Members of the LDS Church perform a ritual known as “baptism for the dead” that involves living people being baptized on behalf of their dead relatives. Mormons believe it is their moral obligation to do the temple rituals, while those in the hereafter can either accept or reject the ordinance. The result benefits genealogists, as all of us, church members and non-members alike, are allowed to access the records of deceased individuals that are collected as part of the process.
LDS members have a “preeminent obligation” to submit only their own ancestors to the rituals but some overzealous members have submitted non-relatives, including Anne Frank, Simon Wiesenthal’s parents, Gandhi, Daniel Pearl, and Elvis. Now the church's leaders are reminding members that any name submitted for proxy rituals “should be related to the submitter.”
On Friday, the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency issued an unequivocal mandate to its members: Do not submit names of Jewish Holocaust victims or celebrities for proxy baptism. Doing so could cost Mormons’ access to their church’s genealogical data or even their good standing in the faith.
Details are available in an article by Peggy Fletcher Stack published in the Salt Lake Tribune and available at http://goo.gl/YyUbR
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