A researcher who has spent two decades monitoring the church's massive genealogical database says Mormons are posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims as well as grandparents of public figures despite church rules intended to restrict the ceremonies to a member's ancestors.
The discoveries made by Helen Radkey likely will bring new scrutiny to a deeply misunderstood practice.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said baptisms that violate church policy will be invalidated. He says the church "cares deeply" about maintaining their standards.
Proxy baptisms are tied to a core church teaching that families spend eternity together, but the baptisms do not automatically convert dead people to Mormonism. Under church teachings, the deceased have a choice in the afterlife to accept or reject the offer of baptism.."