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Home/ stevenwarran's Library/ Notes/ May 6, 2009, Provo Daily Herald, Temple baptism rites performed for Obama's mother in Provo LDS temple, by Joe Pyrah,

May 6, 2009, Provo Daily Herald, Temple baptism rites performed for Obama's mother in Provo LDS temple, by Joe Pyrah,

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May 6, 2009, Provo Daily Herald, Temple baptism rites performed for Obama's mother in Provo LDS temple, by Joe Pyrah, Daily Herald, 
 
At the same time that Barack Obama sealed the Democratic nomination for president last year, someone in the Provo LDS temple was performing a baptism and temple rites on behalf of his deceased mother.
 
The move is a serious breach of protocol for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who in the past have been criticized for performing such proxy baptisms for victims of the Holocaust.
 
Records on the church's FamilySearch.org genealogical site show that a Stanley Ann Dunham received proxy rites in the Provo temple on June 4 and June 8 of 2008. The birth and death dates of the person for whom the rites were performed match those of Obama's mother.
 
"The offering of baptism to our deceased ancestors is a sacred practice to us, and it is counter to Church policy for a Church member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related," said church spokesman Scott Trotter in a prepared statement. "The Church is looking into the circumstances of how this happened and does not yet have all the facts. However, this is a serious matter and we are treating it as such."
 
When asked whether the church had been in communication with the White House about the matter, officials referred to their original statement as "all of the information" they'd be releasing Tuesday. The White House did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Tuesday.
 
Names submitted to FamilySearch.org are not used in religious rites. The church has a separate software confirmation system that reminds users to check with next of kin before performing any rituals on behalf of individuals who have died.
 
"Baptisms for the dead" is the common term used to refer to the Mormon belief that those who do not receive essential priesthood rites in mortal life can receive them by proxy -- meaning by living members of the church who stand in their place.
 
Baptism alone doesn't make the person a Mormon, according to a church statement.
 
"The Church does not list persons as members of the Church or 'Mormons' merely because proxy baptisms have been performed. Church doctrine teaches that at some point the spirit of the deceased person will be informed that a baptism has been performed on his or her behalf and will be given the opportunity to accept or reject it."
 
The church has run afoul of Holocaust groups multiple times over proxy baptisms for the dead. The groups felt the practice was disrespectful. LDS church leaders said in November that they are making changes to their massive genealogical database to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism.
 
In 1995, the church agreed not to perform baptisms or other rites for Holocaust victims, except in the rare instances when they have living descendants who are Mormon, according to The Associated Press.
 
Popular liberal blogger John Aravosis posted one of the initial mentions of the baptism on his AMERICAblog.
 
Aravosis, a Christian and political consultant, said from an outsider's perspective that the situation isn't good politically or spiritually.
 
"If you care about relations with Washington, that may be an issue," he said.

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