Mormons posthumously baptise Anne Frank

 

Los Angeles

Anne Frank, the famous diarist and Holocaust victim, was put to death on account of her Jewish faith. But earlier this month, she was nonetheless secretly co-opted into the Mormon Church.

So claim researchers investigating the US-based Church’s practice of posthumously baptising dead people - sometimes without the knowledge and almost always against the will of surviving friends and family members.

Ms Frank was “christened” at a Mormon temple in the Dominican Republic, in apparent violation of a pact between the Church and Jewish leaders. A local child, acting as her spiritual proxy, is believed to have been dunked in a font during the ceremony.

Computer records of the event register Ms Frank under her full name, Annelies Marie Frank, and say that she lived from 1929 to 1945. The baptism was “completed” at a temple in Santo Domingo on 18 February.

In an apologetic statement, the Mormon Church’s PR department neither confirmed nor denied that the event had taken place, but declared itself “absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism.”

“It is distressing when an individual wilfully violates the Church's policy,” the statement continued, "and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention.”

It’s the second time in days that the Church has issued a similar mea culpa. Last week, it emerged that the parents of Simon Wiesenthal, a Nazi death camp survivor and Jewish rights advocate, had been recently baptised in Utah and Arizona.

Both affairs highlight a curious avenue of Mormon theology. Members of the Church believe that dead people who are posthumously inducted into their ranks will then, in the afterlife, be offered a chance to enter one of the higher tiers of heaven.

Over the years, they've duly held baptism ceremonies for around 650,000 Holocaust victims, along with countless late celebrities, including John Lennon, and Albert Einstein. Thanks to her prominence, Ms Frank is believed to have been baptised at least nine times.

The practice also sometimes extends to the political arena. It was recently reported that Barack Obama’s late mother, Stanley Ann Durham, had been the subject of a ceremony. And Mitt Romney, the US presidential candidate, is believed to have held one for his dead father-in-law Edward, a staunch atheist.

Unfortunately, other faiths view it as deeply offensive. So amid growing public disquiet, the Mormon Church announced in 2010 that its members would no longer be trying to recruit dead Holocaust victims.

Their apparent failure to keep that promise isn't just sparking stern criticism. It has also proven a boon to late-night comics. Stephen Colbert, the TV satirist, on Thursday announced that he intends to convert all dead Mormons to Judaism, by way of a ceremony involving a frankfurter and a cigar-cutter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent