-- November, 2008
Talks shut down between Jewish group and Mormon church over Baptism for the dead
Chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said talks with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which were held as recently as last week, are over. He stataed the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice. "We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," he said. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough." The church denied the charge. Church spokesman Mike Otterson said Michel's decision to publicly denounce the church seems like a unilateral termination of the discussion. (1)
-- Nov 11, 2008
Around the Nation
Jewish Group Exhorts Mormons
NEW YORK -- Holocaust survivors said they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.
But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. "We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough." Posthumous baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.
-- From News Services (2)
-- September, 2010
Agreement between Mormons and Jews over unwanted baptisms for the dead
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a group of Jewish leaders released this joint statement. "Over the years, survivors of the Holocaust have pointed out to the Church that its practice of posthumous proxy baptism has unintentionally caused pain due to the inclusion of names of those who perished in the Holocaust. As a result of dialogue and extraordinary efforts of the Church, computer systems and policy initiatives have been put in place that resolve this issue which is greatly appreciated by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, the result of which will be felt throughout the world." (3)
-- February 04, 2012
Comedian Bill Mahr performs a mock un-baptism for the dead on his show (4)
-- February 15, 2012
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel Shines said Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney "should speak to his own church and say they should stop... I hope that if he hears about this that he will speak up."
Wiesel was reacting to news this week that his name, and the names of his father and grandfather, were found on a genealogical database kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and used to select deceased souls for a Mormon practice known as proxy baptism. The Mormon church issued an apology and the first ever public rebuke of a responsible follower.
"These submissions were clearly against the policy of the church," said spokesman Purdy. "We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person's ability to access our genealogy records." (5)
-- February 16, 2012
In view of reported proxy baptisms of some prominent Jews, concerned Hindus have urged The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to set-up a mechanism to avoid baptizing by proxy their deceased ancestors without their will. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed (President of the Universal Society of Hinduism) in a statement said that although they had not received any reports yet of such proxy baptisms of deceased Hindus by LDS, but they were simply concerned after learning of posthumous baptizing of parents of a well known Jew, whose names were not submitted for baptism. (6)
-- February 21, 2012
The Huffington Post story reports the recent baptism of Anne Frank. "Mormons have submitted versions of her name at least a dozen times for proxy rites and carried out the ritual at least nine times from 1989 to 1999." (7)
Church Statement on Violations of Proxy Baptism Policy, Mormon Newsroom
The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism.
It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place.
While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions, we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter's access privileges. We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.
It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church's policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention. (8)
1 - Jewish group wants Mormons to stop proxy baptisms" by Deepti Hajela and Jennifer Dobner AP
2 - A chronicle of the Mormon-Jewish controversy; The LDS Agreement: A JewishGen InfoFile, http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html
3 - Mormons and Jews reach agreement on posthumous proxy baptism , Kelly Marshall, CNN
4 - HBO, Bill Mahr, Feb 4, 2012
5 - Mormon Chronicles, February 15, 2012
6 - Hindus concerned at proxy baptism of Jews by Mormon Church, Baltic Review
7 - Huffington Post
8 - Mormon Newsroom
LDS History Chronology: Unconventional Baptisms
Mormon History Timeline: Forms of Rebaptism in LDS History