MORMON BAPTISM DOCTRINES
1) Mormons believe that eternal life comes by water
Doctrines & Covenants 128:12 Herein is glory and honor, and
immortality and eternal life--The ordinance of baptism by water, to
be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead,
that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the
water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the
resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence,
this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the
ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.
Correction: Eternal life is through sincere belief in and
confession of Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and
he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of
God abides on him."
John 6:47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me
has everlasting life."
Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in
your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we
preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will
be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and
with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Note: Joseph Smith used baptism to promote the pagan
doctrine of baptism for the dead.
2) Mormon missionaries preach baptism as the means of
Latter-day Revelation, concerning baptism and its object, shows
that the same importance is ascribed by the Lord to the ordinance
today as in earlier times. That there may be no question as to the
application of this doctrine to the Church in the present
dispensation, the principle has been restated, the law has been
reenacted for our guidance. The elders of the Church are commissioned
to preach the remission of sins as obtainable through the means of
authorized baptism. A Study of the Articles of Faith, Talmage, page
Correction: Christians will preach the person of Jesus Christ
as the means of salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize,
but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of
Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is
foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved
it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the
gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which
you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word
which I preached to you; unless you believed in vain. For I delivered
to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for
our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and
that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
3) Mormons believe that admission to the church of Christ is by
The Special Purpose of Baptism is to afford admission to the
Church of Christ with remission of sins. What need of more words to
prove the worth of this divinely appointed ordinance? What gift could
be offered the human race greater than a sure means of obtaining
forgiveness for transgression? Justice forbids the granting of
universal and unconditional pardon for sins committed except through
obedience to ordained law; but means simple and effective are
provided whereby the penitent sinner may enter into a covenant with
God, sealing that covenant with the sign that commands recognition in
heaven, that he will submit himself to the laws of God; thus he
places himself within the reach of Mercy, under whose protecting
influence he may win eternal life. A Study of the Articles of Faith,
Talmage, page 121.
Correction: Admission to the true church of Jesus Christ is
by sincere confession of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16:15-18 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the
living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you,
Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are
Peter, and on this rock (confession) I will build My church, and
the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
Who is Helen Radkey and why is she out to get the LDS Church?
Ex-Mormon has defenders, critics in quest to eliminate LDS proxy baptisms.
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 12/04/2009 01:48:48 PM MST
Helen Radkey sits in her tiny Millcreek apartment amid images of Buddha
and Egyptian sun gods, good-luck charms, sacred texts, tarot cards and
a makeshift shrine to a Catholic saint, complete with a relic. Her
refrigerator is awash in photos of children, grandchildren and friends
from around the country and across the globe.
Both bedrooms are piled high with box after box of file folders,
evidence of her decadeslong drive to undermine the LDS Church's temple
ritual in which living Mormons are baptized for a person who has died.
Each folder contains the name and personal information of an individual
who has been posthumously baptized. She found the data through the
church's Family History Library, poring over its genealogical records
and looking for those people she believes ought not be there -- from
Catholic saints to offshoot polygamists to infamous scoundrels such as
Adolf Hitler and famous people such as President Barack Obama's mother.
Since 1993, she has garnered widespread media attention with every new
find. She traveled to Rome several times to "warn" Vatican officials of
the growing warmth between Utah's Mormon and Catholic leaders,
reporting proxy baptisms of dead Catholics, including martyrs and
She alerted Jewish genealogists that Mormons were not keeping their 1995 agreement to stop baptizing Holocaust victims.
Radkey has become an irritant to Mormon officials and the church
faithful, who wince every time a newspaper reports her latest find in
LDS baptismal records.
"I call her the Erin Brockovich of the Mormon/Jewish controversy," says
New Jersey resident Gary Mokotoff, past president of the International
Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies who signed the agreement
and feels indebted to Radkey for what he considers impeccable research.
"You can defame her any way you want personality-wise, but she's still
Radkey's quest to eliminate LDS proxy baptisms may seem an odd
obsession for a Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-New-Ager from Hobart,
Australia, but in many ways it fits neatly with the bulldog for justice
she always has been.
Radkey descended from Irish Catholics on her father's side and British
convicts and free settlers on her mother's. Her mom, a Protestant who
converted to Catholicism at her marriage, often took Radkey and her
brother to cemeteries, which is where young Helen first developed an
interest in genealogy and a reverence for the dead.
Radkey attended Catholic schools, but eventually went looking for
another faith. In 1963, two Mormon missionaries knocked on the door
where she was a wife and mother. For eight long years, her husband
refused to let her join this American-born religion, but Radkey was
determined. In 1971, she relinquished the marriage and custody of her
son and daughter for a chance to join.
"I gave up everything for the church," she says.
Later that year, Radkey met Stuart Olmstead, an American who was living
in Australia. He also joined the LDS Church; they were wed and later
"sealed" in a Mormon temple. They had identical twin sons after moving
to Sydney, hundreds of miles to the north.
That's where Radkey's sense of fair play kicked in.
In a neighboring LDS congregation, four members were excommunicated
after a disagreement with LDS officials in Sydney. The ouster outraged
Radkey, who complained loudly about the treatment.
As punishment for speaking out, Radkey says, she and her husband were
disfellowshipped, a step just short of excommunication, and stopped
attending. Three years later, she condemned blind obedience in a tract
called Free Agency in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in Australia and distributed 300 to 400 copies to members in the area.
Then it was Radkey's turn to be excommunicated, but she long since had
stopped believing in Mormon doctrine. She ultimately came to see LDS
teachings as "poppycock" and the church as an oppressive institution,
even a cult.
"I'd lost a sense of there being one true church," she recalls, "and began to explore universal principles."
In 2001, Radkey attended the viewing of LDS general authority Loren C.
Dunn, a mission president in Sydney during her falling-out with the
faith. Standing over Dunn's casket, she said, "I forgive you."
Moving to Utah
On a December 1980 visit to Boston, Radkey heard Neil Diamond's
"America" and promptly decided to move here. The family settled in
Kentucky, where Olmstead's family lived, but the marriage didn't last.
In 1984, she moved with her sons to the heart of the LDS Church: Utah.
"I had some unresolved concerns with Mormonism," Radkey says. "I
thought I could help Mormons who had gone through what I had. I felt
like I had to finish something."
She also had a premonition that she would have something to do with Jews.
"The Jewish imprint had been on me for a long time," she says. "I
developed a passion for the Holocaust. I have five crates of Holocaust
books, took Israeli dancing and even took Hebrew classes."
In Utah, she met Anthony Radkey, who worked in a flour mill and
installed windows. Before she would marry him, Radkey insisted the
nonpracticing Mormon have his name removed from LDS Church records.
That marriage ended in 1992.
While the twin boys developed their athletic prowess, Radkey spent time
doing psychic readings, studying various spiritual traditions and
occasionally prancing around the house, crooning Diamond's hits.
She applied for and became a minister in the Universal Life Church
because, she says, it didn't have a particular dogma, just promoted
justice. Plus, she adds, "you can never be disbarred or excommunicated."
Radkey did feel that her boys needed a religious identity, so she sent
them to St. Ann Catholic Parish and School in Salt Lake City.
That didn't satisfy her, either. She pulled the twins out of Catholic
schools and sent them to Highland High, where they won tennis titles
and earned scholarships to Gonzaga, a Catholic university in Spokane,
"It was an interesting childhood," says Matthew Olmstead, one of her
34-year-old sons and an information-technology-management consultant in
Los Angeles. "She was on a crusade ... to single-handedly take down the
Mormon religion. She was so consumed by that, we had a hard time
relating to it."
Today, Olmstead respects his mother's work against proxy baptisms, but doesn't share her need to fight the practice.
"She sends us e-mails all the time, I feel bad because we can't read it
all," he says. "I couldn't care less what Mormons do behind closed
doors in their temples. I don't see the impact that [proxy baptism]
has. It's all based on a belief system, and, if you don't buy into it,
it's not going to move you."
Still, he recognizes it's a cause that keeps his energetic mother going.
"She needs to have a project to keep her busy. If not this, it would
have been something else," says Olmstead, who, like all her children,
remains close to Radkey. "She's very smart but could have done better
if she had gone into business."
Birth of an obsession
In July 1993, just as the twins were graduating from high school,
Radkey traveled to the (Jesuit) Martyrs' Shrine in Ontario, Canada.
Moved by what she saw, she returned to discover that Mormons had
performed proxy baptisms for Gabriel Lalemant and the other martyrs.
Thus began her dogged effort to publicize every posthumous LDS baptism
that might offend others' religious sensibilities, beginning with Roman
Catholics. In the mid-1990s, she remained focused on Catholic names,
reporting findings to the Salt Lake City Diocese's bishop, George H.
Niederauer, who dismissed her concerns.
After 1995, when LDS officials agreed to remove more than 350,000
Jewish Holocaust names from their records, Radkey explored whether
those names were back on the list. By 2000, she reported some 19,000
names had reappeared.
In September and October 2002, she met with Family History Library
officials to offer them her research for a price -- $30,000 and a
continuing fee of $18 an hour, according to the Jewish magazine Forward
-- but the LDS Church declined.
Instead, the Jewish Holocaust group compensated her for the hours and
hours she had spent scrutinizing LDS genealogical records for
Jewish-sounding names of people who died in Europe between 1942 and
Today, when she uncovers in those temple records any names she
considers inappropriate or outrageous -- such as Anne Frank, Sen.
Edward Kennedy or the recently canonized Catholic saint Father Damien
-- she often alerts the press.
"I don't think it's right to impose [LDS] rituals on those who didn't
share their beliefs when they were alive," she says. "We should be
letting souls rest in peace and let them be who they were."
Mormons believe they have a spiritual mandate to offer the faith to
those throughout human history who didn't have a chance to embrace it
while they were alive. They see proxy baptisms as invitations, not
compulsions. Those who have passed on can either accept or reject the
This doctrine - offering salvation to as many as possible - drives the church's genealogical mission.
If Radkey succeeded in scuttling the practice, the church no longer
would feel compelled to collect and maintain all those records -- a
loss to Mormons and non-Mormons alike.
Those most harmed by last year's Vatican edict to stop allowing LDS
researchers to copy parish records were, ironically, Catholics.
"Most parishes can't or don't answer letters because they are
understaffed and their highest priority is the living, as it should
be," Kathy Kirkpatrick, a Quaker and past president of Salt Lake City's
professional genealogist association, said at the time. "Most folks
don't have the resources to visit a parish in person ... and sometimes
even a personal visit doesn't get access to the records."
Not surprisingly, Radkey has defenders and critics -- in and out of the
LDS Church. She declines to name any Mormon friends for fear of
reprisals against them. But she gladly claims career anti-Mormons
Sandra Tanner and Michael Marquardt among her admirers.
Neither of them is as consumed by the proxy-baptism issue, but both support her efforts.
Tanner, who, with her late husband, Jerald, created Utah Lighthouse
Ministry to "document problems with the claims of Mormonism and compare
LDS doctrines with Christianity," calls Radkey an "indefatigable
researcher" who "has done a phenomenal job."
Marquardt, a researcher of early Mormon history, helped Radkey assemble
the materials she took to Rome. He praises her work ethic. "She spends
hours doing this, looking up names and locations. As far as I know,
it's always checked out."
In recent years, Radkey talked about her work at the annual meeting of
American Atheists and posted her research findings on
mormoncurtain.com, a site for ex-Mormons to share their stories and
Radkey's longtime Salt Lake City friend Lynda Marsh sees a softer, gentler side to this genealogical pit bull.
"Helen can come across as looking like a hard woman, but don't be
fooled, she's not," Marsh says. "She has a lot of compassion as well.
She'll go the extra mile for a person. She did it for me when my
husband was sick."
Marsh acknowledges Radkey's persistence can be annoying.
Once she starts talking about one of her pet issues, it's hard for her
to stop. She frequently goes on tangents, piling detail upon detail
from her encyclopedic mind, often dropping name after name she has
discovered in the LDS library system. She cannot resist writing letters
of complaint to newspapers on everything from prayer at public meetings
and school choirs singing at religious services to the Catholic stance
on gay marriage.
"Helen is a very dedicated person, not only to her research projects
but to everything she undertakes," says Marsh, a former Mormon who
shares Radkey's concerns about proxy baptisms. "Whether working on a
job or with mentally disabled people, she gives her all to it. She's
very dedicated to detail. What can you say when she's so passionate
Critics see it differently.
Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City's Congregation Bais Menachem is
equally distressed by the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims,
believing that a conversion requires a full-fledged, conscious
willingness. Any kind of proxy baptism "is morally offensive and deeply
hurtful to both the survivors of the Holocaust," he says, "as well as
to the souls of those who died and laid down their lives for their
Still, when Radkey came to him for support, he wanted nothing to do with her efforts.
"I don't like nurturing or enhancing negative energy," Zippel says. "I
have been here for 18 years, enjoyed a very positive, enriching
experience interaction with the LDS Church, with [former] President
[Gordon B.] Hinckley and now with President [Thomas S.] Monson. I don't
want to get involved with anything that is damaging to other people."
Gordon Remington, a Protestant professional genealogist, appreciates
the use of the LDS Family History Library. He is fully aware of the
theological reason Mormons gather the data and is not offended by it.
But Remington is offended by any individuals who use the Family History
Library for personal and/or professional research yet seek to criticize
or undermine the purpose for which the library exists.
"From the standpoint of a professional genealogist," Remington says, "I find that unethical."
Radkey says she is finished digging up questionable proxy baptisms.
After completing a writing course at Salt Lake Community College, she
plans to pen a screenplay about serial killer Ted Bundy, aka Theodore
Although Bundy joined the LDS Church when he was alive, he nonetheless was posthumously baptized in a Mormon temple.
Who discovered this? Helen Radkey.
Jewish group wants Mormons to stop proxy baptisms
By DEEPTI HAJELA and JENNIFER DOBNER
November 10, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust
survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon
church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps,
saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the
Ernest Michel, honorary
chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said talks with
leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which were held as
recently as last week, are over.
"We do not ask for, or want
your love," Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz, said in a statement
released ahead of a news conference Monday, the 70th anniversary of
Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.
"We ask you to respect us and
our Judaism just as we respect your religion," he said. "We ask you to leave our
six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."
The church denied the charge.
The 1995 agreement says the church will not perform baptisms or other rites for
Holocaust victims, except in the very rare instances when they have living
descendants who are Mormon.
Church spokesman Mike
Otterson said Michel's decision to publicly denounce the church seems like a
unilateral termination of the discussion.
"Those steps by Mr. Michel on
behalf of the American Gathering were both unnecessary and unfortunate and belie
the long and valued mutual respect that we have had in past years," Otterson
said in an e-mail.
Posthumous baptism by proxy
is a sacred rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.
The practice allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the
178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.
Using genealogy records, the
church also baptizes people who have died from all over the world and from
different religions. Mormons stand in as proxies for the person being baptized
and immerse themselves in a baptismal pool.
Only the Jews have an
agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement
covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly
offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered
specifically because of their religion.
In May, the Vatican ordered
Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from Mormons so that
Catholics could not be baptized.
Under the agreement with the
Holocaust group, Mormons could enter the names of only those Holocaust victims
to whom they were directly related. The church also agreed to remove the names
of Holocaust victims already entered into its massive genealogical database.
Otterson said the church has
kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 200,000 names from the
But since 2005, ongoing
monitoring of the database by a Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both
resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.
The researcher, Helen Radkey,
who works for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of
Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped
into the database.
She said she has seen and
recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate Mormon religious
rites, including baptisms, had been conducted for these Holocaust victims, some
as recently as July.
"I've seen a steady
procession of Jewish Holocaust names, especially names with camps linked to
them, going to the International Genealogical Index," said Radkey, who
acknowledges that she has limited access to the records. "There's no possible
way of knowing exactly how many names, but it's substantial."
Associated Press Writer
Jennifer Dobner reported from Salt Lake City.
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