Yesterday when heard that the Mormon Church was about to posthumously baptize Nazi hunter and Shoah victim Simon Wiesenthal I was fit to be tied–so I wrote an angry post suggesting that the Jews march to Salt Lake City and perform a Bris on either the Late Brigham Young or the Mormon Church elders. I got many comments pro and con and I would like to share one of them. From a Mormon named Lug Nutmegger

Lug Nutmegger said… Relax! Take it easy on us Mormons! We have databases of hundreds of millions of people, one slipped through, easy mistake.

You will not find a more Jewish/Israel friendly organization than the Mormons. You should know that already.

Besides, no march will be necessary as we Mormons (in general) are all circumcised.
Keep up the fight…just not against the Mormons please.

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Lug is right on one point. Overall the Mormon Church is very friendly to Jewish/Israel friendly.

My problem is with any religion making those kinds of decisions for people…especially dead people who can’t defend themselves. It is not just Mr. Wiesenthal IMHO the whole practice is revolting.

In Jewish belief one of the noblest mitzvot you can do is to bury the dead. It’s noble for two reasons;

  • You do with a pure heart (after all you can’t get a reward from the dead).
  • The second is that we try to honor the dead and their memory. That is why we try to bury people within one day of their death.

And we try to keep honoring them after the funeral also, to perserve their memory. On the anniversary of a loved one’s death we hold the Torah and say a special prayer. When that prayer is done the community embraces that person and wishes them wonderful memories of their loved ones. We believe that you are judged by what you do during your life, Jew or Gentile. The Mormon practice is saying to the decendants of the dead that they weren’t good enough during their life time.

What the Mormon Church does on a regular basis with this practice is saying that our mothers and fathers were bad people and defend him or herself. On top of that they are saying that the rest of the Jews are bad by saying we are not good enough to go to heaven.

I don’t force my religion on others living or dead–others shouldn’t force theirs on the Jewish people or me.

Oh I Almost forgot the good news:

Reuters 12/19: Bowing to protests from Jewish groups, The Church of Latter Day Saints said on Tuesday that it had removed Wiesenthal’s name from its International Genealogical Index, a database of names of people who be could be baptised after death. A church spokesman said the Nazi hunter’s name was taken off the list after receiving a complaint from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights group named in his honour.

Rabbi Marvin Heir, the dean and founder of the group, said, “From their point of view they thought they were doing him a favour by making sure he can get into heaven. For us, it is very offensive. Simon Wiesenthal dedicated his whole life to Jews. I don’t think he needs help getting into heaven.”

In 1995, after the Wiesenthal Centre learnt that the church was baptising Holocaust victims posthumously, the church agreed to stop the practice and removed 400,000 names from the index. Mormon church spokesman Bruce Olsen said Wiesenthal was off the list. He also said it is policy “that members submit only names of their own ancestors for vicarious baptisms” and that the 1995 agreement was still in force.