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Before Hitler: German Persecution of LDS Church (Part 2)

(Problem with previous post, so this is a fix.)  On December 11, 1941, Germany declared war on the United States.  I’m sure it was an awful Christmas that year.  This is the 76th anniversary of the declaration of war.  In our next conversation, we’ll talk to Dr. David Conley Nelson and he’ll talk about German persecution of Mormon missionaries in Germany before Hitler.

David:  When the golden spike was driven in Promontory Point, [Utah] and two railroads were connected in 1870s-1880s, one German newspaper said the government was doing that so they could send a train to Utah with troops to put down the Mormon rebellion.  So in that particular atmosphere, a lot of local policemen would round up Mormon missionaries.  They would put them in jail for a day and then let them loose, or a local judge would tell them that they could have a suspended sentence and go home, charged with what?  I don’t know.

GT:  These were just trumped up charges.

David:  If they would just leave the country.  Well what they would do, is that a missionary would get kicked out of Bavaria, so he’d go to Saxony instead of leaving and go home.  A Saxon missionary, American missionary being kicked out would go to Bavaria and replace them.

Just prior to Hitler taking over Germany, there was a question about who would take over Germany:  the Communists or the Nazis.

David:  The mission presidents are writing these letters home saying, we’re afraid for the church for the national socialists and the communists battling for power in the streets.

Don’t forget to listen to our introduction on this topic.  Check out our conversation…..

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German Police Monitored LDS Church

Today, December 11, marks the 76th anniversary since Germany declared war on the United States.  I’m sure that was a sobering time.  Dr. David Conley Nelson has written a book, Moroni & the Swastika, that details how Germans, as well as the LDS Church reacted to the war.  David has an interesting background.  He not only flies as an airline pilot, but has a Ph.D. in history as well.  He’s got some really interesting insights on German LDS history.  Did you know that the Whitmers, like David Whitmer and all those brothers that saw the Book of Mormon, spoke with German accents?

David:  Peter and Mary Whitmer both spoke English with a pronounced German accent.  Mary Whitmer, the mother, was born in Germany.  Peter was born in the United States.  Before they were converted to Mormonism, they were members of a reformed congregation.  Their first three children, their birth certificates are in German.  There has been a lot of German spoken in the United States for a long time.  There were official records in German language schools only up until about the First World War.

GT:  Here in the United States?

David:  Here in the United States, yes.

GT:  Oh wow.

David:  So yes it’s not surprising that the Whitmers brought a lot of their German heritage with them and hung on to the language for a while, but eventually they were Anglophones.  But at least in their lifetime they spoke it with a pronounced German accent.

We’ll learn more about the Mormon Church in Germany and see if Mormons suffered persecution.

David:  In fact the Germans and the Prussian secret police were so effective that they knew when missionaries were dispatched from Salt Lake City in making their way to the east coast to catch a ship to come to Germany.  They knew because they had a secret police network among immigrants in the United States.

Check out our conversation…..

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When Did LDS Start Ordaining Young Men?

Earlier this summer, one of my guests, Jim Vun Cannon of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, asked me why the LDS Church ordained youth to the Aaronic Priesthood.  At the time I said I need to talk to Greg Prince because he’ll probably have an answer.  Now is my chance.  In our next conversation, we’ll talk about the evolution of LDS Priesthood.  When and why is it that the LDS Church decided to ordain young men to the priesthood?

Greg:  My recollection is that I think it was 1904.  Joseph Keeler published a book under the direction of the First Presidency, that’s stated in the preface, and I’m blocking on what the name of it was but it was almost a general handbook of instructions.  I think it was Lesser Priesthood and Church Governance[1] (or something like that.)  It went through two editions and he changed the title later on.

But as far as I can tell, that was the first time when ages were prescribed for ordination into the Aaronic Priesthood.  Initially it was 12, 15, and 18 for Deacon, Teacher, and Priest.

Don’t forget to check out our discussion about early LDS Priesthood offices.  Check out our conversation…..

[1] See