Jewish Group Calls for Mormons to Halt Proxy Baptisms

NEW YORK (AP) - Holocaust survivors say they're through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms ofJews killed in Nazi concentration camps. They say the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints saythey're changing their genealogical database to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy.

But Ernest Michel, the honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors -- whose parents died at Auschwitz -- says that's not enough. He says the church has to come up with a way to undo what it's done. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

Church Elder Lance B. Wickman says no faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines. He says the Mormons' "work
for dead is properly understood" it shouldn't be a source of friction to anyone.

Posthumous baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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