-- Dec 17, 2006
SWC Calls On Mormon Church To Immediately Remove Simon Wiesenthal's Name From Database
The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Mormon Church to immediately remove Simon Wiesenthal from its online International Genealogical Index (IGI), which is the Mormon database of posthumous ordinances.
We are astounded and dismayed that after assurances and promises by the Mormon Church that Mr. Wiesenthal's life and memory, along with so many other Jews, would be trampled and disregarded, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Centers founder and dean.
Simon Wiesenthal was one of the great Jews in the post-Holocaust period. He proudly lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, demanded justice for the millions of the victims of the Holocaust, and, at his request was buried in the State of Israel. It is sacrilegious for the Mormon faith to desecrate his memory by suggesting that Jews on their own are not worthy enough to receive G-ds eternal blessing, added Rabbi Hier.
We therefore urge the Church to remove his name and the names of all other Holocaust victims immediately, Hier concluded. (1)
-- Winter 2006
XXI, 4, p67
Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy
By Aubrey Newman
(Emeritus) Professor of History
University of Leicester
I am annoyed at the waste of time and effort over this controversy which is once more being caused by the Mormon use of various genealogical records. .... I am even more concerned at the deliberate bad faith which has emerged following what seemed to have been agreed to some ten years ago. It seems to me that the Mormons have been guilty of deliberate bad faith, of calculated and deliberate obfuscation, and that they never intended to abide by the agreements they themselves made. I think that all those who are in any way concerned with historical truth should inform as widely as possible of these facts. I invite others to join with me in making these facts known in as many journals as possible.
I would suggest also that if those organizations which originally allowed the Mormons to microfilm their archives retained their copyright in them, they should now withdraw those materials from the Mormon Church and forbid any further use being made of them. (1)
-- Mar 1, 2008
[In a Jewish Times of Seattle article, a Mormon claimed that the Church has met their commitment to the Jews regarding posthumous baptisms. This is the response of Gary Mokotoff, leader of American-Jewish genealogy. [Ed.]]
Acts of the church
Posthumous baptism of Jews by the Mormon Church, [that it was] was the act of just nine people out of 13 million Mormons is not true (The record keepers, Feb. 22). Until the Mormon Church signed an agreement with certain Jewish organizations in May 1995, the Church itself regularly acquired Jewish records often under the false pretense of record preservation and used them for their religious rituals, including posthumous baptism. An example was the records of the Hambro synagogue of London, England. All persons whose births were recorded in the synagogue in the 19th century were baptized. The Church did not limit itself to birth records. All the Jews murdered in the Holocaust who were recorded in a Dutch memorial book were posthumously baptized by an act of the Church, not the act of individual Mormons.
This practice stopped with the signing of the 1995 agreement.... When this was discovered in 2005, the Church claimed they had no way of stopping these baptisms. This seems unreasonable. A simple directive to all the local wards could have stopped the extraction of names.
[Mark] Paredes stated that Church rules make it clear that a person who adds a name to the baptism rolls must be able to prove that they are related. This is true. But it is also true that this rule, along with many other rules, are ignored by individual Mormons, and the Church makes no attempt to enforce the rules. For example, there is a rule that you cannot posthumously baptize any person who was born within the past 95 years without permission of the closest relative. Yet Anne Frank was baptized six times. ... (1)
-- May, 2008
The Catholic News Service reports the Vatican has ordered catholic parishes to block the church's Genealogical Society of Utah from their records, expressing "grave reservations" regarding proxy ordinances for the dead that occur in Mormon temples. The Vatican letter calls the church's genealogical practice "detrimental" and asks Bishops "not to cooperate with the erroneous practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Father Massa, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs said "we have to make very clear to them their practice of so-called rebaptism is unacceptable from the standpoint of Catholic truth." (2)
1 - A chronicle of the Mormon-Jewish controversy; The LDS Agreement: A JewishGen InfoFile, http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html
2 - Catholic News Service
LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms
Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History