What do you know about this practice among Mormons? Do you think it is wrong? Do you care if they do this for you?
Family members of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002, were disturbed to learn this week that he had been posthumously baptized by Mormons at a temple in Idaho. The news came just weeks after Mormon leaders apologized for a church member’s posthumous baptism of the parents of Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter. According to the Utah-based researcher who uncovered the records, the list of prominent Jews whose souls have come in for the treatment may also include Anne Frank.
“Mormons think of baptisms for the dead as a service to others, almost like adding family members’ names to a guest list,” Slate’s Forrest Wickman recently explained. In response to outcry from Jewish groups, however, church leaders have removed the names of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims and others from its rolls. Still, they haven’t been able to stamp out the practice entirely. Are the families of those who’ve been baptized posthumously justified in taking offense? Should they be touched by the Mormon Church’s concern?