About mormonchess

Arabic linguist. Married to a wonderful wife with children. Crypto-geek. Proponent of Bardolatry.

Persecution Is Coming


Geoff B suggested this needed to be posted here at Millennial Star. I’m happy to oblige. These are my thoughts, your mileage may vary, of course.

For many years, I’ve followed a rather eclectic group of men and women who spend a lot of time thinking deeply about various issues, and then writing their thoughts about those topics. I don’t always agree with everything they say, but I deeply appreciate knowing what they have to tell us, and I recognize that many of them really do know what they are talking about because they have spent years or decades thinking about the issues and studying them in great detail. I have been enriched by their thoughts and writings, and over the last decade, my viewpoints on a lot of things have changed drastically, primarily due to their influence in opening my eyes to some festering issues that have laid just under the rock of our social structures.

One writer that I have followed consistently is Rod Dreher. Mr. Dreher is formerly a journalist, currently an author, blogger and pundit. He has written several books, the most prominent of which are Live Not By Lies and The Benedict Option. Both are must-reads if you care at all about living a religiously informed life in the West or in the United States. He has a world wide following, particularly in Europe and the United States. But he has readers in Africa, Asia, all over the place. He is religious, and his faith informs his study and his viewpoint. However, he doesn’t push his religion on his readers, but he is very transparent about his beliefs. For many years he was a faithful Catholic; he broke from the Catholic Church nearly twenty years because of the international pedophile priest scandal. He fled to the Orthodox faith, and that is his spiritual home.

I don’t agree with every jot and tittle of what Mr. Dreher writes about. We don’t view politics, for example, through the same lens. He was, and is, extremely hard on Donald Trump whereas I am far less critical. But whatever. His value to me is his profoundly deep insights into religion, into our cultural insanity in our contemporary society and politics, and his quite trenchant commentary on a host of issues that we grapple with in the now third decade of the 21st Century.

Without stepping the reader into all the details, Dreher has been keeping his finger on the pulse of our rotting corpse culture for many years now. He was clear-eyed from the very beginning about what Obergefell was going to do to religious freedom in the United States. He saw the growing intolerance in our social and secular institutions towards Christians before most anyone knew that it was becoming a problem. He saw the handwriting on the wall long before many other people saw these issues. His is a voice that needs greater dissemination.

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Why Loyalty to the Church as an Institution is Part of the Baptismal Covenant

A cross-post from my blog.

As I survey the “Bloggernacle”, I see and hear many disparate voices competing for attention.  The most strident of these voices are those who seem to have a bone to pick with the Church, whether administratively, constitutionally, or with doctrine or policy.  Some of these voices continue to express dismay over the composition of the leading officers of the Church (e.g., not enough persons of color, too old, too many millionaires, not enough women, etc).  Some continue to complain that the Church hasn’t issued an apology for its past institutional “sins”.  Some argue that it is necessary for grassroots “agitation” in order to get the Church to “change for the better”; a bottom-up agenda as opposed to the current centralized, top-down management of the Church.

This is just a mere summary of the critical nature of many, many sites of the “Bloggernacle”.  One could be led to conclude that many, many online Mormons are intensely or at least partially dissatisfied with the Church, whether with its doctrines, practices, composition of the leadership, or its style.  This leads me to ask the question: why this intense dissatisfaction?  Is loyalty to the Church simply out of the question for the “Bloggernacle” at large?

When people are formally baptized, they gain admission to the Church as a “member”.  A record is actually physically created, their names go on the books, and they then become a claimant to the blessings and privileges of membership in the organization.  They get the benefits.  They get to participate.

Yet membership also implies certain duties and obligations.  As a member, I am expected to contribute my time and talents in support of the organization I join.  For example, it would be silly to join a national chess federation if I did not plan on playing chess, watching games of chess sponsored by the organization, or pay my dues to support its functions.  Likewise, I would not join the organization and then spend the balance of my life telling people how lame the group was, or how insipid, or out of touch the governing board of the federation were.

My point in bringing this up is to illustrate an attribute of membership that doesn’t get a lot of attention or focus.  It’s also a word that does not merit a whole lot of respect in our early 21st century culture.  This word is an ideal that we humans seek to share with each other in many contexts and situations.  The word is Loyalty.
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On Being a Believing, Traditional Mormon in an Amoral, “Nuanced” World

By any standard, I am still in the bloom and pluck of life, being only 35 years of age currently.  My physical health is outstanding, my hair is not going prematurely gray, and by contemporary American standards I am fit and within my recommended weight limit.  Financially I am fine (although “secure” is probably not the appropriate word).  I have a brilliant, loving wife and special children.  Truly, there is much to be thankful for.

And yet…I have sobering moments of reflection in which I survey the climate and landscape and resist shudders of despair.  By nature I am not overly pessimistic; I truly believe that over time, the good guys eventually win.  I look forward, with an eye of faith, to the time when righteousness will cover the earth as the waves cover the sea. Continue reading