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.

Here is a baseline summary of what Dreher has been talking about the last several years:

1. Religious values in the West are under assault by a secular, aggressive orthodoxy that stifles dissent and seeks to drive religiously informed values out of the marketplace of ideas.

2. Scandals in the Western Christian churches, notably headlined by the continuing issues with pedophile priests in the Catholic Church, has led to an epic collapse of Christian faith and practice.

3. Laws and institutions of society no longer view values like the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, etc., as valuable, because they conflict with other values that have subverted and replaced them: essentially, a sexual-liberationist and gender fetish that we see all over the place.

4. Our elites have embraced progressivism as a replacement for religion.

5. Traditional religious faith is now seen as a harmful influence.

6. Safety is of paramount concern among our elites and the culture that they inculcate. Because of the above point of traditional religious faith being seen as a harmful influence, people who subscribe to traditional religious faiths are now seen as dangerous people.

7. Dangerous people must be stopped.

You see, now, where this is going. I won’t marshal a host of links to prove my thesis. But I will simply posit my deep-seated belief that we are on the cusp of hardships the likes of which we have not seen or experienced in our lifetimes, or the lifetimes of our parents and grandparents. While anyone with traditional religious beliefs are at risk, such as Muslims and Sikhs and Jews, I believe that Christians in particular are being targeted in variously pernicious ways. These targetings are going to increase, both in force and in effect.

The handwriting has been on the wall for quite some time. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear know what I am getting at. In the years to come, you and I are going to have opportunities to prove our fidelity to our religious and spiritual testimonies. For those of us in the Latter-day Saint faith tradition, our loyalty to foundational doctrines has been tested many times in the past. And we’ve faced brutal persecutions in our nascent early history. Well, buckle up, folks, because we are going to face those days very soon. The coming tests won’t look like the tests of the past. They are and will be different in kind and effect. But they will be excruciatingly hard. Abrahamic tests are coming for all of us.

We are going to need every ounce of faith and courage to see us through the challenges that are coming. We can take comfort in the fact that the final score is known, and we will eventually win. Because of Him.

6 thoughts on “Persecution Is Coming

  1. Thanks Mormonchess, I hope to see more posts from you soon. I have been reading Dreher for many years now. I agree with you that he is very perceptive on some things and off on others.

  2. Haven’t the prophets said this for years? That in the last days the saints will be persecuted? Anyone who studies the scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon) can tell you that. Let’s never forget though that we are on the winning team, so keep your jerseys on. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” (1 Ne 10:14) Isn’t this why President Nelson has urged us to be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and urged the men to know how to use the priesthood for the protection of their families. This is also why becoming Zion, of one heart and one mind, united against evil is so vital. We can be protected as was the City of Enoch from the evil raging around us.

  3. I would summarize our issues in a slightly different manner.

    1. I agree that religious values in the West are “under assault by a secular, aggressive orthodoxy”. But that has been aided by religious leaders failing to teach or preach religious values. I believe the latter has proven as damaging as the first.

    2. The scandals alone are not the most damaging aspect of the story. The cover-ups have been much more damaging. Quite simply, religious leaders have proven to be untrustworthy and more concerned about public relations then heavenly approval. Church leaders and religious adherents at-large have not practiced what they have preached.

    3. The public no longer values the free exercise of religion because they see it as an extension of partisan politics. Who really wants more divisiveness and partisanship?

    4. Yes, “our elites have embraced progressivism as a replacement for religion.” But many have replaced religion with radicalized populist politics, which is often anti-democratic.

    5. Yes, traditional religious faith “is now seen as a harmful influence.” Traditional religionists are now viewed as “dangerous.” But that is reinforced by the problems noted above.

    The antidotes are quite simple. Be very wary of fusing political ideology with religion. The political will hold sway over the spiritual and sincere religious adherents will rapidly lose their voices. Live your religion. The goodness that flows from religious practice quickly becomes muddied if hypocrisy, mean-spirited actions and poor moral characters are simultaneously on display.

    I knew we had a serious problem when my daughter’s LDS Institute instructor got political in class one day and stated that a leading political figure of questionable moral character would make a wonderful President of the Church. It is hard to value religious rituals and practices one does not understand. It is much easier to love and appreciate volunteer aid workers coming to your community following a hurricane.

    We can defend the Church and religious practice in general. But it will mostly be with boots and gloves on, not with words. Religion will be respected when our works measure up to our teachings.

  4. A couple of thoughts, with appreciation for everyone who posted.

    Here’s the thing. Dreher in his book interviewed dozens of former Soviet bloc residents, who now either live in the USA or live in their now-liberated home country. And every single one of them are scared to death over what they are seeing in America. I didn’t get to it in my little essay, but one of the central planks in his Live Not By Lies book is that every single one of them believes and told him that soft totalitarianism is coming to America, fast. And if you take a moment and look around, it might already be here. Nobody is suggesting that it’s going to be Stalinist Soviet Union. But it sure as heck ain’t gonna be what you and I grew up with. Let him who has eyes to see, see.

    “Religion will be respected when our works measure up to our teachings.”
    And Old Man, I would just say that this statement I would love to be true. And for regular folks in the non-elite category, you are probably right. But not for the people in charge. The turn has already happened. We are moving into dire straits and the situation is far more alarming than is generally known. In addition to following Dreher for years, I’ve been keeping my finger on the pulse of the legal climate in the US. Religious liberty is an uphill battle. It’s getting difficult to carve out space for it, especially since Big Business and Corporate America have essentially blessed Wokeism and Progressivism.

  5. As to former Soviets,

    That is Solzhenitsyn’s “Men Have Forgotten God” talk, a.k.a. his “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag” address, given when he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in May of 1983,

    1983. He saw it in 1983.

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