Well, it’s 2022. Happy new year — or crappy new year, depending on how the wheel turns for you, the country, and the Church. I’m inclined to think 2022 might be as bad or worse than 2021 or 2020. Convince me I’m wrong.
It Has Happened Before
The Church has had good decades and bad decades. It can be outside events that make it so (say the 1940s, when WW2 more or less terminated worldwide missionary work for the Church) or internal events (say the 1960s, when social pressure mounted on the Church to change its racial
doctrine policy). The 19th century offers even more glaring examples. Before looking forward to the rest of the terrible ’20s, let’s look back on Brigham Young’s time of troubles.
I’ll pull my comments from Thomas G. Alexander’s Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith (Oklahoma Univ. Press, 2018), which I just finished. Consider the first fifteen years of Brigham’s tenure as President of the Church, starting with the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, Nauvoo under seige in 1845-46, a monumentally challenging relocation of some LDS (those who chose to follow Brigham as leader) to the Salt Lake Valley, a difficult first ten years when there was often just not enough food to feed the people, the public announcement of LDS polygamy in 1852 which turned public and government opinion firmly against the Church for two generations, right up to the Utah War in 1857-58 and the attendant Mountain Meadows Massacre in September 1857. Things didn’t get a lot better for the balance of the 19th century. It’s a wonder the Church survived. It wasn’t until the two decades on either side of the turn of the century that good things really started to happen: cessation of official polygamy, completion of the Salt Lake Temple, statehood for Utah, normalization of political life in Utah (adoption of two-party system), and so forth.
If the Church made it through that difficult time from 1844 to 1858, it will make it through the 2020s. Still, it’s worth it to talk about what is coming and why things will likely get worse before they get better.
It Will Happen Again
Here are some things that are going to trouble the Church and its membership in the coming decade, first the external things, then the internal things. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. I’m just going to list some bullet points.
- Everyone gets Covid. After struggling with shutdowns, masks, social distancing, and vaccines, the Omicron Variant is going to steamroll its way through the world. It looks like everyone, LDS and otherwise, will get it within a few months. Strangely, most people aren’t too concerned. In the future, most will get it again, and maybe again. Covid will be like the flu with a much wider range of outcomes (you might be asymptomatic, you might die).
- Lose an apostle or two. If everyone gets Covid and older persons are particularly at risk, that means LDS apostles are particularly at risk. We’ll probably lose an apostle or two. Recall that Joseph F. Smith passed away from the Spanish Flu in 1918. In his weakened condition leading up to his death, he had the vision (dream?) of the redemption of the dead (dying people think about death a lot), now canonized as D&C 138.
- War in Ukraine? Flip a coin. If it’s heads, there will be a shooting war in Ukraine this year. Well, there’s already a shooting war there, but it will get worse. Tails, maybe it just simmers for another year. A danger of small wars is they can sometimes turn into big wars. Read The Guns of August if you haven’t already.
- War over Taiwan? If it’s tails, maybe China decides to take a shot at Taiwan, but they’ll at least wait until after the Olympics. Who knew the Olympics were actually good for something?
- Trump. What’s worse for America, Covid or Trump? Neither are going away soon, it seems. In the long run, Trump and the social/political mayhem he has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause seems like the larger disruption. Read 1984 if you haven’t already.
Those are just the external events that will affect the Church, and I haven’t even thrown in inflation or a collapsing stock market or another unemployment crisis, which are all possibilities. What about internal events?
- Nobody likes us. It was Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy in 2012 that really brought it home to most LDS: We’re not very popular. Lots of people don’t like us. The continued LDS opposition to gay marriage and LGBT issues is a convenient focal point for continued resentment, and I don’t think LDS leadership is going to entertain substantial change to that set of doctrines and practices for at least another generation. Increasingly, being a Mormon is a topic of conversation you and others will try to avoid when possible.
- The Internet is still there. And still making all kinds of unwelcome information on LDS doctrine, history, and practice available to anyone with a cell phone or a laptop. Death of a thousand cuts. The Gospel Topics Essays were supposed to be an effective response to all this. I don’t think they worked.
- If ye are not one, ye are not mine. The Covid/Trump tandem has split LDS congregations like nothing we have ever seen. There are people at both ends of the political spectrum who are saying, “Enough! I’ve had it!” Maybe they cease in-person attendance. Maybe they step away completely. It is just a complete surprise how many LDS people there are who, five years ago, would not have remotely considered that sort of response, but who now find it a quite reasonable course of action.
Maybe you can add additional items to the “internally caused” list. It seems like we’re good at causing ourselves problems. But on the bright side, if the Church made it through the 1840s/1850s debacle, it will make it through the 2020s/30s.
Imagine sitting around with LDS friends twenty or thirty years from now and looking back. If one of the group says, “Wow, it was sure a good thing the Church had a hundred billion dollars in the bank,” the rest of the group might very well agree. What else might you or someone else say a generation from now, looking back?
In the comments, you can agree or disagree, add items or dispute my list. Remember, my framing here is “the Church has seen worse, so it will probably do okay in the long run even if it’s a bumpy ride for a few years.” Who knows, maybe things won’t be so bad and the US and the Church will just muddle through. Maybe the 2020s won’t go down in history like the 1860s (Civil War) or the 1930s (Great Depression, etc.) or the 1960s (riots, assassinations). You may be right. I may be crazy. But it’s a jungle out there. Disorder and confusion everywhere. No one seems to care. I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so.
If not for “things of this world” ($100B) LDS would be heading for complete irrelevance, which is really the very height of irony. Overwhelming support for Trump seals that deal, establishing us as rich but witless – which rather sounds like Trump himself.
One of the biggest threats is the members heeding false prophets instead of the leaders of the church.
Nowhere is that more obvious than the August 2021 instructions from the First Presidency to mask up. Entire stakes are just ignoring those instructions, because what the stake and ward leaders hear on talk radio, Fox News, and Facebook tell them that COVID isn’t a big deal and masks don’t matter. Even bringing up the issue at church in some of these wards is seen as “divisive” and is strongly frowned upon.
It’s unfortunate that the church didn’t get a handle on this earlier. Their failure to do so means that a lot of authority church leaders held in prior decades–a lot of the ability to influence the thoughts and behavior of church members–is now being held by rightwing “thought” leaders instead.
Notice that many of the potential pitfalls ahead for the Church or for that matter any church are related to world events and influences. Also notice that despite horrid conditions for the apostolic church, it largely flourished. Hmmm. This seems to tell us lot about our allegiances.
I just think that for better or worse – better for people, worse for the institution – the Church lost its grip on a lot of people I know during the pandemic. Sure, there are a lot of people who were eager to go back to normal. But I think a lot of people – even those who are still fully active – no longer see some church activities as super mandatory like they may have in the past. We missed them for a year and survived (and maybe even appreciated the break). That may just be anecdotal but it’s what I’m noticing. Of course I’m also noticing people who are choosing not to go back at all or going back at a much reduced commitment.
The Church very assuredly has not seen worse when it comes to things of the world. That is irrefutable fact.
Unfortunately, large numbers of younger members have embraced popular culture. They fill their bellies with beverages from Starbucks and fill their minds with the lyrics of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. Unfortunately, they follow the examples of those so-called celebrities.
As a result, younger members are turning to skyrocketing levels of immorality and Word of Wisdom breaking. The consequences will be devastating to the Church. Leaders will increasingly have to spend more and more time on the resulting levels of broken families, addiction, and disease.
Some remnant of the Church will survive, of course. Those who believe in piety, reverence, modesty, and chastity will stick with the program and will thrive. Those who abandon the program will suffer the consequences.
Nice shout-out to Billy Joel:
You may be right
I may be crazy
Oh, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right.
Sadly, far too many prefer a lunatic to a true prophetic voice. If that is true, then the church as faithful remnant in society becomes a real possibility.
“It was Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy in 2012 that really brought it home to most LDS: We’re not very popular. Lots of people don’t like us.”
Me: [Laughs in Non-Mormon Belt Mormon]
Perhaps declining birth rates will affect church membership numbers.
This trend has been reported in many publications.
“ Celibacy rates have increased steadily over the past three decades, but in 2018 the share of people who reported not having sex for the entire previous year was the highest on record. According to General Social Survey data, nearly one in four US adults reported having no sex during the past year.
It appears millennials are fueling the trend, and Gen Z is contributing now too. From 2008 to 2018, the share of Americans ages 18 to 29 who reported having no sex doubled.”
What is worse for America? It looks like more citizens think Biden is worse for America than Trump was. I think the church will come through fine, since they are not tied to any individual politician, certainly not like they were to Reagan in the 80s. Many here on W&T seem to think that just because church leaders treated Trump like they did most other political leaders, that they are rabidly MAGA. They saw through his bluster as just political rhetoric and treated him like other politicians.
I am worried that a new COVID strain that the vaccines do not offer much protection against has appeared only 4 months after the church leaders urged vaccination. Fortunately, many local leaders did not emphasize this much. They seem to have seen that COVID is going to become endemic like we are seeing now and the OP implies.
I second P’s observation: relevance! From where I’m sitting, our leaders do not have a grasp on the world’s current problems and ethos. Way behind the curve. Instead of prophetic anticipation and leadership, we have reactive half-measures with the pandemic, tone-deaf speeches, half-assed youth programs, outdated missionary programs, painting ourselves further into fatal corners on social problems, with a message that the most important thing anyone should be doing is temple work for the dead. You have got to be kidding me. We desperately need a reformer with imagination and vision. Another Joseph Smith. I am no prophet, but here is my vision as food for thought and based in doctrine:
1. Earth is God’s creation, and we participate in ongoing creation and stewardship. We should create the world’s largest and best funded environmental conservation society. Some missionaries serve missions in this society.
2. The glory of God is intelligence. We should pour massive resources into BYU to create a university at the level of the world’s best RESEARCH universities. People should be dying to go to BYU from all over the world because of its academic prestige, including non-members. We should be leading the world in social, philosophical, aesthetic, political, scientific issues.
3. God is charity. Investment in humanitarian organization. Use our massive real estate for farming to raise food for the hungry. Foreign missions as bases for addressing humanitarian concerns in each area. Some missionaries serve missions in this organization.
4. Youth. Develop a real program complete with a real name. Some missionaries serve in this organization. We have thousands of brilliant and competent people in the church who could contribute to creating this program.
5. Gathering of Israel. All the families of the earth are blessed by massive inclusion movement. We want anybody and everybody of all levels of interest and commitment, even the public critics. All genders and cultures at all levels of authority and activity.
Create something like the above and watch people flock to hear the missionaries’ message and willingly donate their time and money.
It was a shoutout to the Monk theme song written by Randy Newman. “It’s a Jungle Out There.”
I think external forces come and go, with minimal impact. It’s the internal forces that matter.
If the Church wants to remain strong, it needs to re-commit to the members that THEY matter. Currently attending any church function feels very much like man was made for the Church and not the other way around. This just doesn’t work. So many meetings that could have been an email. Youth programs and funding are lackluster. Topics that include the same correlated scriptures and the re-hashing of general conference talks are just plain boring. Hero worshipping the FP and Q12 is out of control. And yet we just can’t help ourselves. My wife and I both got invited to two different 2-hour meetings taking place on a Saturday afternoon at some chapel 30 minutes from where we live that’s probably 5 stakes removed from us. Hard pass.
JCS, thanks for the chuckle. I’m trying to imagine what an AA meeting looks like for decaf Frappuccino drinkers who lost everything.
I’m not sure whether Trump is more the problem or what he unleashed (Trumpism) is more the problem. In a couple of interviews recently, Trump defended the effectiveness of the vaccines and revealed that he had received a booster shot, to the chagrin and outrage to many of his lackeys in the largely anti-vax right-wing mediasphere.
Trump made conspiratorial thinking legitimate and popular, and this has been highly problematic. Think back to 9/11. Both major parties in the US and the majority share of their respective electorates agreed that the US was attacked by 19 individuals from Arab countries who hijacked planes. 9/11 conspiracy theorists were treated with scorn and shunned from major media outlets. Now we have major media outlets (Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax) promoting anti-vaxxerism and the idea that the 2020 election was rigged, both outrageous and dangerous conspiracy theories that will negatively impact US politics for years to come. We will see the negative impacts of this in the church culture. I think this will serve to alienate the younger generation (influenced by the school system, where actual logic and reasoning is taught) from the older Trumpist generation. The Trumpist phenomenon will further pit the church leadership (non-Trumpist, and some of whom (Uchtdorf) even donated to Biden and Georgia Democrats) against many of its increasingly delusional rank-and-file middle aged and older generation.
Those factors pose huge struggles for the church moving forward.
1. Tim above gets it right.
2. I expect that Ardis will soon show up to dispute your assertion that Joseph F. Smith died of Spanish flu. In fact, his death certificate cites pneumonia with no mention of the flu. Nevertheless, the BYU database of Spanish flu victims includes anybody whose cause of death was pneumonia, and so it includes Joseph F. Smith. I have actually been working on a project to estimate a baseline level of pneumonia deaths to see if reported cases of pneumonia deaths (with no mention of the flu) in the last quarter of 1918 exceeded that baseline. If it did, it might be legitimate to include JFS in the database. But if it didn’t, then including him was a mistake. My wife’s death has derailed the project for the moment, but I will eventually finish it.
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Yes, O Tim, false prophets abound. I’d describe the problem under the more general rubric “idolatry,” which is alive and well in Zion.
Lois, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Rich Brown and kmarkp, you’re both right.
John W, that’s a very insightful comment, that before too long a younger and more reality-based generation of young LDS are going to look at the Trumpish older LDS as just way out there, more or less nuts. There was a similar generational split in the late 19th century as older Mormons clung to, or at least defended, their polygamy, while most younger Mormons just wanted it to go away.
lastlemming, that’s an interesting observation about Joseph F. Smith. Given how tricky it is to assign a cause of death in recent Covid cases (was it Covid or an associated complication or an aggravated pre-existing condition that was the definitive COD?) I would imagine that reporting for deaths in 1918-19 was similarly muddled. On a personal note, so sorry for your loss. I hope you were able to spend the holidays with other family members. It has just been a tough year for so many people. We often kick around history and doctrine issues about the Church and critique this or that practice, but most everyone would agree that ward communities do a pretty good job at supporting those who need a helping hand (moving, etc.) and those in mourning. I hope you got that kind of loving support.
Last Lemming, my heart goes out to you in your loss.
I am not sure that the Church will survive covid. As pointed out above, many members no longer feel obligated to attend every meeting. Many have found that theirs lives are just as full of joy when they did not attend. In fact, they have discovered that their lives are more full of joy when they get to decide how to spend their time.
I honestly wonder whether the church can survive, at least in its current form. No that members know they can find happiness without being with fellow ward members, there is no going back.
Speaking of Ardis, does anyone know the status of her Kickstarter book?
Thank you for the supportive messages. My kids and fellow ward members have also provided me with excellent support. Somewhat ironically, my wife’s diagnosis upon entering the hospital was pneumonia (definitively not Covid-related), but her death certificate sites only congestive heart failure.
I’ll pick three internal issues the church needs to address in order for it to flourish and not fail in 2022 and beyond.
1 – We are reaping the bitter harvest of an obedience culture instead of having created a thinking and faith culture(as opposed to “I know”) culture, and one that understands what free agency means theologically along with one that focuses on moral decision making. Our members are too brittle on many issues. As a church we have functionally banned teaching how to think, and then how to apply that thinking to difficult doctrinal and theological issues not only within the church but where church beliefs intersect with societal trends. Our church curriculum is largely mindless, unchallenging and continues to run away from difficult issues that must be addressed in order for church members to become stronger and more resilient (e.g., our racial past and lack of coherent gay theology). Unless this changes, we as church members will be collectively stuck at Kohlberg’s second stage of moral development. What I’m saying is our culture of obedience and avoiding ‘contention’ at all costs has made members weaker, not stronger. The church seemed to have gotten this right early in the 20th century, but other forces in the 30’s extending to the 60’s won out and here we are the product of correlation.
2- Transparency. Unless the church moves to become more transparent, trust in the institutional church across all demographics but particularly with Millennials and Gen Z will continue to erode at an accelerating pace. It’s not so much that the $100 billion (with one investment firm we know of) is the problem, it’s the lack of transparency why we are seemingly hoarding that is the problem. There is a strong ethics argument that the church is lying to its members because of its lack of transparency. The church may be engaging in an immoral act not because it has $100 billion, but because it fails to disclose why. If the church were to engage members with transparency it would build trust and potentially more confidence in the church. There is a difference between hoarding and acting with a plan, but we don’t know. The church teaches its members to adopt deontological moral ethics (“Do what is right let the consequence follow”) but it hardly acts according to any kind of expressed deontology. The church’s ethics seem much more situational and relative. (BYU’s total moral failings related to its honor code office and campus police actions are but one example of how deplorable the church’s institutional ethics play out.) The lack of financial transparency is deeply disturbing to me, and I can’t help but think the church’s lack of displayed ethics won’t do considerable damage the church in the long-run.
3 – Our missionary program has become stale and unimaginative despite some tweaks to the dress code, wake up time, etc. (I can’t see any of those changes in play in my area anyway.) Why? The church is stuck in a place where its past strategic advantage (focus on families, clean cut image with young men in white shirts and ties) has become a strategic weakness (focus on families no longer resonates as we move to post 20th century definitions of what a family is, and clean cut men in shirts and ties is no longer aspirational in our society), but the church is too risk averse to make any radical changes that might jump start the engine. The mission service model alternative has either failed or hasn’t effectively launched yet. My guess? Many, many of our young adults would be far more interested in a peace corps approach to missionary work than knocking on doors, bus and street contacting and the legacy proselytizing model. My sense is this scares hard liners in the church, to imagine the death of name tags and ‘set a date’ programs with members even if it were to be replaced with a program with a much more expansive vision for the good we could be doing in the world.
Some wishful thinking on my part for the LDS Church…
The hardcore, doctrinaire leaders and members will pass way. A more tolerant, “big tent” church will emerge with an emphasis on basic Christ-like teachings and service. Women will be given opportunities to serve in leadership roles traditionally held by male priesthood holders. Practicing LGBTQIA+ will be accepted in full fellowship.
The LDS Church will become more like the Community of Christ, formerly known as RLDS. Yes, I know the Community of Christ went through some growing pains and lost some members when it transformed into a big tent church. But the LDS Church’s stern authoritarianism and rigid dogma positions must give way to a kinder, Christ-like era of love and kindness.
The church can no longer ignore the thought, feelings, and opinions of young people if it is to survive. The point of no return is rapidly approaching.
Young people are not willing to fight culture wars that are already lost. In particular, young people have grown up knowing many LGBT family members and friends. Young people realize that their family and friends are good people who want to be productive and happy like everyone else. The church’s church’s endless beating the drum here is driving young people away.
In addition, young people are no longer to accept aspects of the WoW that are nonsensical. The church’s war against herbal teas that have no harmful ingredients is alienating young people because it makes no scientific sense. To say nothing of the several billion potential members in Asia for whom this is just plain silly.
There are many similar issues that young people are no longer willing to blindly accept. Thus far, the church’s only response is to criticize young people and ask what is wrong with them. It is time for the church to look at itself and examine what is wrong with it that is driving young members away.
As usual, great comments.
Dave B – the one area that I think should be included is women in the church. I was glancing back at “The Next Mormons” book and just finished listening to the first season of “Breaking Down Patriarchy”. There are so many issues of lack of voice, shouldering (with covered shoulder of course) the brunt of modesty, pressure to marry in the temple with female/male ratios that ensure that isn’t available to every sister, etc. The last few years for me has been “WOW – how could I not see all this before?” Actually I think I saw a bit of it, but that went up on my shelf like so many other issues. I guess men being typically taller it is easy to put some of this up on the shelf even without a step-stool. 😉
lastlemming – glad to hear you have some support, but it is hard no matter how much support one has. My heart goes out to you.
“The hardcore, doctrinaire leaders and members will pass way. A more tolerant, “big tent” church will emerge with an emphasis on basic Christ-like teachings and service. ”
I fear that that would be true in an environment ruled by logic and compassion, but in a church ruled by gerontocracy it’s pretty much assured that by the time younger, more responsive leaders assume the red velvet chairs they’ll be the same out of touch dinosaurs who are constantly told they’re infallible and, so, try to retain a world that’s familiar to them.
Great comments. I especially second everything BigSky said. Whatever is ahead for the church, it will be the result of the church’s own intractability on matters involving its own history, its discriminatory practices and beliefs and its obedience culture. Here’s the thing: If you view not changing very much as a strength or virtue, that’s fair enough, but the world and people ARE going to change and the surrounding culture is going to outpace you to such an extent that people will no longer see your lack of change as a strength and will begin to see your lack of change both as something to ridicule and something that prevents your institution from addressing pressing, real world concerns. Someone in my ward posted on Facebook last week asking a general question that went something like, “How does attending the temple bring you closer to Christ?” That’s a fair question, I guess, but after I read it, I wondered what on earth the temple has to do with eliminating hunger, seeing to the financial, physical and mental health of the impoverished, protecting the vulnerable from violence, convincing more people to get vaccinated, or taking care of the environment. More and more I just feel like the church is inventing challenges and problems that its currently existing doctrine and practices are designed to solve rather than coming up with new teachings and practices that can help solve current problems. We’ve really got it backwards.
I agree with Alice that gerontocracy inevitably leads to the death of the Church in terms of relevance. Every decade, we become less relevant, and it’s not just being out of touch. That could be ignored, if the messages were on point with what Christ taught. What can’t be overlooked is the already lost culture wars that some of our leaders (the most strident voices) are prioritizing over the actual gospel. Those are really the only voices that have the mic right now. It’s not just culture wars. It’s a whole host of issues that the Church is on morally dubious ground about, including the role and treatment of women, capitalist actions with tithing funds from poor people, and the way BYU is handling many different things. If you want to know what’s right and wrong with the Church, BYU is really an excellent microcosm. The Church (and BYU) frequently believes it is above the law, and fights hard to be out of the reach of accountability. That’s not admirable. It’s patriarchal, arrogant, and the fruits of the corruption of power. It’s not the gospel Jesus taught.
Here’s another little symptom that keeps niggling in the back of my brain: the borderline racist songs we are teaching these kids. Book of Mormon stories, including these awful hand gestures that look like a cartoon of a Native American motion, and the lowkey Semitic sounding tune behind “Follow the Prophet” (in which the only characteristic required to be a “prophet” is to be a named male from a Bible story) are both pretty bad. But nobody who’s “in” seems to notice that these songs are bad. There’s a lot of race blindness going on in our congregations, while reducing other races to condescending stereotypes.
Last Lemming: I am so sorry to hear about your loss.
el oso’s comment is a perfect example of the new friction in the church. He opens his comment by baseless claiming that Biden is worse for the US than Trump (what insurrections did Biden incite again?), thus identifying himself as somewhere in the right-wing (can’t tell if el oso is pro-Trump, but definitely anti-Biden and willing to significantly downplay the negative effects of Trump). Then he baselessly suggests that vaccines aren’t effective because we have to get boosters (flies in the face of all, and I mean all, available evidence), yet another identifier of his political orientation, and suggests that the high leadership was in the wrong to emphasize the need to get vaccinated. Then, the kicker, he writes: “Fortunately, many local leaders did not emphasize [the vaccines] much.” OK, so what anti-vax local leaders fail to emphasize carries more weight than what pro-vax, pro-science higher leadership says? This is the very predicament that many faithfuls in the church are in right now. How much should they trust the higher leadership when they tell the members to wear masks at church and get vaccinated?
When the pandemic passes, I’m sure that the anti-vax faithfuls will force this friction down the memory hole and continue the hero-worshipping as they’ve always been prone to do. But the problem is that they’ve swallowed a heap of conspiracy theories and that makes them more prone to swallow heaps more in the future. New issues will arise or reemerge that the church leadership will feel the need to get involved in. I imagine immigration will be one of these issues, and I imagine church leaders will take the pro-immigration line (treat all equally regardless of immigration status) while the anti-vax crowd will be prone to go anti-immigrant and crypto-white nationalist and push the conspiracy theories that are already abundant and in circulation among the right-wing.
what John W said. Why on earth would anyone celebrate local anti-vax leaders whose congregants wound up in the ICU. I know several of those (whose family members, thankfully, subsequently ran out and got vaccinated while their loved ones lay dying in the hospital of a preventable disease). Yes, we are all going to get omicron but for the vaccinated folks it’ll be a cold not a death sentence. Good grief. I am just so sick of the insanity.
And what @Angela says. I am not at all confident in big tent Mormonism taking over because of the way our leadership is set up. People are just leaving / getting kicked out of the tent. It’s not getting any bigger. Do you know what else the primary kids are learning about soon Angela (in addition to racism)? Well, gay marriage (AGAIN) because having that lesson two weeks ago isn’t enough, we need to talk about it again with Adam and Eve. Apparently our manuals also want to remind us that Adam and Even lived 6000 years ago. So if we were hoping that mainstream Mormonism was coming around to science, think again.
“ There are so many issues of lack of voice, shouldering (with covered shoulder of course) the brunt of modesty, pressure to marry in the temple with female/male ratios that ensure that isn’t available to every sister, etc. ”
Maybe a side issue…(and a recent pet peeve for me)
why oh why are women still wearing only dresses/skirts to church?
Why can’t/don’t women wear pants—to church like men? They are way more modest—no worries about knees showing etc.
It seems we are overly preoccupied by appearances (color of shirts, facial hair etc) than what really matters.
The Church is a good home for those attracted to authoritarianism, and patriarchy.
Doesn’t seem like a successful long term strategy.
I agree with the OP. The church will: survive, yes. But be as strong, no. If the question was asked, “Do you know anyone who has left the church since the start of the pandemic?” Most or all of us would say “Yes.” But conversely, if you asked, “Do you know anyone who has stayed in the church since the start of the pandemic?” the answer is “Of course, most people have stayed.” Although many people are leaving the church, I really don’t know anything that would cause the majority of people to leave. With that being the case, I see the church surviving.
I also agree that it’s going to be a tough decade for the church. I agree with Chadwick, that the church will benefit from really trying to serve individuals and families, rather than requiring individuals and families to serve the church. We are getting a new temple in the area where I live, and there has definitely been a shift from teaching about Jesus Christ and his gospel, to a focus on the temple and “Preparing for the temple”, which in practice looks like doubling down on obedience culture. As I’ve talked to people in my branch and district, most people I’ve talked to have felt burnt out and like they are putting more into the church than they are getting out of it. Church should be revitalizing and strengthening individuals, rather than leaving them drained.
Elisa, I was unable to find a reference in the Come Follow Me material that says anything about the earth being only 6000 years old. If your teacher made that statement, then he or she went off script.
There is no big-tent Mormonism. There has never been a big-tent Mormonism. There won’t be a big-tent Mormonism as the church is currently configured because you can’t convince members that they’re special and different if everyone is invited into the tent. The church is troubled now, not drifting in that direction. As Bushman mentioned in a talk he probably didn’t intend for public consumption, leaders have to choose between the youth and the widow in Santaquin (or wherever he said) and they chose her over them, for now. If they do make dramatic moves in the future to try and retain skeptical youth, it looks like the whole thing is a shifting PR scheme. Yeah, the church has real rainy days ahead. Good thing they have billions of dollars with which to withstand the storm.
When I find myself in times of trouble
Russell Nelson heckles me:
“Saying you’re a Mormon?
And in this hour of darkness
Russ obsesses on relentlessly.
“Victory for Satan!
Using Mo in MoTab?
And when the lazy learners and the LGBTQ go free
Rusty just condemns them:
He knows the big-time earners who all give to BYU agree
Tolerance just leads to
Is the key!
And as the church is crumbling
Rusty watches all the young folks flee
We’ll wake up in the saddest heaven
Pretty much just Russ and me
Only two avoided
Everyone is out of step
@JML, sorry, you’re right that it is not directly in CFM. I was preparing lesson materials and was looking for a chronology of the Old Testaments and from that found the timeline with 6000 BC on LDS.org. So it is not directly in CFM but it is on LDS.org. It is also in various study guides produced by the LDS church availability at distribution centers. (I have been looking for other resources for Old Testament background and would have liked to add some LDS Old Testament resources to my library but I really just couldn’t get past those. Even the Valetta Old Testament book has that timeline.)
Well stuff just got worse in the Jello Belt.
I am no expert, but I am somewhat familiar with past problems the church has faced. The church had a lot of things going for it when it gave up on polygamy. The members had nowhere else to go. They were still a poor, isolated people in the west. There were no significant social programs to buoy them up. Blacks being kept out of the temple and denied the priesthood, while absolutely disgusting and reprehensible to us today, was not that out of place to my grandparents and great-grandparents. The rest of the country had just come around to it and the lack of diversity in the west contributed to them being a couple decades behind the rest of the country. While many say they were praying for that revelation, I have to think an equal number were bummed that it came. My grandma, who died in 2015 (born in 1925) hated black people til the day she died.
Something is different this time around. People just don’t have the same devotion to the church and connection they once had. Kids aren’t enrolling in seminary, it is becoming more common for kids not to serve missions and this trend will continue, people are saying no to callings, apathy is everywhere, they have all but canceled mutual in my stake because attendance is so low, Tik-tok, Reddit, blogs, podcasts, the wealth of the church, it truly is a death by a thousand cuts. The silent generation and the baby boomers have dealt a death blow to this church. It is irreversible. The church in the past has had a general trend of progressive behavior. They can’t move fast enough to keep up with the trends of society so people are increasingly becoming frustrated. Becoming more conservative and losing the progressive side is in the institutions best interest and it is just a matter of time until we have a prophet that does just that. It will be smaller, but it will survive. There are certain people out there who just love to be told what to do, how to think, told they are special and chosen. These people will keep the church going.
I don’t see the external forces having a huge impact on the church. If it were to shut down again, it would be problematic, but I would bet anyone $100 they never do that again. The Hong Kong temple will probably be shut down and the Shanghai temple will never be built. One external pressure that could effect the church is to change their tax exempt status and a law requiring transparency of finances. I would support both those laws.
Agreed. Any organization that take advantage of a tax exempt status should be legally required to publicly disclose its books That’s the price you should have to pay.
I thank you for your blatant misrepresentation of my comments.
I would point you to many recent polls of presidential approval (Real Clear Politics and 538 have summarized many) to back my claim that most Americans think Trump is better for the country than Biden. You and others may think differently, but I am not just making this claim up out of thin air.
For vaccine effectiveness, the mRNA shots were claimed by the developers to be 95% effective in preventing infection from the 2020 strains of the virus over the 2-3 month evaluation period. Data from the UK and other countries shows that these vaccines have zero or negative effectiveness in preventing infection with the Omicron variant after the same time period. This includes some who have received booster shots. Just because your narrow sources of information do not say this does not mean my claims have no basis. I know of no medical professionals that claim that current vaccines or boosters prevent infection with Omicron at anything close to the original effectiveness. There are news stories all over about it helps against the most severe symptoms, but even those claims are sparse on recent data. Most vaccinated people have milder symptoms with Omicron than the previous baseline, but that is true of unvaccinated people infected with Omicron as well.
Also, now that the vaccines do not work as well against the mutated virus, there are many local leaders who see that the conditions have changed since the 1st presidency letter was sent out. That is certainly one reason to not push vaccines at the local level now.
As for local vaccine anecdotes, here are a few. There are some young church members that had heart problems right after getting vaccinated. Also, one local leader who strongly pushed vaccines this summer changed his message recently. His vaccinated family all got COVID and several other local leaders got bad cases. I wish that the vaccines were still as effective as they were initially claimed to be, and that the adverse reactions to the vaccines were much less, but that is not our current reality.
The church has too many problems, and too few solutions.
My first suggestion would be to replace the succession system with one requiring retirement at 65, with half new apostles women. Phased in over a couple of years. But who is going to agree /impliment that when there is only one apostle under 65 now, and how would you find/choose women who are not as inapropriate as those they replace?
I had thought 72 but that leaves bedinar in charge.
How do they replace the present culture with something capable of communicating with God and man?
I am 73 and am capable of a maximum of 5 hours a day of work.
With the present discrimination against women and LGBTI, and with 80% over 40 voting for trump, and geriatric leadership, I just can’t see any way for the leadership to get from where they have got themselves to something Christlike or even relavent.
If trump is re elected, and many members vot for him America and the church deserve what they ask for.
el oso, approval ratings polls ask if people approve of the job the president is doing, not whether they’re bad for the country. Different question. You’re extrapolating beyond the parameters here.
Vaccines have prevented millions of deaths and even millions more severe cases. Period. There really is no debate about the need for them and their effectiveness. That you misinterpret the statistics in vaccines and share anti-vax anecdotes shows you’re a conspiracy theorist. This isn’t the first time you’ve promoted conspiracy theories here, anyways. Take your anecdotes and shove them. There are so so few cases of adverse reactions from vaccines, it is a non-issue. COVID is far far more threatening than the possibility of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
And then you say that local leaders shouldn’t push the vaccines because of the emergence of the omicron variant? What are you talking about? 1) Every study I’ve read on the omicron variant (still preliminary) has shown that vaccines are still effective against it and that the boosters even more so. Besides, the delta variant is still circulating. We should be pushing vaccines and boosters more than ever, no matter whether you’re a church leader or not. 2) Local leaders shouldn’t be going rogue against the higher leadership. If the higher leaders say vaccinate, the local leaders (when acting in the capacity of church leader) should be saying the same as well, or be released/step down from their callings.
1) I wondered whether it would be possible for the church to see this OP and thread- for them to hear all these valid pain points, then remembered that one of our persistent problems has been broken communication. Information only trickles down, and nothing from the rank and file is considered relevant. The church powers that be aren’t listening because they really don’t give a fig what we think. If we cannot communicate, we re not one.
2) Even before the pandemic- all the bean counters in leadership had their eye in the wrong ball – they wanted butts is seats (people in the church) as opposed to God in hearts. In fairness, they couldn’t imagine the latter existing independent of the first.But God didn’t create us to be pew warmers- that was never God’s end goal, it was one means to an end confused with the ends to the means. (Before my other denominations get all judgey reading this- take a look in the mirror- this short-sightedness impacted all of Christianity- and IMHO is a leading factor in the rise of the nones, aka the decline of American religiosity. ) And all the while we had the light- we held the torch.
3) Reading the comments above about the gerontocracy, it hit me that the youth have more than a deep generational distrust of our leaders, there are also conflicting values. Has anyone seen the SNL millennial/boomer game show sketch? Isn’t this representative of our misalignment? If I had a nickel for every GA story similar to the boomer dialogue in this skit, I would be rich. https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/millennial-millions/3867395
Wasn’t President Monson the last “young” apostle called at 36 years old? That was so long ago. What would happen if we started seeing truly young blood in the red velvet chairs? Would they be able liaise with their own generation? Potentially, but they’d also need to bring the sincere reform at the crux of all this pain, not simply echo the status quo. I don’t think the gerontocracy will ever let go of their grip. More white, related, retired Utah men await us in the future.
4) Covid and trumpism have unearthed a terrible information crisis. Truth is still being tortured, spun, science is attacked (and consequently COViD is winning), and the obvious is mangled into “alternative facts”. It’s a crisis specifically for us as truth-seekers endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, who claim a unique monopoly on the power of discernment and P/prophecy. And yet we are split anywhere from 40/50 to 70/30 on the politics of all this. We should have been shielded from gullibility, liars, fake news, fake scientific jabs, etc.. Our congregations aren’t the only ones split- our leadership is divided as well. (D&$! it, Skousen and Benson.) This cancer in our country and church isn’t going away, yet we stick our heads in the and retreat to our spiritual
Spas, our fancy temples. .Meanwhile spiritual and actual casualties of this information war continue to accumulate. The fact is that no matter how well-intending we are in our temples, as we succumb to big lies, conspiracy-based thinking, and hatred me fail in our charitable responsibilities, we cannot claim to be followers of Christ, let alone stewards of his gospel.
If we have lost our compass for truth and our drive for charity, we don’t deserve his name. Maybe we should be paying attention to the prophesies about us and our day in the last chapters of the BOM.
Two of my grandparents were converts to the church and came to the US to be in Zion. Seven of my eight great-grandparents were in that category. Most of them left accounts of being publicly shamed, losing employment, being disowned by their parents and other family members, hiding the missionaries between feather mattresses so that the Prussian soldiers wouldn’t arrest and imprison them for spreading a “rogue religion”, holding baptisms out in the countryside at night when the moon didn’t shine so as not to be caught and thrown in prison, etc. in order to join the church and come to Zion. The message that the missionaries preached was so spiritually compelling and irresistible that these ancestors were prepared to die for their new faith. As their descendant I wonder what these same people would think about the church that they sacrificed so much for if they saw the church today. I can’t help but feel that they might not even recognize today’s church and wonder if it was even the same one that they gave their all to join back in the latter half of the 19th century.
In my opinion today’s church is just a hollowed out shell of what it used to be even 20 years ago. When there’s an incessant demand for complete conformity in deed and thought; when members are treated as brainless little children who have to be spoon fed spiritual baby food even as they are starving for REAL, satisfying, spirit sustaining food for the soul; when leaders prefer to use one size fits all and badly outdated approaches to deal with individual members and their unique wants and needs; when members are punished for asking any type of honest questions while members (usually men) who are committing grievous sins (affinity fraud, domestic violence, sexual abuse, unrighteousness dominion, etc.) are often given a slap on the wrist or not even held accountable at all by virtue of the fact that they are “Priesthood holders”; when living the gospel has very little to do with Jesus Christ and everything to do with Pharisaical checklists of commandments that only deal with outward performance and have nothing to do with personal spiritual conversion or cultivating and sustaining a deep and abiding relationship with our loving, merciful Heavenly Parents and our Savior Jesus Christ; when we loudly beat the “religious freedom” drum in order to be able to continue justify discriminating and hurting our LGBTQ+ members; when women have no say in making decisions at the ward, stake and global church level or of ever using their godgiven talents, gifts and perspectives to help lead, bless and administer to their congregations; when the church has become like the wealthy man in the NT story who made so much money that he continued to build bigger and bigger places to store his wealth rather than to use all that amassed fortune to care for the least, the lost, the lonely, the disabled, and the forgotten as the Savior has commanded us to do; when trivial things such as the color of one’s shirt or whether or not a shoulder is properly covered are treated as matters of great importance while the truly important things such as living and teaching Christ’s TRUE gospel as found in the NT and parts of the BoM are minimized; when leaders expect to be worshipped and fawned over rather than to be examples of humility and submission to God in all things that’s when you know that the rot runs deep.
Scripture tells us that by our fruits we will be known. To me it feels as if there is very little good fruit being produced in the church anymore. It breaks my heart to say this out loud. What makes me even sadder is that in talking to family, friends and colleagues I realize that I am not alone in feeling this way. Would I sacrifice all like my ancestors did in order to be a member of the church today?Unfortunately, the answer would be probably not because there is very little that is meaningful and worth sacrificing for. The church has become an impersonal business corporation that masquerades as a religious institution. I pray daily that things will change for the better because I love the gospel. Whether or not the leaders and members can wake themselves up in time to make the necessary and meaningful changes that are so vital and important so that we can truly be the church of Jesus Christ will be interesting to see. I’m ready and willing to work for those reforms if they are sincere and real and not just another PR ploy to make everyone think that all is well in Zion when it clearly is not.
“Well stuff just got worse in the Jello Belt.”
Well maybe not, he’s a well-known exmo and is tax dodging in Puerto Rico, not the Belt.
“Wasn’t President Monson the last “young” apostle called at 36 years old? That was so long ago. What would happen if we started seeing truly young blood in the red velvet chairs?”
If a 36 year old was called as apostle today, under the current system they wouldn’t become “unleashed” until somewhere around the year 2070. Someone that is currently 36 will have the same problems relating to people in the year 2070 that current leaders have relating to people today. The current system ensures we’re always a few generations out of step. I feel the current system needs to change in addition to calling a younger, more diverse leadership (gender, ethnicity, age, etc.).
A Poor Wayfaring Stranger,
You’re certainly not alone in your thoughts.
Thinking of the early pioneers and their sacrifices to join the church, I imagine the hope the church promised compared to being killed or thrown in prison for choosing the wrong religion factored into what kind of sacrifice they were willing to make. The lure of the church didn’t exist in a religious vacuum. Often the American dream was juxtaposed with abject poverty with few opportunities to escape the current situation. The church was a ray of hope to escape some situations but required a lot of sacrifice to do so. It can be easier to make those sort of sacrifices in a nothing to lose scenario.
As a convert I think of my own sacrifices to join the church, what challenges existed in my life at the time to make the church look appealing by contrast, why I was willing to sacrifice so much to follow the church. How the church used to meet my needs, how I used to help the church meet its needs, and why both of us no longer seem capable of meeting one another’s needs.
I share your thoughts on the church today vs. the church of 20 years ago. I used to wrestle with whether I changed or the church changed but the truth is we’ve both changed. My needs in the year 2022 aren’t the same as my needs were in the year 1996. In that 25ish year interim I’ve only seen the church shift more and more towards of a focus on loyalty to the church itself. Feeding a church’s ego isn’t among my list of needs. A false sense of certainty isn’t on my list of needs either. I’m less willing to sacrifice to help the church achieve those goals, they don’t feed me spiritually.
I think about why my parents joined the church. They believed the restoration story, they wanted up and out of alcoholic homes, they wanted a strong community. It’s sad that I can no longer love and serve the church the way they did. I’ve never considered the church having an ego, but that is what it feels like now that you say it.
All the complaints here complaining about an old, and decrepit gerontocracy ring hollow to me, because I would bet that the majority commenting here have no issue following Saint Fauci–another old, out of touch, straight white man.
The answer to the OP questions is illustrated really well in the examples of a family we know well. It just so happens to be one of my kids. Returned missionary. Temple marriage. Wonderful family. Always very active. Substantial callings. Very thoughtful people that stayed home with their family at the beginning of the pandemic, and have come to really appreciate the spiritual times worshipping at home with their family. The $100B hit them hard. The last few general conferences and the constant parading of Prophet Worship just eroded their love of general conference. Add to that an overly ambitious SP who really grilled them on their last Temple recommend interview on things not included in the standard questions. You can see it in their faces now….. a light has come on and they just see no value in the endless slog. They are the future of the church, and a good indication of where we are headed. They have no patience for the few vocal antivaxxers, and the complete lack of masks at church. They are not vocal about it, but they are just done. That is the future of our church – and they have silently slipped away. Names are still on the rolls, but absolutely no interest in diving back in, in the way they used to. I think that describes so many people.
I see Fauci as less of a saint and more of a scientist with decades of experience that’s currently in the role of being a spokesman for a large peer-reviewed scientific community. He’s echoing the findings of a team of domain experts doing their absolute best and in good faith during an unprecedented, ever evolving disaster. I lean towards trusting that community because they have more experience in virology than I do.
I feel church leadership is out of touch for more than just their age alone. The prophet counsels with 14 yes-men that are obligated to present a united front behind whatever the prophet says. How does an organization that knows it’s right about everything get in touch with the up and coming generation? The leaders are out of touch because they’re not domain experts. They don’t face the same problems as rising generations have face and their only advice is “be more like we were.”
Age isn’t the only factor, but I think it’s _a_ factor. With some leaders knocking on the door of being 100 years old, I’m a little over _half_ their age and I have enough tapir sense to recognize that I’m not dialed into the challenges young people face these days. I man’s got to know his limitations.
Mark I, Nelson is 16 years older than Dr. Fauci. Big difference. Besides, Dr. Fauci is clearly lucid and in good health. You wouldn’t know that he was 81. I also have every reason to believe that if Dr. Fauci showed signs of senility or a lack of ability in his position that he would either step down or be replaced. Lastly, Fauci is simply relaying research and information done and gathered by dozens and dozens of other public health officials and qualified and experienced epidemiological researchers. He isn’t declaring prophecy. What he says reflects large understandings among a diverse array of epidemiologists.
Contrast this with Mormonism where Nelson is regarded as having exclusive right to revelation for the whole church. If Nelson were to go senile (he is admittedly in remarkable good health for his age), he would still be propped up (like Ezra Taft Benson) and given ghost-written talks (wait are the ghost writers the ones who receive revelation then?). There is no mechanism that allows the Q15 to retire/step down with dignity. Social and institutional custom maintains that they remain in their positions until death. That’s a massive problem. Plus the church leadership gives guidance on a much wider range of matters. Fauci’s role is limited to informing the public about the coronavirus, not advising teens about masturbation.
Your equivalence between the two is massively fallacious.
If we had a prophet and if Christ led the church, would these problems exist today?
I treat both RMN and Dr Fauci the same. I listen to things that ring true to me.
The difference is that much of what Dr Fauci says rings true. But not all. For example, I’ve never double masked, and most likely never will. But I do wash my hands, avoid crowds, and got vaccinated, because his advice was supported by data and my personal experience with disease.
Contrast this to RMN. I have not once, never, felt I was in Satan’s grasp when I spoke or wrote the term “Mormon.” I don’t think of sad heaven when I think of my non-member family because I believe in a God that will make amends. I don’t think of the intellectuals on this blog as lazy learners; I in fact think the exact opposite. I don’t think that the Nov 2015 policy and it’s sudden rescission were revelation because I don’t believe in a God that flip flops.
So same process of listening to what they say, but different conclusion based on the data and my lived experience. Do you see the distinction?
El oso: Dude, fine. You do you. But you didn’t convince any of us. I still support the science. And you won’t see me at church with you until this is over. Because I’m not interested in your opinions or your germs, both of which you seem unwilling to keep to yourself.
Another problem- we dislocate our shoulders patting ourselves on the back about our humanitarian system, but as the church has grown, it has removed opportunities for the rank and file to participate in charitable activities. Sure, you can donate a Saturday morning wearing the yellow helping hands t-shirt to pick up trash, (in 20 years I have cleaned much for the church and my community, but have yet to be invited to an official “Mormon helping hands” activity, or own a yellow t-shirt.)
We don’t utilize our talents in a strategic or nimble way to react to local or global needs. If you are an LDS doctor, dentist, paramedic, lawyer, project manager, nurse, engineer, carpenter, etc. and volunteer through the church- you can do one thing- you get a trash bag and rake to clean. We do nothing more with you. We’re just too d@&! big and too corporate. The canneries are closing, and everything has been outsourced. Efficiencies prevail over people.
Most of us turn over every penny of disposable income to the church in generic tithes and offerings- so we don’t have much left over to help local orgs (like local pet shelters, food banks, health research/care orgs, scholarships, etc.) Whatever we have goes to SL and we don’t learn how to find our own personal charitable talents and niches, or how to apply or engage in charitable works. Worst of all, we are taught that what we do (which is far removed from interpersonal, isn’t transparent, and which does not require our participation) is marvelous and exactly what Jesus would do.
I’m sorry, but there is a world of difference between the “feelings”‘ and spiritual growth associated with writing a check versus working with others to see their lives transformed. For example, I’ve given an honest tithe since I was a kid, in a calculated, mechanical
way, but my neighbor- gives all of her disposable money and time to a local no kill shelter, and because she has the resources to be extremely committed to that cause- she participates on the org’s board, etc. It’s her identity and her life- she gets to scruff dog ears, connect owners with rescues, be part of those tear-jerking rehab stories, motivate her community, etc. Sure, I can volunteer there (and I do), but I don’t have much money after T&O to donate or the time after all my LDS meetings. I think most Saints are in the same boat- they do what they can locally, but MOST of their disposable income (and time) goes to the church. SL takes care of everything, or the Bishop. Most Saints go through life not having a deep philanthropic identity as pet lovers, clean water providers, food bank champions, scholarship angels, healthcare safety nets, etc. We are generic check writers. Yes there are ah-mazing LDS exceptions, but in a typical ward…most people are handicapped. This isn’t the “something extraordinary” Emma envisioned for the collective women of the RS, or what we as Saints were called to do to prepare for the second coming.
Everyone loved the conference talk given this fall by a sister who described her work as a church employee curating worldwide humanitarian projects. She rallied us all to the cause. Really? How? Honestly, there are precious few opportunities to become involved *through the church* and SL surely doesn’t want 17m “helpers” in the way. The whole scenario makes us (the rank and file) quite spiritually poor, and at the same time- gives church leaders and employees tremendous spiritual boons as THEY are the ones to steward the resources, who show up as the ambassadors and liaisons and get all the human interaction. We are left trying to make bricks without straw (time or money).
This is just another example of how the church is Uber-focused on its mission, but has left the people behind. People derive less benefit from it, and see less value/relevancy in it in their lives and their world.
And the sad thing is that our mission and legacy is one of deep charity and vision. We are the descendants of pioneers who beloved they could build Zion with their bare hands and sweat or the the newly gathered idealists. We are all Saturday’s Warriors, the Don Quixotes of the world, who believe they were born to usher in change. What frustration! What misalignment between who we are and how we are acting!
One more point for the anti-Fauci crowd. If you were in control of the US government, what exactly would you do differently about public health? Do away with public health? Governments as early as the ancient Egyptians have had some sort of public health adviser to monitor the spread of disease among the public. I can’t imagine any one of you forming a government and successfully doing away with public health.
Would you get a sycophant on board who says only things that you want to hear? Well, we just had a president who surrounded himself with sycophants and would fire anyone who expressed the smallest disagreement with him. And he brought Fauci on board and kept him in his position until Biden, who reappointed Fauci.
Lastly even if we replaced Fauci with another public health official of comparable status, background, and experience, what would that person say differently? They might have a few shades of difference from Dr. Fauci, but I think it would be roughly the same things. The policies in place in the US aren’t a result of Fauciism, or some ideology attributed solely to him. Fauci is a technocrat whose ideas are a reflection of the larger collective opinions of the world public health community. He isn’t a politician trying to create his own brand or cult of personality around himself. Replace him and the new person will be saying roughly the same things.
The problem isn’t Fauci. The problem is, and has been since early 2020, the virus.
Mike Spendlove, I liked the Postasy song. Thanks for the good laugh.
Fred VII, exactly. Fauci is a federal employee and as such can retire or be fired. Were he to hit a point of diminishing returns in his capacity as director of the NIAID or as part of Biden’s cabinet, one can reasonably expect he would make way for a successor without having to succumb to old age first. If the same could be said of the Q15, we’d probably see better results from them.
An interesting exhibit of what women were wearing when they were raped.
I posted the above on the wrong thread. Feel free to delete it, anyone with that ability.
This isn’t really relevant to the comment thread or the original post, but I was reading in the 1980 Encyclopedia Britannica this evening and came across a paragraph that could, with a few words substituted, fit in many posts on this blog. So I thought I’d copy it here:
A gradual loss of a sense of mission and of morale among the regular clergy also contributed to the decline of their intellectual and moral influence. By the late 16th century there were frequent complaints against the church’s excessive number of convents and growing wealth. The principal sources of this wealth were legacies and other gifts from rich donors; invested in land and mortgages, it brought in more wealth. The last important order to arrive in Spanish America, the Society of Jesus (1572), had the largest number of rich benefactors and the most efficient administration.
Ok, well, that’s a non sequitur. History never repeats but it rhymes. Substitute any words you want according to your outlook on life, the universe, and everything. Peace, y’all.
If you want to understand the government handling of the pandemic I suggest reading
The Premonition by Michael Lewis
David B: Someone caught the Billy Joel but I don’t think anyone caught the Randy Newman. Which is sad, because Newman’s Political Science provides the solution to the problems you cited, as well as the solution to pretty much everything else wrong on planet earth:
No one likes us, I don’t know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
And all around, even our old friends put us down
Let’s drop the big one, see what happens
We give them money, but are they grateful?
No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
They don’t respect us, so let’s surprise them
We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them
Asia’s crowded, Europe’s too old
Africa is far too hot, and Canada’s too cold
And South America stole our name
Let’s drop the big one, there’ll be no one left to blame us
We’ll save Australia
Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroos
We’ll build an all-American amusement park there
They got surfing too!
Boom goes London, boom Paris
More room for you, and more room for me
And every city, the whole world ’round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it’ll be
We’ll set everybody free
You wear a Japanese kimono, babe
There’ll be Italian shoes for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let’s drop the big one now
Let’s drop the big one now.
The problem with Romney wasn’t the church. The problem with Romney was Romney. Watching him in the Senate, if you look at the breakdowns of who likes him vs Senator Lee, Senator Lee does a lot better in polls with Republicans while Romney gets more approval from Democrats, who would have been more likely to vote for Obama. So I don’t see Romney’s loss in 2012 as an indication of people’s view of the LDS church..
I recently watched via zoom a stake conference of the stake where I formerly resided. It was conducted by a new Stake President, a man who appeared to be less than 35 years of age! He told several humorous and inspiring stories. Under his direction, the entire meeting was inspiring and fun. There were no “The world is such a dark and dreary place and it is getting worse by the day” comments. And I stayed awake for the whole show which was, an unprecedented feat for a 74 year old man with a low tolerance for boredom. I wonder what the “Gerontocracy in the Red Seats” takes to keep them awake during General Conference. I pray for such such young and vital people in all levels of Church leadership.