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The Hübener Story You Didn’t Know

Many of you are probably familiar with the story of Helmuth Hübener.  He was the young German teenager that was executed by Adolf Hitler for treason.  It’s a wonderful story and BYU actually turned it into a play in the 1970s.  However, Church leaders were upset by the play and decided to suppress it.  Why was that?  Dr. David Conley Nelson details, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”  This is the story about Hübener you probably haven’t heard.

Elder Monson arrives and he takes in the play and he just doesn’t seem to be as happy according to other witnesses as the rest of them.  Word comes down two days later through Dallin Oaks, there will be no more productions of “Huebener Against the Reich.”  In fact, Thomas Rogers is prohibited from releasing—it’s his intellectual property, but he is prohibited from giving permission for anybody else to use that play.

GT: Wow.

David:  Furthermore, Alan Keele and Douglas Tobler are “asked” to put a hold on their research and not publish anything.  A couple of things have happened.  First off the German-American community got to Thomas Monson.  They don’t like it, they don’t like it at all because Hübener should not be considered a hero, he should be considered in some of their eyes an example of how not to behave.

What does Dr. Nelson believe?

The fact is, and this is my professional opinion, that Thomas Monson got it wrong because he didn’t know enough about German culture.  He was a real great knowledgeable guy about German-American Mormons, but he did not realize that it was in the church’s best interest.  If he thought it was the church’s best interest to suppress Hübener, he was just diametrically wrong.  It would have been in the church’s best interest to promote Hübener.

Find out what else Nelson said, and don’t forget to listen to our episodes on Jewish Genealogy and J. Reuben Clark!  Check out our conversation!

Since it’s the end of the year I wanted to ask a special favor.  We’re going to do a year-end review of all the fun interviews we’ve done here at Gospel Tangents, and I’d like to hear what was your most favorite interview, as well as what were the most surprising things you learned over this past year on Gospel Tangents?  You can email me at Gospel Tangents at gmail dot com or you can also check out this link https://kwiksurveys.com/s/zK1fouUh that I’ve got for a special survey.  I would like to include any comments you have in our year-end special.  It will be coming next week.  Please include that as soon as you can either by email or you can fill out the survey!  Thanks a lot.  I’d really appreciate it.

Take part in our online Survey on the Best of 2017 at Gospel Tangents

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How LDS Basketball & Genealogy Found Synergy with Hitler

When Adolf Hitler came to power, one of the things he wanted to do was to find Jews and Jewish ancestry.  He did this through genealogy.  Of course the LDS Church is very interested in genealogical research and used LDS basketball and genealogy to their advantage to leverage a better relationship with Hitler.

David:  We both know why Mormons do genealogy and that’s to research and eventually baptize ancestors who have passed away so they can receive temple ordinances and they can receive eternal exaltation.

We all know why the Germans did genealogy.  They did genealogy to identify anybody with Jewish blood so that the Jews could eventually be eliminated from the face of the earth.

It was just one of these things where the desires and needs of the church coincided with the desires and needs of the Nazi government.  The Mormons were not afraid to shout from the rooftops and put articles in the Deseret News back home with how wonderful it has become for the church now that the genealogy archives, doors have swung open, “so that everyone can prove their grandmother was not a Jewess.”

Was it a good idea for the LDS Church to help Hitler find Jews?

We’ll also talk about the 1936 Olympics.  How did Mormon missionaries help out with the German Olympic effort?  The answer is very interesting and Dr. David Nelson will tell us more about it in our next conversation.

The only people that knew anything about basketball in Germany at the time were a few foreign university students from the United States and Canada, and guess who?  The Mormon missionaries!

Check it out!

Since it’s the end of the year I wanted to ask a special favor.  We’re going to do a year-end review of all the fun interviews we’ve done here at Gospel Tangents, and I’d like to hear what was your most favorite interview, as well as what were the most surprising things you learned over this past year on Gospel Tangents?  You can email me at Gospel Tangents at gmail dot com or you can also check out this link https://kwiksurveys.com/s/zK1fouUh that I’ve got for a special survey.  I would like to include any comments you have in our year-end special.  It will be coming next week.  Please include that as soon as you can either by email or you can fill out the survey!  Thanks a lot.  I’d really appreciate it.

Take part in our online Survey on the Best of 2017 at Gospel Tangents

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J Reuben Clark’s Harsh Feelings About Jews

As Hitler came to power in Germany, how did the LDS Church respond?  In our next conversation, we’ll talk to Dr. David Nelson and we’ll talk specifically about how J Reuben Clark of the First Presidency dealt with Jews in Hitler’s Germany.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.  Nelson describes the political environment Clark grew up around.

David:  Yes, well J. Reuben Clark, you’re right.  He was pretty much against war to start off with because the Republicans in his period of time were isolationist.  They were very much against the League of Nations[1] after World War I and J. Reuben Clark was an old-style Republican.  But yes J. Reuben Clark was a xenophobe, a nativist, and an anti-Semite.

He had a long government career during Republican administrations and then he was in private practice as a lawyer when Woodrow Wilson served eight years as a Democrat as president after [Teddy] Roosevelt up until his [Roosevelt’s] death in 1921.  J. Reuben Clark was primarily a nativist and xenophobe, and he became, because of his experiences in the eastern United States, he became an anti-Semite.  When J. Reuben Clark gave the valedictory address at the University of Utah in 1898, the whole thing was filled with anti-immigrant sentiment.

Now this was not just J. Reuben Clark.  One of the bad things about American progressivism at the time, and don’t think of progressivism back then as progressive is used as the word today.  There were good things in progressivism, but there was a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment in progressivism.  Immigrants are coming over, they’re taking our jobs away from us and all that.

Find out what Clark said!  We’ll also talk about how he responded to both Jewish and non-Jewish immigration requests to the United States.  Check out our conversation…..

[1] This was a forerunner of the United Nations and was proposed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson as a reaction to World War I.