The Common Good

Mormon Church Blocks Whistle Blower’s Access to Baptism Data

The Book of Mormon | braedostok, Shutterstock.com
The Book of Mormon | braedostok, Shutterstock.com

A technological crackdown has effectively blocked a prominent whistle-blower from accessing the Mormons' database that chronicles so-called baptisms for the dead.

Church officials said the move helps prevent overzealous Mormons and mischief-makers from violating church policy by submitting the names of prominent Jewish figures.

The decision to suspend the New Family Search accounts of anyone searching for Jewish Holocaust victims or celebrities also freezes out Utah researcher Helen Radkey, whose baptism discoveries have embarrassed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for decades.

"I have been effectively stopped," says Radkey, who shared a log-in screen shot that reveals a red box reading: "Your account has been locked temporarily. Please try again later."

Radkey, who surreptitiously uses the account information of Mormon confidants, says the recent names she uncovered "shook church officials." Besides Anne Frank, Gandhi and slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Radkey revealed that the parents of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been baptized by proxy in Mormon temples.

"Obviously, they have been very concerned about the data that has been coming out and said, 'We have to do something about it,'" Radkey said.

Mormons believe that living people can be baptized on behalf of dead relatives and others, who then can either accept or reject the ordinance.

Asked whether the new restriction is directed at Radkey, LDS church spokesman Michael Purdy released the following statement:

"The church is committed to preventing the misguided practice of submitting the names of Holocaust victims and prominent individuals for proxy baptism. ... Anyone trying to access names that have been restricted will have their account suspended and be required to contact FamilySearch to establish their family relationship in order to have their access reinstated. Abuse of the system will result in the permanent loss of database access."

Derek Jensen writes for Religion News Service. Via RNS.

The Book of Mormon photo, braedostok, Shutterstock.com.

 

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)