Mormons reportedly baptized slain WSJ reporter

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is seen in this undated file photo. Getty

(CBS News) The revelation that slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nearly a decade after his death prompted Mormon officials to call the baptism a "serious breach of protocol," the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

Pearl, who was Jewish, was killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002 after being kidnapped while on assignment for the Journal. An excommunicated Mormon uncovered records that Mormons baptized Pearl by proxy in a Twin Falls, Idaho, temple last June, the Globe reported.

The practice of posthumous baptisms intends to provide members of other religions a chance at salvation after their deaths, the Globe reported. Earlier this month, the church apologized for the baptisms of a Jewish rights advocate's parents. In 1995, it said it would stop baptizing Holocaust victims.

Upon learning of her husband's baptism, Pearl's widow Mariane Pearl echoed calls for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, to use his front-runner status in the Republican presidential primary race to publicly oppose the practice.

"It's a lack of respect for Danny and a lack of respect for his parents," she told the Globe.

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The church has defended the practice by saying that the baptisms only offer the deceased an opportunity to accept Mormonism in the afterlife. In the case of Pearl's baptism, the church came out against it because a relative didn't perform the rite.

"In a few instances, names have been submitted in violation of policy," church spokesman Michael Purdy said in a statement to the Globe. "Whether this is done by simple error or for other reasons, the Church considers these submissions to be a serious breach of protocol. It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church's policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention."

Read the full Boston Globe article here

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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