Mormons now snubbed by Catholics too

I caught this story in an Idaho paper about the Catholic Church banning Mormons from getting a hold of their registries. Apparently they aren’t too keen of Mormons baptizing them posthumously either. Maybe it’s time for the LDS religion to give up on this completely inane practice and put their membership to use doing more useful things – like feeding the hungry.

I was talking to a couple of students last night about a project we are working on together when the idea of baptisms for the dead came up. Both students are very secular and were basically dumbfounded by the description I gave of the practice. They asked all the right questions:

  • So, they are getting baptized for people to get them out of spirit prison, right? Yep.
  • How do they know if they accepted it? They don’t.
  • So, they get baptized for everyone who ever lived? Yep.
  • Including Holocaust victims? Yep.
  • What about all the people who they can’t find geneologically? They claim it will be revealed to them one day, but that’s kind of funny since it would just make more sense to wait for the revelations and just dunk people then.
  • Will they baptize me when I’m gone? Yep.
  • Who wouldn’t accept a baptism in spirit prison when it’s obvious that you’re being visited by Mormon missionaries? I have no idea.
  • Bizarre. (not a question, but I still answered) Yep.

I say turn the temples into homeless shelters!


I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

You may also like...

63 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    PS. you might want to sue the Catholic Church for gross negligence of your expectation that they were acting as public servants … after all, they were only keeping records of the Catholics in good standing. They’d regularly expunge or otherwise not include names for theological reasons.

  2. Seth R. says:

    Dude, you simply can’t make the argument that there is any way to distinguish Medieval Catholicism from the local monarchies in any meaningful way.

    These are not “private religious records.” They are STATE records and you can’t deny state records for theological reasons.

    And if the LDS Church had become a “state religion” I would be making the same demands of it. I’m not quite so partisan as you seem to be assuming I am.

  3. Matt says:

    Again, the LDS church WAS as state religion. So let’s take a look at those records, uh?

    If in fact the Catholic Church’s records are state records then what power does the church have to withhold them? A: they are not state records, they are records the at the church kept of its membership. Screaming the word “state” at us will not change this fact.

    Now which modern state government would you like to step-in and demand access to the Catholic Church’s membership records? Germany could do it. So could the US. How about Cuba? etc, etc. Well, I guess they could band together and piecemeal address the problem in each of their jurisdictions.

    Oh, I know, how about the Utah State gov’t raid the offices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Utah? Yes. That’s a good step.

    Give it up, Seth. The Catholic Church wants nothing to do with the mission of the LDS church and they have the right to not cooperate. You may win this fight in one nation or another but not in all an not without significant destruction of separation of church and state behind which the church has cowered for 100 years.

    Give it up. Start iterating on x and god will set the value of the variable for you. Remember? His ways will not be frustrated.

  4. Matt says:

    PS. one possible solution should x not work for the church: start lying about be a mormon when requesting access from the catholic church. You’ll find precedence for this in its history of gaining visas and other forms of access to nations not friendly to mormonism.

    It’s god’s work after all. It’s not like anyone’s asking you to sever a head or something.

  5. Matt says:

    All, here’s my suggestion for the LDS church going forward. You know damn-well that the available records of the human family are like a bucket of sand lifted from a beach. Stop this insanely short-sighted approach right now. From this day forward all temple work will be conducted using the variable names Adam and Eve, thus side-stepping both the Catholic Church (thumbs nose) and moving the church in the direction of doing what they’ve basically been doing all along. Yay! Go team!

  6. Seth R. says:

    “Again, the LDS church WAS as state religion. So let’s take a look at those records, uh?”

    Again, you seem to think you’re scoring points of some sort here.

    I agree with you. Can you get that through your head? I AGREE that Brigham Young’s stuff should be made available.

    All clear?

  7. Matt says:

    PPS. What do you think these records are anyway? The equivalent of modern secular birth certificates and marriage licenses? No, they are the more like the LDS church’s own membership records documenting religious ordinances and other aspects of the member’s journey through the faith.

    Bottom line, however, I personally love to see two religious institutions undermining each other over doctrinal differences. It’s what brought religion to life and is hopefully what takes it to the grave.

  8. Matt says:

    Re: 56

    Ah, all clear. Thanks. So when’s the vault opening to the public? Cause again, we’re not talking about The Family History Center which consists almost entirely photos of non-LDS records. We’re talking about the membership records of every Mormon between the Nauvoo period and 1896 give or take a few years.

    You really think the church would make these public? And allow anybody to do what they want with the records? There’s a credibility gap gaping open here.

  9. Seth R. says:

    I think there is some confusion here.

    First off, I’d like to know what the Church is keeping secret and what is publicly accessible.

    Here’s my understanding:

    Records of current LIVING members are not made public. Even ward lists are supposed to be restricted. This is due to problems the Church has had with people using them for marketing schemes and scams and political purposes.

    But that’s living people. So privacy concerns factor in.

    Membership records of dead Mormons however, are already made public. Anyone can go into the computer systems at BYU, Salt Lake City, or any LDS Stake Center for that matter, and access the Church’s computerized databases for genealogical research. In my last ward in Wyoming, the local stake center was actually advertised as being open to the public for that purpose and non-members regularly came to the stake center computer lab to do work.

    I have no idea how much of it is available online, but the LDS Church makes a point of assisting ANYONE in genealogical research. For any reason.

    Now, the charges of secrecy, as far as I understood it, come mainly from claims that the Church restricts access to other official documents – such as minutes of high-level meetings, Brigham Young’s official correspondence… stuff like that.

    Some of the strongest criticisms of the Church’s guarded stance toward the archives on these subjects come from the anti-Mormon authors Sandra and Jerald Tanner. They claim they were denied access to the Church’s historical records.

    Others point out that the Church’s stance on controlling official Church documents is no different than standard practice in any American corporation. They also remark that you can hardly blame the Church for denying access to a pair of dishonest hacks like the Tanners (my own personal opinion of them).

    Personally, I think the unique nature of scrutiny the Church is under ought to call for greater access to Church records. Too much restriction makes it too easy to make the charge that the Church is hiding something.

    But it’s not membership records that are being hid. It’s official LDS Church organizational documents.

    And for the record, I am not trying to argue that even the Catholic Church should be forced to turn over those kind of documents.

    If anyone knows differently, please feel free to correct me.

  10. Matt says:

    Well, Seth, you may have shot that one little point of mine to hell. I’m still standing by the rest tough. 🙂


    At least the Mormons only have to worry about a Catholic road bump in their plans. It could be much, much worse:

    Atheists are nice people who will roast in hell, says Cardinal

    ATHEISTS and agnostics are decent people whose tormented souls will burn for all eternity in the scorching fires of hell, Britain’s biggest catholic said last night … (continue reading)

  11. Seth R. says:

    I followed through that link Matt, and ran a couple Google searches.

    I can’t find that the cardinal ever said that. Was Dawkins just doing a mock rewording of the speech?

  12. Matt says:

    The Daily Mash is like The Onion. It’s satire. The point is that this thread’s topic is the result of a theological difference which is relatively tame.

  13. Seth R. says:

    OK, got it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.