Jews to Mormons: Stop It with the Posthumous Baptisms Already

Morbid Mormons: Since the 1990s the Mormon Church has been posthumously baptizing Jews and adding them to its genealogical database in Salt Lake City. But the Latter Dayers went too far when they baptized by proxy legendary — and dead — Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Association.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on the Mormon Church to remove its namesake from the church’s on-line database of posthumous baptisms, and to be quick about it.

Proxy baptism is a caring expression of faith that provides deceased persons the opportunity to accept or reject what we believe to be a blessing offered in their behalf.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center, made the urgent request after being informed by Salt Lake City researcher Helen Radkey that Wiesenthal’s name had been added about a week ago to the Mormons’ International Genealogical Index.

“We are astounded and dismayed that after assurances and promises by the Mormon Church, Mr. Wiesenthal’s life and memory, along with so many other Jews, would be trampled and disregarded,” Hier said.

Wiesenthal “proudly lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, demanded justice for the millions of the victims of the Holocaust and, at his request, was buried in the State of Israel,” he said.

“It is sacrilegious for the Mormon faith to desecrate his memory by suggesting that Jews on their own are not worthy enough to receive God’s eternal blessing.”

Hier also urged the Utah-based Church to remove the names of all other Holocaust victims from the list.

Many Jews, including Holocaust victims, have been found on the index.

Mormon officials promised in 1995 to stop the practice of posthumously baptizing Jews, but did not. They reiterated the pledge in 2000.

Strangely, the Mormon Church is not just baptizing the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, it also has baptized the architect of the Holocaust — Adolf Hitler — as well as Hitler’s parents and his girlfriend Ava Braun. That happened back in 1993, as uncovered by intrepid researcher Helen Radkey. There has always been controversy surrounding the question of whether Hitler was Jewish, due to the fact that his father might have been illegitimate with an unnamed Jewish father, though most sources agree that there is no convincing proof he was Jewish. What authorities do agree on is that Hitler was afraid of discovering that he was a Jew, which was a driving force in his decision to pursue the Final Solution.

Apparently, the Mormons have been doing this kind of thing since the mid-1800s:

Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism is a practice of baptising someone after they have died through the use of a living proxy. The New Testament refers to the practice once by way of example in 1 Cor. 15:29. A living person, acting as proxy, is baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The prayer accompanying the baptism differs from typical wording in that it states that the baptism is being performed for and in behalf of a deceased person. In the 4th Century the Orthodox Church forbade the practice and it is not a practice within mainstream Christianity today.

It has been practiced since 1840 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where it is also called temple baptism because it is performed only in dedicated temples. It is an important and distinctive ordinance of that church (and other churches within the Latter Day Saint movement). Its importance is based upon their belief that baptism is a required ordinance for entry into the Kingdom of God. Any member of the Church, in good standing, who is at least 12 years old may act as a proxy in this ordinance. Young men must also hold the priesthood. The practice is one reason for the emphasis on genealogy within the church.

As creepy as the whole thing sounds, it’s not as creepy as the Mormons’ rationalization of the practice, which claims that it’s all about choice for the dead:

The practice “does not force a change of religion on any deceased person,” said Dale Bills, a spokesman for the Utah-based church which has more than 11 million members worldwide. “Proxy baptism is a caring expression of faith that provides deceased persons the opportunity to accept or reject what we believe to be a blessing offered in their behalf.

Oh, okay then ….


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  • A Unitarian
    December 20, 2006 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I object to the posthumous baptism of my ancestors whose “Unitarian” beliefs go back to Salem Church in 1637.

  • Elijah
    December 20, 2006 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The Temple has been restored! Save a place at the table for me, and I’ll be there to tell you all about it.

  • priscianus jr
    December 20, 2006 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

    “it also has baptized the Jewish architect of the Holocaust — Adolf Hitler…”

    WTF? Adolf Hitler was Jewish?


  • March 23, 2008 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ m just a regular 16 year old Catholic girl. I dated a 17 year old Mormon boy, whom I loved very much. We were great together, but sometimes I couldn’ t figure out why he loved me back. After all, I wasn’ t Mormon, and he told me that he“ would love to convert me, but wouldn’ t force me.” He even got me a Book of Mormon for Valentine’ s Day (romantic, I know). One time, he talked about marriage and how he would want to be married to me forever (which scared the crap out of me. Who at my age thinks about marriage? …

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