June 14, 2006 [1st web capture] Update: Proxy Baptism of Jews: The Splash Goes On, by Helen Radkey
Behind closed temple doors, and unquestionably in defiance of the May 1995 agreement between Mormons and Jews, in which the LDS Church promised to cease temple ordinances for deceased Jews who are not direct ancestors of living Mormons, the practice never stopped. Since 1995, Mormons have performed proxy ordinances for most Jewish notables, including prominent Israeli political figures: Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Sharett, Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion and Theodor Herzl—along with hundreds of thousands of other Jews, including multitudes of Jews in the arts, the sciences and in the entertainment field—such as Gilda Radner, the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. Even Jews on the Titanic, who went into the icy waters of the North Atlantic with the Jewish Shema prayer on their lips, spoken with their last breath, have been proxy baptized and proclaimed as members of the LDS Church.
There is no way to accurately count the number of Jews who have been subjected to proxy ordinances since the agreement was signed. The figure is probably staggering and over a million. In seven years of intensive research, I have amassed a sizeable collection of copies of post-1995 proxy ordinance entries for obvious Jews from the LDS Church's database of posthumous ordinances, the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Sources are usually not cited in the IGI, but I have found many entries that were taken from identifiable Jewish sources, such as Holocaust lists and synagogue records.
According to LDS belief, the only way to enter the highest "heaven" is by being baptized through Mormon rite. Mormons advise those who protest that proxy baptism does not necessarily make dead Jews into Mormons; it gives their souls, which retain free will, the ability to choose "the true Gospel of Jesus Christ" and thus the opportunity to enter the highest kingdom in the hereafter. However, the baptismal and confirmation prayers used by Mormons in their temples are explicit in their content. Deceased parties are baptized by proxy without the option to decline. They are then confirmed as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by proxy and supposedly given the gift of the Holy Ghost, again without the option to decline. If Mormons, in general, are so adamant that the dead always have the opportunity to accept or reject these posthumous ordinances—then why is this choice not reflected in the wording of their baptismal and confirmation prayers?
If Jews live their lives in the earthly domain as devout Jews, why would they want to deny their religious existence here and adopt some other faith in the world to come? What are some of the deeper implications of proxy baptism?
LDS rites for the dead are unbridled attempts to deny the legitimacy of the religious beliefs of lives already lived and to manipulate deceased parties into Mormonism, under the pretext of supposedly offering these voiceless and defenseless souls the highest degree of spiritual glory in the hereafter. The practice of proxy baptism is the ultimate in religious intolerance. Who are Mormons to say they carry the only “keys” to open heaven's gates—and then offer these "keys" to Jewish deceased who must either accept this offer or miss out on "celestial glory"?
What Mormons perceive as a service to humanity and not an offense to others is nothing more than self-delusion. Proxy baptism is a form of religious libel. Heartfelt as it may seem to Mormons, it ultimately casts doubt on the Jewish heritage of all Jews, including Jewish religious, philosophical, political and cultural leaders. Centuries from now, when people look to historical documentation about Jewish figures, they'll find that the LDS Church’s public lists may show these deceased Jews as Mormons. The private lists of the LDS Church will most certainly show them as such. Mormons may have removed many names of Jews from their IGI records, currently available for public viewing, but the LDS Church maintains private ordinance lists. And, once performed, no LDS ordinance is ever undone, nor is there any procedure by which an ordinance can be reversed, despite vehement protest.
LDS Church members cross the line by collecting the names of multi-thousands of Jews murdered in the Holocaust and inflicting yet another injustice upon them in the form of posthumous ordinances. These innocents died for no other reason than because they were Jews. For the sake of collective Jewish memory, their religious identities must remain intact. Proxy baptisms help to whitewash the Holocaust by attempting to remove the Jewish identities of those who were murdered. And for the sake of historical accuracy, the religious identity of these victims of the Holocaust must remain unquestioned.
Jewish Holocaust victims, described by the Church as having been removed from the IGI database, are reappearing in the lists of the posthumously baptized, name after name, family after family. Some of these Holocaust victims, murdered as young teenagers, have no direct descendants, yet the Mormon faithful submit their names anyway, falsely claiming descendancy. Zealous Mormons are still pouring names of Jewish Holocaust victims into the LDS temple system. Some of these names are showing up in the IGI showing death camps, such as Auschwitz or Sobibor, on the entries.
Mormons are attempting to revise history through proxy baptisms. LDS proxy temple ordinances for Jews demonstrate total disrespect for Jews and Jewish feelings and should not be tolerated by any self-respecting Jew on the face of this Earth.
Even as Jewish leaders hold private negotiations with LDS officials on this long unresolved issue, after almost eleven years of continuous agreement breaches by Mormons, where is the outrage? Are these Jewish leaders quietly capitulating to reassurances from LDS officials that there will be new methods to curb the enthusiasm of overzealous Mormons and prevent them from submitting names of Jews from whom they are not directly descended into the LDS Church’s temple system?
Why do Jewish leaders continue to overlook the huge number of deceased Jews subjected to proxy ordinances in violation of the 1995 agreement? Shouldn’t they emphatically seek redress from the LDS Church that repeatedly gives, and then breaks its word to Jews, all the while shamefully denying wrongdoing? Don’t the Jewish leaders who were involved in the signing of this legal agreement have a responsibility to the worldwide Jewish community to take decisive action against this group of religious revisionists who think they are the exclusive caretakers of salvation?
Representing the memory of every single deceased Jew subjected to posthumous ordinances by Mormons in blatant violation of the 1995 agreement should be the primary task of the Jews who signed this document. Why have these Jewish leaders collectively abdicated their moral and ethical responsibility to ensure that the provisions of the agreement are finally and firmly enforced?