LDS Church issues statement after report of proxy baptism for Anne Frank

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is again warning its members not to submit names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism. The church statement comes on the same day of reports that Anne Frank was posthumously baptized last week.

According to the Huffington Post, former LDS church member and Salt Lake City researcher Helen Radkey reported the ordinance for Annelies Marie Frank (1929-1945) was recorded as taking place in the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple on Feb. 18, 2012.

The LDS Church and Jewish leaders agreed in 1995 that the church would not allow the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims except in the case of direct ancestors of Mormons. Last week church leaders apologized to the family of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal after his parents were posthumously baptized.

Frank died at the Bergen Belsen death camp in 1945 at age 15. Radkey said versions of Frank's name have been submitted at least a dozen times for proxy rites and the ordinance has been performed at least nine times from 1989 to 1999.

In response to questions about violations of the Church's proxy baptism policy, the Church said it will consider whether Church disciplinary action should be taken against those who violate the rule.

"The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism," the statement reads. "It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place.

"While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter's access privileges. We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.

"It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church's policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention."

Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy allows deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. The church believes departed souls can then accept or reject the baptismal rites and contends the offerings are not intended to offend anyone.

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