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. Joe

    If the dead had rights, I think they would say: let me lie in peace.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  2. heythere

    I'm guessing this would not make the national news if a Mormon was not running for the presidency

    February 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Miss Peg


      February 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Steven Capsuto

      Probably not. But with a Mormon running for president, it is relevant to know to what degree Mormons have respect or contempt for others' beliefs, given that almost everyone the president presides over is a non-Mormon. On the other hand, Mormons believe the dead person has the right to accept or reject the baptism in the "spirit world." How many Christian denominations offer that much personal choice to people who were baptized as infants?

      February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  3. TheMagusNYC

    The rejection of Christian baptism is also a major issue. What is offensive is the equivocal uses of traditional terms in Mormon.org, confusing potential converts as if there were some relation between Mormonism and Christianity, when there is none on the essential issues. Nowhere in Mormon.org do I see the claim concerning the invalidity of Christian faith and baptism, which is the foundation of Mormonism claiming to have "restored" the original. Thus, 97% of Mormons call themselves "Christian" in this new sense, while in fact rejecting the claims of Catholics and Protestants to be Christians. Let's be mutually respectful, while also being honest and clear.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Jimmy

      This is like watching two people argue over whether Santa Claus is more powerful than the ToothFairy

      February 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  4. Spidey-Man

    HAHAHAAAAA!!! OH you religious nutcases make me laugh so hard sometimes my stomach hurts!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  5. NoTags

    I just want any member of the LDS Church to show me in the Bible where baptism necessary for salvation. The only thing necessary for salvation is FAITH as Paul stated in Ephesians 2:8-9.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Dear NoTags,
      Once the Mormon faith denies the Divinity of Christ, him being a created spirit brother of Satan, then the sacrifice on the cross necessarily cannot cover 100% of mankind's failings. Thus, the Mormon Church, like virtually every other non-Christian faith, requires that individuals work off the residual karma. Thank God you and I recognize and experience the absolute and complete grace of God, and our good works should be evidence of that, not part of the price.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      The MagusNYC: Your mind is so clouded by religious fanaticism that you don't even understand what the problem is with Mormons posthumously baptizing the Jews. It is not the fact that a posthumous baptism means nothing. It is the fact that Christian baptism – the Jewish concept stolen and perverted by the Christians – means nothing to the Jews, but the fact that a Jewish girl who resisted the Nazis through her faith has been converted anyways when she could no longer resist. But, you being a brainwashed moron, is no better than those Mormons. If your church told you that posthumous baptisms were fine, you would be the first one advocating the posthumous conversion of the Jews.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      Mormons quote their texts, you quote Paul. Both sets are texts are ridiculous and land you smack in the middle of Gehenom. You are wasting your lives.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  6. trumod

    It sounds like the Mormon elders are covering their behinds by chucking a small group under the bus. It's how the big fish in the pond stay the big fish. I doubt they ever backtracked on their baptism by proxy policy for Holocaust victims. They just got caught.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  7. AnotherExMormon

    As an ex-Mormon I need to clarify that the article incorrectly states Mormon motives. It is incorrect when it said that baptisms are done in "an attempt to give everyone a chance to accept salvation through Jesus." The Mormon church does these baptisms because they believe that the only way a Mormon can become a God themselves, is to have been baptized here on earth. Since that's the ultimate goal of every male Mormon, females cannot become gods, the church has to baptize people by proxy here on earth. They believe that there are a lot of non-Mormon's sitting in spirit prison who have embraced Mormonism there and need to be baptized here on earth so that they can attain the highest degree of heaven.

    Yes, Romney believes this too. The man who some want to be our next president, expects to someday become a God of his own planet.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Randi

      What does it matter if they baptized everyone on earth. Unless you are a christian that is baptized it is meaningless. Its not a magic rite, its a sacred practice that symbolizes the washing away of sin that Christ's blood did for all of us, on Calvary's cross. If you are not a believer and are not repentent, it does not more than a "God bless you" after a sneeze.

      As for becoming "gods", I think the Bible leaves enough places open on the afterlife, so that not one of us can really tell what will happen until we get there. We only get glimpes of heaven. If we are judged by what we believe heaven is, how many of us are going to get there?

      February 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • TheMagusNYC

      So well said, and refreshing in view of so much obfuscation.
      In this context of Santorum questioning the "Christianity" of our President Obama, it would be fitting for Mr. Romney to challenge Mr. Santorum's Christianity, which the Mormon Church considers to be invalid. What a shame how Mormon.org equivocates in its use of the terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit without noting these terms have nothing in common with the Christian concepts (www.irr.org).

      February 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Randi, it may not matter to you, but elevating mankind to the level of becoming gods, and lowering God and Christ to that level are what we religious folks define as "blasphemy." Arrogance is the cardinal sin, humility (not shame) the highest virtue.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Randi

      Are we not called "sons of God" in the Bible? Is not Jesus, who is God, the son of God? If we are to be like God, and the Mormons want to call themselves a god in the new world, how does that hurt you? As far as I know we will be gods, just as there were the sons of God in Genesis, only we won't be the one true God.

      Don't worry about what is to happen in heaven, worry more about your own journey to get there and those of your loved ones?

      Heaven is a far greater place than any man can fanthom, let's leave heaven to God, it is His realm.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Randi

      TheMagusNYC, blasphemy is when you deny the Holy Spirit. It is a word used for reprobates that do not heed the Spirit when it calls them, it does not listen when the Spirit speaks to heart on the evil they are doing, it is the callous heart that is so hard and fast in evil it has closed itself to the Spirit. Blasphemy is the pathway to damnation.

      As for arrogance, which would be listed under pride, how does that figure in here? The church cared and so undertook the baptism. The arrogance is for those who believe they are above everyone else. The kind thing to do, would have been for the injured party to have thanked the church, and then ask the church to undo the baptism, or perhaps wipe it off its books.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  8. dhc

    What else is new. Catholics believe they have exclusive ownership of eternal life. Baptists think they do and anyone one not submerged isn't baptized. Mormons think they are the exclusive owners of the keys to Gloryland. Muslims think they are the only ones who will live in Paradise. Jews think that they are the "Chosen People".... why not, they were the ones writing the history books at the time. Would they acknowledge that perhaps the Philistines were God's chosen people. When will you morons wake up and understand it's all fantasy, it's all mythology, it's all nonsense. You're all freakin' crazy!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  9. Brad

    Why do jews care what the mormons do? If the mormons are wrong as the jewish faith says, then that babtism means nothing. Anne didn't agree to it, so who cares? Seriously, religiouse people are the biggest whiners, so easily offended, but they can do anything they want and it is ok. Whatever, tell you what momons, when I die, you can have me babtised, and guess what. I'm still going to decompose, and I'm still not going to know anything, because I'll be dead, and I won't care about nothing.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • asm_ith

      You ask why should Jews care? Look at what has been going on with the contraception issue. If anyone started doing something like this to Mormons, l bet you would never hear the end of complaining, calling it an attack on their freedom of belief & freedom of religion. Imagine if Jews or Muslims "unbaptised" Catholics, Protestants, or Mormons.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Randi

      ASmith, It is more a matter of people sitting in judgment and pointing their finger at another group. If you are a true believer and a child of God, then you are protected by Him. I believe the people crying about it should first prove that they were wronged, and since the person baptized is dead, I do believe that is a little hard to do. Why have it brought up in public and dragged through a secular world? Have the stake, or whatever, that performed the baptism, take it off the books and get on with your lives and start to act like Christians that truly love and care for one another.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  10. trumod

    Sounds like the Mormon higher-ups are covering their behinds. I doubt it was a "technical glitch." They just got caught and they're throwing the smallest fish possible under the bus.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  11. cpc65

    And a group of kids playing a Harry Potter cast a magic spell (by proxy) on Anne Frank, and it had the exact same effect. Absolutely NOTHING! Hocus pocus, it's all just the same bogus.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      You don't understand – Anne Frank is a symbol of the biggest tragedy that befell Jewish people in their entire history. Then, a religious group comes and baptizes a Jewish girl murdered by the Nazis posthumously. The very practice of posthumous baptism is strange at best. But the fact that they practice religious expansionism against dead people of a different faith is unacceptable. Anne Frank and her family together with other 6 million Jews were murdered in Europe by the Nazis and other Europeans for the very fact that they were Jewish and not Christian. Now, a Christian church is making them into Christians posthumously. Jews lived 2,000 in exile being constantly persecuted by the Christians in every European country for refusing to covert to Christianity. Even when they choose to die rather than to convert, they are converted posthumously. This is an outrage.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Randi

      I think Gray is saying that he/she is afraid Anne Frank got to the wrong heaven. People need to work on their own faith and beliefs and if they truly believe, to go out and save others by spreading the Word.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      Randi – it's no coincidence you are a Christian. If these are the conclusions you derived from what I said, you are a moron, and the only religion you can understand is Christianity.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Joe T.

      No, Grey is saying it is a matter of principle.

      I'm not religious in the least (I don't care for religion at all), but I am in agreement.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  12. coyote

    Interesting, If the Mormons believe that this baptism actually works in making the non-willing, non-Mormon dead into Mormons then the problem is simple. The Jews (or anyone else) can simply simply turn the tables and do conversion ceremonies on the Mormons (or baptisms if not Jewish) and make the Mormons magically all some other faith behind their backs. What a surprise when, after death, they end up in some strange gods backyard. If the Mormons do not believe this nonsense then why would they baptize the dead? I will start immediately to do conversion ceremonies for Mormons into witches covens. 🙂

    February 23, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Jimmy

      Except that the Jews do not believe in converting people and just want to be left alone. But Christians are doing the same thing they have always done...

      February 23, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  13. Thomas

    My my what is all the fuss about. Those of you out there that have an opinion of how "sinister" the LDS church is, is nothing more than circular reasoning. I mean, you do believe in the Freedom of Religion, right? So in essense, what does it matter what other religious beliefs are out there. Mormons are free to express their beliefs just as any other religion no matte what YOU think. In fact, your opposition to what they practice is in fact DISCRIMINATION. It would be comparable to me saying that the Mezuzah's nailed to the door post's of Jewish homes is a silly tradition and has no effect on the home or those that live inside that home. Mozzletoff!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • lordpet

      You don't see why some people wouldn't like a religious group going out of its way to denigrate their religion by basically calling it worthless? I don't like religion at all, but I could see why Jews or Hindus etc would not appreciate the LDS coming along and spitting on their religious beliefs.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • JoshCo

      Freedom of religion is a great right afforded to use. However, the difference between hanging a mezzuzah in one's home and performing baptisim on another faith's dead is that one is intrusive of others and one is not. Regardless of the impact, hocus pocus or any other terms people use, forcing your beliefs on someone elses culture is how many "issues" have started throughout history.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  14. Pitdownman

    I now baptize all dead people in the religion of Nonsense. Now all dead Mormons are Nonsensists even Joseph Smith. Let the baptizing dead people war begin.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • dave

      I now baptize all dead people in the religion of SillyNillyism (including all Nonsensists). Now all dead Mormons (even Joseph Smith) and Nonsensists are SillyNillyists.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  15. ialsocare2

    So what changed by this baptism? Nothing, she is still dead. This is beginning to sound like the Muslims and the burning of the Koran, small minded people make a big case out of nothing.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Chris R

      Do you know what the holocaust was and why 6 million or so Jews were systematically slaughtered? Do you understand that that was the first time Jews faced wrenching upheaval and slaughter? The pogroms in Russia. Systematic discrimination in the US until not so very long ago. Mass expulsion from Spain, England, and other countries. Lynchings and mob attacks. Ghettos and scorn. Jews remained true to their faith even when the easiest thing for them would have been to turn away from it. Having the Mormons conduct these idiotic proxy baptisms is insulting to the memory of the struggle of the Jews who stayed firm in their belief.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Randi

      Chris R, Do you realize how many of soldiers were killed in the war to save the Jews? Do you realize how many Germans were killed or put their lives at risk to save the Jews? Do you realize how many of them were Christians?

      February 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  16. Johnny 5


    February 23, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  17. TheMagusNYC

    Grant that Mormons have good intentions in baptizing dead folks; and I am not particularly upset with the baptism of my Lutheran ancestors, as indicated in LDS records.
    However, the insult is in the explicit denial of the authenticity of Christian baptisms, on the basis of the Mormon belief that the power was lost upon the death of the original apostles, and was restored when they returned as angels and appeared to Joseph Smith, granting him authority which now resides only within the Mormon organization.
    So we should respect the intention, however misguided and unfounded it may be.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  18. SickOfLiesInNYC

    How dare they! God is surely perfectly happy with the way people of the Jewish faith come to Him just the way they are. Perhaps Mormons should start embracing their Jewish heritage (through Jesus who lived and died as a Jew) and starting giving their sons Bar Mitzvahs and observing important Jewish holidays and stop inflicting their beliefs on people of other faiths

    February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  19. NotOffensive

    The decision by Mormons does not detract from the Jewish faith in any way of these families that suffered. That gesture should be viewed as one of kindness and recognition where others might ignore that these persons even existed, at least this denomination is willing to acknowledge this fact.

    Although I am not Mormon, I give full credit to that church for its accurate handling of familial records for this entire United States in Salt Lake City – keeping the history of our nation defended in its library for our younger generations.

    No other religion has kept such careful records of ancestors for persons around the world.

    I am thankful for their efforts to do so, because were it not for these records, I would NOT know what I do today about my family.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • TheMagusNYC

      What is offensive is the equivocal uses of traditional terms in Mormon.org, confusing potential converts as if there were so relation between Mormonism and Christianity, when there is none of the essential issues. Nowhere in Mormon.org do I see the claim concerning the invalidity of Christian faith and baptism, which is the foundation of Mormonism claiming to have "restored" the original. Thus, 97% of Mormons call themselves "Christian" in this new sense, while in fact rejecting the claims Santorum and Obama to be Christians. Let's be mutually respectful, while also being honest and clear.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  20. jimtanker

    The Big Bang for beginners: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/02/the_big_bang_for_beginners.php

    I know that most of you thumpers out there won’t take the time to read it but that’s OK. You probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. It’s written at a 10th grade reading level.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • TheMagusNYC

      thx for sharing Jim; love to study and reflect on the best thinking available. But do not much respect any attempt to apply science to answer questions within the domain of religion. Nor the equivocation used to confuse, as in Mormon.org, glossing over different uses of the terms.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Jerry W Smith

      Oooooo. The pictures are really pretty!

      February 23, 2012 at 8:28 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.