An article from the LDS Church’s Salt Lake City newspaper The Deseret News, published on December, 1933.
Mormonism in The New Germany
The rise of the Hitler movement in Germany caused a great many to fear that religious activity in missionary work would meet disastrous opposition. Since the National Socialist Party have come to power a few sects have been prohibited or restricted, but activities in the “Mormon” church has been carried on about the same as before. As a matter of fact, a number of interesting parallels can be seen between the church and some of the ideas and policies of the National Socialists.
A friend of the church in Danzig tells of how a number of his Nazi friends were trying to high-pressure him into getting on the bandwagon under the swastika. Their trump card to show the originality and political genius of the Hitler party was the brilliant method they have undertaken to put over the charity drive for this winter. To them it was phenomenal, to the friend, however, it was just another application of the effective method that has been in use in the “Mormon” church for decades. The Nazis have introduced “Fast Sunday”.
On the first Sunday of October two missionaries, having had nothing to eat for a day, rushed down to their regular eating places in high expectation for the unusually juicy “wiener schnitzel” they expected to get. What they got was a little bowl of cold gruel with a little dumpling. This was German Fast Day. On this day a meal consisting of a one bowl portion is all that is to be eaten and the price of the meal is expected to be donated to the winter charity fund. It is a well organized campaign. It is designed not only to alleviate the acute poverty, but it has the important purpose of developing that spirit of sacrifice that is so being stressed in the new Germany, And also of creating more of a feeling of unity and brotherhood through voluntary mutual help. Someone in each apartment is delegated to collect the money and turn it over to the authorities.
There is another noticeable trend in the “Mormon” direction. It is a very well-known fact that Hitler observes a form of living which “Mormons” term the “Word of Wisdom”. He will not take alcohol, does not smoke, and is very strict about his diet, insisting on plain and wholesome foods, largely vegetarian.
As a specimen of physical endurance Hitler can easily take his place alongside the athletes who are usually taken as classic examples. His 14 year struggle which brought him the power in Germany put him to a terrible physical strain. Besides the great responsibility there has been trials and conflict, and campaigning so strenuous that he has required his attention night and day, many times making it necessary for him to travel great distances by auto or plane, catching up on his sleep underway to fit him for the multitudes who would gather to hear him wherever he had time to stop.
A lady who was at several dinners that Dr. Joseph Goebbels the conqueror of Berlin attended told me that the rich assortment of liquors on hand were never there for his benefit. It was always necessary to serve him non-alcoholic drinks.
These two colorful leaders of the new Germany, in their gigantic struggle for political supremacy have needed capable bodies and clear brains and have trained like athletes. Their very popularity is making intemperance more unpopular. The fact that they are worshipped may be one big reason for a growing dislike for smoking and drinking in Germany today.
Posters from youth organizations fighting the use of tobacco have actually appeared on the street. This same movement has even extended itself to the use of cosmetics and its effectiveness may be seen by the fact that a woman recently told me that the slump in the cosmetic business was the cause of her losing her job.
Many of those who felt the greatest anxiety about being able to carry on their religious activities are finding that at least one branch of their church work has received its greatest boon since Germany’s adoption of Hitlerism. It was always difficult for genealogical workers to get into the archives of the recognized church to trace back family records. When the pastor learned of the intention access to the records was often denied. Now due to the importance given to the racial question, and the almost necessity of proving that one’s grandmother was not a Jewess, the old record books have been dusted off and stand ready and waiting for you. No questions are asked. In fact, some of the Saints instead of being refused by the pastors now have received letters of encouragement complementing them for their patriotism.
All genealogical workers who are interested in tracing back family history in Germany should take advantage of the present unusual opportunity. — Dale Clark
Clark, Dale. Mormonism in The New Germany in The Deseret News. 9 Dec 1933, Church Department section, pp. 3 and 7.