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Wiesel: Romney should speak out about proxy baptisms

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel said Mitt Romney should speak up about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ practice of posthumous baptisms. 

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Wiesel said that Romney, the front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nod, should tell his church to “stop” performing posthumous proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims.

“I wonder if as a candidate for the presidency Mitt Romney is aware of what his church is doing," Wiesel told the Huffington Post. "I hope that if he hears about this that he will speak up.”

The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that some members of the church had submitted Wiesel’s name for proxy baptism, in addition to submitting the names of Wiesel’s deceased father and maternal grandfather. They apparently were withdrawn after the report.

The Mormon church since 1995 has said it has stopped the practice of extending such baptisms to Holocaust victims unless they are direct ancestors of Mormons. But a number of Jewish groups have tracked instances of such baptisms. 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center blasted the church this week upon discovering that its namesake’s parents had been slated recently for baptism. The church apologized.

Wiesel has been publicly outspoken about this issue, noting that proxy baptisms have been performed on 650,000 Jews that were murdered during the Holocaust. 

“I think it’s scandalous. Not only objectionable, it’s scandalous,” Wiesel told the news website.

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