Forced Religious Conversions

Repent, think my way or die!

“Easy” way to build or strengthen your religion . . . if you happen to have a sword in hand, or an army standing by, or the devilish instruments of torture of the Spanish Inquisition.

You either repent and think “correctly”, i.e. MY way, or you die.  Then see what happens!  You get to heaven, you go to hell, or maybe . . .  ten thousand virgins.  Not an easy choice I grant you, but you DO have a choice!

But what if you didn’t have any choice?

What if you were just “converted” without having any say in the matter?

What if someone of a different faith, or set of beliefs, decided that you would be a part of their particular religion when you no longer had a say, when you were dead?

Well, it turns out that is what the Mormon Church has been doing all along!  You know, the Mormons.  Who advertise on the side of buses that they are just like everyone else?  Who have the teenage kids with white shirts, ties, badges and free literature doing their required year of missionary work all around the world.  The “churches” with steeples and no crosses.  They say they are Christian although a lot of Christians might disagree.  [Many traditional Christians would call it a “cult” because although it contains elements of Christianity the theology differs in many key points to the extent that Mormons, if they claim Christianity, believe that THEY are the true Christians, and all the rest . . . but, unfortunately that is a common attitude amongst many Christian groups.]  And the Mormons are those folks who love, LOVE genealogy and try to get the data about everyone’s relatives and family trees, including yours.

So now it’s no longer, “Repent, think my way or die!” because no matter how many Mormon missionaries you have turned away with the phrases “Thank you, I’m not interested” . . . or “Thank you, but I’m already a Christian, Jew, Hindu, atheist or just not interested” . . . the Mormons are going to get you.  The weapon is no longer having an army standing by, or the devilish instruments of torture of the Spanish Inquisition . . . the weapon of choice is the data base . . . and since you are already dead, you have no choice!

Now frankly when I’m dead I’m dead.  You want to baptize me as a Whatever . . . whatever!  What do I care?  I know who I am and Whose I am and nothing you can do is going to make any difference to me.

But what kind of religion or cult goes around digging people’s names up from the dead and baptizing them into their cult at temples around the world?  I grant you, it gives people something to do . . . but . . . really?  And there ARE people who DO care!  Maybe my kids do NOT want me to be baptized as a Mormon?  Frankly it sounds like stuffing the heavenly ballot box Chicago-style, but no religion or cult should take it upon itself to convert me or anyone else after we’ve made our choice and gone on to our eternal reward.

All of the PR hype – “Mormons are just like everyone else” – gets destroyed if your religion is based on this kind of foolishness and tampering with the memory and religious choices others made while they were alive.  Respect the fact that they said “No” again and again to that endless stream of cute, but naive-looking Mormon kids at the door.

The picture is Brigham Young, of BYU fame, who had 55 wives. OK, some Mormons want to be polygamous, a messy part of Mormon history which the mainstream church has tried to lay to rest. Fine by me.  Have a dozen women or men.  Sleep with whomever you wish.   That’s not my business and that’s not the business of the state.  Same with gay marriage.  Your choice.  If your church defines marriage as two committed people united in the sight of God . . . go for it.  If you church wants to define it as only men and women, or women and women, or men and men, or a half-dozen or several dozen people in a relationship, fine, it’s a religious matter for your church to decide for you.  Not for me.  Not for anyone else.  I’ll go with marriage being ordained by God.  But partnership, that legal binding union and identity, is defined by the state.  And if the state defines a partnership as two people . . . and only two people . . . so be it. And if the state defines a minimum age-of-consent, OK. That’s something for which the state needs to take responsibility.

Now we’re hit with this ugly truth about Mormons baptizing the dead of other faiths into their religion . . . and particularly what’s hitting the headlines now is some Mormons having the audacity and nerve to baptize Jewish victims of the Holocaust into Mormonism. Of course it comes at a particularly embarrassing moment when a well-known Mormon wants to be President of the United States.  Romney apparently passes the “one wife” test, unlike I might add at least one of his conservative, Republican opponents. [And you thought Obama stepped in it with Jeremiah Wright?]

But this brings to light that we really don’t know a lot about this Mormon faith and some of their secretive practices. [OK we don’t know about the secret practices of the Skull & Bones gang nor the Masons either.] Apparently the Mormons have now agreed to no longer baptize Holocaust victims, or at least people who are somewhat “well known” . . . but what about us ordinary folks . . . but what about Presbyterians, and Hindus and Muslims?  If the Muslims were secretly baptizing the rest of the world into Islam holy terror would break out.

I’m a man of faith.  I’d be happy to share my faith with you.  But I respect that it is a matter of your choice.  It’s not like selling eternal time shares!  I think I’ve made the right choice . . . for me.  Does that mean that everyone else made the wrong choice and is going to “miss out” on heaven?  I don’t know.  I know what’s right for me and I trust that God will sort out the details in the end.

6 thoughts on “Forced Religious Conversions

  1. Thanks for your spiel, Dick. Whether fundamentalists of any stripe, Mormons,or JWs, the imposition of coerced religion on a person is wrong-just plain wrong. Whether the threat is emotional, physical, or psychological, makes no difference. Although I am a Christian, I have been told by others that I am not “really a Christian” because I don’t believe/practice certain things. What balderdash! In the USA, we have freedom of and from religion. Let’s keep it that way!

  2. i have enjoyed reading you because you provide facts to support your points of view, but there is a lot of innuendo in this piece, it doesn’t explain how mormons are engaging in this practice, what are your sources etc. making it read and sound “yellow.” Please provide background for the piece. Muchas gracias

    Nelva, While Wikipedia may not be the end all and be all of information, it does provide a concise explanation of baptism of the dead and the Mormon practice and being Wikipedia it is of course open to Mormons to correct inaccuracies in the piece. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead Along the same line, you might be interested in the article on polygamy and Mormonism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy Regards, Richard

  3. funny, you said alot like I do…but my stories are about the first Christian Swedish Vikings who in turn went to Finland to ‘convert’ them….
    “you shall now be a Christian , or I will kill you in the name of the all loving God”

    makes sense…lol

  4. Richard, I always enjoy reading your blogs. However, while what you have said is true, I don’t believe it would affect Mitt Romney being our President. And he may be our only best choice?!

    My opinion is, after I am dead, who cares! But, I do hate to see more doubt cast on someone who might be an excellent president.

    Sandra . . . And he might be . . . actually when I was in college I worked for George Romney’s campaign. When Romney came to speak at Calvin College, along with former Vice President Richard Nixon, I happened to finagle a spot just behind the steps of the main building where they were to make a campaign appearance on behalf of Romney. Of course I ignored Tricky Dick to shake Romney’s hand . . . after all you want to shake the next president’s hand, right? Little did I realize Nixon would eventually become President and Romney would fade away. For all his faults, Nixon went to China – stunning at the time! – and really did change the course of history. Romney Jr? I voted for Reagan as a good Republican – liked him, but he sure contributed to the mess we’re in, and even voted for Papa George Bush the first time, but George The Kid drove me out of the Republican party for good – with my ancestor Herbert Hoover now rolling over in his grave. Under George Junior the Republican party started sticking its nose into EVERYTHING and government took control of our lives. Freedom as we knew it went out the window under something misnamed as “The Patriot Act” and the United States of America became the fascist-sounding “Homeland.” Now the government has its nose in every area of your life. I’d probably vote for Obama again, disappointed as I am that he didn’t CHANGE enough and that unfortunately just followed along on too many of Bush’s policies. Unfortunately the Republicans don’t seem to be able to get it together around an exciting and experienced leader. That’s my opinion, but if you’ve watched the primaries, it seems to be the opinion of most Republicans or by now they would have found a leader. As to Romney being a Mormon: it’s a first. Not a deal-breaker, but we all should know a little bit more about Mormons and what “they” believe . . . well at least some. P-l-e-e-e-s-e don’t paint all Christians with Rick Santorum’s Christian version of Sharia law, and just because Romney’s a Mormon doesn’t mean he thinks the same as Brigham Young although he went to Brigham Young University. Of course I went to Calvin College and I don’t necessarily think the same as John Calvin on everything either! Regards, Richard

    PS – Not that he has a chance, but Ron Paul, were he the Republican candidate, just might get me back into the fold! I’ve allowed all my ancestors to remain Republicans and have not felt the need to have them baptized in death as Democrats!

  5. Holy Moroni! A couple of decades ago I was researching my genealogy (In a Mormon Library) and discovered that one of my ancestors was baptized into the Mormon church in 1895. Kinda put me off. They have been doing this a long time. Even Hitler was baptized! Then there is that sacred underwear thing. Can’t make this stuff up! Or can you?

    WTF (Which we all now know, as a result of my recent posting quoting Jesus, Muhammad and Moses having coffee together at Starbucks and commenting on the state of their various religions asking one another “WTF” which of course when Jesus, Muhammad and Moses use it clearly means “Where’s the faith?”), special religious garments have of course been around a long time. Do you think the Pope wears boxers? Jewish temple “underwear” goes way back to Levitical law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_undergarments Some Jews today wear an overgarment called a Tallit, often confused as underwear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallit But the Mormon thing is indeed a kind of underwear preferably called “temple wear” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_garment Not exactly Victoria Secret or Calvin Klein! [Obviously not related to John Calvin] Pic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Garment.jpg Oh yeah, the Pope and everyone else wear “vestments” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestment Regards and keep the faith, Richard

  6. Richard….methinks that you’re stretching things a bit. There’s nothing “forced” in this at all. Hell, they can baptize me a couple of hundred times over after I’m gone…or now for that matter…it’s just a ritual that doesn’t affect me in one way or the other. In fact, even surmising that this is a “forced conversion” is lunacy.
    When I was young, I used to change the lyrics to “Imagine”, by John Lennon, in my head because I didn’t like the line about religion

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace

    Now, however, I think Lennon was spot on….putting aside the political undertone to your comments. I would suggest, as well, that your judging their ways and rituals by your life history.

    Now, if you were making statements about forced religion and writing about the treatment of women in Middle Eastern countries, I’d be right there with you buddy. But, to poke at Mormons, because of your views and judgement of them, then I would say, leave that to your God and instead of condemning them, try accepting them and live life in peace.

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