Ancestral File: Mormon rites?

Gary Mokotoff, editor of “Nu? What’s New? The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu,” kicked off his first issue of the new year with this information:

Ancestral File To Be Used for Mormon Rituals?

Since 1978, the Mormon Church has been encouraging genealogists, Mormon and otherwise, to contribute to Ancestral File, a database of more than 35 million people on the family trees of these genealogists. I contributed the Mokotow family tree in the 1980s and since then have confirmed, from time to time, that no Mormon rites have been performed on these individuals.

It appears the Church has had a change of heart and may be planning to posthumously baptize people whose names have been contributed by genealogists to Ancestral File. The New FamilySearch database includes all these names, which was expected. What was not expected is that the religious ordinance section of New FamilySearch shows that members of the Mokotow family have a status of “Ready.” It was confirmed that Jewish names in Ancestral File on other family trees also have a status of Ready.

Meanwhile Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch, a Mormon, received publicity in December due to his creation of a song “Eight Days of Hanukkah.” You can hear it at This act had a significant backlash from the Jewish community. Typical was the comment, “If Senator Orrin Hatch loves Jews so much, he should intervene on their behalf to halt the wrongful posthumous baptism of Jewish dead (including Holocaust victims). It continues, despite repeated denials by the disingenuous Mormon leadership.”

Helen Radkey added in her own email to interested persons:

Please read the opening piece of the attached newsletter which claims that Ancestral File is being used for Mormon rituals. From research I supplied to Gary Mokotoff, I can verify that the claims he makes in his report on the topic are accurate. Please note the names extracted from Ancestral File that now show as “Ready” in the New Family Search are Jewish names.

Thank you, Gary and Helen. Subscribe to Gary’s “Nu? What’s New” at the link above.

NOTE: There are safe places for your Jewish family tree to be preserved, where your ancestors will not be subjected to such rites. The new project partnership of and Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, Israel) is one, Family Tree of the Jewish People (at is another.


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