When it Really Matters


June 15, 2014 by Tariq Khan

In 1937 LDS President Heber J. Grant visited Germany.  He instructed the members of the Church there to stay in Germany, not stir up trouble, and to be loyal and obedient citizens of their country, which at the time was under the rule of the Nazis.  Many German Mormons took this advice to heart.  Some were enthusiastic members of the Nazi Party.  Branch President Arthur Zander for example had church members listen to Hitler’s speeches on the radio in church, and he placed a sign on the entrance to the Church that said, “Jews Are Not Allowed To Enter!”  The irony was that under such a rule, Jesus himself would not be allowed in, as Jesus was a Jew.  Church authorities enforced this rule.  In 1939 Salomon Schwarz, a young man who was a member of the Church in good standing, showed up for a Church conference only to be denied entry on account of the fact that he was of Jewish descent (his mother was a Hungarian Jew).  The mission president, who was inside the building, had his secretary take a note out to Schwarz to reiterate that Schwartz was not allowed in.

A few German Mormons however were more skeptical of their priesthood leaders’ advice to be loyal Nazis.  Three LDS youth – Helmuth Huebener, Ruddi Wobbe, and Karl Schnibbe – believed that Church leaders who instructed them to be obedient citizens were wrong.  The boys were troubled by the racist, authoritarian, and outright mean attitudes of not just the Nazi Party, but their own LDS church community, which they believed were behaving in un-Christlike ways.  They secretly produced and distributed several anti-Nazi leaflets.  They were caught, arrested, put on trial, and punished severely.  Huebener, who the State considered to be the ringleader, was executed: beheaded by the Nazis at the age of seventeen.  In between Huebener’s arrest and execution, his branch president obeyed Heber J. Grant’s instruction to be a loyal citizen, and he excommunicated Helmuth Huebener from the Church.  Huebener was excommunicated because he defied the instructions of Church authority, and instead acted on his own conscience.  He was excommunicated because he was intelligent enough, moral enough, and courageous enough to know that his LDS Church leaders were wrong to teach obedience in that situation, and that what morality required was disobedience to authority.

This might be a surprising story for many Mormons today because nowadays in LDS culture, Helmuth Huebener is widely thought of as a hero.  His story has been whitewashed by the Church which claims that Church teachings are what led Huebener to resist the Nazis.  The reality is quite the opposite.  Huebener resisted Nazism not because of the Church, but in spite of the Church.  If he were an obedient Mormon, if he had instead chosen to obey his priesthood leaders, then he would have done nothing.  He would have been a good, loyal citizen.  After the Nazis lost the war, the Church reinstated Huebener and called his excommunication a “mistake.”  When it did not matter anymore, When it was a safe position to take, when it required no courage to agree with Huebener, only then did the Church institution reinstate his membership; when Huebener was long dead.  But when it mattered, when it would have made a difference, when resistance and solidarity were most needed, the Church instead instructed obedience and good citizenship.  It instructed members not to make waves at a time when waves were urgently required by those most harmed, most marginalized, and most denigrated by mainstream society.

History has vindicated the disobedient Mormons like Huebener and condemned the good mainstream Mormons like President Zander.  History has vindicated disobedient Mormon anti-racist activists like John Fitzgerald and C.D. McBride and condemned good Mormons like Ezra Taft Benson who opposed the Civil Rights Movement as a “communist conspiracy.”  What Mormon today can read Benson’s infamous anti-civil rights talk and not cringe?  And what Mormon today would not publicly agree that banning blacks from the priesthood and the temple is wrong?  A position that Mormons were once excommunicated for is now a position that most mainstream Mormons fully agree with.  It’s easy to take these positions now.  It costs nothing to do so.  But it wasn’t easy to take these positions when it mattered.  To take such a position then was to be labeled by the Church as an “apostate,” a person “under the influence of Satan,” a person who strayed from the safety of the council of priesthood authority, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a person other members should be careful of, a person that Church leaders need to “correct.”

We are in a moment right now when a few good Latter-day Saints, in spite of Church authority and in spite of the orthodox attitudes of many mainstream Mormons, are articulating dissenting ideas, and because of that, they are being targeted by authority for “Church discipline” and even possible excommunication.  Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Alan Rock Waterman, among others, are being targeted by Church authorities because they dare to stand against inequality within the Church, because they dare to make waves, because they dare to ask unorthodox questions, and because they dare to stand up for themselves and for others who are marginalized or denigrated by the Church.  Now is that moment when it matters to take a provocative stand.  Now is that moment when it can make a difference to be that one voice in the branch, ward, or stake who speaks in defense of these targeted heretics.  What are we going to do?  Be good obedient citizens?  Or will we be courageous enough to toss aside deference for authority and take the moral stand when it really matters?

88 thoughts on “When it Really Matters

  1. Anarene Holt Yim says:

    I love that you brought these three teenagers into the conversation. I love their story. I know there’s a short documentary about them and a book out there somewhere too, if anyone’s interested in more information. Helmuth’s last letters he wrote right before he was executed are heartbreaking. The boys did what was right and let the consequences follow. I hope I can follow their examples.

  2. LDSDPer says:

    Tariq, another winner!!!

    Thank you!

  3. Ron Madson says:

    Timely and relevant and well written as usual.

    I lived in Washington DC when Pres. Benson was there and my father worked under him. I remember distinctly not only his but most members abhorrence of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. There were a few iconoclasts and time has vindicated those visionaries even though they were marginalized at the time.

  4. LDSDPer says:

    Tariq, do you have a mainstream Mormon source for your information about Heber J. Grant?

    I do have a reason for asking.

  5. Mark says:

    I did not know this. This story should get more exposure.

  6. Tariq Khan says:

    My information on grant mainly comes from here file:///C:/Users/tariq/Downloads/8945-9017-1-PB.txt.pdf (if that doesn’t work try this https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=6848) and here http://deseretbook.com/Heber-J-Grant-Man-Steel-Prophet-God-Francis-M-Gibbons/i/5027663. The first one has a picture of him at the meeting in Germany, with a Nazi flag behind him, because it was a requirement of the government to display the flag. His main focus was on teaching the articles of faith, including “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”. But I also got information from some of the various things written about the three Mormon youth who got in trouble with the Nazis. A good one from a mainstream LDS source is the book Three Against Hitler, by Rudi Wobbe, who was one of the boys.

    • LDSDPer says:

      Thank you, Tariq. Very much.

    • Deke says:

      That first link does not work – anywhere else we can see that source material? I don’t ask because I’m skeptical, but because I will need to back myself up when I share this with my family.

      • Tariq Khan says:

        Sorry, Deke. The second link goes to the same article as the first one. But most of my information about the three German LDS boys comes from Ruddi Wobbe’s own autobiographical account titled Three Against Hitler, which is on Covenant Books.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You hit the nail on the head. So wonderful I have been so angry about what the church is doing. You are wonderful!

  8. hawstom says:

    Thank you for this post.

  9. valerie says:

    Reminds me of the Hymn “Do what is right let the consequence follow”. A good idea for all of us to do what is right especially when it is difficult.

  10. Annalea says:

    Compellingly-written, Tariq. Thank you.

    It truly is time to stand and be counted . . . consequences be what they may.

    • Warren says:

      “Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” -Gordon B. Hinckley

      • LDSDPer says:

        This is where I believe President Hinckley made a terrible mistake. Nothing in a corrupt world is either all good or all bad. He did do a good thing when he refuted polygamy as a ‘doctrine’, though. That was good.

      • Annalea says:

        Warren, that teaching is the main compelling factor in the huge exodus now happening from the LDS church. People find historical evidence that one of the cultural teachings (i.e. supported only by church presidents’ words, not scripture) is false, and therefore they conclude that it’s all false–many even concluding God the Father and Jesus Christ exist.

        That’s a false dichotomy, and I would love to see it publicly renounced. It would be a tremendous gift, as it would give people back the faith that they feel they have had to abandon, because “a prophet of God said”.

        That is Pres. Hinckley’s opinion. I have a great deal of love and respect for that man . . . but he was a man. But basic principles of logic, as well as the very most basic of life experiences, contradict that statement of his, and so I cannot accept it as true.

        If his statement WAS true, there would be no recourse but to conclude the church is nothing. That’s not a conclusion I’m willing to make, despite the many difficult experiences I’ve had, despite the imperfections of the members, the many instances of error and sin that have harmed myself and my family. There is much in the church that is deeply broken, and even more that needs fixing. And that fixing begins when we, as members, are willing to speak up and be counted for what our consciences say is right and true.

  11. Mark Gould says:

    I had the privilege about ten years ago of hearing one of the “boys” who had since become an old man speak about this experience at the Bountiful Library. Karl Heinz Schnibbe was tried by the Germans for sedition and served in prison until the end of World War II. He was allowed to immigrate to the United States and lived in the Salt Lake area until his death from natural causes a few years ago. He was in his eighties. Karl told the entire story and even managed to find humor in some parts of it. However, the crux of it is that our faith can make us stand strong against horrible things in this world. One of the most moving parts of the story is Huebner’s last letter as he is awaiting execution by guillotine in a nazi prison. He states that he knows that “he stands blameless before his Father in Heaven”. The wording tells me that he remained true to his faith until the very end. A very remarkable story about how three Mormon boys in Germany stood up to the Nazis. I was never prouder to be a Mormon after hearing this story.

  12. If you will permit a bit of shameless self-promotion, please read my upcoming book: Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany, to be published in February of 2015 by the University of Oklahoma Press. It is based on my doctoral dissertation in history, in which I examined the LDS Church in Nazi Germany. I discuss President Grant’s trip to Germany, and analyze the Hübener case in light of how his collective memory has been shaped in the post-war era.


  13. Tariq Khan says:

    I just refused to allow a comment on this thread by a person who defended the excommunication of Huebener, and who argued that Kelly and Dehlin should also be excommunicated. It was all of the same old orthodox arguments about how “the Lord’s servants” know what they’re doing and people like Kelly and Dehlin are apostates and blah blah blah. My attitude about allowing comments like that is this: if you think it is ok to excommunicate people for their faithful dissent or for asking unorthodox questions, then I will follow your authoritarian example and excommunicate you from this thread.

    • Ronnie Bray says:

      Apparently, Dehlin wants to cut his ties to the Church. That doesn’t make him a victim.

      Apparently, the spirit of Eichmann is alive and well on this site. I find that disturbing. How can debate succeed if contrary views are banned? What’s next: book burning?

      Yes, in case you need to know, I am a Mormon, and was a worker until my retirement, and am also a socialist. None of which suggests that I need not defend orthodoxy.

      • Tariq Khan says:

        I’m just following the example set by Church leaders: if you don’t like what someone has to say, excommunicate them. After all, they’re Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.

      • Tariq Khan says:

        Ronnie, where are you getting that Dehlin wants to cut his ties to the Church? Everything I’m hearing him say says that he does not. Here is this interview he did a couple days ago in which he explicitly says that he has no desire to cut his ties. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogstribtalk/58056967-71/women-mormon-ordain-blogger.html.csp

      • Carl Youngblood says:

        Tariq, why should we admire you for stooping to the same levels as your opponents?

      • Carl Youngblood says:

        Let me clarify that I don’t like Ronnie’s comment at all. Just saying that I don’t like your quid-pro-quo argument there.

      • Carl Youngblood says:

        Tariq, don’t know if you’re on the Mormon Stories Podcast Community facebook group, but John just posted more detail about asking not to be a member of the ward there and admits that he can see how it may have caused a misunderstanding.

      • Annalea says:

        Carl, there is one important distinction to remember between the church(tm)’s behavior and Tariq’s. The church is violating it’s own canonized scripture in how it is handling the June Three (and many others), and lying about it. That sends a tremendous message of mistrust and fear to the rest of the church membership, since it shows that we have no recourse against unrighteous dominion from our leaders, because they disregard scripture in favor of fear.

        Tariq is curating the content on his blog post, just as every one of us has a right to ask someone to leave our own homes or properties if they become offensive, even calling the police, if necessary, to have them removed.

        I, for one, feel relieved that this is one place where I can read friendly discussion of the topic, without the judgmental and condemnatory vitriol that invariably erupts when someone points out an inconsistency between belief and behavior in the church leadership.

  14. Tariq Khan says:

    David, your book sounds fascinating. I look forward to it.

    • Thanks, Tariq. If it’s okay, I’ll post here again once my publisher, formally “announces” publication. This should happen in October or November, coinciding with publication of the University of Oklahoma Press’s spring catalog. At the present, we just finished the formal copy editing phase and the book is now in “production.” Galley proofs and indexing will occur during the mid- to late-summer.

  15. Chip Browne says:

    What matters is whether or not these individuals (Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Alan Rock Waterman) are doing what God would have them do, in order for the comparison to Huebener to be accurate.

    I was excommunicated in 1993 by priesthood leaders who believed I would not repent. What I had claimed to be of God could not possibly be of God in their opinion. The issue? The true origin of the authority to become husband and wife.

    In the weeks that followed my excommunication, I naively believed that my appeal to Benson, Hinckley and Monson would be heard.

    My appeal was denied.

    • Annalea says:

      Chip, do you have a blog where you’ve written about that authority? I’d love to hear about it.

      http://www.aNewDayDawns is my blog, if you’d like to drop me a line.

      • Chip Browne says:

        Annalea, My blog is http://BookofMormon.BlogSpot.com, but I have not shared anything about the events of 1993. I have chosen to not share my side of the story publicly.

      • Annalea says:

        Thanks for the link, Chip. I was just interested in the doctrinal point you mentioned; sorry if I sounded like I was prying.

      • Chip Browne says:

        My mistake Annalea. I misunderstood completely.

        When you mentioned the word that I used, “authority”, you were very clearly referring to the context where I used it.

        My mistake was when I read your question about authority, my mind went to “priesthood leaders”, and that is what I have not made public.

        Funny how the mind works!!

        So, regarding your question about the true origin of the authority to become husband and wife, I haven’t shared that publicly either. I will reach out to you at your blog.

      • Annalea says:

        Thanks, Chip!

  16. byugay1 says:

    Tariq Khan,

    This is one of the most well-written threads on the current excommunication crisis. Although there are things that TBM’s would find offensive this is absolutely hands down the most persuasive argument that I have read. Thank you for sharing!

  17. camilla says:

    Well written. I tried to say this to a women at church today in reference to her saying the OW movement was pointless, but i am not as eloquent as you are and my point was not made. I did not know the story about the Jewish boys, but i was talking to her about the people that were excommunicated for wanting the blacks to get the priesthood.. and then within a year they DID get it! So it seems silly for people to say that the church never changes its stance on things when historically the one thing it does consistently IS change its stance! Thank you for putting it all into words so it makes sense and i can link it up.

  18. Carl Youngblood says:

    Tariq, I think you’re better off allowing comments like that, thus showing that you follow a higher law than they do. Truth will cut its own way, and this kind of viciousness needs to be allowed to embarrass itself as much as possible.

    • Tariq Khan says:

      Carl, you’re probably right, and normally I allow all sorts of people who disagree with my posts to say so, no matter how vicious. If you look at my posts from pasts years you will see this is the case. But in this case, I feel like giving these people a taste of their own medicine. They think it’s ok to silence people, well, let’s see how they like being silenced for once in their lives. And I don’t feel like providing them with yet another forum to say what the mainstream of the Church is already saying; it’s not like their point of view doesn’t get a hearing. I’m more interested in providing a forum for people who have something different than the orthodox view to speak.

      • Carl Youngblood says:

        I personally think your message would be more powerful if you allowed them to demonstrate their own ignorance and pettiness.

      • LDSDPer says:

        I understand what you are doing. Some people can’t see a situation unless it happens to them.

    • John Hagler says:

      I agree that allowing them to comment as long as they don’t try to shout out others or become incoherent in ranting (not that uncommon). I have found they usually do go down the babbling path….but need to have the opportunity…generally I believe reason wins over censorship…

  19. Tariq Khan says:

    Again Carl, you’re probably right. And normally I do exactly that. For example, years ago when I posted an anti-racist article, I allowed over 200 hateful white supremacist comments just so folks could see that vile racism is still very much alive. But I don’t feel like it right now. I very well may be wrong in that, as you point out. Nevertheless, they have already been demonstrating their own ignorance and pettiness all over the internet and in LDS Church buildings across the nation. And they are free to continue doing so, but I’m not in the mood to have them do it here. They can do it somewhere else all they want. And if they don’t like it, well, then maybe they can get an inkling of what it feels like for progressive Mormons who are silenced every week of their lives in Church.

  20. Tariq Khan says:

    Here is the article by Kate Kelly in today’s Guardian:
    “Last month I moved away from Virginia and, after I left, I was placed on “informal probation” by my former local congregational leaders and can no longer participate in church activities in any congregation or church, regardless of where I go. One of the stipulations listed in the letter from my leaders is to literally keep my mouth shut. It says, “If you are invited to pray or read a passage or comment in a class or other Church meeting, you must decline.” Under this directive, I am not even allowed to speak when spoken to in church. I am, however, encouraged to continue to tithe.”

    • Tariq Khan says:

      Based on the wicked spirit of Church leaders in forbidding Kate Kelly to speak in Church, but still encouraging her to give money to the Church, I make the following rule for this thread. People who want to defend what the Church is doing to Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Rock Waterman are forbidden to speak on this thread, but encouraged to send me money. I’m just following the example set by the Church. I realize that this a a small, unadmirable, petty, and un-Christlike policy. Does the Church realize that?

      • Charla says:

        Laughed out loud as this one. Spot on.

        Great post. As a supporter of OW, I’m appalled by some of the hateful and unChristlike comments I’ve read. I’m certainly thankful for a supportive bishop who has assured me that disciplinary action is unnecessary for my support of OW. Others have not been so lucky. This is a time to speak up and to stand our ground. I hope we can all find the courage to do so.

    • Kat says:

      After reading the articles about Ms Kelly & Mr Dehlin, I wondered whether those who face excommunication are asked to continue tithing. How exactly does “get rid of the member, but make sure you get the money” fare for a multi-billion dollar organization whose known as a pay to play church?

  21. Quite informative, however it should be obvious that Heber J Grant had lost his priesthood if he ever had it and also the majority of the church members that sustained him. So what did the church give the blacks June 0f 1978? Nothing because the church had nothing to give at that time.

  22. The day of the church is over, it is now the day of the kingdom, those that actually demonstrate the Priesthood of God shall bring it forth. can you think of one needful purpose of the church once the millennium is ushered in? The gospel and it’s keys are now in the hands of the Israelites. and I don’t mean the middle east. The gentile church has run it’s course and is on it’s way out. the only church that will prevail is the spiritual “church of the First Born”, it is the “bride” the Groom is at the door.

  23. Tariq Khan says:

    Some people have been asking me what my source is for Heber J. Grant telling the German members to stay in Germany and not make waves. My source on that is a Sunstone article:

    Alan F. Keele and Douglas F. Tobler, “The Fuhrer’s New Clothes: Helmuth Hübener and the Mormons in the Third Reich,” Sunstone 5, no. 6 (November/December 1980): 20–29.

    The authors write, ” . .. Sympathy [for some of the Nazi goals] was apparently shared by some members of the Church leadership. The Church’s German magazine, ‘Der Stern,’ reminded its readers in 1935 that Senator Reed Smoot had long been a friend of Germany, and this attitude seemed to receive official sanction during President Grant’s 1937 visit. The message to the German Saints was clear: Stay here. Keep the Commandments. Try to get along the best you can, even under some limitations. We want to keep the Church intact and the missionaries working.”

    The entire article is quite alarming and illuminating. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in this topic.

  24. Tariq Khan says:

    I just refused another comment. I’m not interested in entertaining arguments that Ezra Taft Benson wasn’t actually racist. Take your mental gymnastics somewhere else. For more discussion on Benson’s white supremacist attitudes, see my earlier post: https://themormonworker.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/kindness-and-civility-the-smiling-face-of-oppression/

    • LDSDPer says:

      I was heartbroken when I found out about Benson. My parents downplayed it, all.

      My father was very open-hearted and open-minded, and his influence on my mother (whose family was quite included to feel superior about being white) was a good one.

      But I know that the topic was simply not broached in our home, one way or the other. I think my parents (WWII generation) were afraid to seem disrespectful of an ‘apostle’, but they also would not encourage *us* to fight for equality for all races. They were very warm about my having black friends, though (or friends of any other race), and perhaps that the was the most important thing.

      It was hard to have the entire era censored.

      I privately believed in civil rights and disbelieved in the Viet Nam war, but I had nobody to talk to about it, because I was LDS.

      It astounds me that someone who cared as much about the Book of Mormon as Benson did–

      would never have noticed:

      2 Nephi 26:33.

      But I believe Benson’s interest in the Book of Mormon may have been slanted. Yes, I have grieved. I held him up as the ‘man who cares about the Book of Mormon’ when I saw the Book of Mormon as radical in its ideas about caring about the poor and needy, etc.

      We all have our illusions shattered at one time or another.

  25. Chip Browne says:

    According to your reference, the main focus of Grant was on teaching the articles of faith, including “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”.

    Grant believed he was counseling the members correctly. Those who received his counsel did so believing that they were justified.

    But why are we not all trained to think like Huebener? Do we or do we not hold ourselves accountable to the promptings of our conscience? Does God expect us to uphold immoral laws? Is following a leader (kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates) a higher law?

    Would God always bless his people when they sustain a leader… right or wrong?

    The word would suggest otherwise, “…the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”

  26. Amanda says:

    I would think the real reason for excommunication here (current day situation) is not because of the opinions and convictions of these members…but because of how they are acting on them….as well as their attitudes in their interviews and mtgs with their leaders. It is easy to become engulfed in anger during a situation where you feel wronged and are defending. I can only imagine this anger and frustration growing stronger and possibly turning into defiance and bitterness. Sometimes just the cause itself consumes a person….and they become blind by initial the spirit and intentions…. It’s like a Chinese finger trap. The harder you pull, the worse you make it on yourself…and with all that anger and now publicity…..I’m sure the church feels attacked instead of just dealing with unhappy members.

    • Tariq Khan says:

      “Engulfed in anger,” “defiance,” “bitterness,” and “blind by initial spirit and intentions” are not words I would use to describe Kate Kelly and John Dehlin. From everything I’ve seen and read on this, which is a lot, Kelly and Dehlin have been nothing short of magnanimous, kind, loving, and graceful about this whole thing; much more so than I would be if I were going through what they are. I think they have been shining examples of Christlike behavior throughout this whole process.

  27. Heber J Grant was responsible in taking the united order communities off the Lords economic system and forcing them to accept the world bankers Ponzi scheme. This in my opinion was the most evil thing he could have done, as these bankers are Luciferians . So rather than the Saints building up the Kingdom of God as commanded they began to build up the kingdom of the devil.

    The Saints were to be free from the blood of this generation now have blood on their hands for their part in all the world wars, abortions etc. that have been financed at least in part with their tax dollars. even today you can be excommunicated for not filing or paying tax’s to the federal reserve Ponzi scheme. owned by the world bankers such as the Rothchilds and Rockerfellers.

    The Saints have sustained evil in violation of the US Constitution and as a body have forfeited all rights to priesthood. It would be better that the Sisters took reign of the church as they have more God given authority than the “brethren”. The “law of Sara” is matriarchal in nature for the benefit of God’s children the “womens seed” the sisters have “prevailed” in the same venue as Rachel and leah did in relation to Jacob. Jacob only prevailed after wrestling all night with the Angel “obtaining the keys” something the brethren have not done.

  28. Kat says:

    If the Articles of Faith state,
    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”
    Why do so many members think it is alright to disrespect President Obama & fight against everything for which he stands?

    • Tariq Khan says:

      Seriously. Like all those Bundy ranch LDS militia people who literally took up arms against the U.S. government to defend Bundy’s illegal behavior; no disciplinary councils for them, but Kate Kelly politely makes a factual statement that there is gender inequality in the Church, and she organizes a group to ask nicely for Church leaders to ask the Lord about women’s ordination, and she becomes a target for a “Court of Love.”

      • Bundy’s illegal behavior? Cliven Bundy is rock solid on legal constitutional grounds. In fact a new federal judge (Jones) has weighed in and has declared that the BLM has conspired to defraud Cliven and other ranchers such as Wayne Hage out of the ranch’s. The constitution only allows the central government 10 square miles and a bit more for other needful things such as post offices, forts, etc. Something like two dozen states have obtained their statehood with the enabling act so there is a almost a 200 year precedent wherein the act of “forever giving up all claims on these lands until exstinguised” was when these states where given “statehood” at that time they were considered on equal ground with the other states and where “sovereign” and control; of said land was the sovereign state.

  29. Tariq Khan says:

    Brand, I’ll take your word on that because I have not been following the story, because I don’t care. But in any event, all those LDS militia guys showed up with guns to use violence, or at least threaten to use violence against U.S. government agents, which is illegal. I don’t care if something is legal or not. I’m just pointing out the irony that these guys can break the law and threaten violence (and even if Bundy wasn’t breaking the law with his cattle grazing, taking up arms against the U.S. government is illegal), and get no Church discipline, but Kate Kelly puts up the most mild, respectful petition to ask nicely for Church leaders to consider OW’s quite valid points, and Church PR people are like, “We don’t like her tone. She is too aggressive…” I’m not saying that the Bundy people should be disciplined by the Church. I don’t think they should. I just am pointing out the interesting selectiveness of the Church in who it chooses to discipline.

  30. Tariq Khan says:

    In fact, unlike Kate Kelly and OW, Bundy was claiming to get revelations from the Lord for what his followers should do, and some of his followers were going so far as to call him a prophet. But that’s ok, no Church discipline for him. But these OW ladies are getting uppity, we’d better crack down! http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/bundy-ranch-uncensored

  31. Tariq Khan says:

    One more point from me. I’ve been getting a lot of “how dare you compare Church leaders and members to Nazis!” feedback from some people elsewhere. Let me point out that I do no such thing. I don’t compare President Zander to the Nazis. I state the fact that he was an actual Nazi. Zander was an enthusiastic member of the Nazi Party beginning in 1933. Other Church members were also members of the Nazi Party. I’m not comparing them to Nazis. I’m stating the fact that they were Nazis. Besides all that, the point of the post is not to compare the Church to the Nazis, and I think that is clear to most people who’ve read it. The point is to be courageous enough to stand up for people who are being unjustly targeted by authority when it really matters, and not just to wait until years later to get on board, when it doesn’t matter anymore and when it requires absolutely no courage or thought to do so. And also to point out that it is quite possible for Church leaders to teach things and enforce policies that are not in line with Christlike principles, and it is possible for the person being subject to Church discipline to be on higher moral, intellectual, and ethical ground than the people doing the disciplining.

    • Ben says:

      Thank you for bringing this highly relevant story out of the memory hole and into the light of day for discussion. The present purge is of a lesser gravity than Huebener’s case, certainly, but the paths are parallel.

      You are not making outrageous claims that anyone or anything is as comparable to the Nazis or Hitler in order to score specious rhetorical points. You are reporting factual information.

      Had the church conducted itself honorably and practiced the standard of moral courage they preach, there would be no room for anything but praise. The prophet, apostles, and body of the church failed to stand up to the most brutal and totalitarian of regimes since the purported Restoration and one brave enough to disregard the official policy of the church and act with boldness and independence for good was abandoned and punished by the church.

      I find it repulsive, and a flagrant example of the deceptive spin that the church puts on historical facts, that the lesson manual references to Huebener on lds.org omit that he was excommunicated. To his knowledge, Huebeber he died an enemy to his state and his God, cut off from family, friends, and community. There were no comforting words in the dark hour; there was no plea for clemency from the church on his behalf; the wrong was uncorrected for years after the fact, and of course then it was denied that it was even the fault of the church that it happened.

      Huebener was disavowed and excommunicated for right action that violated a wrong practice of the church. But the church won’t tell you that part. Instead they attempt to lay claim to the legacy of a hero who they formally and officially disavowed and branded heretic in his hour of greatest need.

    • LDSDPer says:


      I continue to read and enjoy everything you are saying about this, Tariq.

      Can’t help it; I just have a high appreciation index. 🙂

  32. […] I shared a piece from the New York Times about Mormon activists facing church discipline. This week an exceptionally good post on one of the most famous stories of dissent from within the Mormon faith community, Nazis are […]

  33. caleb says:

    Can you imagine what would have happened to ALL the members in Germany if President Grant went in and even hinted that what the Natzies were doing was wrong? They could have easily been put on the blacklist and shipped off to concentration camps. Then NONE of the members would have been able to fight against the Natzies. I’m not saying I can understand the whole situation but this article, while well written and researched, also can not go any deeper than speculation for motives.

    • Tariq Khan says:

      Dozens of religious minorities in Germany were targeted by the Nazis. The LDS Church was not targeted, largely because the Church went along with what the Nazis were doing without a word of criticism. Yes, if the Church did criticize the Nazis, it likely would have been targeted along with all the other religious minorities. But what is the example that Jesus set? Did he refrain from speaking the truth in order to avoid punishment? Did he go along with the people in power just to play it safe?

      • caleb says:

        Again, you claim to know all. What were Christ’s motives for waiting so long to start his ministry? I would think he knew things were wrong well before then but yet he waited, perhaps “playing it safe” until he knew he could be most effective. I don’t know. But apparently you do know everything and your logic is infallible. I apologize for the sarcasm. Not very Christian of me. I just want to make it clear that our thoughts are not always God’s thought.

  34. Tariq Khan says:

    Yes, Caleb, our thoughts are not always God’s thoughts. One thing this story shows is that Church leaders’ thoughts are also not always God’s thoughts. To your question of why did Jesus wait until he was 30 to start his ministry; I’ve always been taught that it was because in Jewish law or custom of the time, a man had to be at least 30 to be a “rabbi”, teacher. But that may be wrong. I don’t know or care. But your suggestion that he was “playing it safe” seems ridiculous in light of the fact that he never played it safe in his entire ministry. He spoke the truth. He called the scribes and Pharisees, who clung to law and order, whited sepulchers, hypocrites, fools, murderers, and a generation of vipers. He continually spoke words of condemnation and warning against the rich and powerful. Ultimately he faced execution and torture with courage. It seems like you are grasping at anything to defend the Church’s acquiescence to the Nazis. Just admit to yourself that the Church can be wrong. There is no need to engage in silly mental gymnastics to try and justify the unjustifiable.

  35. ddduuubbb says:

    F. Enzio Busche gives a fascinating firsthand perspective on his experience with the Nazis,the early church in Germany and divine intervention in his book Yearning for the Living God: Reflections from the Life of F. Enzio Busche. It is tricky to judge history out of context, but what alternative do we have?
    I find it beautiful that God trusts his church to weak fallible individuals yet the rock keeps rolling down the mountain. He trusts the spreading of the gospel to sorority girls and frat boys and once they get slightly proficient at it He sends them home. He trusts wards and stakes to local working stiffs that are peers to the congregations they serve. I guess it would be nice to have a divinely perfected pope-like leader, but I for one appreciate the structure we have.
    I’m excited for the future of the church and like this Nazi narrative, the current OW issues will make us a stronger more Christ-like people. Eventually…

  36. There is a huge space of cognitive dissonance implied in the membership of black people to the Mormon Church. The moment I read the writings of the “Prophets” against people of color, all based in books that do not exist, but were conveniently taken away by an angel, I realized the crescendo of delusion into average white supremacist eugenics that this whole story signifies. I asked for my name to be removed from the LDS records. There is no argument to justify what has been done historically, economically and humanly to segregate human beings based on invented theologies that make no sense.

    • Forest says:

      It would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      Mormon, Nephi, etc. were fallible mortals when they made their contributions to the record. So were Brother Brigham, Brother McConkie, etc. when they made their contributions to Mormon discourse. Thankfully Bruce R. lived long enough to be humbled and admit the error of his over-confident prouncements (at least on this one subject).

      Mormons are not supposed to believe in the infallibility of mortal beings, prophets or not. In practice many do, and that is a big problem that was frequently addressed by Brigham Young from the pulput, but is rarely mentioned nowadays in conference talks.

      More’s the pity.

  37. As I said, those invented theologies make no sense. Which turns the whole thing into a delusive occultist pretension; and not something for a person of color to rely on. Their efforts for recruiting people of color may be a good strategy, but the person of color first must weigh all the historical elements implied in the outcome. If the final decision is no faith in the told story, then… that’s it. There are numerous other religions that have no background in eugenics and racial theory. The main problem seems to be, that they do not tell people in advance what rabbit is going to jump out of the hat. When it does, most people of color are trapped in a cultic delusion, because they married inside the cult, or because they became economically dependent inside the cultic matrix. That whole game of control is simply put, hideous.

    • Forest Simmons says:

      Amravin de Shur,

      Some people see Mormonism as all good. Some see it as all bad. Some see it as a mixture. Among those who see it as a mixture, there are those who see the good part as god given, and the bad part as human bias, while others see the good part as partly god given and partly common consent, etc.

      For me the best part is the cosmic, eternal cycle, the plan of eternal progression of the gods. Can bigots taint that plan? No. They can taint their conception of the plan with their bigotry (“blacks were fence-sitters,” etc.), but that has no influence on the actual plan. The gods will try to rescue the bigot, but not by accommodating his bigotry.

      The biggest problem is that bigotry can taint the understanding of those who overly rely on mortals for their guidance rather than on the Holy Spirit.

      I don’t blame those who have had overwhelmingly negative experiences for leaving the church. But I would rather have them stay in and try to be an influence for good. Does the church of god belong to the bigots or to the saints?

      • Again, you keep constructing language to fit your agenda. I don’t blame those who have overwhelmingly left the church for having negative experiences in it, you should have formulated.

      • Actually, every human being has freedom endowed to him/her by their divine nature. Coercing people with the type language that you use in your public conversation is nothing but fear mongering. Many people stay inside cults, for that same threatening psychological control of thru language. On the other hand, your attempt to defuse the freedom of thought in others does not reach to veil the effects of modern communication, under which the real nature of “the Curse” by Mr. Young and his cronies has been debunked and publicly denounced. Accordingly, there is nothing to feel guilty of when one decides to leave Mormonism behind and go back to one’s own religion of origin or for the same reason remain agnostic. Your language is extremely coercive, as you would prefer to instill fear to keep people trapped in what seems to be not more than a sexual cult in white supremacy that not finding a normal way into the tolerance and inclusiveness of the XXI Century, keeps changing its stories to fit the public opinion.

      • Forest Simmons says:


        I spent a lot of time puzzling over your last couple of messages. I couldn’t tell if your use of “you” was directed to me personally or to the church as an institution. And since I had no information about any of your interactions with the church, its members, or its representatives, I had no way of knowing how to address the pain that you were feeling. Today I was about to ask you for more information to see if there was anything i could do, when suddenly it dawned on me that the language that you found hurtful was my use of the word “bigot.” You must have thought that I was calling you a bigot when I referred to those members who could not see beyond their prejudice as bigots.

        Perhaps the word “bigot” is a little strong, but I wanted you to know that I did not approve of any members or leaders who would treat you as a second class member.

        In June of 1978 I was a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. I was very glad for the revelation announced by President Kimball. It had a positive effect on me, purging out residual prejudice that I didn’t even know I had.. I never thought of myself as prejudiced before; I had served in Vietnam side-by-side with black soldiers. I had never heard soul music before, and at first I resented it because it kept me from sleeping. I prayed the Lord to help me adapt. Very quickly I developed an enjoyment for it. Aretha Franklin was my favorite, and she helped make my time in the ‘Nam more bearable..

        Anyway, two weeks after the June 1978 announcement, the full time missionaries in Austin brought a nice black couple to our ward about fifteen minutes before the meeting started. One of the long-time Austin members, a sister who should have known better, said in a stage whisper, “They’re not letting THEM in, are they?”

        It was very hurtful to me. I only regret that I didn’t have the guts to confront her and ask her to apologize. I was afraid to make more of a scene, Everybody just ignored it, as though she hadn’t said anything. But I truly feel bad for the hurt that those investigators (and missionaries) must have felt.

        I don’t believe that it’s just a plastic doll, but I can understand why you might feel that way.

        Someday, perhaps during the millennial reign of Jesus, perhaps we can get better acquainted. Then we will see eye-to-eye and be one as Jesus prayed to the Father that we would be.

      • The dirty little secret in the State of Utah is this: It has bred the same mystical fascism that the Nazis cultivated in Germany for 12 years, this time not against the Jews, but against Africans. Also, it didn’t last twelve but over 150 years, and it went fully undetected from human rights organizations all over the world, because the hate was so well hidden behind the mask of “religious freedom”. It is a despicable development, and the consequences of such a massive brainwash are still being suffered by those persons “of color” who happen to be trapped in Mormonism after they made the wrong decision of being baptized in full ignorance of this dark side of the LDS history.

      • Actually, every human being has freedom endowed to him/her by their divine nature. Coercing people with the type language that you use in your public conversation is nothing but fear mongering. Many people stay inside cults, for that same threatening psychological control of their minds by someone manipulating them thru language. On the other hand, your attempt to defuse the freedom of thought or of belief in others does not reach to veil the effects of modern communication, under which the real nature of “the Curse” by Mr. Young and his cronies has been debunked and publicly denounced as nothing but hate mongering against people of color. Accordingly, there is nothing to feel guilty of when one decides to leave Mormonism behind and go back to one’s own religion of origin or for the same reason remain agnostic. People leave, because they haven’t done an informed decision when entering the dogma, as you possibly know. There is no missionary effort in teaching new converts what they are about to enter when they baptize in the religion ignoring that the Mormons have been teaching racism for almost 150 years of their 200 year history. Your language is extremely coercive, as you would prefer to instill fear to keep people trapped in what seems to be not more than a sexual cult in white supremacy that not finding a normal way into the tolerance and inclusiveness of the XXI Century, keeps changing its stories to fit the public opinion.

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