February 15th, 2012
04:21 PM ET
Mormons apologize for posthumous baptisms of Wiesenthal's parents
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for "a serious breach of protocol" in which the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized as Mormons.
The church also acknowledged that three relatives of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel were entered into the genealogy database, though not referred for baptism.
Asher Wiesenthal and Rosa Rapp were baptised in proxy ceremonies in temples in Utah and Arizona, according to the database records discovered by researcher Helen Radkey in Salt Lake City.
The Wiesenthal baptisms violated a 1995 pact in which the church agreed to stop baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims.
"We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names," said church spokesman Michael Purdy.
"These submissions were clearly against the policy of the church. We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person's ability to access our genealogy records."
Mormons believe that they may be baptized by proxy for deceased ancestors who never had that opportunity.
Church members, however, are supposed to request such baptisms only for their own relatives, Purdy said.
The agreement over Holocaust victims came about after it was discovered that hundreds and thousands of names had been entered into Mormon records.
Jewish leaders said it was sacrilegious for Mormons to suggest Jews on their own were not worthy enough to receive God's eternal blessing. Radkey, who has been tracking Mormon genealogy records for a while for people who ought not to be there, said she inadvertently stumbled upon the Wiesenthal name a few weeks ago. Among others people she discovered had been baptized by proxy is President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the baptisms.
Wiesenthal's father died in combat in World War I. His mother perished at the Belzec concentration camp in 1942. Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal died in 2005 after spending years hunting down Nazis.
"We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon Temples," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who participated in many of the high-level meetings between Jews and Mormon officials.
"Such actions make a mockery of the many meetings with the top leadership of the Mormon Church dating back to 1995 that focused on the unwanted and unwarranted posthumous baptisms of Jewish Victims of the Nazi Holocaust," he said in a written statement.
He expressed gratitude to Radkey for "exposing the latest outrage."
Radkey also found the names of relatives of Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
"In this case, the Wiesel family names were not submitted for baptisms but simply entered into a genealogical database," Purdy said. "Our system would have rejected those names had they been submitted."
Purdy said it was "distressing" that church members had violated policy and regretted that "an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention."
Radkey said the church makes such breaches possible because any member can submit a name not connected to their own family.
"There are way too many entries slipping through the cracks, including Jewish Holocaust victims," she said. "It's (the Mormons') belief to save the dead that is causing the problem."
Wiesel, meanwhile, told the Huffington Post that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, should speak to his own church and tell them to stop the practice of proxy baptisms on Jews.
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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.
So, after god himself declares a person ineligible for heaven, Mormons think they can outvote him by baptizing them after they are dead. Then (as I read on another site) the Mormons say that the dead can reject the involuntary baptism. Really? How? Do they get a form in the mail (dead letter dept)? Do they need a #2 pencil to fill it out? Can they do it on-line?
So many cultures have rejected their legends (do the Greeks still believe in Apollo?) Christians, on the other hand, keep going the other way, away from enlightenment, and further down the rabbit hole. Pathetic. And they wonder where christian bashing comes from.
These same people think that they, and only they, are capable of running the country? Mental illness.
Only Morman's consider them selves Christians.
The vicarious baptism will not be operative UNLESS AND UNTIL that spirit ACCEPTS specific truths in the next life. There is no compulsion in the area of one's beliefs in the next realm, but learning and change continue to occur. Evolution never ends. I find that to be a beautiful thing. Why wouldn't you?
Melissa, you guys just keep making it up to suit your whim, don't you?
Really Melissa? So with your logic, I would pass and enter a state of limbo I guess until some moron mormon baptised me in death. THEN the truth of the universe would be revealed to me....... With that kind of capacity for understanding you would make the perfect mormon...........
1) If you don't believe in baptisms for the dead, then should it really matter whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint members do it? In my opinion, no, but out of respect for a particular religion who expresses that concern, then obviously, it should not proceed. What happened here, is not a revolt by the Latter-day Saint church (despite the angry Rabbi's words), but a couple of people who unfortunately slipped through the system. They instruct to only submit information for family names. This is not an affront to the Jewish religion or community.
2) You can learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint belief in baptism for the dead here: http://www.lds.org/study/topics/baptisms-for-the-dead?lang=eng&query=baptism+dead and here: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1987/08/i-have-a-question/i-have-a-question?lang=eng&query=baptism+dead. But in short. Latter-day Saints believe that Baptism is essential for salvation (John 3:5 KJV: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."). Some may wonder why it still is necessary if they were baptized in other churches, then why would they still need to be baptized by the LDS church members through proxy. The reason is because they believe that Christ's original church in both form and doctrine, unaltered in any way, was restored to the earth again after a long time of being gone through apostasy (or a falling away –2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 KJV). Because the church believes it has the priesthood authority to baptize in his name. They believe that only through the correct Priesthood authority can the ordinance of baptism be performed. So, there are many in the world who have died not knowing Christ or having the opportunity to accept or reject His gospel and therefore, by baptizing for the dead, the Church believes that it is giving those people an opportunity in the spirit world to either accept or reject the full gospel of Jesus Christ. They use as support for their belief also the scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:29 KJV. This chapter shows how Paul was trying to convince the Corinthians that the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually occured...in his support, he said in verse 29, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Basically saying that there would be no purpose in baptizing for the dead if there wasn't a resurrection in the first place.
3. Most people on here have not educated themselves to be able to make the claims on here. Instead they spew hate and anger toward things they have not even attempted to understand...often times believing what people tell them instead of researching for themselves what the church believes. I would challenge people who are responding to research the church, ask a member instead of a preacher of another faith concerning the exact beliefs of the church. I don't claim to know everything about every religion, but one thing is for sure, I am first going to try to understand them before I begin launching attacks at them for being false. Take in all the information–information from actual members or sources not biased one way or another. I wouldn't go to a chevy dealership to talk learn about a Ford truck would I? Nope. I would talk to someone who knows most about the product and then decide for myself than have someone tell me what to think. Become educated at the very least! Even if you despise the particular religion afterwards or you think the Baptists are just plain wrong or the Mormons are wrong–maybe you should learn about them, tolerate their beliefs and believe whatever you want to believe, but do it with some respect. Is that too much to ask?
Since some people don't believe in salvation in the next life, maybe they should take 1 Corinthians 15:29 and John 3:5 out of the bible as well.
Wow how open minded and tolerant of you! Lets see so you are saying you dont agree with or understand what they believe in so it is ok to bash them. Cool...what other groups should we bash because we dont agree with them? Hey isn't that the definition of intolerance? Why dont you tell us what you are and then we can bash you, I mean it is OK right?
so they fake baptize you then enter you in a database? so if my great grand kids look into there history they may believe i am mormon because someone thought my own belieffs werent good enough? I was actually considering voting for romney screw that now
Jesus Christ taught that baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on earth (see John 3:5). Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority. Because God is merciful, He has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of baptism. By performing proxy baptisms in behalf of those who have died, Church members offer these blessings to deceased ancestors. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what has been done in their behalf.
Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Even Jesus Christ Himself was baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17).
Many people have lived on the earth who never heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who were not baptized. Others lived without fully understanding the importance of the ordinance of baptism. Still others were baptized, but without proper authority.
Because He is a loving God, the Lord does not damn those people who, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity for baptism. He has therefore authorized baptisms to be performed by proxy for them. A living person, often a descendant who has become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is baptized in behalf of a deceased person. This work is done by Church members in temples throughout the world.
Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world. The names of deceased persons are not added to the membership records of the Church.
Does that sound crazy to you? Or does the standard Christian train of thought which tells those who never got the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior that they are going to Hell? What about all the billions of people who lived on the Earth in places like Africa and China? Would a just God explain that you have to be baptized and then turn around and damn those who never had that opportunity? What about the mother who lost her child and the Catholic or Protestant Church explains to her that the child is going to hell because it was not baptized or did not accept Jesus? To me, the Mormons sound more correct on this subject matter than the letter religions. If you think about it, everyone will have the chance to be baptized (whether living or not) and accept Jesus as their Savior. The Mormons got this right, and as explained in Corinthians, the modern christian churches have lost the principle of baptism for the dead... and ultimately lost the doctrine of a just God.
Case 1: Mormons are completely wrong and there is no God, Heaven or afterlife. Then the baptism for the dead has no effect whatsoever.
Case 2: Mormons are completely wrong and there is a Heaven, just not the one Mormons envision. Then the baptism for the dead is ignored, and the person goes to whatever place of this afterlife.
Case 3: Mormons are right, and spirits are required to have an authorized baptism the Mormon way, by a person with a physical body here on earth ... Then the person who received the baptism by proxy (after learning the truth ... after death) can either reject it and go on their happy way, or may be pretty happy to receive it.
Dr. Jones stated - Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority.
What gives the lds church the proper authority over all other christian churches? The lds church searches other church's baptism records for names to submit to the temple. Joseph Smith was a con man and not everyone was their name associated with his - dead or alive.
JCT, "water and the Spirit" refers to the first birth from the water of the womb (not baptism), and the optional second, spiritual "birth" of enlightenment (however you choose to interpret "enlightenment". No reference to soaking anyone in sacred solution, in person or by proxy; the obvious, common sense meaning is a transcendence of the mind over mere physical existence.
If water can save then why spill blood? For more answers click here.
maybe cuz water can't save. only if you are thirsty or dirty does water have much value. Cool you off on a hot day.
"Bless" the water and you have ... umm.... water? nothing added, no benefits other than what it had.
There is no god Eric. do not keep deluding yourself. Live a "human" life. fill it with love and joy, etc. etc.
get off this god kick. you will be a better person for it.
now, go in peace.. bless you my son.. LOL
Love how CNN managed to work in the Romney angle in the last sentence, even though HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!
What? He is the cult master!
Some wooden form placed over an alien exoskeleton, sent from space to conquer the Christians.
Obama may have been born like in Uganda or something, but Romney comes from ALOT further away than that!
He does have something to do with it, he did the same thing to his inlaws. I read an article not long back that he and his wife had her devoutly atheist father baptised after he died. It's a disrespectful practice.
Well if he is athiest, then it never happened...cause there is no God and there would be no need for baptism. So it wouldn't have mattered to him would it?
Romney was part of this Voodoo! I will never vote for him....and I'm not Jewish
You hit it right on the head. Do you really think this article would have ever been written if the media wasn't trying to find a way to hint at Romney's beliefs. News ratings are about getting people mad at each other's opinions.
Seriously, read what the article is actually saying compared to what everybody is obviously taking away from the article down here in the comments.
The article is saying the the Mormon church is enforcing its policy of not performing vicarious baptisms of holocaust victims and is apologizing and taking corrective action based on a single runaway member doing something that was clearly against the rules.
The takeaway is to get everybody to start correlating religion and politics. What a sham.
CNN: this ploy is shameful. I don't care if people have strong feelings about this practice, but to use it as a political tool without acknowledging that it is what you're intentionally doing really is shameful.
Drag my cold dead corpse thru the streets for all I'll care... I'll be DEAD!
Why take offense....this particular Mormon practice is just another worthless ritual in a bogus "religion" that has no impact on the living or the dead
I wonder if they baptize dead Muslims? It really doesn't matter...dead is dead. It just insults the living relatives.
If I'd wanted to be a Mormon when i was alive I would have become one. It goes on so church members can gain points for proper behavior or something.
To Harbharb: I think that you're right about gaining points – as to the person/s who improperly submitted the name/s. But that's no reason to blame the Church, which has a policy to prevent such improper submissions. However, you rule out the possibility of change in the next life. You shouldn't be so quick to hogtie yourself in the next life by a decision you've made in this life.
The Mormon church makes a mockery of all religions. They just discard other peoples beliefs. There is a reason why our ancestors did not like them. Maybe we should consider that our ancestors new best.
For other examples of religions, "discarding other peoples beliefs", see every religion that has ever engaged in evangelism or missionary work.
What's wrong with you? Didn't you get it that it was a MISTAKE? A mistake due to an individual's act, not the policy of the Church. Can't you think independently? That's how bigotry and prejudice is perpetuated. Have an open mind, please.
“replace the declining christian numbers”
LOL seriously???? I am not a believer, but thought that the mormons church was the church of latter day saints... which would by definition make them christian.. so, how can christians replace the delining christian numbers? would not the numbers of "christians" remain the same if they left the baptists and became mormon.. come on now. Have a valid argument when you try to dis em.. I know I do.
There is no god, so... live each day like it is your last.. .love like you never will again... and do good whenever you are able...
If there is a god.. (LOL) if they do not want me because of my beliefs, even though I live a better, more "christian" life style than most christians I deal with... no problem.. I would not want to be part of that club anyway
have a splendiferous day folks
No. To be Christian, you must believe in Christ. That by nature means believing in the words Christ spoke.
There IS a God.
Being a "Christian" means you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. You obviously don't believe in him, so you can't be a better Christian than real Christians. Mormons don't believe in the Jesus Christ as we know him in the Bible, so Mormons are not Christians either.
Mainstream christian numbers is decling...perhaps that sounds better. I can create my own new chapter or book and attach it to the bible and then claim I am christian. Mormonism being christian in the true sense? Of course not. I used to be a christian and am one no more. If anybody does actual unbiased research into the background of the author of mormonism, its isnt that hard to see the complete fraud and con. lol The creator of the mormon bible lacked integrity on a grand scale. Obviously current day mormons white wash this or simply ignore that aspect which is crucial to being able to believe anything about it. If something is created on fraud...it is fraud...something doesnt start out as a fraud then changes to being okay because the people are nice people.
Going back to the fraud aspect...Mr. Smith created a history and race of people in the United States with the American Indians...that well.............never existed. Of course he had no concept or idea that science/dna would prove him quite wrong. lol
But because man has the amazing ability of wishful thinking and stupidity...they ignore the facts
To JusDav: It isn't possible to prove that there isn't a God. It's only possible to prove that there IS a God. You're welcome to your opinion, but boy will you be surprised.
Melissa: You are exactly right. It IS impossible to prove that God/YHWH/Allah doesn't exist. It is also impossible to prove that Zeus, Apollo, Isis, Osiris, Baal, Dragons, Unicorns and Leprechauns don't exist for those exact same reasons.
The difference is that you see 8 of those names and recognize them as ridiculous bedtime stories made up by ignorant people from the Bronze Age. I recognize all 9.
To all those imbiciles who commented here: We believe in EVERYTHING in the bible. The name of our church is the church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day saints. We believe that the only way we can return to heaven is through our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST. If you think we're not Christians, you're an idiot.
The 7th paragraph is grammatically jumbled and makes no sense as written
Maybe they just wanted to wash the dirt off their decaying bodies.
Why would anyone think it's OK to baptize deceased persons? How disrespectful. Those people were the religions they wanted to be during the course of their lives – or maybe they were not religious at all – and it's not up to anyone to come in after the fact and attempt to "change" it.
Wern't some of our Marines photgraphed "baptizing" Taliban corpses a few weeks ago.
Have you not read the Bible? Baptisms in behalf of the dead is a longstanding ordinance.
absolutely. My great great grandfather was a Baptist Minister his entire life and a great grandchild who married a Morman lady, they wanted to baptize him as a Morman. It's a direct slap in his face and his life's work and beliefs. There should be the respect of your ancestors and their beliefs. If you wish to be Morman and your immediate family is Morman, okay. But don't assume that all your spouse's family wish to be Morman!
Ben, if you're talking about 1 Corinthians 15:29, you are mistaken in saying it was a common practice. Paul makes mention of people in the Corinth church doing it, but NEVER does he say it is to BE done and NO WHERE in the Bible does it say someone can be baptized in place of a person who has died. I mean, good grief, do we really think God is going to accept a baptism of someone who isn't you?? Baptism is a personal, meaningful CHOICE. It does not get a person into heaven or make them "saved." It's an act of obedience and the desire to "wash" away the old self. No one can do that for a dead person.
To Lazurite: People are not unearthed. It's vicarious, i.e., someone else stands in for the person. And it's only CONTINGENT on the person thereafter ACCEPTING AND WANTING it. If not – poof. It's gone. What about infants that die before baptism? Don't you think they would appreciate having their baptism done for them?
@What?? Finally.... a sensible reply about baptism of the dead. "We"= Christians..... "they"=pagans in that passage. It's amazing how the Mormon church took this one passage that actually infers that _pagans_ practiced baptism of the dead, and turned it into a doctrine. Such jolly good fun to take it out of context.
Notamormon: Go read the context of the verse, Paul is not arguing about baptism for the dead, he is not arguing about "pagans", he is debating the Saducees defending the reality of the resurrection (the eventually rising of the dead) while they argue that their is no resurrection. The references to baptisms for the dead is by Paul –IN SUPPORT– of his argument that the resurrection is a reality. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead". I have a hard time seeing any interpretation other than the fact that both Paul and the Saducees had a common practice of baptizing for the dead, and that he is using that tenet (which they do believe in) to show that they should also believe in the resurrection. Read it in context, it fits.
Thank you for the respectful dialogue, but I still see the context the same way. Yes, Paul is speaking of the reality of the resurrection, but only to say that even non-Christians accept it as a reality. "Else why would they baptize the dead"? Don't you think that if this practice was common among Christians there would be many other references to it in the Bible, as there are with other core doctrines? I still believe it is taken out of context.
notamormon: Fair enough. You and I read it differently, but I'm also glad to have a civil conversation about it. Thanks.
Such a weird headline....
Such a weird religion.
Baptisms for the dead is based on the Bible.
I know it's an unpopular view, but evangelism is at its heart smug and superior. Its premise is, "My religion is better than yours, so you must change." It is particularly offensive to Jews, who do not permit their own ranks to evangelize others. You can certainly convert to Judaism (my mother did as a teenager, and never looked back), but you have do it because you want to, not because someone else threatens you with failure in the eyes of God if you do not comply.
You are going to hell and burn forever unless you believe as heavenSent believes. Also Jesus loves you.
I don't think Mormons are evangelists.
It says much about any religion that believes they have the true religion, which I assume means the true/real path to eternal life, for that religion to not have as a major/top objective to love others ...that is to say, not have as a major objective to proactively bring their truths before others when ever they can. A religion that is not proactive in prosletizing/evangelising is a worthless religion in my view...at the very least it has no love for neighbor.....it is a religion its holders apparently think not worthy to encourage others to follow.
Tommy, two verses sum it up: Matthew 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations..." and John 14:6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus said them both. That is why we believe what we believe.
My, my, Tommy TT, you sure jumped to some gigantic conclusions. Underlying baptism for the dead is LOVE. Wanting to share. Wanting everyone to have an equal shot at joy in the next realm. I don't approve of threats either. If that is what you've experienced somewhere in Christendom, I'm sorry.
religion is amazing to those who believe, and it is ridiculous to those who don't
The actions of the Mormons who "baptized" dead Jews is still significantly less heinous than the actions of some Roman Catholic Inquisitors who actually exhumed the corpses of some people to put them on "trial" for heresy. As the individuals couldn't speak out in their own defense, nor could they recant, they were found guilty and burned at the stake. Like a buddy of mine says, "You just can't make this stuff up!" Oh, and remember, Pope Benedict's last job before his promotion was head of the body of the Roman Catholic Church that we lovingly used to refer to as the Inquisition!
I agree Joe, but with one HUGE difference.
The Mormons are STILL doing it!
My thought: there is one dude who goes into temples, baptizes himself for holocaust victims, and then tells the media. I mean, HOW ELSE DOES THIS STUFF GET TO THE MEDIA? There is a mole in the Mormon Church.
Have Jewish leaders start unbaptizing dead Mormons.
Mossad sends a hit squad into Utah!
Cult on Cult warfare! Ya gotta love it.
The Christians can use Super Soakers filled with holy water!
Like musical chairs, but the losers end up in hell!
That is a most perfect idea.
1995 Pact? God (did I just say God) you have to laugh. Pacts being made over mythical acts. lol
Mormons are the new Nazi's?
Actually they are the same old mythical ideas...just repackaged..to replace the old. Islam is on the rise and going through 3rd world country pains like the christians did when they killed in the name of god and ruled with religion. Christianity is on the decline...mormonism is in perfect position to replace. More mormons outside of the United States than in it....there is a reason why they focus so much in other countries...and prefer the less educated ones.
This is important.
Alice?? Is that you?? School's out forever!
One has to lchuckle at the delusional acts of people. People have believed in the magic man/men/women in the sky since the start. Always some new and improved version of magic man arising. Mormons is the latest being around 200 years old. Perhaps it is the one to replace the declining christian numbers. Interesting how man can be so advanced in thought but so weak to emotional fear. Man knows his/her fellow man speaks on behalf of all magic men and still believes/trusts their fellow man to speak the truth about mystical things.
First!!!! I'm Mormon too and I completely agree with this!!!!!!!
Actually I like when the cults desecrate each others corpses!
Makes you all seem so "mature"!
So we can take you to temple and place a star of david on you when you die? We'll put you in a Jewish cemetary too.
So we can take you to temple and place a star of david on you when you die? We'll put you in a Jewish cemetary too.
You can do whatever you want with my body you little freak!
and you don't see the lunacy in this?
This is morbid and weird IMHO.