--Glowing Nazi-era LDS Church news articles and publications trumpeting the "positives" of Hitler and Nazism;
--Enthusiastic endorsements of Hitler from Mormon missionaries and members alike;
--Orders from Salt Lake City that Mormons refrain from criticizing the Nazis; and
--Modern-day mealy-mouth Mormon rationlizations for LDS compliance and cooperation with the Nazis.
Together, they speak disgustingly for themselves:
"Dec 9,1933 - [Less than a year after Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany,] 'Church News' article 'Mormonism in The New Germany,' enthusiastically emphasizes parallels 'between the LDS Church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists.' First, Nazis have introduced 'Fast Sunday.' Second, 'it is a very well known fact that Hitler observes a form of living which Mormons term the Word of Wisdom. Finally, due to the importance given to the racial question by Nazis and the almost necessity of proving that one's grandmother was not a Jewess, there no longer is resistance against genealogical research by German Mormons who now have received letters of encouragement complimenting them for their patriotism.'
"Jan 25, 1936 - 'Church News' Section photograph of LDS basketball team in Germany giving 'Sieg Heil' salute of Nazi Party."
("Great Moments in Mormon History," at: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_history.htm
**Editor's Note: Below (again, with special thanks to the valuable research of RfM poster "atheist&happy"), are stunning and disturbing excerpts from the LDS "Church News" article authored by Dale Clark, "Mormonism in The New Germany," which is back-inserted into this post:
" . . . ("The 'Deseret News' - Dec 9, 1933," at: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=Aul-kAQHnToC&dat=19331209&printsec=frontpage
, pp. 19 & 21 in Google [pp. 3 & 7 in the 'Church Section' of the 'Deseret News'])
"'Mormonism in The New Germany'
"'The rise of the Hitler movement in Germany caused a great many to fear that religious activity and missionary work would meet with disastrous opposition. Since the National Socialist party have come to power a few sects have been prohibited or restricted, but activities in the “Mormon” church have been carried on about the same as before. As a matter of fact, a number of interesting parallels can be seen between the church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists.
"'A friend of the church in Danzig tells of how a number of his Nazi friends were trying to high-pressure him into getting on the band wagon under the Swastika. Their trump card to show the originality and political genius of the Hitler party was the brilliant method they have undertaken to put over the charity drive for this winter. To them it was phenomenal; to the friend, however, it was just another application of the effective method that has been in use in the “Mormon” church for decades. The Nazis have introduced 'Fast Sunday.'
"On the first Sunday of October two missionaries, having had nothing to eat for a day, rushed down to their regular eating place in high expectation for the unusually juicy 'Wiener Schnitzel' they expected to get. What they got was a little bowl of cold gruel with a little dumpling. This was German Fast day. On this day a meal consisting of a one bowl portion is all that is to be eaten and the price of a meal is expected to be donated to the winter charity fund. It is a well organized campaign. It is designed not only to alleviate the acute poverty, but it has the important purpose of developing that spirit of sacrifice that is so being stressed in the new Germany, and also of creating more of a feeling of unity and brotherhood through voluntary mutual help. Someone in each apartment is delegated to collect the money and turn it over to the authorities.
"'There is another noticeable trend in the “Mormon” direction. It is a very well known fact that Hitler observes a form of living which “Mormons” term the “Word of Wisdom.” He will not take alcohol, does not smoke, and is very strict about his diet, insisting on plain and wholesome foods, largely vegetarian.
"'As a specimen of physical endurance Hitler can easily take his place along side the athletes who are usually taken as classic examples. His 14-year struggle which brought him the power in Germany put him to a terrific physical strain. Besides the great responsibility there has been trials and conflict, and campaigning so strenuous that it has required the attention night and day, many times making it necessary for him to travel great distances by auto or plane, catching up on his sleep underway to fit him for the multitudes who would gather to hear him wherever he had time to stop.
"'A lady who was at several dinners that Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the conquerer of Berlin, attended told me that the rich assortment of liquors on hand were never there for his benefit. It was always necessary to serve him non-alcoholic drinks.
"'These two colorful leaders of the new Germany, in their gigantic struggle for political supremacy have needed capable bodies and clear brains and have trained like athletes. Their very popularity is making intemperance more unpopular. The fact that they are worshiped may be one big reason for a growing dislike for smoking and drinking in Germany today.
"'Posters from youth organizations fighting the use of tobacco have actually appeared on the street. This same movement has even extended itself to the use of cosmetics and its effectiveness may be seen by the fact that a woman recently told me that the slump in the cosmetic business was the cause of her losing her job.
"'Many of those who felt the greatest anxiety about being able to carry on their religious activities are finding that at least one branch of their church work has received its greatest boon since Germany’s adoption of Hitlerism. It was always difficult for Genealogical workers to get into the archives of the recognized church to trace back family records. When the pastor learned of the intention access to the records was often denied. Now, due to the importance given to the racial question, and the almost necessity of proving that one’s grandmother was not a Jewess, the old record books have been dusted off and stand ready and waiting for use. No questions are asked. In fact, some of the Saints instead of being refused by the pastors now have received letters of encouragement complimenting them for their patriotism.
"'All genealogical workers who are interesting in tracing back family history in Germany should take advantage of the present unusual opportunity.' . . .
"January 25 1936 photograph on p. 17 in Google [scroll to p. 17]:
("The 'Deseret News' - Jan 25, 1936," at: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=Aul-kAQHnToC&dat=19360125&printsec=frontpage
RfM poster "atheist&happy" adds this telling inconvenient chronology for Mormons who claim they really didn't know what a bad guy Hitler was in the early years of his chancellorship:
"Here is a timeline for 1933 of some of Hitler’s 'accomplishments' before [the 'Mormonism and the New Germany'] article was written:
("The History Place: Holocaust Timeline," at: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html
"January 30, 1933 - Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany a nation with a Jewish population of 566,000.
"February 22, 1933 - 40,000 SA and SS men are sworn in as auxiliary police.
"February 27, 1933 - Nazis burn Reichstag building to create crisis atmosphere.
"February 28, 1933 - Emergency powers granted to Hitler as a result of the Reichstag fire.
"March 22, 1933 - Nazis open Dachau concentration camp near Munich, to be followed by Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany, Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany, and Ravensbrück for women.
"March 24, 1933 - German Parliament passes Enabling Act giving Hitler dictatorial powers.
"See also: 'The History Place - Rise of [Adolf] Hitler' [at: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/index.html
"April 1, 1933 - Nazis stage boycott of Jewish shops and businesses.
"April 11, 1933 - Nazis issue a Decree defining a non-Aryan as 'anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan . . . especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith.'
"April 26, 1933 - The Gestapo is born, created by Hermann Göring in the German state of Prussia.
"May 10, 1933 - Burning of books in Berlin and throughout Germany.
"July 14, 1933 - Nazi Party is declared the only legal party in Germany; Also, Nazis pass Law to strip Jewish immigrants from Poland of their German citizenship.
"In July - Nazis pass law allowing for forced sterilization of those found by a Hereditary Health Court to have genetic defects.
"In September - Nazis establish Reich Chamber of Culture, then exclude Jews from the Arts.
"September 29, 1933 - Nazis prohibit Jews from owning land.
"October 4, 1933 - Jews are prohibited from being newspaper editors.
"November 24, 1933 - Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps."
(posted by "atheist&happy:-)," "'Mormonism in the New Germany' article, etc.," Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board, 3 December 2010, 05:24 a.m.)
Was this general blind-eye Mormon submission to and sympathy for "Hitler, the Man and the Goals" an uncharacteristic coincidence, an inexplicable fluke of history?
Hardly, given that a sizeable number of German (and other) Mormons expressed open, unabashed support for the Third Reich's master-racer.
"Hitler and the [Latter-day] Saints
"For Latter-day Saints, survival in Nazi Germany took a variety of twists and turns. The missionaries were allowed to teach the gospel up until they were withdrawn in 1939 at the beginning of the war in Europe.
"In fact, during the Hitler regime the Church received some favorable press. After some discussion with American governmental leaders, missionaries were allowed to purchase registered deutsche marks, which they received at a better exchange rate. At the same time, though, missionary work was limited, some tracts could not be distributed because of their comments about Zion and Jews, some songs about Zion could not be sung in meetings, and the Church youth program was essentially eliminated since all young Germans were required to be part of Hitler Youth. Because they had both successes and failures with Nazis, the missionaries’ views of Hitler and the National Socialist party were both positive and negative.
"Missionaries’ Positive Views of Hitler
"Elmer Stettler, the son of Swiss immigrants to Logan, Utah, who served a mission in Germany during the 1930s, summarized some of the positive views that missionaries had of Hitler.
"He recalled: 'When we came home [from our missions], we loved the German people. We didn’t see anything wrong with what they were doing. We liked Hitler. We would just eat up articles where some of his news people were showing how the pioneers were organized into groups. They were tying our LDS history into kicking the Germans out of their colonies in Africa. We used it for material to disseminate the gospel.' . . .
"Other LDS Americans were impressed by Hitler and his ability to speak and motivate people. Wendell C. Irvine wrote in an article in the [official Mormon Church magazine] 'Improvement Era' that despite all of Hitler’s weaknesses, 'the greatest thing that could be said of him, however, might well be inscribed on his tombstone, ‘Adolf Hitler Orator.’“[. . .
"Sanford Bingham, a missionary at the same time as my father, felt the same way. After listening to one of Hitler’s speeches after Germany took over Austria, Bingham concluded, 'I’m afraid if I stayed here a few more years I would become completely Nazified myself.' . . .
"John M. Russon, who was also on a mission in Germany, recalled the positive press that the Church received during the Hitler regime. He explained, 'So we missionaries didn’t have all that harsh a feeling toward Hitler except, of course, for the dictatorship, which was opposed to our basic principie of free agency.' . . .
"Roy Welker and his wife, Elizabeth, were especially persuaded by Hitler because he seemed to like the Church. Roy Welker recalled in an oral history interview, 'My personal opinion was that Hitler was very much impressed with the LDS faith and Church and its practices.' . . . He recalled that when he went to Germany in 1934 Hitler was just coming to power and that he and his wife didn’t know what would happen.
"He added: 'As things unfolded, we saw ourselves more favorably situated than we had anticipated and we were happily surprised. Then when Mother [Roy’s wife, Elizabeth] got in with this national women’s organization and was indirectly associated with Hitler, it was a great relief to us. . . . Things went along well; we didn’t have any trouble to speak of.' . . .
"In an article published in the 'Improvement Era' in 1936, Welker answered the question, 'How fares the Church in Germany?' He explained that the missionaries were 'disinterested in politics, but tremendously interested in life and life’s happiness' and were 'ceaselessly carry[ing] the message of cheer and hope to everyone who is willing in the least measure to listen.'. . . When the Welkers returned from their mission, Elizabeth Welker spoke occasionally about her experiences. Her comment was, 'You may hate Hitler, but you have to acknowledge he is doing things.'
"She praised his work with the youth and his attempts to make them a 'superior race.' She explained that the only problem he had with Jews was that they seemed to hold so much of the world’s wealth. She concluded that the Nazis’ views of Jews 'may be wrong, but they are certainly sincere,' adding that whatever the Germans did to the Jews, they did not lynch them as 'America does the Negro.' . . .
"P. M. Kelly, the mission president in the Swiss-German Mission, also reported about the Jewish situation in Germany when he returned from his mission. After pointing out racial problems in the United States and the extreme poverty amidst great wealth, Kelly said that the Americans should not be too hard on the Germans. He was not saying that the Germans were 'free from guilt. What he did was to try to see Germany from the Germans’ point view.' . . .
"Some missionaries talked about the positive things that Hitler had done for Germany. Kelly explained that Hitler united a splintered country with 32 political parties after World War I with the slogan 'one government, one people, one leader.' . . .
"Two missionaries from Provo wrote to their hometown paper appealing for 'a more tolerant view' of Germany and praising the German people: 'They are doing a masterful piece of impregnable building, due to the unity of purpose.' . . .
"Sanford Bingham elaborated on the same point. He wrote in his journal on 30 March 1936, '[Hitler] has really done a lot for this country.' He added in his oral history: 'That was the attitude that most of the missionaries, I think, had after they’d been there a while and got used to the restrictions. [They] thought, "My, everything is cleaned up. The streets are clean. There are no streetwomen walking the streets. Everyone is busy."' It seemed that everyone was employed, but he did not notice that 'most people were working, of course, to build up, to rearm Germany.' There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm among the people, although it was sometimes 'artificial.' . . .
"Usually the positive comments about Hitler involved what many missionaries saw as similarities between Hitlers plans and Church programs. Missionaries reasoned about why the Church was allowed to continue in Germany and came up with a variety of responses. According to Sanford Bingham, 'The missionaries had the impression that we were a favored church in Germany . . . because . . . the missionaries had conversed with Hitler and . . . that his buddy in the First World War was LDS. Those stories were being told all over the mission.' . . .
"Bingham recalled having to tract by himself shortly after arriving on his mission. He recorded in his journal on 9 January 1936 that he met a lady who seemed to be able to understand his German. 'I told her of Joseph Smith, about the Word of Wisdom, and that missionaries had visited Hitler.' Bingham added, 'This was all supposition on my part. I had no proof.' . . .
"The missionaries believed that elements of Church practices started appearing in the Nazi government shortly after Church tracts were confiscated. . . . Others said that the top German officials had received copies of the Book of Mormon and other Church documents. Missionaries believed that Hitler had read the Book of Mormon. . . . Articles in Church magazines and newspapers noted, 'A number of interesting parallels can be seen between the church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists.' . . .
"The similarities between Mormons and Hitler ranged from views of the family, the importance of marriage, the strength of the educational system, the courage of the Mormon pioneers, the sense of the Word of Wisdom, the wisdom of a fast day to help the poor, the value of youth programs and the need to do genealogy. . . . A summary of the arguments for a fast day and genealogy show the pattern.
"Roy Welker recalled in an oral history interview: ‘Tve felt that this fast day that he established--that’s what it amounted to in the contributions for aiding the poor and so forth--he borrowed from the Church. Mrs. Welker felt that way, too, as she traveled with his ladies.' . . .
"Dale Clark published an article in the 'Deseret News' that referred to the fast day as 'a well organized campaign . . . designed not only to alleviate the acute poverty, but [to] develop that spirit of sacrifice that is so being stressed in the new Germany and also of creating more of a feeling of unity and brotherhood through voluntary mutual help.' . . .
"An article in the 'Millennial Star' also compared the Church’s fast day to the German plan. The article concluded: 'It is indeed singular that a comparison of the details of the two systems of organized fasting shows them to be so nearly identical. Perhaps that part of the message of the Restored Gospel may have been directly or indirectly the inspiration and the model for the new scheme adopted by the German Government—perhaps not. But evident, at least, is the fact that consciously or unconsciously, the people of the world are discovering that the Lord’s way is best. The leaven of the Gospel is spreading.' . . .
"Missionaries described the fast day. Fred Duersch Sr. recalled, 'The first of every month [Hitler] instigated the one-pot meal, that is one pot with everything cooked together. Everybody got the same thing. The Hitler Youth would go around with their cans and people would donate ten Pfenning in those cans. . . . Duersch and another missionary Walter Jaggi were not sure that the money actually went to help the poor, though. According to Duersch, 'It was reported that every month they collected enough to build another warship.' . . . Jaggi added that the differences between the cost of the one-pot meal and a regular meal 'went to support the poor supposedly, but again a lot of it went to support the build up of the army.' . . .
"With Hitler’s attempts to create a superior race, Church members for the first time were encouraged in their genealogy work in Germany. Roy Welker recalled in October 1934 that he went to the University of Berlin to discuss genealogy work. The professor invited the mission president along with other Church leaders to join a genealogical! society and then 'paid high tribute to the Mormons, stating that they understood the work of genealogy better than any people they knew and that their purpose for seeking it is high and worthy.' . . .
"According to an article by James M. Kirkham in the 'Church News,' 'Mr. Hitler, through government agencies, is helping the Germans find their ancestors.' Kirkham pointed out that 'to prove that he is a pure blood German for at least four generations or back until 1800 is the desire of each resident.' As a result, more resources were available to do genealogy. . . .
"With this new emphasis, records were opened up for the first time and members were encouraged rather than discouraged to use them. Some even received letters from pastors complimenting the Saints for their patriotism. . . .
"Roy Welker recalled his pleasant surprise when Church members were asked to do a radio broadcast on genealogy in 1935. 'We were shocked with the announcement of such an opportunity having taken it for granted that since the government regulates the radio any opportunity for us of its use was out of the question. We are in happy anticipation of an opportunity.' . . .
"Missionaries and Germany Overall
"For the most part the missionaries had very little contact with the German government. As early as 1933 missionaries were cautioned not to speak or write of politics. . . . Elder John A. Widtsoe asked the missionaries not to be discouraged about missionary work, saying, 'This troubled time is a time to share the gospel.' . . .
"This policy continued according to President Welker. . . . A letter circulated to the presidents of the East and West German and Swiss—Austrian Missions explained that the German-speaking paper Der Stern 'should be confined to discussions and explanations of a purely religious character.'
"In 1938 Richard R. Lyman, then president of the European missions, reported in general conference that the missionaries lived by the twelfth article of faith, adding: 'They refrain from discussing government or governmental policies and they are all instructed positively not to participate in the politics of the countries where they labor. They are sent forth to give purpose to living, to improve the condition of the present and to inspire in the hearts of the people hope for the future.'
"My father tried to follow that advice. After giving a brief account of one of Hitler’s speeches in a letter to his parents, my father added, 'But enough of politics as I imagine that you now know more about it than I do. I don’t have much time to worry about the whole affair.'
"The American missionaries’ views of Hitler varied during the 1930s. Ralph Sanford Kelly wrote in his journal in 1933 that he saw Hitler drive by and then commented, 'I had seen Germany’s god.' . . .
"But Sanford Bingham wrote in his journal after attending a lecture in Basel, Switzerland, that 'the speaker’s main point was probably the fact that National Socialism is forcing the people to worship Hitler instead of God.' Bingham recorded, 'It was just a lot of bunk to me.' He added in the oral history interview, 'You see, at that time I thought that s really an exaggeration that Hitler was forcing the people to believe that he’s a god.' . . .]
"With a more complete picture of history, we can see that those who thought negatively of Hitler were probably right. Yet for those missionaries who grew to love the German people and wanted to share the gospel with them, tolerating Hitler seemed the best course of action at that time."
(Jessie L. Embry, "Deliverer or Oppressor: Missionaries’ Views of Hitler during the 1930s," in "Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Europe," under "3. Deliverer or Oppressor: Missionaries’ Views of Hitler during the 1930s," Brigham Young University, at: http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/regional-studies-latter-day-saint-church-history-europe/3-deliverer-or-oppressor-missionari
". . . [T]hose who thought negatively of Hitler were probably right"?
Wow. That's courageously sticking your neck out for the truth, you forthright Mormons, you.
Edited 44 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2010 04:43PM by steve benson.