Mormons Baptize Simon Wiesenthal

Dear Mormons,
It’s one thing to believe that Jesus Christ appeared to a Lost Tribe of Israel in pre-Colonial America to preach the gospel before ascending to heaven. It’s yet another to know that this story was concocted by a man who buried his face in a hat and claimed to be reading from ancient magical plates. I’m not really here to poke holes in your myths, because so long as they promote ethical behavior, you can believe whatever narishkeit you like.
Again, that is so long as your beliefs are ethical.
What is evermore chutzpadik than even the presumption that I’d remotely consider accepting the basic premises of Mormonism, is that when I die, you won’t even allow me that choice. In essence, you trample my religious self-determination and rob me of a fundamental freedom due all human beings.
Only 60 years ago, a people arose that sought to rob us not only of our freedom, but of our very lives. Now you finish their work, robbing us of our identities as we lay at rest in our graves, harvesting our souls.
You do this to such a mentsch?
KSL 5, Salt Lake City, reports:

Questions tonight about a well-known Jewish leader, whose name appeared on genealogy records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Simon Wiesethal died last year, after surviving the Holocaust and dedicating his life to fighting anti-Semitism. But his name on Latter-day Saint records has upset Jewish leaders. They call it a violation of an agreement between Holocaust survivors and the church.
The name was apparently only on the church records for less than a week and was removed today as soon as the church learned of it.
[…] On December 11th, Wiesenthal’s name appeared on the LDS church’s International Genealogical Index.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder, Simon Wiesenthal Center: “This is very offensive to Jews. It violates an agreement that the Mormon Church had with the American Gathering of Holocaust survivors.”
The LDS church believes in performing baptisms for those not of their faith, after their death. But in 1995, the church agreed with Jewish leaders to remove the names of all Holocaust survivors who were baptized for the dead in LDS temples, and to stop adding them to their rolls.

Hier told the JTA:

“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.”

Sacrilegious indeed. It’s what we call a chilul hashem — a desecration of The Name.
You are tarnishing the reputation of G-d in your representation of His Name.
And you must stop.


Friends, call 1-800-645-4949 and arrange your own private meeting with a representative of the LDS to let them know how you feel about this issue.

14 thoughts on “Mormons Baptize Simon Wiesenthal

  1. a few years ago the mormons came to an agreement with jewish groups to stop baptizing holocaust victims. i guess that didnt cover survivors.
    mobius, i dont find the precepts of the mormon faith any weirder than most established religions. they’re pretty darn weird and their temples look like they were designed by walt disney, but i dont see why christ appearing to the incas and the aztecs or, mel gibson for that matter, is any odder than, say, noah’s ark– or that god gave certain bits of real estate to certain people. it all sounds like mythology to me; some of it’s just older.

  2. Doesn’t it strike you that this gives them too much credit? I mean seriously, do they have the power to baptise the dead? Isn’t that like saying Jesus is the Messiah, or Mohammed was a prophet? We don’t believe these things, but a huge sample of the world’s population does. As for Mormons, even major Christian groups don’t accept their theology, so why should we care?
    I hereby enlist Moses into the Jedi order. So what if nobody else believes me. He was a Jedi, and I’m sticking to it.

  3. 2 points, if I may.
    1. The names submitted for a proxy baptism for the dead are usually generated by individual Mormon amateur genealogists and not the Mormon Church as such. A well meaning Mormon genealogist may in fact be related to Mr. Wiesenthal, may not have recognized his name, or just be a great admirer of his. Rather than a slap on Mr. Wiesenthal or his worthy work, baptism for the dead is done by Mormons as a gesture of support and caring for the person for whom it was done. Even Mormon theology does not teach that those baptised are automatically saved or become Mormon. The act simply means that it gives the departed options in the afterlife. It is hard to criticize the Church as a whole when the official body of the Church learned of inclusion they removed the name per the agreement. Furthermore, the Church has always discouraged the submittal of names for baptism of those that are not related within 100 years of their demise.
    2. I must expand on the earlier post regarding legitimacy of beliefs. If the Mormon Church is right about their tenants then everyone they baptised post mortem will be queing up to thank them in the hereafter. If not, then they have no authority there or here, and there seems to be much hullabaloo about nothing.

  4. Every time I say that I find it offensive that Jews are getting into bed with evangelicals, because they believe we’re going to hell, everyone queues up in line to tell me, “Why should we care? We don’t believe it!”
    My (limited) understanding is that Mormons believe that we have another chance for salvation after death, that baptism isn’t necessary for that chance to be given, but that (for some reason) it makes it easier. So they baptize us. Why are they suddenly worse than the evangelicals?
    This reminds me of the Jew who eats treyf and never sets foot inside a synagogue squawking because his friend has a Christmas tree. My father pulled this once, and I confronted him with the paradox, and he replied, “Because it’s a symbol.” Please. What difference does it make? “We don’t believe it!”
    I actually find this less offensive than the beliefs of the evangelicals. Far, far less.
    In fact – what if we’re wrong? They are at least willing to give us “fire insurance” after the fact. That is something that the evangelicals won’t do. They are perfectly happy to see us fry for all eternity, while using us to further their psychotic “end-times” scenario, yet so many of you are happy to take their money and their political influence, and you don’t bat an eye. But the idea that someone might have the presumption to baptize you posthumously? That makes you crazy!

  5. And I know that I’m opening myself up to attack, but is the idea that Joseph Smith stuck his head into a hat and read from golden plates really that much more outlandish than the idea that a man went up a mountain, talked to an invisible being and came back down with two tablets?
    Now that Adin Steinsaltz has reconvened the Sanhedrin, I imagine we’ll be reinstituting the death penalty. I’ll go quietly.

  6. Remember the scene in the south park movie (or episode) where the ‘cruise director’ in hell is welcoming everyone. Some poor schlub complains that he was a good methodist or something, so why is he in hell?
    Answer: The correct religion is Mormonism. You picked the wrong one….

  7. Yeah, it was an episode. And in heaven, the Mormons were all singing happy songs and making craft projects out of egg cartons…

  8. My take on it, as a sometime genealogist, is who cares? It’s imaginary.
    On the plus side, the LDS maintains a monstrous library of genealogical data, microfilms from town records from all over the world, accessible to anyone who trots into their local LDS family history research center. And for all the years that I’ve done research there, I’ve never been prosletized.
    If they having their wacky practice means I don’t have to schlepp to Poland to do research, so be it.

  9. Mobius,
    Apologies for the misunderstanding. How Mr. Simon Wiesethal’s name remained in the database in unknown to me but given the fact that we have hundreds of millions of names in our databases, one may have slipped through.
    As you should know, LDS (Mormons) as individuals and as an organization are unconditional supporters of all things Israel/Jewish. You will not find better goyim friends than the Mormons.
    Keep up the good work.

  10. If you don’t believe in it, why does it matter??
    By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
    Jewish officialdom is up in arms, the Mormon Church is on the defensive and frankly I don’t give a damn. I refer of course to the controversial Mormon practice of baptizing deceased non-Mormons into their faith. In 1995, the Mormon Church agreed to stop posthumously baptizing dead Jews. But according to Ernest Michel, a former executive vice president of UJA-Federation of New York who helped broker the 1995 agreement, the church has rebuffed attempts to remove Jewish names from its database of 400 million and has violated the agreement.
    That may be so. But what a waste of time for everybody involved. It seems incredible that at a time when more Jewish civilians are dying that at any time since the Holocaust, and with the Jewish community in general and the state of Israel in particular needing all the allies they can get, we would waste our time with such trivialities.
    I could not care less if the Mormons baptize me after I’m dead. It won’t affect me. I’ll always be a Jew, in this life and the next. If this is part of Mormon practice and belief, and they do it in the privacy of their own ritual, and it doesn’t affect me in the slightest, why should I care? People’s beliefs are their own business. It’s how they treat others that is everyone’s business. What I care about is how much the Mormons support Israel today, not what they do with Jewish souls in what they regard as the afterlife. Far from being my sentiment alone, this is a pivotal Jewish teaching: It is the action (and not dogma) which is most important.
    In my first few years as rabbi at Oxford University, I befriended a doctoral student by the name of Michael Taft Benson, whose grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, was president and prophet of the Mormon Church at the time. Not only did Mike become and remain one of my dearest friends, he served as vice president of my L’Chaim Society and regularly brought groups of hundreds of Mormon students to our Sabbath dinners to learn more about Judaism. A great lover of Israel who has visited there more than 10 times, Mike chose to write his doctoral thesis on Harry Truman’s support for the creation of the Jewish state. Through Mike, I was granted a meeting with the current president and prophet of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, who is Mike’s grandfather-in-law. We spoke about Israel, his admiration for the Jewish people, and the Mormon dedication to Israel’s prosperity and survival. I am regularly invited to address Mormon audiences in Utah who thirst for knowledge of all things Jewish and who treat me like a wise elder brother. Mike even arranged for me to launch my book “Judaism for Everyone” at the University of Utah, and he and I are currently planning a Jewish studies center for Snow College, where Mike serves as president. After meeting with Jonathan Pollard at federal prison in Butner, N.C., it was Mike whom I called to ask for his support in meeting the two Utah senators on Pollard’s behalf. He quickly arranged for me and Esther Pollard to meet with Sens. Hatch and Bennett of Utah, who received us most graciously.
    The Mormons are our brothers; the Christians are our kin. So long as they support and defend the Jewish people through their current persecution, that will always be so, whatever their beliefs, and we owe them our gratitude.
    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the author of 14 books, including “Private Adam: Becoming a Hero in a Selfish Age.”

  11. 1. i would not dare uphold shmuley boteach as a beacon of moral clarity
    2. baptising a jew is very much an ACT and not just a dogma. for a people that believe if you touch your face without washing first thing in the morning you’ll be contaminated with death, the notion that we would view such acts as insignificant downright puzzles me.
    3. on second thought, none of this is nearly as offensive as building a museum of tolerance on top of a muslim cemetary. so maybe having his grave violated is just the balance of things.

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