Let’s state right off the bat. Suppose you belong to one religion and the people of another religion make a statement or perform a ritual which to you is not significant but to them is. Do you need to repond? No. Do you need to get offended? No. That is why you belong to a different religionnbecause you don’t believe in theirs. If the other religion does not actually injure someone what difference does that make? The recent furor over proxy baptisms by the Mormon church is just such an event. As the commentaor in the video points out once he is dead he doesn’t care what you or anyone else does because he is DEAD! As for me if its makes you feel better well good.
That was the recent controversy that the Mormon Church, despite promising not to continue doing so baptized Anne Frank to make her a Mormon. People were of course outraged and now they have done the same thing to Gandhi. What would Gandhi think about this? Actually he probably would have been perfectly pleased at the honor because he honored all religions.
Mahatma Gandhi, who employed nonviolent civil disobedience to lead India to independence after more than a century of British rule, was posthumously baptized by proxy by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to information provided to The Huffington Post.
Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who has until now has focused on researching incidents of proxy baptisms being proposed for or performed on dead Jews, discovered the Gandhi records on February 16 in a genealogical database restricted to Mormons. She was prompted to search for his name after seeing a statement by a Nevada-based Hindu activist, Rajan Zed, who expressed concern the practice might be performed in the name of many Hindus.
A screen shot of the database page sent to HuffPost by Radkey shows a proxy baptism for Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was completed in a Salt Lake City Temple on March 27, 1996. The record has since been removed and Radkey said a subsequent search came up with “Unknown Name.”
Did it add “This document must be honored by God? No of course not. We don’t get to tell him what he has to do. We can pray to him but the decision is for him to grant or not.
A request to a church spokesman for comment on the alleged baptism by proxy of Gandhi was not immediately returned.
Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who lives in Rochester, N.Y., said he was ” surprised” to hear about the posthumous baptism. “It bothers me in the sense that people are doing something when a person is dead and gone and there is nobody to answer for that person. That’s not the right thing to do,” said Gandhi, an activist who teaches nonviolence. He also noted that his grandfather was against proselytizing of any kind, whether it involved Hindus or others. “He thought people must decide for themselves which religion they want to follow and they should follow that religion. It’s not up to others to force them. He was respectful of all the religions.”
Well the Baptism did not force him to follow the Mormon religion while he was alive and it is beyond anyone’s power to do so now.
Zed, who lives in Reno and runs a group called the Universal Society of Hinduism, told HuffPost that the posthumous proxy baptism of Gandhi is “appalling” and that Church of the Latter-day Saints President Thomas Monson should personally apologize. The church should give an accounting of how many Hindus have had the ritual performed on their behalf and outline steps to assure it doesn’t happen in the future, Zed said. (This of course would be important “IF” God as a result made them move to a different heaven. There is no evidence that this has occurred.)
To which was added that Hindus do not mark death as the end of existence but rather believe that the soul is reincarnated into different physical bodies through cycles of birth and death. To perform proxy baptism to a Hindu is “deeply offensive” because of the belief in rebirth, said Suhag Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation and now its managing director and legal counsel.
“Each of us is innately divine, which is diametrically opposed to this concept that we are innately sinful and needing to accept Jesus as our savior in order to cleanse our soul,” she said in an interview. “We do not believe there is only one way to salvation.”
The history of British colonialism in India was inextricably tied to Christian missionaries who viewed Hindus and other non-Westerners as “heathens languishing in religions other than Christianity,” Shukla said. She said many Hindus view missionaries — whether Mormon or from other groups, as unwelcome “church-planting” operations.
“The irony is that Mahatma had some very specific criticisms about conversion and missionary activities, or “predatory proselytization,” Shukla said.”He felt it was at the root of all conflict,” she said. “He was interested in interfaith engagement and peace between religions. But he felt it was very important you have respect for other religions and not be coming in with this attitude that mine is better than yours.”
According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon might propose the baptism of another person posthumously. The church has explained that it conducts the practice of proxy baptisms “because all who have lived on the earth have not had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority during life on earth, baptisms may be performed by proxy, meaning a living person may be baptized in behalf of a deceased person. Baptisms for the dead are performed by Church members in temples throughout the world.”
“The person acting as a proxy uses only the name of the deceased,” according to the church, leaving the “mortal remains of the deceased” undisturbed. “To prevent duplication the Church keeps a record of the deceased persons who have been baptized.”
Just because a name of an individual is submitted for a proxy baptism doesn’t mean that the ritual takes place. “Such baptisms can only be performed in special fonts in Mormon Temples,” the BBC has reported. “Women act as proxies for women and men for men. There are witnesses present and a proper record is kept, although the ceremony does not make the person for whom the baptism is performed a Mormon.”
And as the church points out: “There is nothing in Mormonism that states that the person who is being baptized by proxy must accept this ordinance; he or she is simply given the opportunity to choose.”
Mormon author Samuel Brown has written in The Huffington Post that Mormon proxy baptism is a solution to “Christianity’s ‘scandal of particularity’ because it enables Christ to “be brought to everyone in the afterlife.” Still, he wrote that he understands how the idea could offend members of other religious groups who do not consider Jesus as essential to their salvation.
Last week, HuffPost reported that teen diarist and symbol of the Holocaust Anne Frank had been baptized this month for at least the ninth time since she died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, who is still alive, also was targeted for “posthumous” baptism, as were the murdered parents of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesel demanded Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak out about the practice. Romney, has performed the ritual of proxy baptism in the past, but has referred questions about the ritual to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Negotiations between Mormon and Jewish leaders led to an agreement in 1995 for the church to stop the posthumous baptism of all Jews, except in the case of direct ancestors of Mormons. After this, Radkey found that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had failed to adhere to the agreement. A subsequent 2010 pact resulted in a promise by the church to at least prevent inappropriate proxy baptism requests for Holocaust victims — although not of all Jews.
Now the question becomes what exactly does this mean? Well they are being honored by the Church by being accepted by them posthumously for what they did in life especially by Gandhi and Anne Frank for her life cut short by the Nazi’s. Does it really have any effect on those so honored? Do we believe that after the ceremony was performed God walked into the Hindu version of the afterlife, tapped Gandhi on the shoulder and said, “We have to move you to the Mormon heaven now because you have been baptized.” Well no. Did it make any difference to Anne Frank that she was so honored? I don’t think so.
Getting into an argument with a Baptist minister he was asked why God couldn’t look down from heaven and think, “Wow Gandhi is a really good man, I think I will let him into heaven.” The minister replied that God couldn’t do that because it says in the Bible that you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved and so as a Hindu God couldn’t allow him into heaven. Told that we were telling the God who created the entire universe and was all powerful and all-knowing couldn’t do something he replied, “He absolutely could not allow Gandhi into heaven.” In the same vein of thought that telling God he had to now designate Gandhi a Mormon seems a bit presumptuous on the part of whoever performed the ceremony. It is our lot to worship God not to tell him what he has to do. To get upset over what has been done on earth is seems a bit of overreaching. A symbolic honor is just that a symbolic honor. Instead of being upset the family of those so honored should reply, “Well thank you for feeling the need to so honor my relative with this gesture.
One of my favorite storys from history and literature involves the writer Sir Richard Frances Burton. He learned Arabic to visit Mecca as an Arab and translated the “Arabian Nights” into English. He was a prolific writer and also on a quest co-discovered Lake Victoria as the source for the Blue Nile. His wife was a staunch Catholic and as he lay dying she brought in a priest to perform “The Last Rites” even though he was an atheist. He did not object because it did not mean anything to him but it mmade her happy. That is how we should live our lives doing what we want and if at the end we can make someone we love happy? Well why not?
In the case of Anne Frank though we need a proxy vote from somebody (which God may agree with) Hitler can go to Hell!