B’nai B’rith International commends The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and representatives of Holocaust survivors for coming to an amicable agreement regarding the troubling issue of posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims. The practice by individual Mormons of proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims has been an ongoing source of contention between the LDS Church and the Jewish community. Expanding upon previous insistence that baptisms of Holocaust victims not be performed by those not closely related to the deceased, or lacking the permission of their family members, technology will be used to certify compliance with this policy or the removal of inappropriate entries. As a joint Mormon-Jewish statement said, this commitment to respecting the sensitivities of Holocaust survivors and their families will aid in advancing cooperation on humanitarian work and building on Israeli hospitality for young Mormons studying in Jerusalem.
“The LDS Church has taken positive steps in solidifying its commitment to friendship with the Jewish people,” said B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick. “Respect for the Jewish identity of Holocaust victims is naturally a highly sensitive matter, and we are glad to see new movement in resolving the problems of the past.”
“With proper oversight and continued goodwill, these measures should go a considerable way toward deepening interreligious understanding,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Mormons and Jews harbor theological differences, but also have a great deal of core values in common.”
B’nai B’rith leaders and staff made two trips to Salt Lake City to meet with church leaders and visit LDS institutions last year.