15 years ago today - Dec 12, 2002

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirmed Wednesday it will not permit posthumous baptisms of any people known to be Jewish, including Holocaust victims, albeit with a minute number of exceptions.

The church's statement came a day after a meeting in New York with Ernest Michel, chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Victims and himself a Holocaust survivor, to revisit a 1995 agreement discouraging Mormons from submitting the names of deceased Jews to the faith's enormous genealogical database.

According to the 1995 agreement, no deceased Jews, particularly those who perished in the Holocaust, would be the subjects of baptism by proxy, a Mormon temple ordinance intended to offer those in the spirit world the opportunity to embrace the LDS faith.

The exceptions are for Mormons whose direct ancestors were Jewish, or when the immediate family of a deceased Jew agrees to the baptism.

[The previous day, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported evidence that as many as 20,000 holocaust victims had been posthumously baptized for the dead.]

[Source: Peg McEntee, The Salt Lake Tribune, "LDS Church Reaffirms No Proxy Baptisms of Jews"; A chronicle of the Mormon-Jewish controversy; The LDS Agreement: A JewishGen InfoFile, http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/ldsagree.html]

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