterical. I can reveal no more, just rent it. Sounds like you won't need subtitles.

Some USA critics were very harsh about "Life Is Beautiful" / "la Vita è bella." I think The New Yorker guy called it "Holocaust-Lite." Well, Benigni didn't invent the genre, Mel Brooks saw the Fun Side of these events in "The Producers" and its crazy musical comedy "Springtime for Hitler."

Hmmm ... can you recommend any CH university radio stations that have Web Stream? Some guys in Nova Scotia are just yakking endlessly about comic books. And Cambridge U is playing crappy rap.

Vleeptron Dude said...

I asked an irc guy from Israel if they have Mormon missionaries in Israel. He said RELIGIOUS MISSIONARIES ARE AGAINST THE LAW IN ISRAEL! Your doorbell is safe!

I just heard this, where did I hear this, I can't remember ... but ,,,

What do you get when you cross Jehovah's Witnesses with Unitarians?

[scroll down]

You get people who ring your doorbell, but for no reason at all.

patfromch said...

I remember Night on Earth. Saw it 20 years ago on a hacked pay-tv channel, it was just brilliant.

As for College or Uni radio stations, naw, sorry mate. Local Campusses are not allowed to broadcast over here. There are a few local community radio stations like Radio X or LoRa but you know how it is with community radio and the national pop station Couleur 3 is not bad. The rest is just sheer garbage.

BTw I heard rumours that a Hollywood studio bought the rights to the Divine Comedy and is planning a game and a feature film...*shudder*

Cool Mormon Joke there. Julia Sweeney got a few as well in her recent solo performance