In October of 1938 Germany issued an order that all Polish Jews were to be deported back to Germany within 48 hours. They were arrested, taken without being allowed any of their possessions, and shipped in trains and lorries, as well as on foot. Many elderly and infirmed did not survive the transport. The living conditions these precious people, without home or finances, endured was worse than would be afforded to animals.
Did the world respond with outrage and disgust at this? No. The apathy of the world during this horrific plight of the Jews, as well as during much of the holocaust, is something that still fills my heart with cold fear. Humans can be so inhumane.
What grabbed American headlines at this time? The panic that ensued after H.G. Wells radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. Though Mr. Wells introduced the program as a radio dramatization of his book, most radio listeners were tuned in to a ventriloquist on NBC and had not turned on CBS until after the program was underway. Thinking the world was really under attack by Martians, panic ensued. Many jammed the highways trying to escape. People ran through the streets screaming about the end of the world. Electric companies even were reported to have cut power so the Martians couldn’t see their cities. Once Mr. Wells learned what was happening, he stopped the dramatization and reminded people that it was fiction.
Everyone was talking about the response from his radio broadcast. No one cared what was happening to tens of thousands of Jews, even after there was obvious need for humanitarian intervention. Why should we have to deal with the problems of others?
What I find interesting is that while the Americans were panicked about an imaginary attack from Martians they were completely oblivious to the real forces of darkness that were now at work around them. I’m not just talking about Nazi sympathizers either. Satan was alive and well in the 1930s (as he is today). Their world was growing darker. There were “prophets” calling out warning, such as Winston Churchill, but the British as well as the Americans were not interested in his doomsday politics.
I see the same thing today. Our headlines, as well as our citizenship, are outraged and caught up in the wrong things. We don’t see the dark veil of unrighteousness descending on our nation. We don’t pay attention to the signs that show a government ingeniously subverting and removing not only all godliness, but the rights of its citizens. We are not about to be woken from our apathy until, like the Americans in the 30s and 40s, we are personally assaulted. Why do we only care about what currently affects us? What kind of world are we leaving for our children?
These are the thoughts that have been plaguing me. This weekend I found my first glimmer of hope. While attending a special stake conference, we were given the privilege of hearing from Elder David A. Bednar. He said we should not be frantic with worry when the world around us seems to be getting darker. That only means that our light will shine brighter.
Bear in mind, that sometimes when you shine a light in the dark people complain. They yell for you to turn it out. But, the world needs light now more than ever. What legacy do we want to leave for our children. Do we want to be known as a Neville Chamberlain who is famous for his policies of appeasement toward Hitler’s demands, or a bulldog like Winston Churchill who called for facing the giant and killing him? Frankly, if we’d listened to Churchill in the beginning there never would have been a major Holocaust or a World War 2. If we would have stood up to Hitler the moment he broke the Treaty of Versailles, the malicious dictator would not have had a defensive leg to stand on.
It is always easier to fight an enemy before its power increases. It is imperative we let our lights shine now, while we can still hold back the growing tide of darkness. Do something to take a stand against the unrighteous and dangerous trends we are seeing swirl before our frightened eyes. It will be a whole lot easier to hold displace the dark when there are lots of lights shining.