Many people are aware of the fact that the Mormons are extremely productive genealogists, carefully collecting and cataloging records and documents about not only their own families, but the genealogy records of almost every family in the United States.
The LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) started the process of putting genealogical records like birth, death and census records onto microfilm in the 1930s.
By the 1950s, the church had already built up a library of 100,000 rolls of microfilm – archiving family records of decades of Americans. A massive “library of the dead”. The Church needed a large and secure location for its growing archive, and so decided to start blasting a cavern into the side of Little Cottonwood Canyon – burrowing nearly 700 feet into the massive granite cliffs.
Eventually, the blasting crew hit a rock that couldn’t be blasted as easily anymore – plus they struck water. The water became a resource that transformed the underground archive facility into a self-sufficient vault that could withstand a nuclear blast and provide running water to those inside. (1)
After over fifty years of archiving records to microfilm, the church boasts the largest genealogical collection in the world – a collection that the church is actively digitizing, and offering for free to genealogists on the Internet.
Mormon Beliefs and Religious Motives
While free access to genealogical records seems like a very charitable offering to the world, one must ask why the LDS church invests so many resources into collecting, archiving and sharing family records.
As is usually the case with most religions, the motives are typically spiritual rather than material in nature. This is certainly the case with this particular underground endeavor.
Mormon beliefs lead to something called vicarious or proxy baptism.
You see, Mormons believe that a family member can baptize a person as a Mormon, even if that person is dead. Mormons believe that by baptizing a deceased family member as a Mormon, you can ensure that both they and you will be able to enter the Kingdom of God. (2)
Controversy Surrounding Mormon Beliefs
During the 1990s, an overzealous group of Mormons started the practice of baptizing a total of 380,000 Jewish people – drawn from names of victims that had died during the Holocaust.
The action made it into the media, and the public outrage forced the Church to remove the names of all Holocaust victims and survivors from the LDS Church archival records – and assured the public that the posthumous baptism of those Jews would not take place unless those Jews were the ancestor of a modern Mormon and had that family member’s permission.
That particular controversy reveals a much deeper (pun intended) and more sinister motive behind the underground collection of human death records. (3)
The reason that the LDS Church is so willing to invest time, money and other resources into constructing such a highly-secure underground vault and to actively collect the records of the world’s deceased is simply because the Church is clearly embarking on a massive effort to posthumously baptize as many dead people as possible.
Mormon Rituals in Underground Tunnels?
This reality of the motives behind the Mormon underground vault leads to additional questions. Is the underground vault really just a massive genealogical archival facility, or are the baptism rituals practiced in an underground temple alongside the storage vaults?
To test just how extensive the Mormon collection of records is, I searched for my grandmother’s name – a woman who was born in 1917 and lived in a very small Northern Maine town until her death.
In the Mormon digital archives at FamilySearch.org, I found a 1940 census of that town, detailing my grandmother’s marital status, birth year, name of husband, names of children and the fact that she had lived in the same house since 1935.
A devout Catholic, I can’t imagine that my grandmother would be very pleased to learn that her name was part of such a religious genealogy collection – part of a collection of names that the LDS church very likely hopes to posthumously baptize in its massive effort to help the world achieve what it surely believes to be passage into the Kingdom of God.
What really goes on under that mountain lair, the world may never know. The LDS church provides online digital tours of the records vault, but that tour likely doesn’t show all of the rooms that are tucked away inside of that secretive underground facility. (4)