After Anne Frank baptism, Mormons vow to discipline members
A picture of Anne Frank, perhaps the most famous victim of the Holocaust.
February 22nd, 2012
05:11 PM ET

After Anne Frank baptism, Mormons vow to discipline members

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Reacting to a report that well-known Holocaust victim Anne Frank had been baptized by proxy in a Mormon temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is committed to disciplining members of its church who conducted such baptisms, which violate church policy.

Word of the Frank baptism came a week after the issue of Mormon posthumous proxy baptism of Jews attracted national attention. This controversy surfaced after it was reported that the dead parents of Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been baptized in a Mormon temple.

The church apologized for that baptism, blaming it on a technical glitch in its system for submitting names for posthumous proxy baptism.

“It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place,” LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy said in a statement Tuesday, responding to the report about the Anne Frank baptism.

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

Though the church regularly conducts proxy baptisms for dead, in what it calls an attempt to give everyone a chance to accept salvation through Jesus, it has a 1990s-era policy against conducting such baptisms for Holocaust victims.

The policy was adopted after complaints from Jewish groups, which said it was offensive to conduct Mormon baptisms for Holocaust victims who were killed because of their Jewish faith.

“The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism,” said Purdy in his Tuesday statement.

The church said it is “committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges,” the statement continued. “We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.”

According to Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who tracks Mormon posthumous proxy baptisms, the one for Anne Frank was conducted on Saturday in the Dominican Republic.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • Mormonism

soundoff (1,379 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    It's called "Baptism of the Dead" and is one of the most offensive and silly "traditions" in the Mormon Church.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • skellyute

      Baptism FOR the dead. Not OF. Nobody dead gets baptised. Big difference.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  2. skellyute

    Latter Day Saints do NOT believe they can change someones faith in the after life. They do proxy baptisms so that the ordinance of baptism is done, and an individual can accept Christ in the after life should they want too. It's still their choice. Latter Day Saints believe this is part of the original Christian Church and believe Paul refereneced the practice in his letter to the Corinthians. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:29: "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?"

    February 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Dave

      I believe that Jennifer Love-Hewitt wants to double team me with my wife after Sunday morning coffee. That still doesn't make it true.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • skellyute

      Dave, no statement of true or not was made. Who knows what is real? My point is that in no way does Mormon doctrine take away peoples choice. That is what is implied in this article, and by others. It's not so.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  3. Ross

    This is only in the news because it's weird. It doesn't bother anyone - so why should anyone care? If they baptized you by proxy, how does that change your life or anyone's life for that matter?

    Mormons are weird.
    Mitt Romney is Mormon.


    February 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  4. David G

    As a recovering former Mormon I can say that the left hand of the church says "sorry", but the right hand says, "Yes!" I will believe they are sorry when they un-baptize (excommunicate)

    February 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  5. Chance

    If they are wrong then these people campaign that the "crazy Mormons " baptized them. But if they are not?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  6. Church of Suicidal

    "Hi. Santorum election HQ calling. Do you think you can baptize Anne Frank for us? Can you get that done by Super Tuesday? Thanks."

    February 23, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • skellyute

      That's funny right there^

      February 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  7. cbinal

    Do they not understand how ridiculous this sounds? Let me break it down. You want to give people who have already died a chance to accept Christ as Savior and you do that though proxy baptism but, only if, it is not an offense to someone else and your church has to approve it. So, in other words, what your church wants and what others want takes precendence over what Jesus wants – that person to be saved, that is if the whole idea of proxy baptism carried any weight at all. Which it doesn't. These people need to wake up and get out of that cult.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  8. Ryan

    Very disrepectful! I hope that a non-Christian religious group would "baptise" Joesph Smith! I think that would be a good and just response!

    February 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Sean

      You can help!
      h t t p : / / w w w . a l l d e a d m o r m o n s a r e n o w g a y . c o m/

      Just remove some spaces...

      February 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  9. Dave

    Here's a shock, religious people being intolerant of others. And people getting upset over stupid stuff that has no real effect upon their lives. Considering its all pretend, why care about a baptism? It changes nothing because all religions are fake.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • me

      you are an idiot

      February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  10. woodrow

    Mormons are a weird cult. They baptize the dead. They make up these rituals. I find it hard to believe they are still around. This religious sect was started by a con man. He got out of jail and started this religious cult. How can anybody in their right mind follow these people?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Skeptical

      Not only are they around but they are growing like crazy...perhaps they don't accept the popular premise that those who haven't had the opportunity to hear of Christ will burn in hell forever (which has always struck me as not very Christ like).

      February 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  11. marcia

    I bet Ann Frank is horrified she is now a Mormon!

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Henry101

      At least she's got her own planet now.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  12. bannister

    If Jews do not believe in Mormanism, then this should be a non-issue. If an African witch doctor decided to bless my dead ancestors with some strange dance, I'd probably laugh. Or – I would thank him for his kind gesture and move on.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  13. Tony

    Yeah, Mitt Romney and his family had the same thing done to his father-in-law. When he met his wife she and her family were not Mormons, but soon many of them began converting. Her father was opposed to this, even refusing to convert to Mormonism on his death bed. They choose to baptise him after his death, despite knowing he was opposed to it. To baptist a man posthumously into a faith that he vehemently rejected in life is the ultimate showing of disrespect. Things like this are why I believe this world would be better off without religion.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • skellyute

      Tony, Mormon belief isn't that they baptised him. They believe they gave him the opportunity in the after life to choose. Meaning they gave him the key to the big gates should he want to use it. Not that he has too.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  14. Jolanda

    Performing a Baptism on someone who is dead should be forbidden. If someone shoose to not been Baptished in life....who are those mormons to deside that that person "wants" to be Baptished by them after they die?

    I am pretty sure that if moslims decide to perform such acts on those mormons, making them moslims after they die, hell will break loose.

    As far as I see it have Mormons a total lack of respect for the dead peoples religions and a total lack of respect for the families of the dead.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Randi

      The dead are dead. Their bodies are no more and their spirit is either in Hades or Paradise – if they aren't saved by now, they never will be. You can forgive them for sins they committed against you, you can ask God to forgive you for sins you committed against them, but you cannot make their choices for them. I could be wrong in that their spirit has seen the Lord and desires baptism and they would need someone to stand in their stead, and am willing to stand corrected. The afterlife is quite a mystery to all of us. However, I believe water baptism represents the true baptism, which is of the Holy Spirit, and they are already receiving that, if they have died in Christ.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  15. MHindin

    Jennifer, Kindly explain to the minister, the African visitor, the Asian-American and African-American Muslim at my dinner table how racist I am. I oppose genocidal and slaughter by any name.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  16. Maltese Falcon

    Comment deleted by Gestapo.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  17. Sue

    Don't think that Mormon's are the only ones who do this. All religious groups think that theirs is the only TRUE religion and everyone else must conform to it or never get into heaven. I believe other fringe groups also do this practice, but probably only on a personal level. This is why I don't believe in formed religion and believe it is between you and God.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Maltese Falcon

      And who turned her into the Gestapo?
      That's right – her own father. HER OWN FATHER !!

      February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Sarah

      Maltese Falcon – You obviously aren't familiar with the Anne Frank story. No one knows who tipped off the police. Otto Frank was taken away at the same time as the others in the Secret Annex. He was the only survivor after the war, and he found and shared Anne's diary with the world.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  18. Sean

    http://www.alldeadmormonsarenowg a y . c o m/

    February 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  19. Sean Russell

    Keep your freaking weirdo religion away from the rest of us. Jeez, what is so hard about that? You do what you want and leave EVERYBODY else alone. What is difficult about that for these nut-jobs to understand?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Patrick

      I’ve been saying the same thing to mainstream Christians for most of my life.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  20. Debbie

    An affront to Christ who offers a free will gift. Without a free will acceptance it is not valid. Proxy just shows the deception of LDS and being Christian,

    February 23, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Skeptical

      Mormon's believe that people are still free to choose to accept the baptism or not...but do not accept that only those fortunate enough to have heard of Christ will be saved...

      February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Patrick

      It was ‘god’ that gave “us” free will not Christ. Why don’t you people know your own religion? Shameful ….

      February 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
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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.