SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mormon church leaders apologized to the family of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal after his parents were posthumously baptized, a controversial ritual that Mormons believe allows deceased people a way to the afterlife but offends members of many other religions.
Wiesenthal died in 2005 after surviving the Nazi death camps and spending his life documenting Holocaust crimes and hunting down perpetrators who remained at large. Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, who were murdered because of their religion, and the baptism of Holocaust survivors was supposed to have been barred by a 1995 agreement.
Yet records indicate Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, were baptized in proxy ceremonies performed by Mormon church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.
In a statement, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the baptismal rites.
“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center.
The church immediately apologized, saying it was the actions of an individual member of church — whom they did not name — that led to the submission of Wiesenthal’s name.
“We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names,” Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement issued Monday. “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.”
“Outraged”, “insensitive” and “apologized” seem to be all-to-common words these days. Why stop at being “outraged”? Why not use boiling oil, testicle-crushers and toe- screws on those evil Mormons? How dare they desecrate the names of Holocaust victims by using them in their private ceremonies! Apologies? How about posthumous circumcisions (by a bearded rabbi) on all deceased Mormons. Take ’em out of their graves and posthumously circumcise them, even the ones who are still alive! That’ll show ’em!!
Or better yet: Yawn and bake some hamentashen. Hamentashen, according to Jewish folklore, commemorate the failure of Haman (in the Book of Esther) to kill all the Jews. Now that was something to be worried about. Yes, I would worry about somebody wanting to kill all the Jews (even a few of us). I would not worry about somebody “posthumously baptizing” some Holocaust survivors. Somehow, I doubt the actual “victims” would have been all too worried about it either.
As a token of goodwill, I’ll allow the Mormons to posthumously baptize me too – for a fee of course.