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Mormons May Consider 4 Jewish Shooting Victims For Controversial Baptism Rite

(JTA) — The names of four of the Jewish victims of the shootings at a Parkland, Florida high school have reportedly been submitted for proxy baptisms by some members of the Mormon church — a controversial practice that has been frowned upon by the church hierarchy.

The names of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Jaime Guttenberg, Alyssa Alhadeff, and Alex Schachter, and teacher Scott Beigel, were submitted into the FamilySearch Family Trees database, according to Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City-based independent researcher who has studied the Mormon practice of posthumous baptisms for two decades.

The website is used by Mormons to trace family lineages and submit requests for proxy baptisms.

The victims names were submitted two days after the February 14 shooting attack that left 17 students and teachers dead. Candidates for the rites must be dead for a year before they can be performed.

The Mormon Church, whose official name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The church sent a letter to its congregations in March 2012 reiterating the policy that members should only do posthumous baptisms on their own ancestors and forbidding baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims and celebrities.

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