sthumous baptism of Jews by the Mormon Church, [that it was] was the act of “just nine people out of 13 million Mormons” is not true (The record keepers,” Feb. 22). Until the Mormon Church signed an agreement with certain Jewish organizations in May 1995, the Church itself regularly acquired Jewish records — often under the false pretense of record preservation — and used them for their religious rituals, including posthumous baptism. An example was the records of the Hambro synagogue of London, England. All persons whose births were recorded in the synagogue in the 19th century were baptized. The Church did not limit itself to birth records. All the Jews murdered in the Holocaust who were recorded in a Dutch memorial book were posthumously baptized by an act of the Church, not the act of individual Mormons.
This practice stopped with the signing of the 1995 agreement, but it was discovered that as late as 2004, and likely up to this date, that Jewish records that were distributed by the Church to its local churches before 1995 were still being used for posthumous baptism. When this was discovered in 2005, the Church claimed they had no way of stopping these baptisms. This seems unreasonable. A simple directive to all the local wards could have stopped the extraction of names.
Paredes stated that Church rules make it clear that a person who adds a name to the baptism rolls must be able to prove that they are related. This is true. But it is also true that this rule, along with many other rules, are ignored by individual Mormons, and the Church makes no attempt to enforce the rules. For example, there is a rule that you cannot posthumously baptize any person who was born within the past 95 years without permission of the closest relative. Yet Anne Frank was baptized six times. There is a rule that you should baptize only relatives, not famous people, yet Simon Wiesenthal was recently “cleared for baptism.” I call all these rules the “55-mile-an-hour-speed-limit” rules of the Mormon Church. The rules are there, but no one follows them and the Church does not enforce them.
Paredes states that a Mormon is permitted to perform ordinances on any relative. This is true. But the 1995 agreement with the Jewish organization specifically limits it to “direct ancestors.” The Church has not enforced this rule.
No one has a right to involve other people’s families in their religion. It is time that the Mormon Church did the honorable thing and met its commitment to the Jewish people to cease this offensive act of posthumous baptism as outlined in the agreement they signed in 1995.