Adolf Hitler, Exalted Mormon God

Adolf Hitler a Mormon?Several weeks ago I got into a minor Facebook debate with a Christian apologist friend about this article from Utah Lighthouse Mission concerning LDS temple work being performed for Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. He found it distasteful that Mormons believe that Hitler will one day earn the right to be called a god.

I objected that having had his temple work done does not give Hitler access to exaltation. My understanding of Doctrine and Covenants 76 is that a person such as Hitler would not receive any reward beyond the Terrestrial Kingdom.

Further, I think arguments that involve Hitler are designed for one reason only, to put LDS beliefs in the worst possible light. His response was that he was merely showing the natural extension of Mormon thought. But I think Evangelicalism can be equally vilified using the Hitler-device. We believe that any dying man can say a sinner’s prayer and that very day find himself in Paradise with Christ. We don’t know the details of Hitler’s final moments, so it’s merely our assumption that he did not confess his sins and ask for forgiveness from God. If he had, we have little doubt that the blood of Christ could forgive even the sins of the Nazi dictator. If we’re to be fair and compare the “worst” of Evangelicalism to the “worst” of the teachings of the LDS church, then it’s not that Hitler might share in the glory of Christ that concerns us; it’s that any man might someday be called “god”.

I’m curious, does the LDS church teach that all men continue on the path toward exaltation after death? Is it true that someday Adolf Hitler might be called “god”? Or is his afterlife at best permanently fixed at the Terrestrial Kingdom?


44 thoughts on “Adolf Hitler, Exalted Mormon God

  1. I’m confused what his problem is.

    Does he believe in salvation by grace?

    Or salvation by works?

    If the former, why shouldn’t Adolph Hitler be hypothetically able to be saved?

  2. Why shouldn’t repentance be as effective for murderous dictators as for jaded bloggers (raises hand)?

    Personally, I highly doubt Hitler is going the exaltation route any time soon. But I’m not sure why this is theologically troubling from a Christian standpoint.

  3. Come on folks. It’s only absurd when you ask the question absurdly. Mormons do NOT teach exaltation for the willfully evil. Baptism for the living OR the dead has NOTHING to do with eternal reward, since the baptism is just an ordinance only made effective by the righteous choices of the individual person. When a good man dies without baptism, “who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom” (D&C 137:8). Those are the cases when the ordinance provides the gate, not the destination. Every human has already provided his own just destination while he lived on earth. The light of
    Christ is given to all men, baptized or not. Willful evil, like Hitler, has no bearing on what gospel knowledge he lacked while in the flesh.

    Therefore, when a bad man dies without baptism, his encounter with God will have no rescue just because he can wave a vicarious baptismal certificate. In case some who pose this silly question have forgotten, it’s the same rule for those who are “evangelized” on earth and get baptized while alive. Baptism doesn’t save them either from the consequences of their choices. If anything, baptism on earth simply seals their fate more quickly, as they will be without excuse when judged. But the fate of willful rebellion against the normal decency of life, like Hitler or Stalin or Saddam has already sealed their fate. Even David could not escape loss of exaltation for just one WILLFUL murder of an innocent, though he had killed many men before Uriah, starting with Goliath. To propose that Hitler, can escape judgment, would require that Hitler truly had no knowledge that mass murder, gas chambers, and torture were inherently evil. Unless insane, he already willfully sinned against the light of Christ he had on earth, baptized or not. Baptism has nothing to do with avoiding judgment. That is a ridiculous supposition, and actually is the antithesis of LDS theology which demands equal parts for Mercy AND Justice. It’s not the Mormons who offer “get out of jail free” cards just because we teach all RIGHTEOUS souls will also have the ordinance of baptism, and be judged by the light they had on earth. Hitler already willfully sinned against even that light, I suspect. His fate is sealed. His encounter with God will not be the comforting experience of the righteous who died in various stages of earthly ignorance.

    Therefore, baptism is simply an ordinance MADE EFFECTIVE BY THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE LIFE OF THE PERSON! Baptism alone, for the knowingly evil, who railed all their lives against the light of their conscience, will have NO rescue in baptism, whether in life or after life. Therefore, Mormon doctrine on baptism has no burden to bear as the “worst” of our teachings. Far from it. However, evangelicals do have the thorny conundrum of death bed confessions, which in some of their theology does offer mercy without justice. Mormon theology does not make that mistake. One could perhaps grouse that the Telestial kingdom, if their destiny, is perhaps too good for evil people, but even there, I suspect Hitler and his ilk will not be so lucky. The unpardonable sin is double pronged–to deny the holy ghost AND/OR to shed innocent blood with purposeful intent. Hitler may not fit the first, but he certainly fits the second. I suspect he will be a son of perdition, though only God can know where his heart split the conundrum of willful evil, versus mentally insane. His best hope is that he was truly insane. Otherwise, the question has no merit in LDS theology. Hitler is not a potential inheritor of celestial glory, baptized or not.

  4. This is a great question and is not the first time it is asked. Speaking from my understanding the fast that we have done his temple work is out of pure love for all mankind. There is really only one unpardonable sin, which is to deny the Holy Ghost. Basically to know and see God as he is and then to deny him, to basically say to the noon sun that it is black outside. We are also taught that the shedding of innocent blood is difficult to find forgiveness in this life and the life to come. In fact we only know of a handful of individuals, though there are probably more, that have actually sinned against the Holy Ghost. Is Hitler guilty of one or both of these “unpardonable sins” possibly. But I think in the end we side on the side of compassion and let the Lord settle things on the other side when it is all said and done. Right now it is our hope to give all mankind the ability to choose Christ in this life or in the next. Peace.

  5. The impression I got during our discussion on Romans is that the Protestant view is that a murderer is no worse than I (with no criminal record) am — we’re all immensely evil. So a Hitler becoming a god should be no more offensive than Billy Graham becoming a god. I don’t think the apologist was being consistent in the way he applied his beliefs.

    And the suggestion that Hitler could be saved if he confessed his sins in his waning hours isn’t really a hypothetical. I’ve heard a fair number of evangelicals say they believe that serial klller Ted Bundy will be in heaven because of a jailhouse conversion.

    I’m curious, does the LDS church teach that all men continue on the path toward exaltation after death?

    I’ve never heard it put that way.

    Usually the matter is framed along the lines that who didn’t have the opportunity to accept the blessings of the Atonement in this life will have the opportunity in the afterlife. That’s not exactly the same as the way the question was worded.

    It is clear teaching, though, that what we learn in this life we carry to the next, and that we are judged in part on the desires of our hearts. It would understand that to mean, in part, that under normal circumstances we don’t have a huge personality makeover upon death; someone like Hitler wouldn’t seem to have the personality or desire or whatever it is that would allow him to accept the gospel fully, even in the afterlife. The teaching about how we can repent and/or grow spiritually in the afterlife is vague at best.

    There is a widely accepted train of thought within Mormonism — I’d probably call it the default Mormon position — that there’s no forgiveness for murder (although, strictly speaking, warnings to that end appear generally apply only to those who already have accepted the gospel). But there are other teachings that contradict that. The Book of Mormon specifically invites murderers to receive the gospel and suggests that forgiveness for murder isn’t impossible (although it’s difficult).

    As for myself, I take at face value the words of Boyd K. Packer when he said that “[s]ave for those few who defect to perdition after having known a fulness, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.” (See “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness.”)

    I don’t have a definite answer to the question. I do think that, practically speaking, there limits to progression after death, but I can’t tell you exactly what they are.

  6. “I’m curious, does the LDS church teach that all men continue on the path toward exaltation after death?”

    It’s pretty standard belief among Mormons that “final judgment” is final; i.e., no continuation onward and upward—or downward, for that matter. Thus, Hitler would be presumed to be stuck with Telestial glory. (Not Terrestrial, as you thought in the original post; see v 75, “[Those in the terrestrial world] are they who are honorable men of the earth….” Prolly excludes Hitler, no?)

    “Is it true that someday Adolf Hitler might be called “god”? Or is his afterlife at best permanently fixed at the Terrestrial Kingdom?”

    So above I gave the “mainstream Mormon response.” But there are Mormons who disagree. I probably lean that direction myself; it just makes no sense to me why someone couldn’t change their heart after a billion years of eternity—nor why God would neglect to reward that change, or why God would ever tire from trying to exalt us.

  7. BrianJ,

    Since you and others have jumped all over my backside for daring to use the phrase “Internet Mormon,” you are hereby denied any use of the term “mainstream Mormon.” You can’t have one without the other.

  8. David Clark: We jumped all over you because “Internet Mormon” is a stupid term and you defended it.

    I used “mainstream” to indicate “that which the vast majority of Mormons believe; i.e., the major current of Mormon belief and understanding.” I couldn’t think of the right term; hence, the use of quotes. I used “standard” in my first paragraph, but I didn’t think that fully conveyed my point; “standard” might be mistaken as merely “official.” If you, or anyone else, can provide me with a term that captures that meaning, then I’d happily use it from here on out (assuming I can remember it when it comes times to comment; otherwise, it’s back to scare quotes). I might even petition Tim to make the appropriate edit to my comment if it would avoid further confusion.

  9. Since you and others have jumped all over my backside for daring to use the phrase “Internet Mormon,” you are hereby denied any use of the term “mainstream Mormon.” You can’t have one without the other.

    False. The dichotomy is “chapel” vs. “internet” Mormon. The terms go straight to the heart of Mormon identity and imply that someone with a kind of divergent theology isn’t acceptably Mormon.

    “Mainstream” Mormon (which Brian put in scare quotes, even), is a much less loaded term that designates a position a majority view — in this case, no progression between kingdoms. No one has ever argued that there aren’t majority views in Mormonism.

    But this is a threadjack waiting to happen, so I suggest we go back to that other thread if we want to argue about this some more. Which, actually, I really don’t. (Why am I engaging it here then? I don’t know, you pushed my buttons.)

  10. I see Brian and I cross-posted…

    I think “mainstream” works well, actually. It’s descriptive and non-derogatory. Though perhaps “majority view” would work?

  11. Thanks for the link Brian. Would you say that a person would have to go outside of the canon to come to a conclusion that spirits continue to progress?

  12. As a believing Mormon, I was taught and I believed for most of my life that murderers forfeited exaltation, period. During and after my mission, I probably would have backed away from the hard line and felt like I had scriptural basis to do so, but it never came up. But I did continue to firmly believe that assignment to a lower degree of glory was permanent: you could increase in glory within the Telestial or Terrestrial Kingdom, but would be eternally limited.

    I did know Mormons who believed that everyone, even Lucifer, would be able to be eventually forgiven and have exaltation. But they treated it like “deep doctrine” that not everyone was ready to hear. I thought they were dead wrong at best–demonstrably so with the scriptures–and potentially dangerously heretical at worst.

    I also believed that saving ordinances were to be performed for everyone, ever, no matter what, but that ordinances did not get you exaltation. As a matter of God’s will, everyone’s work got done, even Hitler’s, but as a matter of God’s judgment, that certainly didn’t mean that everyone was going to get exalted for it. In the end, I believed I could trust God to act in a way that would not offend mercy or justice, and I was glad that I did not have the job of assigning people to their eternal rewards, even the easy cases like Hitler, Stalin, or people who write stories about good dogs that die.

    That was my understanding of “judge not, lest ye be judged”; not that we are not supposed ot make judgments, but that we are not to go hubristically doing God’s job for him, because we’re not equipped to do it.

  13. Now, for the record, I believe that evil people get punished for their evil deeds, but I call total BS on the notion that we are all evil: if we’re all evil, then “evil” does not really mean what we mean when we talk about evil.

  14. I think the only way to call Hitler and Stalin “easy cases” is to not really understand them.

  15. I call BS on that too. Attempted genocide or state-sponsored mass murder is just pure evil, period. Doesn’t matter what brought you there.

    I get that we all have darkness inside us. That doesn’t make us evil; that makes us human. Gassing millions of Jews, instituting pogroms, and writing stories about good dogs that die makes you evil.

  16. It’s taking history too lightly that allows it to be repeated.

    Such as believing that Hitler and Stalin are “easy cases”, and that had YOU lived in that time period – you would have immediately seen them for the evil they represented, and that everyone who lived in that time period must have been a flipping moron to have not seen through them.

    Or that Hitler and Stalin don’t represent real HARD moral dilemmas.

    This is nothing more than trivializing of history, and turning people into caricatures – easily dismissed.

    The creation of historical “supervillians” merely trivializes the moral lessons we’ve learned from the past, insulates we in the present from having to do the hard work of wrestling with it, and makes us all more vulnerable to the atrocities being repeated.

    The mere existence of “Godwin’s Law” represents a moral failure for our society. Because Hitler is obviously #2 after Satan – everyone assumes there is absolutely nothing that “normal” people like you and me can learn from him.

    “He’s just too different from you and me” after all.


    Hitler is like us – and what happened to him and his people CAN happen to us. And WILL happen to us if we continue to blow him off the way you are doing.

  17. You’re reading a whole lot into what I’m saying.

    State sponsored mass murder is pure evil. I’m not making a supervillain out of Hitler. I’m saying his deeds were evil, period. There’s no dilemma to “is the Holocaust evil?”

    I will grant to you that how you respond to evil can be unclear or even morally ocmplicated. And I’ve already acknowledged in spades that we all have darkness inside us. But there’s a huge world of difference between “we all have the potential to do evil” and murdering a million people in a murder factory.

    The line between you and Hitler is a clear one: he ordered the inhuman deaths of millions; you have done no such thing. Attempts to muddy that are academic at best and insidious at worst. Could you become like Hitler? Sure. Could. Acknowledging rank evil for what it is doesn’t undercut that.

  18. Tim asked, “Would you say that a person would have to go outside of the canon to come to a conclusion that spirits continue to progress?”

    Hmmm, I don’t know. It’s not something I’ve considered/studied deeply or carefully. So my views on the subject are more like hunches.

    The folks at New Cool Thang have discussed it at length and I only skimmed those discussions. So again, I don’t know. But based on how they typically treat scripture (viz. very carefully), I’d guess that this idea is one of those that is “Not explicitly promoted nor rejected by the canon; it must be deduced.” (Which puts it in the company of lots and lots of other doctrines—within Mormonism or mainline Christianity….)

    I think that’s an answer to question, even though it’s sort of a non-answer. I guess my point is: There’s nowhere in the canon where progression between kingdoms is obvious because if there were then it wouldn’t be such a settled issue in the minds of so many Mormons.

  19. BrianJ and Katie L,

    Please explain to me the difference between a “mainstream Mormon” and a “Chapel Mormon.” In my mind they are synonymous, though I would prefer a better explanation than “Internet Mormon” is bad because the only reason I use it is because I’m a poopy-head stupid-pants.

    I agree this is a thread jack, so feel free to post your explanation here:

  20. It’s because I muddy the waters between me and Hitler that I am more vigilant about him.

  21. DC: no one called you stupid. I called your term stupid.

    I’m not interested in revisiting the Internet Mormon discussion. So I won’t. But if my comments above aren’t clear on what I meant by “mainstream” then I am happy to further clarify here for the sake of this discussion.

  22. But if my comments above aren’t clear on what I meant by “mainstream” then I am happy to further clarify here for the sake of this discussion.

    I simply asked for a clarification of what is the difference between a “Chapel Mormon” and a “mainstream Mormon.” Do it wherever your wish.

  23. DC: I’m surprised that you need the clarification. But here goes….

    I used “mainstream Mormon” as:

    “that which the vast majority of Mormons believe; i.e., the major current of Mormon belief and understanding.”

    You used “Chapel Mormon” as:

    The main dividing line between Internet Mormons and Chapel Mormons is how they view the prophets. Chapel Mormons view the prophets as authoritative mouthpieces of God who give modern revelation that members of the church should listen to and obey.”

    Thus, the terms differ significantly in that “mainstream” was never intended to describe why or how one holds a certain belief—only that the belief is held by most others.

    Further, your term “Chapel Mormon” was meant to describe a person, whereas my use of “mainstream” was applied to a response.

    (And I see that Katie responded while I was typing this so I’ll post now and read her response.)

  24. It’s because I muddy the waters between me and Hitler that I am more vigilant about him.

    I think that nonsense leads to plenty of vigilance against potential evil but nowhere near enough vigilance about actual evil. Your road leads to policing good people for their thoughts while sitting on your hands and making excuses for the people who actively who evil.

  25. Kullervo, it seems pretty apparent that there is a difference between understanding and approving of something.

  26. How is calling evil deeds evil “not understanding” them? Maybe we do all have the potential to put people through a murder factory, but the potential to put people through a murder factory is not evil. Putting people through a murder factory is evil. Some moral situations are tricky, but this is not one of them: putting people through a murder factory is evil.

    It’s not a supervillain or a caricature, or “blowing him off”: putting people through a murder factory is a heinously evil deed, regardless of circumstances.

  27. Yes. But calling him an “easy case” indicates an unwillingness to really understand why it happened, and why otherwise normal and reasonable people found it compelling.

  28. I think I understand it just fine. But it’s still an easy case. Murder factories are always evil. The fact that human beings are capable of (prone to!) manipulation and self-deception and can be led by the nose to do great evil doesn’t mean it’s not– from an outside perspective–clearly great evil.

    I acknowledge that I too could potentially do great evil in the right circumstances, but while those circumstances may explain my actions, they don’t excuse them. My deeds would still be clearly evil to anyone capable of thinking clearly. The fact that I let myself be convinced that up is down, left is right, and evil is good is precisely because I am not thinking clearly.

    Just because it was muddy for Germans in 1944 doesn’t mean we have to pretend their actions are still muddy for us now.

  29. Or that Hitler and Stalin don’t represent real HARD moral dilemmas.

    No, not participating in mass murder are easy moral dilemmas, defying a totalitarian state is a hard practical dilemma.

    as to the OP.

    LDS teaching is pretty clear that certain attitudes and actions will damn you, i.e. prevent your eternal progression.


    Hitler was completely evil and twisted in his thinking and certainly loved and made lies and would fall in this category pretty squarely and stick him in the telestial kingdom after his suffering in hell.

    The final point of the post goes back to the question of the cognizable difference between “a person sitting on the throne of god as an heir to his kingdom” and “a receiver of all that God has” and “god”. I suggest that this is a negligible difference between Mormons and Evangelicals. Mormons simply flesh out what this might mean practically in ways that are not in the bible.

  30. There is an answer to this problem but none of you are looking in the right place.

    If Adolf Hitler never repented absolutely he deserved Hell.

    If Adolf Hitler did repent and choose God on his deathbed he deserves the salvation promised him.

    *However* he will have to be purged from his attachment to those sins (murder, pride, etc.) before he’s ready to enter Heaven. “Nothing unclean enters Heaven Rev 21:27).

  31. The Lord will never redeeem the wicked murderers like Stalin and Hitler.
    They must be thrust down to hell and pay for their crimes and sins until the Second resurrection and have very limited access to God’s influence.
    The murderers will be Eternally separated from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as the wicked will be damned in Telestial Glory, the lowest degree of glory.
    The Holy Ghost will minister there in some small degree.

    Only the righteous who valiantly obey the Temple covennants like the Endowment and Eternal marriage will through the power of thew Priesthood gain Celestial Godhood as Kings and Queens.
    I know that Heavenly Father and Mother are exalted, just as Jesus Christ is Exalted with His Wives May, Martha and Mary Magdalene.
    And Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalene were one of tthe noblest daughters of Heavenly Father and that King Adam reigns supreme as Michael the Archangel with Queen Eve, an Attractive woman and choice spirit child of God.

    Celstial Beings rule their Universes as Kings and Queens, but terrestrial and telestial beings are servants for all eternity.

  32. What about repented Lamanites like King Lamoni and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who admit to their “many murders?” Alma 24 talks about how God washed away their murders.

  33. Anti Nephi Lehies sought repentance while living, this God wash away the sins. Hitler will not be saved in the celesitial kingdom according to the theology of mormons. Reread Section 76-80 in the DC. it is very clear

  34. Well the National Socialism shared huge similarities with the Church not only in the ideology (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Fast Sunday, Genealogy, the importance of Marriage and Family, singing hymns) but also in organization (Mormon Youth = Hitler Youth, SS could be compared to the Melchizedek’s Priesthood and SA to Aaronic) Hitler taught about the pure aryan men becoming God-men and beyond (That is, Gods) and that’s similar to the doctrine of Exaltation.

    I think that Hitler was an instrument of God ((as many other Church members of the time) as it was Mohammed to arabs) whose purpose was to teach good principles and values to make Germans more virtuous and to teach them eternal principles. Also he encouraged people to be smarter and learn about art. I think he was given the light of Christ to bring Germans to the truth. Sure he killed but don’t be silly, America’s government has killed LOT more than the Third Reich and done less for the work of the Lord. What I think is that a world under the Reich’s regime would be less wicked than this Telestial world.

    So, Hitler will someday achieve the Exaltation? I don’t know. If he had accepted the Gospel and the ordinances that were made for him here in the Earth, then yeah, he will, but if don’t, then I’m not so sure.

  35. What I think is that a world under the Reich’s regime would be less wicked than this Telestial world.

    I think the world would less wicked if I was universal dictator, will you be my first devotee Armani?

  36. My dad used to troll guests at dinner parties by arguing that Hitler “wasn’t really all that bad.”

    My mom was thrilled, needless to say.

  37. Hitler and the evil likes Stalin do not qualify for eternal life in the Celestial kingdom because the blood of Christ does Not cleanse the sins of mass murderers. Only Heavenly Father and His Son The Lord know the eternal fate of Hitler. Hitler is not a son of perdition because he never had the Holy Ghost and his body is a sign of his future resurrection to telestial damnation because of his evil ways. The Lord is more generous than the trillions of men in the Universe as far as giving Godhood and eternal life to the penitent and faithful but very harsh against total hypocrisy. I do not worry about Hitler as The Lord will take care of him. I focus in keeping my Temple covenants leading to my crown of Godhood and Eternal Lives for Trillions of Zillions of years.

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