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.
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.
The Mormons I have met have been extremely nice people, and it seems as if their heart's in the right place, as ridiculous as this seems. I'm Jewish,and if a Mormon told me his congregation baptized my father, who is dead, so that he could go to heaven, I'd say "thanks". What the hell do I care? Do I believe it does anything...of course not! I suppose I could see how some Jews would be offended, but life is too short. It's better than some ceremony that sends them to hell, like many Christians think Jews are going to, anyway, so I try to look at the positive aspect of it.
Everything you said is cool, except I would drop the "every I've ever met has been very nice"
Having very nice people in you group is no basis for believing in any supernatural hogwash.
Read some of Tracie Erickson's memories because she is an ex-mormon. She may have an ax to grind but the church has its money to protect which may make all things equal...
Would you care if your gravestone had a Mormon symbol put on it after you're gone & can't do anything about it? Anytime history is rewritten......it matters. This is as personal as it gets. This is our history. Our great grandchildren do not always know us. Only what they read on a gravestone or on an ancestral website.
Rare to have the Mormon church exclude individuals from this ritual list, also it is rare that they apologized for baptizing them. Now if they could include me on the same list it would be appreciated or have I lost my God given 'Free Will' too?
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 again. or we he give a very over due apology for supporting racism?
I agree. All the mormons I have met are pretty cool. Not pushy or anything. Cool comment. Thanks!
That guy joseph smith was a known fraud.
Why is it that Atheists consistently known more about cults than the cult followers do? Why are cult followers such moronic retards?
Atheist or agnostics know a lot about religion because it is always better to know thy enemy. Also e like to be informed when we present an argument, not lead blindly by some made up boogy man.
It is humorous that atheist can still spew their logical fallacies but not a single one of you has managed to successfully debate William Lane Craig. He has made absolute pulp out of every atheist attempt to discredit theism. Hint: If you want undecideds to take you seriously, stop insulting people, talking down to them, and start actually using a little thing called logic to get your points across. The Christian Renaissance is upon us and even the wise among the atheist know it and had better have their wits sharp to be taken seriously.
Oh, please tell me what your savior William Lane Craig has stated that every other christian hasn't
By the way numbnuts, the bible contradicts itself to the point of destroying christianity. Do some research . Then shove William Lane Craig up your ass.
Misunderstood doctrines--> Ignorant comments. There are few basic LDS (Mormon) beliefs that one has to understand in order to know what the "baptisms for the dead" are all about. First, Mormons believe that God is infinitely merciful and kind. Second, LDS (as well as other Christians) believe that baptism and faith in Jesus are necessary for salvation. Third, God could not be infinitely merciful if he damned people to hell just because they were born in countries/families where they would not hear about Jesus, or have the chance to accept his gospel. Fourth, LDS believe that God provided proxy baptisms for the dead as a way for those who never had the chance to hear the gospel in this life. Fifth, Baptism for the dead is also mentioned by Paul in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 15:29- "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
"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?"- Typo fixed
So misunderstood doctrines are greater than ignorant comments? Which category do you fall in? Both is my guess. Thanks for the heads up though.
Then explain why my entire Mormon convert family- knowing that my grandmother, father, brother & myself all had the chance to reject their religion in our lifetimes- have not only married & baptized for them (& have told me I'm next), but put the Mormon symbol on their gravestones & had them recorded into the Church rolls?
No one has misunderstood anything. Mormons baptize the dead by proxy, end of story.
@ BJ.....First of all, there is no "Mormon Symbol" that we put on gravestones, although some LDS choose to put an image of the temple, or the angel Moroni (which has become an unofficial symbol). Second of all, LDS people submit names of family members to the temple for ordinances such as baptism, but Mormons also believe that God will sort it all out.
So your argument boils down to: "oh wait, don't be upset at Mormons! They have bat-s**t crazy rationalizations they made up for everything they do!"
If "God will sort it out"......why are you people mucking about in it??
@Aezel,....My only argument is that people should learn more about what they are ridiculing before they start slinging insults. The rest of my original comment was intended to provide background information.
@BJ....Because Mormons believe that God performs his work on earth through people. Mormons view temple work (aka proxy baptisms) as a form of service for others, like working at a soup kitchen or participating in flood clean-up.
I see, it's all charity work. Now, tell us what it all has to do with getting into the highest level of heaven for you.
Really kind of loved that my human, free will, democratic self has been boiled down to the level of charity work at a soup kitchen or flood. This shows the level of respect that you Mormons have for the rest of us- Christian or not. I believe in God already. I even believe in Christ. I consider myself "Saved". I read my Bible. I have been baptized already. Why is that not "good enough" for the Mormons? Or is your religion really so different that all this mucking about is necessary. Why are the ways that it's so different kept such a secret that you have to have secret temples & rituals?
@BJ....Probably more of a philosophical question than you realize, though that might not be what you intended. I think it stems from the second great commandment "Love thy neighbor." Mormon's believe that they are partially fulfilling that commandment by sharing their message with others, or by performing proxy baptisms. So I guess it is connected with getting into heaven insofar that it fulfills the second great commandment.
Quite a few of my relatives are Mormons.....so I know a fluff job when I hear it. You didn't answer the question. Nice try though.
I don't care what anyone that is religious says. Religion is the source of all evil. There are infinite number of deaths, stupidity, wars, anger, all because of different religions. How can someone argue that without the WORD OF JESUS CHRIST, the world would be worse off? It's the OPPOSITE. OPEN YOUR EYES people. Stop basing your damn votes on religion. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR MORALS, and live your life that way. But don't base them off a fiction book.
Mormons = Morons
And we might have a Mormon as President. Didn't they practice once polygamy?. Matter of fact the Mormons said they were commanded by God to have more than one wife. It will be something if Romney married another woman, we will have two first lady in the White House.
When the mormons denounced polygamy at the end of the 19th century they secretly asked Mitt's great grandfather to keep the practice going in Mexico. Mitt's father was born there. There are still Romney's there now, just no longer polygamists.
If I believed the intention Baptizing someone posthumously was for the good of that person, I could almost understand the action. Unfortunately it stinks of self-serving promotion & number pumping. I can think of nothing more insulting than forcefully performing such a personal ritual on someones behalf when they lived and died and never chose to do so themselves. Maybe for a dead child if you are the parent...maybe.
LDS members DO NOT have multiple wives, if you want to know the truth all you have to do is ask. As for baptizing for the dead the records are put in electronically and guess what...technology isn't perfect. Doctor's offices have had made mistakes, law offices have made mistakes-anything electronic is not perfect and therefore mistakes happen. The fact of the matter is that it was fixed–end of story. No one is perfect and people make mistakes but all that mattersis if that mistake was fixed and in this case it was.
A cult is a cult is a cult...Baptizing corpses? Whoa !!
The only good thing about your cult is you can have multiple wives, and now you say I can't? Why do you even exist?
However, for those people to have been baptized- SOMEONE (insert real people here) had to actually go to a temple and go into a tank to be immersed & baptized in their names. That was not electronic. Nice try though.
No who are you to impose your religious beliefs on someone dead. When they have no say so in it. So if your grandchild worships the devil after you die he can ask the devil to take your soul. right? your dead so you have no say so. NOBODY has the right to speak for the dead "impose their beliefs"
@ Tim, ...no one is talking about baptizing corpses. The key word is "PROXY."
Yeah so go have Mitt Romney talk to them?? ha ha what a joke of an article way to end your article? Way to try and persuade your vote against Romney by making sure you threw his name in there hahaha. Wow and CNN lets you write..
They were all over Obama's pastor. I'd like to hear Mitt say baptizing corpses is UNACCEPTABLE!
So I guess if you are a non believer and you die, after god condems you in hell for eternity, you can change your mind and end up in heaven by becoming a mormon? What part of eternity do you not understand? How can a dead man with no body, thus no brain change his mind? You religious nuts amaze me.
Well ya see it's like this. We "call" it "eternity", but actually it's all "spiritual, and like there IS no space-time, so there IS no "eternity", but well, just stop asking so many questions.
The only difference between a cult and a religion is the number of adherents.
I am a strong believer in the Creator but organized religion has brought hell on Earth.
If Christ required baptism for salvation, is a person who has not been baptized during this life forever lost? What about a person who has never heard of Christ in this life – is he forever damned. Baptism for the dead rights these inequities and has biblical support.
I am a Christian. I have not found a scripture that has lead me to believe that baptism is essential for salvation. I have only seen that baptism is a public declaration of salvation. The thief on the cross that Jesus said he would see in Heaven was not baptised.
You think THAT is crazy ? Just wait 'till the aliens get here, and they try to tell THEM they are "sinners", and he died for THEM too.
...but Tommy doesn't know what day it is.
He doesn't know who Jesus was or what praying is.
How can he be saved,
from the eternal grave!
No Four Jumps. God has MANY children. He sent one of his daughters to die on their planet.
Well OK then. Just as long as we keep the books straight. Someone has to pay the price, or god knows what will happen. Maybe there will be a earthquake, or tsunami or something, if the correct price isn't paid.
oh wait ...
Where in the bible does it say baptisms of the dead is allowed? I have never read that statement...???
what happens if you're happily burning in hell and some mormon baptises you? Do you have to go to heaven?
Do you know why you never take just one morman fishing with you???? Because they will drink all of your beer!!!!
Congratulations!!! You have won this evenings originality award!!!!!!
This post will have me giggling for the rest of the night. Well played.
This is like sprinkling some kind of witchcraft over a dead body. Many religions believe people must participate in their own baptism for it to be valid. How dare these people turn their backs on other religions and elevate themselves to be higher and holier than thou
Isn't that the definition of religious belief?
And they say Mormonism isn't a cult? What is the purpose of baptism? This cult should look to the biblical purpose instead of reading gold tablets found under a rock.
1 Corinthians 15:29
.....Trying to expIain all the intricacies of Christianity in a comments section is pointless, theres simply too much material to discuss. I will say this, i was once skeptical also and often times pondered the same questions the atheists ask (i.e. did Jesus actually perform miracles or were they hoaxes, if God is real then why do bad things happen to good ppl, etc).
I decided that I wasn't going to take this issue lightly and decided to look into my questions further. I bought some books, did some research by all sides and compared claims vs couinter claimss etc (theres a lot of false websites out there, it can be tough to discern without taking in all sides from all angles). I didn't, and still dont, want to believe in something just because it makes me "feel good." i want to believe in the truth whatever direction it points to. Long story short, i came to the conclusion that Jesus was real, and the claims that were made were also real. Once, i decided that hec probably was real, I invited Christ into my heart. Words can't describe exactly how He changes you, but once He does your life is transformed.
Im not here to tell you to believe in Christianity, but simply give my account. I hope everyone searches their soul,is truly honest with thermselves on the inside, and does as much research as they can (with open mind from all sides). I don't go around preaching my faith and i live and let live, but I try to be a good person (and ofcourse we all mess up and do bad things from time to time, im certainly not perfect) and if anyone is to ever ask then i simply resoond. I will only discuss topics if theyre brought up in front of me, i dont go out trying to push my beliefs.
I wish the best for everyone and please dont take your decisions lightly. Cheers.
So you believe you are holier than thou. That your religion is above all others.
Sorry whomever you are. Those are not the questions atheists ask. Atheists ask; Did Jesus ever live? Is there a god? The answer is simple. There is no evidence jesus ever lived, there is no evidence of a god, especially a benevolent one. Nice try anyhow.
Please try to stick to the subject of the post. The point isn't whether or not we are believers. It is whether, being a believer or not- any religion has the right to subject unwilling people to their beliefs.
Well, heck, if you Mormons want to babtise me, in abstentia, man, I'm all for it. I can use all the help I can get, especially (eXpecially for you rednecks) when it comes to putting in a good word, for me, when it comes to the big boss up above !
What the hell is "babtism" ?
Whats missing here is a statement by the Mormon Church of WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO PREVENT THESE OCCURRENCES, rather than their apologies for it when it (frequently) happens. Years ago they did this against peoples wills because they implicitly "knew" that they were "right" and the other religions were "wrong." If they are sincere about changing that policy then they should be talking about the safeguards that they will implement. I'm still waiting to hear this.
There are rules in place, maybe if you want to hear about them you should look them up, because according to what I have read, if a mormon tries to tell you what those safe guards are then, obviously, they are trying to convert you!
What an absolute scam! The Mormon Church wants to baptize the dead so the LDS Church can claim a larger membership. In reality, it is the wealthy Mormons, like Romney, who pour millions into the LDS Church, which is nothing more than a Super PAC for propaganda. Multiple wives, magic underwear, baptism after death (for everyone they can fool) and a candidate who claims to love America, while keeping his wealth in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. Wakeup America, Romney might be your worse nightmare.
I'm not Mormon but I know enough of them to know that their church has broad-based financial support from all of its members. You've really got to have some loose screws to somehow tie this to wealthy Republicans. Get some help.
Sorry – this reply got attached to the wrong post. I apologize.
Did you know that Mormon's believe the blacks are cursed and come from Satan ?