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# Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Jewish Group Says Mormons Are Still Baptizing Holocaust Victims
Posted by Diane

The controversy over Mormons’ practice of posthumously baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims is in the news again.

The Associated Press reported on yesterday’s American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors (AGHS) press conference. The organization claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t enforced a 1995 agreement to permit its members to submit for posthumous baptism by proxy (often described as “temple work”) names of only those Holocaust victims who are direct relatives.

Posthumous baptisms by proxy are central to Mormons' faith because the practice allows families to be reunited in the afterlife. They see the baptisms as an offer that the deceased individual can refuse; many Jews view the practice as disrespectful to those who were killed for their religious beliefs.

A researcher the AGHS hired reported finding several thousand names in the LDS church’s genealogy databases, some submitted as recently as July.

The church removed Jews’ names after the 1995 agreement, but told the Associated Press that since then a few well-meaning members have “acted outside of policy.”

In a written response to the press conference, the LDS church claims AGHS refuses to provide the names of the Holocaust survivors found in the database or respond to LDS proposals stemming from a Nov. 3 meeting of both organizations.

New FamilySearch, the online family tree tracking program slowly being released to church members (it'll eventually be publicly available), should help resolve the problem by discouraging mass submissions, and separating names intended for baptism from those submitted for genealogical purposes.

Read the full article on CNN.

Here's the LDS church's response.

AGHS also has links to news coverage of the press conference.


FamilySearch | Jewish roots
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:46:26 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [7]
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 9:41:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
They should sue the Mormon church. The Mormons, like most Christian sects, have no respect for the religious beliefs of other cultures. Personally, I think all religions are just ignorant myths and superstitions. But the Mormons are one of the worst. The Jews should try to get a court order barring them from continuing this stupid practice and then jail anyone who doesn’t comply.

Steve
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 12:55:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
The LDS Church believes and teaches that baptisms for the dead are only significant if the individual were to accept it in the afterlife. Otherwise, they say it has no consequence to anyone.

To them, it is as much a blessing to a grave as any other religion's, because they do not impose any judgment on any of the dead by doing this ordinance. My personal feeling is that those who do not believe in this practice, nor the LDS Church would not care if they do this or not.

Short example, while living in Bolivia, the government recognized a certificate of a baby's baptism in the Catholic Church as documentation to help an adult obtain a government ID. Great. Here in California, I don't think any church baptismal document helps. Point is, if other churches do not recognize a practice of another church, then it is insignificant. The LDS Church doesn't make assumptions that someone receiving a proxy baptism actually wants it. They don't count it as part of their membership and they do not do it as some last exertion of control over other religions.

They believe that everyone who accepts the Gospel needs a baptism and that you can only be baptized w/ a body of flesh and bones. And if someone does not believe this, they should not validate that it means something.

Last point, the Holocaust did happen and it was Jews that suffered and no one should confuse that with anything discussed.
steve
Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:12:33 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
I have several family members that have converted to the Mormon religion. I also have family members that are non-Mormon living in Salt Lake City. And I am not Mormon.

The treatment by the Mormons to my non-Mormon family living in Salt Lake is similar to what the Holocaust victims suffered. If they are your neighbors, they do not speak to you, you are shunned. Your children are also shunned. You can live on a very busy street and never see a neighbor as you are not Mormon. At school, your children are shunned as the Mormon children do NOT play with non-Mormons.

BUT share your hard work with a Mormom family member (aren't they supposed to be doing the family tree) and suddenly ALL your deceased family members become Mormon even when they were not when living.

I'm not bitter towards the Mormons, apparently the Mormons do not teach religious tolerance or if they do, they do not practice it.
Tere
Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:05:41 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
I have a problem with the LDS church thinking that a person of another religion needs LDS baptism. I know that my 4th great grandfather was baptized as a member of the Presbyterian Church and can only imagine his shock and dismay when someone tapped him on the shoulder on day in heaven and said, "You are now a Mormon."

The Mormons (and other churches) need to realize that baptism is baptism regardless of how or where it was done. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace.
Margaret
Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:43:15 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
I guess I really don't understand why the LDS church feels they have the right to baptize anyone. Baptism is not something that can happen after death - it is a repentance and exceptance of God's word while you are living. I am truly not trying to be disrespectful, but baptism after death won't help anyone so I don't quite get why they do it especially for people who haven't asked that it be done for their ancestors.
Rebecca
Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:41:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
First, as genealogists we should be committed to a thorough investigation of facts using reliable sources before we form conclusions.

If anyone wants to understand this topic, a good place to start is a primary source---the LDS Church's statements which explain this practice. Two such statements can be found at:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/religious-freedom-allows-both-mormons-and-jews-to-honor-their-ancestors

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/background-explanation-of-temple-baptism

Second, we might come to different conclusions based on what we read, but let's keep genealogy blogs a safe place for all of us to visit when we discuss our differences. Nobody likes to feel attacked. Thanks.
Dayna Jacobs
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:32:31 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
The other side of the story - the non-Mormon side - is on the JewishGen website at http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/ldsagree.html : "The Issue of The Mormon Baptisms
of Jewish Holocaust Victims And Other Jewish Dead."

Baptism of Jews and members of other religions by Mormons is disrespectful to the dead AND the living.
Joy Rich
Comments are closed.