I’d be surprised if there are any busy Mormon church leaders out there who read a blog that references the Amish in the title but if there are, I have a simple request:
Will you please baptize me in the Mormon faith?
Now, I wrote that last sentence and sat back in my chair for a good 12 seconds. I figure that ought to do it.
If it did happen -- and my fingers were crossed -- then it was the most painfree religious experience of my entire life.
My request will seem heretical to men and women of many faiths, but it will get a hearty “Amen!” from an icon worshipped around the world.
That would be Elvis.
Raised a Christian by his Jewish mother, The King who died of problems associated with obesity viewed religion the way he viewed an all-you-can-eat buffet. His spiritual plate was heavy with portions from all the great religions and included morsels from some of the really wacky ones.
And let’s for now set aside the arguments that every single religion is to some degree really wacky.
When he was asked the year of his death why he wore jewelry featuring symbols from different religions -- notice the necklace in the picture -- and Elvis said, “I don’t want to miss out on goin’ to heaven on a technicality.”
The statement is the ecumenical equivalent of “Jail House Rock.” It’s pure genius.
Today’s news is full of stories of Christians outraged that Mormons are baptizing the soul of Jew murdered by Muslims 10 years ago.
At last, something to unite all the great religions!
The Mormons have a peculiar habit of converting to Mormonism dead folks they think they’d like to see in Mormon heaven.
Recipients of these belated baptisms include Joan of Arc, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Mahatma Gandhi, and Adolph Hitler.
That’s right, Hitler! And if ever there was a case to be made for a community saying, “There goes the neighborhood!” it must have been when Hitler showed up in Heaven.
Imagine being at the church council meeting when it was proposed they retrieve from Hell the soul of Hitler, who by then was probably pretty used to Hell and may have been reluctant to relocate, moving being such a pain the butt -- even from Hell to Heaven.
Think of the salesmanship. That had to be one persuasive Mormon, an articulator capable of convincing masses of adults that his ideas were superior.
I’m guessing it wasn’t Mitt Romney.
Parts of these in absentia baptism are very appealing, especially the part that involves me staying home Sunday mornings rather than having to go to church.
The latest controversial post-death baptism is that of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2002 was beheaded by Khalid Sheik Muhammad -- and, please, let’s not give any posthumous passes to bin Laden or any of the 9/11 terrorists.
It all stems from a Mormon belief that to gain entry to heaven, we must all be Mormon.
Christians conservatives are reacting with self-righteous indignation, which is how Christians conservatives react to any topic ranging from condoms to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Expanding the never-ending religious wars to heavenly realms seems fraught with pitfalls. Our very souls have become bargaining chips.
I fully expect Rick Santorum to make this a campaign issue at the next debate:
“Gov. Romney, I hold in my hand the Salt Lake City phone book containing the names of more than 200,000 Mormons. If you don’t give us back Marilyn Monroe, I’m turning them all Roman Catholic. I’m giving you four seconds . . .”
I wonder if heaven is like Disney World. Once you get in, you get a pass that will allow you to spend a day in Jewland or Mormonworld or skip between parks depending on your mood -- and if Disney’s in charge you can bet the pass will cost something like $20 million per soul.
Me, I welcome the baptisms of anyone who thinks spending eternity with a guy like me would be a hoot -- and I thank you for not consulting my wife in advance.
Otherwise, I’m content leaving my spiritual disposition up to that supreme being loved and admired by men and women of differing faiths from all over the world.
And if Elvis is busy, I’m fine leaving it all up to God.