Mormons as Citizens of A Communist State

A Documentary History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in East Germany, 1945-1990

From 1945 to 1990 communist East Germany was an officially atheistic state.  Nevertheless, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced their religion there.  Mormons as Citizens of a Communist State is based on primary sources---government and church documents, interviews, and private leters ---to create a documentary history of the church during that historical period.

The history of church-state relations begins with attempts to terminate the church's legal status in the early 1950s, continues with the building of the Freiberg Temple from 1983 to 1985 (the only LDS temple ever built in a communist state), and concludes with the historic meeting in 1988 between current LDS Church President Tomas S. Monson and Chairman Erich Honecker that permitted the entry of LDS missionaries from the West.

The relationship between the Latter-day Saint citizens and their atheistic government is a major theme of this book.  Did church members manage to be true to their faith and simultaneously function as citizens within that state, and if so, how did they achieve that balance?

Mormons as Citizens of a Communist State was originally published in German in 2008 by Leipzig University Press.

Winner of the Mormon History Association Geraldine McBride Woodward Award for Best Publication in International Mormon History. 

Raymond M. Kuehne was born in New York City of German immigrant parents and has studied as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Marburg and as a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Virginia. He served in the North German Mission and the Freiberg Temple Mission. Mormons as Citizens of a Communist State was originally published in German in February of 2008.

Table of Contents:

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword by Ronald Smelser
Chronological History
1. Germany before 1945
2. Soviet Military Administration 1945-1949
3. The Church-State Relationship in the GDR
4. The Legal Status of the LDS Church
5. Life prior to the Berlin Wall 1949-1961
6. Living with the Wall 1961-1989
7. How Mormons Defined Citizenship
8. Missionary Opportunities
9. Church Youth Programs
10. Education and Employment
11. The Old Meeting Houses
12. Importing Church Literature
13. Financial Administration
14. Improved Relations in the 1970s and 1980s
15. The Origins of the Freiberg Temple
16. New Meeting Houses in the 1980s
17. The Honecker-Monson Meeting 1988
18. Missionaries Enter the GDR 1989
19. The Wende--End of the GDR 1990
20. President Henry Burkhardt
Appendix A: Travels of the Mission Leaders 1945
Appendix B: Two Refugee Centers 1945-1946
Appendix C: Recovery of Genealogical Records 1946
Appendix D: Conferences 1946-1948
Appendix E: Mission Choir Tour 1949
Appendix F: Youth Pioneer Trek 1962
Appendix G: The Rededication of the Land 1975
Appendix H: Origin of the Freiberg Temple 1983
Appendix I: Freiberg Temple Open House and Dedication 1985
Appendix J: Freiberg Temple Dedicatory Prayer
Appendix K: Membership Statistics 1939-1961

Praise and Reviews:

“Kuehne has written the book for an impartial, curious reader who wishes to form his own opinion about what took place with the members of this little religious organization in the GDR. This approach distinguishes itself favorably from so many other accounts and biographies of the history of churches and religious organizations in the GDR. This exciting book should not only be read, it should be studied.”—Joachim Heise, Institute for Comparative State-Church Research, Berlin

"Kudos to the University of Utah Press for publishing this excellent treasure trove of essential information about on of the most remarkable chapters not only of Mormon history but of world history!"—The Journal of Mormon History

"For those who have knowledge of and interest in the history of East Germany, as well as those interested in the worldwide growth of the Church, this book is invaluable....Rather than interpret or answer his own questions, Kuehne leaves that task to the reader, further underscoring the strength of the book."
BYU Studies