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Secret Posthumous Mormon Baptism of Holocaust Victims, Jewish Leaders

Baptism in Jordan River 2010

Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90

The secret posthumous baptism of key Jewish figures by the Mormon church has caused outrage in the Jewish community and led to an apology by Mormon leaders.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the Mormon church for performing baptismal rites on the parents of Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, according to the Associated Press. The baptisms took place in late January at temples in Arizona and Utah.

The proxy ceremonies are believed by Mormons to allow the deceased into the afterlife by giving them the Gospel.  Names are submitted by Mormon Church members, and are then given baptisms without their presence, or the presence or even notification of their families.

After Jewish groups protested the practice of baptizing members of their faith without their consent or the consent of the families of the deceased, the Mormon Church issued a promise in 1995 not to continue the practice.

Yet records indicate Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, were baptized in proxy ceremonies performed by Mormon church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.

The Mormon Church has baptized many figures involved in the Holocaust – and not just Jewish victims, such as Anne Frank.  Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were also baptized by the Church in separate ceremonies decades apart, with Hitler being “bound” to his parents in a ceremony in 1993.

Other Jewish figures, such as the great Jewish sage and scholar Mamonides (Rambam), Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, and author Elie Wiesel have also been baptized, as well as hundreds of Holocaust victims.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement by the Associated Press.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints replied with an apology in a statement issued Monday.  “We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names [of Wiesenthal’s parents],” Micharel Purdy, spokesman for the Church said.  “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.’’

The discovery of many posthumous baptisms has been conducted by Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who has dedicated herself to uncovering this practice and the specific individuals who have been baptized.  She also found that the family members of several US political figures – the mother of President Barack Obama and the atheist father of presidential candidate Mitt Romeny – had undergone the ritual.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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6 Responses to “Secret Posthumous Mormon Baptism of Holocaust Victims, Jewish Leaders”

  1. CB says:

    Christianity at times can get quite creative. The mormon public relations personnel should realize that, what is ok by one group is highly offensive by another group. The mormon’s in this case, the action is ill conceived and highly insulting. The thing in their favor is their intentions were good, they wish to help the jewish people. The mormon’s should show solidarity with jews and make a most generous donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. If the mormon’s wish to apologize they should do it both in word and deed. BEST WISHES (BE SAFE) CB

  2. The secret posthumous Mormon baptism of Holocaust victims and Jewish leaders is
    shameful– an absolute disgrace! It demonstrates the total Mormon disrespect and
    disregard for the Jewish people, the Jewish state, and Judaism.

  3. Jeffrey Cohen says:

    While it is a stupid thing for the Mormon church to do, I have one question. WHY DO WE CARE?! The action is meaningless. What difference does it make in our lives if they carry out some ridiculous ceremony in their church, even if it is in the name of our dead relatives. It does not affect our lives one bit. I’m sure there are numerous groups out there who bless and curse people everyday and no one but a few ever know or care about it. Why are we giving it publicity by getting upset about it?

  4. Chuck says:

    Jeffrey – Agreed, in theory but how would you feel if you were doing a geneology search and discovered your ancestors “secretly converted” to another religion.
    Others might doubt the fact that you are Jewish which could lead to issues when you (or your children) want to get married.

  5. RoyBoy says:

    this is total nonsense – a person with common sense would not waste a minute commenting on this. i find it funny that its newsworthy: ALL religions are built with PR – “my religion is the best!” so when steeped in religion it breeds nonsensical paranoia among the minions…

  6. DrKZAP000 says:

    This is just coming to light recently and mostly they do not apologize for it … they were just caught again this week … they persist because they believe they are the a”real” Jews and to them we are gentiles … I wish Jewish people would learn more about their beliefs … it is really disgusting

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