The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement today in response to news media requests regarding prominent Jewish names that were entered into the Church’s genealogical database:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that they may be baptized by proxy for deceased ancestors who never had that opportunity.

The policy of the Church is that members can request these baptisms only for their own ancestors.  Proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims are strictly prohibited.

In this case, the Wiesel family names were not submitted for baptisms but simply entered into a genealogical database.  Our system would have rejected those names had they been submitted.

In a few instances, names have been submitted in violation of policy.  Whether this is done by simple error or for other reasons, the Church considers these submissions to be a serious breach of protocol. 

It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church’s policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention.  The Church will continue to do all it can to prevent such instances, including denying access to these genealogical records or other privileges to those who abuse them in this way.