The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints has come under fire once again for its practice of baptisms for the dead.
It seems that a member of the church has not followed the guidance of church leaders that members not baptize Holocaust victims or others associated with The Holocaust. Members instead are to seek out their own ancestors for such baptisms.
There are many that would question the very practice of baptisms for the dead, despite it being practiced during New Testament times.
In one of the apostle Paul's addresses to the Corinthians he preached a very powerful sermon on the subject of the resurrection. There were many in his audience that obviously had questioned the validity of the resurrection and the need for it.
In Chapter 15 of Corinthians, Paul taught that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the dead and was seen by many, and that all men (and women) will also be resurrected.
In Verse 29 of this chapter in Corinthians, Paul asks his audience, "Why are we doing baptisms for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?"
In other words, if there is no such thing as a resurrection than why are we doing baptisms for those that have already died? They were obviously practicing baptisms for the dead during Paul's time in the New Testament.
My grandfather, Thurman Gunderson, died in Los Angeles as a skid row bum. I vaguely remember going with my father to visit Grandpa "Gundy." Thankfully, my father had broken the horrible chain of alcoholism and became a very successful commercial artist. He also took as much responsibility for his father as he could under the circumstances.
I wondered how Grandpa "Gundy" could live in a cockroach-infested room and spend all of the money that my dad gave to him on beer. I vowed at that time that I would avoid alcohol. What I saw of it had not been very kind to Grandpa.
As an adult, tears came to my eyes when I started researching my late father's line. I learned that Grandpa Gundy was left an orphan when his parents died in their early 30's from a flu epidemic that spread through Wisconsin.
This left my grandpa to live with many different families over the years and basically raise himself on the streets. Off and on, he was a bootlegger, a pimp, a criminal, a smuggler, and obviously an alcoholic.
My father later married a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. My father was eventually taught that baptism was a necessary ordinance that we must all receive if we are to return to our Father in Heaven. Even Jesus Christ had to be baptized by John the Baptist.
My father was eventually baptized and joined the LDS church. Later on he learned of the work that goes on in the LDS temples. He learned that a living person could be baptized as a proxy for a deceased person, as a body is necessary for this ordinance.
Grandpa Gundy did not have much of a chance in this life. He has moved on to his next estate. He has been baptized here on earth by proxy. It is still up to Grandpa Gundy whether or not he wants to accept that baptism, however.
A person's free agency cannot be taken away. Choice has always been and always will be at the core of the plan.
Let's not criticize members of the LDS church for sacrificing their time on the behalf of their beloved ancestors for performing an ordinance that was practiced even during New Testament times.
It makes me wonder. If not for Mitt Romney running for President, would this even be an issue?
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