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Dutch parliamentarians debate Mormon proxy baptisms

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – Do Dutch archive depositories allow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, microfilm or copy Dutch records, knowing they could be used as a source of information for the Mormon ritual of proxy baptism? Some Dutch provincial archive centres approve because they benefit from the service and do not have to fund this work themselves. Other centres emphatically reject the Mormon offer. Although the Second Chamber membership is overwhelmingly secular or nominal Christian, it heeded the urgings of Christian Democrat member Ger Koopmans to debate the question of proxy baptism. Koopmans was not satisfied with the answers of conservative liberal Junior Minister Halbe Zijlstra who argued that the deceased do not have a right to privacy. The Mormon church cannot be denied access to archival data without grounds, which would violate freedom of religion. Also, continued the minister, it is difficult to determine afterwards what the information was used for. Zijlstra’s party, the VVD, along with Dutch Labour, GreenLeft, and the Party for Animals concluded that archivists should think twice before involving the Mormons in doing their work. According to the reports, Mormons have baptized the late Dutch Princess Juliana and other members of the Royal family by proxy. The Mormons extended their proxy baptism also to widely-known Holocaust-victim Anne Frank.