The Worst of Times

February 7, 2004 | 33 comments
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Tonight the Church Education System sponsored a satellite broadcast from Temple Square, featuring Elder Boyd K. Packer. As an early morning seminary teacher, I was invited to attend. Elder Packer and Elder Eyring, who introduced him, both made comments to the following effect (paraphrasing): “the world has never been more wicked, and it will not get any better.” I have no reason to dispute this, but why are General Authorities (and, by way of imitation, members) so fond of saying such things?

I can think of a few possibilities:

* This is a warning that we need to be vigilant in keeping the commandments. Sort of a wolf-at-the-door motif. Or, “while it may take a village to raise a child, don’t trust the other villagers.”

* It may be a subtle means of patting ourselves on the back. Like when I complain during a hilly bicycle ride. We might, in a backhanded way, be congratulating ourselves on our righteousness.

* We might be affirming the truth of the scriptures, which foretell all sorts of nasty events for the last days.

All of these seem like possibilities, and, no doubt, we may make such statements for more than one reason. Nevertheless, I find these sentiments depressing. We know that, no matter what we do, the world is going to hell in a handbasket (so to speak). Does anyone act more righteously because they are walking around with that message in their head?

All of this seems particularly strange in a Church that is generally so forward looking and optimistic. The message of the Gospel is a message of hope. We celebrate the progress of the Church partly because we have the sense that we are making a difference. We are making the world a better place! (Aren’t we?)

One potentially salutary effect of hearing these dismal forecasts might be the following: when I reflect on the wicked state of affairs in which we find ourselves, I am inclined to seek comfort closer to home. If I can’t change the world, at least I can change myself, my marriage, my family, or my ward. That must be good.

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33 Responses to The Worst of Times

  1. lyle on February 7, 2004 at 5:30 am

    Gordon,

    I think that President Hinckley’s great optimism has really given us a ray of Hope. He constantly praises the Saints; and whether this is sincere and/or a motivational device…it inspires me.

    We are making the “World” a better place…
    but as you point out: only one heart at a time, whether that heart is thine own, spouse (if any), other family member, friends, fellow Saints, everyone else.

    Yes, the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, but…like the starfish story…we can all reach out to other individuals in our circle of influence and attempt to help them out of the handbasket full of tares and into the garner/silo of the Temple. Will the wicked become moreso? Yes, but…that doesn’t mean we can’t make the ‘world’ quantitatively smaller :)

  2. Kristine on February 7, 2004 at 10:12 am

    I’ve always loved John Donne’s “Anatomie of the World, 1609,” which begins

    The world is all in peeces, all cohaerence gone,
    The sun is lost, and the earth, and no man’s wit
    Can well direct him where to look for it…

    and continues in that vein for several stanzas. The immediate impetus for the poem’s composition was Donne’s learning about the work of Copernicus, and the horrifying notion that the way people had understood the world “the great chain of being,” was disrupted by the revelation that the sun, rather than the earth, was the center of the ordered heavens. It’s pretty easy to find such gloomy predictions at almost any juncture of human history–the Salem witch trials, Andrew Jackson’s election, the advent of widespread birth control, prohibition, the repeal of prohibition, the publication of Darwin’s _Origin of Species_, publication of Freud’s early work, …

    Hand-wringing seems to be almost instinctive human behavior; I think it comforts us in some weird way to feel that the rest of the world is irredeemably wicked/ignorant/depraved, while we alone are granted special insights, unique powers of righteousness, and the ability to secure God’s favor.

  3. Kaimi on February 7, 2004 at 10:34 am

    There seems to be a definite element of nostalgia and an idealized view of a prior golden age.

    What’s so wrong with the world today? Go back 50 years (a time when many members seem to place their golden age), and you have legal segregation, worldwide communism (with Mao killing millions through collectivization), anti-miscegenation laws, a half-dozen temples total, racial restrictions on the priesthood, a de facto system of legalized rape in Hollywood, and the ever-present specter of nuclear war — all of which have changed for the better since then. Doesn’t sound so bad to me.

  4. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2004 at 10:42 am

    Kristine,
    I think you’re all wet. The apostolic hand-wringing isn’t some sort of humanoid tic. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, so why not say it?

    For a matter of that, it always has been. Everyone who strives for good must sometime realize that all their best efforts will ever accomplish is to keep sputtering humanity from falling into the abyss. There is no hope of stepping away from the edge. This is a fallen world and we are in the devil’s power.

    Now let me add two caveats: I do not intend to say that our efforts are illusory, only that death snatches them away to a far country.

    Second, I do not intend to say that there is no movement. We can find temporary brighter spots in our history–the Enoch and Nephite Zions, the small periods of national and personal repentance. As C.S. Lewis says, in every age there have been civilized families, and in every age they have been surrounded by barbarians.
    We can also find decay and final falls. Sodom and Gomorrah, the Nephites, and others rejected God and rejected him until they passed a point of no return. Our knowledge of a Second Coming necessarily implies a similar world-wide decline. The wickedness then can truthfully be said to surpass the wickedness of any other era. Because the Second Coming must be preceded by a moral climate change, I reject your argument that every age sees itself as decaying and that therefore there is never any decay. On the contrary, hell’s maw gapes wider and wider.

  5. Russell Arben Fox on February 7, 2004 at 11:20 am

    I find myself agreeing with both Kristine and Adam. (Impossible? Not in the least.)

    1) It seems to me that comments like Elder Packer’s, assuming Gordon paraphrased him correctly, should be taken as rhetoric, not as an argumentative claim, much less doctrine. (Please note: rhetoric is important, substantive, and valuable. To label something as “rhetoric” is not to belittle it, but to classify it.) As Kaimi’s list (or any other comparable list any one might easily imagine) clearly demonstrates, “wickedness” is a pretty broad category. Is the the public acceptance of homosexuality in many nations today quantifiably worse than the public acceptance of chattel slavery in those same nations 150 years ago? How would one measure that? Does that fact that President Hinckley has declared (several times, in fact) this to be the “greatest era” ever to be alive–thanks to advances in technology, economy opportunity, and so forth–at all mitigate the level of “wickedness” out there, or do the two feed off each other somehow? Absent the divine revelation of some kind of definitive scale, I have to assume that when Elder Packer speaks of the wickedness of the present world as being without peer in all history, he is using language in a descriptive, not analytical, manner.

    2) That said, this world is bound for destruction, and all things will end in tears and ashes. Every prophet as spoken of this; none have ever deviated from that message. Nothing lasts, and all good things will be overthrown. We are strangers and pilgrims, inhabiting a world of sin, candles flickering in the darkness, all of which will be snuffed out by death. Man, as Moses emphatically declared, is nothing.

    Oddly enough, I still believe in progress. But I believe in it because, insofar as I understand the commandments, it is something we are supposed to pursue, not because it will “work” in any final sense. There are things worth doing, there are goods worth having (freedom, security, dignity), and when more of those goods are available to more people then had them before, then the resulting state of affairs is better than before. But only “better” in a temporal sense. I may vote and work to save the world, but I don’t fundamentally believe we can actually do so.

  6. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2004 at 11:27 am

    Very well put, Br’er Fox, which means I guess I agree with Kristine’s point after all (is there some sort of commutative property of blogging?).

    As for this being the ‘greatest era’ ever, and also the ‘most wicked’ ever, I can think of a way the two might relate. If being the greatest means that technology and wealth have given more of us more realm for choice than ever, then we obviously have more room to choose evil or at least to do evil by rejecting the good we could do.

  7. greenfrog on February 7, 2004 at 3:01 pm

    I believe that Elder Packer offers those statements as warnings that we should not view the world today as acceptable and good. I infer, perhaps incorrectly, that it stems largely from his concerns about the relaxation of public sexual mores, which he believes are more important than the other facets of society that have been noted.

    Personally, I think that the world is a much more righteous place than it was when I was a child, expecting nuclear war to break out before I reached my twenties. But that view, too, reflects the narrow perspective that I held.

  8. Clark Goble on February 7, 2004 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve thought about this one a lot. One the one hand modern civilization is so vastly better than more primitive culture that it boggles the mind. Most primitive cultures – even ones traditionally thought of as peaceful – have something like half the male population dying via violence. When you look at many statistics, it seems our culture is head and shoulders above others.

    At the same time, one could easily say that in primitive cultures there was far less *freedom*. They were far more superstitious and ignorant. They traveled less. And that constant threat to survival (disease, famine, violence) made ones rational actions a lot more limited.

    If we consider there to be a distinction between sin and transgression, then it seems to follow that as we have more options we are held more accountable. It could thus easily be the case that now, in the midst of plenty and safety, that we are held to a much higher standard of accountability than say Israel back when human sacrifice was a real sin a “ward member” might engage in. By that standard this could easily be the most sinful period in history even as it has the fewest *transgressions*.

    I recognize a lot here don’t like the transgression – sin distinction that Joseph Fielding Smith made. However it truly makes a lot of sense to me and offers a great deal of explanatory power.

  9. Kristine on February 7, 2004 at 3:50 pm

    Adam–I don’t disagree with you. I didn’t argue that because all ages see themselves as decaying, there is no decay. I was only noting that apocalyptic predictions have been a favorite pastime of serious, thoughtful people for a long time. A long view suggests not that Elder Packer is wrong, but that he is in good company.

  10. Kristine on February 7, 2004 at 3:52 pm

    Adam, does C.S. Lewis really say “civilized families” or just civilized people?

  11. brayden on February 7, 2004 at 4:30 pm

    I tend to agree with Kaimi on this one. Every generation looks back on yester-years with nostalgic praise, but the truth is that in many ways our nation is much more “righteous” now than it was, say, a hundred or a hundred-and-fifty years ago.

    Two big myths seem to circulate widely: our country is more violent now than it used to be and our country is more sexually promiscuous than it has ever been. The homicide rate is actually lower now than it was in the 19th Century. All one needs to do is visit Tombstone, Arizona (just an hour or so from my house) and you can see just how dangerous it was to live in the West back in those days. The peacable Zion was really an exception to the overall trend of violence that existed at that time.

    Also, people in the nineteenth century drank much more than they do now. Recently I was watching a History Channel documentary about alcohol and bootlegging and they stated that men in the nineteenth century drank something like four times the alcohol content than people currently drink. Accompanying the alcohol were women of ill-repute and gambling. For a couple of decades, more women in Montana were employed in prostitution than in any other occupation.

    Now, you might say that these were trends of the frontier and nothing else and this is partly true, but if you compare urban crime and violence with current levels of urban crime and violence, you see the same thing. Crime and violence was worse then than it is now.

    One more thing – one benefit of the sexual revolution is that men and women do in marriage now what men used to only do with prostitutes. The changing standards of sexual appropriateness have probably kept some men from seeking pleasure in the brothels. That can’t be such a bad thing.

  12. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2004 at 5:05 pm

    Kristine,
    He says families. He’s either quoting someone, or commenting on the Odyssey, or quoting someone commenting on the Odyssey. Obviously my memory is one of things about me that I always try to brag about in interviews.

  13. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2004 at 5:07 pm

    Uh, good things come in threes?
    Also, that should be ‘interviews,’ not ‘memories.’ Wooh.

  14. Kaimi on February 7, 2004 at 6:05 pm

    I was just at the Brooklyn plaque dedication (which discusses the horrific journey of a group of pioneers 150 years ago — see http://www.timesandseasons.org/archives/000309.html ), and President Belnap made mention of how much better the world has become over the past 150 years.

    When one looks at media violence or sexual attitudes, the world may look worse. But when one looks at life expectancy, ability to practice religion freely, medical advances, transportation advances, it looks a whole lot better.

  15. Gordon Smith on February 7, 2004 at 8:23 pm

    One other tidbit from the sattelite broadcast (I wish I had the text!): Elder Packer compared our society unfavorably with Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, I can’t recall the exact phrasing — I never take notes … on anything … maybe I should! — but he said that nothing happened there that doesn’t happen here. The big difference was that their activities were “localized” (I definitely remember that), whereas modern technology allows for wider distribution of sin today.

    This had echoes of President Kimball for me. If memory serves, he talked frequently about the good and bad that comes from television. As Kaimi argues, all of the technological advances have been a great boon to our health and welfare, not to mention missionary work and the ability of Apostles to talk to Seminary leaders all across the world. Pretty amazing, really.

  16. Brent on February 7, 2004 at 8:38 pm

    Gordon, thinking about your post today, those were some of the things that came to my mind. As we have developed more technology, great and wonderful things have taken place to improve our lives and to improve life generally around the world. Conference is broadcast around the world. We have better medicine, greater personal means of communication. It is a truly exceptional time to be alive. With all of the good, however, there has also been a proliferation of evil. I was contemplating for instance how extensive the worldwide web is and how much sleaze and filth is available out there. The is also the ability for widespread cooperation of individuals and organizations to spread evil. I think this is may be what the brethren refer to when we hear how bad these times are. Worldwide, there seems to be an unprecedented amount of corruption, immorality, deviancy and the like, which is made possible because of the many technological advances.

  17. Gordon Smith on February 7, 2004 at 8:39 pm

    I am intrigued by Russell’s comments above. In one breath, he states, “this world is bound for destruction.” In the next, he writes, “Oddly enough, I still believe in progress…. I may vote and work to save the world, but I don’t fundamentally believe we can actually do so.” This is really the nub of the issue for me, this cognitive dissonance.

    When I was in India a few weeks ago, I didn’t think, “I need to do something to make a change here.” Instead, I thought, “Boy, these people really have their work cut out for them!” I hope that my reaction was not borne of callousness. Instead, I think it had more to do with comparative advantage. I ask myself: What can I do that will best advance the work of God on earth? At least at this stage of my life, the answer I get to this question is pretty simple: be a good husband, a good father, a good professor, a good Seminary teacher, a good home teacher, a good blogger. Not necessarily in that order. ;-)

    The closest I come to trying to change the world from Madison (aside from this blog) is that I am positioning myself to influence the development of corporate governance and entrepreneurial finance around the world (thus my frequent trips abroad). Otherwise, I feel like my biggest contribution is local. Someday, I hope to serve a mission with my wife, but even that sort of work will happen one person at a time in whatever place we are serving.

  18. Bob Caswell on February 8, 2004 at 2:54 am

    I just have to say I’m glad Gordon made this post. I think on this topic often. This just happens to be one thing that can sometimes bug me about GAs. I call it the “superlative disorder”. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, somehow a “most important” or “greatest era” or “most wicked” has to be included or else we Saints just disregard the message? I don’t think we would, but it seems that I hear less and less of things just being important or great or wicked. Nowadays, whenever I hear a superlative, I never read much into because its value has been so diluted.

    Bruce R. McConkie had the strongest case of “superlative disorder”. Just read Mormon Doctrine. I’ve read that book cover to cover and I swear there are at least 20 “most importants” and/or “most wickeds”. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bruce is an extraordinary man. But many extraordinary men have superlative disorder. There are, obviously, worse things; but since we’re on the subject, I just had to let out one of my pet peeves.

    P.S. Whenever someone says this is the “wickedest” era, do you ever wish you could ask them, “What’s the second wickedest or the third?” If such a question were asked, you’d just get the blank stare because they would have no idea what to say. Why? Because they don’t know what they’re talking about. There was no study conducted, there was no extensive research, just a superlative used to get some point across.

  19. Bob Caswell on February 8, 2004 at 3:15 am

    Gosh, it’s late. I just realized that I said “most wicked” and then “wickedest” in the same comment. Funny, I kind of like the feel of “wickedest” even though “most wicked” is more correct (or should I say, correcter. It must be really late for me to think of that as funny).

  20. Gordon Smith on February 8, 2004 at 11:35 am

    “Superlative disorder”? Bob, how can you say that about the greatest Apostle of my lifetime?

  21. Gordon Smith on February 8, 2004 at 11:59 am

    One area where we see superlatives in spades is material directed at youth. Here is the current First Presidency message for the youth:

    “You are not just ordinary young men and women. You are choice spirits who have been held in reserve to come forth in this day when the temptations, responsibilities, and opportunities are the very greatest.” (http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,30-1-7-2,00.html)

    In 1987 President Benson said:

    “For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted away into apostasy, but ours will not…. God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God…. Make no mistake about it — you are a marked genteration. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time, as there is for us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devils among us. Now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number of priesthood holders on the earth and the showdown is fast approaching.”

    In these messages, the idea that the world has never been more wicked seems inextricably tied to two other ideas: (1) this is an important stage in the battle between good and evil; (2) many people who live now were reserved by the Lord for this stage of the battle. These ideas are pretty central to our sense of mission as a Church. Perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss this wicked-days talk so glibly.

  22. Kaimi on February 8, 2004 at 12:10 pm

    Gordon,

    The “you are all generals” theme is definitely used a lot with youth. (I got a large dose of it in Young Men’s). It always struck me as being a little strange. That is, there are more Mormon youth now than ever before, and we are all generals. There will be even more Mormon youth to come. The whole enterprise seems not to obey the law of numbers — an army doesn’t have 20 generals for every one private.

    I realize that there are a lot of non-members, who I guess comprise the bulk of the pre-existence cannon-fodder infantry. Still, the numbers seem perilously close to unsustainable, especially if all Mormon youth since circa 1980 have been pre-existence generals, and if it continues.

    Maybe the whole generals thing is more metaphorical?

  23. Kaimi on February 8, 2004 at 12:14 pm

    Come to think of it, the “you are all generals” theme seems to be explicitly youth-targeted. That is, my Elders Quorum today is made up of mostly 20 to 30-year-olds. Those of use who were Mormon youth (me, Logan, others) received the “you are all generals” message as youth, but it’s not something we focus on, or even discuss, now that we’re elders.

    It doesn’t seem like there would be any reason not to continue to emphasize our pre-existence general-hood after we get to Elders Quorum. But it’s not mentioned, not really at all.

    Perhaps this is a message that youth need to hear repeatedly — “you are important” — while those of us in EQ need to hear other messages constantly (“Do your home teaching!”).

  24. Bob Caswell on February 8, 2004 at 1:20 pm

    Well Gordon, I had hoped I wasn’t to hard on your friend and mine, Bruce R. McConkie. I haven’t had much first hand experience with McConkie. I’ve only read his words. But I hear he was a powerful speaker. Since you brought up “the greatest Apostle of your lifetime” (which, by the way, is a superlative right there), I’d have to go with Maxwell as my greatest. Anyone else care to comment?

    About your Benson quote, I’m a firm believer in the three-fold mission of the Church. But to say it’s based on an “important stage in the battle between good and evil” and that we “were reserved by the Lord for this stage of the battle” is something I feel has always received unduly emphasis for a couple of reasons:

    1) I think every stage in the battle between good and evil has been pretty important. I don’t want to trick myself into thinking my stage is more important than all the other stages before me. For my stage wouldn’t exist had good not prevailed earlier. But we mortals always seem to focus on our own stage as “most important”.

    2) I don’t like to think of myself as “reserved” because it can give me (and others in the Church) a false sense of superiority. When we, as brothers and sisters, all come down to earth at our appropriate times to fulfill the plan of our Maker. That’s the way I think of it.

    It’s a blessing to me that I came down to earth when technology is at its finest. But I don’t like to think of myself as the celebrity of mankind. We all will be given the same chance at exaltation.

  25. Bob Caswell on February 8, 2004 at 1:32 pm

    Gordon-

    I’m speaking my mind fairly openly. Something I would probably not do in Church but feel comfortable doing here. I mean no disrespect toward you or any of our Church leaders. I just like to overanalyze on some of these topics.

    I appreciate you posting on this particular topic. It got me thinking enough that I couldn’t help but make a spin off post over at http://www.bobandlogan.com (yes, I know, I just made a shameless advertisement for my blog).

  26. greenfrog on February 8, 2004 at 1:43 pm

    In these messages, the idea that the world has never been more wicked seems inextricably tied to two other ideas: (1) this is an important stage in the battle between good and evil; (2) many people who live now were reserved by the Lord for this stage of the battle. These ideas are pretty central to our sense of mission as a Church. Perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss this wicked-days talk so glibly.

    These ideas strike me as more evidence of narrowed perspectives. On what basis can anyone assert the greater relative importance of a child born to an early 21st century middle-class home in the United States on the one hand than a son born to a Japanese family in 2200, or a daughter born to a Zulu family in southern Africa in the fourth century BC, or a son born to a Hun family on the Mongolian steppes in the tenth century, or a daughter born to an Azetc family in the 14th century in central America, or a son born to a Neanderthal family in northern Europe ten thousand years ago on the other hand?

    How can one, with absolutely no information about the latter children, assert that the former represents greater righteousness or significance to bringing about eternal life of mankind? I think it is a function of the same cultural shortsightedness that led the Catholic Church to reject the heretical heloicentrism of Galileo.

    Until we understand and believe that the kingdom of God includes all of God’s creations, and the equality of all before God, no matter who, where or when, I think that we will continue to limit the message of the gospel in ways that only speak to the smallest of segments of mankind on earth.

    If God is no respecter of persons, I believe that God loves and esteems the Zulu child and the Aztec child and the Neanderthal child as highly as my own offspring. And I am far from convinced that the challenges of life facing my children today are somehow greater or more important to the salvation of mankind than those faced by those other children in past or future centuries.

    gf

  27. Julie in Austin on February 8, 2004 at 3:31 pm

    I heard Elder Packer’s talk (I teach Institute). What I went away with: stop messing around. Things are serious out there, and these young people need serious fortification from their Church classes, there is no time for fluff.

  28. Gordon Smith on February 8, 2004 at 6:18 pm

    Bob, My reference to “the greatest Apostle” was tongue in cheek, as we were talking about superlatives. Sorry … that doesn’t always come through with the written word.

    About that false sense of superiority, I have mixed feelings. We are required, by the tenets of our faith, to be different from many of the people who surround us. As an adult with 20-some years of experience in the Church, I can rest on my own testimony of most commandments. But what about my children? How do I help them to have the strength to resist temptation?

    One strategy that seems prevalent in the Church is to “pump them up” with a sense of their own specialness. For teenagers, being different often means being inferior. My sense is that the Church leaders are attempting to reverse that presumption.

    Also, there is something to be said for setting expectations high. Some call this the “as-if” principle. Treat someone as if they are a good student, for example, and they often live up to that expectation.

    Greenfrog sees “evidence of narrowed perspectives” in all of this. Greenfrog writes: “How can one, with absolutely no information about [Zulus, Huns, Aztecs, and Neanderthals, to name a few examples], assert that [a child born to an early 21st century middle-class home in the United States] represents greater righteousness or significance to bringing about eternal life of mankind?” My initial thought was of Abraham. How did he know that he was one of the “noble and great ones”? The Lord told him. So, I suppose those who believe that Ezra Taft Benson was speaking as a prophet might rest on that.

    But why stop there when I have another argument, namely, that this has nothing to do with the comparative value of souls. We know that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God,” and that is not open to debate. This is about “some of his strongest children” being reserved for this day. No one has said or is saying that God loves these stronger children more than His other children. And no one has said that these “strongest children” are all middle-class Americans. I don’t see the evidence of a narrow world view.

  29. Matt Evans on February 8, 2004 at 11:27 pm

    I think the the prophets talk to youth the way they do is for the reason Gordon mentioned, to counter the perspective of the world.

    Kids who pray, read the scriptures, speak nicely and respect their parents aren’t treated like rock stars at high school. So the church puts these kids on pedestals to re-orient their definition of success, and to assure them that by the true definition of success, they are champions.

    It’s not just for teenagers, either. Three guesses how cool it is to actively support the church’s positions on abortion, pornography and homosexuality on college campuses outside of Provo.

  30. Bob Caswell on February 9, 2004 at 12:35 am

    Gordon-

    Ah, I apologize for misreading your comment. But some good did come of it. I’m not sure why, but it prompted me to check out some of your earlier posts, in which I found that you had begun an interesting conversation about Bruce R. McConkie. I found what you said (and others) to be very insightful.

    Now, for the topic at hand, youth being “pumped up” by the GAs… I see your point. It’s definitely a hard battle to be fought for a bunch of old men. I mean, Hollywood does a pretty good job of seducing teenagers into thinking, “be like us and you’ll find yourself” (whatever that means). But as Maxwell said, if a stretch limo pulls up, it’s probably not for you. You know, it can be so dang hard to be “good” when being “bad” looks so attractive!

    I suppose giving the youth some degree of “specialness” is the only way the brethren can retaliate against the enemy. I just wish there was another way kids would be “good” without someone telling them when they’re “good”, they’re “special”.

    But I don’t have any ideas, so the way it is now probably will work just fine.

  31. Adam Greenwood on April 15, 2004 at 10:24 am

    Knowing that we we’re the noble and great ones, reserved for this time, etc., ought not engender a false sense of superiority. I remember on my mission when the doctrine of deification clicked for me spiritually. I remember feeling immeasurably exalted. I also remember feeling crushed, abased, that I, a Son of God, had come to this. The filthy little swine that I am.

  32. Anonymous on December 14, 2004 at 8:59 pm
  33. David King Landrith on February 8, 2005 at 8:49 am

    Come on guys. I think granny tgp makes a good point.