Joel S. Hirschhorn
Family photo 2005 courtesy of Life & Times of Orson Pratt Brown
There are many, many reasons to have low regard for Mitt Romney. All but the totally delusional correctly see him as disingenuous, dishonest, devious and devoid of an authentic set of core beliefs. He is a shill for corporate and rich elites. He is the phony smiling, perfect hair poster jerk for the proverbial one percent. But I now clearly see that there is another, more important reason to feel like vomiting at the thought of President Romney.
As almost everyone knows by now, Romney has been a senior, influential member of the Mormon Church, which has been roundly criticized for being an inauthentic Christian religion and for various beliefs and practices made comical in the hugely successful Broadway show The Book of Mormon. But there is one particular Mormon practice that is so upsetting to most people who learn about it that deserves to become an issue in this presidential campaign.
I want Mitt Romney to stand up and have the courage and decency to proclaim to Americans exactly whether he personally supports the Mormon practice known as proxy baptism. If you are not a member of the Mormon faith, then you should take this very seriously. Proxy baptism is like email spam, junk mail and unwanted marketing phone calls that invade our lives, destroy our privacy, waste our time and make our blood boil. Actually, proxy baptism is a zillion times worse. It represents the invasion of one religion against all others and atheism also.
In a nutshell, proxy baptism refers to the Mormon practice of baptizing a living person on behalf of someone who is dead and was not a member of the Mormon Church. The goal is to get that non-Mormon person into Mormon-defined heaven, which is totally different than what all other religions think of as heaven. The dead person nor anyone related to the dead person does not necessarily give permission or express any desire to be so baptized.
Standing in for dead people are young Mormon men and women dressed in white robes in Mormon temple ceremonies worldwide, which is considered an honor for them.
Over time many people who are not Mormons have mounted attacks on this practice, viewing the Mormon practice as a serious invasion of their lives and beliefs. Someone who has received considerable attention as such a critic is Nobel-laureate Holocaust survivor target=”_blank”>Elie Wiesel and a top official from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has focused on posthumously baptizing Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Despite his attempts to stop Mormons doing this and despite promises they would, the practice has continued.
I think it totally reasonable for everyone to demand that Romney take a public position on this Mormon practice. Specifically, I want Romney to declare in clear, unambiguous language whether he has participated in such proxy baptisms, whether he believes that this practice is appropriate, and whether or not he understands why non-Mormons would object to this practice.
Should Americans resent a US President that supports Mormon proxy baptizing? Absolutely.
Officially, the Mormon Church has refused to abandon this practice. “With deepest respect to our Jewish friends, the church cannot abandon fundamental aspects of its religious doctrine and practice,” the church says on its website, “and it should not be asked to do so.” Many millions of non-Mormons have apparently been proxy baptized, including famous people: Adolph Hitler, Christopher Columbus, most signers of the US Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere, William Shakespeare, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, President Obama’s mother and Irving Berlin, for example. There is no attempt by the church to document that non-Mormons had expressed any desire to be baptized into the Mormon faith. And church attempts to limit proxy baptizing to a member’s or family member’s ancestors apparently have failed.
Interestingly, those in the Hindu faith have said that Hindu feelings would naturally be hurt if their ancestors were baptized without their will. Similarly, the Catholic Church has also publicly objected to the Mormon baptism of its members.
To be fair and non-partisan, I also believe that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who also is a Mormon should similarly be pressured to state publicly his positions on proxy baptizing. After all, because this practice is imposed on non-Mormons, we have a right to know whether elected officials endorse it.
If there is any part of Mitt Romney’s life that he should be able to speak honestly about it is his religious beliefs. So go ahead Mitt, tell Americans exactly what you believe about this Mormon proxy baptizing practice. Be severely honest just as you have been severely conservative.
In sum, the central issue is RESPECT. Mormons are not respecting the religious beliefs of people they are proxy baptizing. Similarly, all the evil people hitting me with spam emails, junk mail and unwanted phone calls show me no respect whatsoever. Do I believe that Mormons have the power to send non-Mormons into their heaven? Hell no. I do not believe that even Mormons will get into their conception of heaven. Of all religions that I have ever learned about I find Mormonism the most ridiculous and cult like. I just hope if any reporter has the courage to ask Romney about proxy baptizing that they also ask him if he is wearing his magic underwear that as a dedicated and very senior member of the Mormon Church he is supposed to be wearing all the time…[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.]