Feature

Posthumous baptisms

The week's news at a glance.

Salt Lake City

A Utah researcher last week accused the Mormon church of posthumously baptizing hundreds of Jewish Holocaust victims without their relatives’ consent. The church says the ritual, in which church members stand in to be baptized in the names of the deceased, is the only way for non-Mormons to reach heaven. Jewish leaders threatened a lawsuit if the baptisms continued. “It’s ridiculous for people to pretend they have the key to heaven,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The practice first came to light more than a decade ago, but church officials promised to stop it in 1995. A Mormon spokesman said the church hoped “to resolve amicably the concerns expressed by some of our Jewish friends.”

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