In my opinion, the ordinance known as baptism for the dead is a merciful ordinance that shows the extent of love by our Father in Heaven. Indeed, God is just and cannot send a person to hell simply because he or she had the misfortune of never hearing about the Savior. It is LDS doctrine that deceased beings, dwelling as spirits and awaiting the time of resurrection and judgment, are given the opportunity to hear and accept the message of the Gospel. Many on the other side will not accept Him, but God nevertheless reaches out to each of His children and implores them to follow Him. Personally, having done it several times, I can affirm that it is a marvelous and spiritual experience.
Upon reading the thousands of comments after the numerous articles that deal with the Jewish Holocaust survivors and their decistion to cut off discussions with the Church, a couple of interesting lines of thought were consistent among the readers:
1) Many were outraged that the LDS Church would have the audacity to "convert" their ancestors post-humously. Each was sure that members of the LDS Church would be equally outraged if other religious denominations attempted to post-humously "convert" their ancestors. One commentor (using quite colorful language) was sure that the LDS would vehemently object if the Pope one day declared Brigham Young or Joseph Smith flull-fledged Catholics.
As described above, the LDS practice does not "convert" the recipient, but only provides them with a correct baptism in the event they accept the Gospel in its fullest. Indeed, baptism is only the gateway and lacks the essential keys to exalt any individual.
Personally, I would be touched by the love and concern expressed by another religion that desired to do any sort of proxy ordinance that, in their minds, would ensure a better after-life for my ancestors. I venture to think that many LDS would agree. I fail to see the "disrespect" to our ancestors in an act wholly backed by the love of our fellow-man.
2) Many commentors were astounded at the attention that this is getting by other denominations and religions. In their minds, and I tend to agree, if detractors believe the LDS Church is a false religion, and its ordinances equally false, why would they care if vicarious work was performed on behalf of their ancestors? Wouldn't the outright falsity of the ordinance eliminate any need to worry whether the ordinance had any effect at all?
While we understand from 1 Pet. 3:18-20 and 4:6 that the souls in the spirit world are being taught the Gospel, they are faced with a significant dilemma: they need baptism to enter into a covenant with Christ and receive a washing away of their sins, etc., but they lack physical bodies in which to be baptized. This is why the restored Church includes the practice of baptism for the dead. The ordinance is simply a further testament to God's unending love for His children.
I would like to hear reader's comments on why other denominations or religions are so upset at an ordinance that they outright deny to be correct.