New York, NY, March 2, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a letter from Mormon Church leaders, to be read during services this Sunday, in which they remind LDS members that Jewish Holocaust victims should not be submitted to the church's online genealogical registry for proxy baptisms.
"Without exception," reads the letter from LDS President Thomas S. Monson and other church leaders, "church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims. If members do so, they may forfeit their new family-search privileges. Other corrective action may also be taken."
The church directive comes in the wake of attempts by some members to submit the names of famous Jews – including diarist Anne Frank, slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, and relatives of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel – for proxy baptism in violation of Mormon Church policy.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:
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.
In the interest of mutual respect, we call on the Mormon Church to reconsider all the implications of continuing the practice of posthumous baptism, as it has re-evaluated other of its traditions. In the interim we urge the Church to increase its monitoring and education to ensure that the proxy baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims are stopped. 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.
As two minority religions who share histories as the target of intolerance and discrimination, we will continue to work with each other to bring greater understanding and respect to both of our faith communities.