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.
... two messed up cults: mormons and jews.
God bless you.
Their intentions were good. The effects harmless. You were perhaps offended? You know no one has any reason to care what you think.
likewise. nobody gives a flying f-u..ck what you think
Of course the same applies to you as well.
I'm glad you're all on the same page chickenshits.
Anyone else think this was an article from The Onion?
If Romney wins Republican nomination it would be interesting if Obama asked Mitt how he explained his support for the black mans Mormon ‘Mark-of -Cain’ when he was on his LDS mission in the 1960’s. Google ‘Mark of Cain’ Watch Mitt flp flop like a fish on that racism.
You know what really bothers people about Romney? The way he treated his dog. That's what will keep him out.
mitt has no control over his own church policies. yeah, every religion if you go back has some policies that to many seem weird. Christians, Catholics, Jews, etc. are no exception. I love how religion haters like to focus on one thing which they don't understand but then marginalize the beliefs of millions because they are a so-called expert.
Wow this much hate over such a simple act. Perhaps an official explanation will help? Please read it all so you can see the accept or reject part. Thanks
Baptisms for the Dead
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.
And you know this to be true.......how?
Why the hate? Stop disrespecting the rest of us who do not believe as you do. Keep it to yourself.....
Jesus never wrote a single word. In fact, there is zero evidence from the time that he ever lived at all! Those little red letters in your new testement aren't what jesus said, they are what other say he said. Why can't you xtians understand this simple fact?
You actually believe that the lord of the universe, the creator of 600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars actually gives a rip whether someone pours a few drops of water on someone's head, or that it could/would be crucial to their final outcome or have any effect ? If so, you sure have a jerk for a god. It's supersti'tion, pure and simple.
AJW3, why does it matter how I know this to be true? If following this belief of mine correctly. This would only be done for my own family members. And they then have the power to accept it or reject it. It has zero effects on those that hate religion.
AJW3: Because I asked God in prayer...you should try it some time...it provides awesome results.
Billy Joe Shaver – You Can't Beat Jesus Christ
Using the babble to support the babble, and it's beliefs, is circular reasoning.
Still highly insulting especially to the people who died for their faith. Very presumptive and dishonoring to the dead. I know that your religion probably keeps you from seeing this, but as someone who doesn't share your faith, if this was done to me it would be disrespecting my memory. If this was done to a family member of mine, I would be highly insulted and upset.
Four Jumps...sounds like you are the one that took four jumps in a circle...is this why you are going insane? I figured since you took a non-rational backed with no reasons approach, I could make a useless comment too....now we are even.
It makes sensible to you because it parallel's your beliefs. Jew's accept Christ as a prophet not the Messiah (unless they are Messianic), can you not honestly see how being baptized might be offensive? Why don't you set aside your Book of Mormon and pull out the Torah for further theological guidance.
Rachel, no hate here I just think people choose what they want to believe. Let them choose and quit forcing your beliefs as if they are the gospel. Do you think muslims do not truly believe in the Koran like you believe in the bible? Do you think Jews do not truly believe in their faith? Somehow religions have an arrogant way of thinking their faith is that special gift to mankind. I know...........you just have that special feeling that you religion is the only not created by a false profit.
Yes, all the starts, which I think are far more numerous that the little number presented here are but for one purpose. Here is what those we horrible Mormons teach is the purpose of God.
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Sounds like a kind, loving and caring God to me but... hey I'm a Mormon or is that moron, what can I know. 😉
I am jewish and just so their is no missunderstanding "I don't want to be baptized – ever1" And I speak on behalf of the entire Jewish world- past and present.
Ano1222 & cutedog, I agree and so do those Mormons who follow the correct guidelines. You probably do not have Mormons in your family and so you should not fear this would ever happen to you. Even if you did, a simple statement of please do not ever do that for me to your family members should be enough for them to respect your wishes. It really is simple and it really is not about making others Mormon after they are dead. It is a way for those that might so desire to have such done for them after life is gone done. I know many people pray for family members that are past, is that hateful?
hwrcpa, I believe your request should be respected and honored. But I do not believe that you can truly speak for the whole entire Jewish people. But again, the work should not be done unless it is for family members.
Dear Jack.....I applaud your conviction of your faith just like I applaud the billions of people that have their very own, but differing,convictions. What I don't applaud is that you are so arrogant that you have audacity to force your beliefs on the deceased. If you don't understand why this is so wrong in so many different ways then you are no different than these other people on this site of being hateful.
AJW3, you are 100% correct. To force my belief on any person, living or dead is horrible. I will continue to express, this is to be done only for our family members. Then it is not a matter of once the work is done, they are presto... Mormons. It is for them to accept it or reject it. It is in many ways a simple invite to receive and listen to the teachings of what I believe. I would invite you to listen. I hope that does not insult you. And I will accept that you have the power to say no thanks, not interested and I will respect your right to say no. It's that simple.
Jack, do you not get it? When we are alive we are supposedly all on the Same playing field. We have all been given the same information in order to make our own decision. We then processed this information and we have chosen how we choose to proceed to the next life. You on the other hand are saying that some people have made the wrong decision and it is up to you to give them one more chance in the afterlife to save themselves. In reality, this is only you way to score more points with your God. I know your going to say that some people weren't given the right information to make the right choice well who's fault would that be? Gods or yours?
It's late for me. I thank those of you that respected my expressions enough to hear me out. And I will again express that these baptisms are to be done for family members only. And then it is to be accepted or rejected by that family member. It is not a forced conversion. Of course all groups and organizations have those that will not play by the given rules. Those that step outside will be held accountable. Their doing so, understandably increases the misunderstanding of others concerning the actual beliefs of member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Why does "Salvation" seen like a mugging? Like extortion?
We're told we have to give this person what he wants (money/worship), or something bad is going to happen to us (death/hell).
It doesn't seem like we're given much of a choice, now does it?
AJW3, I can understand what you are saying. And it really is more complex than simply another chance after one is dead and has not had the chance. It's a big world. There are many parts that are not Christian at all. What happens there to the soul that is good and would have been baptized but because of where or when they lived, they could not. Would you make a liar of Christ when He told us that unless a man is baptized that he would in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven? Christ is not a liar. He is merciful, kind and loving and judges our hearts and allows opportunities that are far greater than we can simply see with our limited knowledge. 94% of the universe is made of dark matter and dark energy. Are we truly vain enough to think we really know what this universe is all about when we are seeing, feeling, examining only 6%? On that note, I really must go. I appreciate our conversation and I understand your not seeing my view of it. I once refuse to see it too.
Sorry. Too much. I have to respond.
John, Salvation = extortion...
It's more like choices and consequences.
The law of gravity. You are free to not obey it. But step out of a jet at 30000 feet without a parachute or some means of flying and the end result might not be what you want.
Who cares? A Jew is still a Jew, a Christian is still a Christian. Once one dies, I do not think that the cadaver really cares one way or another.
You would be surprised how much cadavers appreciate a bath now and again.
You-tube Bill Muher 'Unbaptizing the dead' on his comedy show. Its a hoot. ( Bill Muher has Jewish heritage )
This is the religious equivalent of, "MOM HE'S WON'T STOP STARING AT ME!!!!"
A stupid and annoying way to build ancestors to a faith that got started in 1849. Some of my relatives were baptized posthumously, a grand-aunt and some siblings. Equally outrageous. I sent to Mormon who did that a photo of the gravestone with German and Hebrew.
There should be a law that the Mormons cannot deprive people of their own faith, posthumously. One cannot change a name without court consent and the same should hold for your religion.
This way, a huge fraction of the so called Mormons have been baptized without consent just to make their flock seem larger. Perhaps the only answer to this would be to have another faith do the same thing to the Mormons relatives?!
Convert all your Mormon friends and relatives to your faith, whatever it might be.
So do you believe a dead person's religion or even salvation is changed by what the Mormon's do? Really?
why do i care if someone wants to try to convert me to their faith once I am dead? Shoot, let the games begin. It would be fun to watch.
I would like to know if my dear Catholic grandmother is on the Mormon's genealogy records. I wonder, do Mormons get the names of ancestors from Ancestry.com for proxy baptism without consent of the descendants? I believe that the Mormon's apology minimizes their secret temple practices of baptizing anyone nationally through proxy to alter ancestor history for their afterlife. The Holocaust survivors should not be the only ones protected from this practice. Mormons can get away from proxy babtism since the dead can't talk.
People get your facts straight. We don't go proxy baptizing whomever we feel like. Per our own rules, we are only supposed to do it for family members we are related to. There are some over zealous morons out there that do more than that and give the rest of us a bad name. We believe the person will have the choice after death to accept or reject the baptism. So we aren't making everyone a mormon, we are giving people a chance who never had the opportunity to learn for themselves.
Ancestry.com IS run by the Mormon Church.
Ancestry.com is run by a Board of Directors, most of which if not all are not Mormons, it was started by a couple of Mormons and when it went public, the Board of Directors kicked them out.
Helen Radkey is an excommunicated Mormon with a vendetta. She gets paid to do whatever it takes to bring bad publicity to the Mormon Church through their geneology programs.
If Mormon's are truly remorseful of their mistake, perhaps they could print out all the names they have baptized by proxy and make it available to the public. How does a person after death chose to be Mormon? Anybody?
Man, so much intolerance and hatred towards others religions. Tell me where you all congregate, I want to start a business. "Pitchforks and torches, get your Pichforks and torches"
Prayer changes things
How many times have you posted this lame remark? Keep lying to yourself but let others have their peace.
Keep the Faith and spread the Word. The more they sling the arrows at you the better you are doing.
Let us all pray for Willy.
This bunk has been debunked over and over. Read the Wiki article (which is way too "balanced." Efficacy of Prayer. There is absolutely zero, zip, nada, none, no reliable evidence that prayer is effective. In fact, there are so many counter-cases, it is overwhelming. "Believers" believe no matter what the evidence.
She has internet religious tourette's
...and don't bother to pray for *me* I find it offensive.
Name-calling, fine. But still no evidence.
Atheism is what is changing things. We are the fastest growing group. We are gaining on you.
Please don't pray for me. I would rather you show me respect as a fellow human. My name is spelled Willie, not willy.
Wiki is not an educated or scientific source. Anyone can post anything they want to wiki . Prayer has been shown to change things for weeks with researched information on this site .
Atheists would "gain" more if they quit murdering millions every time an atheist rules a country.
Prayer changes things
Where is the research? I want some citations – you keep saying its "proven." I'd like to see the data – double blind and with real, concrete examples, such as praying to replace a lost limb, as the man says. NO? God can't manage that? Or at least hasn't responded to millions of prayers, somewhere, anywhere? And don't quote me Dossey's book, because there is no real proof in their either. Nothing in that book's supposed "proof" has been replicated, anywhere. Other studies, such as the Columbia "Miracle" Study have been uncovered as frauds where the data was falsified and possible the study never even took place.
You are so self-deluded. I advertised a used baby crib in a newspaper once. The guy and his wife, showed and I told them it would be $50. He fell to his knees (I kid you not) and said, "I prayed to God for this crib, because I didn't have much money and He sent it to me!" "Not really," I replied. "I put an ad in the paper and you responded." Geez. Some people will believe anything.
What is normal to us is weird to someone else. That is what makes life so interesting.
I know right, most people who aren't from the US hate rootbeer. I think that it is weird that they eat cow stomach.
Amy–if normal for you means to disrespect dead people by imposing your religion on them when they can't protest, then I suppose you wouldn't complain if someone decides your dad was an atheist.
it's interesting until someone dies in the name of religion
The Mormon church does not believe that the people are forced into baptism. They just do it so that they can have the opportunity to accept baptism or not. And if someone said my dad was atheist then I would know he is not. That random person's word has no affect in changing my father's religion. By the way, I was talking about the concept of baptisms for the dead anyway, and how everyone and every religion does different things.
More hocus-pocus from a demonic false religion that taught for 150 years that Blacks are fallen angels (demons).
By the way isn't Romney a Mormon? Ouch! So much for the Christian right and respect towards Blacks if he gets to lead the country.
But of course, he and his church of latter day saints will "become" politically correct on the outside, while hypocritically acting out their twisted faith behind closed ceremonial doors. Buyer beware!
Thank you Reverend Wright
David you are a moron. Do some actual research instead of being feed the crap that anti-mormons put together most of which is 100% inaccurate. In fact most anti-mormon stuff is made up by people who have never learned a single thing about mormons.
If Romney wins Republican nomination it would be interesting if Obama asked Mitt how he explained his support for the black mans Mormon ‘Mark-of -Cain’ when he was on his LDS mission in the 1960’s. So sad, but true.
If Romney wins Republican nomination it would be interesting if Obama asked Mitt how he explained his support for the black mans Mormon ‘Mark-of -Cain’ when he was on his LDS mission in the 1960’s. Sad but true.
Wow! Blacks are fallen angels??? What orfice of your body did you pull that out of? Thanks for spreading your hatred and false statements. Sounds like you are the demon!
Just shows you how little you know about Mormons. almost 1,000,000 members are black. I also love how all the atheists and agnostics say there is no proof for any religion. Well if there is no proof how did hundreds of millions of people become religious? There is plenty of proof it's just that non-believers are not looking for the evidence.
Believers know that God is more powerful than man. He can perform miracle, send angels, heal people, give them dreams, and send the holy spirit. A believer is not a believer because they love hocus pocus and they love to be have all kinds of rules...they believe because the experiences that they have had in their life. To recount these experiences would take more time than any non-believer has to listen.
God calls people out of the world. Any catholic, jew, protestant, hindu, muslim, would agree that religion is an important part of our society and our history.
Just because someone doesn't believe in God doesn't mean that he doesn't exist and that there is no proof of that.
Wow. dumb. Atheists and agnostics have never said there is no proof for religion. Of course religion exists, the proof is that it annoys me every day. They do say that there is no proof or evidence FOR GOD. There is a difference. Look up definitions of the two terms...
It is truly incredible how many people engage in these conversations/debates concerning religion. Examine the written record for any religion (even those now considered mythology) and you cannot find one shred of evidence that what any religion espouses can actually be proved to be true. God, gods, heaven, hell, valhalla, avalon, nirvana, etc., are or were products of faith. It seems so contrary to any religion's tenets that their faithful should harass, punish and even kill non-believers. Unless cooler heads can somehow prevail, I fear religion will be the undoing of mankind. Unfortunately, some of the extreme believers actually believe their actions would justify the destruction of mankind.
Those beliefs are the product of a psychological need for answers to things unexplainable. The problem with religion and modern times is that there is less and less that needs explaining, and religion is out dated and is keeping society from progressing.
Religion is like Dungeons and Dragons gone terribly awry.
The LDS Church hands out bibles for free, then turns around and says they are corrupted, unreliable, mistranslated, and full of errors.
There is only one scripture in the entire bible about baptizing for the dead; Paul notes that HEATHEN do it.
Just one of many false doctrines of Mormonism.
That is your belief. The LDS church believes that Paul is teaching the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:29 in KJV) that the resurrection actually occured. He uses this scripture as evidence that the practice they are doing (baptizing for the dead) would not be necessary if there was no resurrection. "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?" There would be no point of this scripture if they 1) didn't already do it, and 2) that it was used to support him in having a reason fro the resurrection.
In another point you made about bibles being handed out and then not believing in them...wrong. I can see your misunderstanding though, but let me explain. The Mormons believe that the "Bible is the Word of God, as far as it is translated correctly". The KJV alone (although there are hundreds of DIFFERENT translations that have different wording AND different doctrines–but we won't go into that) says in Exodus 33:11, "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." and then just a couple of verses down in verse 20, the Lord says, "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Wait what? How could that be perfectly translated? Certainly God would not say one thing and then say another in the same chapter (even though the Bible was not compiled at that time). We believe that if it is translated correctly, then it is inspired of God and the Word of God.
CNN takes yet another swipe at Mitt Romney. Tomorrow they'll ask whether you have a problem with a Mormon president.
I don't care what religion the president is as long as we get rid of the European quasi socialist we accidentally elected in 2008.
That is nothing.
They once proxy baptized Hitler.
Your'e on drugs...nice try though.
It's payback for the never-ending war on Christmas.
Mitt Romney wants to cancel Christmas if elected? Do we get to keep our birthdays?