The story of Hübener is interesting for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he was excommunicated by the Church once his "crimes" against Hitler's Third Reich came to light. In retrospect, the main reason for this was undoubtedly to protect the Church and its members, particularly after the Nazis issued a warning that "after Jews, Mormons will be next." Another plausible reason for Hübener's excommunication was the political views of certain local Church leaders, including his branch president. In the end, his excommunication was retracted and membership reinstated by the Church posthumously.
So all this business about excommunication and execution has me thinking about whether we could ever find ourselves in a similar moral and spiritual conflict. Hübener listened to his conscience and had to pay for it with his Church membership (at leas as far as he knew), which he obviously treasured, and ultimately with his life. It appears that Church members and leaders who shared his convictions were either in short supply or simply to scared to voice their opposition (let's hope and assume that it's the latter). I can only imagine what it did to him to know that he had been cut off from the Church he loved, for something he was obviously convinced that he was right about. We learn in church that we're all born with "The Light of Christ" or, in other words, a conscience. So what happens when our conscience is in conflict with Church doctrine?
I don't want to give the impression that I'm comparing Helmuth Hübener with Peter and Mary Danzig, but there is one similarity. Both appear to have acted according to what their consciences told them was right and both were going against Church policy. In Hübener's case, he was going against the 12th Article of Faith, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" and by doing so, putting all other German members in danger. At the same time, it's easy to come up with a million reasons for why he was doing the right thing. In regards to Danzig, he also had strong personal convictions but, in my view, went about it the wrong way. Signing your name on a letter in the Salt Lake Tribune accusing LDS leaders of "intellectual tyranny" was not a good move. Neither is it wise to accuse the Church of requesting to "violate my own conscience to write in support of an amendment I feel is contrary to the constitution and to the gospel of Christ," when in fact Church members were requested to write a letter to their senators with "their personal views." I will admit though, that we can all assume what "views" the Church would want members to express in regards to same-sex marriage. That is fairly evident from the Church's official statement expressings its disappointment over the fact that Danzig did not change his convictions:
"For more than a year and a half, Mr. Danzig counseled with his local bishop and stake president regarding same gender marriage and other Church doctrines. Unfortunately he was not able to reconcile his personal beliefs with the doctrine Church leaders are charged to maintain by divine mandate."
So while I don't agree with Danzig's methods, nor all of his convictions, I feel that he was honestly obeying his conscience in regards to his stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. From what I understand, he had gotten pretty deep insight into what it means to be gay through his professional life and therefore had developed a deeper understanding and compassion for homosexuals than your average Mormon. His problem was that the LDS Church is not a church for activists and I think he found himself in a hole that he had inadvertently dug himself. No doubt he and his wife are very hurt, but I would venture to guess that they still have the same testimony they had their whole lives, even if it's buried underneath a heap of hurt and anger. I can't help but wonder if God will take that into account despite an excommunication or withdrawal of membership (as in the case of the Danzigs) that occurs in this life.
It's always hard to say what you would do in such a situation, but I would like to think that if I were Danzig, I'd be able to humble myself enough to retain my Church membership without necessarily disobeying my conscience, always keeping a humble heart and open mind. My advice to him would be to stick it out, hope for the best and wait to see whether the things you hope for come to pass. Only time will tell whether they do or not, and you have to be prepared to be open to the possibility that you're wrong even if you're 99.999% sure that you're not. I think that some activists are ahead of their time and unfortunately, they may be powerless to change anything in Church doctrine or policy. I can imagine that there were members back in the 40's and 50's who wanted nothing more than to see blacks given the same Church opportunities as everyone else. Some never saw it happen in their lifetimes and for others it was probably unimaginable that policies would change. Some were even disappointed when things did change!
I wouldn't advise anyone to get their hopes up for some big change in doctrine in regards to homosexuality and marriage, but I still have an inkling of hope that someday no one will have to feel bad for doing what they honestly feel in their heart is right. And I know that that's perhaps just wishful thinking...