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March 9th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Mormons crack down on proxy baptisms; whistleblower’s access blocked

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - In response to recent media reports that well-known Jewish Holocaust victims and slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl were baptized by proxy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is renewing and revamping efforts to crack down on the practice and, some believe, stop the attention.

The church said this week it had implemented a “new technological barrier” to prevent abuse of its massive genealogical database, parts of which have been used to carry out – as well as expose - proxy baptisms.

"The church is committed to preventing the misguided practice of submitting the names of Holocaust victims and prominent individuals for proxy baptism,” spokesman Michael Purdy said in a written statement.

“Anyone trying to access names that have been restricted will have their account suspended and be required to contact [the church] to establish their family relationship in order to have their access reinstated. Abuse of the system will result in the permanent loss of database access."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Whistle-blowing ex-Mormon researcher Helen Radkey, who uncovered the proxy baptism records that made headlines recently, says an account she was surreptitiously using to gain access to the database has been blocked.

“I have been effectively stopped,” Radkey told The Salt Lake Tribune. She said the church was “of course” targeting her.

The church, though, says Radkey’s blocked account was part of its effort to stop inappropriate proxy baptisms and not about Radkey.

“It is ironic for someone to claim they are being targeted by the measures we have taken to prevent unauthorized submissions for baptism,” Purdy said. “We are doing exactly what we have been asked to do and what we said we would do - denying access to names that should not be submitted because they are against our policy.”

Purdy said no one by the name of Helen Radkey has an account with the church’s database, known as New FamilySearch.

“If she, or anyone else, is misusing a church member’s identity to search for Holocaust names, then the system is set up to block those kinds of activities. There have been a handful of accounts blocked so far.

“We have said before that no system is foolproof but that we were committed to improving our ability to prevent unauthorized names from being submitted for baptism,” he continued. “To complain about us doing just that is baseless."

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

Word of the new measures and blocked accounts comes on the heels of a statement from top church officials that was read to congregations across the globe last weekend clarifying what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to proxy baptisms.

The statement said Mormons’ “pre-eminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.”

“Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances [rituals] any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” the statement read. It warned that members who violate the rules could lose access to the system and added, “other corrective action may also be taken.”

Efforts to deal with proxy baptisms are nothing new. Instructions on how to use and contribute to the database grew out of a 1995 agreement with Jewish groups that were horrified to find that people who died because of their faith were being baptized by proxy in Mormon ceremonies.

After the recent flood of stories, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel appeared on CNN and called on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reprimand his church.

Romney, meantime, has been asked if he has ever partaken in proxy baptisms. He says that he has, but so have most Mormons who are eligible to participate in temple ordinances. Also referred to as temple work, ordinances are the sacred ceremonies performed within LDS temples for the living and the dead.

Explain it to me: Mormonism

Proxy baptisms are part of that work, and Romney's participation was likely decades ago. The baptisms are generally completed by younger Latter-day Saints, between the ages of 12 and 20, with males and females being vicariously submerged for deceased persons of the same gender, explains senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“A white-clothed young man or woman, standing in a font of water about waist-high, represents the dead person,” she writes. “He or she is then immersed after the adult male baptizer (also wearing white) says these words: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and in behalf of [name of the deceased] in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Mormons, usually ages 12 to 20, are baptized for the dead in LDS temples.

To be sure, for the Jewish people, who have experienced their fair share of forced conversions over the centuries (think the Spanish Inquisition), the suggestion that victims like Holocaust victim Anne Frank or Pearl might be baptized after death can be horribly offensive.

Others might view the practice of proxy baptism as simply strange or utterly meaningless. If you don't subscribe to the Mormon belief system, some might say, why does the practice matter to you?

Still others view the practice as nothing short of laughable and have made a mockery of what Latter-day Saints view as sacrosanct. The website “All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay” lets users enter the name of a dead Mormon and click the "Convert!" button to make them gay. Comedian Stephen Colbert responded on his show by slicing off the tips of hot dogs, thereby proxy-circumcising dead Mormons to make them Jewish.

A special invitation, attendance optional

This isn’t a laughing matter to Mormons, not least of all church officials, who say they wish 100% of its members would abide by their instructions. Putting a definitive stop to inappropriate proxy baptisms, however, is complicated, if not impossible.

“With more than 14 million members around the globe, the church is no more able to guarantee compliance of every member with its policies than other worldwide faiths are able to guarantee theirs,” Michael Otterson, who heads up LDS Church public affairs, wrote in a piece for the Washington Post.

The practice of performing proxy baptisms isn't one that's going away.

Believing as Jesus taught that baptism is essential to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5), Mormons believe they are extending a loving invitation to those who died without having the opportunity for this rite. They point to 1 Cornthians 15:29, in which Paul spoke of baptizing the dead, a message LDS Church founder Joseph Smith took to heart.

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In doing proxy baptisms, Mormons do not claim to make anyone Mormon. They believe spirits in the afterlife are being exposed to the gospel, and a proxy baptism provides an opportunity to the dead to either accept or turn down the invitation to believe and find salvation.

Central to LDS Church teachings is the belief that families across generations can be united for eternity. Performing proxy baptisms for the dead is what makes eternal togetherness in heaven possible. Family history research for Mormons, as a result, is of sacred importance.

Members have been in the business of family research since the 1840s, writes Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune. So it’s no coincidence, then, that the LDS Church boasts the most comprehensive genealogical records available.

The church has compiled more than 2.64 billion searchable names in its online historic records collection, and more than 250 million names are added to the database each year, LDS Church officials say. Every year, FamilySearch produces more than 160 million digital images from source documents.

The database is accessible to the public online or at more than 4,850 LDS Church family history centers and libraries in 126 countries.

LDS Church members are given special accounts that allow them, in a separate process, to submit names for temple rites by proxy, as well as see other names that have been submitted and baptized. Such details are off-limits in the public version of the database.

“Our doctrine is for members of the church to submit names of their own relatives for temple work,” church spokesman Purdy wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Over the years the church has provided eligible names to take to the temple [for ordinances], but it is the primary responsibility of members to submit family names.”

In baptismal fonts in the 136 LDS Church temples that span the globe, temple ordinances for the dead take place every day but Sunday. So an overzealous or troublemaking Mormon in Sydney, Australia, for instance, might ignore instructions and enter a slew of names of people he’s not related to into the system. And then, sometime later at the temple in, say, Accra, Ghana, the people on that list might get baptized by proxy.

Because officials back at LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, can’t monitor what each member does, whether with good intentions or not, names slip through – names like Daniel Pearl, Mickey Mouse and Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother.

Understanding 'the messenger’

Often at the center of breaking proxy baptism stories is Helen Radkey. Touted as a whistleblower, the 69-year-old researcher has shamed the LDS Church time and again for objectionable or embarrassing baptisms.

An ex-Mormon who was excommunicated from the church, she is often seen by some observers as an obsessive agitator. Others praise her for her dogged commitment.

Radkey says she was active in the church for less than five years in the 1970s. In a 2009 profile in The Salt Lake Tribune, it was reported that this “Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-New-Ager” left her first husband and children to join the church because she wanted in so badly.

A grown son from a later marriage was quoted as saying, “She was on a crusade … to single-handedly take down the Mormon religion. She was so consumed by that, we had a hard time relating to it.”

But the Australian-born Radkey, who lives in Salt Lake City, points out that it’s often others who come to her looking for names, because she has found ways to get access to records and knows how to navigate the system. She suggests journalists, hungry for anything Mormon-related during this election season, have brought her down.

She says someone from a British newspaper asked her to look up Princess Diana, who was baptized in 1999. A wire service reporter called, she adds, wanting to check to see if there’d been a proxy baptism for Gandhi; there had in 1996. And it was a reporter from The Boston Globe, at the prodding of his editor who had once worked with Pearl, who reached out seeking info on his status, the results of which created the latest hubbub.

Helen Radkey is often at the center of proxy baptism stories.

Though Radkey says the church blocked the account she most recently had been using, she hints that she has other accounts available, though she won't divulge details or confirm anything. She also says, “I’m not looking up any more names.” This, however, is a claim she's made before, as she did in the 2009 Salt Lake Tribune profile.

Over the years, she says she’s heard people accuse her of trying to get rich off her efforts. “I don’t make a living,” she says. “I have to do other work, and I get Social Security.”

At one point, about 10 years ago, the head of a Holocaust survivors group paid for her time to accumulate a list of 1,000 Holocaust victims who had been baptized, after the LDS Church claimed the Jewish community was “overreacting to the problem,” says Gary Mokotoff, a Jewish genealogist in New Jersey who has been following the issue for 22 years, long before it made headlines.

Besides being compensated by the same group for her time and expenses in appearing at a news conference in New York a few years ago, “that is the only time [she] received compensation for her effort,” Mokotoff wrote in an e-mail. “Helen puts in hundreds of hours per year on the matter without compensation (and she complains to me about it).”

Others, Radkey says, have speculated that she’s entered the names of those she later finds in LDS records, a charge she denies, calling it “out of date and out of line.”

“The inference that I enter names into the Mormon system, which I never have, usually comes from a Utah mindset that would ‘kill the messenger’ rather than deal with the results of my work,” she wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Not only have I never done this, I should not have to explain away this false charge because there is not one shred of evidence that I have ever done such a thing.”

The upside for others, including Jews

For Mokotoff, a professional genealogist, there’s an irony to this issue that isn’t lost on him.

The past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and co-owner of Avotaynu, which publishes resources for Jewish genealogists, Mokotoff is beyond grateful to the LDS Church. He leads trips to Salt Lake City, ground zero for family research. He has benefited directly from the care Mormons take in gathering, preserving and sharing records.

“They have 2.5 million microfilm rolls that represent billions of names,” he says. “I traced back my ancestry to 1727 in Poland because they had made copies of birth, marriage and death records in Warka, Poland, the ancestral town of the Mokotoff family.”

But even so, he remains firm in his belief that the LDS Church must stop baptizing Holocaust victims, and preferably deceased Jews in general, by proxy.

Granted, he respects the caveat that the church has always maintained, that if a Mormon is descended from Jews or Holocaust victims, those names are fair game.

Mokotoff says he recently got an e-mail from someone who was concerned that a niece was marrying a Mormon, would likely convert and would then potentially baptize others in the family.

“She has that right,” Mokotoff answered. “It’s her religion.”

But just as she has that right, the Jewish community has a right to remain concerned about what's happening in a Mormon-only system it can't access.

Blocking a whistleblower like Radkey may slow the ability to keep tabs on proxy baptisms, but it's not insurmountable, Mokotoff says.

“The Mormon church thinks they have found a way to end the controversy between the church and the Jewish community: stop Helen Radkey,” Mokotoff wrote late Thursday in an e-mail. “Ten years ago, their religious database, then called the International Genealogical Index, was accessible to the public. Now it is a secret database that can be used only by password. Helen Radkey has found ways of getting around the church's barriers in the past. She is a resourceful woman. I am sure she will find ways in the future.”

‘It’ll never be perfect’

There are outsiders who wish the LDS Church would just stop the proxy baptisms altogether. But that’s both unrealistic and disrespectful, says Rabbi Gary Greenebaum of Los Angeles.

Greenebaum is intimately involved in the issue as a liaison between the LDS Church and the Jewish community.

“I can work with [the church], and I can suggest strongly what kind of actions they can take,” he says. “But when it comes to their own theology, I don’t have much of a place to tell them what they should believe.”

What the former American Jewish Committee director of interreligious and intergroup affairs can do is take his cues from Holocaust survivors.

“The issue is their relatives lived as Jews and were murdered because they were Jews,” he says. “The whole Jewish sense of never forgetting means remembering who died and why they died.”

To that end, he has worked with LDS Church insiders to alleviate concerns.

He also has seen up close the frustration within the church. He feels for the officials. He applauds them for the statement they issued to members on Sunday and the reminders of guidelines that appear on FamilySearch. He sees how they have made tweaks to the system, established safeguards and how entries are flagged for review, for example, if deaths were during World War II and in places bearing names of Nazi death camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka.

He has observed the new hires, the additional hours and money spent. With several million submissions of names in FamilySearch each month, he says he persuaded the church to do computer runs more frequently to help prevent inappropriate proxy baptism requests from seeping through. When violations appear, someone phones the submitter for a discussion.

When the church first worked out an agreement on the proxy baptism of Holocaust victims back in 1995, there were 8.5 million LDS Church members, Greenebaum says. Now that number is 14 million, and between Internet access and computer advances, the system is enormous and not easy to control.

As a result and despite the hard work, mistakes are bound to happen.

“It’s moving closer to being figured out,” Greenebaum says. “But it’ll never be perfect because it’s just too vast. And it’s important to appreciate the problem they’re dealing with.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Holocaust • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Utah

soundoff (1,493 Responses)
  1. JDJ

    Mormonism is definitely not Christian. You have to go no further than their belief that Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Joe

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the closest thing to Biblical Christianity and ancient Christianity as Jesus taught it. Baptism for the Dead, Temples, Deification, etc were all taught by the first Christians. Jesus is the Son of God, in a different way than anyone else, but LDS believe, as taught it Job, that Satan is also a Son of God, and so are ALL of us. We are all children of God, anti-Mormons try to use this to make it look like Mormons somehow worship Satan or something odd....that only shows the twisted anti-Mormon thinking, not the Biblical thinking. : ) : ) check FAIR lds for more.. . search SAtan and Jesus brothers.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      SATAN wanted to 'Be Like God' – Joseph Smith taught about the Celestial Kingdom, or Highest Heaven of Mormonism. In Doctrine and Covenants 132 it is explained that the EXALTED who Performed all the Rituals and Ordinances on EARTH will become GODS and those Post-Dead Mormon Converts become subservient "ministering angels" of the GODS.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • blaqb0x

      Yoda would totally kick Batman's Azz.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      ISAIAH 14:12-15 12. How you have FALLEN from Heaven, Morning Star, Son of the Dawn! YOU have been cast down to the Earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13. YOU said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will EXALT my Throne ABOVE the Stars of GOD; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the Utmost Heights of Mount Zaphon. 14. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I WILL Make MYSELF like THE MOST HIGH.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Joe

      Here is a list of things taught by Jesus, His apostles, or early Christians:
      Temple rituals: (see FAIR lds Early Christian temples, and many Christians still practice these, including the oldest surviving Christian Church-the Armenian Apostolic).
      The doctrine that God, the Son was born of Mary and became man: This is central to all true Christianity, and the doctrine that men can be called gods is central to many Christians (especially Eastern Orthodox etc) and, according to non-LDS scholars, was central to “all” early Christian Fathers. See: 1 Cor. 15:21,Romans8:17, John10, John3:13,Galatians 4: 4, Phil. 2: 9 etc.

      The Christian Doctrine of Deification
      Edward T. Jones
      From early Church Fathers … “this (deification) they (all early Church Fathers) regard as a point beyond dispute, as one of those fundamentals which no one who calls himself a Christian dreams of denying.” ” Irenaeus: "We are not made gods from the first, but first men, then gods’ Polycarp, himself a disciple of the apostle St. John ... man is a creature who has received a command to become God. Basil: “Man received order to become God.”2…Crawford Knox writes that “virtually all the early Church Fathers” taught deification.4 French Jesuit Henri Rondet wrote that “[deification] is found in all the Fathers,” was the “universal teaching of the Catholic Church and her Fathers.” …“most central theological theme of the patristic tradition … “fundamental axioms for the early Church Fathers.”Joyce “the Fathers of the Church from the earliest times with one consent take the apostle’s words [of II Peter 1.4: ‘participate in the divine nature’] in their literal sense. There is no question of any figurative interpretation. They do not hesitate to speak of the deification of men.”
      (You have to wonder how Joseph Smith knew?)
      Many Christians believe that God, the Son died only once for sins and still has His body, most don’t accept that God the Father also has a body, although I don’t know why. I feel that if we’ve seen Jesus, we’ve seen His Father.
      Many early Christians understood there were three levels, I don’t know how many do now days, I’ll have to look into it.
      Biblical Christians practiced Baptisms for deceased persons, and some, besides LDS Christians, reportedly still do (Copts for example).
      Mormons believe that all good people will go to Heaven, and that we are saved by grace, and that “every man” and woman will be rewarded according to our works as the Bible teaches.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Joe

      Oops,. forgot a bunch, one of those is, that early Christians believed we were all once children of God, including Lucifer, son of the morning. Lucifer fell. Jesus is the Son of God in a very different way from the rest of us, but those who hate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will try to tell you that Mormons worship the devil or something because we believe Satan was once a child or God, as the Bible implies.

      March 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  2. Sly

    This 'God' stuff is GREAT ... 79 virgins? Who do those Muslims think they are kidding – there are actually MILLIONS of teenage virgin chicks up there, and absolutely NO laws ... Man, I will eclipse Wilt's record within weeks.

    Just have to remember, right before I die, to say ... "I believe" ... and then it's time to ROLL!

    Yee Haw. God is Great. Allah Ackbar.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • blaqb0x

      And remember, God is against contraception!!!!!

      March 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  3. Cheeseburger

    Ah, CNN is ramping up their pro-Obama election machine! Next, it will be how someone who knew someone who knew someone that Romney knew knows a 12 year old Mormon bride. Of course nothing about Obama and his associations with questionable people like Rev. Wright. The media continues to marginalize what is right this country and spotlights the fringe as if to make it seem normal when it pleases their agenda. Ah, the sixties have all but ruined this country but hey, soon those left wing losers will be dead.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Sly

      Ho ho ho ... yes, God is 'pro-Obama'?

      You seriously believe there is some big fat Rush Limbaugh look-alike sitting up there in the clouds?

      Seriously? Some guy with holes in his hands who can walk on water? You've seen humans walk on water? Or was that just in a book?

      Conspiracy? Have you seriously been watching the GOP lately? Hermain Cain? Perry? Some chick who believes in witches?

      No dude, the Dem's couldn't invest something this hilarious if they tried ... And you are concerned about whether Christians are different than Mormons or Muslims or Jews? Ho ho ho ... sorry folks, you are all alike.,

      March 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  4. Wow!

    Much ado about nothing.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  5. Joe

    I'm thankful that there are so many understanding humans in the world, especially the wonderful Jewish people.
    I’d like to think that if the tables were turned, Mormons would be as understanding as many Jews have been.
    Imagine that Jewish children, as an act of love and respect, offered some Jewish rites for deceased Mormons, perhaps reciting: "May she come to her place in peace," to help beloved Mormons on their way to further happiness in the Jewish afterlife. And, imagine that some of these Mormons were among those thousands killed by mobs, torture, and exposure from being repeatedly driven from their homes by extermination order, cannons, and so on....(and I know LDS sufferings are insignificant compared to Jewish sufferings but perhaps this is why Jewish people tend to be so compassionate towards Mormons).

    And imagine someone "out to get" Jewish people was trying to blackmail Jewish leaders and went to Mormons and misleadingly presented the Jewish ritual in an odious light, claiming it somehow harmed people, or changed them. And some Mormons were outraged at the acts which these Jewish people thought were acts of love and this outrage encouraged anti-Jewish feelings in the world.
    And imagine when Jewish people learned that some Mormons were upset so they stopped doing the rites, and asked all Jewish people to stop, because they were thought of as offensive.
    And a Jew was running for president, and some disaffected Jewish people hacked past Jewish computer systems against Jewish teachings and entered names in order to increase hatred for Jews and make a "public stink." And all Jewish people were hated and blamed for these acts…….
    I’m thankful for those in the Jewish community who have shown respect and patience, who understand that these rites are not intended to change anyone, and who choose not to give Helen and those Hacking LDS computers the “public stink” they seek. Mormons believe that covenants Jews make with our common God are in force. There is no bill of divorce. Rites binding families are not meant to detract from Jewishness or anything else. We are rewarded according to works, and no kind person will suffer, regardless of religious affiliation.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  6. ESF

    Mormons don't care about Holocaust victims, or any other non-Mormons for that matter. Consider that they believe that Native Americans (both North and South American) are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Besides being utterly idiotic, this belief also throws out and demeans the history and culture of millions.
    Mormons are fanatical and both their beliefs and practices offend me and should others. Like polygamy (which they claim to no longer practice though it is widely known many, many do with impunity) these baptisms are just something they should not be doing, but they will continue because the Mormons just don't care.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Joe

      Evidence indicates that many Native Americans are Israel.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Joe

      Es, I'm sure you are a kind person, but you seem to have some bigotry towards a certain religious minority. Mormons are largely of Native American descent, and not in the United States. And, why is saying that Native Americans came from China or somewhere else less offensive than saying some of them came from the Middle East? Search 9 repeat allele and you will see what "i'm talking about.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • mugicha

      Mormons don't care??? Sorry to burst your bubble, but Mormon's care more than you could ever imagine. And your other comments are totally off base and don't really make sense.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  7. Dejan

    Umm... people. None of this is real. It's doesn't matter. It's like me pretending my cat is a Jedi knight. The person are dead for one. Two, it's just some baloney ceremony that doesn't actually mean anything.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Sly

      Are you seriously trying to tell me Barry Bonds is NOT God?

      Wrong ...

      Barry Bonds is God. Anyone who ever saw him hit knows that.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • David

      Pretty much about it. I am upset that my dead hamster was never baptised because now the little fur ball must be suffering in eternal damnation or whatever it is is supposed to happen to something that did not have water poured over.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Dakota2000

    Hallelujah!, lets baptize all the Pymouth rock Pilgrims Church of England. That way we can save their souls from perdition!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  9. Scott

    CNN

    Why is this report here on your frontpage? What the hell is wrong with you bigots...!?

    March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Terry Docker

    where there is controvercy there are jews

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  11. Sly

    God just told me Jeremy Lin is out, and now he is a huge Monta Ellis fan ... so I expect Monta to score about 56 points tomorrow night.

    That's how it works folks ... Lin and Tebow are out ...

    Oh, and Sarah Palin is back in God's favor ... she's likely to see a slight surge soon (hope she doesn't get pregnant AGAIN)

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. John

    My invisable man in the clouds is more powerful than your invisable man in the clouds.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  13. Jason

    Just let them continue living in their fantasy world. A person who is alive is no different in any way once they are "baptized". A dead person, really? This is nuts and shouldn't have made it to the front page.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  14. oneSTARman

    Joseph Smith taught about the Celestial Kingdom, or Highest Heaven of Mormonism. In Doctrine and Covenants 132 it is explained that the EXALTED who Performed all the Rituals and Ordinances on EARTH will become GODS and those Post-Dead Mormon Converts become subservient "ministering angels" of the GODS. So Ann Frank is supposed to be a SERVANT to one of the GODS – like Mitt Romney plans to Be. Kind of let's you KNOW why he feels about the 99% like he does.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • mugicha

      Sorry starman, but you are really misinformed.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  15. Willard Mittes

    If these Mormons really wanted to do something good with this practice, I have an idea.... They should baptize Osama Bin Laden as well as all the 911 hijackers. You know those dudes that are living it up, pun intended, in heaven with a whole bunch of Virgins. I bet you that would magically put them in the other more boring heaven, the one without the virgins!

    Now that's what I call payback!!!!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  16. terry

    as usual with this cul t , they pull their crazy stuff as soon as the public becomes aware, not before: polygamy, exclusing people of color from heaven, baptism of the dead...

    March 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  17. kentuckyscience..)com

    It is arrogant of the Mormons to assume that they know if a person is saved or not. I am sure they have baptized Moses, Noah and Elijah too.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  18. Man created God in his image

    The Moonies must be freaking out at the thought of a different cult controlling the GOP.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • kentuckyscience..)com

      In the form of money

      March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Lipika

      I am not Mormon. But I am as a Catholic have Mormon friends. They are like us, rest controversial issue often fabricated by some bad news media and their yellow journalists. Please as human being could your media should not play this nasty media game with Mormon. Even other faiths. Live religion to religion, media often forget their duty to information rather than expansionism. If I MAY YOUR EXPANSIONISM OF MEDIA abuse us the people, abuse our private life and friendship. There are so many hunger, war, tears, why doing table business and do not do some real hard travel and hard work to make the world as a better place. I love CNN, but I have notice that CNN play very cheap role these days.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  19. NorCalMojo

    I'm agnostic and think that a lot of the Mormon beliefs are fantasy. I don't care. The Mormon's I've met have been wonderful people. I'd be VERY happy to be sandwiched between two Mormon neighbors.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  20. Mel

    They promise to not baptize Holocaust victims. That does not stop them from baptizing all other Jews. Mormons just don't get it. Why can't they understand that Jews do not want to be baptized into the Mormon faith, and neither do Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, or anyone else.

    Ancestry . com and its affiliates are owned by the Mormon church. Under the disguise of offering people family tree information, the Mormon church is using all the names we put in our tree. They are baptizing all of them.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • well...no

      not true grasshopper

      March 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.