Mormons believe that every person on this planet must receive ordinances to be “saved” from their sins, and oftentimes Mormons perform special magical incantations on behalf of dead people. (Can’t get us while we are alive, get us when we are dead and can’t dispute these idiocies). These magical rituals are performed by “proxy“ on behalf of the dead person they feel needs saving. Mormons believe that the ghosts of the dearly departed may accept or reject the offered ordinance in the spirit world. There are also rituals for Baptism of the dead (also done by proxy with a stand in for the dead person).
Sound crazy? Well, not to Mitt Romney and family:
Gawker’s substantial Mormon readership has come through for us: Two readers have sent us confirmation that Edward Davies, Mitt Romney’s militantly atheist father-in-law, was indeed posthumously converted to Mormonism by his family, despite the fact that when he was alive he regarded all religions as “hogwash.”
Ann Romney’s Welsh-born father (who Mitt mentioned in last night’s debate to shore up his pro-immigrant bona fides) was an engineer, inventor, and resolute atheist who disdained all organized religion and raised his children accordingly. Davies, his son Roderick told the Boston Globe in 2007, regarded the faithful as “weak in the knees.” But when Mitt began seeing Davies’ daughter Ann, the Romney family launched a concerted effort to convert not only Ann but her entire family to Mormonism. And they were wildly successful: Within a year of meeting Ann, Mitt and his father had converted all three of Edward Davies’ children. Days before she died in 1993, Ann Romney’s mother asked to be converted as well. Edward Davies was the only member of his clan whose soul the Romneys never claimed for their church.
Of course this is all empty superstition, as Davies realized. Being dead, he wasn’t particularly in a place to care about whatever voodoo was performed in his name. But it’s an exceedingly odd way for the Romney family to honor the memory of a man who was committed, for his entire life, to the notion that organized religion is a fraud.
The Mormon church has repeatedly been criticized for its practice of trawling for dead souls to convert to the faith. Catholic and Jewish organizations have expressed outrage when the names of dead popes and Holocaust victims have turned up on Mormon lists of the baptized. In 1995, the church pledged to “discontinue any future baptisms of deceased Jews” except for direct descendents of living Mormons, tacitly acknowledging that its creepy and weird to claim the souls of people who had no interest in Mormonism for their own. It’s strange that the Romney and Davies families didn’t accord Edward Davies’ memory the same respect.
I am truly embarrassed for and by the Republican Party with all their assortment of kooky candidates which are composed of a wide variety of religious zealots, superstitious nutjobs, and paranoid conspiracy theorists.