How can you not check out a general conference talk titled “The New Aristocracy“? (Saturday morning, October 1974, Elder Faust).
It did not disappoint.
I’ll quote his introduction at length:
It has recently been my privilege, along with the other General Authorities assigned to attend the great area conference in Stockholm, to travel to a limited extent in the great Scandinavian countries and on other assignments in England.
For many centuries these countries have been considered to be among the most enlightened and advanced in the history of the world. Their peoples have made great contributions to the comfort, well-being, and culture of society. But, as in America and so many other countries, there is in these countries evidence of a sickening plague which is sapping, if not destroying, the life blood of humanity. The plague about which I speak seems most obvious among many of the young people, of youth and young adult age, although it is by no means limited to them. I refer to the steady, creeping moral dry rot which is manifested in the obscenity of their behavior and dress and in the debasing entertainment and the centers of pornography which they frequent. Many of these young people appear not only as vulgar, but dirty and repulsive. They have “freaked out.” Many seem to have forsaken all that is decent and possess a moral sickness and cynicism which is crippling and strangling to the enlightened human soul. They are eager participants in all of the repulsive and degrading practices which God has warned humanity against throughout the ages.
There seem to be few countries in this world whose people have escaped this plague, for it is epidemic in proportion.
In great contrast to the low scenes in some of the streets, when we assembled in St. Erik’s Fair Center in Stockholm where 4,000 members of this Church had assembled, there was a completely different spirit and appearance. The youth and young adults at this great conference, along with the others participating, sang, danced, and demonstrated the best of themselves and their culture in a most delightful and uplifting manner. As we looked into their happy, clean, and appealing countenances and felt their enlightened presence, they radiated great moral strength and beauty. They reflected an inner light, even like the quartz prisms their Viking forefathers used to refract the rays of the sun when it was below the horizon to enable them to get their bearings. These youth and young adults are part of an almost worldwide new aristocracy—as the elect of God—who know that the source of all light is divine.
There is a fad among Dawkins-style atheists to describe religion as a parasitic meme. When I look around me and mine, I see that we and the meme are engaged in mutualism. I am no aristocrat. Not even one of the rough-hewn frontier variety. But the gospel has heaped up blessings on me and given me enough character to at least be part of the new yeomanry. And some of my children amaze me. They are big guns.
By any reasonable standard, it is modernism with its rejection of religion that is the parasitic epidemiological meme.
There is, frankly, an aristocratic sweetness to Mormon life. It is somewhere between the frontier patriarchy of the lekker lewe and the mannerly, civilized douceur de la vie. It is sound.
Aristocracy talk makes us uncomfortable, of course. We Americans are a democratic people. Yet the gospel talks of the King of Kings and the Lord, and at a certain place we learn that our destiny is high. The gospel teaches us that our birth is also high, and we derive blessings and possibilities through our bloodlines. The gospel teaches us to excel, to not measure ourselves by the mass.
The simple truth is that eternity is a singularity. Nobility and equality are combined there, and mortal distinctions collapse.
How is this new aristocracy distinguished? First, that no one need be excluded.