According to records, Pearl was baptized “by proxy” last summer in a Twin Falls, Idaho, temple – much to the surprise of his parents, who learned of the event this week.
Daniel’s father, Judea Pearl said he is considering rallying Jewish leaders to send the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a stern message:
Stop performing unauthorized posthumous baptisms of Jewish people — and nullify any that have been performed.
The practice has long stirred controversy, leading to an agreement between Jewish leaders and the Mormon Church that was supposed to prevent the baptism of Holocaust victims. The church also acknowledged that it had baptized President Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, after her death.
So-called “proxy” or “posthumous” baptisms are performed by Mormons in an effort to provide non-Mormons with an opportunity for eternal salvation in accordance with the church’s beliefs about the afterlife.
On February 13, 2012, the Salt Lake City Tribune announced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performed a posthumous baptism of Eli Wiesel’s parents. The following day, the Huffington Post announced that Wiesel’s name had been submitted by a Latter-day Saint to a genealogical database used for proposing proxy baptisms. The Huffington Post also notified Wiesel, prompting him to speak out against the practice of posthumously baptizing Jews and to call on United States presidential candidate and Latter-day Saint Mitt Romney to denounce it.
In an interview on February 15, 2012 with Lawrence O’Donnell, Wiesel called the practice “bizarre”, and said, “I am a Jew. Born a Jew. Lived as a Jew. Tried to write about the Jewish condition…the human condition all over the world, and they should do it to me?” He reported that he had worked for two years with Bobby Adams and Holocaust survivor Ernest Michel to achieve an agreement with the LDS church regarding the practice of baptizing Holocaust dead, and that LDS church apostle Quentin Cook apologized to him by telephone earlier that day for the database submission of his family’s names, and reported blocking the name of former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir from proxy baptism.
More recently, a Mormon church in the Dominican Republic reportedly baptized the most famous Holocaust victim of all, Anne Frank.
The Mormon Church says it has discontinued the “proxy” baptisms of Jews, just like it says polygamy is outlawed. Both practices still happen and the Elders have no control over it.
The most famous Mormon in the country, republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney was asked byNewsweek if he had ever participated in any proxy baptisms? He said: “I have in my life, but I haven’t recently.”