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Jewish and Mormon leaders issue joint statement


Scott Lloyd

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This has been posted today on the Deseret News web site.

Apparently the latest mischief by outsider(s) in fomenting ill will between the Church and the holocaust survivor group has been abated.

To mods: I meant the title of the thread to read "Jewish and Mormon leaders issue joint statement." Please fix. Thanks.

Here's a related, lengthier and even more significant article from The Jewish Week, a New York-based publication.

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the submitters are contacted to ensure such errors are not repeated. To that end, Church staff also regularly search records to identify inappropriate submissions and prevent such baptisms from being performed.]
Also...a side benefit...

While this won't prevent hoaxers from submitting inappropriate names, it will at least make sure they can't use the same id twice.

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I think it's wonderful that the Jewish community is satisfied with the present situation, but I am curious as to what exactly made the difference.

Jewish leaders note that in past responses to complaints about Holocaust victims being included for proxy baptism, Mormon officials said that souls had the choice of declining the offer, and that despite their best efforts to delete victims

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I think it's wonderful that the Jewish community is satisfied with the present situation, but I am curious as to what exactly made the difference. I don't really understand why the negotiations themselves are called a "breakthrough". The Church's intent has always been the same since the first agreement, it is just its ability to follow through on that intent has increased. The Jewish community that was concerned over this accepted that mistakes would still be made and would be taken care of as soon as possible....why this is okay now and wasn't before, I am wondering. Is it just because it works better? Seems a strange reaction if so (since it seemed to me the affront is the intent to baptize since they don't believe in its efficacy).

One mustn't underestimate the effect of pride in a situation such as this, either.

Having made so great a fuss, it is necessary for these groups to be able to proclaim "victory" in order to appease their constituency.

Michel and Abrams (among others) have a "bonafied" achievement to which they can point and say, "We solved this problem" and "We got results".

As you noted, the only real difference here is that a technical one- improved software that makes it easier to track the matter and to confirm that those submitting the names be direct descendants.

The Church's position has not changed, nor have our principles been compromised in anyway.

In reality, the "change" is purely symbolic, rather than substantive- but in diplomacy and politics, such symbolism is a greater currency than actual, tangible, substantive results.

Not to insult or malign Michel, Abrams, or the others, but the triumphal tone of these news pieces make it clear that the "symbolic victory" is every bit as important to their cause as a substantive one.

In my opinion, that's the nature of the beast we call "politics".

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From the article:

Several years ago, during a flare-up of this issue, I posted a comment on a Jewish message board that was discussing it.

I said that Jews didn't have many friends in the world these days, and that it was a pity that this dispute was occurring with so philo-Semitic group as the Latter-day Saints.

Ever since then, my Malevolent Stalker has abused my comment to try to depict me as a callous clod and an anti-Semite. And certain others of his ilk have boasted that that they were going to send it, or already had sent it, to leaders of the Church and administrators at BYU in order to discredit me.

Yet it's strikingly similar, I think, to the sentiments expressed above by Mr. Abrams, the (Jewish) former attorney general of the State of New York, and by the Holocaust-survivor-group leader, Mr. Michel.

And I stand by it. And my Church and University leaders would understand it. With various rulers across the Islamic world calling for the elimination of Israel, with Israel constantly on the defensive in the United Nations, with anti-Semitism demonstrably on the rise in Europe and the Middle East and elsewhere, with The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion circulating throughout the Islamic world and beyond, etc., etc., it is a pity that Jewish/Mormon relations have been negatively impacted by this issue. Jews need friends, and I'm happy to be one. I hope that this issue is now behind us.

Good on you for sticking to your guns. It's like the folks quoted in the lengthier article had read and were quoting from your old post.

Herr Provo haGadol

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Jews need friends, and I'm happy to be one. I hope that this issue is now behind us.

Unfortunately, I don't have any Jewish friends....or Muslim friends now that I think about it, though I have friends that were formerly members of those faiths respectively, or who grew up in the Middle East. The last member of the Jewish faith that I can remember speaking with didn't like me too much.

An angry, drive-by MADB poster.

But, I'm happy the Church is making some good choices in PR lately.

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I think it's wonderful that the Jewish community is satisfied with the present situation, but I am curious as to what exactly made the difference. I don't really understand why the negotiations themselves are called a "breakthrough".

If i understand it right, the breakthrough is that now the church has 'decreed' (not sure that's the best term) that Jewish holocaust victims don't need to be baptized, even the ones who have direct family in the church who would otherwise have been able to have them baptized under the old 'rules'.

The old policy was, "only if you are a direct relative" while the new one is, "under no circumstances".

That's what i got out of it anyway.

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If i understand it right, the breakthrough is that now the church has 'decreed' (not sure that's the best term) that Jewish holocaust victims don't need to be baptized, even the ones who have direct family in the church who would otherwise have been able to have them baptized under the old 'rules'.

The old policy was, "only if you are a direct relative" while the new one is, "under no circumstances".

That's what i got out of it anyway.

I don

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From the article:

Several years ago, during a flare-up of this issue, I posted a comment on a Jewish message board that was discussing it.

I said that Jews didn't have many friends in the world these days, and that it was a pity that this dispute was occurring with so philo-Semitic group as the Latter-day Saints.

Ever since then, my Malevolent Stalker has abused my comment to try to depict me as a callous clod and an anti-Semite. And certain others of his ilk have boasted that that they were going to send it, or already had sent it, to leaders of the Church and administrators at BYU in order to discredit me.

Yet it's strikingly similar, I think, to the sentiments expressed above by Mr. Abrams, the (Jewish) former attorney general of the State of New York, and by the Holocaust-survivor-group leader, Mr. Michel.

And I stand by it. And my Church and University leaders would understand it. With various rulers across the Islamic world calling for the elimination of Israel, with Israel constantly on the defensive in the United Nations, with anti-Semitism demonstrably on the rise in Europe and the Middle East and elsewhere, with The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion circulating throughout the Islamic world and beyond, etc., etc., it is a pity that Jewish/Mormon relations have been negatively impacted by this issue. Jews need friends, and I'm happy to be one. I hope that this issue is now behind us.

Deplorable though it definitely was, I would not consider it an insult to say that the Mormons in the 19th century didn't have many friends in the world.

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One mustn't underestimate the effect of pride in a situation such as this, either.

Nor should we underestimate the power of toxic agitators to exacerbate fear, misunderstanding, cynicism and mistrust in others to further their own nefarious agenda. That has been illustrated repeatedly throughout our 180-year history as a Church. All should draw a lesson from it, a lesson that bears a frequent reminder.

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Deplorable though it definitely was, I would not consider it an insult to say that the Mormons in the 19th century didn't have many friends in the world.

Precisely. It would have been a simple statement of fact.

And, sadly, it's a simple statement of fact for Jews today.

From the introduction to the Wikipedia article on "Anti-Semitism in Europe," for example:

Antisemitism has increased significantly in Europe since 2000, with significant increases in verbal attacks against Jews and vandalism such as graffiti, fire bombings of Jewish schools, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. In Germany and Austria, where antisemitic incidents are highest in Europe, physical assaults against Jews including beatings, stabbings and other violence increased markedly, in a number of cases resulting in serious injury and even death. The Netherlands and Sweden have also consistently had high rates of anti-semitic attacks since 2000. Much of the new European antisemitic violence can actually be seen as a spill over from the long running Arab-Israeli conflict since the majority of the perpetrators are from the large immigrant Arab communities in European cities. However, compared to France, the United Kingdom and much of the rest of Europe, in Germany, Austria, and Sweden Arab and pro-Palestinian groups are involved in only a small percentage of antisemitic incidents. Indigenous Germans, Austrians, and Swedes are more likely to commit violent antisemitic acts, attack Jews verbally or vandalize Jewish property.

See also (among many, many other examples that could be given):

As well as:

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/48906512.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090300719.html

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/anti-semitism-in-europe-new-prejudice-fans-flames-of-the-oldest-hatred-1.3244

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/fomenting_antisemitism_in_euro.html

The Anti-Defamation League's 2009 report on "Attitudes Toward Jews in Seven European Countries" also easily be located on line, and downloaded.

My Malevolent Stalker is either pretending not to know of such things in order to try to score a cheap and dishonest point against me, or he's genuinely ignorant.

I'm reasonably sure that the Stalker, who is hate-obsessed but not stupid, knows full well what he's doing. It's just that his all-consuming urge to blacken my reputation and to slander those who seek to defend the claims of Mormonism impels him to demagogue this issue (along with many others).

(He has also sought, for years, to tar my friend and colleague Bill Hamblin with the gravely serious charge of anti-Semitism. Professor Hamblin, incidentally, has just returned within the past few hours from what I believe is his third year-long stint of teaching history and archaeology in Jerusalem. The charge of anti-Semitism against him is both ludicrous and vile.)

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Here is what the article says-

"The new pact, which was announced in a statement Wednesday simultaneously through The Jewish Week and The Deseret News, the Mormon-owned Salt Lake City daily, stipulates that the Mormon Church will allow Jewish Holocaust victims to be the only category exempt from Church doctrine that calls for vicarious baptism for the dead, giving souls the choice to enter the Kingdom of God."

I don't think they are saying that these people don't need to be baptized ever, it just seems that they are saying that at this time, they are exempt, even if you are directly related to one.

I don't think it says that. I think direct-line descendants are still free to have the work done for their ancestors.

I think some people were coming out of the woodwork saying, "Hey, if you exempt the Holocaust victims, why won't you do it for my relatives?" I think the above is meant to preclude that sort of thing.

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Here is what the article says-

"The new pact, which was announced in a statement Wednesday simultaneously through The Jewish Week and The Deseret News, the Mormon-owned Salt Lake City daily, stipulates that the Mormon Church will allow Jewish Holocaust victims to be the only category exempt from Church doctrine that calls for vicarious baptism for the dead, giving souls the choice to enter the Kingdom of God."

hopefully the Church will correct this gross error in interpretation (because if they don't, people will start to believe it Jew and Gentile alike, which will only lead to more strife) OR this coming Sunday we will all be read a letter a from the First Presidency stating "Though the command to come unto Christ is for all, and the command for baptism, Holocaust victims are exempted from John 3:5".

From the article with this terrible interpretation, one gains a better insight, though, not much new.

"

The key ingredient now is a more advanced computer system that can better implement the policy of not having Holocaust names appear on the list,
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hopefully the Church will correct this gross error in interpretation (because if they don't, people will start to believe it Jew and Gentile alike, which will only lead to more strife) OR this coming Sunday we will all be read a letter a from the First Presidency stating "Though the command to come unto Christ is for all, and the command for baptism, Holocaust victims are exempted from John 3:5".

From the article with this terrible interpretation, one gains a better insight, though, not much new.

"

The software will alert a person that the name being entered is a Holocaust victim, the person entering will have to go through some process to confirm a direct lineage to that victim. Seems the only "new" thing is the software knowing who is who

That definitely makes more sense to me, but it doesn't answer the question of what "the Mormon Church will allow Jewish Holocaust victims to be the only category exempt from Church doctrine that calls for vicarious baptism for the dead, giving souls the choice to enter the Kingdom of God." means though.

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