Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mormons baptize dead Jews

Fox News reported:

Holocaust survivors said Monday 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 a13-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 that will 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. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."

"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."

Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, have ended. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."

In 1995, Mormons and Jews inked an agreement to limit the circumstances that allow for the proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims.Ending the practice outright was not part of the agreement and would essentially be asking Mormons to alter their beliefs, church Elder Lance B. Wickman said Monday in an interview with reporters in Salt Lake City.

"We don't think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines," Wickman said. "If our work for the dead is properly understood ... it should not be a source of friction to anyone. It's merely a freewill offering."

Michel's decision to unilaterally end discussion of the issue through a news conference leaves the church uncertain about how to proceed, Wickman said.

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.

Using genealogy records, the church also baptizes people who have died from all over the world and from different religions. Mormons stand in as proxies for the person being baptized and immerse themselves in a baptismal pool.

Only the Jews have an agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered specifically because of their religion.

Michel suggested that posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims play into the hands of Holocaust deniers.

"They tell me, that my parents' Jewishness has not been altered but... 100 years from now, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?" Michel said Monday.

Wickman said the practice in no way impinges upon a person's "Jewishness, or their ethnicity, or their background."

Under the agreement with the Holocaust group, Mormons could enter the names of only those Holocaust victims to whom they were directly related. The church also agreed to remove the names of Holocaust victims already entered into its massive genealogical database.

Church spokesman Otterson said the church kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 260,000 names from the genealogical index.

But since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.

The researcher, Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database. She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate baptisms had been conducted for Holocaust victims as recently as July.

Wickman said lists of names have been entered into the database by as mall number of well-meaning members who were acting "outside of policy." He said that church monitors have identified and removed42,000 names from the database on their own, and that the church welcomes research from others.[...]


  1. At some point we are going to have to realize that we cannot tell the Pope how to be Catholic (ie trying to stop the Old Latin Mass which calls for converting Jews), nor can we tell the Baptists how to be Baptist (ie evangelizing Jews) and we also cannot tell the Mormons how to be Mormon (ie they did all their genealogy research ONLY so that they could baptize our ancestors. This way our grandchildren will someday think that they came from Mormon families C"V).

    It should also be noted that the Mormons believe that THEY are the "remnant of Israel", and Jews are the fakers.

    This all being said, it is important to give your kids a good Jewish education and to make sure that they marry other Jews (who are Jewish in Israel). This way it will be merely academic whether or not your grandmother was baptized posthumously by the Mormons or anyone else.

    This reminds me of another episode in which I was personally involved.

    A young woman named Heidi started coming to one of the neighborhood shuls several years ago. She seemed very frum and sincere when she offered to volunteer with Chevra Hadisha.

    She began to do taharas under the supervision of the Reb. who was in charge and at the same time began to date a Jewish man who became suspicious of her background.

    Heidi was not Jewish, she was a missionary who infiltrated the Jewish community in order to baptize the deceased on behalf of her Church (I can't remember what kind of Church it was, honestly).

    I can provide names and any other verifying information to Rabbi Eidensohn upon request.

  2. Very scary stuff. Disgusting behavior, as far as I am concerned.


  3. Does any of this really matter? Do I care what kind of hocus pokus these people do with name lists? Who cares?

  4. Why don't we start to "baptize" dead Mormons into the Noahide faith? Would be interesting to see their reaction.


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