Is millenarianism dying the slow death in LDS culture? Jeff’s comment here stung me a bit, because I thought that I was just as millenarian as the next end-of-time freak. I admit to taking both a literal and an abstract approach to the Second Coming in part because, rhetoric aside, I am not terribly convinced that the end is all that near. But then, I read quotes like the following (from Pres. Benson, natch):
I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. (“I Testify“, October Conf, 1988)
Am I just clueless? Am I marrying and giving away in marriage? Is my lamp low on oil? Am I procrastinating the day of my (food storing/72-hour kit preparing/gold hoarding) until it is everlastingly too late?
Does it seem like the the Brethren have given up on this front? Sure there are usually one or two talks in conference that reference the Second Coming, but it sure seems like there was more emphasis back in the 70’s and 80’s.
Which brings me to my point: was modern millenarianism an LDS (or generally Christian) way of dealing with the Cold War? I am not saying that the Second Coming ain’t coming, but rather did the ratcheting up of political tension during the Cold War lead us to believe it was coming sooner rather than later. Hence the urgency that we had then, as opposed to the lack thereof today.
Would this explain why it doesn’t seem so important today, in spite of the popularity of Left Behind and such?
Or is this merely a matter of us having been duped into complacency by the International Jewish Conspiracy?
4 Replies to “The slow, lingering death of modern millenarianism [edited]”
John – I would argue that there has been a slow diminshing since the appex in Kirtland. The 1845 proclamation is a great example of the perspective of early Saints. I have friends in their 50’s who I hang out with alot. They have remarked on several occasions how things are drastically less millenerian now than when they were growing up.Maybe people are simply tired of getting their hopes up. I know when I was a teenager I was actively waiting for it to happen. Then I read the stories of all the great people who thought the same and died without seeing it. People since Christ died have interpreted the signs to fit their time. Why should I be any different. Posted by J. Stapley
I see your point, J. But with the flurry of activity that took place when Pres. Hinckley deigned to mention that he read a non-LDS book on the Bible, don’t you wonder why statements like President Benson’s tend to be downplayed? Posted by John C.
wait, what was this book President Hinckley read, and why did it cause such a stir?Oh, and the link to Jeff’s comment doesn’t go anywhere Posted by Mike
Sorry about the link. It has been fixed.Perhaps significantly, Pres. Hinckley didn’t say what book it was.It caused a (minor) stir becuase it could be interpreted to indicate that reading academic works on the Bible might actually be a good thing, instead of a soul/testimony destroying activity. Posted by John C.