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. JaneS

    I seem to be missing something here- wasn't Anne Frank Jewish? What is this nonsense anyway, that a Mormon church could presume to baptise a deceased Jewish person?

    February 23, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  2. Bobbito

    Sick of hearing Mormons be called 'weird', really? How about the very fact that they perform proxy baptisms of the dead?! For one, it totally disrespects the individual and while you might argue that the ultimate disrespect is of God and so they are honoring Him (at the expense of the individual). But if you believe in the soul then violating someones history, name, and faith is ridiculous. How about all Jews turn around and celebrate a bar-mitzvah for the guy that founded Mormonism?

    I'm a Christian and as true to my faith as I try to be I feel our purpose is to spread the word of Christ, not force it down peoples throat. The Christian Conquest that took place during the Middle Ages was a tragedy. IF people chose to turn away from Christ, fine, we can keep living the example until they come over. But waiting until you're dead and secretly performing this ritual is untrue to everything about morality that we know.

    AND I'd like to bring attention to Deuteronomy 18:10-12 "Let no one be found among you who... is a medium or spiritist or consults with the dead... Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord."

    Looks to me like they're consulting with the dead. If Mormons were so upright on their faith they'd (1) acknowledge Christ is the last prophet (negating the book of LDS), and (2) these proxy baptisms of the dead violate the Word.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Sharon

      Well stated biblically based answer. Thank you.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  3. mormonsaregood

    By the way. I like to drink, smoke pot and chase the ladies. I wouldn't make a good mormon.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Dave

      You'd make a better one than you think... I've known a lot of Mormons and live in area where they have a pretty good percentage of the population... hence the common joke 'how do you stop a Mormon from drinking all your beer? Invite another Mormon over'

      February 23, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  4. Ken G


    February 23, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  5. TheMagusNYC

    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.
    That would be a "You're no Jack Kennedy moment."
    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 8:52 am |
  6. ed watts

    Here to make up for Anne they can baptize me instead (after I'm dead). Ed Watts 22276 Loony st. Jerusalem, Newfoundland. Thanks for that. Eddy

    February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  7. Babs

    I am OFFENDED and I'm not Jewish. How about all the other religions start baptizing Mormans? How would they like THAT? To postumuosly baptize someone without the permission of living (non-Morman) relatives is offensive and downright wrong!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  8. Carol

    For those of you offended by the church and its members' actions, feel free to go to the website "All Dead Mormons Are Gay" where you can convert any dead Mormon (except those that died in the Holocaust) from straight to gay for eternity. If you don't personally know any dead Mormons (I'd suggest Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for starters), the website has a genealogical search button that will find a random dead Mormon for you to convert, should you feel the need.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • atroy

      It would be awesome to also hook them up with other dead-gay-Mormon-converts for posthumous marriage.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  9. Joe T.

    Sadly most Mormons will never realize they are brainwashed and in a cult. George Orwell said it best in 1984: "Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

    It is sad but it is so true.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  10. Steve

    Let's start re-baptising deceased mormons to some other faith without their consent. This is what Jesus would want, not Joseph Smith.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  11. Joe T.

    What a bunch of nuts.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  12. Ihateidiots

    Anyone who thinks mormons are not christians are idiots. I don't understand why people want to tear down a religion that helps people, gives money and time to help people. I heard the mormons gave almost a trillion dollars in aid since 1980. Name another church that has done that let alone our own government. The only thing our great country does is take 25% or more of our income and give it to the ghettos so more babies can be born out of wedlock and to people that don't want to work like the trailer park white trash of our country. The best thing for this country is to kick obama out of the white house and put Romney in his place to clean up the mess.obama has made.

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

      Mormons are not Christians, Obama gets re-elected, what a great country

      February 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • dr. perry fisher

      you are an idiot

      February 23, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Ken

      Hmmm...looking at your name I guess you hate yourself.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • jc

      You need to grow up. "I heard that Mormons...." That is why we, as a human race, delay growth, because people simply hear things and do not know if they are really truth. All that came out of your mind and posted is nothing but garbage that people put in your head. Go and search the truth and bring me the real stats of the trillion dollars that Mormons have donated. Idiot !

      February 23, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Jesus

      Believe me when I say that Mormons do not know me nor do Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) "They know me not.."
      Ask your Pastor or Priest of any other church or denomination and he'll be glad to enlighten you. The Mormon religion is heretical
      there dogma is blasphemous their followers are damned. JW's are even worse.

      February 23, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  13. Darth Cheney

    I realize that Muslims don't baptize people, but imagine if they did. Now, right-wing Christians, imagine Muslims going to your parents' cemetery and baptizing them Muslim. You would be $h!tting yourself with rage.

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

      This is a sily misinformed comment. You are mistaking baprtism for the dead (where a living person receives a baptism that a dead person can count for themselves if they so desire) with baptism of the dead, which understandably is a bad idea.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  14. Bob

    Here's the Mormon logic behind baptisms for the dead: (1) Bible says you have to be baptised to get into heaven, (2) lots of people died without any chance to get baptised, (3) the Bible mentions baptism for the dead, which was practiced by early christians but isn't practised by anybody now (other than Mormons), and (4) God lvoes everybody but he is also truthful, so baptism for the dead reconciles the statement that everybody must be baptised with the unfair situation of not everyone being able to do so.

    But Mormons don't see these baptisms as binding on the dead. According to Mormon theology, Anne Frank has simply been given the option to accept proxy baptism now.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Joe T.

      So I guess people who died a thousand years ago are just out of luck, right?

      February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • JD

      The Mormons may have their reasons for doing this but I really don't think the dead people give a hoot.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  15. TJeff1776

    Mormons have their way of life. Its called "Freedom of Religion". BUT doubters should go to court if they feel offended. It appears to me, though, thats its their business and noone elses.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • jonborg

      But what do you do when one group "freedom of religion" infringes on another groups "freedom of religion?"

      February 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • firebird9999

      It's their business only if they keep it their business. Pushing their beliefs on others to the extent that they take it upon themselves to "baptize" non-mormans is just plain disgusting. Isn't there also a freedom FROM religion? I guess if you're dead it doesn't really matter, but it's disgusting and disrespectful nonetheless. This country has a really bad case of christianity gone wild.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  16. El Flaco

    I spoke to Anne Frank using my Ouija Board. She told me that the Mormons and the Jews are both nuts and that nothing they do affects people who are now dead.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  17. Joel

    Basically what it means is that non mormons are being converted to mormonism after death and without permission of a non mormon family member. The mormons are doing this so when the mormon dies they get to rule there own universe and be god like of not a god. Somebody has to be a minian under there new mormon god so all of the people converted after death will help occupy that universe under a current mormon walking this planet. ALSO, this will make the holocaust during the 2nd world war a mormon holocaust and NOT a jewish, gypsy, or undesired holocaust. Good job mormons for trying to change history for your mormon master plan. New change to history books. Six million mormons tortured and killed by nazi germany.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • ilvpitz

      I can tell you this. Nothing done to a person after they're deceased has any effect on their soul at all. And in life, no one can be forced or baptized into any religion without them believing in it.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • karenjay

      Your comment is completely false. This is the type of stuff that critics of Mormons like to spread around, but it is not true. Mormons baptize the dead by proxy so that all have the CHOICE to accept the blessing of Jesus Christ that he offers through baptism. There is no force. Don't be so gullible and believe everything you hear.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  18. GoMITT

    Go Mitt Romney!!!

    February 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  19. Mike

    Does anyone actually think a baptism does something?? That it could have any meaning in life or death?? How silly!!! Grow up.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |

      How do You know that it doesn't matter? You should grow up and show some respect for people who do not share your world view.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • ilvpitz

      I agree. In order for you to follow a religion, you have to believe in it and accept it. A religion cannot be forced on you. It doesn't work that way.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • firebird9999

      As an atheist, I agree, but it's still disgusting and disrespectful. This country is headed down a very dangerous path with all this "my religion can beat your religion" idiocy. Have we not learned any lessons from Afghanistan or Iran, or even Romania under Ceausescu's rule?

      February 23, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  20. mormonsaregood

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about mormons being strange. This is so far from the truth. Every mormon I have ever known lives a good life, takes care of their families and promotes great faith in Jesus Christ as their savior. They give of their time, money and talents for the better good of society. There is no better example of christians than mormons.

    There are so many misconceptions about the mormon faith it is not even funny. If anyone wants to learn more about the mormon faith go to their website http://www.mormon.org and learn what the mormons really believe and what they are about. Who really cares if Anne Frank was baptized through proxy. According to the mormon faith she has an opportunity to except it or deny it. Personally I am greatful that a religion cares not only about the living, but the dead as well. In my long life I can assure you that I have dead relatives that need all the help they can get. By all means baptize away and I hope a mormon catches up to me when I am dead and baptizes me

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

      come on admit you are a mormon and stop trying to pretend you're not and just wanting to be nice to them...reading your post is laughable really. Baptize away, once you are DEAD it is too late, anyone who believes otherwise, well to each his own, that's what this great country is all about, the freedom to believe IN whatever you want or NOT to believe...but it does NOT give anyone the right to KILL you for not believing what they preach "Muslims"

      February 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • agathokles

      How can you NOT understand why people (Jews) who were persecuted for their faith by Christians would NOT be offended by having their martyred icons "baptized" by Christians in order to "save them?" It's insensitive, at best.

      As for Mormons being good... I agree that most I know are kind, responsible people - however insular and clan-ish. But many Nazis were polite, loved their mothers, and were kind to animals. What does that prove?

      February 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Theman

      "According to the mormon faith she has an opportunity to accept or deny it"
      you do realize she's dead right?

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

      Yeah, but mormons wear funny underwear and pretend it's body armor. How can we take them seriously?

      February 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |

      I'm not a Mormon, and I agree with this post.

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

      "By all means baptize away and I hope a mormon catches up to me when I am dead and baptizes me"

      why wait? convert now. oh, right, you're just writing hollow words.

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

      I don't see the harm, because it's simply a waste of their time and effort. For to paraphrase Romans 2:6 ... From GOD – to each according to his own deeds... (go pick you own favorite version).

      February 23, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • The Bobinator

      Don't be offended, I think everyone who believes in nonsense are weird. Just that Mormonism has more silly beliefs then most. I mean, heck, it has all the nutty ideas of Christianity and it's own nutty beliefs.

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

      Whatever BRENDA. Your just an idiot like the rest of the mormon haters. Born to hate and rip down people hoping to make yourself feel better.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
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