Einstein joins Hitler in Mormon faith
A couple of bishops are expressing anger at the National Library for opening up the last of the Catholic parish registers to the public.
For years microfilm copies of most parish records have been available to genealogists and public alike; all except Cashel and Emly, Kerry, and Cloyne. Now these are being released into the wild without the consent of the bishops, who used to charge researchers for access.
Yes, it's an upset to their money-spinning racket, to be sure, but that's not what I'm here to bang on about.
This particular academic (and economic) discussion has turned theological by throwing light on an unusual practice involving the parish records and the eternal souls of the people catalogued thereby.
Representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (better known as Mormons) have been reportedly using the records to re-baptise long dead Catholics into the Mormon faith.
This practice comes as a shock to some Catholics but the L.D.S. have been at it for some time–just ask the Jews. In 1995 they discovered that along with Albert Einstein some 300,000 holocaust victims had been posthumously converted to Mormonism; needless to say it was non-consensual.
(Actually while the collective Catholic eye was off the ball, most dead popes secretly made the switch. And the Mormons are greedily awaiting the demise of the current one.)
Biblical precedent for Baptism of the Dead can be found in First Corinthians Chapter 15 courtesy of the Apostle Paul.
Genealogists have recognised for years that the Latter Day Saints will do an excellent job of tracing your lineage for you 'as long as you do not object to having your ancestors becoming Mormons.'(†)
You may of course wonder why they do it, other than to artificially boost their organisation's numbers so they can claim to be the fastest growing church. It's simply to solve the question of what happens to the souls of those who died before the 19th Century revelations of Joseph Smith without ever having had the chance to embrace his message.
Christians solved a similar quandary by sending Jesus into Hell converting people for a few days after the crucifixion and before he ascended into Heaven. Good Catholics should recognise this from the Apostle's Creed:
…passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis…
Which translates as:
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day he rose again.
That bit about Hell was excised in the Nicean Creed, probably too confusing or upsetting for believers. The only time you might still hear it is at Easter.
The late-baptism method used by the Mormons is simple: lists are provided to L.D.S. churches where the congregation prays for the names. The immediate technical questions suggested by this odd system are similar to those raised in another sceptical post.
To those bishops, Catholics and plain people of Ireland who are shocked and outraged by revelations that their dearly departed might have been unknowingly inducted into the bizarre cult of Latter Day Saints, I can add only this small consolation.
A Mormon baptism is precisely as useful, potent, relevant, and effectual as a Catholic baptism.
- † God is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens p168 [back ↩]