The Schmooze

Jewish Groups, Mormons Reach Agreement on Posthumous Baptisms

If there’s ever been an inter-religious dispute that’s flown under the radar, the simmering, decades-long controversy between the Church of Latter Day Saints and Jewish groups over posthumous Mormon baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims may well be a prime example.

But an agreement struck last week by the Church and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendents stands to discontinue its practice of “baptisms for the dead” — a religious mandate that permits living Mormons to initiate deceased family members into the Church — which has been in practice since the mid-1800s.

Jewish groups have claimed the proxy baptisms are insensitive, especially to those who suffered during the Holocaust. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and Anne Frank are among those who have been baptized posthumously. Mormons, for their part, have never admitted nefarious intentions.

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Jewish Groups, Mormons Reach Agreement on Posthumous Baptisms

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