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.
Just goes to show how crazy Mormonism is. And the GOP frontrunner bankrolls that church.
It's one thing to believe in a religion, but it's another to pull someone else's name into it without their permission. Not sure why Jews get upset at it. It's not as if those people actually believed the religion. It's just for Mormons to feel better about themselves.
Of course, this is not TOO far from Catholics praying for the dead souls of their own relatives. IMO, religious beliefs should be personal and privately held.
Do you honestly believe Jews do not believe in their religion, or are you just trolliolioliollin' your life away?
Makes no sense...like most mormon things...Michael Purdy check chewstroke dott comm to see if your famous yet...no word so far, keep checking.
Do us a favor and point out any major religion that is totally coherent and rational.
the Jews, the Mormons, the Catholics, the Orthodox, the Muslims and so on, never end list of religious doctrine based on a lie invented by some human to make money out of the stupid gullible believers .. gosh and to think they all believe in a bunch of crap, billions of totally brain dead people ...
There is a word for the repurposing of the souls of the deceased to serve another purpose.
That word is necromancy.
Now this is assuming that they are doing it correctly. If they're not, then the word is "circle-jerking".
Yes Mormons, please stop performing ceremonies that have no effect on any person, living or dead!
Mormonism is false to begin with, their religion is a lie, and any act or rite of theirs is illegitimate to begin with.
You have just described all of religion.
Some would say the same about your own favorite religion or philosophy.
Prayer changes things,
You must realize that atheism (a lack of religious belief) is the philosophical default state for all living things and the rational default state for humans specifically.
Yeah... their belief in reality.
Where is the objective evidence?
It's hysterical that Mormons, being heretics of another heresy called "Christianity", which is a heresy of the only true path that is Hashem's – Judaism, have the nerve to claim Jews cannot enter heaven when Mormons obviously will not enter Heaven at as any of their rites or beliefs are false and fictional. Burn their bizarro records
I will make no claim as to the veracity or lack thereof of Mormonism. I will simply point out that every religion has opponents that claim that it is false or invalid, and those saying so either believe their own religion is the one true religion, or are dogmatic atheists.
This was a serious error and the LDS Churchapologized. Here's my question: if proxy baptism is meaningless and wrong to other faiths, the why is it so offensive? Do other faith's think that that the dead person will be negatively affected?
1 Corinthians 15:29 mentions baptism for the dead. I am grateful that the almighty God allows this great service to take place. Without baptism, one cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught that there is only one baptism, and one faith. Not 1000 different baptisms and 1000 different Christian churches slightly different. One one church has the proper authority (priesthood) to baptize. That church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you have questions talk to a Mormon missionary when you see one.
Whatever you say zombie lover.
R.etards like you Riley, are the reason I will never vote for a Mormon
And you just happen to have gotten it right, lucky you.
Well....so you say.
I will say this to you now. You have no right to claim my soul for yourself, your church, or your god.
Nor anyone elses'. The soul is given, it cannot be taken, and to lay claim to that which cannot be taken is rude, pretentious, and foolish.
Take it easy there.... the scripture you refer to makes repeated references to "they", as in pagan believers, not Christians. Paul's writings throughout this book refer to Christians as "we" and unnamed pagans as "they". The practice of baptizing the dead is not attributed to Christians, but rather to pagan rituals. It's ok to defend your belief as your church's teaching, but to say the Bible teaches it is out of context. Paul did not teach baptizing the dead. The Mormon church did.
This is just unbelievable. Religions aren't crazy. It's the people who practice them.
Religions absolutely are crazy.
Wow just about everybody is wrong when it comes to the Mormon beliefs on this blog. Seriously people do your homework before you open your mouth and comment. My daughter converted to the Mormon church 5 years ago and she is a great young lady who completely changed her life after joining. I have even spoken with her and her Bishop about the baptism for the dead when she requested to baptism my wife. He said, that the people they baptize have to accept the baptism in the next life. They still get to choose whether they accept it or not. This baptism is not forced on anyone. They do this out of love for their relatives. I am not a member of this faith, but I believe it to be a GOOD church. I know my daughter and I trust her, and I know she would never join a evil church. So people, show some respect to the Mormon church. This was a simple mistake.
So James, Just how does a dead body choose ?
her being a decent human doe snot make a God into existence, it only makes her believer .. in a bunch of crap (like any religion).
Yes religion is crap .. any religion ... but to understand that u need to come down from the three and start thinking
My younger sister was baptized into the Mormon Church when she was 16 and it took me a year to de-program her. She didn't know anything about the history of the Mormon Church OR what its core beliefs were. The problem was, the Church had completely monopolized all of her time, starting with 'youth socials' and then "lessons". Pretty soon, her entire social life revolved around the Church, which is exactly how they suck young people in. I have other family members who are lifelong Mormons and they are great people. But that has nothing to do with the issue.
Just like every other religion, the Mormons believe in some sort of after life and that's where people who are baptized can choose if they want it or not. The body stays on earth but the soul goes to the next life and gets to choose. So Deep North maybe you should do your homework on the Mormon Faith... sounds like you don't know what you are talking about.
So your dead body gets baptized here on earth, and when you soul gets to where ever it it going you can choose whether you wanted it to be baptized or not....after it has happened? Am I following you?
From what my daughter as told me. She went to the temple and was baptized for my wife who died. Its called proxy baptism. She then told me that my wife in the next life will get to decide if she accepts the baptism or not. So again its not forced on anyone and it fact is rather touching that my daughter was willing to do that for my wife.
First of all, Baptism is not a requirement for salvation. Secondly, you CA NOT accept Christ after you die. If you don't acccept His FREE gift while living, once you die it's too late and you will face judgement.
Deep North, just to clarify – nobody goes around baptizing dead bodies despite what the article headline says. A living person is baptized in the name of the person who has died.
Anthony, thats what you believe. The mormons believe people get a second chance. Of course their is more details into how that is done, but in short they do get a 2nd chance.
Then James, Mormons need to stop considering themselves Christians and face the fact that they are a completely different religion/belief. Because to say that you can accept Christ after you die is not biblical at all. For one, what type of idiot would die, come face to face with Jesus, and then say "nah, i'll pass"? Doesn't work that way. If I could be saved after I die, then Faith would not be neccessary. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen." Hebrews 11:1
The only thing missing from the Mormom church is the kool-aid
Jews complain about intolerance and hatred against Jews, but then they practice intolerance to Mormons?
I'm sorry, but how do you go from "Please don't baptize me without my permission" to "I am intolerant of all your views?" I'm not sure how you made that connection.
You're not serious are you? If you are, then you're an idiot for your wacko interpretation of what the Mormons have done.
So if Obama's Mother was baptized a Mormon.....Does that make Barack and Mitt related?
Deep, we are all brothers and sisters. We are all related in the family of man.
Mitt would be scandalized.
I love it.
Oh, I think Romney and Obama are related, sans baptism!
how ridiculous is that, baptizing dead people?
Mormons .. wow, they don't even give a break to the dead now
So they apologized to the Jews, what about every one of other beliefs? I'm waiting!!!!!!!!!
dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb ~ south park
Question... Can I can get my right testacle baptized in the Mormon church? Basically, I'm looking to perform a lopsided teabag.
These religious kooks just never give up. Baptizing the dead is the only way they can show new members, it seems.
How is the mormon church's doctrine of baptism for the dead any more strange than the catholics doctrine that require infants and young children to being baptized. We have two republican candidates that believe that all the young children that have died throughout history are doomed to purgatory because they weren't baptized.
so, because Catholics are stupid, then shall the Mormons be free to do the same? that's smart .. yeah .. religious is the future.
Just get laid a bit more often so u stop worrying about death
Mormons are heretics of heretics of heretics. Their wacko "religion" was made up by an illiterate con man who had believed in another con man's religion supposedly based on some zombie "god" who was some blasphemous, paganizing Jew who was executed for rebellion against Rome. Therefore none of these beliefs or their rites are valid to begin with according to Judaism.
rzzll, your remarks make me wonder what form of scam would be revealed if we were a bit closer to year 1 and researched the reality of those who wrote the old and new testaments.
you spout off like that and then call others "sanctimonious weirdos"?
The Jews complain about persecution and hatred against themselves and yet they don't mind persecuting and hating the Mormons?
Like you, the Mormons are crazies. Jews have tolerated too long you heretics called Muslims and Christians.
Please cite your evidence of Jews persecuting Mormons. Or even hating them.
oVarious responses brought forward.
What nonsense. I suppose one should get permission to pray for someone????? The mormon belief re baptism for the dead is 100% unbiblical. But that is what they believe. Cant see how it harms anyone at all. Wonders why they dont do it for everyone...that would even be better than the typical (not all) evangelical belief of once saved always saved, which is equally unbiblical, as is Catholicism's purgatory. All of these "second" chance save ideas are 100% unbiblical.
o A Christian is a follower of Christ. Jesus was very involved in telling the truth of salvation to anyone that would hear. However, the acceptance of His truths of Salvation and Holy Spirit living were and are always on a "whosoever will" basis. And the speaking of these truths is always on the basis of love for fellow man. Anyone who lays out threats, coercion, persecution, etc. is doing the work of Satan.
o Why the Mormons baptizing for the dead should be offensive to anyone says bunches about the one who would take offense. Obviously, if it is something real (that is, it actually does what they think it does) those in whose behalf it is done will be ecstatic. If it is something not real (that is, it actually is an untrue thing, therefore meaningless), those in whose behalf it is done dont know anything, and their living reletives shouldnt care one way or the other. The real issue here is...why would anyone feel offended?...what is behind that?
How are the Jews persecuting the Mormons? Your comment makes absolutely no sense.