- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2002

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Mormons have rededicated themselves to ending the practice of posthumously baptizing Jews, an agreement apparently breached since it was made with Jewish leaders seven years ago, leaders from both religions said yesterday.
At a meeting Tuesday in New York, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reaffirmed its commitment to removing Holocaust victims and other deceased Jews from its International Genealogical Index, said Ernest Michel, chairman of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.
The index is a list of some 600 million names used by Mormons to perform ceremonies offering proxy baptisms on behalf of the dead.
Mormon church leaders requested the meeting after several Jewish organizations complained the religion had broken the 1995 agreement to keep dead Jews including those killed in Nazi concentration camps from being included in the temple ceremonies, Mr. Michel said.
The Mormon church collects names from records worldwide to use in temple rituals, during which Mormon stand-ins are dunked in water to offer the dead voluntary entry into the religion.
After the 1995 agreement, the church removed 400,000 names of dead Jews, mostly Holocaust victims, from the database.
"When the Church is made aware of documented concerns, action is taken in compliance with the agreement," Mormon elder D. Todd Christofferson said.
Independent researcher Helen Radkey, who prepared a report for Mr. Michel that accused the Mormons of breaking the 1995 agreement, said her recent research found that at least 20,000 Jews were posthumously baptized.
Miss Radkey has been researching Jews included in the Mormon lists since 1999, when she found the famous diarist Anne Frank and her extended family listed as having been baptized. She said she doubts the church can keep all Jewish names out of the database.
"It is totally unrealistic," she said. "Most Mormons who handle the processing, including deletions of Jewish names from the LDS database, would not know a Jewish name from the back end of a hoe."

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