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. Randi

    come on Mormons.....say something!

    February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Zachariah

      We are a religion that not only fails to recognize or respect other religions, but we have the goofiest rituals ever. Bad enough we threaten dark skinned people with death in order to convert, but wearing holy underwear, forcing our children to marry strangers and give em a guilt trip if they dont have eight children, and diving the levels of heaven for rich white males and lower levels for the rest? We truly are a sad cult! shame on us!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Unafiliated


      Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm an atheist... still I will respond to you. What are you 14? Why would Mormon want to subject their beliefs to you. You are obviously baiting. This article makes Mormons seem intolerant of others. Comments about this article first decry the intolerance, then go on to be describe in the most pejorative terms, just how stupid Mormons are. The hypocrisy is astounding. My guess is that Mormons are either too busy loving their families or working hard to spend much time caring what a bunch of haters have to say.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Randi

      Um...okay "unafiliated"....I don't see the need for you to insult me. I'm an adult and serve our country in uniform, and obviously much more mature than you. I was merely asking the mormons to speak up. I KNOW mormons, I have mormon friends... I'm not ignorant. I just wanted to see their outlook on this.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  2. Rob

    A few random thoughts on the subject:

    First, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, lived and died vicariously for all of us, including Anne Frank and every other Holocaust survivor. Are the Jewish leaders offended by that too? If so, all of Christianity has offended them. Get over it. Just as Anne Frank will have the opportunity to accept or reject the Lord's vicarious sacrifice, she will also have the opportunity to accept or reject the vicarious baptism that was performed on her behalf.

    Second, is there anything more laughable than those getting upset with another's religions practices, while at the same time, they also believe those very practices to be nonsense anyway? And then they hoot an holler as if what the other religions are doing has any real application in their own minds or life. Hysterical.

    Third, Jewish leadership does not speak for Anne Frank, any more than you or I speak for anyone else that has moved on to the next life. Apparently, they are afraid that Anne might have the opportunity to progress in the next life. Or are they just afraid that the LDS Church might just have the authority to perform baptisms for the dead that someone can choose to accept in the next life? Do they really know the mind and will of Anne? Seems to me that it is up to Anne to accept or reject the opinion of current Jewish leadership, just as it is up to Anne to accept or reject the baptism by proxy performed on her behalf by the LDS Church.

    Fourth, dead people are dead people no matter how they went. An American veteran that died in WW2 is no less valuable than one that died in the Holocaust or in bed years later. Using some event, such as the Holocaust, to justify being offended is dumb. The war and the atrocities that happened there were just as horrifying as the concentration camps. The difference is that you don't see WW2 vets and families being a bunch of thin-skinned politically correct clowns. If you want to make my dead ancestors Jews or Buddhists or Catholics, knock yourself out.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Chris

      "First, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, lived and died vicariously for all of us, including Anne Frank and every other Holocaust survivor. Are the Jewish leaders offended by that too?"

      Rob, I am going to stop your argument in the first two sentences. As Jews don't believe that Jesus Christ was the savior of humankind, they obviously would choose not to adopt such a belief in death after having lived a life of strictly Judaic faith, like Anne Frank. Furthermore, as a Jew, nobody in the Jewish community is offended by the fact that Christians believe that Jesus was the savior, and it is ignorant to suggest that that is true. Do not attack the Judaic beliefs just as Jews do not attack Christian beliefs. There is a rational argument against being baptized into another religion posthumously, against one's wishes or without one's consent. It has nothing to do with a hatred for Christianity. So stop being ignorant.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Loretta

      You sound like a Nazi! For the record, Jesus died – so he was a man. A jewish man at that (choking on that yet?). Christians called themselves Christian Jews. Until Constantine made up a new testament, your true religion is based on the old testament ONLY. Mortals wrote the gospels then turned on their own relations in a power grab. Its all politics. And start respecting others without your pompous know it all BS. The dead are dead – leave em alone with some respect.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Unafiliated

      "start respecting others without your pompous know it all BS"

      Pot... Kettle...

      February 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Your white sheet is showing

      Jews do not believe in JC as their Lord and Saviour. He is yours-FINE –
      So get over it and thank us for giving you Yeshu the Jewish man.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  3. Ran

    No wonder the Mormons need a multi million dollar advertising campaign to make them look good. On a crazy scale they are right up there with Scientology.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  4. Daniel

    Why does anyone care?

    February 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  5. Dewey

    As an excommunicated Mormon, I performed more than 100 baptisms for the dead in the SLC Temple. At that time, it did seem odd to baptise those who had no voice. The Mormons are a horrible "Cult", and believe that everyone has got to be baptised to become a God. All Mormom men will become Gods and have their own world. Yep, that's what they believe. They smile at you but hate you.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • thank you

      I was married to a man that was excommunicated by the Mormon Church.
      I had to buy locks for my porch, their missionaries came to our home constantly to bring him back.
      He too told me stories of what really went on.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  6. Randi

    Mormons ARE the biggest control freaks in the world. Everyting else to them is WRONG....yet they have the some of the highest depression and suicide rates. I think baptizing the dead is wrong, and like you said..they didn't ask for that. If a Jew was killed for their beliefs, then obviously they were important to them!

    February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  7. Bebe

    The disrespect and sheer gall of baptizing anyone deceased is astounding, but that the "baptized" should be of Jewish ancestry is nothing short of virulent anti-Semitism. Anne Frank is still Jewish; she is still dead. But a tremendous slap in the face has been delivered to the Jewish community.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Loretta

      Well spoken! Good for you. These mo-mos have no clue nor respect for others. Romney is as bad as the rest. We have no chance of a good candidate for November.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  8. Jafar

    Hello. I apologize for not knowing much about the Mormon church. But why "not accepting" someone into the Church based on being a Holocaust survivor? Yes they were prosecuted based on their religion but now you are forcing them to keep their religion?

    February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Bebe

      Jafar, why indeed would you think they would want to convert? Stuck with their religion? That implies there is something wrong with their faith. Proselytizing without permission is coercion. Rather, respect is in order. Would you want someone in your family to be automatically converted to another faith? I know of no one who would.

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

      Leave the dead alone. They suffered enough. They followed what they believed in – and died fir it. The mormons mock everything thats outside their cult. You know they have to get married in the dark in their holy underwear and take secret extra wives to fornicate with in front of their bride!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  9. Dave

    If Romney doesn't, at this point, renounce his faith, he won't stand a chance of getting the nomination.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Lushious

      Sadly I fear we will get the arab guy for a second term! so sad

      February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "arab guy"

      You mean your Christian President Obama? The man who walked in to a debt crisis brought on by the republitards and is doing his best despite all the ignorance of people like you.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  10. Vivian

    Wow, it must really be a slow news day for this to make the front page. Now that Whitney Houston is buried CNN is really scraping to put something on its news page.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Lucifer

      Good news – three weeks that whitney is off pills and alcohol! you go sistah

      February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  11. JenksHog

    Never thought I would see the day that CNN would play host to such religious bigotry.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Truamerikan

      You must be new here. Communist News Network strikes again.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      Where have you been?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  12. Susan

    This smells of deception to me. I think the church leaders also know that someone is trying to set them up. No good active members of the church would go against a simple principle like "DON't BAPTIZE JEWS". Me thinks there's some politics playing here. Look to a Dem. for the culprit.

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

      Give it up, Suzy-quze. Repugs don't need Dems help in looking bad. Most of the Dems are sitting back and getting a good laugh at you repugs. I am independant, BTW. Ha!

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

      most mormons are republicans, and it doesn't matter which you are in the church, you're baptizing the name that comes up on the screen, end of discussion, if you don't know about the no baptizing Jews rule. republicans are the only ones throwing blame at another political party here, totally off topic.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Chris

      Look to a democrat for the culprit? Why would you suggest that it is a democrat and not, for example, a mormon trying to force his/her mormon beliefs upon somebody who can't object, among other possibilities? That's ignorant of you to make that assumption, and ignorance like that is why our society is so divided today. You should be ashamed.

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

      Actually Mormons have been doing it for years. It never got the press it does now because we never had a Mormon presidential contender (and it looks more and more as if he will get the nod) got this far, and so more scrutiny.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  13. jesus is chinese

    mormonism is just as nuts as xianity and judaism. a pox on all your houses of myth and oppression

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

      ditto...the problem is religious myth,...they're all nutzo...if a person can believe killing one's son as a blood sacrifice is a grossly immoral idea, then they will believe anything...all the Abrahamic "faiths" are based on an immoral concept

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

      If you fault judaism, then fault christianity as jesus was jewish until the turks made up a new religion on their own so the emperor can keep power. Christianity does follow the jewish old testament so watch were you throw your prejudice you meathead

      February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  14. Unafiliated

    Atheist here. All religions are made up, weird, false, and offensive to non-believers. They follow mystical mythologies that make no sense in a modern world. But, if it helps the individual adherents to have a better life, hey, I don't care what others choose to believe. In the case "baptism for the dead" this was a practice of first century Christians, which I suppose stemmed from heart-felt consternation that a person's parents had died just before the good news of the gospel reached them, so they utilized a form of proxy ritual. After all, the Judeo-Christian traditions are rife with proxy-isms, including Christianity's most central doctrine that Jesus died in the place of sinners. Early Mormons, feeling the same way as early Christians, and trying to be like early Christians developed the same concept. Yawn.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  15. Gevers

    I see God people!

    February 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  16. Gevers

    God of girls.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  17. Poolchick

    How can baptising Anne Frank be a mistake? Everyone knows who she is and that she was jewish and they still did it. I have no problem if someone wants to believe and have their own faith, but to push it on people is wrong especially when the person is not alive to say NO.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Lucifer

      You are insensitive and a moron. Its an insult to force a change on someone's religion. People die fighting such disgusting behavior. And for a cult to do it is even worse. Shame on you!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  18. Albus Dumbledore

    Beware the Death Eaters, they will force you to serve Voldemort in the afterlife!! It says so in a book!! Avada Kedavra!!

    Silly Mormon Muggles...

    February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  19. Jodey

    Dear Mormons: Please keep your religion to yourself.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Lucifer

      well spoken. thats why have force asians and africans to convert – cause they cant get those with a brain – except for poolchick

      February 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  20. richunix

    For @ME

    Which GOD are you talking about, the God of the pencil? Considering the word GOD is of 6th century Germanic origins. So please tell me the name of your deity…like the GOD AN, or ZEUS, HERA maybe RA.

    Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    February 23, 2012 at 11:10 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.