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“Surprise! You’re a Mormon!”

Just what old Mittens needed right now was for a further controversy to push the fact of his Mormonism to the fore.  So of course he gets two.

Just in time his enemies last week obliged by wheeling out one bang on cue.  It was announced that the Mormon Church had baptised Simon Wiesenthal’s parents into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Simon Wiesenthal you will recall was the famous Jewish Nazi hunter who spent his life pursuing ex members of the regime and bringing them to justice.  His work continues today.  It was announced that the Mormon Church had chosen to postumously baptise his Jewish parents into the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints.  And not surprisingly the news caused a furore.  Rabbi Cooper of the Wiesenthal Centre stating that this really was a major issue with Jews, as in the past they had been forced to convert to Christianity. He reminded the Mormons that there had been an agreement as far back as 1999 that the Church would not indulge its tastes for posthumous baptism of holocaust victims.

The Mormons have a history on this, it seems they have been baptising non believers since 1840.  The Church was moved to issue an apology. It was a one off they said, a mistake, someone acting on a frolic of his own, nothing institutional you understand.  Suffice to say as mistakes go it was a biggy.

So, why you might ask, are the Mormons interested in Wiesenthals’s family who clearly were Jewish not Mormon, and happy with that as a religion?

The explanation, such as it is, runs that it is indispensible.  If a soul is to enter the Kingdom of God it needs baptised by the Mormons, and this rubbish is based on the Mormons misreading of 1 Cor 15:29.  Everyone’s a Mormon once they are dead. Needless to say the practise is utterly forbidden in the Catholic faith, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant Churches.

And that, bad as it all was, might have been that.  It had a chance to blow over. Until a new story even more unsettling was revealed this week, that the Mormons had only gone and baptised Anne Frank, one of the most visual, most iconic of all the victims of the holocaust, as a Mormon, on Feb 18th in Santo Domingo Temple in Dominican Republic.  And this was a week after the row about Wiesenthal! As the story is being stood up by the Telegraph and the Independent and everyone else we can be certain its right.   It’s almost unbelievable that they could be this stupid or tone deaf to public opinion.  This time the row is even louder.

But whilst tacky and odd it really doesn’t affect the dead does it?  The dead were happily Jewish, Hindu or Presbyterian and probably couldn’t care less for a Mormon coming along and baptising them into their noddy religion.

Except that it irritates the living like hell, and I know this from personal experience.  For weeks after the deed had been done, my mother went on and on about the scandal, the sheer effrontery of it all, the visceral sense of personal desecration, following the discovery that her cousin Neville (himself a convert to Mormonism) had, in a fit of evangelical enthusiasm, gone out from his home in Winnipeg one fine spring morning in 1965 and baptised the entire bloody family; the living and the dead, every last one into Mormonism.  Jews, Anglo Catholics, Welsh Presbyterian Calvinists, Lutherans, Muslims and Spiritualists the whole heaving shouting preaching lot of them.

And no it did not go down well!

Copyright David Macadam 2012