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February 15, 2012 11:26 am

Romney Drawn into Mormon Holocaust Survivor Baptism Controversy

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Mitt Romney. Photo: wiki commons.

In 1995, Mormons and Jews came to an agreement on the cancellation of a Mormon practice that baptized certain Jews following their deaths.  The act of baptizing the deceased is undertaken by the Mormon church for those they believe to be descendants of the Mormon faith.  The agreement between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jewish community was supposed to put an end to these baptisms for deceased Jews.

Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City based researcher recently uncovered the names of Simon Wiesenthal’s parents on a list of posthumous baptisms that occurred following the 1995 agreement.  Wiesenthal founded the Los Angeles based Simon Wiesenthal Center which focuses on racism in America and Holocaust education, and Wiesenthal himself was a Holocaust survivor.  He passed away in 2005.

Following the discovery by Radkey, a spokesman for The Wiesenthal Center condemned the  baptism act.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was swift with their response, saying they regretted the actions of an individual member, and the church itself had not sanctioned the posthumous baptism of Weisenthal’s parents.

“We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names,” said Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.”

Nobel Laureate and Holocaust Survivor Eli Wiesel condemned the act as well, telling Andrea Stone of the Huffington Post, “I think it’s scandalous. Not only objectionable, it’s scandalous.”

In the video below, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is of the Mormon faith, says it’s best to check with the Church on the practice of posthumous baptisms. When The Algemeiner contacted Romney’s campaign this morning, that is also what a spokesman recommended.

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