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August 2015 Vol. 52 No. 12

University of Oklahoma Press

The following review appeared in the August 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - Western Europe

2014-24515 CIP
Nelson, David Conley. Moroni and the swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany. Oklahoma, 2015. 416p bibl index afp ISBN 9780806146683, $29.95.

Unlike Jews, Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons largely escaped Nazi repression by consciously invoking one of their Articles of Faith: “being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, and in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”  From their earliest forays into Imperial Germany, Mormon missionaries built a practice of negotiated accommodation that set a standard for later experience.  Nelson first explores how US leaders and German congregations successfully (sometimes too successfully) negotiated the boundaries between faith and “rendering unto Caesar” under the totalitarian empire, then documents how Mormon members and missionaries protected themselves and their congregations by accommodating to Nazism in the prewar period.  “German Mormons and their prewar American missionaries avoided persecution by skillfully collaborating to a degree that ensured their survival but did not subject them to postwar retribution.”  Finally, influenced by Pierre Nora’s explorations of the purposes of and uses for cultural memory, the author discusses how organizational and personal memory in the postwar period selectively recalls and celebrates resistance, miracles, and personal sacrifice while minimizing a past of political accommodation.  A useful precursor to Raymond Kuehne, Mormons as Citizens of a Communist State (2010).

--R. L. Saunders, Southern Utah University

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.