Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Fall of the Churches

August 23rd, 2016 by G.

President Hunter runs through the familiar litany of modern progress in the material economy: improved communications, efficient agriculture, mass production of cheap, quality goods.

But he warns that mankind is one. Material progress, the growth of material capital leading to ever greater and greater returns, will surely lead to disaster if social capital continues to decay.

How right he was. We are now in the middle of that social disaster. Childlessness, anomie, illegitimacy, mental illness–it is decay and misery that is building its capital and reaping more fruits from year to year.

It is interesting how much he emphasizes the collapse of the mainline Protestant churches:

Society has made a great effort to modernize the world in education, communication, travel, health, commerce, housing, and in many other ways, so as to increase the standard of living; but what has this socialization and modernization done to the family—the basic institution of society? Never before has there been greater instability. The divorce rate is higher now than at any time in history. Modernization has transferred the responsibility of education from the family to public institutions where modern thought has become paramount and moral principles have become abandoned. . . ..

In the past, churches have taken a leading role in teaching men to have faith in God and to develop moral stability. What is happening to organized religion as a stabilizing force in society? Many of the largest of the Christian churches have reported losses in membership and also in income to carry on the work of their religious endeavors. Here again modernization has taken a heavy toll.

Modernism has become the order of the day in some religious thought. Modernists advocate a restatement of traditional doctrine on the grounds that today’s modern scholastic and scientific advances require a new critical interpretation of the Bible and the history of dogma. The term “modernism” is often used interchangeably with “liberalism.” Its advocates claim that religious truths are subject to constant reinterpretation in the light of modern knowledge; therefore, new and more advanced concepts are required to express modern thought and progress.

The Bible has been the subject of attack by modernists. It is said by some that science refuses to support the authenticity of such Biblical accounts as the creation of the world, placing life upon the earth, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, the flood, and many other happenings in the Old and New Testaments. What is claimed to be superior knowledge in this day of enlightenment causes some men to look upon these accounts as fables. Because of this, can believers in Christ repudiate them? In an attempt to regain the confidence of communicants who have ceased to believe, many liberal churches have abandoned one doctrine after another, even to the extent of failing to stand by the doctrine of the existence of a personal God.

The mainline Protestant churches are a horrible warning that too many of our own people are bent on ignoring. All this “outreach” and “making concessions” and “social gospel” and “relevancy” has been tried and tried before. How many patients must die before you stop thinking that bloodletting is a cure?

I am guilty of a bit of triumphalism at the fate of the mainlines. But they were great deposits of social capital. We are all worse off for their fall. So also with the current Pope.

Other posts from the Saturday morning session of the October 1973 General Conference

Comments (7)
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August 23rd, 2016 07:07:10

[…] The Fall of the Churches G […]

August 23, 2016

Yes. New Order Mormons = Protestant Mormons.

el oso
August 23, 2016

The doctrinal changes intertwined with the decline in membership, etc. are the main point of the big changes. If the basic nature of God is getting lost, then what good is the church? This is where many dissidents and liberals are getting confused. Eternal marriage is our best pattern of the nature of God’s Family. There is little wiggle room for the prophets on this subject.

August 24, 2016

“Modernization has transferred the responsibility of education from the family to public institutions where modern thought has become paramount and moral principles have become abandoned.”

How do we combat against this? The withdrawal option says to home school or church community school. But that basically guarantees further conflict as we withdraw and society gets worse.

The stay the course but maintain individual righteousness option guarantees that society will decline slower, and the LDS members mingled with society will decline right along with it (but still be a step or two “above” society’s morals). Don’t believe me, transplant Brigham or Joseph to a modern ward today, and I imagine they’d be pretty sad. Sure we’re not as “bad” as the rest of society, but we’ve given up a lot as we’ve ridden alongside the dominate culture.

The third option seems to be to gentle subvert the dominate culture by redefining how our public institutions function. Case in point, public schools, maybe the Latter-day Saints can lead the way for a 3 day school week consisting of 3 hours of classroom learning and 3 hours of applied learning.

How to handle social media, entertainment, etc. has been the point of previous discussions here but you can’t crowd out the bad with a handful of good. So maybe we argue for a 100% tax on movie tickets, dvd sales, music sales, etc. That tax idea is one I’d generally be opposed to, but the fact is the “entertainment” industry has done more to damage society than smoking.

August 24, 2016

Gso, you’ve covered the two-pronged nexus of satan’s work: mainstream media (both news and entertainment) and academia. Those were completely conquered by the forces of evil by the mid 80’s. Once those two were lost, the outcome was set. That’s why everyone under the age of 32 is a progressive, and even most people under 50 who did not have a religious upbringing.

Since at least the 60’s, most parents have ceded the almost total upbringing/education of their children to TV/media and to public schools. Control those two things, and you control the minds of the whole generation unless the parents actively counterbalance.

August 25, 2016

“Control those two things, and you control the minds of the whole generation unless the parents actively counterbalance.”

Excellent point. I often wonder how it is that so many kids in conservative states end up being, e.g., pro-gay marriage. It’s because their parents are not actively counterbalancing. Counterbalancing does work but it requires parents who are not merely conservative/traditionalist by default, but actively committed.

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