Mormons sorry for posthumous baptism of Anne Frank

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2012
Anne Frank

Anne Frank

A week after Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel condemned the Mormon Church for adding his name to a list of those who could one day be eligible for posthumous baptism, members of the religion appear to have gone a step further and baptised Anne Frank.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has carried out the controversial practice of baptising non-members after their deaths for some 170 years. They do so in the belief it secures a place in heaven.

In 1995, after it emerged that Mormons had submitted the names of hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust victims to the Church's genealogical database for posthumous baptism, without regard to their religious origin, the Church agreed to stop the practice.

But cases continued to occur and it took a further 15 years for the Mormon Church to agree to better monitor the database.

Earlier this month, speaking to the Huffington Post, Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel hit out at the Church for continuing the "scandalous" practice after he discovered that his own name, and the names of his deceased father and maternal grandfather, had been submitted to the site.

The Church was also forced to issue an apology to the family of Holocaust survivor and notorious Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who died seven years ago, because his parents were posthumously baptised in Arizona and Utah last month. The church blamed what happened on an individual member – now suspended - and said it "sincerely" regretted the "inappropriate submission".

But it has now been claimed that Anne Frank, the teenage diarist who chronicled life in hiding from the Nazis but later died at Bergen Belsen, was baptised by proxy at a Mormon Church in the Dominican Republic.

The information in these cases has come out in recent weeks because of the work exposing the Mormon database, carried out by former Church member Helen Radkey.

An alleged screen-grab of the database, containing Anne's details, shows her status as "completed" as of last Saturday.

Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church in the US said that it was "absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism".

"It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place."

Mr Purdy said that the Church would consider taking disciplinary action against those who falsified submissions.

Mr Wiesel has called on presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, a proud and devoted Mormon, to speak out against the practice. So far, neither Mr Romney nor his spokesman has responded.

Last updated: 11:37am, February 22 2012