LDS Try to End Unauthorized Baptisms of Jews
BAPTIZING THE HOLOCAUST
White and Delightsome
AXIS of FAITH
The LDS Church, prodded once again1 to honor its 1995 agreement to halt proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims and other deceased Jews, will strip the names of more than 200 Jewish people from Mormon genealogical records. (1 see related article from 1999 )
Star of David -
LDS ASSEMBLY HALL,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
On that list is a veritable "Who's Who" of the 20th century's most notable Jews, among them Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; D
avid Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel; and more than a dozen relatives of Anne Frank, the Nazi death camp victim whose World War II diary became a staple of Holocaust literature.
"These people were born Jews, they lived as Jews and many of them died because they were Jews," Aaron Breitbart, senior researcher for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Tuesday. "They would not have chosen to be baptized Mormons in life, and there is no reason they would want to be baptized by proxy in death."
He confirmed that under a deal negotiated over the past several weeks a "list of a couple hundred names" to be deleted was faxed to church officials in Salt Lake City on Monday afternoon.
Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City genealogist, brought the ongoing problem to the attention of the Wiesenthal Center.
Breitbart said the new pact also provides for Wiesenthal Center staff to work with the LDS Church on ways to prevent inappropriate Jewish name submissions.
Jews urge Mormons to curb zeal for posthumous baptism --
Einstein, Freud, Anne Frank
Examining the Religion of the
by Bill McKeever & Eric Johnson
Baptism for the dead is among the sacred rites performed in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons are taught the proxy baptisms provide those in the after-life spirit world the choice to join -- or reject -- the faith.
While intended as a rite to offer salvation to departed, non-Mormon ancestors, more zealous Mormons have sought baptism for prominent historical and religious figures.
LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills said that since the 1995 agreement with various Jewish groups, church genealogists have stripped hundreds of thousands of Jewish names from baptismal records.
The only exceptions to the church's directive to stop baptisms for departed Jews are direct ancestors of living Mormons or when the deceased's immediate family gives written consent.
However, in a database of billions of names run primarily by volunteers and open to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of amateur genealogists, the task so far has proven impossible, Bills said.
Bills also said church genealogists are engaged in efforts to find a means to filter out Jewish dead from LDS baptismal records in the future. Jewish leaders, here and abroad, say they will be watching.
Radkey on O'Donnell's Last Word on explaining Mitt
Romney's church's Baptism For the Dead activities
in which Mormons baptize dead Jews.
Rabbi Benny Zippel of Salt Lake City's Orthodox Bais Menachem Chabad Lubavitch synagogue was astounded to learn the hero of his own sect -- Ba'al Shem Tov, an 18th century Polish rabbi who founded the Hasidic Jewish movement -- had been baptized a Mormon.
"The basic ingredient for a conversion to any religion is the perfect knowledge and perfect consent of the person who is converting to abandon his or her previous faith in order to embrace the new one," he said.
Rabbi Frederick Wenger of Salt Lake City's Congregation Kol Ami applauded the new initiative, though he underscored the need for the LDS Church to "alert all of its members to the offense to Jewish sensitivity caused by posthumous baptisms of prominent Jews and Holocaust victims." ( Original article was at at http://www.sltrib.com/05022001/utah/94070.htm )
NEW YORK — Holocaust survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.
But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."
"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.
"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."
Click to enlarge LDS Temple Square 1912; Salt Lake City, Utah.
Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, are over. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."
In 1995, the church agreed not to perform baptisms or other rites for Holocaust victims, except in the very rare instances when they have living descendants who are Mormon.
Church spokesman Mike Otterson said Michel's decision to publicly denounce the church seems like a unilateral termination of the discussion.
"Those steps by Mr. Michel on behalf of the American Gathering were both unnecessary and unfortunate and belie the long and valued mutual respect that we have had in past years," Otterson said in an e-mail.
Posthumous baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.
Using genealogy records, the church also baptizes people who have died from all over the world and from different religions. Mormons stand in as proxies for the person being baptized and immerse themselves in a baptismal pool.
Only the Jews have an agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered specifically because of their religion.
Michel suggested that posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims play into the hands of Holocaust deniers.
"They tell me, that my parents' Jewishness has not been altered but ... 100 years from now, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?" Michel said Monday.
Under the agreement with the Holocaust group, Mormons could enter the names of only those Holocaust victims to whom they were directly related. The church also agreed to remove the names of Holocaust victims already entered into its massive genealogical database.
Otterson said the church has kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 200,000 names from the genealogical index.
But since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.
The researcher Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database.
She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate Mormon religious rites, including baptisms, had been conducted for these Holocaust victims, some as recently as July.
"I've seen a steady procession of Jewish Holocaust names, especially names with camps linked to them, going to the International Genealogical Index," said Radkey, who acknowledges that she has limited access to the records. "There's no possible way of knowing exactly how many names, but it's substantial."
Church officials say a new version of the database — called New Family Search — will fix the problems. In the works for six years, the new database will discourage the submission of large lists of unrelated individuals. It will also separate names intended for temple rites from those submitted purely for genealogical purposes, the church states in a letter sent to Michel on Nov. 6.
"The names of any Holocaust victims we can identify in the database are to be flagged with a special designation — not available for temple ordinances," the letter states.
The church also proposes jump-starting a monitoring committee formed in 2005 to review database entries. The committee has met just once since 2005.
In May, the Vatican ordered Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from Mormons so that Catholics could not be baptized.
Mormon-Jewish, Auschwitz 2009 LDS Baptisms Of Jewish Holocaust Victims Continue Unabated
Posted by Helen Radkey Thursday, Jul 23, 2009, at 07:28 AM
Despite a 1995 signed promise to discontinue the improper Mormon proxy baptisms of deceased Jews—especially wrongful baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has broken its word to Jewish organizations. The LDS Church has unquestionably failed to prevent Mormon “zealots” from adding many tens of thousands of Jewish Holocaust names to LDS temple lists since 1995.
"The only thing I won’t talk about is my metaphysical work...” Radkey explained that it would be used by the LDS church to discredit her research into Mormon posthumous baptisms.
In recent years, a substantial number of names of Greek Jewish Holocaust victims have been fed into the Mormon temple pipeline. Proxy baptisms for Greek Holocaust victims occurred in LDS temples in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. There is evidence that hundreds of Greek victims have been subjected to LDS temple rituals in 2009—further increasing the number of concentration camp victims on Mormon lists. LDS Church databases list additional Greek Holocaust names that are in the process of receiving Mormon rites.
LDS temple rituals are performed by living church members as proxies for the deceased. “Temple work” for the dead includes: baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordination (for males), initiatory and endowment ceremonies, sealing to spouse, and sealing of children to parents. Mormons believe these “ordinances” offer salvation to (non-LDS) deceased.
The “Final Solution” in Greece resulted in the deaths of about 67,000 Greek Jews. They were killed by the thousands in Nazi death camps. Many Greek Jews died (1943-1944) in Auschwitz-Birkenau, as indicated on many Mormon listings for Greek Holocaust victims. Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II, was an extermination camp in German-occupied Poland. It was the largest part of the Auschwitz complex and claimed more victims than any other Nazi death camp. Treblinka death camp, which was also in Poland, is shown as the death site on some LDS records for Greek victims baptized in LDS temples in 2009.
The majority of the 2009 baptisms and other proxy rituals for Greek Jewish Holocaust victims have been performed in four main LDS temples in the United States: the Seattle Washington Temple; the San Diego California Temple; the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple; and the Draper Utah Temple, which has only been operative since March 2009.
Why are Mormons continuing to baptize Jewish death camp victims in blatant violation of the official written agreement the LDS Church made with Jewish groups in 1995? Mormon “redemptive” rites for Jewish Holocaust victims, and for any deceased Jew, are woefully misguided attempts to invariably depreciate the wholeness of Jewish worth.
© Copyright 2009, Helen Radkey—Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice is included.
T H E S A L T L A K E T R I B U N E Feb 29, 2012 By R I C A R D O L O P E Z
In yet another public relations embarrassment for the Mormon church, a Utah researcher has discovered that slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl was posthumously baptized last year in a serious breach of church protocol.
According to records, Pearl, who is Jewish, was baptized “by proxy” last summer in a Twin Falls, Idaho, temple — much to the surprise of his parents, who learned of the event this week.
Reached by phone, Pearl’s mother, Ruth, said she and her husband were dismayed when informed of the ceremony by a reporter from the Boston Globe, which first reported the news.
“We realize that the Mormon ministers who baptized our son posthumously meant to offer him salvation in the most honorable way they know how,” she said in statement.
Secret Temple Ceremony
“To them we say: We appreciate your good intentions but rest assured that Danny’s soul was redeemed through the life that he lived and the values that he upheld. He lived as a proud Jew, died as a proud Jew and is currently facing his creator as a Jew — blessed, accepted and redeemed.”
Pearl, who was raised in Los Angeles, was working as a Wall Street Journal reporter when he was kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.
By Judea Pearl
and Ruth Pearl
BAPTIZING THE HOLOCAUST
In a video that his captors forced him to record just before his execution, he professed his faith, saying: “My father’s Jewish. My mother’s Jewish. I’m Jewish.”
His parents later released a book titled “I Am Jewish,” which contains a collection of essays by Pearl.
Posthumous baptisms are common in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of the sacrament is to ensure that ancestors can join church members in the afterlife.
Individual Mormons submit to the church the names of persons they wish to have baptized. Then a baptism is performed “by proxy,” meaning another person stands in for the dead.
The practice has long stirred controversy, leading to a 1995 agreement between Jewish faith leaders and the LDS Church that was supposed to prevent the baptisms of Holocaust victims.
Church rules stipulate that only direct descendants of the dead can submit their names for the sacrament.
But incidents have cropped up over the years.
In 2009, the church acknowledged that it had baptized President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, after her death. And just this month, officials were forced to apologize after they learned that the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been posthumously baptized. They also admitted that three dead relatives of Holocaust survivor Elie Wisesel were almost baptized, as well.
Messages left with a church spokesman were not immediately returned.
In an earlier statement, the LDS Church said the incidents involving Holocaust victims were serious breaches of protocol by overzealous members of the church.
“It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place,” a spokesman wrote in a statement. “It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the church’s policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention.”
LDS may have posthumously baptized Obama's African ancestors
Church declines to say whether rites were performed.
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