Earlier this week, in conjunction with President Obama's meeting with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader Thomas Monson, Hotsheet noted a potentially awkward topic of conversation in the Oval Office: The unauthorized posthumous baptism into the Mormon faith of Mr. Obama's mother.
Now comes a report that Stanley Ann Dunham may not have been the only relative of the president to have been baptized into the church after death. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Mr. Obama's father, grandfather and great-grandfather may also have had a baptism ritual performed for them as well.
A researcher named Helen Radkey reportedly found records in the church's FamilySearch database that included personal identification numbers for Mr. Obama's father and other relatives. It is not clear whether an actual "baptism for the dead" ceremony was performed.
"Baptizing Obama's African relatives, or putting their names in the LDS temple system for them to be posthumously baptized, is offensive because it sends a wrongful message that Obama's ancestors were of inferior religious stock," Radkey told the paper.
The church declined to comment on the report. It has confirmed the baptism of Mr. Obama's mother but said it is "counter to Church policy for a Church member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related."
The church has removed 300,000 names, including Dunham's, from its Genealogical Index in response to complaints, according to the Tribune. Among those who have objected to the practice are Jewish groups upset with posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims.
Mormons believe that souls cannot enter heaven without being baptized and undergoing other sacraments.