September 2nd, 2010
06:39 PM ET

Mormons and Jews reach agreement on posthumous proxy baptism

CNN's Kelly Marshall submitted this report from Washington:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a group of Jewish leaders have had come to an agreement on the Mormon practice of posthumous proxy baptisms.

The practice has been a source of contention between the Mormon church and Jewish groups, most notably The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, which complained that the names of Holocaust victims have repeatedly shown up in church databases despite repeated requests for the names to be removed.

A joint statement issued by the groups on Wednesday said that, “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," the statement continued, "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.”

Mormons routinely perform proxy baptisms for the dead, though, according to the church's beliefs, the dead have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them.

“Holocaust victims perished only because of the crime of being Jewish," said Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "If you then convert them posthumously you’ll even take away why they died.”

It is one of the church’s core beliefs that families can be united forever after death, a major reason why genealogical research is so important many Mormons.

In the past, any church member could submit any name for proxy baptism. Although the church tried to avoid the names of Holocaust victims from being included, it couldn't guarantee it.

Now, improved computer software will make it less likely for any Holocaust victims’ names to be submitted again in the future.

Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, Director for Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said he is glad the problem–which has been an issue for nearly 15 years–can be put to rest.

“I think that there was never a question of positive intent on the part of the church," he said. "Now finally the technology has caught up with the desire to fully rectify the situation.”

Bob Abrams, a former New York Attorney General who helped to mediate the recent discussions between Jewish leaders and church, agreed.

"This was a much heralded resolution and everyone in the delegation is extremely happy," he said. "This is a very generous and significant effort by the LDS Church to display enormous sensitivity to the Jewish community for victims of the holocaust and I think members of the Jewish community recognize what the church has done.”

Foxman said the Church deserves credit for being sensitive to Jewish pain and history. “They were sensitive enough to understand the Jewish faith and they made an exception to their basic principle,” he said.

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. litebluesky

    Ho – hum : Another evangelical atheist bothered by the existence of Christians 🙂 I think Catholics have families with about 10 kids while atheists have families of 2 "partners" – I'll stick with the Catholics thank you !

    September 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Blair

    CNN readers might also be interested to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon or LDS Church) performed a proxy baptism for Nazi dictator and mass-murderer Adolf Hitler in the LDS London (U.K.) Temple on December 10, 1993. Hitler was a rapid anti-Semite who, after becoming Führer (leader) of Nazi Germany, implemented – via his henchmen in his terror organization, the SS – the systematic killing of millions of European Jews (and other 'undesirables', as per 'true' Nazi doctrine). Why would the Mormon Church make possible 'eternal salvation' – via a proxy baptism in a 'holy' LDS temple – to one of history's most infamous brutes? According to LDS doctrine, every person -dead or alive – MUST be given the opportunity, whether they're Nazi German, Jewish, or belong to some other group or ethnicity.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Doc Vestibule

    I believe it would've been obvious that my posting was facetious.
    I understand that Mormons do not believe that Jesus is American.
    They believe that God is a zombie from the planet Kolob.

    September 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  4. Alan

    Do you honestly think they publish each one? Oh no, it is in the records of the Church but that church does things so covertly that you won't find what they don't want you to find.

    September 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Pangolin

      So...your answer is that these sinister, conspiratorial Mormons did things so secretly and covertly that no-one could find it out...but then people found it out? Repeatedly?

      September 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Alan

      No, if people knew everything about the Mormons then they wouldn't be secret right? I didn't say just this, I said some things. For example is it widely know that Mormons are the group that funds NOM? No, it is not known. Is it known how much the Mormon Church actually gets involved in politics. Not coming right out and saying but using money that can't be traced to the Mormon Church to influence elections. If you think that the Mormon Church is forthcoming about everything that they do you have another thing coming. Or you are just a naive little soul who does everything the mighty "prophet" tells you to do.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Alan

      Oh yes, and Pangolin, have you had your "calling made sure?" Just a little ritual that is done in the temple that even most members have not heard about because they are not in the select few let in on this little secret. Check it out if you don't believe me.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kenny

      Alan I am sorry either you a bitter former member, or a member who not very active or someone who thinks you understand the church doctrine. Yes many members don't know about the calling election made sure becuase either it has not been brought up yet during a class while attending church. Many of so called secret doctrine is not secret at all. I bet you can find references to any doctrine if did search on the official church websites. The church encourages all its members to study the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why do think we go to church for 3hrs on Sunday. Have seminary program for our Youth(14 to 18) and Institute classes for our Young Adults (18 to 30). But all these educational opportunties are for those who choose to go. Don't blame leaders if they don't. One core principles is that each member must learn the doctrine we cannot be saved in igornance. The Church continues provide everyone opporutnity to learn the truth and ask God for confirmation of those truths that are being taught. No we shouldn't blindly follow our prophet but we can have faith that as we obey we learn that what he teaches is from God. "Faith is not have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." Book of Mormon: Alma Chapter 32 verse 21.

      September 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Bill

      I'm not sure it is a big secret that Mormons support the belief that marriage is between a man and woman and encourages all members to support that idea with their efforts and money. The same can be said for the Catholics, Baptists and many other Christians. It is open discussed in public forums, mailing lists, comment lists like this. How is it you come to think this is a secret? Did you just find out about it?

      September 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • Kirt

      Pearls are not meant to be thrown to swine. But, sincere seekers can know all. The doctrine is not hidden; but to understand greater things, you must learn the basics. Simple.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  5. Alan

    Yeah right! as a former member of the Mormon Cult I happen to know that the belief of Mormons is that ALL people should be baptized in the Mormon Church and if a person dies before being baptized then a person shall be baptized in their place for them. Saying they won't do it is to appease these people. Believe me, I was baptized for people who in no way were their names given to the Church. The Mormon Church has volunteers who search for names of people who have died and they submit them with family not even knowing. The Mormon Church should be forced to publish the names, date of birth, place of birth etc for all people for whom they have baptized or who the baptise.

    September 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
    • Todd

      Alan, they do. The Jewish group discussed in this article was aware of the Holocaust victims' names being submitted BECAUSE of the public record. Read the article:

      "The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, which complained that the names of Holocaust victims have repeatedly shown up in church databases despite repeated requests for the names to be removed..."

      Now go repent.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  6. Todd

    It's also important to point out that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always had a very close and friendly relationship with the global Jewish community, and this is one extremely rare point of tension which was notably resolved amicably and without resistence on either party. It's an example of how all people can work together in a spirit of tolerance and love with people of different faiths.

    September 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • Alan

      Yeah, yeah....The church also gets along great with the Catholic Church when they want something from it...like support on prop 8. Yet, the church has always called the Catholic Church the, and I quote, look it up if you don't believe me, "The whore of All the Earth" it is documented in official church papers.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Aqua

      That's a lovely thought, Todd, but the article states it took 15 YEARS to reach a settlement.
      How's this:
      Mormons – We're performing ceremonies to convert dead Jews to our religion.
      Jews – Please don't do that, its really insulting.
      Mormons – OK.
      There. 30 seconds. Alright, maybe a week at each end to get approved by the officials. How can it possibly take 15 YEARS to agree not to perform insulting rituals against another religion??

      September 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  7. Todd

    I think we're all missing an important aspect of Mormon theology on baptism in general. We believe that a person being baptized by the proper authority is being literally adopted into the House of Israel, in essence making Gentiles into Jews, and not the other way around. There is anectdotal evidence in the Old Testament that the Jews practiced baptism, and John the Baptist, a Jew, performed baptisms years before Jesus began preaching His Gospel, which He claimed was proper Jewish theology countering a perverted dogma of the Pharisees. However, Jews naturally do not recognize this teaching of ours and thus the Mormon leadership has done a good thing by considering the feelings of another religious group, even though they have the right to perform the posthumous baptisms and are not guilty of any of the major crimes against Jews. Interesting that this is a PERFECT parallel to the insensitivity claims against the Ground Zero Mosque. If only the Imam of that proposed mosque had as much sensitivity to Americans (which includes Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Christians, Atheists, etc.).

    September 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  8. Doc Vestibule

    Poor Jews. Trying to get through life with only half a bible.

    September 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    So lemme see if I've got this straight:
    The Jewish adhere to the Tanakh, or "vengeful, smitey God".
    The Christians follow The Bible II – or "God's hippy son".
    The Mormons believe the NT Sequel – "The Son Returns, and He's American!".

    But regardless of whether the book were revealed with magic rocks, inspired by flaming foliage or written by clergymen used as typewriters by archangels, they all agree that the righteous go to heaven. The definition of "righteous" seems up for grabs – but they're all quite certain that the others don't get into paradise.
    At least the Mormons are giving non-members a chance to go home and change into nicer clother so God's bouncer (St. Peter?) will open the velvet rope and let 'em belly up to the celestial bar.

    September 3, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • ringo

      Nope. Jews don't believe in heaven. Try again.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Alex Walker

      Mormons actually believe all people who have ever lived (except for a tiny handful of Cain-like folks) will live in some sort of paradise. (But keep this one quiet 🙂

      September 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Pangolin

      Nope, Mormons don't believe that Jesus was American. Better research = more cogent arguments.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  10. Wes J

    Yes, we are all a bunch of stupid, can't think for ourselves, idiots just doing what we are told. Thank you so much for bringing me to the light with your insightful comment.

    Alternatively, perhaps we are just doing the best we can with the light and knowledge we have. We are talking about events that happened over 2000 years ago that none of us were present at and acting like we have the whole story. I think in these situations dialoge that allows us to understand one another better is called for rather than labeling one group or another as mentally deficient and delusional.

    September 3, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • ringo

      You don't have the background to engage in dialog. I've tried.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  11. Nonimus

    I have never understood this practice. If there is an afterlife wouldn't the dead have access to more and better information than we, the living, do? Wouldn't they have better access to more and better leaders/officials? Say maybe, listen to Jesus himself proclaim the gospel then convert and get baptized by John the Baptist himself. What's the need for this proxy stuff?

    September 3, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • ringo

      Fundamentalist: Someone who does what god himself would do, if only he had all the facts.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • Alex Walker

      In Mormon belief, which might or might not appeal to you, the immediate afterlife is not the final destination, nor is it a Catholic-style purgatory. The 'spirit world', as we call it, is a place where the spirits of all departed humans know no more (save that there is a continuation of life) than they knew while living. I've often heard it said that there will be preachers of various faiths and ideologies seeking to explain that phase of existence: Baptists will think it's Heaven or Hell; Buddhists will fit the experience within the framework of their belief system; Jews will still believe their faith, etc. No doubt atheists will look for a rational, scientific explanation. Amid this confusion, there will be missionaries teaching the Gospel. Those who accept it must await a proxy baptism to enter into the covenant. (For it is on this earth that we must do these things.) Those who mock this as silly or crazy miss out on appreciating the richness of Mormon theology. They also fail to recognize the incredibly satisfying nature of Mormon beliefs as enjoyed by practitioners of the faith. Do a little research on the state of highly educated Mormons' level of belief vs. that of educated members of other faiths and then decide whether it's the weak-minded weaknesses of the members or the fulfilling doctrines that explain Mormon success.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • ELB

      This life is a test, to see if we will have faith in Christ and those He sends in His name. If you belive a prophet sent by Jesus, then you will also believe Jesus Himself, because the Holy Spirit will testify to your heart and mind that you are hearing the truth. It is not a matter of being taught by a more perfect teacher. Without the witness of the Holy Spirit, anyone could come up to you and say they are Jesus, or were sent by Him, and you would not know if you should believe him or not.

      For those who died without the chance to be taught by a preisthood holder sent in the name of Jesus, the opportunity is given to be taught by those who died with the fullness of the gospel. They still must develop faith in Christ by beliving His doctrine as taught by authorized priesthood holders, and repent of the sins they commited in mortal life. But the baptizim must be done by mortals on the earth since it is an earthly ordinance. If the souls of the dead belive and repent, then the baptizim in the temple counts. If they choose not to believe and refuse to repent, they have rejected the work done in the temple for them.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  12. Reality

    Mormonism- nothing more than a business cult using religion as a front and founded upon the hallucinations of the "great con", Joseph Smith and his tinker bell Moroni.

    September 3, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  13. DavidB

    @Shoshana, You may not realize what you said. But words betray us. You said concerning who killed Jesus "The Romans did". When in fact they didn't. The Roman leader Pilate was the man with all the control that day. 'Jew' and 'Roman' is being used as a metaphor for Jewish leaders who want Jesus dead, and Pilate who couldn't care less. Those who incited him to it were the Jewish leaders not the Jews in general. The people actually loved Jesus. But the leaders knew they didn't have the authority to kill Jesus, they needed Roman rule to do that. It is interesting that the early Christian church, subsequently Islam misinterpreted everything over a metaphor; a metaphor so common that you fell into it as well just now. As far as who killed Jesus, it was those who assumed ruler-ship over the common people. The real message is about power and control and those who lord it over us. Those are the ones who killed Jesus, they are also and always the ones who kill throughout history and make life miserable for everyone else!

    September 3, 2010 at 1:42 am |
    • Alex Walker

      True, but don't forget that Jesus and ALL of the apostles (and their first followers) were Jews. It affirming the guilt of SOME Jews, all of whom had Jesus killed for religious reasons, we need to remember that in his own ministry Jesus was not willing to teach any Gentiles - remember the Samaritan woman at the well? - and that the Jews (and the other tribes of Israel) are still the chosen people if they will accept their Lord. That is, we non-Jewish Christians are only adopted into the Abrahamic covenant.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  14. asdf

    Well the only way the Mormons can continue their pyramid scheme of a religion is by having lots of non-mormons serve the lowest Mormons in the afterlife (converted Mormons serve those that converted them, regular mormons serve bishops, etc. This requires records and why the Mormons have the best genealogy records in the world.

    September 3, 2010 at 1:00 am |
    • Pangolin

      None of that is what members of the LDS Church believe or teach. While it's possible that some of the fringe groups that have split off from it over the last century-plus believe those things, all of what you've said is antithetical to mainstream LDS religion.

      But nice try.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • Alex Walker

      I think it's a lovely doctrine. It provides a way for those whom you love who did not have the chance to hear about the Restored Gospel in life to have a chance to accept or reject it in the next life. At 180 years old, I reckon we're a little better than a pyramid scheme 🙂

      September 3, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Kirt

      asdf, you have it backwards. Bishops and other church leaders are called to those positions to be greater servants of others. There is no such thing as lower mormons.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  15. Shoshana

    @ELB: You sound sincere, caring and devoted to your particular faith. Your comment about Jews, though, was wrong, offensive and historically inaccurate. You said:

    "Then when the Jews realize that their ancestors crucified their God, they will be converted."

    Why are you perpetuating the same 2,000 year old evil MYTH about the Jews, one that was finally removed from actual Catholic Church doctrine in 1961, and that has been all but abandoned by most (but not all) Christians? You're continuing a myth, a lie, that is responsible for the slaughter of my People for centuries. Are you kidding?

    The Jews didn't kill Jesus. Read your bible. Pontius Pilate killed him. To believe that the Jews did it, simply because Pilate washed his hands of the whole thing and absolved himself of responsibility is ludicrous. If I go down to the jail, tell the guard to kill the Catholic priest that is in jail there for robbery, and the guard does it, AM I RESPONSIBLE? Or, is the guard? If the guard says, "hey, it's not my fault. SHE told me to do it," does that make it so? Ridiculous.

    Do you not understand that the Roman govt was all powerful. It crucified other Jews regularly. They would soon destroy the very Temple in Jerusalem. Do you really believe that the Sanhedrin held the power? The fact that, according to YOUR bible, ONE Jewish woman might have said, "his blood is forever on our hands," does not make it so. Neither my ancestors nor I killed Jesus. The Romans did.

    The charge of deicide against the Jews (dei = god, cide = murder) is the reason behind the wholesale slaughter of Jews since Christianity began. After all, if we Jews will kill your god, what won't we do!? Do a search for "legends about the Jews" or "antisemitic myths." You will learn about such things as the 1,000+ year old myth of the "blood libel," taught still today in Arab countries. This says that evil Jews murder good Christian children every Easter, in every country, so that they can use the Christian blood to make their Passover matzah.

    Stick to talking about what you know. You know, it ain't easy being the chosen people. Why don't you all choose someone else for a change! Stick to your own faith, and leave us the heck out of it.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • Pangolin

      While antisemitic myths and blood libel are serious concerns, saying "read your bible" probably isn't the best way to address those concerns since the New Testament presents many Jews as calling for and/or orchestrating the crucifixion of Jesus and has Pilate ultimately doing it just to get them off his back. That (along with subsequent Jewish persecution of early Christians, and the decision by many Jewish leaders to tell the Romans that Christians weren't Jews so that Christians wouldn't be covered by the protections Jews received in the Empire) was part of the reason later generations of Christians came to blame all Jews for the death of Jesus.

      Was it the Roman soldiers who physically carried out the execution? According to the NT text, absolutely. But each of the accounts also indicts certain (usually Sadducean) leaders in Jerusalem and (in at least one account) a mob of assembled citizens of Jerusalem as being complicit in / demanding the execution. Does this justify the subsequent persecutions of the Jews? Not at all, especially since even if every single person in Jerusalem had been complicit, the vast majority of Diaspora Jews likely never heard about Jesus or Christians until decades, if not centuries, after the fact - never mind the fact that the NT text itself establishes that Jesus was a Jew, that nearly all of Jesus's closest and most ardent supporters were themselves Jews and that many non-Christian Jews were at least sympathetic to the movement and its teachings.

      Also, to be fair, the Jews weren't slaughtered by Christians "since Christianity began" - initially Christians were persecuted by Jews & Romans & Greeks and it was only centuries later, after Constantine's Edict of Toleration had forbidden persecution of Christians and a series of Emperors had adopted the religion and made it popular, that waves of violent anti-Jewish action were taken.

      Oddly, Mormons are the only Christian group who have scriptural prohibitions against mistreatment of Jews. According to the Book of Mormon, the God of Israel expects goyim to express gratitude towards the Jews and will fiercely punish any who hate or curse the Jewish people.

      September 3, 2010 at 1:09 am |
    • ringo

      The *real* curse of the Jews is that we try to reason with people who are not capable of reason.

      You're wasting your time here. They've been trained to recite doctrine. They don't' actually think about it.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Rytch Yunder

      I know it's offensive, and it is true that the physical act was carried out by cruel Romans, but it's not a lie to say that the extant records record that the Jewish man known as Joshua the Messiah (Jesus) was rejected and sent to be murdered by a SUBSET of powerful Jews. All of the apostles were also Jews, as were all of the first Christians. Christianity is nothing more (and nothing less) than an inclusive branch of Judaism. Jews' enmity toward it stems from its sharing the idea of YHWH worship with those outside what they perceive(d) to be the chosen race. If it is true that the belief that modern Jews were willing to support the execution of their own messiah has been used as a pretext for the murder of Jews, which seems to be the case, it is also true that the racist, ethnocentric views of a large number of Jews throughout the centuries have not helped the situation. It is true the Jews did not want Gentiles to be part of their faith. It's also true the Christ's message was not a violent departure from Judaism; rather, it bears the same relationship to Judaism that Buddhism does to Hinduism - it was/is more inclusive, less concerned with outward manifestations of personal convictions, and less racist.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • Nonimus

      Well said. thanks

      September 3, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Nonimus


      September 3, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • ringo

      Well, no. Jews do not worship an incarnate diety. A religion that worships an incarnate diety is not Jewish, despite the religion of its founders, and despite what it's followers might want to believe. There are many branches of Judaism, and there have been historic offshoots with varying degrees of success. But this is a deal-breaker.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Randall Smith

      The only reason that Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus was because the Jews were prohibited from condemning criminals to death by Roman Law. You forget that Jesus was taken and tried and imprisoned by the San Hedrin (I think I spelled that wrong) in a manner that was contrary to the Law of Moses. The Jews, in a manner of speaking, did kill Jesus. Pontius Pilate asked them who they wanted released: Jesus or Barabas, who was a murderer. They chose Barabas. Pilate told them he found no fault in Jesus and they replied "Crucify Him!". Pontius Pilate would not have sentenced Jesus to death had the Jews not demanded it, and Jesus could not have been killed had he not allowed it to happen.

      I am also a devout Mormon, and this I know to be true; that Jesus Christ was the Messiah promised by every prophet from Adam to John the Baptist. He came to earth to die that we might live and to suffer that we might not suffer if we would repent. This He did out of obedience to the Father and His love for us. I have felt and tasted of that redeeming love and I know, without any shadow of a doubt, that He was who He said He was and did what He said he did.

      (Thanks to ELB for clearing up that question of doctrine. I forgot about that. This article makes sense now 🙂

      September 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Aqua

      Brilliant reply, Shoshana! Thank you very much for spelling it out.

      I personally am of Protestant Ulster (Northern Irish) descent. And I'm amazed at people who think they're so cool, stirring up trouble based on invented beliefs. They're playing with gasoline, and they think that they and theirs will never get burned.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • ELB

      I did not intend to offend you or anyone else. The statements I made are what the Mormon church teaches concerning the Jews accepting Jesus when he comes again in power and glory. While it is true that the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross, the Jewish mob demanded it. The power structure in Roman colonies was more delicate than we often think. No amount of water can wash the blood of of Pilot's hands, but those Jews chanting, "crucify him" and the Jewish leaders also have blood personally on there hands too. However, this has never justified any of the persicution of the Jews anywhere. The Book of Mormon condems those who have persicuted the Jews.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • Michael

      According to the New Testament–

      OF COURSE the Jews did not personally kill Jesus.
      OF COURSE the Romans crucified Jesus, as they had crucified probably thousands of other Jews during their reign of power in ancient Israel.
      And I am not in any way blaming Jews for the death of Jesus.
      I also happen to be an atheist.

      BUT–from a legal standpoint, inciting violence, inciting someone to murder, (which the Jews certainly did with the Romans in respect to Jesus), is considered a crime in U.S. jurisprudence.
      The Jews weren't just innocent bystanders, they apparently (according to the New Testament anyway) incited the Romans to crucify Jesus.

      And I sincerely hope that I didn't hurt anyone's feelings by my posting.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  16. ELB

    I have been a devote Mormon all my life. The doctrine that the spirits (or souls) of people who died without the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus in its fullness can be taught in the next life, develop faith in Christ, repent of sins, and recieve the ordinance of baptizim performed on there behalf in the temple is a sacred and important belief to all faithful Mormons. But I don't see how this ever should have been an issue in the first place.

    The church teaches that we are to do temple work for our ancestors. And the doctrine of the church is that the gospel of Christ will not go to the Jews until Jesus Himself comes to save them from destruction at the last day. Then when the Jews realize that their ancestors crucified their God, they will be converted. So it goes with logic that then, during Christ's thousand year rule on the earth, that the Jews can do temple work for all their ancestors, including victims of the Holocaust. Some of us need to understand our own doctrine a little better.

    And if that isn't enough, when the issue first came to light several years ago, some Mormons should have been a little more obedient to what the prophet said about not doing temple work for the Jewish Holocaust victims, or others not related to us.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
    • Pangolin

      To be fair, the limiting of name-submission for proxy ordinance work is a more recent development in LDS practice - intended, for the most part, to prevent these sorts of conflicts and help make sure that people weren't baptized multiple times.

      Also, many Jews have already become Mormons. They could, theoretically, have the work done for their ancestors well before any eschatological event. They might be among the people submitting names of Holocaust victims.

      September 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • Alan

      But Mormons believe that everybody will be resurrected so shouldn't they be able to be baptised for themselves after they get their bodies back? Just sayin.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • HAM (really)

      Thanks – I am happy being Jewish and do not believe mormon doctrine discussed – however, since when is prayer a bad thing. Move along with this topic – People need to let people be – let people worship without hurting others – Someone wants to pray for me – so be it – If praying for you is the worst thing someone can do for you – fine – its all the rest of the nonsense I object to –

      September 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Aqua

      You realize that's a really insulting belief, right? (That Jews will convert as soon as they get talked to by Jesus). If you want to believe it, that's fine, but broadcasting it in public??

      And since when Jesus returns, the Mormons will realize their mistake and convert to Lutheranism, I don't see how that "temple work" is gonna get done.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • Allib

      Last time I checked the Romans actually put Jesus to death. Go read the Bible again.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  17. Reality

    All of this over a sinners who never existed!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  18. Pangolin

    I think the interesting part is the different spectrums of "Jewishness" which are in operation here. Many of the Jews who were killed during the Holocaust were atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, converts to Christianity or other religions, etc. and were in the camps solely for being "ethnically" Jewish. The assumption that "Jewishness" is equivalent to one's religious standing or conviction is endemic to a particular religio-cultural perspective, dating back to the ancient Hellenic world but given its full form in the last few centuries. Many Jews (including some of the founders of the State of Israel) are proud of their heritage and ethnic background but feel absolutely no personal connection to the religion of their ancestors. And by the same token, the Mormon understanding is that one can be both Jewish (in an ethnic, cultural, etc. sense) and Mormon (as far as one's religious praxis & credo are concerned). That's probably why this has been such a sticky issue - you have some people thinking of "Jewishness" as a religious and ethnic designation, others thinking of it as PURELY religious or PURELY ethnic, and others considering it an amalgam of all. Each group is left scratching their heads, wondering why the others "don't get it".

    Since it's generally policy of the LDS church now to only allow the submission of names for proxy ordinances if the submitter is actually related to the person whose name is being submitted, I can't help but wonder where Mormons with relatives who died in the Holocaust fall. Will they be allowed to submit names, since they're submitting their own relatives? Will they be required to ask permission from other relatives who aren't Mormon? Or will all the names of Holocaust victims be universally marked as "hands off", regardless of the feelings of their descendants/relatives?

    September 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • Grant Huberty

      Once again we see the 'Brethren' meddling with the original tenants of Mormonism to wishfully become more mainstream and less 'peculiar' as a people. Your question is the result of yet another UNINSPIRED effort to dumb down their religion so it's more palatable to others. Every other religion has gone through the same process. Mormonism just happens to be a newcomer. They've revised the Book of Mormon a dozen times, they've recanted the teachings of numerous 'apostles', they've changed their prophesy about Negros ever holding the priesthood, dramatically altered the temple ceremony, tailored the magic underwear garment to be more contemporary looking . . . each time these actions are taken it's related to being sued or losing money because members leave . . . just follow the money. Mormonism is a capitalist enterprise being operated by businessmen, much the same as Scientology functions.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • shalomcharlotte

      You used alot of highdollar words there, but you don't know what you're talking about.
      You're making the same assumption that there were tons of Jews in camps who were secretly Christian.
      How come you can't accept that they were Jews, regular religious, or non religious, but Jews just the same?
      G-d does'nt require us to believe, he just says I am the Lord.
      So give all that blabber a rest would you?

      September 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • ringo

      The nazis considered someone jewish if they had one jewish grandparent. Jews consider someone jewish if they are born to a jewish mother. While there is considerable overlap, there are also areas of non-correlation.

      None of which makes the baptizing of holocaust victims any less offensive.

      September 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • Allib

      Does the LDS know that Jesus was himself a Jew? I think that maybe you guys should start with his baptism seeing as how when he was killed he had not converted to become a Mormon.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
    • LG

      In response to your 'proxy-baptism' post: "most Christians" do not believe our spirits retain consciousness after death. The BIBLE tells us that we are 'asleep in Christ' after death. At His second coming, it is the asleep in Christ who will be called first. I have little interest in the opinions of people who appear not to know what scripture actually says. That is what I am going by...

      September 4, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  19. Normon

    Whew... Now I can finally stop the posthumous apostasy and deprogramming I've been performing for all those unfortunate dead Mormons... well ex-Mormons now.

    September 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • a good joke


      That is a great comeback to the insanity of the Mormon religion in this case. Koodoes 2 u

      September 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Aqua

      That is brilliant. Telling a Mormon who talks about converting your ancestors, that there's an organization converting HIS ancestors!

      While obviously no one's soul is actually being converted, because Mormonism is just an invented belief system, its durn insulting of them.

      September 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • Kirt

      You don't have any authority.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  20. peace2all

    O.k... Now they are just gettin' crazy with this one..... Mormons... what are ya' thinking here... ?

    Quote..."The (dead) have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them."

    You are kidding right.....?


    September 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Kate


      They do posthumous marriages too – relax, it's between two dead people. A friend of mine was doing just that recently, so I had to ask about it 🙂

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • peace2all


      I have several 'mormon' friends..... so, yeah... I am aware of all of the secret 'undies' for these fundies, and their planets, etc...etc... and the angel moroni and the golden plates....

      I actually dated a very strict mormon girl .... So, I am relaxed, but...... well, enough said on this issue....:-)

      Just Posthumously a baptizin' and a marryin'


      September 2, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Pangolin

      Proxy-baptisms were practiced anciently as well, and not just by Christians - there's archaeological evidence for it as well as a tantalizing passage in the New Testament, and the nascent Catholic church went so far as to declare it a heretical practice in the later 300s because of its popularity. Remember, most Christians believe that the spirits of the dead retain consciousness after death, so why wouldn't they retain free will? The whole proxy thing isn't as unique to Mormons as you'd think anyway, since the whole of Christianity, as well as the sacrificial cult of ancient Israel, were based on vicarious atonement and rituals: Jesus suffered and died for the sins of humanity; his Apostles went out preaching & performing miracles in his place; prophets operated as mouthpieces for the Israelite deity; certain animals were killed (or set free) as stand-ins for humans; the priests (especially high priests) purified themselves and stood "before God" as stand-ins for the community as a whole; the Levites were stand-ins for the firstborn of every family; the Temple at Jerusalem itself came to be seen in the Second Temple period as a proxy for the "heavenly temple" in which God and the angels dwelt. It's all a matter of theology in the end.

      September 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
    • Tyranny BeGone

      Soooo, the Mormons think it's okay for them to wed two dead people to one another, but they object ot the fact that I am married to my same-sex partner. My head just exploded.

      For those of you who want to learn about the Mormon religion, I advise you to 1) read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (it explains that Joseph Smith was a pedophile who was tarred and feathered for having sex with a 13 year-old) and 2) watch "8: The Mormon Proposition," which shows how the Mormon elders strong-armed followers to donate millions of dollars to take aways the rights of same-sex couples. Disturbing, hateful stuff.

      September 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mike in NYC

      So wait ..... they do posthumous marriages too??? Does that mean if I marry a rich dead Mormon that I get 1/2 her estate? Just askin' lol 🙂

      September 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Mike in NYC

      LOL....!!!! 🙂


      September 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Allib

      Makes perfect sense, one chain rattle for "yes" two for "no".

      Wait do the dead still walk around dragging chains or is that only in a Christmas Carol? I am really not sure. Now I am worried.. one door slam for 'yes", break a window for "no" that's it, problem solved.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • Tracy Hall Jr

      Peace2all wrote:
      "Quote...]The (dead) have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them.'
      "You are kidding right.....?"

      This only seems absurd if you believe that everything ends with death. We do not. We believe that the spirits of the dead have freedom of choice. Baptism by proxy is a free-will offering to the spirits of the dead, and they are truly free to accept or reject it.

      Tracy Hall Jr
      = = =

      September 4, 2010 at 1:55 am |
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About this blog

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.