Returning to American principles or collapse?

In the current Newsweek (Nov 7), Niall Ferguson denotes that Empires do not “decline” but rather crash precipitously.  The Roman Empire, Mongol Empire, Alexander the Great’s Empire, and the Soviet crashes did not occur over centuries, but within just a few years.  Often a combination of internal and external forces were involved, but invariably it almost always was caused by key flaws that turned the once robust empires into delicate dandelions to be blown away with the slightest of zephyrs.

We see the West in this situation today.  But Niall Ferguson maintains that the key components that formed a strong Western tradition since 1500 AD can again bring us back to the previous power we held.

Those key components, which he calls killer apps are:

  1. Competition. Europe was politically fragmented into multiple monarchies and republics, which were in turn internally divided into competing corporate entities, among them the ancestors of modern business corporations.
  2. The Scientific Revolution. All the major 17th-century breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology happened in Western Europe.
  3. The Rule of Law and Representative Government. An optimal system of social and political order emerged in the English-speaking world, based on private-property rights and the representation of property owners in elected legislatures
  4. Modern Medicine. Nearly all the major 19th- and 20th-century breakthroughs in health care were made by Western Europeans and North Americans.
  5. The Consumer Society. The Industrial Revolution took place where there was both a supply of productivity-enhancing technologies and a demand for more, better, and cheaper goods, beginning with cotton garments.
  6. The Work Ethic. Westerners were the first people in the world to combine more extensive and intensive labor with higher savings rates, permitting sustained capital accumulation.

He ends by stating if America has a severe crisis (more severe than what we have now), there are things that we can do:

Is there anything we can do to prevent such disasters? Social scientist Charles Murray calls for a “civic great awakening”—a return to the original values of the American republic. He’s got a point. Far more than in Europe, most Americans remain instinctively loyal to the killer applications of Western ascendancy, from competition all the way through to the work ethic. They know the country has the right software. They just can’t understand why it’s running so @#!*% slowly.

What we need to do is to delete the viruses that have crept into our system: the anticompetitive quasi monopolies that blight everything from banking to public education; the politically correct pseudosciences and soft subjects that deflect good students away from hard science; the lobbyists who subvert the rule of law for the sake of the special interests they represent—to say nothing of our crazily dysfunctional system of health care, our overleveraged personal finances, and our newfound unemployment ethic.

Then we need to download the updates that are running more successfully in other countries, from Finland to New Zealand, from Denmark to Hong Kong, from Singapore to Sweden.

And finally we need to reboot our whole system.

I noted his getting rid of the “quasi-monopolies”, and think he’s right. Big banks and corporations “too big to fail”, as well as teachers’ unions are monopolies that are among the key viruses ruining our nation’s edge. But, I think before we can return to our original principles and reboot the system, we have to reboot Washington DC.

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

21 thoughts on “Returning to American principles or collapse?

  1. Rame, I think we need to completely rethink what we want America to be. Do we really want to be an empire? I think the answer is no. Most people want to have a job, have a certain level of prosperity, voluntarily interact with others and to be left alone by busybodies. From a Mormon perspective, I would argue most people want to live in a community where people voluntarily decide to help each other (what I call “voluntary communitarianism.”) We want a military big enough to defend us from foreign threats, but I simply don’t believe most Americans want us to be engaged in the national-building and empire-expanding projects we seem to be involved in lately.

    In short, we want peaceful prosperity. We want to trade with other countries, we want to travel freely and we want people to admire us for the type of communities we build at home. But we don’t want to force our vision of society on others.

    One of the things we should be learning is that building an empire with military bases all over the world, and constant invasions of one country or another, does not bring peaceful prosperity. Instead of building good will, we are creating resentment.

    So, if we want to build a civic awakening, it needs to start with a change in attitude about what America’s place in the world should be.

    At the same time, of course, we need a complete change in out attitude towards what we should expect government to do. In short, we should expect it to do a lot less. Most of our current problems can be traced to the expectation that government can solve problems that were very often created by government in the first place.

  2. Geoff, I agree we do not want to be an Empire. I also agree we need to rethink our defense strategy.

    That said, these are more issues that have helped bring down empires in the past: over-reaching. And we, as an American Empire, have over-reached.

  3. I believe that the United States will collapse soon. I don’t believe that we will be able to cleanse it. I don’t believe a “reboot of Washington DC” will help. I believe this is compatible with prophecy.

    Before the White Horse Prophecy comes up, let me say that I believe the salvation of the Constitution to be independently of the Federal Republic. I believe that this means the Elders of Israel will save the Constitution by enshrining its principles when the Union breaks down sufficiently to allow the Elders to exercise theocratic control of the government in some areas.

    The fate of the United States is already sealed. One of my biggest goals in life is to teach people to focus on higher principles and the foundation of Zion instead of wasting energy on transient here-and-now political squabbles. The political system that we know is going away, and it’s going to go away pretty soon. The Saints should focus on mutual education and edification such that we are prepared to accept the mantle that has been prophesied to fall on us.

  4. Actually, the Roman Empire did crash over the centuries. Wherever you want to say it started … probably with the end of Marcus Aurelius reign, in 180AD, till Constantinople fell to the Turks in in 1453. The Spanish Empire came apart at Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, but had been in serious decline right from the start, and existed in a way after Napoleon. How about the British Empire – they certainly have withdrawn from the world, but I don’t know if you could call it a sudden collapse. They continue to have influence throughout their sphere, and remain intact as a nation. I think we’re likely to find that empires decline over time; they more often go out with long whimpers than with bangs.

    More important than any of the thing on the list, I think it is essential that immigrants from cultures that still have babies are integrated into North American institutions.

  5. “the mantle that has been prophesied to fall on us.”

    Here is a project. Quote me chapter and verse. 🙂

  6. Jeff, you seem to have begged the question.


    “I believe that this means the Elders of Israel will save the Constitution by enshrining its principles when the Union breaks down sufficiently to allow the Elders to exercise theocratic control of the government in some areas.”

    I’m not quite sure how a theocratic government can enshrine Constitutional principles. Unless you are very selective in which Constitutional principles you mean.

    That said, I don’t see any way out either. Western civilization is in free fall, and the pavement is coming up fast.

  7. Jeff,

    I’m more interested in this: “and it’s going to go away pretty soon.” Define pretty soon. Also, what exactly in those scriptures makes you feel that Zion will be build over the ruins of a sudden collapse, instead of in the midst of a society that waxes and wanes but gradually declines.

    I think I’m for your project, over all. I like this “teach people to focus on higher principles and the foundation of Zion instead of wasting energy on transient here-and-now political squabbles.” I find this “allow the Elders to exercise theocratic control of the government” a lot more problematic, and wonder exactly what you see in the scriptures justifies this kind of prophecy. If it is just how you think things will go based on living inside you head, that’s ok, too.

  8. The New Jerusalem will be governed theocratically, i.e., by God’s appointed representatives who directly follow His revelation in the governance thereof (not necessarily the same representatives that lead the Church, though possible). Note that a theocratic government does not necessarily have to exclude religious freedom; it just means that it is controlled by a given theology. In the case of the New Jerusalem, it will be governed by the true theology.

    In the New Jerusalem there will be a Zion society. You know this. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life”.

    “And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.”

    The wicked will tremble at the prospect of Zion, the New Jerusalem, and will not enter in thereat. I believe that the government in place at the New Jerusalem will enshrine the principles contained in the U.S. Constitution. I don’t believe that the Union will be preserved.

    By “pretty soon”, my personal anticipation is the next two decades or so, though of course this could be wrong. I just don’t see it working out, and I believe that the sooner the Saints qualify to live up to their calling to build the New Jerusalem, the sooner the rest of the nations will be left to their own devices. I think the discontent and political environment that is brewing now is analogous to the circumstances found in the antebellum Union.

    In some sense Zion is already being built as society waxes and wanes around it. As far as the physical construction of the site, I don’t anticipate that the land and area will be available until some major disruptions occur. We cannot build Zion until the path to live Zionistic principles without harassment is open. That path is not open and I don’t believe it will open while the United States holds the same kind of control over the American continent that it holds now. There must be a weakening of the Babylonian power to make an opening for the Saints. I believe this will happen as enough individual hearts exalt and internalize the principles of the Kingdom, including the higher principles which we do not practice now.

    Like those in Joseph’s day, we are not prepared to build Zion. If we attempted, we would be kicked out for unworthiness, as the early Saints were. See D&C 105:5. We must learn and love the laws of the Celestial Kingdom before we can be allowed to build the New Jerusalem.

    Also like those in Joseph’s day, I believe the calling is ours to build the New Jerusalem if we can only seize it. I believe this calling has been laid at the feet of each generation in the Church to the present day, and I believe it will continue to be laid until Zion is re-established on the earth (at which time, the call will be to perpetuate Zion). It is my sincere hope that our generation will ennoble itself sufficiently to qualify to answer this call, and I believe that the Lord will make our way for us when we are prepared, which includes breaking up the governments of men that would threaten us.

    I do not believe that the New Jerusalem can exist the way it should exist when yoked under the yoke of the United States as presently constituted.

    It is my sincere hope that the membership of the Church will internalize and actively strive to live up to Joseph’s call: “We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object”. I believe this is literal, but I also believe that we cannot progress to building the literal city until we build up its principles in our hearts. The Church is currently preparing us for our calling to build the physical place by attempting to build the principles that will govern the place in our hearts, which, again, is prerequisite. Again, see D&C 105:5: “And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.”

    The early saints were kicked off because they did not live the law sufficiently. They were not building Zion according to the law of the Celestial Kingdom, so the Lord had them removed. The same fate awaits any of us that take on the project without understanding its implications or without operating under the correct law.

    The building of Zion and the events implicated with that is _the_ primary task assigned to this dispensation. We must do it, and we will do it with the Lord’s help. The question is just whether enough of us want to be involved to allow the blessing to fall on us, or if we must wait for a nobler generation of Saints to follow us and take up the mantle we left for the dross of the world.

    I lived just west of Independence for about 8 years. It is great.

  9. >”By “pretty soon”, my personal anticipation is the next two decades or so, though of course this could be wrong. I just don’t see it working out, and I believe that the sooner the Saints qualify to live up to their calling to build the New Jerusalem, the sooner the rest of the nations will be left to their own devices. I think the discontent and political environment that is brewing now is analogous to the circumstances found in the antebellum Union.”

    I’d like to embellish this point a bit further. Sorry, I am not used to posting in these venues where you cannot edit comments; my habit is to post and revise via edit, so mt comments on blogs frequently are not revised.

    I think it is important that some wars and disruptions occur before the New Jerusalem is built. This is what will weaken the powers that be. We know that contemporaneous with the New Jersualem, conditions on the outside will be so bad that there will be no production, and that anyone not in Zion will move from place to place seeking to find a respite from the war, and that they will not be able to find any.

    From Orson Pratt:

    “Do you wish me to describe it? I will do so. It will be a war of neighborhood against neighborhood, city against city, town against town, county against county, state against state, and they will go forth destroying and being destroyed and manufacturing will, in a great measure, cease, for a time, among the American nation. Why? Because in these terrible wars, they will not be privileged to manufacture, there will be too much bloodshed–too much mobocracy–too much going forth in bands and destroying and pillaging the land to suffer people to pursue any local vocation with any degree of safety. What will become of millions of the farmers upon that land? They will leave their farms and they will remain uncultivated, and they will flee before the ravaging armies from place to place; and thus will they go forth burning and pillaging the whole country; and that great and powerful nation, now consisting of some forty millions of people, will be wasted away, unless they repent.”

    Or, as succinctly stated by D&C 45:68: “And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.”

    There will be war all over this land. While the “United States” may still exist in some form, it will not be a stable government with firm control over all of its claimed dominions.

  10. I second Mr. Parkin that civilizations have all kinds of downfalls, sudden or otherwise. I would also add that what seems like a sudden downfall is often the result of long-standing decay. I would say that the current recession is a manifestation of that phenomenon.

  11. Jeff,

    Thanks for your perspective. I interpret those things much as you do, but think that the situation you are talking about will likely emerge over time rather than be a matter of a massive and sudden change of heart.

  12. I strongly disagree with the presumption of the imminent collapse of America or Western Civilization.

    In Rame’s post, he mentions 7 killer apps, like competition, medical innovation, work ethic, democracy, etc. But Rame speaks of them in past tense, as if we no longer have these. But that is simply not true. It took us thousands of years to build a civilization that had these killer apps, and to think that we’re all washed up, and that all these principles have fallen away is crazy. We still are strong on every single one of those principles, and in some areas, we continue to get stronger.

    We have weathered far worse getting where we are, and the attitude that our current economic bump in the road spells apocalyptic doom is great folly in my mind.

    The US and current Western Civilization differs from the great empires of the past in important ways. We are not an empire. We are not a dictatorship. We have not built our power through war and domination. There is no truly democratic government that has ever collapsed in the history of civilization. We are a collective of many interconnected democratic societies who do not wage war against each other. Sure, there is decline, and there is growth. But just because US is no longer the top dog is meaningless.

    And economic decline and loss of predominance is not collapse. Japan used to be the economic powerhouse of Asia. Just because it has lost it’s predominance does not mean that it has collapsed like the Roman Empire, and that China is going to march over and gobble it up. If China overtakes the US on various accounts, it doesn’t spell collapse. It just means that we lose predominance. No big deal. China will grow and decline, the US will grow and decline.

    If governments have collapsed in the past, it is because they live by Jesus’ phrase: “Live by the sword, perish by the sword.” But the US, and none of the 1st world lives by the sword.

    We live in a different world today than past centuries. The civilized, democratized world today does not wage wars of aggression towards other democratic governments. We only in primitive, war-torn cultures, where the purpose is containment and democratization, not domination and imperialism.

    If someone can show me an example of a civilized, democratized society that has collapsed, I will rethink my views. But I don’t think anyone here can. The world has changed. The same rules don’t apply anymore.

    There will be decline, but no collapse. And after decline comes growth.

  13. I find your statement imminently silly. The fact is that any person that believes in LDS eschatology will recognize that the United States is a lost and losing cause.

    The doctrines of Babylon govern the United States. It is morally insolvent. It does not obey the law of God. The Book of Mormon clearly indicates what will happen to such people that sit in the Americas. While the Lord may tolerate wickedness in other lands more leniently, American wickedness is not allowed. Do you see a reversal coming soon, back to pre-1950s values? If so, perhaps I will believe that there is some kick left in the West. But I think there is not.

    The wars we wage are aggressive. It is mere propaganda that we go in as liberators; each country we’ve invaded has provided certain economic or personal yields that made it prudent to attack. And even if so, does the Lord believe it is wise to invade other civilizations in order to force your form of government or religion upon them? Where in the Book of Mormon does a righteous people invade in order to “liberate” the ignorant Lamanites? Mosiah sent missionaries to Lamoni, not armies.

    The mainstream political parties are meant for the apostate masses of this country. They demand compliance on abortion and homosexuality. Their immorality must be, to some extent, reflected by their politicians in order to gain acceptance. As usual, the politicians are flattering the people into carnal security so that they can win praise, acclaim, and power. This power is then employed for greedy and selfish ends. There are a handful of exceptions, but not many. Even if you staff all of Washington DC with known-righteous persons, they will not be tolerated by the populace, and will be removed for more flattery and largess at the expense of integrity and prudence. I think that in many cases, especially in the Americas, the people get the governments that they warrant.

    Conspirators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or other prominent media personalities stir up contention for personal gain. They seek to polarize even further a polarized climate. They spend all the day long demonizing the President instead of pointing out things which are agreeable. They say that Democrats and Obama are leading this nation into communism, and that if you don’t want your kids to be living in the squalor of post-Soviet Europe, you must fight this. Some people take this literally and Beck and Limbaugh play a major role in pushing them to violence. Most merely stick to vitriol and verbal violence, though this is of course not a positive variation either.

    I do not think it will be long before a group puts together a physical display of their discontent, something akin to the Boston Tea Party or Concord. Once one group crosses that barrier, the other group is inclined to retaliate, and often has little choice except to do so. This is how wars start.

    We must get our heads on straight. Our allegiance to the Babylonian ways and the Babylonian tradition must perish. The concept of America and the Constitution of the United States is a great spiritual exercise, but we must recognize that today’s America is not like it should be. We must accept that, given the revelations concerning the end of pre-Millennial time, the United States and many of its people will be torn apart in wars and contentions. This will happen soon. Zion must be built for some years before the Lord returns.

    We should focus greatly on believing the right way and walking in it: building up our neighbors; laying aside worldly political affiliation or ideation; agreeing on the principles of Zion and seeking to instruct one another in it. Through these means will the circumstance prophesied by Jeremiah come to pass: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

    This only comes by mutual agreement and love. Modern politics focuses on the opposite, often engaging in dishonest self-promotion. Little does Glenn Beck comprehend the extent of his blasphemy when he lambasts those that are “anti-Capitalist”.

    The gospel contains a great political kingdom. That is where our affiliation should lie, and we ought to look forwardly eagerly for the opportunity to build Zion up unto the Lamb, so that He can accept us into His bosom, so that He can our light and our way, and so we can worship together at His throne in the Holy Temple of Zion. To qualify, we must meet certain conditions. These are the important things in life. We must not get distracted by the evil city’s games and flattery, by its self-destruction. While we can do what we can to help, our goal must be fixed on Zion, and we should be wary not to fall victim to the political manipulation and false political ideals of the world.

  14. Nate,
    While we are in many ways still strong, there are major gaping holes in the dike. Much of it is by design by regulation.
    We cannot drill for oil, build nuclear plants, or provide our own energy. Pres Obama has again stalled the pipe line coming from Canada.

    While we create some awesome medical apps, our process to use them has broken down. Medicare and Medicaid are on the cusp of $100 Trillion in unfunded mandates. Obamacare, which goes into fuller effect in 2014, will make health care more difficult via greater bureaucracy.

    We are not competing right now. We are bleeding manufacturing jobs by the millions. When I retired from the Air Force 9 years ago, after 16 years in the computer realm, I could not find a job. Companies wanted new hires from college for the jobs still here, while most jobs were going to Russia, India and China. We celebrate the IPad, but 80% of those making the device work in China.

    Science? We are ranked around #25 in science in the world right now. We give student visas to thousands each year, who graduate with science degrees, and then send them back to China and India, where they compete with us with students that went to our finest schools. Can’t we offer them a place to stay and work here? Also, China is very busy stealing business and science secrets all the time. And they are the biggest criminals when it comes to violating patents, etc.

    As for the work ethic, we have more free time than ever. College students of the 1960s studied 25 hours per week, while today they only do about 16. South Korean students are in school for 220 days a year, while ours are only in 180 days a year. Our people would rather Tweet and play video games than go the extra mile in work and study.

    In essence, we are dying by a thousand little paper cuts. I do agree that the sickness that resides in America has been creeping in over the past century. However, it has quickly ramped up over the last decade, as corruption and greed has affected Congress, corporations, banks, and even many of the American people; all thinking they deserve whatever they can get their hands on.

  15. I dislike the blame laid on Obama for health-related problems. Democrats are attempting to approach a problem that they did not really create. Health care is a huge, complicated mess that I don’t think will be fixed before the collapse. In fact I think this is one of the best potential instigators for the collapse — when a society has the resources to save your friends and family from various medical maladies, but you can’t access them because of the power structure, well, that power structure tends to come down not too long after enough people have this experience. You can argue about economic or social issues all day, but things like this — real people dying because of greed — are the things that incite average citizens to become militiamen.

    The people are too divided to do anything, but one day, as more people have less privileges, that will change. Something will happen. You will notice that modern politics is all about placation — Republicans are all “jobs, jobs, jobs” because they know a bored populace is highly dangerous to the power structure. Just look at the Occupy movement.

    Things are in motion. Nobody knows what will happen — a very small spark can ignite a powder keg here, and we may have lawlessness and mob rule in our cities pretty soon. We already have the resistance camping out all over the country. With the right things thrown in the mix, that group could easily turn violent.

    Of course, the opposite could happen, too; Occupy could become passe until it fizzles completely.

  16. “There is a lot of ruin in a nation”

    In other words, even if we went through multiple economic collapses, the United States a couple of centuries from now is likely to be more of the same, not less.

  17. Jeff,
    Democrats created Medicare, Medicaid, and the current system we have. Under Pres Obama and Princess Nancy, they’ve bloated an already bloated system. They fixed nothing. They took $500 Billion out of an already cash-strapped Medicare program to pay for those not insured. They didn’t fix the unfunded mandates of Medicare or Medicaid, soon to approach $100 Trillion. They increased the requirements for an insurance policy, forcing many companies to abandon providing insurance and pay the fine, instead.

    Occupy Wall Street has little to do with health care. It is a bunch of people who do not want banks and wall street bailouts to occur, while they do not get any help from the government. Example: Big banks bailed out, but no one will pay their student loans, or save their home.

    It isn’t capitalism that is breaking America. As Ron Paul noted Wed night, it is crony capitalism that is doing it. Big corporations and Congress have their hands in each others’ back pockets, while the rest of America sits and watches the big players burn through Trillions of dollars they and their kids will someday have to pay for.

    We need real solutions. Obamacare did not do what Pres Obama promised it would do. It does not provide health care for all Americans. It does not reduce costs. He knew it was garbage, and so had most of it delayed until 2014 and beyond, after his second presidency would begin. If it were so good, why did they have to bribe several Democratic senators to sign onto it?

    Again, it is all about buying votes of their favorite lobbies and corporations. It has nothing to do with real change that brings us back to principles that work.

  18. Rame:

    It is true that we may not be operating at our peak, as far as the killer apps you mentioned. But a lot of the loss you mention in efficiency is due to the trade off with democratic rule, one of the killer apps, and maybe the most important one. Socialist trade offs with capitalist freedom is something that is balanced imperfectly, in the political system of checks and balances and frequent elections. While we may not be at our prime, it would be a mistake to compare us to an ancient civilization like Rome, who had none of the killer apps, and was a bloodthirsty sadistic society for centuries. Regardless of how well they operated their country, it was built on brutality and murder. That is the reason they fell.


    I admire your spirit, and actually I agree with you. I too consider America to be a kind of Babylon and morally bankrupt on the spiritual front. This is even more true for the rest of the European world, and Asia as well. Most of the first world is completely godless.

    But compare it to where we have come from. While Rome was crucifying thousands along it’s highways and burning Christians at the stake, America is fighting over whether or not Lethal Injection is too painful for the victim. We live in a peaceful, tolerant time, not unlike the Babylon of Cyrus in Biblical times, but even more peaceful. Obama is not killing a new wife every week like they did back then. Rape, murder, abortion, and crime of all kinds has been on the decline for three straight decades, and even when it shot up in the 60s-80s, it was no where near the per capita murder rates during the 19th century or the middle ages, where it was estimated to be 10 times higher. Back then, people believed in God, but they also started Inquisitions and wiped out entire civilizations routinely.

    As society has become more secular, it has become more stable, more successful, and more peaceful. That is simply a fact. Compare our democratic, 1st world society to any other in any other culture, in any other century, and you will see this is absolutely true.

    But it is still Babylon, a good and decent Terrestrial Babylon, not a murderous violent Telestial Babylon. The great danger of being in Babylon is not that civilization will collapse, or that there will be some terrible apocalypse. The danger is that we will grow complacent and forget God, and stay in peaceful, prosperous Babylon, instead of going to Zion and building the kingdom with the Saints.

    There is this notion that somehow America has “become” Babylon, that it’s getting worse, that America was at one time not Babylon, but God’s chosen people. This is simply not true. As inspired as the founding fathers might have been, they presided over an unruly, violent, ignorant, and deeply prejudiced people: the Americans. Americans are unholy Gentiles through and through. They are not God’s chosen people. They are Babylonians, and always have been. Look at how they treated the Mormons in the 19th Century for evidence. Brigham Young deliberately took his people to SLC so they could escape the Babylonian wickedness of America and form their own country.

    America is not growing in wickedness. It always has been wicked. It always has been Babylon. All this talk about “taking back the country” cannot happen, because the righteous never owned America. America is democracy. It is the people. It is whatever the people decide it is. It is not whatever God decides it is.

    The great choice of the Last Days is, “Will you flee Babylon? Proud, sexy, beautiful, successful Babylon?” That choice is far more difficult to make than “will you flee the Muslims, who are going to detonate an EMP over us in midair.” This kind of physical doomsdaying is the simple-minded paradigm of the Last Days. It’s tempting to indulge in. But the real danger of Babylon is far more nefarious, and it concerns the welfare of our eternal souls, not the physical threats to our mortal bodies and prosperous existence.

  19. Rameumpton:

    And how many of the Presidential candidates will harm Medicare or Medicaid? Only Ron Paul. While LBJ may have passed Medicare, certainly almost _all_ of today’s Republicans agree with him. Mitt Romney sits up there with Rick Perry and says that social security is legitimate, and any realistic person knows this to be false.

    “Obamacare” was meant to get health insurance for everyone, so that everyone can get the medicine that they need. This is a misguided endeavor for the government but it may help some in this end. Of course, it does plenty of other bad things. The goal, however, was not “find money for unfunded mandates”, so we shouldn’t set up a straw man like that.

    On a personal level, the health legislation has helped me. I can now sit on my fathers’ health insurance plan even though I live on my own and have a wife and two children. This is satisfactory since I previously had private insurance, which is ridiculous and nearly useless. My children and wife are still stuck on it, but fortunately they’re much healthier than me.

    The important thing here is not to give in to manipulation by the powers that be. Engaging in name calling like “Princess Nancy” does not further dialogue, it just makes enemies. Media companies want you to play into one of their hands; they don’t particularly care which side, but there’s no question increased polarization and contention generate money for them. You should be aware of this as you watch the news and you should approach things skeptically. People want to turn us against one another and use the angst they inspire for their own profiteering and control. This is bad.

    The last days are a time of many secret combinations. Let us be wary of them and seek to have attitudes that allow us to live with our fellow men in harmony.


    America has disintegrated spiritually and morally and continues to do so. President Monson has said it repeatedly: it used to be that the standards of the Church and the standards of the world were mostly compatible. This is no longer the case.

    The temptation you describe is the temptation to all whom the Lord sends to earth to mature in a society at the peak of the “pride cycle”. You know what comes next, and there will be different challenges that come at that time. Maybe those of us who’ve lived now will be relieved that spiritual wickedness can be spread less broadly and displayed less prominently, but I assure you it will come with challenges of its own.

    The Lord has promised to cut short His work in righteousness in the last days. The time of the Gentiles is coming to an end. America (the nation) will decline and America will fall apart, it is right there in black and white. Only the New Jerusalem will have respite.

    I don’t believe that your correlation between secularism and prosperity is accurate. The secularism is a symptom of decay. The prosperity flows from the spirituality of our forebears. We have merely inherited it. Since God is merciful, He gives us a long time to prove we can’t handle it anymore, and I’d say we’re nearly there.

    I also don’t really believe that we’re much better than the societies that preceded us. We may be more squeamish, but there are plenty of men with murderous intent among us.

    Also worth noting is that our dispensation comes with special considerations that don’t necessarily apply to older examples, though I think we match up pretty well with the fall of other major world powers. I don’t think it will be more than a generation now.

  20. Jeff,
    I think we agree about all the basic doctrine you refer to. The difference you and I have, is our perception of where the world currently stands in relation to the “pride cycle” you describe.

    If I’m correct, you believe we’ve passed “the peak” of the cycle are on the decline, about to be invaded, destroyed, collapsed, or something, like the wicked right before a Lamanite invasion.

    But I would argue that I see little evidence of serious decline. On the contrary, I don’t think we have peaked. I do not consider our current economic, political, or international woes to be serious compared to the horrible wars and crisis we have faced in the past. Why does everybody start crying about the Apocalypse the minute we go through a recession, or Greece risks default, or a socialist gets voted into office? Suddenly the world is about to end! Where was all this talk four years ago, before the bubble burst? It’s easy to be a prophet of doom when the economy is sour. But a greater prophet will prophesy doom during times of prosperity, but will bring tidings of optimism and hope during times of despair.

    I would recommend you read Steven Pinker’s beautiful new book: Angels of our Better Nature, to get a more accurate picture of where we are, where we have come, as far as violence and wickedness goes.

    We are in a stage where the wheat and tares live together in peace. Empathy, diversity, and tolerance are the watch words of our day. The prophets warn us about tolerance, because that is the quality that defines the kind of wickedness society embraces today. Tolerance is the essence of Babylon, and it has made it a wonderful place to live.

    Might I suggest a new paradigm for you Jeff? In the past centuries the world was more sharply devided into those who were “celestial” and those who were “telestial.” The wicked were very wicked, and the righteous were much more righteous. But in the modern world, the celestial people have descended to the terrestrial level ( the growing wickedness you see) and the telestial people have ascended to the terrestrial level. Today, we don’t tar and feather or burn live cats on a spit for pleasure as our ancestors did. But we also don’t pray and sacrifice as our ancestors did.

    We have become lukewarm, emasculated, prosperous, non-violent, materialistic, vain, pleasure-seeking, tolerant, civilized, descent people.

    I believe in the apocalypse, but I think it is foolish to predict it in any kind of time frame, particularly when the secular hedonist, modern man is just begining to get his stride. Give him a few more centuries of increasing peace and prosperity, and then maybe send an astroid or something.

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