Nothing But Rants
Telling you why things suck since 2012. A Cliff Reinitz blog.

Anne Frank the Mormon

So it happens that a friend of mine (yes, jackass, I have friends) sent me an article from CNN about some Mormons who are getting in trouble for baptizing Anne Frank.  Yeah, that one.  The one whose capital-D Diary you read when you were in eighth grade, and her cover picture made her look just like any other girl, only a bit more dorky but not in a bad way.  The book was really important, you were told.  You went along with it because you knew her name and her story already because who doesn’t know who Anne Frank was?  So you actually read a book your teacher gave you for the first time, and you felt really bad for Anne, because she was just a kid and she didn’t deserve any of the shit that happened to her.

And then you grew up and you found out that you’d been pronouncing her name wrong all those years, and that her father edited a lot of stuff out of her diary so who knew whether this was a fair representation of her, and then maybe you started to wonder why no one seems to care about all the hundreds of thousands of other kids who died in the Holocaust, and that pissed you off at your teachers so much you got some gasoline-soaked rags and some whiskey bottles and snuck over to your old school in the dead of night and played Russian Revolutionary.  We don’t need no water, let the…

Anyway — religion is always a touchy subject, so I’m going to say this as peacefully as I can.  If what these Mormons did bothers you, you need less free time.

Lots of people are angry about this whole “proxy baptism” thing because Anne Frank was Jewish and was killed for her beliefs, and so they feel these Mormons are disrespecting her religion and her forced sacrifice by baptizing her into their church.  Me personally, I would think the bigger problem is that they’re trying to make her Mormon without her consent.  Switching religions seems like the sort of thing a person ought to be able to say “yes” or “no” to.  Of course, Anne Frank can’t consent to anything any more, and she hasn’t been able to for almost seventy years.  So I guess when it comes down to it my objection is as boned as theirs.

Let me lay it out for you.  Either the Mormons are right that they can baptize people into their faith after death, or they aren’t.  If they’re right, then common sense tells us that the bulk of their religious beliefs are probably right too — since it would seem odd that you could be right about that and wrong about everything else.  In which case, they’re actually saving Anne Frank’s soul, which is doing her about the biggest favor you could ever do another person.

If they’re wrong, on the other hand, then their actions will have literally no effect whatsoever — Anne Frank will still be going to wherever she was going before.  Heaven, Valhalla, whatever.  So either way, a Mormon trying to baptize Anne Frank can’t make anything worse.  Which means that if you’ve got a problem with it, you need to chill the fuck out.

And you especially need to lay off the Mormons.  Look, I can’t help it.  I like the Mormons.  Their beliefs are really stupid, or should I say dum dum dum dum dum —

— but they actually seem to care about doing good in the world, and they really care about families and about raising their kids to be decent human beings.  Even if their religious code also includes some stupid-ass restrictions like not being able to order a cappuccino at Starbucks, then what the hell.  They’re still okay in my book.  Nutty, but okay.

Do I think proxy baptisms make any sort of theological sense?  Hell, no.  And I guess I can understand why people might find the Mormon fascination with genealogy a little bizarre and/or creepy, especially when they’re asking about your family.  But again, what’s the harm?  If they’re wrong, nothing will have changed.  And you do think they’re wrong, right?  Are you that insecure about your own faith or lack of it, that you have to object forcefully to what — from your point of view — is nothing more than a waste of their time?

Anne Frank has a worldwide reputation for being an incredibly wise little girl.  I’d like to think she was.  I’d certainly like to think she was wise enough to recognize that when someone shows concern for your immortal soul, it’s a beautiful thing regardless of their faith or yours.

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One Response to “Anne Frank the Mormon”

  1. After looking into this issue further, I found out that my objection was misinformed. A proxy baptism, according to Mormon theology, only offers the deceased a choice to switch faiths. It’s a second-chance deal.

    I would hereby like to apologize to any Mormons that are reading this for screwing that up. As the great Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” You may not like my opinions, but I make it a point of pride not to say something that is demonstrably untrue at the time. And this time, I did. So, sorry guys.


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