Fingers-crossed1One of the troubling aspects within certain parts of Islam seems to be the instances where some adults, previously casual in their religious observance, suddenly or over a short period of time, become devout.

In the case of the shooters in San Bernardino, both the man and the woman were known to their family and acquaintances as not particularly committed to a strict observance of Islam, but over a two-year period, seem to become more religiously observant in dress and practice. It seems that in some cases, but certainly not all, this is a possible indication of radicalization.

Most religiously observant parents would welcome a return to religious observance by their children, if they have taken a different path in life. In the LDS culture, an inactive child who returns to activity in the Church would be hailed as the return of the prodigal son. The parent would generally be overjoyed if that happened. I suspect this is true in every religion as well.

But, what if, like in the case of the San Bernardino shooters, it was taken to an extreme in Mormonism. What would that look like? I can think of three potential scenarios that are real. Now, please keep in mind the word “extreme.” In other words, this is not just attending Church on Sunday, having a calling, holding FHE, reading scriptures as family-type stuff.

Scenario One – The person or family begins to study early Mormon writings, attempting to understand “what Joseph and the early Brethren really taught.” They begin to attend the Temple a lot and seek out persons who seem to know a substantial amount about the “mysteries of the kingdom.” In that study, they conclude that the Lord instructs certain people go outside the structure of the Church and follow certain “other teachings” that are, in their mind and the minds of these certain people, being strictly obedient to the real teachings of the Savior as revealed to Joseph the Prophet. This leads to a path out of the Church as the main driver almost always includes the practice of polygamy.

Scenario Two – Similar to number one, but instead of beginning by studying, a person shares with you a deep, dark secret–the Church is in a state of apostasy, a fallen organization. That it has gotten off track somewhere along the line. The person might recommend a book, a website or invite you to attend a talk. The writer or speaker seems to make sense, proves his or her points by scripture, quotes from General Authorities and what appears to be logic. You read another book, go to another talk and the next thing you know, you are convinced the person is right. Maybe the author/speaker is still in the Church, or maybe not. But, they have made their case and you are now a devotee.

Scenario Three – Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in divers place, turmoil and trouble in the world. The Prophets and Savior have instructed us to be prepared and “ye shall not fear.” It’s time. You are not really prepared, Yes, you have some food storage, a little money in the bank. But, yet, you feel insecure. You google, you ask a friend and you come upon some “information.” The world is about to enter into a state of complete turmoil as a prelude to the last days. AND YOU NEED TO GET READY. A year’s supply is not enough. It might be a longer struggle through the Apocalypse and Armageddon. You need fuel as well and most of all, you need weapons to defend your supply from marauders who will find out you have it. You have now entered the world of Mormon Survivalist Preppers. You can still be an active member of the Church, but now you know the secret……

So, what other scenarios can you think of that might lead to becoming a risky devotee…..