Jewish, Mormon leaders issue joint statement on proxy baptism

Jewish and Mormon leaders issued a joint statement today acknowledging that concerns between members of both groups over a sensitive doctrinal issue have been eliminated.

According to the statement, which was issued to news media simultaneously in New York and Salt Lake City, The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants had pointed out to the Church that its practice of proxy baptism had "unintentionally caused pain" due to the inclusion of names of Holocaust victims in the religious rite.

Today's statement indicates that a breakthrough has been possible because of new computer systems that change the way in which such names are submitted. It credits "dialogue and extraordinary efforts of the Church," as well as "policy initiatives" with resolving the issue.

"It is gratifying that the good faith efforts undertaken over the years to deal with an important issue of sensitivity to the Jewish Holocaust survivor community have eliminated a source of tension between our two groups, enhancing our ability to cooperate, including important programs of humanitarian aid across the world," the statement says.

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