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.
The goal of baptizing every dead soul that ever lived struck me as being way too optimistic. And when I think of the time and money that has gone into the effort...ReplyDelete
Good point. I'd never considered that. How many starving children in Africa could we feed with the money that goes toward building temples?Delete
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.ReplyDelete
“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.
“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”
“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”
The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”
Your story entirely misses the point. They're already dead! How about we help the living?Delete
And that's not the only point it misses...Delete
If the loving, omniscient, omnipotent God of Mormonism is really dedicated to bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (you know, like he says he is), then the whole "making a difference to one person" thing is unacceptable. The goal should be "save as many people as possible," not "make a big difference to a small but lucky percentage." The fact that the Mormon God's plan is so flawed is, in my eyes, nearly irrefutable evidence that he doesn't exist.
Sometimes I work or volunteer with people who desperately need human interaction especially from someone who makes them feel valued. So much "service" is done for the dead because we are told that is the most important thing to do. What about serving the living? Read to a child who needs someone to read with; spend time with a person with social skills deficits who wants a friend but doesn't know how to make and keep friends; get to know a family in your neighborhood who are caring for someone with a disability so you can know how to assist them or give some much needed respite. If all the hours spent on indexing names and temple work for the dead were spent on the living, imagine what it would mean to them. I can't tell you how many times people mentioned how lucky I was to be LDS with my children who have disabilities. We don't get offers for help. Our kids are left out. If we don't go with them on camps, youth conferences, or Trek, they just don't get to go. It's kids like these that need the help. They are the starfish, and pretty much everyone I know in the church leaves them on the beach on their way to the temple.ReplyDelete
Wait...people would walk up to you and say, "It's really lucky that you're LDS because you have disabled kids." That's what you're saying?Delete
I'm pretty sure I can guess some of the reasoning behind it, and even if it's meant well, that seems like a horribly insensitive thing to say. Especially considering the experience you had raising your kids in the church.
In a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains there are thousands of homes. Inside these homes are families. Some families have everything they could need and most of their wants. Other families are struggling because of a health issue, lost job, member with a disability, or mental illness. As they struggle to get by and see how good their neighbors have their lives together, they pray to their father in heaven to help them. They remember the story about the Good Samaritan and the quote, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." They do the best they can with faith that God will help them through his servants, their neighbors.ReplyDelete
A stranger comes by and sees the big beautifully landscaped temples with people coming and going in nice clothes and looks of peace and security. He questions them about what they are doing. They tell him they are doing the work for the dead that they couldn't do while they were alive. He finds it amusing that they think that they can do the work for the billions of people who have lived on the earth and they tell him a story about starfish on the beach. He tells them that he is visiting from out of state. His brother is trying to take care of his children after his wife has acquired a disability and can't take care of their children. He wonders why these people find such peace doing work for the dead, when people who are still living go without.
Prioritizing the dead takes away our responsibility to the living. I suppose we are serving the next generation of temple goers because they can do the names of the people living now that we didn't save.
"Prioritizing the dead takes away our responsibility to the living."Delete
Very true. I like that phrasing a lot.