SALT LAKE CITY - A whistleblower organization has released documents indicating Mormon church members performed baptisms and other temple ordinances on behalf of President Trump’s dead parents and grandparents.
The records are the latest from MormonLeaks, a group styled after Wikileaks that regularly publishes non-public documents and videos about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The onscreen records indicate the president’s parents—Frederick and Mary Ann Trump—had baptisms for the dead and other temple ordinances performed on their behalf. They also show the religious ordinances were done for Trump’s grandparents—Friedrich and Elizabeth Trump.
The online records were taken from the LDS Church genealogical site, FamilySearch.
“While the LDS Church has the right to perform these ordinances, I think that the people, the relatives of these people that it is being done for, should know that is occurring and that is not the case right now,” Ryan McKnight, MormonLeaks Founder told KSTU. “If it’s not a big deal, then it shouldn’t be a big deal for Trump to know about it.”
KSTU contacted the White House but did not receive any return calls regarding whether or not President Trump knows about LDS ordinances or had any sort of reaction to it.
The LDS Church did not issue a statement about the records but did point to this information on the church’s website:
"Any rite performed in a Latter-day Saint temple on behalf of a deceased person, who yet lives as a spirit being, is a rite of offering only, exacting no forced compliance nor acceptance of the rite. There is no imposed change of identity, heritage or religious belief, nor is the individual’s name added to the membership rolls of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
In 1995 Jewish leaders were outraged to learn that baptisms for the dead were being done on behalf of Holocaust victims. After lengthy discussions between LDS and Jewish leaders, the LDS Church agreed to stop the practice.
However, in 2012 it was discovered that baptisms for the dead were still being done for Holocaust victims—including Anne Frank and Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal. The LDS Church apologized, removed 300,000 victims’ names from its records, and later issued this statement:
“Church members are encouraged to request temple baptism only on behalf of their relatives. However, well-meaning Church members sometimes bypass this instruction and submit the names of non-relatives for temple baptism. These rare acts are contrary to Church policy.”
The Mormon whistle blowing organization said the LDS Church could avoid any controversy by making all of the records public.
“Mormonleaks is not taking a position that Mormons should not be performing proxy baptisms,” added McKnight. “As long as the public has access to see who has received the proxy ordinances then they have met their burden of transparency.”
More information about the records can be found online here. Additional information from the LDS Church and baptisms for the dead can be found here.