mormonboy51

Does the LDS faith offend the Jewish?

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At this point we are not allowed to do baptisms for the dead for anyone of Jewish ancestry or religion. It's an agreement the leaders of the Church made.

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Here is an extract from Confrontation, a fantastic essay by Rabbi Josef Soloveychik, one of the greatest Jewish leaders of the 2nd half of the 20th century.

This was written around the time of Vatican II.

Second, the logos, the word, in which the multifarious religious experience is expressed does not lend itself to standardization or universalization. The word of faith reflects the intimate, the private, the paradoxically inexpressible cravings of the individual for and his linking up with his Maker. It reflects the numinous character and the strangeness of the act of faith of a particular community which is totally incomprehensible to the man of a different faith community. Hence, it is important that the religious or theological logos should not be employed as the medium of communication between two faith communities whose modes of expression are as unique as their apocalyptic experiences. The confrontation should occur not at a theological but at a mundane human level. There, all of us speak the universal language of modern man. As a matter of fact our common interests lie in the realm of faith, but in that of the secular orders.8 There, we all face a powerful antagonist, we all have to contend with a considerable number of matters of great concern. The relationship between two communities must be outer-directed and related to the secular orders with which men of faith come face to face. In the secular sphere, we may discuss positions to be taken, ideas to be evolved, and plans to be formulated. In these matters, religious communities may together recommend action to be developed and may seize the initiative to be implemented later by general society. However, our joint engagement in this kind of enterprise must not dull our sense of identity as a faith community. We must always remember that our singular commitment to God and our hope and indomitable will for survival are non-negotiable and non-rationalizable and are not subject to debate and argumentation. The great encounter between God and man is a wholly personal private affair incomprehensible to the outsider - even to a brother of the same faith community. The divine message is incommunicable since it defies all standardized media of information and all objective categories. If the powerful community of the many feels like remedying an embarrassing human situation or redressing an historic wrong, it should do so at the human ethical level. However, if the debate should revolve around matters of faith, then one of the confronters will be impelled to avail himself of the language of his opponent. This in itself would mean surrender of individuality and distinctiveness.

Third, we members of the community of the few should always act with tact and understanding and refrain from suggesting to the community of the many, which is both proud and prudent, changes in ritual or emendations of its texts. If the genuinely liberal dignitaries of the faith community of the many deem some changes advisable, they will act in accordance with their convictions without any prompting on our part. It is not within our purview to advise or solicit. For it would be both impertinent and unwise for an outsider to intrude upon the most private sector of the human existential experience, namely, the way in which a faith community expresses its relationship to God. Non-interference with and non-involvement in something which is totally alien to us is a conditio sine qua non for the furtherance of good will and mutual respect.

Fourth, we certainly have not been authorized by our history, sanctified by the martyrdom of millions, to even hint to another faith community that we are mentally ready to revise historical attitudes, to trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, and to reconcile "some" differences. Such a suggestion would be nothing but a betrayal of our great tradition and heritage and would, furthermore, produce no practical benefits. Let us not forget that the community of the many will not be satisfied with half measures and compromises which are only indicative of a feeling of insecurity and inner emptiness. We cannot command the respect of our confronters by displaying a servile attitude. Only a candid, frank and unequivocal policy reflecting unconditional commitment to our God, a sense of dignity, pride and inner joy in being what we are, believing with great passion in the ultimate truthfulness of our views, praying fervently for and expecting confidently the fulfillment of our eschatological vision when our faith will rise from particularity to universality, will impress the peers of the other faith community among whom we have both adversaries and friends. I hope and pray that our friends in the community of the many will sustain their liberal convictions and humanitarian ideals by articulating their position on the right of the community of the few to live, create, and worship God in its own way, in freedom and with dignity.

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Unless they are one's direct ancestors, or if permission has been received from the family.

True, thanks for clarifying. I was just stating as a general rule.

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my dad is jewish and perfectly fine with my decision to be lds :] but can i really not get him baptized when he dies!? really!? :( ive been banking on getting that entire side of the family baptized! haha

As pointed out by Volgadon, if one is a direct ancestor one can have the ordinance performed. I don't think it gets much more direct than parent to child.

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At this point we are not allowed to do baptisms for the dead for anyone of Jewish ancestry or religion. It's an agreement the leaders of the Church made.

I didn't know it was anyone of Jewish ancestry or religion (with the exceptions already discussed). I thought it was just Holocaust victims.

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I think that it would be best to talk to your mother (if she is still on the earth)

and any siblings you have- so they can understand that

it will STILL be your fathers decision to accept or reject the ordinance

---- In my way of thinking of an example

it is like you have set up for him- a pre paid life long health insurance account

-- he can accept and benefit from it or wait and learn more about it, and accept it later

--- it is just there by your work- for him. (of course we are assuming that he is totally worthy;)otherwise he might need to do a bit of repenting?)

---- so ACTUALLY the VERY best is to talk to him (and any other family) NOW! As it is much easier to repent in this life than in the next and also would give them time to show their faith BY their good works etc!

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If a Jew is baptised, it doesn't stop them from being Jewish. If they are born Jewish then they die Jewish. Simple as that. To answer the question, does it offend. I think "offend" is the wrong word. We would be dissapointed that the individual decided to move away from the religion, but the door would always be open for them to return.

Martin

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You are right-

If one looks at being "Jewish" as a blood line, then nothing can REALLY change that, even legal adoption, but you can "add" more family by adoption?

While if one looks at Jewish, as a culture, or a religion, then still I think adding the "MORE" of LDS does not deny the good that came before.

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The current policy is simply stated explicitly for Jews, but the policy is no different than it has been. We are instructed to seek out our ancestors, not to seek out the famous or infamous. Sure, it's easy to find a list of those who seem deserving of what we deem as great blessings, but honestly, think of those we are neglecting by not doing our own history. The issue with the Holocaust victims just reminds us of our personal obligations, which is first and foremost to our forefathers. Those whose records are prominent will be taken care of. It's the rare, hard to find, ordinary souls (who brought us to where we are) whom we need to be seeking.

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Guest saintish

Old post but i thought i'd put my two cents in anyway. some Jews are very offended by baptisms for the dead, they feel that it somehow makes their ancestors less jewish, or insinuates that there religion was not capable of providing for their salvation. I personally respect their arguments and feelings but at the sametime disagree.

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The mormon faith doesn't offend people who are Jewish any more than any Christian religion. As for baptism of the dead.....it might offend some. I was raised to believe that people who are Jewish didn't get baptized in life. In death they don't want to either. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the Holocaust either . It has to do with the importance Judaism plays in their lives. Judaism isn't just a religion Jews practice once a week. It's customs, culture, history and etc. Even Jews who aren't observant know not to mess with Judaism or other religions out of respect.

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I have friends who are Jewish/LDS and their is info about a group online too if you google it :)

for them it is like the OT is the schoolmaster that brings us to the NT and the BofM is a second witness us has the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

It all works together like first you must learn your numbers and Addition and subtraction before you can continue to multiplication and division and fractions then beyond that is algebra, geometry and calcus which all depend on the foundation from the OT.

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I have great respect for the belief of Jews. I have difficulty feeling anything but contempt for those Jews who whine about vicarious baptisms. Exactly one of two things must be true:

  • The baptisms do exactly what we claim, giving the dead Jews the opportunity to embrace "Mormonism" if they so choose.
  • The baptisms do not do what we claim, in which case they do nothing at all.
The third possibility, that baptisms for the dead actively condemn to hell those unfortunate enough to have their names done, is so absurd that no reasonable person could believe it, and therefore is not worth discussing further.

If the Jews who whine about this admit that #1 above is true, then they also must admit that they are openly fighting against the God they claim to worship. This makes them, by definition, wrong. Thus, they are to be ignored.

If the Jews who whine about this refuse #1 and hold to #2 above, then their objections are ridiculous. Who cares of some voodoo practitioner in Haiti sprinkles holy water over representations of your dead ancestors? Let them chant all the silly spells they want; it makes no difference to my deceased loved ones. Thus, they are to be ignored.

In either case, the ultimate response is the same.

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Before judging, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Then you're a mile away AND you have their shoes!

Those of the Jewish faith and nationality have felt as they are a HUNTED people. They feel that they are hunted in this life - Nazi's, middle eastern wars, etc. Now, they feel that these Mormon folk are gonna chase after the deceased jews to convert them? (That's how they feel.)

It's important to convey that it is a GIFT given freely for the deceased. They are free to reject that gift.

But if they (the living Jews) don't understand that, then it can easily be misunderstood.

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I have great respect for the belief of Jews. I have difficulty feeling anything but contempt for those Jews who whine about vicarious baptisms. Exactly one of two things must be true:

  • The baptisms do exactly what we claim, giving the dead Jews the opportunity to embrace "Mormonism" if they so choose.
  • The baptisms do not do what we claim, in which case they do nothing at all.
The third possibility, that baptisms for the dead actively condemn to hell those unfortunate enough to have their names done, is so absurd that no reasonable person could believe it, and therefore is not worth discussing further.

If the Jews who whine about this admit that #1 above is true, then they also must admit that they are openly fighting against the God they claim to worship. This makes them, by definition, wrong. Thus, they are to be ignored.

If the Jews who whine about this refuse #1 and hold to #2 above, then their objections are ridiculous. Who cares of some voodoo practitioner in Haiti sprinkles holy water over representations of your dead ancestors? Let them chant all the silly spells they want; it makes no difference to my deceased loved ones. Thus, they are to be ignored.

In either case, the ultimate response is the same.

Jews are an extremily diverse people in their thinking, but I believe the vast majority that do not want to be baptized by proxy is for none of the above reasons that you site.

Jews throughout history have been hated and scattered throughout the earth to live among people and cultures that thought of them as less than human. Many Jews long before the holocaust of the 20th century were willing to die and even committed suicide at Masada rather than convert and submit to Roman rule. Jews have been subject to forced conversion to Christianity throughout the ages or suffer death if they refused.

A very strong part of Jewish culture (both religious and non-religious), is their history. And Jews are very aware that tey are the lowest numbered minority in the world. They believe that their very survival as a people is because of their faith and their tenacity.

Most Jews by religion do not believe in a literal hell so they are not concerned about being condemned because of proxy baptism.

Jews also for just a little FYI have been practicing something very similst to bpatism long before the birth of Jesus. Even today, people converting to Judaism as a religion have a ritual immersion in a Mikveh (looks a lot loke a Mormon baptismal) or in natural water like the sea.

In any event the reason is that Jews are very protective of their prople as a Nation and just don't want to feel as if they are forced to convert (in this life or the next).

Others accept the idea for a number of reasons. Some I know in my family thought it was fine that I submitted their names. I also spoke with a very dear friend who is more like a father figure to me than my own father, and I spoke with him about this. He is a holocaust survovir and lived in the death camps when he was in his early 20's. He lost his entire family, parents and simblings to the gas chambers. He is now in his nineties and I spoke to him about my beliefs and asked him if he would mind in the event that he passed befoe me that I could do this for him. His answer was, "I think I will always be a Jew dear, but if it gives you happiness and peace, then go ahead and do it."

Anyway in summary Vort, I do hope you consider your thoughts on this. If you truly respect the beliefs of the Jews as you say then you cannot respect and feel contempt at the same time. Jews are not whiners about this matter. They simply want to according to their beliefs and what they know as their truth, to preserve Judaism and the house of Israel. We ned to respect that regardless of our own beliefs.

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Guest saintish

@Vort: My wife took a class on Jewish culture and she talked to her professor about this very issue. He explained that the main reason that they are offended is that they feel that by baptizing their ancestors, we are saying that their way to salvation is invalid or insufficient. Among Protestants that might not seem like a big deal but to Jews who don’t accept our beliefs as gospel it is.

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@Vort: My wife took a class on Jewish culture and she talked to her professor about this very issue. He explained that the main reason that they are offended is that they feel that by baptizing their ancestors, we are saying that their way to salvation is invalid or insufficient.

Hmmm. What's the best way to respond to this observation? Oh, I know!

Well, duh.

In other words: They are offended at our theology, so they wish us to quit practicing our beliefs. Guess what? We do believe that "their way to salvation is invalid or insufficient." That's why we do the baptisms.

Honestly, can people really be this dumb?

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Guest saintish

Don't you see how it could offend someone saying somthing like that? you are taking it too personal. they don't care if we practice our beliefs they just dont want us to involve their ancestors in our beliefs.

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Don't you see how it could offend someone saying somthing like that? you are taking it too personal. they don't care if we practice our beliefs they just dont want us to involve their ancestors in our beliefs.

Exactly. Jews don't care what other religions think and practice so long as it is not an imposition on their own believes or what THEY practice. They are not in the least offended by what Mormons do. They simply do not want it impsoted upon themselves (especially without their prior knowledge).

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Exactly. Jews don't care what other religions think and practice so long as it is not an imposition on their own believes or what THEY practice. They are not in the least offended by what Mormons do. They simply do not want it impsoted upon themselves (especially without their prior knowledge).

And how, exactly, does privately doing ordinances for names on a list impose in any possible sense or degree on the Jewish religion?

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Don't you see how it could offend someone saying somthing like that? you are taking it too personal. they don't care if we practice our beliefs they just dont want us to involve their ancestors in our beliefs.

Let's see if I can give an example to illustrate how brain-dead ludicrous it is for anyone (Jews included) to be offended by the LDS practice of proxy baptism.

Catholics and many Protestants have a practice of lighting a "votive candle". My understanding is that each candle represents a prayer or prayers said for the benefit of someone. Thus, lighting a votive candle is a token of a service being performed; some Catholics I have spoken with consider lighting the candle to be, in itself, an act of service.

Now, let us suppose a beloved relative dies. My Catholic friends tell me that they intend to light a votive candle and pray for the soul of my deceased relative. Given that I think the whole "light-a-candle-and-pray-for-the-dead" idea is silly superstition, which do you think is an appropriate response to my friends?

  • "What for? That's a stupid thing to do. Are you people really so superstitious that you think that lighting a candle will do my dead relative any good? What's the matter with you people? Stinking cultists."

  • "WHAT? How DARE you?! You think to invoke your filthy rites over the SACRED MEMORY of my dead relative? Who do you think you are, you SCUMBAG?!"

  • "What a sweet thought. Thank you."

I suggest that any decent, civilized person will respond with option c. Those who respond with options a and/or b are either not decent or not civilized, or both.

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