Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekender: "Souls Hijacked By Another"

From Reuters via The National Post:  "The Mormon church apologized on Tuesday for the posthumous baptism by its members of the parents of Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, performed in Utah, Arizona, and Idaho. The Church, in its written apology, suggested that the action was the work of one member who they said has since been disciplined. “We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the Church led to the inappropriate submission of these names,” Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church, said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters. “The policy of the Church is that members can request these baptisms only for their own ancestors. Proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims are strictly prohibited,” he added. Wiesenthal’s mother Rosa died at the Belzec concentration camp in Poland in 1942. His father, Asher Wiesenthal, died during the First World War. The apology by the Mormon church came on the same day that Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel called on Republican presidential candidate and prominent Mormon Mitt Romney to address the issue after Wiesel’s own Holocaust victim parents were similarly baptized by the Mormon church. “A heartfelt apology is certainly appropriate, but it rings hollow if it keeps happening again and again,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper. Starting in 1995 Cooper participated in high-level meetings between Jews and Mormon officials in an effort to halt such posthumous baptisms. Cooper, who knew Wiesenthal for 30 years, said he would have been deeply hurt by the actions that the Church of Latter Day Saints seems unable to control. Cooper called the actions “unacceptable,” saying that people ... should not have their souls hijacked by another religion."