"Escape From Germany" movie


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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt28172032/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0_tt_8_nm_0_q_escape%20from%20

Apparently it's been out since last month, but I only just now heard about it this morning since it's only just now coming to theaters in my region. 

It's based on the church's efforts to evacuate its missionaries from Germany before the start of WWII. 

So far, the nearest theater to me that's airing it is the next stake over, so I don't know when I'll actually be able to watch it. 

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Based on the novel "mine angels around about". In the summer of 1939, as Hitler's army was closing borders, eighty-five American missionaries were in Germany serving their church. Written from their personal journals, this is a quiet testimony that God really does go before His servants, opens effectual doors and sends His angels round about to bear them up. The escape of these missionaries from Nazi Germany is one of the most dramatic events to occur in modern church history.

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

You see this sort of thing everywhere, and not just in connection with the Latter-day Saints. The more we identify with a group or individual, the more we think it a miracle/tragedy if they live/die.

Two examples:

The traditional ending to the Church of England Intercessions:

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"And so rejoicing in the fellowship of St. [whichever saint the church is dedicated to], Our Lady and all Your saints, we commend ourselves and all Christian people to Your unfailing love." 

I've always refuse to say "Christian". It seems to me that if someone is not a Christian, they need our prayers more rather than less. We pray for other Christians, yes of course we do, but (unless we're the most frightful hyper-Calvinists) we pray for everyone else too!

A sillier example:

In the Left Behind books, Nicolai Carpathia - who is really the Antichrist - starts giving people the "Mark of the Beast" (actually a microchip similar to the ones they put into cats and dogs). Our heroes are terrified that Christians will be forced to submit to this, and drastic steps must be taken to rescue them. It never occurs to any of them that it's the Christians who are in the least danger!

I can't believe I wasted so many hours on those ridiculous books; they make the Beast and the False Prophet into a kind of Abbot and Costello double act (which might have been quite funny had it not been intended seriously*). The only person the "Tribulation Force" even tries to convert to Christianity is a rather annoying woman who they think might turn them in. Instead they threaten to tell everyone she's a lesbian if she squeals. OK...ok...there's also the Jewish guy whose name I can't remember, who Internet-preaches from his underground bunker, but he's the exception. Aside from him, it's just a series of attempts to infiltrate Carpathia's headquarters and muck up his plans for world domination, which they would have known (had any of them actually read the Bible) was going to happen anyway. Wouldn't they be far better employed spreading the Gospel, so as many names as possible could be in the Book of Life when the end came? (Sorry...rant over.)

*I suppose this is an example of the "stupid villain" trope. A villain can't just be evil - he has to be stupid too. Other examples are Dick Dastardly, Gargamel, The "Hooded Claw" (villain of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop - who was not the same as Dick Dastardly whatever you think you remember**!) and Dr. Smith from Lost in Space.

**Dick Dastardly was never in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Not even once. The villain was Sylvester Sneakley, a.k.a. "The Hooded Claw". I have wasted much breath trying to convince people (including my own brother) of that fact. So don't go there 😆.

Edited by Jamie123
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42 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

That some were not miraculously rescued* does not alter whether others were.  For every person Christ healed during his mortal ministry, there must have been thousands upon thousands elsewhere in the world who were not healed.  That doesn't make the healings any less of a miracle.

* While preparing for my last RS lesson, the talk mentioned "blessings" several times and during the week I was not feeling particularly blessed, and suddenly had the idea to go and look up what that word really means and was struck by the etymology:

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Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e. originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship’, and later by association with bliss.

If one stops thinking that blessings from God are those things which bring "bliss" and rather are those things which "consecrate with blood" (specifically the blood of Christ), one is both humbled and given a much clearer perspective regarding prayer and blessings, and perhaps whether or not a miracle occurred.

FWIW

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10 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

In one respect it isn’t.  The Americans would likely have made their way to a consulate eventually and found a way out, after a great deal more inconvenience and possibly suffering than they otherwise endured.

On the other hand, I have a book about the evacuation of the German mission (this one); and those involved recalled some truly remarkable things happening around this time that they could only consider “miraculous”.  Why God would have intervened on such a micro scale to help some relatively privileged people, while allowing enormous catastrophes to play out in the lives of thousands of others, naturally brings us back to larger problems of theodicy and the divine plan.

(I was going to ask here if it wasn’t a Britisher who coined the aphorism about God for some reason taking especial care of fools, drunks, and Americans; but come to think of it, wasn’t it Bismarck who came up with that one?)

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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I went and saw Escape from Germany with my son.  We both loved the movie.  Many miracles happened to enable those missionaries to get out of Poland and the surrounding areas before World War II started.  I hope to own the movie on digital versatile disk when it become available.

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20 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

You're correct, it's a universal human conundrum.  One with which we must all answer for ourselves.  I did my first 25 years a cynic, but then my wife eventually won me over to the other side.

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The secret is to not beat yourself up over things that are outside of your control.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/11/2024 at 10:11 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

In one respect it isn’t.  The Americans would likely have made their way to a consulate eventually and found a way out, after a great deal more inconvenience and possibly suffering than they otherwise endured.

They couldn't.  The embassy/consulate refused to help them with so many people in such a short time.  And Germany closed the borders before they could accomplish such a goal through proper channels.

On 5/11/2024 at 10:11 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

On the other hand, I have a book about the evacuation of the German mission (this one); and those involved recalled some truly remarkable things happening around this time that they could only consider “miraculous”.

That was the book that the movie was based on.  The photos at the closing credits indicated that the main elder (Siebold?) didn't know how to whistle.  He'd never whistled in his life.  But the Spirit told him to whistle LDS hymns as a signal.  And missionaries came to him.

Hitler's plans were to begin his invasion in 3 days.  But he kept on coming up against roadblocks that delayed his invasion.  After the last missionary was out, Hitler was able to begin his invasion the next day.

After the last missionary was out of the country, Elder Siebold tried whistling again.  He couldn't.  He knew that his mission was done.  So, he got himself out (another miracle).  He was never able to whistle again.

On 5/11/2024 at 10:11 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

 Why God would have intervened on such a micro scale to help some relatively privileged people, while allowing enormous catastrophes to play out in the lives of thousands of others, naturally brings us back to larger problems of theodicy and the divine plan.

Hence: Mine Angels 'Round About.

I don't know either.  But I know I've been on the receiving end of such divine protection.  They were miracles which defy the laws of physics as I know them.

And the only thing I can fathom is that I needed to grow up and marry my wife and raise 7 of the most amazing children who are of the great and noble spirits "Saved for Saturday."  The world must be peopled.  And the Lord wants good homes for his choicest spirits.  I feel blessed that he chose to protect one as clumsy as I am as to need His protection on that level.  But He has protected me.

On 5/11/2024 at 10:11 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

(I was going to ask here if it wasn’t a Britisher who coined the aphorism about God for some reason taking especial care of fools, drunks, and Americans; but come to think of it, wasn’t it Bismarck who came up with that one?)

People attribute it to Bismark.  But who knows?

I prefer Cmdr Will Riker's version: Luck!  I protect fools, children, and ships called Enterprise.

Edited by Carborendum
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On 5/11/2024 at 11:39 AM, Jamie123 said:

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

I have an explanation.  I don't know if you will like it.  I thnk it will tend to offend quite a few people.  And I don't know if it is even true.  But it seems to answer the question for me.

An aphorism of the LDS culture is "There is no more important work that a man can do than within the walls of his own home."  Another is "No success in the world can compensate for failure in the home."

@NeuroTypical showed that starfish story in his post with the explanation: Stop worrying about things outside of your control.

I've spent a lot of my life trying to help people with big things and little things.  It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I was actually prevented from even doing anything.  To be clear, it wasn't that I was ineffective or didn't know how to render aid in a proper manner.  I simply was not able to begin, much less complete so many opportunities to serve which I was willing and able to perform. 

I recognize that the place where I make the most difference is with my own family.  And those in my family can have a great influence on so many more people that I will never meet.

Not a perfect analogy, I understand.  My point is that we have the greatest ability to help those who are within our direct influence.  It is very difficult to help those who are not under such influence.

There are many good people in the world of all faiths and backgrounds.  But God has made covenants with the Latter-day Saints.  He has the greatest influence over us because of those covenants.  So, He will perform miracles in certain ways that are much more prevalent (per capita) among LDS than other peoples.

Edited by Carborendum
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On 5/11/2024 at 9:39 AM, Jamie123 said:

Forgive my frightful cynicism, but considering that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, why is it such an amazing miracle that 85 Americans weren't?

A miracle is a perception of the hand of God in your life.

President Monson (LDS apostle and Church president 2008-2018) told a story of himself as a twelve-year-old boy during the Great Depression, having earned five dollars but leaving the bill in his pants pocket when it was sent out to be washed. He prayed that the money would not be lost, and miraculously (at least to him), it was not. Predictably, many mocked President Monson's God of the Five-Dollar Bill. But they should not have. God is present in the great things and in the small, as well. Why would God not act in the life of a twelve-year-old in a small but meaningful (to the 12-year-old) way to instill faith in God and confidence in prayer?

It's easy and sometimes seductive to be cynical, so I don't blame you for having that reaction. But cynicism is a cancer that corrodes the soul and blinds us to the very real things that happen, both great and small, that reveal the hand of God to us.

Edited by Vort
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18 minutes ago, Vort said:

A miracle is a perception of the hand of God in your life.

President Monson (LDS apostle and Church president 2008-2018) told a story of himself as a twelve-year-old boy during the Great Depression, having earned five dollars but leaving the bill in his pants pocket when it was sent out to be washed. He prayed that the money would not be lost, and miraculously (at least to him), it was not. Predictably, many mocked President Monson's God of the Five-Dollar Bill. But they should not have. God is present in the great things and in the small, as well. Why would God not act in the life of a twelve-year-old in a small but meaningful (to the 12-year-old) way to instill faith in God and confidence in prayer?

It's easy and sometimes seductive to be cynical, so I don't blame you for having that reaction. But cynicism is a cancer that corrodes the soul and blinds us to the very real things that happen, both great and small, that reveal the hand of God to us.

That is like $100 today just based on CPI alone.  But based on income levels, it is like $200-$300 today.  For a 12 yo???  That's a lot of money.  How on earth did he make that much as a 12 yo?  How long did he work for that.

The most hypocritical thing here is that they mock the successful, affluent, adult for relating that story.  But they ignore the significance of the poor 12 yo boy who had to work his tail off on a farm for that much money.

Edited by Carborendum
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13 minutes ago, Vort said:

A miracle is a perception of the hand of God in your life.

President Monson (LDS apostle and Church president 2008-2018) told a story of himself as a twelve-year-old boy during the Great Depression, having earned five dollars but leaving the bill in his pants pocket when it was sent out to be washed. He prayed that the money would not be lost, and miraculously (at least to him), it was not. Predictably, many mocked President Monson's God of the Five-Dollar Bill. But they should not have. God is present in the great things and in the small, as well. Why would God not act in the life of a twelve-year-old in a small but meaningful (to the 12-year-old) way to instill faith in God and confidence in prayer?

It's easy and sometimes seductive to be cynical, so I don't blame you for having that reaction. But cynicism is a cancer that corrodes the soul and blinds us to the very real things that happen, both great and small, that reveal the hand of God to us.

It’s interesting that you brought this up. There was a shooting at the local mall during Christmas time. 
 

https://www.ocalagazette.com/update-on-paddock-mall-shooting-with-security-footage/

Melissa and I were there one hour before it happened. To be clear, it was not a mass shooting-it was between two street punks-but we often think it was a blessing/luck we weren’t there when the shooting happened. 

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