Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

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SamBee
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Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by SamBee » 10 May 2015, 10:49

Helmuth Hübener, a 16-year-old Mormon youth living in Hitler’s Germany, exhibited unprecedented moral courage in opposing the propaganda machine of the Nazi regime in the summer of 1941. For his trouble he was arrested on February 5, 1942 (less than a month after turning 17), brutally interrogated and later tortured in Gestapo prisons in Hamburg and Berlin, and then finally beheaded by guillotine in the Gestapo’s Berlin Plötzensee prison on October 27, 1942 as the youngest person (at age 17) to be sentenced by Hitler’s special “People’s Court” and executed for conspiracy to commit treason against the Nazi regime.
http://bycommonconsent.com/2014/10/27/h ... execution/

And excommunicated by his Nazi branch president, who had pinned a "No Jews admitted" sign on the chapel door...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuth_H%C3%BCbener
The youthful Helmuth had, since early childhood, been a member of the Boy Scouts, an organization strongly supported by his church, but in 1935 the Nazis banned scouting from Germany. He then joined the Hitler Youth, as required by the government, but would later disapprove of Kristallnacht, when the Nazis, including the Hitler Youth, destroyed Jewish businesses and homes. When one of the leaders in his local congregation, a new convert of under two years, undertook to bar Jews from attending its religious services, Hübener found himself at odds with the new policy, but continued to attend services with like-minded friends as the Latter-day Saints locally debated the issue. (His friend and fellow resistance fighter Rudolf "Rudi" Wobbe would later report that of the two thousand Latter-day Saints in the Hamburg area, seven were pro-Nazi, but five of them happened to be in his and Helmuth's St.Georg Branch (congregation), thus stirring controversy with the majority who were non- or anti-Nazis.)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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cwald
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by cwald » 10 May 2015, 14:08

Yes. I would consider him a hero. Took a lot of guts to simply do what is right and let the consequences follow.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 May 2015, 14:11

Yes, it takes a lot of courage and/or conviction to stand up to friends and colleagues, no matter the consequences.

In his case, I agree that it was heroic.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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LookingHard
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by LookingHard » 10 May 2015, 18:36

There is definitely a need in life to pick your battles, but I think that groups would go off the rails much less if more people were like Helmuth.

I just watched part of the Nightline story about the FLDS. It seems to me over time that they have been led very astray and I think a few (more) people putting their foot down and not tolerating abuse of power would have stopped them.

As a parent I can see someone not taking on the Nazi's so as to be able to be around to be a parent. It is unusual for such a young person to have such a moral backbone.

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cwald
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by cwald » 10 May 2015, 18:55

LookingHard wrote:...

I just watched part of the Nightline story about the FLDS. It seems to me over time that they have been led very astray and I think a few (more) people putting their foot down and not tolerating abuse of power would have stopped them.
Indeed.

Btw. Has the church ever talked about this in like GC talk or something?
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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Heber13
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by Heber13 » 10 May 2015, 19:00

I know it was talked about at BYU and some play was put on campus about it, including his excommunication but it was controversial and wasn't allowed to be on long and went away.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SamBee
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by SamBee » 11 May 2015, 08:19

The interesting thing is that the branch president who got Huebener excommunicated had been a convert of two years, whereas Huebener had been a member all his short life. I really wonder if the branch president was some kind of Nazi infiltrator, since the Gestapo certainly did that to a lot of organizations, and many of the LDS where he was, were apparently Social Democrats (i.e. left of center).

Sunday was the first I'd heard of him. But good on him - he had the guts to do what many Germans did not. A lot of what I've heard about the LDS in the Nazi regime consists of them handing over genealogical data (urgh!).

At least one of his friends in the resistance cell (which consisted of three LDS teenagers) did survive until a few years ago. Good on him too.

It's a pity we can't celebrate him as much as other Mormon martyrs from the 19th century. I'm sure Helmuth Hübener will be in the Celestial Kingdom, unlike some other people we worship as heroes!
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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LookingHard
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by LookingHard » 11 May 2015, 10:32

SamBee wrote:The interesting thing is that the branch president who got Huebener excommunicated had been a convert of two years, whereas Huebener had been a member all his short life. I really wonder if the branch president was some kind of Nazi infiltrator, since the Gestapo certainly did that to a lot of organizations, and many of the LDS where he was, were apparently Social Democrats (i.e. left of center).!
He might have been. But also in some of the reading I have done on this there was a lot of the church capitulating in order to be allowed to continue. Some other churches resisted the Nazi's and they were shut down. The LDS church actually was generally on good terms with the Nazi government. There was that distasteful issue with the LDS church helping with Jew / non-Jew ancestry.

Also some of the early resistance to the play going on at BYU dealt with the fact that at the time the cold war was still going on and the church had congregations inside the soviet union. They didn't want to send the signal that the LDS church supporting giving the middle finger to a government. They were afraid this could cause issues for the church and the members behind the iron curtain.
SamBee wrote:It's a pity we can't celebrate him as much as other Mormon martyrs from the 19th century. I'm sure Helmuth Hübener will be in the Celestial Kingdom, unlike some other people we worship as heroes!
I agree. There is even another German member that on the night when the Nazi's came down on the Jews that he took 2 Jewish friends (at much peril) and smuggled them out of the country. The church didn't want to say anything about him probably because he had a real issue keeping his pants on, so even though he had a noble streak - he also was human. Aren't we all?

There is a good book out now called "Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany". Quite an interesting book.

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mom3
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by mom3 » 11 May 2015, 11:56

He is on one of my hero's. Years ago BYU TV ran a full documentary on him. They interviewed his few surviving friends and recounted the events. It was chilling. I bought the small book connected to it. You can buy it on amazon. Three Against Hitler http://www.amazon.com/Three-Against-Hit ... 1591560268.

On the church and Nazism, we have a massive book of the Sunday Sections of the Deseret News - that spans forever. One page shows the first presidency attending Sacrament Meeting in Eastern Europe during the occupation. The swastika flags are hanging from the ceiling, a picture of Hitler on the wall. It really throws you. Not what you'd imagine, knowing what we do now about The Third Reich's efforts.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Helmuth Hübener, Mormon Hero

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 May 2015, 13:42

Remember, that flag was omnipresent at the time - a government mandate. I also have seen that image, and it is jarring, but it would have been there no matter what.

I am prone to cut the members and leaders there HUGE slack, even as I applaud and am amazed by Hubener's courage and conviction. When the choice appears to be cooperate or have your congregation shut down and possibly be killed, I am hesitant to cast blame of any kind.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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