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. All Is UnDone

    I hereby UNbaptize all Mormons. How do you like me now?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • GodPot

      "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened." Oh No! All those Mormon souls have been sent to heII!!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Madame Laveau

      I have my own very effective voodoo rituals going on for them at this very moment.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  2. So

    Not like baptism means anything. There is literally no result of the stupid ritual

    February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  3. SoFunny

    Let me see, their archangel Moroni, if I dropped the i, would it spell Moron? Hmmmm, I am just saying?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • vlm98

      haha that is original...nice one SoFunny, you must have thought of that all by yourself.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Seriously

      whoa, you are clever. If you take out the 2nd M from mormon you have moron too.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Sherad leer

      Haha! your soooo Funny! are you learning this in the first grade? we are so proud that you can spell! go ask your mommy for a cookie because you deserve one!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Chach

      Hey Sherad. Even my first grader knows the difference between you're (you are) and your. Egg on your face. Dumba$$.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Really?

      And if you drop the Os and Ms and the R and the N and add a bunch of other letters, it could say, "Instead of spreading your bigotry and slander, go to mormon.org and learn for yourself what this group of hard-working conservative Christians believe instead of accepting every malicious rumor you hear."

      February 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Chach

      Christians? Really? NO. Nothing they believe in is based on reality or even common sense, much less Christianity. And much of what their cult was founded on has been "revised" to fit in more comfortably with the mainstream. Magic underwear, multiple gods in other universes, native Americans=lost tribe of Israel to name just a few. How can anyone of these people go to church and not laugh histerically!?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Patrick

      > Nothing they believe in is based on reality or even common sense

      Exactly – Christians.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  4. Dararie

    I personally find it offensive. If the people who are baptised by proxy wanted to be mormon or any other type of follower of Christ, they would have converted while they were alive. From what I've seen, it's usually done by family members who have converted, which if any of my family members ever did that to me, I think I"d come back from the dead to smack them around. It is extremely disrespectful.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Seriously

      If you don't believe in the Mormon faith, why do you care. If someone baptized me into some satanic cult, I could care less.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  5. RillyKewl

    This is plainly offensive to every normal human being, American or not. Its cruel and unusual.

    I suggest we pass a law saying that anyone alive or dead needs to present a written request in order to be "baptized" or otherwise religiously converted. Parents may present such a request for the record, when converting minors.

    Keep your "holy water" OFF of my grave.
    And off the graves of my friends and relatives too.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  6. Do It Some More

    Keep going. I'll get you more names. I guess it hasn't dawned on them that by doing this they are ensuring that "their guy" is not elected. This is AWESOME! Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large group. On with the freakshow Mitty Mormon!

    February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  7. kate49

    Well, I can only hope that Trey Parker and Matt Stone decide to retool their Broadway hit with this juicy tidbit.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Joe T.

      I'm sure they are already aware of it. They were raised mormon you know.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  8. keeth

    Liars. They'll keep on doing it.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  9. tips

    With how fast the Mormon religion is growing, don't be surprised if you all are baptized as a Mormon after your dead. Maybe you'll appreciate it when you wake up in the afterlife and realize that things are a little different than what you expected.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • DaGuy

      Mormon church growing? Last I checked they were hemmhoraging members every month.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      How do you know? Funny but as a Christian even I don't. No one does...and my reason for being one is different than most of the rubber stamped one's running around in their Holier than thou mobiles.

      So what I KNOW: Death.

      What I DON'T KNOW: Afterlife as described by people who were living when they described it.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  10. Cam in Utah

    Absurdly misunderstood! I can see why the offense is taken, really. But take a second to understand please. Several times a year we are taught that we are free to choose. It is one of the core LDS principles (referred to usually as agency).

    We do not believe that we can make someone mormon by a proxy baptism! If someone has a baptism performed on their behalf we do not believe that they are baptized, only that they can now CHOOSE. Do we even attempt to say that Anne Frank is now a mormon, or that the holocaust victims are mormon? No. No. No.

    Of all the crazy awful things to get upset about, this is not one of them.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • kate49

      Tell that to 6 million Jews who died for their religion.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Truamerikan

      So, if after serveral decades, a person (soul) can now choose, where EXACTLY were they residing before the proxy baptism?

      I am a Christian and believe in Heaven and He!!. However, I believe, at the moment of death, you go where you go and there are no do-overs.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Chach

      Oh the hilarity! For you to say it's "absurd" for anyone to criticize anything about your religion is beyond comical. So, what you're saying is that every unbaptized soul, inluding Anne Frank, is hanging around somewhere in some kind of limbo waiting for your church to give them the opportunity to make a choice? Is it any wonder that our country, our world, is in such dire straights? When people ignore physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, geology etc., in favor of miracles, myth, unprovable or debunkedlegends, ghosts, angels and demons. So who's god is the real god? Please step forward and end the controversy, so we can stop killing each other about who got your word 100% right.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Feet Firmly in Reality

      How DARE you! '...only that they can now CHOOSE.; Who in the F are you, or anyone for that matter, to decide when and where another can 'choose?' This entire act is saying that 'they' have chosen wrong!

      You need to stop and look at the person in the mirror and the words spewing from your mouth before you start spewing this hate to others. You don't think this should outrage others? Oh you need to revisit that.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Patrick

      @Cam in Utah
      >Absurdly misunderstood!

      The laughingstock of religions…and that’s really saying something for adults who still believe in magic.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  11. loretta

    Thank-God the LDS will address this insult to the Jews, how dare they do such a stupid thing.
    How would they have felt if Jews had done that to one of their beloved heros.

    This will make Mitt look bad because of his LDS religion, and thats a shame, although I 'am Catholic, I've known many LDS, and they are truly salt of the earth (the majority), and more Christain than anyother religion I have ever known.


    February 23, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Larry Lee

      If you did any research on Mormons you would know they are not christian.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • John Swenson Harvey

      RE: loretta:

      "How would they have felt if Jews had done that to one of their beloved heros."

      We would feel honored if anyone of goodwill baptized, or performed any other ritual designed (in their view) to save or exalt, on behalf of our ancestors or ourselves. If they happen to be correct in their world view then we are assisted in a way we could not have done for ourselves, and if they are incorrect then no harm has been done.

      We (the LDS people) perform these proxy rituals because we believe in Christ. Christ stated everyone must be baptized in order to be saved. Without proxy baptism the vast majority of the people who have every lived on earth are doomed according to the words of Christ as recorded in the New testament. This practice simply implements God/Christ's word/law regarding the necessity of baptism and the equality of all people before Him. We do not believe God would design a world for His children where most of them were destined to be doomed. Rather, we believe He designed a plan/world where everyone eventually gets the opportunity to accept or reject the full Gospel. As Paul explained after people are taught in the afterlife they will be able to live according to God in the Spirit (in spite of what they may have done on earth) 1 Corinthians 3 and 4.

      Because the Church does not wish to offend, and because we believe the work for the deceased will continue on during the Millenium after Christ's return, we have agreed to do our best to avoid baptizing Holocaust victims. This policy is not because we believe these people would not benefit from the ordinances, but simply that we believe it is more important to concentrate on not offending people here and now so that more good can be accomplish now. God will provide for these individuals to receive the opportunity to accept or reject the full ordinances of the Gospel in due time, meanwhile we can work on helping, rather than offending, people here and now.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  12. me

    baptisim is a choice read acts 2:38 it does no good to proxy a baptisim, sprinkle water on babies who can not make a choice. When Peter spoke with the Eunuch and taught him the book of Issiah what did the Eunuch choose to do? If you don't believe in God. You will be so surprised when your soul leaves your shell of a body. All will be judged.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      Again. How do you know? Peter was alive when he talked to the eunach right? Instead of pushing dogma push what Christ was trying to teach which was love fellow kind.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Patrick

      @Futon Torpedo
      You have no more evidence of your belief than me has of his/hers. You both sound tarded.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  13. rick

    I know its hard for everyone to understand but this is a practice that was performed by even the early Christians at the time of Christ. The Apostle Paul mentioned the practice in the Bible – 1 Corinthians 15:29

    If this is not a true principle and the Mormons are wacko for practicing it then what does it matter to those who are dead and to those who are living. Let Mormons be wacko like every other religion practicing their own wacko form of religion

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

      Did you miss the the fact that Ann Frank was a Jewish?

      Hey, people, Christians don't have the say as to who goes to heaven, God does.

      Zip it.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  14. Larry Lee

    They also baptized Adolf Hitler,

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

      I wonder how that's working out for him. I guess the water from the baptism will cool things down a bit where the fire and brimstone are.

      I don't think Adolf is going to get a pass on this one. He ordered the execution of 6 million of God's chosen people. I don't think the Mormons are going to be able to fix that one.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  15. CaptianObvious

    Who says?

    Anyone else find this odd that this story would be reported litterally the morning after Romney gave a STELLAR performance in last night's debate?

    This is hardly news more than it is anti-Romney political propoganda. All the Mormon friends I have are highly respectable and respectful individuals. That said, forgive me if I question the authenticity of a claim of a former mormon and don't take this story for its face value.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      This report was already out...so it has nothing to do with last night's debate.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • CaptianObvious

      Sincerely doubt that. Anyone else know how credible this source is? Some crazed ex-mormon claims x, therefore it must be true?

      This is political propoganda, nothing more.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Sherad leer

      Thank you! Why is being Mormon such a bad thing? I thought that this country was built on religious freedom? Mormons never did any wrong doing to anyone. Islam on the other hand is never mentioned! The media needs to stop bashing on religion, or i think that they should actually do there job and get the fact straight!!!

      February 23, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • loretta

      Is it always the media's fault OR do we have a ship of fools for the GOP race?
      When the audience booed the question (sent in by a GOP woman) that CNN presented, that screamed stupidty.How much more can the GOP insult, and disrespect the American people?
      Voting for Obama does not go far enough, we need to vote out the majority of the EXTREME RIGHT, and seperate politics from religion. By the way TeaParty thats the way our founding fathers wrote it, can you not read?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  16. fisk

    Religion cracks me up. This is just another in a long list of reasons why i'm glad i'm an athiest.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • mcore

      Here, here.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  17. Rickmess

    When your dead your dead...period, end of story. Now, if these rogue Mormons succeed in bringing back anyone, that would be worth a look.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      LOL!! Good point.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Chach

      You are = you're, not "your".

      February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Truamerikan

      Chach...thank you. I was confused. When I read that, I was thinking "my dead". What is this guy talking about?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Chach

      Hey Truamerikan. Thanks for making me laugh. You too Rickness for providing us with an easy target for ridicule.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  18. gary winnipeg

    one person I know used to refer to the LDS church as the LSD church. lol.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Seriously

      oh Gary stop. my sides are hurting

      February 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  19. george k1

    Mormons. Yet another in a long line of embarrassing USA nonsense.

    All this fundamentalist religious nonsense in the USA – what is wrong with you people? Is religion a proxy for getting an education?

    February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Looks that way.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  20. scriss

    So .... the Mormons can't baptize Jews. Ok, no big deal; but they can baptize ex-SS men. Interesting.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:44 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.