You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Mormon church apologizes for proxy baptism of Jews

Ronald Zak/Associated Press files

Simon Wiesenthal’s deceased parents were baptized in a Mormon temple ritual.

SALT LAKE CITY - Mormon church leaders apologized to the family of Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate, after his parents were posthumously baptized in a Mormon temple ritual.

Wiesenthal died in 2005 after surviving the Nazi death camps and spending his life documenting Holocaust crimes and hunting down perpetrators who remained at large.

Continue reading below

Records indicate his parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, were baptized in proxy ceremonies performed by Mormon church members in Arizona and Utah in late January.

Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy allows deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. The church believes departed souls can then accept or reject the baptismal rites and contends the offerings are not intended to offend anyone.

“We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names,’’ said Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement. “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.’’

The name of the individual who submitted the names of the Wiesenthals for baptism was not released. It could not be independently verified whether the church member had been disciplined.

Names used in the rites are submitted to the database by church members. The rites are performed irrespective of connections to any faith tradition.

The Catholic Church has also objected to the baptism of its members, but Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, who were murdered because of their religion.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.