As I have noted previously, there is much to be bemused at in Mormonry. Tons of stuff. More than you can shake a stick at. Several sticks, even.
The baptizing of the long-dead is just one of them, but it is a very strange one. Obsession with genealogy, OK. But when the primary purpose is to go back and baptize millions of the long-dead it kind of crosses the line into batshit crazy. It's creepy and it's disrespectful of the dead and their families. Wait, disrespectful doesn't even begin to describe how awful this is. The Mormons have been told in no uncertain terms to knock it off in the past, but they continue right on doing it.
The latest outrage is courtesy of the BBC
Mormons baptise parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal
The Mormon Church has apologised for posthumously baptising the parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal were baptised in proxy ceremonies by church members in the US states of Arizona and Utah in January, records show.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Michael Purdy said the Church' s leaders "sincerely regret" the actions of "an individual member".
Now, don't take that sincerely regretting too seriously. It's not like this is an isolated mistake.
An agreement in 1995 was supposed to ban the practice of baptising by proxy Holocaust victims, after it was discovered the names of hundreds of thousands of those who died had been entered into Mormon records.
Hundreds of thousands. That's a lot of people. And the Mormons' official position has usually been that the deceased have "the right to choose" whether to accept Jesus Christ as their savior. Except that that means something a whole different to them than it does to actual Christians. And something a whole lot more offensive to Jews.
Evidence that Wiesenthal's parents had been baptised was found by Helen Radkey, a researcher and former Mormon, AP reported.
She regularly checks the Church' s database, and also recently found the names of Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and several family members on the Mormon list.
"None of the three names were submitted for baptism and they would not have been under the Church' s guidelines and procedures," said Mr Purdy, the Mormon Church spokesman said.
Rabbi Cooper said any further discussion of the problem was useless.
"The only way such insensitive practices would finally stop is if church leaders finally decided to change their practices and policies on posthumous baptisms, a move which this latest outrage proves that they are unwilling to do," he said.
They are so bad that people have to devote their lives to checking up on them. We can go back to January, just before the Florida primary. Here's a Huffington Post headline:
Mormon Church's Prior Baptism Of Dead Jews Could Raise Concerns For Florida Voters
Hmm, it apparently didn't worry them too much, but it might have if the following (from his 2007 run at the presidency) had been more widely disseminated:
When Newsweek magazine asked Romney if he personally had performed posthumous baptisms on anyone, author Jonathan Darman wrote, "he looked slightly startled and answered, 'I have in my life, but I haven't recently.'
Thanks to Romney, there's been much talk lately about the mainstreaming of Mormonism, including this BBC article from last October. An excerpt:
"I think there is still some separation, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about Mormons," says another, "but I think people are more and more starting to notice us and starting to realise that we are normal people".
Um, no you're not. Baptizing millions of dead people into your "faith" posthumously, including hundreds of thousands of Jews, makes you decidedly not normal.
It seems to me there's a pretty fine, barely distinguishable line between this weird posthumous baptizing and voodoo. And I'm pretty sure there's no way the US is nominating a voodoo priest for the presidency.