Mormon leaders are fed up. On Friday, the Church issued an unequivocal mandate to its members: Do not submit names of Jewish Holocaust victims or celebrities for proxy baptism. Doing so could cost Mormons’ access to their church’s genealogical data or even their good standing in the faith. “Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” LDS President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors wrote in a letter to all Mormon bishops, dated Feb. 29. “If members do so, they may forfeit their New FamilySearch privileges [access to the church’s genealogical holdings]. Other corrective action may also be taken.”
The letter, which is to be read over pulpits and posted on bulletin boards in every Mormon congregation Sunday, reminds members that their “preeminent obligation” is to their own ancestors and any name submitted for proxy rituals “should be related to the submitter.”
“Baptism for the dead” involves living people being baptized on behalf of their dead relatives. Mormons believe it is their moral obligation to do the temple rituals, while those in the hereafter can either accept or reject the ordinance.