Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Remnant

January 23rd, 2017 by Vader

From an old article by one of my favorite columnists:

Nock would have no use for today’s tea parties or talk-radio Jeremiahs of the Right, but he would also scoff at Paul Krugman and roll his eyes at Barack Obama’s talk of hope and change, for he denied that the state was the proper object of hope or a worthwhile agent of change. Moreover, he had contempt for the vast bulk of humanity, the “Neolithic mass” and those who spoke to them. In the dark, or at least darkening, age in which he believed himself to live (Nock died two weeks after Hiroshima), he cared only for the Remnant — a tiny slice of humanity he could describe but not locate. The best way to grasp this idea is to read his 1936 Atlantic essay “Isaiah’s Job” (easily found on the Web). It is one of the oddest and most powerful essays in the history of conservatism. At the end of King Uzziah’s reign in 740 b.c., the prophet Isaiah was tasked with warning the Jews of God’s wrath. But, in Nock’s rephrasing of the Biblical text, God gave this disclaimer: “I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”
Isaiah asked why he should even bother, then? “Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.” For Nock, the Remnant was his audience. At times, the idea of the Remnant is unapologetically elitist, but in a thoroughly Jeffersonian way. The Remnant were not the “best and brightest,” the most successful, the richest. Rather, they were those occupying the “substratum of right thinking and well doing” (in Matthew Arnold’s words). “Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness.”
I think it most unwise to flatter ourselves that we are the Remnant. But I think I may have met a couple of them, disguised as my grocer and as the fellow who collected my office trash.
Comments (7)
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No Tag
January 23rd, 2017 16:28:22
7 comments

Zen
January 24, 2017

Many are called, but few are chosen.

Even Brigham Young said, “Will all the people be damned who are not Latter-day Saints? Yes, and a great many of them, except they repent speedily. I will say further, that many of the Latter-day Saints, except they learn their lessons better, will be judged in the same way. That is my candid opinion” (Journal of Discourses 1:339).

“Will everybody be damned except the Latter-day Saints?” “Yes,” said Joseph, “and many of them, unless they take a different course from what they are now taking.” Who will be saved in the celestial kingdom, and go into the presence of the Father and Son? Those only who observe the whole law, who keep the commandments of God—those who walk in newness of life, observe all his precepts and do his will” (Journal of Discourses 14:133).


Bookslinger
January 24, 2017

My understanding is that those who survive the Great and Terrible Day will include both Celestial-bound and Terrestrial-bound folks. (And none of the then-living Telestial-bound folks will survive.) And that does not mean that _all_ CK and TrK folks will survive the upheavels preceding the Second Coming.


G.
January 25, 2017

Perhaps we should flatter ourselves that we may become the Remnant.

And lets be honest–there is no end to the ways in which right thinking and well doing are grand.


Bookslinger
January 25, 2017

Two, maybe three, generations make up a “remnant.” The youngest of the remnant are/will be too young to read and understand the messages. It is the parents of minor children who must therefore transmit the messages. And the older generation must prepare (or have prepared) _them_ to understand the message and successfully pass it on. (Corollary: you don’t know if you were a good parent until you see how your grandkids turn out.)

Parents and teachers of youth in the church are not just preparing them to be full time missionaries and future branch presidents and bishops, etc. They are (or should be) also preparing them to be parents of future missionaries and future bishops.

Therefore the “remnant” you are parenting, teaching, preaching to, or home-teaching could likely be several generations removed from the people sitting in front of you.

Of course the Lord sees how the generations link together, and one influences not just the next, but many. The modern prophets have often counseled us of the exponential multi-generational effects of our actions. Lose one member from the church, and you lose generations of his descendants. “Save” one young man who goes on to serve a mission, and you “gain” his converts _and their_ descendants, along with his own descendants.

I think one reason the Lord restored His church when He did was that it was going to take X years to build up the sheer numbers that would be necessary to receive Him and start His millenial reign.

It just occurred to me that family history is another thing to get our minds looking forward across generations. Looking forward is the natural corollary to looking backward, they are both multi-generational. Seeing the records (or lack thereof) of ancestors should motivate us to generate and conserve rcords for future generations.

When I planted BoM seeds at Chinese restaurants, I usually didn’t daydream about the young parents who ran the store as future converts. I envisioned them reading some bed-time stories from the BoM to their small children, then those kids grow up and encounter members or missionaries while having a warm fuzzy memory of those bed-time stories.


Vader
January 25, 2017

“(Corollary: you don’t know if you were a good parent until you see how your grandkids turn out.)”

That hurts.


Bookslinger
January 26, 2017

I suppose that some day I might find out the opinions of those spirits mentioned in my patriarchal blessing who were to become my children. Obviously, I didn’t live up to various requirements that would have allowed that part of the blessing to be fulfilled.

The wording was vague enough that it could be interpreted as step-children, biological children, or adopted. Since every pre-mortal human spirit eventually gets born to someone, I assume they were, or will be, born to someone else, which would have been the case anyway if their mention in the blessing referred to steps/adoptees.

Prior to joining the church, I had no intention of having or raising children due to our family’s history of depression and overall toxicity/dysfunction. And at some point in my mission, I realized I would not survive very long living under the same roof with children. (Buying my own ticket home was a frequent thought the last third of my mission.)

It’s a logical quagmire when we contemplate alternate histories (ie, “what would have happened if…), especially in regards to fore-ordained events that are still dependent on our agency. Heavenly Father knows in advance our failures, yet we are still called, so that our agency may play out.

(Thomas B. Marsh could have been prophet after Joseph Smith. But so could have Oliver Cowdery.)

So were, or will, those spirits be better off without me in their lives?

My parents’ marriage was an ill-advised one. But I always knew that I also could possibly have been worse off born to others. And at some point as I pondered “the problem of human suffering”, I started to realize that maybe I “needed” the adversity.

I am convinced that due to the multi-dimensional nature of both space and time, that Heavenly Father does literally see what we call “the future” in exact detail. Combine that with His perfect love for us, and that His goal is for us to be like Him, therefore He “places” us in the exact spot in the human chain where we “need” to be.

It is hard/impossible for us who are limited to a one-dimensional time-frame, and without access to pre-mortal memories, to reconcile God’s foreknowledge with agency. Yet the seeming fact remains: Heavenly Father appears to be the one who “places” (ie, who goes where) His spirit children with mortal parents (Acts 17:26), regardless of how much our own agency played in that calculus.


G.
January 26, 2017

Very interesting, Books.

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