a coming revolution within mormon culture — umm what??

Executive summary:  Someone writes a long article complaining about Mormons being too judgy and how there’s gonna be a “revolution” against it.  I write an article that’s almost as long explaining why this is a dumb premise and how there’s already a revolution going on within Mormonism.

My article:

Hello, what’s this?  Why, it’s a long article that essentially amounts to yet another complaint within a restrictive “Puritanical” religion that its members are too judgmental!  Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The Coming Revolution Inside of Mormonism

Money quotes:

  • I can imagine a time not too far off where a gay man, a straight man, a biker with full body tats, a woman who smokes, a man who reeks of liquor, a recently married couple who is having trouble with tithing, a recently re-baptized excommunicated member, a man with a full beard and jeans, and a returned missionary who is addicted to porn sitting in the same congregation together, who make it through all three hours of church without someone dressing them down with their eyes or their words…It’ll be a time where the families in that congregation recognize how hard it is for people to set foot inside a church once they feel like they’ve strayed too far.
  • [[boring story from author’s mission about the time he met someone who had “strayed from the path” and how it totally changed his perspective]]

Sometimes I see blogs about Mormon life and wonder if it’s just a Utah thing.  (Just like I see things in my own life and wonder if it’s just an LA thing.)  Call me ignorant if you like, but I guess I forget there are still wards where people whisper disapprovingly because they see a tattoo.  Hate to break it to you, but those people aren’t in the demo for a blog which is complaining about those people.  And to be honest, much of our membership needs to do a little bit more judging (more on this later).

After the complaints, the rest of the article describes a “revolution” sweeping through the Church whereby members change their ways and all the author’s complaints are fixed.  I found it confusing.  It was like he was describing the Millennium.   Yeah, you know how God “called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them?”  Let’s just do that!

Uh, yeah dude, there will be a revolution that ushers in Millennial-like conditions.  It’s called, “The Millennium.”

More quotes:

  • I believe this revolution will produce an environment in which people always feel comfortable when they step inside a church building. It’ll feel like home. They’ll never have to feel like they’ve got to watch their back. They’ll never have to worry about what sister so and so thinks about her outfit, or what brother such and such thinks about the fact that he returned home early from his mission.
  • I wonder if people looked at the Sons of Mosiah and said… “Who do they think they are? How can they be missionaries? How can they represent Christ? How can they give advice in church when they were the vilest of sinners?”
  • I see a place where people have study groups again to provide support for those that need friends to talk to about the things they hear on the internet and social media. I see a place where people support one another, ask questions, resolve concerns, and speak honestly about the things that give them trouble in life and in the church. I see a time where “home-teaching” is just referred to as “ministering” and more lessons will revolve around love and not quotas. I see a time where “fellowshipping” will be replaced by “friendshipping” and where pure love is a stronger motivator than guilt.
  • I think this revolution will produce a people who don’t make a checklist of things they can and cannot do on the Sabbath… and then hold others to their own standard and checklist.

OK, now it sounds like the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Look, should Mormons be more loving?  Should we be more willing to step outside our friendship circles and embrace others?  Should we develop a genuine interest in others so when we reach out it feels natural instead of like we’re fulfilling an obligation?  Hell yes.  There’s so much untapped potential for good in our membership that can strengthen others and build our communities (more on this later).  I’ve long said that Mormons can be a weird bunch with plenty of failings but they really are the best people I know.

That’s all that really needs to be said about the article.  It has good ideas for things to work on (Although he is overthinking the whole “how to be more accepting” idea and I’ve found when Mormons do this they start being weird.) but entirely misses the point about the actual revolution that will happen within Mormonism.  In fact, it’s going on right now.

Our prophets and leaders have alluded to it over and over and over again.  They’ll do it again this coming weekend during General Conference.  The line between God’s ways and the world’s ways continues to become more defined and more perilous to cross.  Yes, there is a coming revolution, my friend, but it will be among those who seek to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the Gospel.  It will be between friends and family who look at each other on opposite sides of the line.  We’ve already seen members fall away because of it and in the coming years the battle will only worsen.  The world will hate us even more and those who to even a small degree hold to the world’s approval will find themselves increasingly distant from the Church and God’s people.

This is what I meant above when I said Mormons need to do a little bit more judging.  Not the prejudiced and mean-spirited judging this guy talked about, but a righteous judgment, separating truth from error, wickedness from righteousness, and worldliness from godliness.  Accepting and loving all people, but holding (“grasping” as the scripture says) to the iron Word of God.

Let me tell you what I now see: I see members who tolerate too much of the world–too much degenerate culture–in their own lives.  Who consume media that is repugnant and degrading.  Who prioritize frivolity over spirituality.  Who try to be so accepting of other lifestyles that they slip into the falsehood that is moral relativism.  Who tolerate things like abortion or physician-assisted suicide because it coincides with some of their other political ideas (see the recent Women’s March).  Who are more interested in material goods than a savings account.  I speak strongly of these things because I myself fall victim to this spiritually-dangerous way of thinking far too often.

Again, there is so much untapped good among our membership.  The world will cry for men and women of principle and lightness to lead them and their communities.  People to whom they can look who will display confidence and poise in the coming times in which “there shall be… distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear.”

Let us be prepared for this revolution.