Comments about ‘Recalling the Mormon who tried to save Anne Frank’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 27 2012 11:00 a.m. MST

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Sorry Charlie!

@ A voice of Reason: So, it is okay to use emotional statements with no connection to reality as long as your intentions are good?

What's that old saying? Something about a certain road being paved with good intentions?

I have to agree with Bubble on this - this is the action of a gossip rag or a paper with no faith in those that read it. (I will admit that a certain amount of my angst about this particular headline comes from an overall frustration with this paper for doing this on numerous other stories. I expect better from a mainstream paper.)

I do have to say - your comments on most of the stories regarding proxy baptisms have been good comments - but many other posters who claim to be LDS seem to be attacking the position of the LDS Church by arguing that people should not be upset or offended that certain people have been baptized by proxy. I don't think it should be that hard to members of the LDS Church to stand up for their Church's official position.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Sorry Charlie: You made a point that "It would be nice if, instead of excusing the actions of those who broke their covenants with your Church, more members of your Church would honor their covenants and support your Church leadership."

The author didn't excuse those that made a mistake, error, or failed to follow their covenants. He is basically citing that a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the dark days of WWII tried to do something that others failed to do. Did you know that for every member who fails to follow the direction and support of the leadership, there are 100s to 1000s that do.

As someone once said the only time you hear something bad is when something goes right, but when everything goes right, no one hears a thing.

In my opinion I believe someone is purposely trying to create a problem. Generally a faithful member of the LDS Church will not go out of their way to cause controversy. They do only their own family names and no one elses. Even when a loved one, brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle and etc. who may have never been able to go to the temple for whatever reason will do their work when they can. They don't go out and do a celebrities name or holocast members because it has no impact on THEIR family.

Again you only hear about it when it goes wrong, not when it is done in the right way.

Clearfield, UT

If this happened today right wing extremist's would have ran both Senators out of office for trying to help people come illegally. After all we can't help solve the worlds problems, we have our own to worry about. Maybe I am being to sarcastic. Whatever happened to compassion and empathy for others. Today we label anybody who tries to help others as as a socialist. This was a good story, even if the title was misleading. I would like to know more about of the two U.S. Senators involved. We need more like them to serve in these troubled times.

Tooele, UT

@Gregg Weber

You said - "Are these unauthorized baptisms mistakes or are there people who want to embarrass the church?"

I have a sneaking suspicion it's the later.

Tooele, UT

@Sorry Charlie!

You said - "...but many other posters who claim to be LDS seem to be attacking the position of the LDS Church by arguing that people should not be upset or offended that certain people have been baptized by proxy. I don't think it should be that hard to members of the LDS Church to stand up for their Church's official position."

I agree 100%. I stand total behind the position of LDS leaders on this issue. It would be wrong of me to tell someone else, "Don't be so offended," since I fail to understand why they feel this way in the first place.

If someone were to ask me, "How would you feel if your name or your ancestors' names were done in proxy in some other church's ceremony?" I would say I take no offense at all. If you want to, go ahead.

But my feelings on the matter are clearly different than someone whose family members were hunted down and killed in cold blood by the Nazis.

Some of my fellow Latter-day Saints do need to be a little more understanding to those who either lost family in the Holocaust or are Holocaust survivors themselves. Their view of the world is clearly different from our own.

Torrance, CA

Has anyone bothered to check the source? Those who are critical of the wording that Deseret News has used probably did not click on the JTA link in the second paragraph. We could all learn a lesson from the old children's game "Telephone".

Bakersfield, CA

I found this article very interesting, inspirational, important, somewhat informative, but highly incomplete. How is it possible that some DN articles go for pages, and others are cropped at the knees?

I would ask:

1- What is J. Walker's educational resumé? Where did he learn his journalistic protocols?
2- What is the JTA that he refers to? I don't feel like Googling his article.
3- The title is misleading on all points. It could have read: "Recalling the Mormon who tried to save victims in Anne Frank's time", or any number of variations. This Mormon did not try to save Anne Frank.

4- To Sorry Charlie: Anne and her family were most definitely sent tonsnd died in a "refugee camp". History calls them concentration camps. Her diary covers her time in hiding from when she received it on her 13th birthday- June 12, 1942, until the time of her family's betrayal, August 1, 1944. They were sent to Bergen-Belsen and she died of typhus 7 months later in that hell hole. On one levrl you are correct. It was no refugee camp. It was a fully operational Nazi-run death camp.

Kudos on the article. Please expand. Many of us see exactly the point that the Jewish author was making:
At a time when most American politicians were ignoring Hitler's expansion, two Mormon politicians used their leadership to try and save Jewish victims.

Fix the title, stick with honesty in reporting, and these facts will impress those in my Jewish circles.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Bill in Nebraska,

"you only hear about it when it goes wrong, not when it is done in the right way."

It's absolutely true. I'd compare it to how we are often eager for help when we need it, but slow to remember it when it's given. It's a pretty reckless practice that I think is easy to follow. It would be so much better for us to focus on the good news of the world, to turn the bad news into good news, and so on. I guess one of the chief obstacles on that path are those shouting, laughing, or complaining to those trying to push forward on that path. Maybe that analogy is a bit to religious for everyone here, but I think it's pretty self evident.

This article is promoting a good message, reflection, certainly the truth, and in a time when we can all use it to hopefully calm down and work together. I easily rank the meaning behind this article among the highest I've read lately.

layton, UT

@Bill in Nebraska: As someone once said the only time you hear something bad is when something goes right, but when everything goes right, no one hears a thing.

The Sunstone, v. 5, no. 6, pp. 20-29.Alan F. Keele and Douglas F. Tobler, The FuhrerÂs New Clothes:
Helmuth Huebner and the Mormons in the Third Reich"... [S]ympathy [for some of the Nazi goals] was apparently shared by some members of the [Mormon] Church leadership. The Church's German magazine, Der Stern, reminded its readers in 1935 that Senator Reed Smoot had long been a friend of Germany, and this attitude seemed to receive official sanction during President Grant's 1937 visit. The message to the German Saints was clear: German Mormons were encouraged to bear arms for their country and to pray for her victory. The [Mormon] church said they were fighting, not British and American Mormon brethren, but government representatives. 'Such a distinction, although transparent, served to salve the moral and religious doubts of German Mormons.
When several Mormons dared to defy Hitler, they received no backing from Mormon officials. 'The church was patriotic and loyal and decried any attack on the Nazi government.' The church even excommunicated one dissident posthumously after the Nazis had executed him."

Bakersfield, CA

I stand corrected. Thank you, Goldilocks, for doing ours and Walker's homework. I clicked on the JTA link (and signed up) to read Rafael Medoff's full article. Two wrongs don't make the misleading title right, but it was the exact replicated title of Medoff's original...

Not that Brother Walker could have cited that and helped us all. (Sorry for bagging on you, Joseph. A former PR guy could have anticipated this fallout, maybe?)

Additionally, Medoff should be awarded an honorary LDS membership or atleast a public relations position. He makes the case, documented to the teeth, that whereas Mormon proxy baptisms deal with the spiritual soul, (i.e., an unqualified entity for earthlings as yet), in the here-and-now two of their politicians fought long and hard to save the lives of Jewish victims.

'Nuff said. (And I apologize for previous type-O's).

Sorry Charlie!

@ Capella: In no sense are concentration camps and refugee camps the same thing.

While the living conditions in many refugee camps leave much to be desired, refugee camps are where those who are persecuted flee to - usually in a country other than the country of the refugee's birth and often the refugee cannot return home. Refugees live in camps until they are able to immigrate to countries such as the United States where they can move forward with their lives in relative safety.

Jews and others who were sent to concentration camps were sent there by force. They were there until they were killed or, for the lucky few, until they were freed at the end of the war.

Do you really believe Hitler and his followers would have allowed those in concentration camps to leave just because another country said they would take them?

Your comment shows a great lack of understanding of concentration camps and refugee camps.

Bakersfield, CA

Whoa, Joey! Don't bite my head off. I thought you were the one who didn't understand the difference between refugee and concentration camps, Sorry Charlie, hence my lite education on Anne's demise. I apologize.

Let's remain civil. Now I see your point based on your explanation. I over-reacted (and so did my husband), as I thought you were implying that Anne died under Nazi transfer.

Re: the article and Walker's intentions for publishing it- After reading Medoff's research, he has been the a light in the tempest here to highlight the courageous efforts of a politician(s) in the face of dark anti-semitism. Like defending an ethical Muslim family following 9/11, when many were/are still very anti-Muslim anything. I know where-of I speak. (Note my residence...)

Waukesha, WI

Not that I am making excuses but like political new some of us are junkies and read or watch everything and know on the spot when someone makes a mis-step. But when reporters get out among the people it is clear most have no idea about the political stuff that reporters go on and on about every day. For example it was interesting after the Cain upheaval that a man on the street reporter found that for every ten people he asked only two knew who Cain was.

My point?

That it may have been purely good natured people who mistakenly came across Ann Frank's name and thought they would do her Temple work including proxy baptisms. Sure its possible it some were done in mischief or with ill intent, or some by people knowing but ignoring Church leadership.

But I would not be surprised if many people who have done work for Jewish ancestors had no idea the Church leadership was against it. Not every Mormon reads every thought, letter, or edict that comes out of SLC. It may surprise many members but more so non LDS people that we don't all hang on every word coming out of Church offices and many just plain do not know better.

Im my Ward recently an instructor asked the adults if they knew not to do Temple work for Holocaust Victims, About half the adults in the room did not know it at all, and of those who did know most of them thought it was against the instructions of Church leaders to do any work for any Jewish person (that would be wrong). Remember people are told not to do work for Holocaust victims unless they are true relatives. So most of the room got it wrong on some level or another.

So my point is, like non news junkies many active members who may be good people make mistakes and have no clue as to current teachings of our leaders. I wonder if anyone would claim most Catholics are up to date with the Pope? Most don't even go to their church at all. How about Lutherans? Can any of them even name the leadership let alone know of their current positions? How about jews? I doubt most Jews in America can even tell you where the nearest temple or synagog is since the vast majority of Jewish people here are non practicing. So my point is relax, realize that just because you hang on every nuance and every whit coming out of the Church offices does not mean most of the LDS members do, and unfortunately they are destined to make errors like this in the future too.

Beaverton, OR

Tooele, UT
@Gregg Weber

You said - "Are these unauthorized baptisms mistakes or are there people who want to embarrass the church?"

I have a sneaking suspicion it's the later.

Clark: I love your oxymoron here...IF it is an unauthorized proxy baptism then it
IS a mistake !! LOL

Larry Lawton
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Concerning those who do unauthorized baptisms of holocast victims: I believe the church has said it's difficult to get those names past computer filters. Thus, one would certainly know they are violating church policy by the time they wend their way around the safeguards. I am not inclined to say their purpose was to embarass the church. Lots of well-meaning people out there want to do what they think is right, and some of us are just downright stubborn.

City, Ut

Gregg Weber--"Are these unauthorized baptisms mistakes or are there people who want to embarrass the church?"

I have wondered this myself these past couple of weeks.

In another DesNews story, it was reported that the Huffington Post was, just a couple of days after the fact, reporting that a baptism had been performed for Anne Frank in the temple in the Dominican Republic.

How would the Huffington Post be privy to such information--unless someone with a lds church account (to access the genealogical systems necessary for reviewing and submitting names for temple work) was feeding them the information??

If there are those with lds church accounts who are willing to give (or to sell) information to the likes of the Huffington Post, there are surely the same or others willing and able to submit Jewish names--knowingly--against lds church policy.

For the very reason suggested by Gregg Weber's comment.

And they will not be the kind worried about possible 'church discipline'.
But just annoyed that they will lose their access to the system which has afforded them an avenue to pervert its real purposes.

(and possibly some payoff $$ ??)

Provo, UT

To all those discussing the article, I would suggest taking a moment to read the original. There is a link at the beginning of the article to JTA where you can read the original article written by Rafael Medoff. It is more detailed, and explains certain statements with better clarity.

Sparks, NV

Of all the people that deserve the blessings of God's Kingdom, the victims of Hitler and the Japanese as well, should be given the opportunity to accept the Gospel. In fact the victims of all tyrants are especially deserving of being giving the opportunity to hear Christ's message of repentance, salvation and the Atonement.

It is hard to understand why a group of people would be so angry over the issue of Temple work for the dead. If it is a true doctrine, and the person having the work done for them accepts the message, they will become the happiest of God's children. If Temple work for the dead is false, there is no change in anyone's status anyway, so it doesn't make any difference. The charge that this LDS policy makes President Monson one of the worst people in history, or that such ordinance is killing people killed in the Holocaust twice is an extreme view and is over the top as far as common sense is concerned. The simple fact is that a victim dies one time, and that status cannot be changed.

And Jews need to understand that German Latter-day Saints performed many acts of courage to try to stop Hitler during WWII. Among the most notable was Helmut Hubener, who lost his life to the guillotine for trying to expose Hitler's war crimes to the German people. We supported the Jews then, and we support the Jews today. Mormon ties to the Jewish people is strong and unwavering, even if that support isn't recognized by the Jewish people themselves. Be grateful for that support.

Beaverton, OR

Voice of Reason-Utah: "This article was about reflecting back on helping hands instead of judging the far fewer numbers within the church who make mistakes. You either are working to help or you are not. Rather than people get offended, dispute fine points, or otherwise- we should simply learn this simple lesson. Helping others is the right thing to do. Trying to change that picture to look different doesn't change this reality and doesn't bring happiness to anyone."

A false headline is certainly more than a "fine point". It is a lie.
IF in "bringing attention to those Mormons who from the goodness of their hearts
tried to help in this situation or any other...reprints have false headlines,
it taints the message within.

If the LDS comments on here also attacked the headline, we would be more impressed
than their trying to make "excuses".

Quite frankly, it does appear that the Mormon writer from DN, felt that it was an
opportunity to offer some PR for Mormonism...not knowing that there were hundreds
of people of other faiths who ALSO made attempts to "do something".
Praise be to the Creator God for all of them.

Provo, UT

Beatrice, I respect your opinion and agree that the headline is somewhat misleading.. however, did you see the original article? Deseret News simply used the same type of wording as the original. I suppose they could/should have modified it, but they certainly did not create this headline.

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