Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mormons Posthumously Baptized Father Damien and 'Sealed' Him to a Wife


By Kristen Moulton

The Salt Lake Tribune

Father Damien, the Roman Catholic priest who cared for lepers in Hawaii in the 19th century, apparently is a saint twice over.

Damien, who was born Joseph De Veuster in Belgium, was canonized a saint by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday in Rome.

But Helen Radkey, a critic of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Monday that research shows Mormons have both baptized Damien by proxy and "sealed" him for eternity to a wife named Marie Damien.

There is no evidence Damien ever married, which would have been a violation of his vow of celibacy.

St. Damien, who died of leprosy in 1889 after working among those quarantined on the Hawaiian island of Molokai for 16 years, is considered an intercessor for patients with leprosy (Hansen's disease), HIV, AIDS as well as for abandoned children, disoriented youths, exploited women, neglected elderly people and oppressed minorities.

The Catholic Church declares a person to be a saint -- or a model for the faithful and a person who has special pull with God in answer to prayers -- only after extensive investigation and proof of two miracles.

Radkey said research into the LDS Church's FamilySearch database indicates that Damien, born in 1840 in Belgium, was baptized by proxy, given his "endowments" and sealed to his parents for eternity Oct. 22, 1983, in the Los Angeles Temple.

More recently, Damien was sealed to a wife, which Radkey calls "bogus," on

March 15, 2000, at the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan.

"It's blatantly wrong to seal a person who took a vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest and is so revered in his Catholic religion," said Radkey, a former Catholic. "It's insulting to perform such an action posthumously. It's very disrespectful."

LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter said he could not comment on the specifics of Radkey's claim, which echoes her previous reports that Mormons have performed ordinances for President Barack Obama's mother, Holocaust victims and fundamentalist polygamists who were booted from the church.

"It is counter to church policy to submit anyone's name for temple ordinances if you aren't related to that person," Trotter said. "The church reiterates this policy regularly and we follow it to the best of our ability."

LDS doctrine holds that baptisms and other ordinances performed by the living in temples are offered to those who have died, who are free in the afterlife to accept or reject them.


swissmiss said...

"It's insulting to perform such an action posthumously. It's very disrespectful."

While I greatly appreciate the genealogical resources of the LDS, this baptism by proxy stuff is offensive. And the claim that, "it is counter to church policy to submit anyone's name for temple ordinances if you aren't related to that person" is rather weak. It seens the only requirement is the LDS member fills out paperwork, which is comprised of their own research and submits it for the temple ordinances. This research greatly varies in its accuracy. Some LDS members I've dealt with are excellent genealogical researchers, others couldn't correctly identify their ancestors if one fell in their lap. And, once you start moving back a few generations, the mathmatical progression of people becomes huge rather quickly, especially if you include cousins, siblings, and other shirt-tail relations. So where do you draw the line on who is related? I don't think there is a line because their goal (duty?) is to find everyone they are related to and get them baptised. And, who is checking the research for accuracy? Is there a criteria?

Sarah - Kala said...

My friend and I "argued" over this when we were in high school, she a Mormon and I a Lutheran. Well, Lutheran's have the Nicene CREED , and we grew up saying "One baptism for the forgiveness of sins" . . . there's an eternal mark of it on my soul. I tried to explain how wrong and offensive, irregardless of intentions, to baptize anyone against their will; and, after death, we aren't available to chose such things because our life was to be lived in that choice before death. Well, I'm Catholic now - have been 13 years. This is why I love the Creed. I know what I believe and I can say it succinctly to anyone who questions me. I was able to do this as a Lutheran as well. LDS have good intentions, I think, but some of that stuff the go for is just odd and easily enough reasoned out.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

This makes the belief that a terrorist will have 1000 virgins after death seem to make sense.