This article compares the practice of baptisms for the dead with practices in other religions--and asks why anyone cares about it. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek at times, but a fairly-written article.
I think, in light of common misrepresentations, that it's important to clarify that the practice is baptism for the dead and not of the dead. According to LDS doctrine, a proxy ordinance is only valid if the deceased chooses to accept it. From the second link below,
Any rite performed in a Latter-day Saint temple on behalf of a deceased person, who yet lives as a spirit being, is a rite of offering only, exacting no forced compliance nor acceptance of the rite. There is no imposed change of identity, heritage or religious belief, nor is the individual’s name added to the membership rolls of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.This work (and it is hard work to research the necessary genealogical information as well as manage the facilities and records, in addition to performing the ordinances) is done as a labor of love--to give people who have passed away the chance to receive ordinances that are, we believe, integral to their eternal salvation.
More information is available at
- and http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1ec52f2324d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____.