February 22nd, 2012
05:11 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Reacting to a report that well-known Holocaust victim Anne Frank had been baptized by proxy in a Mormon temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is committed to disciplining members of its church who conducted such baptisms, which violate church policy.
Word of the Frank baptism came a week after the issue of Mormon posthumous proxy baptism of Jews attracted national attention. This controversy surfaced after it was reported that the dead parents of Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been baptized in a Mormon temple.
The church apologized for that baptism, blaming it on a technical glitch in its system for submitting names for posthumous proxy baptism.
“It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place,” LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy said in a statement Tuesday, responding to the report about the Anne Frank baptism.
Though the church regularly conducts proxy baptisms for dead, in what it calls an attempt to give everyone a chance to accept salvation through Jesus, it has a 1990s-era policy against conducting such baptisms for Holocaust victims.
The policy was adopted after complaints from Jewish groups, which said it was offensive to conduct Mormon baptisms for Holocaust victims who were killed because of their Jewish faith.
“The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism,” said Purdy in his Tuesday statement.
The church said it is “committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges,” the statement continued. “We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.”
According to Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who tracks Mormon posthumous proxy baptisms, the one for Anne Frank was conducted on Saturday in the Dominican Republic.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.