Social scientists, psychologists, and everyday experience all tell us how important it is to have close social connections. The Church, through the system of wards and stakes, provides that.
People around the world seek solutions to economic inequality, poverty, ignorance, etc. The Church provides that (although we don't implement it as fully as we know we should).
Everyone has problems in their lives, makes mistakes, etc. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has answers.
|Zion, the pure in heart|
As the scriptures describe it, And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift... and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
And yet, few people in the world today know about it, and most those who do know about it don't accept or implement it.
There are lots of reasons why; everyone who thinks about this topic has opinions. But when you look at it from a broad perspective, how would the adversary best prevent people from learning about and accepting these ideals and systems that could, if implemented, bring about the ideal society that everyone wants and is looking for?
One effective way would be to focus attention on the origins of the Church in such as way as to cause people to become confused and disturbed in their faith. Another would be to cast doubt on the teachings of the early prophets to make it easier for people to reject all the prophets.
IOW, the message gets obscured by the teachings of some of our LDS intellectuals, which have permeated Church culture through the Academic cycle.
I've mentioned before that there seems to have been a tipping point around 1980 when the theories of the intellectuals overtook the plain and simple teachings of the prophets on a few core issues that have now become obstacles to faith. There is a metaphorical precedent for this.
The Jewish captivity in Babylon is a type or shadow of what we're seeing unfold today with M2C, stone-in-a-hat, and related issues.
|Tissot - the Flight of the Prisoners|
But if you're going to conquer a nation, you want to control their intellectuals. You can turn their talents for your own purposes.
Babylon has been used as a symbol for lots of different things, both in the scriptures and in various commentaries. According to the Bible Dictionary, "In D&C 1:16, Babylon means 'the world.'"
For today's post, I'm using Babylon as a type or symbol for adopting worldly values, such as preferring intellectuals over prophets.
There are very simple, straightforward debates in the Church today over several issues; this blog focuses on just a few. By now, readers here know that M2C is a hoax that repudiates the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah and that the stone-in-a-hat narrative is an explicit repudiation of what Joseph and Oliver consistently and persistently taught.
These and other issues create obstacles and barriers to belief. They are "friendly fire" that, as Joseph Fielding Smith warned nearly 100 years ago, cause people to become confused and disturbed in their faith.
It's true that many faithful members of the Church believe these things, and that's fine. A few weeks ago when I sat in the audience during part of the FairMormon conference, the few hundred people in attendance were surely true believers. They applauded the M2C presentations. They were thrilled at how ScripturePlus will usurp the neutral Gospel Library and indoctrinate users to believe M2C. They were excited by the advertising campaign underway by Book of Mormon Central, promoting M2C throughout the world.
There's always a lot of energy when people are having their biases confirmed. And, as I've always said, I have no problem with them believing what they believe.
But they live in a bubble and they don't seem to realize that thousands of Church members, as well as most of the world's population, don't live in that bubble. We see M2C as a the hoax. It seems obvious to us (even to those such as me who believed if for many years because we didn't have all the facts). So while these theories work for some people, M2C, the stone-in-a-hat, and other issues make it even more difficult for people outside these bubbles to take the gospel seriously.
Yes, I realize the M2C scholars keep referring to credentials and expertise, but as we've seen before on this blog, they're merely confirming their biases. No matter what actual archaeologists discover in Mesoamerica, the M2C intellectuals adjust their interpretations of the Book of Mormon to match. The origins of M2C and the methodology used to perpetuate it both expose it as a hoax.
(BTW, I stopped pointing out the logical fallacies of M2C because I don't want people to use this as an excuse to disbelieve the Book of Mormon, and because I trust people to reach their own informed decisions. Anyone who reads Mormon's Codex with an open mind can spot the logical fallacies in the opening chapters. You don't even have to read the parts in which Brother Sorenson openly ridicules those who still believe the prophets.)
The Babylon metaphor is ultimately hopeful. The people did eventually return and rebuild Jerusalem. They returned to their roots.
I'm hopeful that in the near future, our LDS intellectuals will also return to their roots. I hope the day comes when they embrace, instead of repudiate, Letter VII and the teachings of Joseph and Oliver about the translation.
But if not, no one has to follow the intellectuals.
“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory”