salt-lake-temple-lds-593672-print-do-not-copyAn article written by the Associated Press accused the LDS Church of allowing posthumously baptizing (known as Baptism for the Dead) for holocaust victims and the grandparents of famous people such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg. The Church has had rules in place to discourage, and prevent this kind of extraction of names not related to the submitter.  In some cases, the names are actually blocked.  I have encountered this with some of the names I wanted to submit, even though we were related, if somewhat distantly. So I always wondered how unrelated people got names approved.

This was apparently discovered by avowed Church enemy, former member Helen Radkey, who has spent many years uncovering ordinances she thinks are done for people they shouldn’t have.  In spite of her having been blocked from certain portions of FamilySearch databases (because she is no longer a member), she used a friend’s logon to conduct her recent research.  I wrote a piece at Mormon Matters on this same subject back in 2009, “Stop Baptizing Our Dead.

She found that members of the Church posthumously baptized 20 holocaust victims over the last 5 years. I have no idea if these names were submitted by Church members, extracted from records or even submitted by relatives. The spokesperson for the Church stated that the Church, “acknowledged the ceremonies violated its policy and said they would be invalidated, while also noting its created safeguards in recent years to improve compliance.” Sounded like they were not proper.

The Church has, for some time now, encouraged people to look after their own family. In fact, from my experience, the majority of names I see in the Temples are Family file names.  The Church has somewhat said they are running out of extracted names and do restrict the number of names each patron can be baptized for during a baptismal session.

Invalidated Baptisms

But, that is really not what I wanted to focus on.  What caught my eye was the part of the statement that said, “… they would be invalidated.”

I can understand that the ordinances would no longer be recorded and probably blocked. But invalidated?.

We believe that all must receive the ordinances of the Temple, either in this life or the next. If the person is deceased, they have the choice beyond the veil to accept the ordinances or not accept them.

I don’t claim to know much about what goes on in the afterlife when one dies.  But in my mind’s eye, I tried to imagine how this acceptance might take place.

Please bear with me, I am not trying to be facetious or disrespectful.

Is there a desk that a departed one reports to when an ordinance has been performed or do they just know?

If so, what happens if that ordinances is invalidated?

“Sorry, Brother or Sister so and so, the ordinance you’ve been waiting for for 70 years now, was just invalidated because someone complained to the earthly Church that you were a holocaust victim and therefore ineligible to receive these ordinances. You’ll have to wait for a relative to do your work.”

“Oh, all your family was killed in the holocaust?” Well, not to worry, the Lord will figure it out for us.”

Of course, the other scenario could be just as valid.

“ Oh, Mormons baptized me?  Well, I’m Jewish so no thank you.”

I really have no idea.

I guess my question is, given our belief in these essential ordinances, can one of these ordinances performed under the proper conditions, but objected to by a third party, be really invalidated?

Your thoughts?