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. Mike Buck

    Babtism after death? Fill out and submit your ID TEN T forms because you are a bunch of IDIOTS!

    February 26, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  2. sventhet

    More religious lunacy!

    February 26, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  3. Frank

    Not to fear! I got together with some guys at the Temple today, and we converted Joseph Smith to Judaism. We had some time left so we converted Mitt Romney and the Osmonds to Buddhism.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • AntiPalinAlaskan

      Damn...you forgot to make the Pope a gay Unitarian!

      February 26, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      So how tricky was Joseph Smith's mikva and circu'mcision? And did you give him a nice Hebrew name?

      February 26, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • toronto girl

      no thank you, we don't want him. You can have him.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  4. AntiPalinAlaskan

    SO...off in the next world, Anne Frank goes to the CNN site and says "oh...so THAT's why I was suddenly hearing The Osmonds and drinking a cup of lukewarm Postum".

    (seriously, Mormons...not cool what you did here...not cool at all...what next, when Mitt Romney arrives in heaven, you'll let him strap her to his celestial Volvo?)

    February 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  5. Book Two to Bogata

    This IS a new one for me, folks. Christians account for only 30% of the world's population but as a group, they CAUSE MORE PAIN, SORROW, AND TROUBLE, than most religious groups.
    They have initiated crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, death camps, attacks on the wrong countries (IRAQ, for one), wars by christian countries led by Napolean, Hitler, and Dubya.
    Christians of the world – be who you say you are, be like your christ and stop causing trouble with magic, missions, and proselitizing !!!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Pumbaa

      "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Gospel of Matthew 10:34) So what else would you expect? God loves you so much that if you do not believe as she wishes you can just go to Hell and burn! That is tough love!

      February 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  6. Blah

    Only if Christopher Hitchens was still alive. He would know what to say about this discussion.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • AntiPalinAlaskan

      And what to drink.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  7. Sardukar

    People are strange when you're a stranger
    Faces look ugly when you're alone
    Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
    Streets are uneven when you're down

    February 25, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Mirosal

      When you're strange
      faces come out of the rain
      when you're strange
      No one remembers your name
      when you're strange
      when you're strange
      when you're ..... stra-a-ange
      alright, yea
      ( cue Ray's organ )

      February 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • sventhet

      Mitt Romney is the Lizard King.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • toronto girl

      yes i liked the Doors too. Way back when.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  8. Nii Croffie

    Simplifying the truth, halving it, polishing it are all types of lying. The Mormons are not Christians just as Ammadhiyya Muslims and Ba'hai are not. The fact that someone calls himself a christian or uses the Bible does not qualify him as a Christian. If u know dey r not then withdraw ur statement

    February 25, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • duckforcover

      Going to church doesn't make you a "Christian" anymore than standing in your garage makes you a car.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Bob

      Of the thousands of American Christians I have known in my life (being heavily raised in the church), I can count the ones that were truly Christian on one hand. They were the ones who freely gave their possessions away (yes, even the ones they still wanted) and let homeless people sleep on their couches.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  9. Jehovah Elohim

    That just screwed any Jewish voters for Romney ..... ROFLOLOLOL ... so much for the religious sky wizard believers being Tolerant even to each other ?? Lunacy .... at its best.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  10. Allen

    As an atheism, the worst thing this can do is to hurt the history or memory of the people from the holocaust. Million of people die because they are jew or not Chrisitians. Then the idea that they can convert them in death make the whole holocaust event and suffer seem more point less.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • toronto girl

      yes we are very offended that someone would do something like this, with complete disregard for feelings or respect or appropriateness. Our religion, our feelings are disregarded as if they are of no account. We are what Christianity, Islam and Mormonism (if I had to add it) came from. Why the hell can you not respect us??

      February 27, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  11. kateslate

    Good. I shall now email my converted Mormon sister and ask that she not offer up our recently deceased father's name. It is the last thing he would have wanted. When he died at age 78, he was FED UP with religions' hold on our people.

    February 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  12. deborah green

    As a militant and steadfast Jewish female, age 61, I say, "So what?" It's their religion and their faux pas or kindness. There is no harm done other than to sensitivites of the living. I share these sensitivities and emotions but the dead are dead.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • toronto girl

      The Jewish living are offended that people unknown to us take it upon themselves to do things to our departed in THEIR name, as if this was something necessary to their memory. Yes they are dead, but its also how and why these particular ones died that makes it so maddening.

      The Nazis discounted us, made us pariahs and unable to survive in Europe. They destroyed us, obliterated our name and killed 6 million. These Mormoms take it upon themselves to BAPTIZE those who died by the hands of the Nazis, and it's again as if our culture, our religion HAS NO VALUE!!!


      February 27, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  13. Judas Priest

    I will say this again (since the LDS are still doing it).
    Repurposing of the dead, essentially hijacking the souls of the dead to serve your own purposes, to harness them to your own will is called, say it with me class,
    Atheists, please note that this is clearly the intent of baptising the dead of another faith, so it is irrelevant whether it is successful or not.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Mikey

      Nyet, Judas. The idea is not to serve the LDS religion. The idea is to serve the soul of the departed. See, LDS faithful believe that heaven is spending an eternity with your family and friends in the same place. I say "same place" because their religion has a mutli-level view of the afterlife. Not so much the clear heaven and hell of the rest of Christianity, but something more along the lines of the Catholic heaven, hell, and purgatory. Only with more levels (I think – I left the LDS religion 30 years ago so my memories are crusty). Many Mormons will tell you that hell is seeing someone you love far away, on another level, but not being able to be with them. This is because they weren't baptized, were bad, or even lived before the LDS religion was "born" in the early 1800s. That'd be double-digit billions of people who, as far as Mormons see it, never even would get a chance to get to heaven.

      So here comes proxy baptism or, as we called it when I was baptized for 100 souls in the space of about 5 minutes (man, I could hardly get in a breath between dunking) "baptism for the dead". So you see – from the position of the faithful it's done so that families can be together throughout an eternity. From the cynics position, yeah, I see your point. From the atheist's position (I went from LDS priesthood to atheism in the space of 5 years, but I blame the Baptist's attempts to save my soul in the interim) it's one big insult to every other faith the departed might have tried or would have tried. Since I believe they're all empty organizations intent on making compliant zombies from the faithful. But hey, that's just my humble opinion.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  14. Indyswimmer66


    February 24, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  15. NewTrum

    Dig it Helen, just DIG it!

    Here's your fat check as your bonus for a job well-done wrapping our political agenda with "research".

    Keep on hacking more databases and let's make it sure that there'll be no Mormon in the White house. Long way to go, Helen!

    February 24, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  16. My favorite for the day and maybe for years or lifetime

    It's from a poster named SPIX and I quote,

    "Unlike many Chrisitians, I have no issue with Mormons. The reason that I'm not voting for Romney has nothing to do with his religion. Having said that – where were the Mormons during the Holocaust? Their help would have been much more appreciated while most of European Jewry was still living."

    Read it again and you will see what I mean.

    Clue- Analyze his/her/its claim )on his introductory statement) and compare it with his concern (on his concluding statement).

    And you'll see the best definition of a hypocrite and a bald-faced liar!

    February 24, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  17. Kazeet

    I'm Christian. If any Jews or Muslims want to hold a ceremony declaring that you've converted me after I'm dead I don't care. Knock yourselves out.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Judas Priest

      it is ruder than heck, but more importantly it is impossible. No one can take your soul. It has to be given. So no worries there.
      The intent is what offends me. "OK, these dead uh.... what are they this week, Jews? These dead Jews, they're ours now. Suck it, Jehovah!"
      Arrogant, presumptuous, rude, and ultimately, stupid and futile.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  18. Reality

    Only for the newbies:------->>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism in less than 1500 words.

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick Google, Bing or Yahoo search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    February 24, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • jlv

      I don't know where you get your facts from considering the earlist stories of Lao Tzu, which is not his name its an honerific, have him first showing up leaving a country and being asked for some wisdom in writing. That's real magical hunh. I guess next you'll criticize Aesop cause there's no such thing as fables, huh. Next, "probably" is not conclusive proof of anything. All it does is prove that you probably have no clue what your talking about. for someone using the name Reality you seem to live in a fantasy world. You act as if other peoples beliefs that don't agree with your own will cause your "reality" to crumble around you. It must be terrifying to live in a world where you can't stand your own and need to attack others just to maintain your grip on "reality."

      February 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Reality – Why do you keep posting this over and over on every one you visit? Do you think this is good or intelligent? You sound like a total fool. I'll tell you what: There was probably no Darwin or Theory of Evolution therefore Evolution fails. See I can make ridiculous remarks too. Just denying something exists to promote your own twisted point of view doesn't make it reality.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  19. Andy Daniel

    As a Jew, I'm not as offended by this Mormon practice as some other Jews seem to be. I think that every religions rituals exist really only within the space of that faith. In other words, with no offence to my Mormon friends, I don't believe that the proxy baptism results in any spiritual or other change to the dead individual, so I see it as harmless.

    Regarding the perceived insult that Jews need this to get into heaven, remember that most Christians believe that all non-Christians will not go to heaven, so the Mormon belief is really along the same lines, the difference being that Mormons believe that i's not too late at the point of death while other Christians believe that it is.

    It is someone offensive to Jews as a group that Mormons feel that Jewish practice is flawed – but in fairness, most faiths believe that all other faiths are flawed.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • skytag

      I agree. Why do they care if the Mormons do something Jews clearly believe is meaningless? People are irrational enough without religion encouraging it.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • Eman Deriuqer

      Just when I thought Mormonism couldn't get any more laughable... they baptize someone BY PROXY? BY BLOODY PROXY? AFTER DEATH? Jesus H. M. F. Christ. What a joke. As for offense... Jews of the world, of all the things Goyum say and do behind your backs... this should be amongst the least of your concerns. Who cares if they perform baptism by proxy? So what? Better that than they burn you in effigy, which is also almost as meaningless. Inasmuch as you don't, I'm confident, recognize Jesus (the first time) as the Messiah, I'm equally confident you don't recognize the Christian fan-fiction that is the Book of Mormon, so who gives a rotten fig about anything it says, or what anyone does based on it?

      Did they harm Anne Frank? Isn't she dead? Then how did they hurt her? The whole thing is a joke, and on balance, not a thing anyone should be worried about. Anne Frank remains unbaptized, on account of the fact that her belief system did not have a place for dunking in magic water, a feature I'm pretty sure is unique to the believers of Joshua Bar Joseph, AKA Jesus of Nazareth, etc., and the cults based thereon, like Mormonism, or Mormonionism or whatever.

      Let it go. It's really NOT important.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • emet

      Andy shabbat shalom,

      It is offensive to the family members. My paternal grandparents who were gassed and cremated by Christian Nazi's were recently baptised by the Mormon Church. I personally find it offensive.

      Not withstanding that we Jews do have a Vidui or Confession that we recite at the death bed and the prayer the Shema-given to us by Moses, it appears to be not enough for well meaning Morrmons to spread their gospel.

      We should be preventing homicides/suicides, curing cancer and creating jobs, not baptising dead Jews who died because they were Jews. 6 million were not murdered because Hitler decided he didnt want Jews. Anti semitism and Jewish persecution has been around since ancient Greece and Rome.

      Nothing new. History seems to repeat itself.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • plot

      Andy, I think that this baptism by proxy business unveils a larger aim of the Mormon church we should all be wary of.

      Of course it's nonsense. But what else would the Mormon church require of us, in this life, to fulfill it's religious destiny. The lack of respect the LDS shows for the lives of the dead slips very easily into the lives of the living. If they can baptist massive numbers of dead at any temple, how soon before a Revelation by their president makes this applicable to the living?

      The Mormons have no commitment to a book or concept that can be publicly argued. All morality and spiritually depends on a central male figure who gets Revelations which has changed their basic structure many many times. If their president gets this Revelation, it can change anything, at all. Mormons killing settlers crossing through Mormon territory used to be common by divine mandate through their president at the time.

      I don't trust their religious agenda at all.

      February 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  20. HemanShera TeenMutantNinjaTurtle

    Religious people get agitated about the most trivial things sometimes, you know? **This goes for ALL religions, including atheism.**

    February 24, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • Mirosal

      In the words of Bill Maher, "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a se'x position".

      February 24, 2012 at 5:58 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Both Bill Maher and Mirosal are jerks.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Mirosal

      yep, you're a X-tian .. always quick to condemn anyone who doesn't go to YOUR church. How arrogant. Quit begging for money, get off the TV, and stop influencing my lawmakers, and we'll both live happy quiet lives. See how simple it would be?

      February 24, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Attheists are intolerant not only with lactose

      And you're an atheist quick to throw ridicule but couldn't digest the same stone.

      February 24, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Think again

      @ Attheists are intolerant not only with lactose
      You just proved Mirosal’s point.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • plot

      How is atheism a religion? I mean, I've been told belief is a precious thing that takes effort and revelation. Why would you want to label atheism with your most precious moniker?

      Where is the church of atheism? Where is it's book of faith? What is the connection between atheism and a mystical force?

      I don't get this at all. Faith and belief are supposed to be special, yet you say that it can be thrown onto any concept. So everything is a religion? If that is so, then religion itself has no meaning.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
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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.