Is this planet earth?

For those of you who know me, you know I live in Utah. And when you think of Utah you probably think of all of the beautiful National Parks and recreation opportunities, Park City and Sundance Film Festival. Oh wait, I almost forgot. Mormons.

Firstly I have to defend the state which I live and it's dominant religion and say that it has created a really, really great place to raise a family. Overall the crime rate is low, most activities or festivals are kid friendly. And I like living here. Honestly, I can usually overlook the annoyance that comes with living in a very religious state. I mean, Utah isn't the only one. There are others whose laws are heavily influenced by the dominant religion, but it doesn't seem that they bleed their religiosity from every pore of their being.

Last night I was out with my family having dinner at a The Union Grill and afterward we went to Farr's Ice Cream. For those of you familiar with Ogden, you know this is a mainstay of town. Particularly on hot summer nights. It attracts all kinds of people - families, kids on dates and old people but there is one thing you can always count on.....Temple Workers. You can spot them (and yes I mean them in that sort of way) from a mile away. The Ogden LDS Temple is right across the street from Farr's Ice Cream so they often walk over and have some ice cream. It is a wholesome activity after all.

While we were there a car load of middle aged men pulled up wearing slacks and ties. I said to Thom, "Here they come. Watch for the carload of teenage girls followed by the carload of teenage boys." Sure enough, not more than a minute later the girls arrived followed by the boys. They all got out, looking so prim and proper, wearing their Sunday best. They were having an ice cream treat after completing their temple work. Baptisms for the dead, by proxy.

You might ask, "how do you baptize people after they are dead?"

This is not a short explanation. You have been warned.

A lot of people are interested in genealogy, family history etc but Mormons are REALLY interested in it. Not just to know who their ancestors were but in order to do temple work for them from beyond the grave. Spooky, isn't it?

After the list of ancestors has been compiled the names find their way into "the church" records and all different kinds of temple work is done for them, by proxy. In most other states (or countries) when you say, the church, it usually refers to the Roman Catholic Church or even the Church of England. In Utah, when you say "the church" you can bet your bottom dollar they are referring to the Mormon Church.

So on to the process. The list of names is prepared, young men and women don their Sunday best, climb into the suburban (the 'burb) and head downtown to the local temple. They go into the locker room and change into the sacred white temple garments (and I'm not referring to THE garments, these are reserved for those who have obtained a temple recommend and have taken out their "endowments") and line up outside of the baptismal font. One by one they take their turn being baptized, by proxy, 20-50 times depending on the number of people waiting in "paradise" for the opportunity to be Mormon.

The prayer is said, your entire body is immersed in the water, you come up for air and start over again with the next name on the list. There is a teleprompter with the prayer and the names. It's all very bizarre and cult-like.

Personally I find it creepy that some middle aged guy stands around in a pool of water all day playing "wet t-shirt contest" with a bunch of teen aged kids. Just feels weird to me.

I don't have any details about temple work aside from Baptisms for the dead because this is the only thing I have ever participated in. And in my defense, I did it, not because I felt some kind of holy responsibility to do it, but because when you are a 14 year old girl living in a Mormon state, being raised Mormon, it's what you do. And this is the sad thing. Luckily I had my mind about me enough not to be duped by the rhetoric, not everyone is as lucky as me. Most kids who are raised Mormon, die Mormon. It's the sad truth. And I think a large number or Mormons, stay Mormon, not because they really to believe it is "the one true church," but because they are terrified to do anything about it. The stigma of "falling away" is great here.

Personally, if I believed there was a heaven and I was waiting for rapture or the end of the world and someone on Earth tried baptizing me into a religion I didn't want to be a part of, I'd be pissed. And God would hear about it!

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