I don’t have any single topic that I can spend six or eight paragraphs discussing, so I’m going to sort of repurpose an earlier post (and maybe make it a recurring thing) and do three or four short topics in one post. You can comment on any of them. Maybe the wisdom of the crowd will produce a good discussion on one of them.
It’s not that Covid doesn’t matter anymore, that it’s not messing with the economy, the medical system, our institutions, and individual lives. It just seems like few people care anymore. A lot of the measures employed in a fairly half-hearted way in most cases — masks, social distancing, forehead temperature checks — seem more for show than measures thoughtfully employed to achieve a specific goal. We’re just muddling through. We have sort of given up.
LDS angle: New missionaries continue with the “MTC in your bedroom” program, missionaries are back at overseas missions, and here in America senior LDS leaders have more or less kicked the Covid issue to the local level, where Area Authorities and local leadership cobble together their own policies: masks are required or masks are recommended or masks are just tolerated. Here’s a simple question I haven’t seen a statement on yet, or maybe I just missed it: Will April 2022 General Conference feature in-person attendance or will it be another Zoom Conference?
Trump and Covid, two things we wish would go away and not come back. Trump held a campaign rally (what else can you call it?) in Arizona last week. Yahoo News: “Trump’s Covid and Election Falsehoods at Arizona Rally.” WaPo: “Trump’s Arizona project shows the dire threat to American democracy.” Post-Trump, the Republican Party is, well, not the Republican Party anymore, largely because it is not in any way post-Trump. It’s just chaos, with a strange assortment of clownish Trump-endorsed candidates in Congressional and governor’s races challenging incumbent Republicans who aren’t willing to follow the Clown-in-Chief’s script.
LDS angle: You might have missed this story: “Man who raided US Capitol dressed as figure from the Book of Mormon pleads guilty.” Yes, Captain Moroni is going to jail, or at least probation or a fine. When Mormons go crazy, they generally go crazy in cringey Mormon ways. But it isn’t just the crazy guy down the street. Don’t forget Utah Senator Mike Lee comparing Trump to Captain Moroni at an earlier Arizona event. Just makes me want to crawl under my chair. Has anyone had a conversation with a non-LDS person having to try and explain one of these strange Mormon insider memes that somehow enters public discussion? What can a non-LDS person possibly think? Maybe all Mormons are crazy, it’s just a matter of degree.
Senator Harry Reid, RIP
I haven’t seen much discussion in the Mormon online world of the passing of Harry Reid, Democratic senator from Nevada from 1987 to 2017 and Senate Majority Leader from 2005 to 2017. He ought to be a Mormon hero, on par with other non-GA LDS celebrities. Here’s a piece at the SL Trib that ponders what Harry Reid means for the LDS Church: “Harry Reid was a bellwether of things to come.” Here’s a sample: “[I]t may well be Reid, the scrappy old boxer yet measured, moderate democrat (himself the antithesis of Mormon royalty) whose views more closely align with the rising generation of Mormons. In this sense, Reid is not an anomaly of a bygone era but a bellwether of things to come.” I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but the fact that Reid is more likely to be reviled rather than celebrated in a conversation between average Mormons shows that there is something wrong with Mormons, not with Reid.
But the article raises an interesting question: Do young Mormons have any adults they look up to? Do Gen Z Mormons look at Mitt Romney and say, “That’s my guy!” Are there any GAs that young Mormons feel any affinity with? Maybe there’s too much system and not enough personality in the LDS Church of the 2020s.
You’d think with the LDS curriculum rolling around to the OT this year, I could muster a post on it. I feel strangely unenthused about the topic. Partly because the LDS curriculum doesn’t really study the Old Testament: it starts out with lessons drawn largely from Moses and Abraham (from the Pearl of Great Price), then spends the rest of the year doing gymnastics (making Old Testament stories and pronouncements fit into the doctrine and practice of the LDS Church of our day). As I have said before, the LDS approach to the Old Testament is to pile LDS misreadings of OT passages on top of Christian misreadings of OT passages.
Once upon a time, there was hope that demoting Elder Uchtdorf from the First Presidency to running LDS Curriculum (that is one of his assignments in the Twelve, I understand) would be good for the new curriculum. Whiffed on that one. The problem with Come Follow Me (apart from that fact that almost no one seems to be following it) is that is offers the average LDS teacher even less to work with than prior manuals. LDS Gospel Doctrine class has gone from being (on a good day) a worthwhile and interesting discussion to being second-hour detention for adults who don’t have a second-hour calling but who won’t (for some unknown reason) either go home and watch football or go out to the car and listen to music while waiting for the wife or husband to finish up her or his Primary class.
Okay, there are four topics and eight paragraphs. You make the call. Pick one and say something. Stand and deliver.