Baptisms for the Dead have been a part of the Mormon church almost from the beginning. For those who are not familiar with the Mormon view of baptisms for the dead feel free to review this link for articles and scriptural references on baptisms for the dead. Here is a very short history on where Baptisms for the Dead originated:
Joseph Smith had received a vision of the celestial kingdom in which he saw his brother Alvin, who had died before Joseph had received the gold plates (see D&C 137). Joseph was surprised to see Alvin in the celestial kingdom, because Alvin had not been baptized before he died. The Lord explained to Joseph that all people who would have received the gospel, been baptized, and lived righteously if they had been given the opportunity will be able to be in the celestial kingdom (see D&C 137:7). Joseph later learned that baptisms for the dead could be done vicariously, using people on the earth as proxies.
Recently there was an article that covered members of the Jewish community being upset with the LDS church because an LDS member had done what is called “baptisms for the dead” in a Mormon temple for a holocaust victim. According to the article the LDS member who did the baptisms had seriously violated the church’s policy on baptizing deceased members of the Jewish faith as there had been an agreement between top Jewish and Mormon leaders.
If this LDS member is like me, he never heard anything about an apparent agreement between the Jews and Mormons not to have deceased members of the Jewish faith get proxy baptisms.
Some members of the Jewish community were outraged and suggested that the Mormon church should do away with baptisms for the dead. This sentiment is also found within members of the Catholic church and other Evangelical churches.
Personally, I highly doubt that the Mormon church would do away with baptisms for the dead. It is one of the key aspects of the religion.
Furthermore, I don’t see the reason why members of other faiths are so opposed to baptisms for the dead. The way I see it, if they don’t believe in baptisms for the dead, then it is irrelevant if the Mormons do it in their temples.
What are your thoughts?