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Baptism of the Deadin the Mormon ChurchAnne-Alyce EdingerAnthropology of ReligionProfessor Delane Mechling
Baptism in the Mormon ChurchMormons follow the usual practice of baptism as a ritual cleansing.Children are baptized at the age of eight by a lay member of thechurch who is a member of the priesthood or by the child’s father.
Heaven is the GoalMormons, like mainstream Christians, believe that if someonedies without having a proper baptism then they will not go toheaven.
Baptism by ProxyMormons are unusual – perhaps unique – in that they also practicebaptism by proxy for deceased individuals. These are the names of well-known people the Mormons have baptized: Ted Bundy, Adolf Hitler, LeeHarvey Oswald, Jeffrey Dahlmer, and Anne Frank.
Inviting ControversySince Mormons are concerned about all souls, they will take it uponthemselves to baptize any person of any faith or religion. There is no processfor obtaining “permission” from loved ones to do this.
The “Lost (but Restored) Ordinance”Mormons believe the Bible includes a sacred ordinance that gives themthe authority to baptize the dead.
It’s a Secret . . .Baptisms by Proxy are secret rituals.
Church Members Only!Only people affiliated with the Mormon faith are allowed towitness this ritual.
Full Immersion BaptismBaptism of the Dead is full immersion baptism, which symbolizes being buriedand resurrected with Jesus. It takes place in the Temple.
The process involves a priest baptizing a living person who is there on behalf of the person who isdeceased. The person being baptized is dressed in a white robe. The priest baptizes the proxy, whilesaying the name of the deceased. Hands are laid upon the person’s head, and words are spoken whichconfer the “Gift of the Holy Ghost.”The Ritual
The priest will baptize the individual by relying on the words of their sacred text:"Because all on the earth do not have the opportunity to accept the gospel during mortality,the Lord has authorized baptisms performed by proxy for the dead. Therefore, those whoaccept the gospel in the spirit world may qualify for entrance into Gods kingdom.”The Sacred Text