Mormonism and temples/Baptism for the dead/Refusing
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This page is based on an answer to a question submitted to the FAIR web site, or a frequently asked question.
I don't want proxy baptisms or other LDS temple work performed for my deceased family. What can I do to "undo" such baptisms and temple work?
In the case of individuals who have recently died, members are encouraged to be considerate of the feelings of the closest living relatives:
- If the person was born within the last ninety-five years, obtain permission for the ordinances from the person’s closest living relative. This relative often wishes to receive the ordinances in behalf of the deceased or designate someone to receive them. In some instances, the relative may wish to postpone the performance of the ordinances. Also, be aware that acting in conflict with the wishes of the closest living relative can result in bad feelings toward you and the Church.
There is no ceremony for "undoing" a proxy baptism for the dead.
In Mormon ritual and practice, such a baptism does not in and of itself have any efficacy unless and until it is accepted by the person on whose behalf the ordinance is performed. We believe in complete freedom of the will even in the hereafter. Therefore, if the person for whom the ordinance is performed does not choose to accept it, the ordinance is meaningless. Baptisms for the dead are not understood in the same sense as convert baptisms for the living.
Thus, vicarious baptism is completely meaningless unless a deceased person accepts that baptism. An unaccepted baptism no more makes a deceased person a "Mormon" than a rejected invitation to join the Church does.
Non-members who do not believe that the Church is true have nothing to fear. If the Church is false, then members are simply wasting their time, and have no influence whatsoever on the state of the dead. If the Church is true, such baptisms may still have no affect on the dead, if the dead choose not to accept them. LDS do not believe that performing a baptism for the dead automatically makes them Mormon.