According to MormonLeaks, a Wikipedia-style website that publishes leaked information about the LDS church and its doings, has released documents which indicate that Mormons have posthumously baptized, by proxy, President Donald Trump’s dead parents and grandparents.
While not an expressly anti-Mormon entity, MormonLeaks describes itself as a “non profit media organization founded on the belief that increased transparency within the Mormon Church results in fewer untruths, less corruption, and less abuse within Mormonism.” Their goal is to provide a safe, anonymous way for whistleblowers, professional journalists, and private citizens to release sensitive information for “expanding news reporting, public commentary, and criticism related to Mormonism.”
The records published by MormonLeaks show online records stating that the President’s deceased parents, Frederick and Mary Ann Trump, as well as his grandparents, Friedrich and Elizabeth Trump, were recipients by proxy of LDS temple baptisms and other ordinances. The records were originally published on the LDS Church genealogical site, FamilySearch. Many FamilySearch documents, including the Trump family baptism records, are available for viewing only by LDS church members and are not open to the public.
“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,” said Ryan McKnight, MormonLeaks Founder. “If it’s not a big deal, then it shouldn’t be a big deal for Trump to know about it...As long as the public has access to see who has received the proxy ordinances then they have met their burden of transparency.”
Local news outlets have attempted to reach the President for comments on the issue but have not yet received an official response.
LDS Church officials did not issue a statement about the Trump baptisms, but did point Fox 13 News to the following explanation 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."
The posthumous baptism practice of the Mormons has drawn ire in the past. In 1995 Jewish leaders were appalled when it was discovered that Jewish victims of the Holocaust were receiving these LDS ordinances. The LDS Church discussed the matter with several synagogue leaders and agreed to stop the practice.
In 2012, however, it was uncovered that baptisms were still being performed for Holocaust victims, including Anne Frank and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. LDS officials once again apologized, removed 300,000 victims’ names from their records, and issued the following 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.”