My mother and sisters have been gearing up for this new goal that FamilySearch has thought up: indexing five million names in a twenty-four hour period.
Indexing names has become a new craze in the church, as far as I can tell. Apparently it's a way to contribute to genealogical research (and thus baptism for the dead) by poring over downloaded scans of old documents from around the world to interpret the handwritten records of births and deaths and residency and all that great stuff. Now Mormons can feel like they're offering salvation to countless souls without ever leaving the comfort of their own computer chairs.
But the whole thing is just...absurd.
FamilySearch is pumped about the levels of participation and wants to make this big push to do a whole bunch of indexing in a small period of time. But how are they going to "index" the serfs who worked on the farms in the middle ages, whose tax records and birth records and census records have long since been destroyed? How are they going to baptize the countless billions for whom there is no documented indication of their existence?
If, on July 2nd, faithful Mormons index their collective butt off and beat their goal of 5 million names indexed...what does it mean? Each record is re-indexed by others to verify the records have been read correctly, so the actual number of individuals whose names have been preserved and set aside for baptism by proxy could only wind up being 1 million (another example of the LDS church embellishing its numbers). According to a quick Google search (I know, super-reliable), popular estimates for the number of human beings ever to have lived run around 100 billion...which means that, on July 2nd, indexers may commit somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.001% of the world's population to record for later baptism. And then, if they keep up at the same pace, it will only take them about 100,000 days to index every name of every person that ever lived (assuming, of course, they can find records for them).
You heard it here first...the end of the world can't come for another 275 years. There's too much genealogy to do.