Though Mormons have been explicitly banned from posthumously baptizing late Holocaust survivors since 1995, religious leaders found themselves apologizing yesterday for annointing the parents of a famous Nazi hunter into their ranks. "We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the Church led to the inappropriate submission of these names," a church spokesperson told Reuters, pinning blame on an unnamed member who had entered into an online database (called Family Search) and undergone a proxy baptism for the mother and father of renowned Nazi hunter and Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal. That practice of posthumous baptisms, whose purpose is "to ensure that ancestors can join church members in the afterlife" according to the Los Angeles Times, has engendered controversy among Jewish leaders in the past after about 650,000 Holocaust victims were founded to be covertly converted by the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
But like any article about Mormons today, today's reports from the Los Angeles Times, The Daily, and The Washington Post were framed by the candidacy of Mitt Romney, who can't seem to escape his Mormonism no matter how long he runs for president. The Romney campaign unsurprisingly declined reporters' requests for comment (deferring to church leaders), with The Daily going ahead and getting quotes from Romney's Mormon congregation in Boston. For what it's worth Elie Wiesel, another Holocaust survivor with three relatives the church was preparing to baptize, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center today are calling for Romney to weigh in on the story, according to The Post.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.