Mormon leaders reminded church members Saturday about the importance of performing ceremonial baptisms on dead ancestors who didn't receive the ordinance while alive. It's a practice unique to the faith that came under fire in the past from Jews when they discovered Holocaust victims, including Anne Frank, were being baptized. Henry Eyring told a worldwide audience during a twice-yearly Mormon conference in Salt Lake City that God wants all his children "home again, in families and in glory." He encouraged listeners to use the religion's massive genealogical database to trace their roots, reports the AP. Ceremonial baptisms occur when a member brings an ancestor's name to a temple.
Mormons believe the ritual allows deceased people a way to the afterlife if they choose to accept what they see as an offering of love. The belief that families are sealed for eternity is one of the faith's core tenets. The practice is becoming more common because young church members have embraced it, said Eyring, a member of a top governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Separately, the AP reports church president Thomas S. Monson on Sunday announced the 15.8 million-member Mormon church plans to build five more temples across the globe: in Saratoga Springs, Utah; Brasilia, Brazil; the greater Manila area of the Philippines; Nairobi, Kenya; and Pocatello, Idaho. (Read more Mormon stories.)