Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You'll Baptize Me Over My Cold Dead Body. Oh Wait, That's What You Had In Mind?

Yesterday, I ran across this story about how The Mormon Church was considering performing a posthumous "Proxy Baptism" for Elie Wiesel in spite of the fact that he certainly would object to being Baptized.  Oh...and he's also not dead.  Oopsie!

Frankly, this is one of those things that twists my mind into so many directions I have a hard time nailing down my own opinion on it.  I'm left with a case of "On the one hand; on the other hand; on the third hand; Can I borrow a hand or two 'cause I'm fresh out."

Let's start with my first knee-jerk reaction:  Who the fuck do these people think they are to take it upon themselves to baptize anyone who didn't ask them to?  I mean really!  If you haven't already read the linked story, please go back and do so.  It's not just Jews who have had a history of having to fend off forced conversions, but we've got a pretty solid history with the practice.  We're not real big on martyrs, but the few we do have tend to be folks who refused to denounce their faith.  The idea that anyone would come along later and perform some kind of involuntary baptism is really about as offensive as you can get.

Not only that, it would appear that the Mormons have previously promised not to do it any more, but they're just ignoring that and going ahead anyway.  I'm officially putting the Mormon Church on notice that I'd appreciate it if you didn't baptize me now or at any time in the future.  I haven't accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and I'm not likely to do so any time in the future. (If, during some unforeseen afterlife, I discover that I've been betting on the wrong horse all along, I'm pretty sure I'll be in a better position to rectify the situation than any of you in Utah will be. Or it'll be too late and I'll just have to live(?) with the consequences.)

Shortly after pitching an internal hissy fit over it, I find myself having another reaction:  Who Cares? I mean, really.  I don't believe in the Mormon Church's beliefs or rituals, so what possible power can they have over me?  In my mind, it's the rough equivalent to someone signing me up for the NRA's newsletter, paying for the subscription themselves, and having the newsletter sent to their mailing address.  Weird, yes, but would it really be any skin off of my nose?  The only potential effect that might have on me would be if some future biographer digs up the record of the subscription and has trouble trying to understand my previously hidden fascination with guns.  And why I was receiving mail in Montana?

On the Third Hand:  What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!  How's about if we start converting some of them?  Obviously, an individual's personal beliefs don't enter into it, so maybe we should just convert a bunch of Mormons to other religions. Hey Mitt, I don't know if you're circumcised or not, but a symbolic drop of blood is required even if you are.  I can schedule a visit from the Mohel at your convenience.  And there's no reason to limit this to Jewish conversions. I'm sure Mormon's will be just as appreciative to be unknowingly made into Hindus, Buddhists, or Hare Krishnas! Everyone can join in on the fun! (Painful rituals will score extra point!)

I swear I had at least one more reaction to this, but my head hurts and I've completely forgotten what it was.  Feel free to tell me what else I think about it. I'm confused enough to throw it into the mix.


Janiece said...

Um, yes. My own reactions to this clap-trap mirror your own, I'm afraid. I'm offended because of the utter presumption and gall of these people. On the other hand - yeah, who gives a good goddamn?

Eric said...

I have to admit, this doesn't bother me at all because, well, like everyone's saying, who gives a rat's ass?

But, for what it's worth, Nathan: your folks believe that God appeared in the form of a vast pillar of fire and spent nearly a month-and-a-half personally leading your ancestors on a huge tour of the entire Middle East before finally showing them a plot of land He chose for them. Mitt Romney's people believe God sent this dude messages via a magic rock that he read by putting it in a hat and sticking his face in that hat.

I dunno, maybe they're kind of overcompensating. You know I don't believe any of it, so maybe I'm one to talk, but I figure if I were in their shoes, I might be kinda jealous or something. "Pillar of fire, magic rock. Forty days and nights, hat. Promised land, Utah. Maaaaaaaan--"

My penny's worth.


leclog: what le plumber gets out of le drain.

Warner said...

According to a brief article in today's Times, they did baptize his parents and have apologized for it.

They don't do this unless a descendant asks for it. My best friend is Jewish, his sister-in-law is Mormon.

Nathan said...

They don't do this unless a descendant asks for it.

According to what I've read, that's what they agreed to...but not what they're actually doing.

Carol Elaine said...

I say we get a group of people, use those amazing genealogical records the Mormons have, officially convert every Mormon on that list to Satanism and send letters to them letting them know of their conversions.

And yeah, I'm highly offended by such presumption. So it's either the conversions or I punch Thomas S. Monson in his smug offensive face.

Ya know, I still might do the latter.

Megan said...

Yeah, so now you know why they have those genealogical records. It's not because they want to provide a public service to people who want information about their ancestors.

Does it REALLY matter? No. It's not real.

Is it mean-spirited? Definitely not. They think they're helping. And on the list of horrible things religious people have done, it's near the bottom. They're not actually hurting anyone. They're just secretly declaring people to be members of other religions. You can secretly declare me to be anything you like; it doesn't change who I am.

Is it appallingly insensitive? Yes.

David said...

Have you ever actually read any of the Book of Mormon? Posthumous conversion of the unwilling is probably among the least of the weirdness involved in this sect.

I suppose they can fantasize about converting the non-Mormon dead if they want to - hey, it might keep them from spending too much time trying to buy legislation in neighboring states. It's arrogant with a capital F but as far as real world application goes rather meaningless.

I do rather like the idea that we can convert them too, though.

I say we have a contest to see what we should convert them to, and then send them all notice once we've decided.

Right now my vote is Pastafarian, but I'm willing to listen to suggestions, well-reasoned critiques, and/or offers of cash or services in exchange for my vote.

vince said...

The Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism?

Nathan said...

I prefer something with volcanoes.

I like a bit of action.

Eric said...

I prefer something with volcanoes.

Scientology it is, then.

David said...

The Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism?

That's Pastafarianism.

Tom said...

You guys can relax. I already mass-renounced (hehe) their faith for them. All Mormen. And Morwomen, too. And I told them that God does NOT want them to continue posthumous baptisms unless they get signed and certified permission from the deceased themselves. It isn't binding unless it's voluntary. Then I told Baptists that baptising babies didn't count, either. Voluntary, you know? Same schtick, doesn't count.

Anything else you want me to take care of for you?

Nathan said...

I seem to have misplaced a couple of winning lottery tickets. Can you find those for me?