Identity, Religion

Mormons (Still) Doing Posthumous Baptisms of Holocaust Victims, Jews Not Pleased

CNN reports,

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…..
“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.”
Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, have ended. 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, Mormons and Jews inked an agreement to limit the circumstances that allow for the proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. Ending the practice outright was not part of the agreement and would essentially be asking Mormons to alter their beliefs, church Elder Lance B. Wickman said Monday in an interview with reporters in Salt Lake City.
“We don’t think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines,” Wickman said. “If our work for the dead is properly understood … it should not be a source of friction to anyone. It’s merely a freewill offering.”

I don’t need to comment, do I? Full story here.

7 thoughts on “Mormons (Still) Doing Posthumous Baptisms of Holocaust Victims, Jews Not Pleased

  1. With all respect to survivors, I cannot understand why Jews should spend energy on this. Does anyone but Mormons believe that their imaginary posthumous baptismal rite somehow cancels the Jewishness of the dead? Let them waste their precious time. Who gives a damn? Can’t we come up with a more useful way to honor the 6 million than quibbling over nonsense?

  2. I suggest that if the Mormons persist in performing retroactive baptisms on us, we begin performing retroactive circumcisions on them.

  3. Joey: A posthumous baptism involves baptising a living person (a Mormon, specifically) in proxy for a person who has died. If we’re going to start posthumously circumcising people, we’d need to be able to circumcise people (Jews, specifically) who are not already circumcised. This’d be hard, since you can’t circumcise the same person twice.
    I think it’d be a good idea, but it’d be tough to actually do in practice.

  4. I understand the emotional reaction of Jews against this practice, but practically speaking, why do we care? Do we as Jews believe their practice has any effect on our dead relatives or their legacies? Of course not. Now, if the Church of LDS were to start sending out Yahrzeit notices to the families of these folks, that would be a different story altogether, but barring that, don’t we have better places to put our energies?

  5. Seriously, why would you waste even a second thinking about whatever someone else wants to do in the privacy of their own Oz-like, Angel-Moroni-capped, Marriott-funded holy castle? With my sympathy to Michel, might I still suggest that trying to shame the Mormons into submission is not a winning strategy here? They have their shtik, we have ours. I don’t see how some posthumous Baptism is going to cause futher suffering to the victims of the Nazis. This is a prime example of the boy crying wolf – let’s save the complaints for something that really matters.

  6. Interesting that the poster of this blog post didn’t feel the need to comment, whereas my (and, judging from the comments) and others’ reactions seem to be somewhat more ambivalent. For my own part, I can understand the symbolic offense of the proxy baptisms, but even so, I can’t really find the energy to care much at all. The Mormons in question don’t get anywhere near the actual bodies of any Jews. Maybe we should direct our energies elsewhere.

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