Wiesel to Mormon Church: Stop proxy baptisms of Jews

USA - The Mormon Church baptizes Jews against their will and without their knowledge after they are dead. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell gets reaction from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in an exclusive interview.

O'DONNELL: This morning, the Romney campaign woke up to a " Washington Post " headline that cannot be countered by a Romney super PAC attack ad. The headline said, " Elie Wiesel calls on Mitt Romney to make Mormon Church stop proxy baptisms of Jews ." That's right . The Mormon Church baptizes Jews against their will and without their knowledge after they are dead. The Mormon Church also baptizes people of many other religions after death and without their knowledge. A spokesman for the Mormon Church told us an e-mail today, "The foundation of the doctrine comes from Latter Day revelation through Joseph Smith -- who was the founder of the church -- by standing in as proxy for someone who has died, often one of his or her own ancestors, a church member may be baptized on behalf of that deceased person. In Latter-Day Saint belief, a person who has died retains the right to make choices in the next life and acceptance of the baptismal rite opens the way to continued progress. Baptisms for the dead are performed only in temples." The Mormon Church believes that only Mormons can enjoy the full benefits of heaven. And so, they have, over the years, been very busily performing baptisms for the dead . We don't have time to get in to the Mormon description of heaven, but it is unlike any description of heaven in any other religion. Needless to say, members of other religions have strong feelings about Mormon baptisms of the dead. Earlier tonight, Elie Wiesel , author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Holocaust survivor and the founder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity told me of how he learned of the Mormon practice.

ELIE WIESEL , HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR & AUTHOR: It began much before, a few queers ago. Two friends of mine, one of them a Holocaust who survivor who was together with me in Auschwitz . We learned about a procedure in the Mormon Church . I think 600,000, 650,000 dead Jews were converted posthumously. So we began to protest. It took us two years until they stopped it.

O'DONNELL: And then this week, a researcher found Elie Wiesel 's name on a list of people to be baptized after their death.

WIESEL: Mitt Romney , in my first interview, I said, look, Mitt Romney is a Mormon and I respect all religions, including the Mormon religion. How come he hasn't spoken up? I'm sure he is not involved in that. But nevertheless, the moment he heard about this, he should have spoken up because he's running for the presidency of the United States , which means it's too serious an issue for him to not speak up.

O'DONNELL: The Romney campaign has referred all questions on this to the Mormon Church . Over the years, Mormons baptized an untold number of dead people including Anne Frank , Adolf Hitler , Joseph Stalin , various presidents of the United States , and more recently Barack Obama 's mother. Elie Wiesel told me today that he got a call from a Mormon official who apologized and told him this will not happen again, at least to Elie Wiesel 's family.

WIESEL: my family's name all together for all the time to come. But really, to put us in the same category as Stalin and Hitler .