Mormon ex-presidential candidate and current U.S. Senate candidate has spoken out in anger about Baptist preacher, Robert Jeffress, praying at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Calling Jeffress a “religious bigot,” Romney took exception that the pastor would be given the honor of praying at today’s opening of the embassy, by invitation of the President of the United States. The embassy had previously been located in Tel Aviv, and although other presidents have pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem in a symbolic overture noting that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, until President Trump, no one has followed through on the promise. The embassy opened today amidst protest by Palestinians and at least one Mormon in Utah.
Jeffress’ comments that have been the subject of much ire include the statement, “God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell.”
This, of course, is Christian orthodoxy. With the exception of a tiny minority of professing Christians who hold to the heresy of Universalism, virtually all believers hold to the Exclusivity of Christ. This doctrine teaches that without the profession of and faith in Christ’s death and resurrection for the remission of sins, there is no salvation. Likewise, with the exception of a very few, Christians have always historically held to the doctrine of hell. Mormons, on the other hand, do not believe in hell, but rather in the three heavens, the level of which one is assigned is dependent upon man’s good works. Essentially, Romney is upset that someone who is an orthodox Christian is leading prayer at the embassy opening, which ironically enough, is actual religion bigotry.
Mormonism, on the other hand, has been repeatedly accused of anti-semitism throughout recent history.
Regarding baptism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), believe that baptism is necessary for salvation (they still use the term “salvation” even though they do not believe in hell). Because many people die without baptisms, or baptism by an authority other than the LDS cult, they believe that the dead can be baptized by proxy. In other words, the living can baptize the dead in absentia. It is up to the deceased to then determine whether or not they will accept their proxy baptism. This is the reason why the LDS have lead the way in ancestry research and have put together massive ancestor databases they’ve successfully marketed to the public. To save ones’ deceased relatives, they have to know who those relatives are. They are then baptized as proxies. However, an agreement between Romney’s Mormon church and Jewish leaders have arranged for Holocaust victims to not be baptized by the Mormon church via proxy.
According to USA Today, an agreement was reached between the LDS church and Jewish leaders to better scrutinize the Mormon ancestry database and the purge it of names of Holocaust victims. Furthermore, the proxy baptisms already conducted by the LDS on behalf of Holocaust victims were to be expunged and annulled. Both religions chose committee members to comb through the extensive ancestry database, called the International Geneological Index, to ensure that no Jews would be included in the baptisms. The 1995 agreement removed over 300,000 Holocaust victim names from the registry, and the baptisms were to be purged from Mormon records.
As the Christian Courier pointed out, “If the Mormons really believe that the salvation of millions of dead people is dependent upon what they do (i.e., submitting to many baptisms on behalf of others), why on earth would they mutually sign a contract with the Jews not to practice “proxy baptism” on behalf of victims of the Holocaust? Is Bible truth on the “trading block,” so that it may be bargained away because someone is upset over a matter?”
The move was widely heralded as anti-semitic because the logic is clear. If one has to be baptized (even by proxy, post-death) to be saved, and if the LDS agree not to baptize Jews posthumously, then doesn’t that mean they’re consigning them to an eternity without salvation? That seems…bigoted.
Also speaking at the event was John Hagee, who holds to Dual Covenant Theology, a belief that Jews retain the option of being saved by the Sinaitic Covenant, and therefore do not need to be evangelized by Christians.
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