An agreement has been reached between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. The Jewish Holocaust Survivors accused the Mormon church of failing to honor the terms of a 1995 agreement it had with the Jews concerning baptism of the dead. Due to the nature of the church's proxy baptisms, the names of Jews who had died in the Holocaust were repeatedly showing up in the Mormon church's records.
According to CNN, the LDS Church has upgraded its computer database system so that Holocaust victims' names are not submitted for the proxy baptisms. The news agency reports,
Mormons routinely perform proxy baptisms for the dead, though, according to the church's beliefs, the dead have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them.
“Holocaust victims perished only because of the crime of being Jewish," said Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "If you then convert them posthumously you’ll even take away why they died.”
It is one of the church’s core beliefs that families can be united forever after death, a major reason why genealogical research is so important many Mormons.
In the past, any church member could submit any name for proxy baptism. Although the church tried to avoid the names of Holocaust victims from being included, it couldn't guarantee it.
The Mormon church has reportedly displayed enormous sensitivity to those of the Jewish faith, changing its own policies to honor their wishes.
Posthumous Baptisms of Jesus and Mary?
The question of the lack of official sanction of some baptisms by proxy is discussed in the blog, Mormon Coffee — It's forbidden but it's good! Sharon Lindbloom reports on research done by Helen Radkey, who discovered what she believes to be records for proxy temple ordinances performed on behalf of Mary (Jesus’ mother), Jesus Christ, and Mary Magdalene. According to Mormon Coffee,
’Mary Mother of Jesus,’ the spouse of ‘Joseph’ ‘of the House of David…’ was baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS Church by proxy on December 9, 2009 in the Idaho Falls Idaho (LDS) Temple. She was subjected to initiatory temple ordinances on December 16, 2009; an endowment ceremony on December 26, 2009; and a sealing to parents on January 7, 2010—all rites occurred in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple.”
While Ms. Radkey found “Joseph” listed as Mary’s spouse, the submission form indicated Mary’s “Husband #1″ was “God the Father.”[...]
Ms. Radkey explains the records show that Jesus was baptized by proxy on April 8, 2010, and after initiatory and endowment ordinances, was finally sealed to his “spouse” “Mary Magdelena” on April 9, 2010 – all at the Salt Lake City Temple. The same proxy ordinances were performed for “Mary Magdelena” on the same dates in the same LDS temple.