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. gengivite

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    May 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • TTiara

      Oh dear, California Condor, you might need smiley faces to ifdntiey tongue-in-cheek comments. I don't usually provide those. Sorry.I'm not going to detail all of the reasons I support Barack Obama, but I'm no dummy. I am not easily swayed by mere rhetoric or by looks. I have long since decided not to engage in real political discussions on the bloggernacle. Real politics get fiesty. I find enough fiestiness on the bloggernacle without my encouraging it. I'm willing to have fun with politics, but you will find that I disengage whenever someone wants to pick a fight. (In my real life, I am happy to talk about my political choices quite candidly and at length. Blogs are not real life.)And obviously, if I supported a candidate for handsomeness, Romney would've had my vote. Please supply smiley face.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • szqzeywdsat

      eh5dWH lmotrispeyen

      October 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  2. well?

    question: did the Mormons baptize the travelers they massacred on 9-11-1857 at Mountain Meadows?

    March 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • well?

      p.s. LDS doctrine is murder cannot be forgiven

      March 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  3. Cassarit

    This is truly amazing. The mormons have been made to alter their belief set in order to appease the Jews. What's next? Will they be demanding that Christians edit out the part of the gospels that mention of the Jewish instigation that led to Christ's crucifxion. Where does the Jewish shakedown end?

    March 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  4. augustghost

    why is this religious nonsense still going on in the 21st century? humans will never grow up

    March 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  5. crgaillee

    Mormons are not Christians at all. they worship bringam young. I am a Christian and I absolutely cannot believe the arrogance of those people. One trait about them that is very prevelant is that they shove their beliefs down other peoples throats agressively. They truly believe that what they do is the only way to go to heaven. if a person were to read what a Mormon believes they would laugh their butts off that someone actually believes that tissue of garbage.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • j.ro

      Mormons are not Christians at all. they worship bringam young. I am a Christian and I absolutely cannot believe the arrogance of those people. One trait about them that is very prevelant is that they shove their beliefs down other peoples throats agressively. They truly believe that what they do is the only way to go to heaven. if a person were to read what a Mormon believes they would laugh their butts off that someone actually believes that tissue of garbage.

      What? Brigham Young? Do you assume that because we have a university named after him, or just because you've never opened up to other possibilities? If you're really up for some "garbage" you're welcome to read what we actually believe: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101

      March 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • folly

      The term "Morman" is actually passe', their name is the Church of Jesus Christ's Latrer Day Saints... which shows you speak a lot about something you don't know. I believe everyone has the right of opinion, but at least know what you are talking about before you take such a stand. It shows ignorance. I am not a Mormon, I am a Christian, which means those followers of Christ, which the "Mormans" do also, they just labor under the belief (as do most denominations) they follow a bit closer. And to their belated babtism, who shoud care? The person is dead and it certainly won't change their faith at this late date. I think it is a form of respect and even sorrow about the terror and humility she suffered in life. Is it really any different than praying for the repose of any soul after death?

      April 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  6. Joey

    Just when you thought that the religions in America could not get any crazier, the mormon's step up to the plate and hit a home run. Religion needs to meet a swift death.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • BR

      The extent of these Mormons' hubris is beyond disrespect. The nerve of these people to decide they need to desecrate the memory of these people who lived and died as Jews, to pull them into their fairy tale, is the height of arrogance. What is worse is Mormons think they are doing the right thing. Who does stuff like that and can't see how this is a huge affront to the families of these Jewish people?

      March 9, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • mickey1313

      thiesm has proven itself evil and wrong for over 2000 years why do people not just wake the f up, oh ya they want to live forever in a cloud city, fools.

      March 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • *


      (Mickey, if you are going to speak well for us non-believers, spiff it up a bit, eh?)

      March 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. evensteven

    Right now I have a cut-out doll and I'm dipping it in a bowl of water and saying a baptismal prayer once for everyone of you who have posted on this article . . . congratulations! You are a new member of "The Church of What's Happening Now".

    Na na na na na, you can't catch me . . .

    March 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  8. welll

    What the LDS church did was to discipline the whistleblower–Helen Radkey, mentioned in the last paragraph, has been blocked from accessing the churches data base of baptisms (see today's Salt Lake Tribune story) because she exposed their baptisms of Holocaust victims even after they have promised repeatedly to stop doing it. Solution to problem: silence those who tell.

    March 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • mickey1313

      The government need to remove the NPO status of all thiestic groups in america. The 1st amendment clearly states that the government will not stop OR HELP any religon. By giveing them the tax free status they are suporting them, that is illigal. Just look at oh 90% of churches and you know they are not non-profit. Look at all the gold, look at the money the leaders make. That is profit people.

      March 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • *

      The government need to remove the NPO status of all thiestic groups in america. The 1st amendment clearly states that the government will not stop OR HELP any religon. By giveing them the tax free status they are suporting them, that is illigal. Just look at oh 90% of churches and you know they are not non-profit. Look at all the gold, look at the money the leaders make. That is profit people.


      March 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  9. lct1119

    Yeah, rriiggghhhhtttttt! Discipline members. Don't make me laugh!

    March 8, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  10. Hypatia

    Yeah, sure. Like they did the last time?

    March 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  11. Tim

    How do you punish a Norman? What, no community dance dance for you.

    March 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  12. Grat3fu11

    If the Mormons are right and baptism is necessary to live in paradise for eternity, then l will thank you to look me up when I’m dead.
    If Mormons are wrong, then who cares what they do with a piece of paper that has the words Ann Frank on it?
    Stating that Ann Frank has been baptized does not make her a Mormon.
    No one has said “Ann Frank is now a Mormon”; only that somebody took a swim while her name was read. Big deal.
    If you believe that baptism is necessary to be saved, then it seems to me that baptizing dead people is an act of love like visiting the sick or volunteering at a homeless shelter; not an act of hate as previously alluded. Of course if the Mormons are wrong, then it’s just a waste of time, but an act of love none the less.
    As long as they don’t advertise all the famous dead people they’ve baptized and act like their all now Mormon, then it shouldn’t provoke such outrage.
    I wonder if you get just as mad when someone burns the flag.
    To me, burning the flag is like spitting the graves of those who have died protecting my freedoms.
    These freedoms include, ironically, burning the flag, but also freedom of religion.
    If you are going to insist that a group of people cease practicing all or part of their religion, because you find it offensive, then you might as well burn the flag.
    As long as you’re exercising your freedom of speech, you might want to thank a veteran for your ability to openly bash groups of people that you personally don’t agree with.
    Thanks Dad. Thanks son.

    March 6, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Stayxsie Johnson

      Dont save a prayer for me, because every time you do the goats get really nervous. if I have to sacrifice a goat to ward off your evil spirits I will, but i prefer not to. so save a goat, refuse to say a prayer.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Frank

      The difference between flag burning and specifically targeting certain individuals to be ritually baptized by some religious cult is obvious. A flag burning is targeting a particular department of government or just the government in general. A better example would be taking a flag, writing the names of solders that died defending it, then spitting on it and burning it. This is what the Mormons are doing.

      It, of course, makes no difference to the dead person. However, this dead person may have relatives and loved ones that are very offended by these actions, and as well they should be. I'm a big boy, I can make my own decisions about if/when/how I'm going to be baptized and to which cult. For the Mormons to do this is both pretentious and disrespectful.

      It would be no different than the Church of Satan baptizing dead Mormons in some ritual blood-letting.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • BR

      You've totally missed the point. Religious freedom is to be protected, for sure. But reaching into another religion because you think these people need baptising is the height of interference in others' beliefs, and highly insulting to non-christans, but hey, who cares. My question is where will they stop? I think they are out of control.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • well?

      they had no problem stopping polygamy when it kept them from the Union did they?

      March 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Grat3fu11

      Mormons are targeting everyone. They have one of the largest genealogical libraries in the world, because they are trying to baptize everyone that has ever lived.

      Flag burning is done in public and is intended to generate a public response. Mormons aren’t looking for a public response, they trying to do their thing quietly and privately. Mormons didn’t call the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and say “Hey, we just baptized Anne Frank. She’s now Mormon. Wrap that around your dreidel and spin it”. The publicity is coming from an ex-Mormon.

      What anybody does with a printed name in the privacy of their own temple should be their own business. If they do it quietly, then they should be free, as the first amendment states, to “douse whomever they want.”

      If you believed in the necessity to light candles, burn incense and repeat the lyrics to “The Wind Cries Mary” while holding a banana tattooed with a name in order to prevent someone from burning in hell for eternity, you would do it for all you love and more.

      You are correct in that it would be no different than the Church of Satan baptizing dead Mormons (or you or I) in some blood-letting ritual. If the Church of Satan or any church wants to baptize me by proxy while I am alive or dead I care not – as long as they keep it to themselves. If I am actually offered a choice in the hereafter, it will not be a hard decision.

      How can anyone be offended by this particular Mormon peculiarity (not the broken agreement, but the dead dude dunking)? Christianity or Judaism; one or both are wrong. They cannot both be correct. If Christianity is correct and you are Christian, what have you done for those who have died without baptism?
      If you believe in baptism, will your reverence for the holocaust victims condemn them to suffer the consequences of the un-baptized for eternity?
      When we get to the other side and are living in paradise, will we look at those burning with fervent heat and say, “Wow. That looks painful, but at least we didn’t do anything for them, because they were holocaust victims. Pass the apricots and Brie, please”. Or will we stand there like Liam Neeson at the end of Schindler’s List saying “I could have got out more. I could have got out more”? Of course if Judaism is correct then reverse this paragraph.

      Poppycock or not, cult or not, offensive of not- at least the Mormons are trying to do something for all the people who died without hearing the Good News. Furthermore, the more wet Mormons there are at the temples, the fewer people there will be at the sports bar during Monday Night Football, so let them do it.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  13. Animal Lover

    Baptism performed after death is meaningless, however, I would object to having any of my family baptized in a Mormon temple because that is not my faith and I find it objectionable. Any "religion" that is steeped in secrecy is suspect and a cult.

    March 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • jason

      "Baptism performed after death is meaningless,"
      Its not, It essentially dooms the victims soul to purgatory for eternity

      March 5, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • mickey1313

      All religons are cults there is no differance, only the # of followers. And like the old adage goes a million stupid people are still a million stupid people. All thiests are stupid and need to re-examine why they have given up the control in there lives.

      March 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • *

      *their lives

      March 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Grat3fu11

      Where in the Bible does it say your punished for the sins other commit after your dead?
      Are you seriously going to tell everyone in this forum that Anne Frank is now and forever in purgatory?
      Your comments are more inflammatory than anything the Mormons are doing.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  14. Hannah

    How many times, Oh Lord, have we heard the Mormons say the are going to quit doing this. The haven't, they won't and effect they lie to us all. God hates a liar and so I.

    March 3, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Stan Iverson

      They are a dangerous cult – plain and simple. Anyone with any kind of theological insight who cares to look into mormonism will surely be shocked at what lies below the surface of this cult.

      March 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Stayxsie Johnson

      I heard they sacrifice goats in that little secret room we cant go in?

      March 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  15. Anon1mous

    If we posthumously baptized John Smith to catholicism, would Mormons take offense?

    March 2, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • John Brown

      Probably not, because John Smith was an explorer from the 1600s. Idiot.

      Mormon baptism doesn't make anyone Mormon; they just believe that it gives people a chance to accept this essential Christian ordinance IF they accept the gospel while their souls are awaiting judgement. If they don't accept it, no worries and it doesn't mean anything.

      And if you don't believe it, it doesn't mean anything anyway.

      Grow a pair and grow up.

      March 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • jason

      The mormon cult teaches that Jesus is just one of the God and anyone can become a god(I fear if mitt Romney feels he has completed the 479 steps what hell he'll unleash on us) this belief makes them a cult and a dangerous one at that. The basic christian concept that all souls belong to god as Jesus paid the price on the cross can be violated by a mormon baptism it essentially gives lucifer a claim over the victims soul

      March 5, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Frank

      It's Joseph Smith genius.

      But, the question is valid. I'm going to change it a little though.

      Would it be just as OK if The Church of Satan baptized dead Mormons?
      If not, why?

      March 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • BR

      John Brown: No need to insult. It discounts your argument. Frankly, you missed the point.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  16. coliln

    Dang it! Last year I held a ceremony to make Anne Frank a vegetarian posthumously. Then my neighbor who eats meat had a ceremony to turn her into a meat eater. I had to conduct another ceremony and this went back and forth for a long time. Now I find out she's converted to Mormonism? I can't keep up! I'm busy now with a ceremony converting Ronald Reagan to a liberal Democrat.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Ethan

      Funny, but oh so true! If the Mormons want everyone to be saved through Jesus Christ, how come they exclude Holocaust victims, if it's for their own good?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Darin

      Now, that's funny!

      March 4, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • BR

      Ethan: they do not exclude Holocaust victims. As a Jew myself, their position is invasive and deeply disrespectful to those who do not believe like they do. The real offense is that they do not see themselves as bullies.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  17. @rflyer17

    Freaking morms.. can't stand them.. their so weird. You know their church or whatever they call it, give the males underwear to wear.. how weird is that!?

    March 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Stayxsie Johnson

      The Mormone priests make michael jackson proud, making the young boys wear underwear with locks on them that only they can get off.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • sc34441

      Stayxie Johnson: Leave MJ out of it, he wasn't a Mormon.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  18. N&W 1000

    Mormons are weirdos.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Stayxsie Johnson

      What about the goat sacrifices?

      March 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  19. KatyaKatya

    Baptism is for the living by definition. According to Christian beliefs, the deceased are no more of this world. Baptism makes you a member of the Church in this world. When we die, we stand before the Lord and He knows all about us. Anne Frank is in Heaven regardless. Never in the history of Christianity did people baptize the deceased. It is bizarre.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Ethan

      . . .and yet no matter how many times we prove Mormon doctrine wrong, they are so pigheaded they refuse to believe their religion is a red herring. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  20. Omnipotent Poobah

    Since they have been doing the baptisms for years and have made the same pledge to discipline members before, I'm don't thik their promise means a lot.

    February 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
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