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Mormons pledge anew to stop baptizing deceased comment (0)

January 2, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY — Seven years after its original vow to end the practice of baptizing deceased Jews by proxy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has renewed its promise after the practice was discovered to have continued.

Church officials traveled to New York this week to consult with Jewish leaders on how to resolve the conflict, which arose when the former chairman of the World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Ernest Michel, notified the church that the practice was again a problem.

Baptizing by proxy is a tenet of Mormon theology in which church members research their genealogical histories and submit names of non-Mormon ancestors as candidates for baptism. The deceased relatives are then baptized posthumously by Mormons.

The practice is controversial to many Jews, who believe it is insulting for a Christian denomination to perform a religious ritual on deceased Jews.

The church counters that because the soul can either accept or reject the baptism in the afterlife, it is therefore not a forced conversion, but Jewish leaders are still extremely uncomfortable with the practice.

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