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. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      It certainly reduces your time spent on useful pursuits.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  2. Joe T.

    Anne Frank is probably thinking: "Man, is there no place that I can hide?"

    February 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Frank

      Oooh! Okay, that one made me laugh most cynically.

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

      Whaaa?!? Technical glitches in its "system"? Robo-baptisms? The Mormon cult just gets weirder and weirder at every turn.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  3. joe

    My only experience with the LDS is marrying a former Mormon, and I can say this......the majority of the are fairly normal and dislike interjecting their faith on others. HOWEVER, the leadership of the LDS tends to be a bunch of loudmouth crazy religious kooks that use the churches considerable funds to shout their hatred of all things non-Moromon to the world.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • skellyute

      Joey joe joe Sha-ba-do..... I served in leadership. Lot of my friends have as well. That's how it works. The responsiblity is rotated around. It's your turn. Seriously though... I find the leaders to be extremly compassionate, and a few of the members tend to be good people, but a little extreme. Just my take.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  4. skellyute

    All of the up roar on this issue I think is driven by misunderstanding or the disliking of the LDS faith, in my humble opinion. LDS doctrine does not teach that proxy baptism changes the faith of those who have died. It teaches that it offers those who have died an opportunity to accept the baptism if they would like. At no point is choice taken away. A beautiful part of the doctrine is that is requires individuals to do research and discover their ancestors and learn more about who they are as an individual and recognize those who have gone before them. This gives the living a chance to thank their ancestors by serving them.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      You are correct in stating most of this is from a disliking of the LDS ‘faith”. That however doesn’t mean the dislike is unjustified. The religious council gathered in response of Obama contraception bill called it – no less than the ra.pe of the soul. This …for expanding healthcare coverage to all those who are already paying for it. How is taking someone of another ‘faith’ or non-faith and baptizing them any less than a rap.e of that persons soul?

      February 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      This is like watching two lunatics argue over the semantics of their personal delusions.


      February 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Patrick

      @ MarkinFL
      You assume much. I’m an atheist = )

      Nice try though.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • skellyute

      Patrick, it's a great question. I think you're still misunderstanding the doctrine. If I bring you something to drink, you can accept it or not. That's all there is to it. It was an act of service. Nothing more. It doesn't change anything it. It doesn't change your faith, it doesn't make you anything. It was me trying to be kind. That's all this doctrine teaches. It doesn't force anything on anyone. Period. I had a lady who's kids were running all over a parking lot earlier this week.I said let me hold your cart for you while you grab your little ones if you'd like. She got angry at the offer. Like I was implying that she was a bad parent or something. I have 4 kids, and I know exactly what she's going through. It was just an offer. She didn't want it, I didn't get bothered by her rebuff, she has a lot going on clearly. That's what this act of is, an offer. Take it or leave it. No reason to get bothered by it.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • skellyute

      Hey MarkinFL, your freaking funny. Love your comments. Read some of them below. Makes me laugh keep it up amigo.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      You can't r.ap.e something that does not exist. And of course they are hypocrites, it comes with the territory.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Josh

      skellyute, it may seem reasonable from your perspective, and I believe that the practice is done with no ill intention, but you must realize that is highly disresptful of other religions. My religious beliefs are my own and the concept of another religion deciding that my belief structure is inherently misguided and that becasue I am not baptised that i still need saving is disgsuting. How dare you trample on others beliefs and not repsect their rights to decide how they meet their maker?

      February 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • GodPot

      "That's what this act of is, an offer. Take it or leave it. No reason to get bothered by it."

      Hey, don't be bothered but I'm going to discipline my member tonight, want to watch? I'll be thinking about you while I show my member who's boss skelly, but remember, no reason to be bothered by it, it's just an offer...

      February 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • yellkutes


      You bet! Mark was freakin funny. And not only him but also all the atheists on this blog. But they DON'T have a bit of Sense of Humor.

      They are just plain Funny and look like a freak. That's whay they freakin funny. LOL!

      February 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Patrick

      @ skellyute
      I appreciate your response but it’s not a matter of misunderstanding. The doctrine has been explained thoroughly. Many people (yes who know the doctrine) view this as a viol.ation of the subject’s “religious rights” if you will. If they wanted to be Mormons they would have chosen to do so in life. (see Mitt’s grandfather). It is at the least very disrespectful. I understand this perspective even though I am a non-believer and like MarkinFL I do not believe in a soul. As I wouldn’t want Mormons, Muslims or any other primitive superst.itions involving me or my in their (from my perspective) wacko rituals. I on the other hand am not going to start k!lling people over it like we are seeing in the middle east.

      My comment about the rap.e of the soul was an attempt to bring some perspective to those living in a religious bubble.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Do you offer to baptize the living without any obligation to accept your faith? Why is a proxy any different?

      It also seems a little disrespectful, or unfaithful, to God to assume that the LDS is needed to save someone, simply because God didn't provide a mechanism for them to do it themselves while they were alive.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  5. Observer

    The church said it is “committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges,”

    Access to what? Water? What else do you need to go about baptizing?

    February 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • GodPot

      The ritual is not complete apparently until the name is written down in their books, so denying them access to the book prevents any random souls from having a chance to move up in their world...

      So I guess that means the scribe or more likely data entry employee is the one performing the real baptism because if it doesn't get written down, it just didn't happen, Obviously...

      February 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Jim

      They can deny them access to the Temple, which is only authorized for endowed members. They can take away their sacrament privileges; worst case scenario, they can ex-communicate them.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Patrick

      They can’t really do anything. As with all religious sects if they actually enforce this disciple (I have my doubts as this is not an isolated incident) the wackos will just go start their own church. (another compound) This is repeated throughout religious history.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • GodPot

      "worst case scenario, they can ex-communicate them." Can I be ex-communicated from all religion? They seem to keep trying to communicate with me, and I wish it would stop, not much of a "worst case" if it will free up my Saturday mornings...

      February 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • atheists are hilarious but don't have a bit of Sense of Humor


      You're wishing for religion to stop communicating with you but you've been caughting up youself in communication with them on this blog.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  6. Rational Libertarian

    Do people really care about this? Just a bunch of mental people doing a strange ritual that somehow involves the dead in their cult.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Sam

      They just baptized Gallatin, too. Feel better?

      February 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Rational Libertarian- you seem to care enough to ask if anyone cares...very odd

      February 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Not odd, just curious. I know people who get really annoyed by the actions of the Mormon Church. I find the whole thing hilarious. As long as they're not trying to legislate their beliefs, let them do what they want to do. Nobody is hurt by a bunch of whackjobs doing a posthumous baptism.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  7. freedom

    It's simple really – if you want the freedom to believe whatever you think is right, then grant that freedom to others.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      So, are you arguing for or against this? Since you can't force dead people to do anything you cannot affect their religious rights. Short of desecrating the body there just isn't a whole lot you can do once someone is deceased.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • freedom

      I'm saying Mormons are free to believe this and act on their beliefs. If someone doesn't believe they're right, then why should they care. Right now, no matter what you believe, there is someone else who thinks you're stupid and even offensive in some matter of your belief. It doesn't matter, we enjoy the freedom to believe what we want in this country.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Sam

      "If someone doesn't believe they're right, then why should they care." Some of us actually care about insults to our dead parents. Would the Mormons be concerned if all their churches were burned down and they were all fired from their jobs? They'd all have to go back to Utah and be vewy vewy quiet for about 100 years.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • freedom

      Yes, Mormons would care if all of their homes were burned down and they were fired from their jobs. But this is not that. But there are already others who believe that Mormons are going to hell. Maybe they even pray that they won't go there, or that they will go there. Mormons should not care about that, and if they do, they need to deal with it because the others are free to believe as they wish. I don't know why you would be insulted that someone makes an effort they think is helping your dead parents, but if you are, then you'll just have to deal with it because it is not actually doing you any harm (unlike burning your home or firing you) and it is the cost of allowing a society with free beliefs.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      So some stranger insults your parent by offering to baptize them? I'm alive and I've had any number of Christians suggest that I convert. Do you know how I would happy I would be if they would just wait until I'm dead to ask again?

      I wish every Christian(or any other religion) would wait to proselytize until their victims were dead!

      February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  8. blaqb0x

    Soooooooo, How do I enter the names of all the dead stem cells, zygotes, and fetuses that need to be posthumously baptized?

    February 23, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Maybe there's an app for that?

      February 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • GodPot

      @facepalm – Maybe theres a "slapp" for that?...

      February 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Mormons believe that all children that die before the age of eight are automatically saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When a Mormon submits the name of a dead relative to be baptised in the temple, they must also provide the date of death to prove that the person was not younger than 8 years old when he or she died.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      So they become unbaptized on their 9th birthday? How do they do that?

      February 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  9. David Johnson

    Who cares if the Mormons baptize Ann Frank, or anyone else. Their whole religion is very, very unlikely to be anything but false. Their actions can't hurt anyone. They can howl at the moon, dressed only in their magic undies for all I care. This is being made a big deal, because of Romney.

    I think Santorum the best man to run against Obama. Santorum is the male Christine O'Donnell. "I am not a religious nut!" LOL


    February 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • MarkinFL

      "unlikely"? Well yeah....

      February 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  10. sanjosemike

    Almost all religions have a serious problem with the issue of suffering, which takes place throughout all of nature. This includes horrendous pain and anguish. If a god is loving, why subject all animals to this horror?

    Wild dogs must tear their victims apart while still alive in order to just barely survive. Humans suffer the pain of bone cancer metatastases, which is beyond excruciating.

    Yup, it's hard to explain. The most obvious explanation is simply that there is no god. It's just the way things are. Sometimes the most logical explanation is the most obvious.


    February 23, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  11. Jim

    I am a LDS member. The article fails to note that the Church views ALL proxy baptisms as *non-binding* unless the spirit of the deceased person accepts the baptism, which no one can know. The article should have (i) described the underlying philosophy about proxy baptism (giving the spirits of the dead opportunity to accept or reject an earthly practice), (ii) noted that it's a labor of love extended to all the dead, and (iii) also noted that proxy baptisms are not included in "Mormon" membership totals."

    February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • blaqb0x

      Do you realize how delusional that all sounds?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Ituri

      It doesn't MATTER that its "non-binding" unless some soul does something in whatever afterlife. The fact that you do this is reprehensible, and goes against HUMAN RIGHTS to freedom of worship, religion, and even freedom FROM being oppressed.

      Hear that? You're OPPRESSING people, even de ad people. Kind of amazing you can't leave them alone even when they're de ad.

      I'm an atheist and this pi ss es me off. You religious zealots have no respect for your fellow man. NONE.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • MarkinFL

      This is a tempest in a teapot. This is no more proselytizing and since the object of the proselytizing is deceased it is of zero importance.
      The delusional are trying to delude the deluded. Holy Cow!

      February 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "proxy baptisms are not included in "Mormon" membership totals"
      That's only becuase the dead can't pay their ti/the.
      "If a dest.itute family is faced with the decision of paying their ti.thing or eating, they should pay their t.ithing." (Lynn Robbins, General Conference, April 2005).

      February 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • joe

      What deity gave your group the right, privilege, or nads to think you have any type of influence of anyone's soul?

      February 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Sam Kinison

      So not only are there people who are r a p i n g me after death, they're gonna baptise me too? When does it end!!! Aghhhhhh!!!!! Oh Oh Oh Aghhhhhhhhh!!!!

      February 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • skellyute

      Ituri, how could you possiblly be saying this doctrine oppresses people? If I offer you a glass of water when you're thirsty, I'm oppressing you? That's all this doctrine is about. Serving, and remembering my ancestors, so that I can better understand who I am. They don't have to accept the figurative glass of water. But I beleive that I have to find them, and offer it to them. Why do you take issue with my wanting to do this for my grandpa, great grandpa and other relatives? No choice is ever taken away from them.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • skellyute

      Hey Doc Vesti, that's because Latter Day Saints take care of their own. They won't starve. Each Bishop of every congregation has access to a local wharehouse full of supplies to take care of the phyical needs of their families, and the financial ability to pay the rent if need be as well.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Sam

      "The article fails to note that the Church views ALL proxy baptisms as *non-binding* unless the spirit of the deceased person accepts the baptism, which no one can know." Lord of the Rings makes more sense than that stuff. Insane and delusional, sorry, but you won't mind if I baptize your dad as a Satanist? I really feel like I have to do it. Maybe he will accept it after death?

      February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And what does the LDS do with all that ti/the money?
      According to their PR department (the deseret news agency), Mormons have spend $750 million in international charity since 1984.
      They have also spent more than $3 BILLION on a mall in Salt Lake City.
      Makes it kind of obvious what their priorities are.

      February 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  12. blaqb0x

    Add yourself to this group if you don't want to be baptized posthumously. http://www.facebook.com/groups/dontbaptizememormons/

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

      Its OK, you're already on the list to be posthumously promised to Satan!

      February 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Satin

      No, his soul is promised to me!! And Satin isn't just my s t r i p p e r name... your soul will slip right into my cool sheets...

      February 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Smooth reply!

      February 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  13. Les

    Baptism of the dead is an ancient tradition and according to the Bible was a custom of the early church. It is no more bizarre than many Baptist, Catholic and other protestant "traditions" .

    The Mormon Church missionaries do not try to convert anyone. They do preach a restored church to other Xtians. They have NEVER sought to convert people that are non-Xtians because they believe that God has spoken to all men throughout the ages. People in other religions that have other sacred texts outside the Bible, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and paganism, will be judged according to their own books NOT the Bible.

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

      If your missionairies don't try to convert people into your religion, than why bother sending them out at all? Do you see the absence of logic in your thinking?


      February 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Ituri

      Thats bunk. Mormons are on my doorstep weekly, and I'm not a Christian. Your "they do it, but" is worthless.

      Excuses, excuses, excuses.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • skellyute

      SJMike, the number one person a missionary converts is himself. He or she spends two years teaching and serving others. Working from 9am to 9pm everyday with no vacation for years. It changed me. Made me a better husband, and father after spending two years in the inner city of Kansas City working with poor families. Seeing how hard life can be. Made me grateful, and taught me to work hard. Taught me to serve and love others, and that life is very good.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Sam

      "The Mormon Church missionaries do not try to convert anyone." That's good, because they're awful at it. Of course, coming to your house and telling you about their church and inviting you and giving you pamphlets IS A CONVERSION ATTEMPT, but I'm sure you have a way around that being a lie.

      February 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  14. harry

    The Mormons learned this from the Democrats. Just look at Chicago where every 4 years legions of dead people are converted to the Democratic Party.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  15. Dave

    Romney and Santorum are secret gay lovers.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  16. Anne

    Well maybe if Mormons weren't baptizing dead people against their will, they wouldn't have to worry about technical glitches or "deception"- a concept which is obviously a cornerstone of the Mormon faith.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  17. Truth

    "The church apologized for that baptism, blaming it on a technical glitch in its system for submitting names for posthumous proxy baptism." I'm calling complete BS on this one. I know several mormons who say the church regularly performs posthumous baptisms for people all of the time, famous and common.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  18. Pete

    THIS IS CRAZY!! Whats also crazy is that nobody seems to talk about the fact that Morons..I mean Mormons beleive that when they die the husband and wife become a Gods of their own planet. They also dont allow people of color to hold certain posts in the church becasue they say when Jesus asecnded to heaven he took those worthy and left the others behind. Those left behind climbed the highest mountain to reach heaven and were too close to the sun and thats why their skin is dark. I MEAN COME ON! Why doesn't anyone talk about these weird issues.
    I KNOW!! IM AN X MORMON. Im all for freedom of religeon..beleive what you want..but lets be clear as to what these freaks teach so everyone has a clear understanding!

    February 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      And this is weirder than ritualistically eating flesh and drinking blood how?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Laura

      Just so you know, you sound like a complete IDIOT!

      February 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Laura – to whom, and what argument, would you be referencing with your very insightful and reasoned comment?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Exactly, I fail to see how adding a few additional weird beliefs to the whole invisible sky fairy belief system makes it any more bizarre. Have you read the bible? Weird stuff.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Pete is a Liar

      Pete, I think you have a bit of an honesty problem. Since your post is full of complete lies about what "Mormons" believe and practice, you're etiher lying about being an "X Mormon" or you're an "X Mormon" becasue you have an honesty problem.

      Got to give you credit for creative fabrication though.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • skellyute

      Hey Pete, you don't know. Sounds like you were practicing a faith of your own there partner. Way off base.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  19. marragor

    How arrogant of the Mormon Church to dismiss the religion of another. I'm not Jewish - but I am offended. I have no issues with a person being of Mormon faith - just the establishment.

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

      The Lord Jesus Christ also dismissed the other religions of His day, including the Jewish religion. Do you find that offensive?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • sanjosemike

      Rob said: "The Lord Jesus Christ also dismissed the other religions of His day, including the Jewish religion."

      sanjosemike responds: Where did you get that nonesense? Jesus spend every day of his life as a Jew and died as one. There is no evidence to suggest that he rejected his religion and instead went to his death "in defense" of it.


      February 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • whatever

      @ Rob-
      Go back and read your history books.
      Your Lord was born a Jew, lived the life of a Jew and died a Jew. He was one of 3000 Jews who were crucified by the Romans for rabble rousing against the Roman occupation of Judea.
      The gospels written by men turned him into a "saviour" which was carried on by the early Church whose largest converts were ROMANS.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  20. BigNose3000

    We have a 'Do Not Call' list but where is the 'Do Not Baptise' list?!?! Obviously there are some idiots conducting this batism by proxy, so why should we trust this church NOT to do it again? They already made an agreement previously and now they again state "we won't do it again". Ugh.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • blaqb0x

      Put your name on the Do not baptize list here:

      February 23, 2012 at 11:38 am |
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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.