Monday, November 10, 2008

The Mormons are at it Again: Posthumous conversions of Holocaust victims

Years ago I went with Ernie Michel, an Auschwitz survivor, to meet with Sen. Orrin Hatch. Hatch had stepped in to tell Michel that the Mormon church would not continue converting Holocaust victims who had died in camps.

[The reason I was there was because Hatch had said that he wanted to pass a Congressional resolution affirming that the Holocaust happened as a response to deniers. I had told Michel, when I learned of this, that I did not think it was a good idea. "We don't have resolutions affirming that World War II happened."

Michel agreed and asked me to come with him to Hatch to explain why there should not be such a resolution. He was convinced and then decided to enter a new resoluiton commemorating the Holocaust. A signed copy of that resolution hangs in my office today.]

At the meeting, Hatch again told Michel that there would not be more conversions.

Well now, twelver years later, it seems that they are going on anyway. [Read Jerusalem Post article on this here.] Michel has given up the fight. He has been waging it far long than is necessary.

One could say: "Who cares what the Mormons do? What difference does it make?" In normal circumstances that might make sense but if it were my relatives who were killed because they were Jews I would be livid to learn that someone had ex post facto converted them to antoher religion.

When is someone in the Mormon chruch going to figure out how religiously insensitive this is. It is a blackeye for the church. Have they no shame? Haven't these people suffered enough already?


hockey hound said...

"Have they no shame?"

No, Prof. Lipstadt, they have no shame. Their Christian religious beliefs prohibit them feeling such shame. This reprehensible behaviour is a veiled anti-Jewish hatred precipitated by New Testament superstition. This is right up there with the insanity Western journalists have coined as "Christian Zionism" (which is a contradiction in terms).

"Antisemitism tells us nothing about Jews, but much about antisemites and the culture that breeds them." -Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

dan said...

The Mormons are brainwashed mindcontrolled puppets of their church. They sincerely believe that Jews, all Jews, dead and alive, are in a house that is on fire and it is their sacred duty as Mormons and as human beings to rush over and try to put out the fire with a bucket of water, in this case, conversions after death. You would do the same if you were a Mormon. This is what we are dealing with, Deborah. I live right next door to a Mormon church. They simply do not understand the evil they do because they are brainwashed. Come on, these people believe that Jesus the Christ, aka Joshua Ben Joseph, somehow made his way to North America in 2000 BCE when he was living in Israel and flew or sailed or Godsailed to North America to visit the Indians there as the lost tribe of Israel and they even have drawings of this fable in their books of Mormoni which they believe as gospel Go figure. They are nice people, nice neighbors. But they are brainwashed puppets. Not one person inside the church will ever change and those who leave the church are not considered Mormons anymore. It's a losing case. Sigh. May G-d forgive them, they know not what they do. hehe, -- DANNY

Seth R. said...

OK, let's make a few things perfectly clear here.

First off, the Mormon temple baptism doesn't "convert" anyone. All it does is put the name on the record as having had the ordinances done on the person's behalf.

Temple baptisms are voluntary on the part of the person they are done for. I've been baptized on behalf of my great, great, great, great grandfather in Germany way back when.

But that does NOT make him a Mormon.

In fact, I honestly don't know whether he accepted the ordinance or not. Because it is a completely voluntary matter. The dead can accept the baptism or not. It's up to them. This has always been taught by the LDS about these ordinances.

Basically, the ordinance is available to them IF THEY WANT IT. If they don't want it, that's up to them.

So the mere fact that your grandmother had an ordinance performed in a Mormon temple does not make her anything more than what she is, and what she chooses to be.

In fact, it seems rather arrogant on your part to DENY her the chance of jumping on board.

Who died and made you king of their lives?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

No one made me king [or queen] over anyone's life. But if my parents had been killed simply because they were Jews, I would find it deeply disturbing and somewhat insulting that another religion would set them up to be accepted into their ranks.

When the children and the relatives who were with them protest, common courtesy would dictate that, Mormon theology notwithstanding, we should leave these people alone.

I find something quite distasteful -- i shall avoid using a stronger term -- about these actions.

BostonDan said...

The LDS have zero respect for the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. These "ordinances" are offensive not only to the blessed memory of the dead, but to our survivor community and me personally as a 2G. As to Seth R's question of who died and left anyone king of their lives the answer is simple: no one - not even the historical figure Jesus. There is only one G-d and Israel remains the Eternal's people to this day.

Seth R. said...

Secondly, the LDS Church's current position is that ONLY descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors can perform such temple work.

When I attend an LDS temple, I have two options:

1. I can take names of my own ancestors that I have personally researched.

2. I can simply be given a name of someone who is dead who is in the database.

Jewish Holocaust survivors have generally been removed from the database mentioned in #2. But their ANCESTORS still are allowed to take their names through. This was the agreed-to arrangement by the LDS Church and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in 1995.

Anyway, the LDS Church has officially responded to this story here:

Thought you might find it interesting.

To repeat, having a Mormon vicarious temple baptism done for a deceased individual DOES NOT MAKE THEM A MORMON.

It just gives them the opportunity to be, if they want to.

pmr said...

The Mormons are not just baptizing Jews who have died. They are doing it to Catholics as well.

It is a reprehensible practice, particulary in the case of the murdered Jewish people of the Holocaust, and the Mormons should be ashamed of themselves.

BostonDan said...

I am so saddened that misguided people like members of the LDS feel the need to "save" Jews and "if they want to (be saved)."

All Jews have already been saved via our covenant with the Eternal One (G-d) - we do not need any mortal's help thank you very much.

If you are taking your own Jewish family member/ancestor names into those "ordinances" you describe that is such a transgression to their blessed memories as Jews. Jews do not proselytize and your "ordinances" are just that - and that is very offensive on so many levels.

The only opportunity Jewish and all victims of the Shoah ever hoped for was the opportunity to live as they were. Not the opportunity to be a member of the LDS or anything else - just who the person they were.

It is not difficult to understand. Really, it is not. My grandfather's just "want to" as you offer was just to continue to be a textiles trader in Poland. My grandmother's "want to" was to continue to raise her family as she was able to before Hitler invaded Lublin. My three uncles and two aunts collective "want to" would be to grow and create a family and life of their own. They were all murdered and never had the chance to get their "want to." Only my mother came out the that hell. We have no graves to visit on birthdays and special occassions and just out of respect. We do not even have a Yahrzeit date for most who were murdered, so we use Yom HaShoah.

What is most offensive to your position of being able to bring the names of "ancestors" to your "want to ordinances" is that it is not limited to directly established ancestors - it is very broad and all Jews are ancestors of the People Israel - so in fact there is really no limit on who is targeted in these "want to ordinances."

A second time these victims are defiled.

hockey hound said...

"There is only one G-d and Israel remains the Eternal's people to this day."

Well said, bostondan. There it is. Couldn't have said it better myself. Problem is, Christians (and Muslims) have never been able to accept this inescapable reality.

"A second time these victims are defiled."

Exactly. These people are so obtuse as to be unable to grasp the implications of their egregious behaviour. Another insalubrious manifestation of the New Testament.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

No more comments on this post. The tone of too many of them is just not what i want on this blog.

Epaminondas said...

Where did all that vitriol come from?

It seems to me to just be some folks with a little too much time on their hands in Salt Lake.

We might as well declare all lapsed catholics dead one year to be zoroastrians.

The whole thing is absurd including getting whacked out over it.