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The Whole Truth About Helmuth Hubener?


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Today, I came across a blog post about Helmuth Hubener, the LDS boy who was executed for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets in Germany during World War II. Even as a convert, I was already familiar with the story. However, my mouth dropped when I read that he was excommunicated by the Church shortly after his arrest.

Is this true? Was he excommunicated prior to his execution and then posthumously rebaptized?

If so, how is it the case that the Church can keep telling HALF of this story? BYU's hour-long documentary on Hubener doesn't mention it. The Church History Manual doesn't mention the excommunication. This to me seems like the height of mendacity -- to claim this young hero as one of our own, even though, we expelled him from the flock for his act of heroism.

Someone PLEASE explain to me what I am not seeing properly here because, right now, it appears that I belong to the one HALF-true Church.

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The "church" did not excommunicate him. His branch president, who also was a Nazi Party member, excommunicated him once he was arrested. German Latter-day Saints did not have communication with SLC during this time and so were doing things on their own. Once the war was over, and the church was able to review the situation, the excommunication was reversed.

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To me, one of the significant points of the Huebener situation is that even when leaders make significant mistakes, from an eternal perspective things eventually get worked out correctly. In this case, a local leader significantly overstepped his bounds. Once the connection was restored between the German Saints and church leadership in Salt Lake, they were able to remedy a number of errors that happened and odd procedures that crept in during the war.

 

The other point that is of interest is how far and how quickly church congregations can start straying if left without direction from living prophets. Very similar to what happened in the New Testament.

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Yeah, the Latter-day Saint church in Germany was not in "communion" with SLC for the duration of the war. There were some Latter-day Saint members of the Nazi party, of which his branch president was one, who excommunicated him for his anti-Nazi activities.

After the war this, among other irregularities, was reversed. I believe Helmulth didn't even have a vicarious baptism done on his behalf, they simply said that the excommunication wasn't valid.

I read this from a book sold in Deseret Books, so take it for what it's worth. Let's not make mountains out of mole hills.

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The "church" did not excommunicate him. His branch president, who also was a Nazi Party member, excommunicated him once he was arrested. German Latter-day Saints did not have communication with SLC during this time and so were doing things on their own. Once the war was over, and the church was able to review the situation, the excommunication was reversed.

To me, this does not change the fact that the Church is leaving out information that is SIGNIFICANT to the story.

Dr. King once said, "A fact is the absence of contradiction. The truth is the presence of coherence." Omitting that Hubener was excommunicated doesnt lend itself to creating a coherent narrative. For one, it allows the hearer to assume that the saints courageously stood with their brother. And while it doesn't explicitly say so, it could have removed any confusion by stating that just the opposite was the case. THAT would be the presence of coherence,

You also make the point that this is a great lesson about the dangers of not being in communication with living prophets. However, that lesson can't be learned from this telling of the story. So why the half-truth?

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A few years ago there was a man in my ward who fought for Germany in WW2 and then joined the Church some years later. He told us that he wasn't surprised Huebner got exed and then executed 

 

 

 

Just  a question, if the Church "is leaving out information that is significant to the story" then how did you find out?

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A few years ago there was a man in my ward who fought for Germany in WW2 and then joined the Church some years later. He told us that he wasn't surprised Huebner got exed and then executed 

 

 

 

Just  a question, if the Church "is leaving out information that is significant to the story" then how did you find out?

From the source of all truth -- Wikipedia.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuth_Hübener

The source for the excommunication story comes from a German book (see Footnote 6). I do not read German, so I'm asking here if someone has any contradictory information.

I have looked on lds.org and did not find ANY mention of his excommunication. Once again, I may have missed it. If so, I will be VERY happy to learn that my Church goes out of its way to be truthful, even when the truth isn't pretty.

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To me, this does not change the fact that the Church is leaving out information that is SIGNIFICANT to the story.

Dr. King once said, "A fact is the absence of contradiction. The truth is the presence of coherence." Omitting that Hubener was excommunicated doesnt lend itself to creating a coherent narrative. For one, it allows the hearer to assume that the saints courageously stood with their brother. And while it doesn't explicitly say so, it could have removed any confusion by stating that just the opposite was the case. THAT would be the presence of coherence,

You also make the point that this is a great lesson about the dangers of not being in communication with living prophets. However, that lesson can't be learned from this telling of the story. So why the half-truth?

 

We've had this discussion before about BYU and official church communications. You're beating a dead horse; it's not worth going the rounds again on this. You're simply making a wrong assumption here to set up a false rationalization about the church intentionally omitting information.

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From the source of all truth -- Wikipedia.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuth_Hübener

The source for the excommunication story comes from a German book (see Footnote 6). I do not read German, so I'm asking here if someone has any contradictory information.

I have looked on lds.org and did not find ANY mention of his excommunication. Once again, I may have missed it. If so, I will be VERY happy to learn that my Church goes out of its way to be truthful, even when the truth isn't pretty.

 

 

https://ldsmag.com/article/1/11597/1/page-1

 

here you go! exed, executed and reinstated and all on the same page!

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To me, this does not change the fact that the Church is leaving out information that is SIGNIFICANT to the story.

 

 

I think you're illustrating perfectly why the info isn't signifcant at all.  Instead of affecting the overall outcome, it's a stumbling block to some.

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I'm more curious about what happened to the Branch President who overstepped his authority. To say that Hubener was exed would be misleading in that the process was reversed and it was as if it had not happened. I supposed there could have been an addendum linked to the story that would give more detail.

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It should go without saying, but given the absurdity of the OP in this thread, I suppose we'll have to explain the obvious:
 
  • Hubener's excommunication happened in violation of the Church's doctrines and guidelines.
  • Hubener's excommunication was reversed shortly after the war, that is, as soon as the LDS Church learned about it.
The OP accuses the Church of "the height of mendacity."  The only "mendacity" I see in this thread is the execrable attempt to leverage Hubener against his own faith.
 
I will close by quoting from a letter Hubener wrote on the day of his execution:
 
I am very grateful to my Heavenly Father that my miserable life will come to an end tonight–I could not bear it any longer anyway. My Father in Heaven knows that I have done nothing wrong. I am just sorry that I had to break the Word of Wisdom at my last hour. I know that God lives and He will be the Just Judge in this matter. I look forward to seeing you in a better world!
 
Your friend and brother in the Gospel,
Helmuth
 
 
-Smac

 

Thank you, Smac...

 

GG

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Omni,

You should listen to the podcast I linked to. It deals with the environment at that time, why people were accepting of the Nazis and even joined them. What made Helmuth a remarkable young man is that he could see through the facade and was able to even predict with great accuracy future outcomes, even though he was only 16. The Gestapo were convinced there was an adult involved. Even a college professor, iirc, because of the unusual intelligence and insight the boy had.

The comment by the Nobel Laureate where he stated 'why did he see and I did not, why did he do and I did not' was the most moving part of the podcast for me. What an awful burden to carry.

Otoh the ability to forgive that Karl was able to experience after his extreme hardships (termed miraculous by him) teaches us that such burdens can be placed at Christ's feet whether one is the victim or the sinner.

Edited by calmoriah
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Omni,

You should listen to the podcast I linked to. It deals with the environment at that time, why people were accepting of the Nazis and even joined them. What made Helmuth a remarkable young man is that he could see through the facade and was able to even predict with great accuracy future outcomes, even though he was only 16. The Gestapo were convinced there was an adult involved. Even a college professor, iirc, because of the unusual intelligence and insight the boy had.

The comment by the Nobel Laureate where he stated 'why did he see and I did not, why did he do and I did not' was the most moving part of the podcast for me. What an awful burden to carry.

Otoh the ability to forgive that Karl was able to experience after his extreme hardships (termed miraculous by him) teaches us that such burdens can be placed at Christ's feet whether one is the victim or the sinner.

 

I can understand why the district president would call him to BP, what I don't understand is why God would presumably inspire him to do this.

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The "church" did not excommunicate him. His branch president, who also was a Nazi Party member, excommunicated him once he was arrested. German Latter-day Saints did not have communication with SLC during this time and so were doing things on their own. Once the war was over, and the church was able to review the situation, the excommunication was reversed.

 

So if a local leader excommunicates someone it has no effect? 

 

John Dehlin and Kate Kelly will be so relieved.

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Nazis were not all the fanatics that we see in depictions to. It was at that time seen as just another political party like the democrats and republicans are viewed now...and given that good things were happening in the country at the time, people had food again and shelter....a good life and Hilter appeared in many ways to be a reasonable and charitable man that LDS could get along with...he encouraged people to not smoke or drink and refrained himself, he apparently instituted a "Pot Sunday" where families would eat one mel once a month and donate what was saved to the poor. It was easier to focus on the good the Nazis were doing and see oneself as part of that.

It is when it developed and lines were no longer so gray, when the sign on the chapel door said "no Jews allowed" which could only mean one man, the convert Solomon who was Jewish by lineage, though Christian by faith who they could see outside through the window crying in despair that those he saw as family had turned him away, though later at least there were youth that gathered at his home to comfort him....it is during those times we can ponder what might have been if that branch president had chosen a different path and supported his efforts rather than try to distance the rest of his flock from the young men; perhaps Mormons would have joined Jews and JW in the camps and in death as threatened but at least those of us alive today would be abe to brag about how noble and brave our people always were from the safety of our homes.

Edited by calmoriah
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So if a local leader excommunicates someone it has no effect?

John Dehlin and Kate Kelly will be so relieved.

If he does it against the rules without a court, just announces it on his own say so.

Just as it would be if he baptised someone without following what are considered the core necessities....or married if he had no permission from either law or church to do so but took it upon himself because others had done it in the past...though they had followed the rules. Pretty straightforward I suspect. Excommunication is more like group therapy than an exorcism. The BP would likely have held an exorcism if he had a chance he was likely so desperate to keep the Eye of Mordor off his people.

Edited by calmoriah
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What exactly are the implications of a posthumous reinstatement to the Church?  After all, John D. Lee was reinstated too, so I'm mystified on what the standards are (and what it means).

There is a difference between the two. Helmuth's was ruled invalid, no restoration of blessings was needed. In effect, it had meant nothing spiritually. Otoh, Lee's excommunication was never ruled invalid, I believe he was given a proxy restoration of blessings be ause there were spiritual implications of what happened to him.
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Were all the baptisms done in that branch during that period subsequently re-performed as well?

He didn't even abide by the rules he could have done, there was no court and the reason given for excommunication itself might have been invalid (we don't excommunicate based on political laws).

If the baptisms had been done properly, there would be no need to repeat.

Edited by calmoriah
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