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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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Rival Mission Presidents in Germany

The Mormon Church is very well known for having a very well-organized institution. It wasn’t always the case though. It turns out that J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay called a mission president to Berlin, while President Grant who was in Europe at the time called a different man to be mission president. Both mission presidents arrived in Berlin. What happens next? Dr. David Nelson tells a very interesting story about rival mission presidents in the Berlin, Germany mission.

David:  Heber J. Grant was in Germany.  What he was doing is he was celebrating 100 years of Mormonism in Europe, so he is on a 3 month tour of Germany, the prophet, seer, and revelator, Heber J. Grant.  He comes to Bern, Switzerland where the mission home is for what was known as then, the Swiss-German mission, later on became the West German mission.  He stays with Swiss-German mission, Philemon Kelly, who was a kindly man, a doctor from Idaho, a physician, medical doctor.  Sometime during stay, Pres Grant goes to Pres. Kelly and says, “How you like to be the mission president in Berlin?”

That’s a plum assignment.  Philemon Kelly [said], “I’ll take it.”  He packed up and he’s gone.

At same time while President Grant is gone from Salt Lake City, David O. McKay and J. Reuben Clark are calling Albert C. Rees to be the mission president in Berlin, the same city.  The newspapers in Salt Lake City give goodbye editorials to Alfred C. Rees because he’s one of them.  He’s part of the newspaper industry there.  There’s no doubt he is going to Berlin, but when he gets to Berlin he finds Philemon Kelly and his wife already installed in the mission home in the Tiergarten and Kelly won’t give it up.

In my book I write for a month or a month and a half, these two guys are competing.  No way Rees could turn around and take the consolation prize in Frankfurt, so he goes and rents a home, which the mission has to pay for, down the street and we have rival mission presidents in Berlin for this period of time.

Who won?  You’ll have to listen to find out!  Dr. Nelson also discusses some LDS interactions with Adolph Hitler.

David:  You had a situation that happened there where some 900 German adolescent girls, not Mormons, but 900 adolescent girls came home from rally pregnant, unmarried girls ages 14-17.  There was an investigation.  In 400 cases they could not determine who father was because girl had multiple sexual partners.  This caused a stir and quite a bit of controversy in a police state.  You don’t raise a lot of heck in Nazi Germany.  You don’t go around screaming to people to supervise these kids better because you don’t scream at anybody in that type of a situation.

Elizabeth Welker writes letter to Gertrud Schultz-Klink and expresses some worries about that.  A couple of Klink’s assistants get in touch with her and agree to let her tour some youth camps, so she can see for herself the level of discipline enforced, and level of supervision at youth camps.  One of these trips, Shultz-Klink is in the limousine with Adolph Hitler because Adolph Hitler is going out to see the camps himself.  Shultz-Klink gets picked up, and she is in the same car with Hitler.  They go out there and they inspect this camp.  There were a couple of other times under Schultz-Klink’s underlings came out at took her to other took to other youth meetings.  In the end Elizabeth Welker is just absolutely bamboozled, and believes German adolescent girls are the best teenage girls in world, and they are being led better than anybody else, certainly a lot better than our permissive situation in the United States.

Welker writes an article on the moral status of German girls in the Improvement Era!  Check out our conversation…..

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Ailing Church Leaders: “Not Ideal Governance”

I enjoyed our latest conversation with Greg Prince.  We talked about incapacitation of church leaders due to medical factors.  Is this a problem in our church ailing church leaders having such an advanced age and becoming incapacitated due to medical issues?

Greg: So, if you’re just looking at this from a medical standpoint, it’s inevitable that incapacitation of an LDS Church president will be both more frequent and longer lasting.  In a fast-paced, complex world with a growing church, that may not give you the ideal governance.  So the question is, what do you do about it?

What we did about it is to say look.  Here’s the medicine involved in this, period.  If they choose to address the situation at some point, it’s their call.  But what we can say with a high level of confidence, because we looked at this through the eyes of medicine is, this is the situation.  It’s going to happen more frequently, and last longer.

Now a few month ago, Greg took some flak over a comment he made about church policies changing.  He made a similar comment to me when I asked if he saw the succession policy changing.

GT:  Do you ever see this policy changing?

Greg:  I see virtually anything changing because I have seen everything change.  I’m not aware of a single LDS doctrine of any significance that from 1830 forward has gone completely unchanged.  You’d think a lot of them would, but it turns out, no there were some substantial changes in many cases very early on.  If you just look at the First Vision narratives, you see the evolution of Joseph Smith’s theology of deity, and it’s taking place in a very rapid fashion and in a very dramatic fashion.

It wasn’t just nibbling at the periphery.  He was going through evolutionary leaps in the way that he portrayed the godhead.  That was reflected in his subsequent retellings of the story of the First Vision.  Each time he told it anew, it incorporated the then current version of his theology of deity.  That’s why those different versions are telling different stories, because they became theological narratives rather than historical narratives.

What do you think?  Are LDS policies changing?  Has there really been no LDS point of theology that hasn’t changed significantly over the history of the church?  Don’t forget to talk about our previous conversation on the leadership vacuums caused by extended periods of incapacitation.  Check out the conversation…