Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah will be holding a Seder this week.
Avraham Gileadi, a Hebrew scholar and Mormon, will lead “A Passover for Joseph and Judah” at Provo’s Scenic View Academy on Friday. The Hebraeus Foundation is sponsoring the Seder.
The Book of Mormon, which the members of the religion abide by, along with the Old and New Testaments, claims that Israelites migrated to the New World and were the ancestors of Native Americans.
Latter-day Saints believe that the founder of their church, Joseph Smith Jr. translated this holy book from golden plates which was revealed by an angel in the 1820s and thereby restored authentic Christianity. The book tells the story of a family who leaves Jerusalem for the Americas around 600 B.C. In 1841, Smith sent
Apostle Orson Hyde to Jerusalem to dedicate the land for Smith’s prophecy of the Jews’ return to Zion. A park on the Mount of Olives commemorates Hyde’s pilgrimage.
Relations between the two faiths have been strained over the Mormon practice of posthumous baptisms, which include the baptism of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps. Holocaust survivors have said the church repeatedly violated an agreement banning the practice. Leaders of the Mormon Church have said that they are making changes to their genealogical database in order to make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy.
Jewish leaders in Utah say that they have no problem with Mormons sitting down to a Seder at which Mormon men will wear yarmulkes on their heads and all will follow along in a Haggadah. One major exception is that wine won’t make it onto the dining tables since Mormons don’t drink alcohol.