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February 29, 2012

Daniel Pearl baptized in Mormon proxy ritual

http://www.jewishjournal.com/religion/article/daniel_pearl_posthumously_baptized_in_mormon_rite_20120229

Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl was baptized in a Mormon proxy ritual in another case of a prominent deceased Jew discovered to have been baptized posthumously in recent weeks.

Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and executed by terrorists in Pakistan in February 2002, was baptized by proxy on June 1, 2011 at a Mormon temple in Twin Falls, Idaho, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

“Danny was Jewish and his last words were ‘I am Jewish,’ Pearl’s mother, Ruth Pearl, said in an interview with The Journal on Wednesday. “It was inappropriate and insensitive to posthumously baptize him.”

The rite was discovered by Helen Radkey, a former member of the Mormon church who has become a whistleblower on such activity.

Only Mormons have access to the church’s genealogy database, which also can be used to submit a deceased person’s name for proxy baptism.

The discovery comes in the same month that it was discovered that the parents of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized last month, and Anne Frank was posthumously baptized earlier this month.

Also earlier this month, the names of the father and grandfather of Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel were found to have been submitted for proxy baptism.

Pearl’s parents, Judea and Ruth, told the Boston Globe that learning of the proxy baptism was “disturbing news.”

“To them we say, we appreciate your good intentions but rest assured that Danny’s soul was redeemed through the life that he lived and the values that he upheld,” the Pearls told the newspaper in an email. “He lived as a proud Jew, died as a proud Jew and is currently facing his creator as a Jew, blessed, accepted and redeemed. For the record, let it be clear: Danny did not choose to be baptized, nor did his family consent to this uncalled-for ritual.”

Pearl’s widow, Mariane, who is a Buddhist, called the posthumous baptism “a lack of respect for Danny and a lack of respect for his parents,” and echoed Wiesel in calling for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, a Mormon, to apologize on behalf of the church.


Danny’s parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, reflect on his life and last words in this webcam video shot 1/18/2007 in the kitchen of their Encino, CA home.

Daniel, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was murdered in Karachi, Pakistan on February 1, 2002.

In a widely-circulated video, Danny proudly affirmed his identity as a Jew and Zionist, last words that have inspired books, movies and music.

Maybe they’ll inspire you.

For more information, visit the Daniel Pearl Foundation at DanielPearl.org.

Video by Dennis Wilen for JewishJournal.com

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