Salt Lake City Feature
Genealogy in the Mormon Faith
According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, "searching for and compiling genealogical information are sacred responsibilities to Latter-day Saints." It is not considered a hobby or even optional; it is a "commandment of God," dating to 1894. LDS church members believe that the family is of eternal significance, and the purpose of compiling detailed genealogical records is to "identify one’s roots, to perform saving ordinances in a temple for persons who did not receive them in mortal life, and to seal individuals together for eternity as families." Mormons believe that all people should have the opportunity to hear the gospel in mortal life or the "spirit world," so they actively baptize their ancestors (and others) by proxy in a sacred rite in a temple. Although church doctrine acknowledges that the posthumous baptism of individuals may not be accepted by its target, the practice is controversial. There are many instances of overzealous LDS "Baptists" going well beyond their own families to offer baptisms to nonchurch members, including Holocaust victims and U.S. presidents.
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