Researcher and ex-Mormon Helen Radkey raised some eyebrows when she reported that a Mormon temple in Idaho had baptized deceased Jewish reporter Daniel Pearl. But it doesn't stop there. Radkey also discovered posthumous baptisms of Anne Frank and Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal's family. Needless to say, the Jewish community isn't thrilled, and the Mormon higher-ups have been forced to take action. (Read: they sent out a letter.)
"Without exception, Church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims," reads a letter sent to church leaders around the world.
It further states that disciplinary action will be taken against those who continue to perform proxy baptisms, and included directions that the letter be read to members during the next sacrament meeting.
For many, "don't baptize people who died in the Holocaust" might seem obvious, but everyone can use a reminder now than then. And the Anti-Defamation League appears pleased with the effort from Mormon leaders. National director Abraham H. Foxman released a statement in response to the Mormon letter.
We welcome this as an important step by the LDS Church to further educate its worldwide members about the Church's policies regarding posthumous baptism, particularly its prohibition of baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims. Church members should understand why proxy baptisms are so offensive to the Jewish people, who faced near annihilation during the Holocaust simply because they were Jewish, and who throughout history were often the victims of forced conversions.
So perhaps this is the last we'll hear of posthumous Mormon baptisms for a while. (Doubtful.) In the meantime, let's take solace in the fact that Bea Arthur continues to rest in peace as a Jew.
[Image via AP]