The End of the World as We Know It (and I feel fine)

There seems to be a growing chasm between the world and the Church.  Years ago, society and Church standards and norms were very similar.  In dress, appearance, speech, manners, habits, and basic beliefs, were all on the same page.

However, times and society have changed. Abortion, LGBT, casual sex, and a variety of addictions are looked upon as the new norm. Once stalwart knights sworn to protect societal morals, many churches, Boy Scouts, and other groups have descended into the pit to embrace the devil in his lair.

For those who remain faithful, to condemn sin today means one is intolerant, a bigot, evil.  Prophets, once adored, are now seen as less than human, more prone to error than the modern intelligentsia.  Scripture, once believed and treasured as revelatory and at least somewhat historical, now is shunned as rhetoric and 19th century fiction.  It is a very fine line between gently steadying the ark and being an apostate.

Prior periods of apostasy do not always give us details on how large scale apostasy happens. But there are some signs we can find, especially in the Book of Mormon.  Isaiah tells us that apostasy happens when men call “good evil, and evil good.”

Major apostasy, and the “ripening in sin”, in both Bible and BoM, occur when populations get large, bureaucracies and organizations expand, and leaders not only tolerate, but embrace such changes.

Isaiah and the BoM warn about those who wear fine apparel, buy up the lands and property of the poor (until there is no land left), and “grind the faces of the widows and the poor”.  Today, politicians are focused on retaining power and gaining wealth, creating laws with titles that sound awesome, but primarily benefit the wealthy. “Patriot” and “Freedom” acts that send money toward the great war machine, but do nothing for patriotism nor freedom; “Affordable Care Act” that enriches insurance companies but increases prices for the average person, Federal government taking more and more land, and putting it out of the reach of the average person, making the remaining limited lands very expensive. TARP, which was supposed to bail out Americans, bailed out banks (American and otherwise) instead.

Corruption in government was a key component to apostasy and destruction in the scriptures. King Ahab wanted a field that lay outside his castle, but the man would not sell his inheritance. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, convinced him to use the law to convict and execute the man, leaving the field open to purchase. The Book of Mormon tells of kings and lawyers seeking power, using bribery and taxation to increase their own coffers. If elections did not go their way, cheating or warfare were viable alternatives.

For many years I pondered how the righteous Nephites could devolve into wickedness in the space of 5 years or less. I’m no longer surprised.  For many years I wondered how the righteous Nephites could continue in wickedness, even when tragedies were sent upon them by God, trying to get them to repent, but they refused.  I am no longer wondering.  These things clearly occur in our own land and nation today.

Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book and we would get closer to God by abiding its precepts than any other book.

Ezra Taft Benson said that there would be a curse upon the Saints if they do not take seriously the Book of Mormon, study it, follow it, and have it at the center focus of our spiritual worship.

The Community of Christ (Reorganized LDS Church), in order to be accepted by the National Organization of Churches, reduced the Book of Mormon into inspired fiction that is optional for its members to read. We see how that church has embraced the world and sin as acceptable to them and God.

It will become harder and harder to believe in living prophets, the scriptures, and commandments, as the world seeks to justify itself and the popularity of sinful lifestyles.

Today, we live in a nation that sits on several precipices. As with ancient Rome, which gives us a variety of theories for its demise, all due to a departure from righteousness, we see the same today.  We see division in politics, giant and unworkable bureaucracies, huge public and private debt, coming bankruptcy of Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, increase in addictions (drugs, alcohol, video games, porn, sex, etc), casual views on sex, destruction of traditional marriage, race wars, intolerance, never ending wars, loss of freedoms in the name of security, and many other areas of major concern, Any of these, or a combination of them, could quickly lead to a collapse, just as they did to the former Soviet Union, or the collapse of the Nephite nation on many occasions.

The faithful will believe these signs of the times that we receive from living and past prophets.  The rest will scoff at them, believing the world is better now than it ever has been. Why? Because the wicked measures things not from issues of real and eternal substance, but from the feel good issues of the world.

We will see one worldly organization after another fall under the pressures of the world, and give up their soul to please Babylon. This year, we’ve seen many organizations fall to Babylon, including SCOTUS, BSA, Congress, and many other groups.  There are many who condemn Bill Cosby for his actions (rightfully so), but ignore Bill Clinton doing similar things. There are many who condemn a dentist for killing Cecil the Lion (rightfully so), but ignore the marketing of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood. Jesus was concerned for those who swallowed camels, but strained at gnats, we see major issues ignored, while comparatively minor issues take front stage.

I would encourage us to return to the scriptures and teachings of living prophets. They are our source of light and truth in a darkening world. When the nation collapses, and it will collapse, those who have remained close to the Lord’s chosen prophets will be able to recover. As governor Lachoneus guided the repentant Nephites to safety from the Gadianton Babylon of his day, so the Lord will establish a Zion, as a refuge from the storms brought on by the chaos of Babylon.

It will be the end of the world as we know it.  But for those who trust in the Lord and his servants, we’ll feel fine.

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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.

38 thoughts on “The End of the World as We Know It (and I feel fine)

  1. One of the interesting developments I am noticing is the continual promotion of the “Benedict Option.” This is named after Saint Benedict, who withdrew from Roman licentiousness into a solitary life where he could concentrate on living like a true follower of Christ. The idea here is that as the world becomes increasingly wicked there will be groups of Christians, Mormons, conservative Catholics, Orthodox Jews, etc, who simply withdraw from society so as not to be polluted by it. Some people are doing this already in their own ways: they move to small towns to be away from the bad influences in the cities, for example.

    Anyway, I agree with you that those who trust in the Lord will be fine. But the ride is going to be bumpy in the coming years for most of us.

  2. My husband and I were just discussing this very thing with a friend of ours from church on our way back from the temple. The tolerance and embracing of sin has become common place. Cecil the Lion is more important to people than babies being butchered and used as parts for sale by heartless, cold, callous people with complete lack of natural affection. Sad day we live in, indeed.

  3. Except for the fact that by many measurable metrics the world is a much better place today than it has every been (in recorded history at least).
    See: for a very enlightening few of the worlds progress.

    1. The amount of information and knowledge about the workings of the world is greater than ever before. We understand the basic functions of the body and how to prevent most diseases. Pharmaceuticals have made great strides. Basic things like plumbing and electricity are widely available in most of world.
    2. For the first time in recorded history slavery is outlawed in most of the world.
    3. For the first time in recorded history a majority of women are not considered property (likewise for children).
    4. The societal level of racism and sexism has been reduced to very low levels in most western (and many others as well) societies.
    5. The level of abject poverty (starvation) is greatly reduced from just a few decades ago, and continues to trend downward.
    6. What was once considered “discipline” by the law is now correctly (according to the writings of LDS prophets such as Joseph F. Smith in Doctrines of Salvation) labeled (and often prosecuted) as child and/or spouse abuse.
    7. The Church is allowed into more countries today than at any time in recorded history.
    8. There are more temples available to members of the church than at any period in the entire history of the world.


    The list could go on for many many pages. My point is that while yes we have our “crosses to bear” life overall is pretty darn good at the moment. I would submit that if one restricts the view to the period from 1820 onward there have been basically zero years where U.S. society actually espoused Gospel principles (as viewed by the LDS church leaders) as its guiding, or foundational, principles. Slavery by itself takes out all the years until 1865 (and it remnants knock out most until the 1960s), the treatment of women and children as “non-people” subject to the (often abusive) whims of their spouse/father last well into the 1970s (or later). Attitudes with respect to war and immigrants knock most other years until the present. In short while there have been periods where we were not actively persecuted we’ve never actually lived in a country that embraced the Gospel as taught by the LDS leaders.

  4. When the ‘pride cycle’ starts to look like a ‘spin cycle’ as daily outrages to common sense and morality begin to pile up, I am ever more grateful for the Gospel and living prophets to guide us through the mine field of ‘the world as we know it’.

  5. JSH, I think you offer a valuable corrective to the general feeling of doom and gloom that many feel these days. I would add a few more reasons for cheer: the number of people killed in worldwide wars is way, way down in the last few decades from past periods of history; teenage pregnancy is actually down significantly; the spread of free markets through the world has increased prosperity, and the number of desperately poor people as a percentage of the world’s population is the lowest is has been in history. I could go on.

    But remember the point of Rame’s lament is that the world is changing in terms of its moral compass in the United States, and this is undeniable. So he is correct that this is the end of the world as many of us know it, but this does not mean that all is bad in the world. In fact, as you correctly point out, there are many, many good things going on in the world as well. The prophets are upbeat and optimistic. We probably should be as well.

  6. JSH, … in your comment at 8:48 pm….

    A fault or logic error in your argument is judging the past, or people of the past, by today’s standards.

    Did God love the ancients or Americans of the antebellum era less because they didn’t have penicillin and MRI’s? Or the billions of babies who died before we virtually eliminated infant mortality?

    Unto whom much is given, much is expected. The fact alone that we have air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and good dental care doesn’t really affect our standing in the eternities compared to those who came before us.

    They were/will be judged according to the light they were given, and according to what they did with their stewardships and talents. And we will be judged in like manner according to the light we’re given and what we do with our stewardships and talents.

    Our neighbors in whatever of the three kingdoms we end up in, the ancients, and even the antebellum Americans, won’t give much consideration to our earthly history of air conditioning, plumbing and dental care.

    Why were you and I born in the USA in the 20th century instead of being born as peasants in 6th century China? Was there a reason or was it pure randomness?

    Since God is perfectly just, and not a respecter of persons, what is the measure/formula/rule that God uses to judge such that we in the here and now are judged by the same measure/formula/rule as them back then and there?

    Yeah, we don’t whip slaves, children, and wives like they did back then, but we do kill our babies.

    Yeah, we don’t do polygamy like the ancients and the early saints, but we don’t do monogamy very well with all the premarital hyper-promiscuity, having kids out of wedlock, divorce, adulterous affairs while married, and porn.

  7. The lovely thing is that today’s majority, when they reach post-death existence, will have a chance to re-evaluate their mortal thoughts in light of post-mortal facts.

    In the meantime, the angels that are with us are greater than the population of all today’s living.It is today’s modern world that is living a perverse inverse of the Benedict option, where they pretend that they are the summum bonum of all existence, that somehow democratic polling changes eternal truth.

  8. 1 has nothing to do with sin or righteousness. Egypt, Babylon, and Rome were the cutting edge of science and technology in their day.

    2 has never been considered a sin in the Scriptures, even though there was a concern with how one treats slaves. Anyone who works at a job they hate for a living might even be considered on the edge of slavery.

    3 again is a modern concern and not a Scriptural set of standards. If anything, the freedom given to them right now is actually warned against as a sign of moral decay (think Isaiah and the letters of Paul).

    4 only shows that political correctness has muted what is below the surface. Recent events should show that statement is a farce. And that leads into the Eurocentric focus of this list.

    5 is perhaps correct, but that has nothing to do with the righteousness of the people or governments. If anything it is related to number 1 as a side blessing. Hearts of people with rich greed and poor covetousness has not changed.

    6 and the result is cultural and political lawlessness where once there was order, however there might have been personal sins. The pendulum has swung to the point that personal responsibility that leads to repentance is rare and respect for parents (one of the 10 commandments) nearly gone.

    7 and that is not because of the righteousness of those countries or the people who live their. Just because missionaries are allowed doesn’t mean the message is accepted.

    8 is actually a false sign of righteousness considering that Mormons are such a small minority that it wouldn’t appear on any world statistics.

    As for war, Europe doesn’t fight among themselves and that is a great development. It still leaves out violence and war found in the Middle East, Africa, and some parts of South America; no matter if war is too strong a label in some conflicts.

    I could go on and show every positive development is based on modern sensibilities and not Scriptural signs of morality. It might be true that ISIS is far more evil than the United States, but such comparison is relative to what God expects of a righteous people. Remember that the Lord used the Lamanites to punish the less wicked Nephites until the day came there was no difference between them and wiped out the group that should have known better.

  9. John, I don’t think you’re wrong, but I do think almost everything you mentioned has now peaked.

    1. I’m struck by how we seem to have hit a wall on almost all areas of scientific learning. The last great theoretical triumph of physics, my own field, was the Standard Model centered on electroweak theory; that was four decades ago. Neutrino mass was first detected about that time, and we were too dumb to recognize it for what it was for three decades. Dark matter was recognized about that time as well. Dark energy is perhaps the only observational breakthrough of any great significance in four decades.

    My sense from friends in other fields is that progress is slowing to a crawl there as well.
    2. I agree that we have reached minimum slavery. I suggest that the trend is now in the wrong direction, with slavery de facto restored in parts of Africa and the Middle East and spreading.

    3. Women and children as non-property was indeed a great accomplishment … that is now, in most of the West, a century old. See previous comment for the current trend.

    4. Since I don’t object to everything that now falls under the label of “sexism”, I’ll pass by that one. Racism seems to me to be ramping up in the U.S. and the West generally.

    5. I am not familiar enough with the data to contest this. I do think we will see this reversed also, considering that we are now experiencing the weakest recovery of any business cycle since the Second World War, and the crisis in Greece and in the Chinese stock market does not bode well for the future.

    6. I do not know enough about abuse statistics to contest this either. I do know that this is a pendulum that can swing too far the other way; and that parents who allow their children to walk to school on their own have been prosecuted for neglect, a trend that greatly concerns an old friend of Meg and myself, the legal scholar Dave Pimentel. I think the lack of male discipline of boys by older men in inner cities is a particular problem.

    7. Belgium and Switzerland have both floated serious proposals to deny visas to our missionaries, and we are still forbidden to proselyte in the most populous countries on earth. I suggest the trend here is unpromising as well — or would, except that I believe there is a divine hand intervening on this one. That’s hardly a reflection on the quality of the age.

    8. Grateful as I am for the temples, our temples (and meeting houses generally) have experienced more picketing, vandalism, arson, and mailed threats in the last decade than at any time in the last century.

    Again; you’re not wrong. We’ve been blessed to grow up in something of a golden age for the Church, as President Hinckley noted in one of his Conference talks. But I think we are now seeing the astonishingly rapid fulfillment of the second part of President Hinckley’s observation — that it isn’t going to last.

  10. I visited Yad Veshem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem few years ago. I was struck with the diary of a Jewish citizen in Warsaw prior to the holocaust. He said, as he watched political and civil events unfold, that time seemed to quickly accelerate. What would normally be expected to unfold in years or months seemed to happen over the course of weeks. It was sobering.

  11. JSH, yes we’ve had many great events occur to make the world a better place. I would note that such was true in the BoM, as well. When the people were humble, they prospered and grew rich. However, when wealthy, they would often forget God and embrace sin and evil. The Nephite Millennium was a period of great growth, prosperity and equality. However, as the people returned to their old wicked ways, with a vengeance, they quickly devolved until civilizations began collapsing.
    Much of the progress you mentioned was on the upswing of Western Civilization. Nephi saw in vision the Founding Fathers of the nation as being a humble people, who would prosper under God’s hand. However, Mormon warned the same Gentiles to not reject the God who preserves them.

    We now see sloppy science replacing much of the quality science of the past. Global warming is a huge farce, where the computer models do not match observable events, and where data is being skewed by replacing missing rural data with urban data (where it is naturally warmer).

    We see many people, including LDS, who are defending Planned Parenthood. 1.5 million abortions a year in the USA is horrific, but worse when it becomes an industry for body parts.

    Geoff noted fewer people are dying in wars, but that’s because our weaponry is more sophisticated. We can destroy with one bomb what would take a fleet of bombers to destroy in WW2.

    Remember that Hitler and the Nazi party lifted Germany out of dire poverty (1 trillion deutsch marks to buy a loaf of bread in 1923). They brought science and technology to a new level. His partner in crime, Mussolini, amazed everyone with punctual trains.

    You can find wonderful things about any group, if you are particular on what items you look at.

    The things you noted are important material things, but not regarding spirituality and eternity. These are side benefits and blessings God gives to mankind when they follow him. But where much is given, much is required. When mankind rejects the great light and knowledge God offers them, they devolve into something worse than they were before. So it was with the apostate Nephites, who when they fell, became worse than the Lamanites.

    Mormon wrote his son Moroni, about the once great nation, now devolving to being worse than the Lamanites, even resorting to cannibalism as a form of bravery. This may be the direction we are moving towards, as society breaks down, people stop believing in God’s commands, and licentiousness and wickedness become the norm.

    In conjunction with this, we do believe in a form of Benedict Option. Governor Lachoneus gathered the Nephites to a place of security, separate from the Gadiantons. D&C 45 speaks of Zion and her stakes as places of refuge from the storms to come in the world.

    For me, the collapse of the USA is not an “if”, but a when. The nation must collapse in order for Zion to replace it. It is unlikely that all of America will convert and turn to God, turning the USA into a Zion. It is very likely there will be a collapse, where DC 45 tells us that those who “dwell among the wicked, who will not lift up their swords to fight, must needs flee to Zion for safety.”

    At that time, I’m certain there will be many LDS who are extreme conservatives or liberals, who will realize that they should have been listening closer to what the living prophets say, rather than second guess them. Too many embrace the world. Babylon thrives, often because Mormons and other Christians vacation there.

  12. I find great comfort in the members of this online community. The reasoned posts, the tone of replies, even when they disagree, is informative rather than taunting. Several years ago I made a number of friends in a forum who became ‘flesh and blood’ as we socialized, but those I met were members of the Church, in one case we had part in a conversion. Something happened in my life that revealed the deep chasm that threatens all of us. When I shared the event I was held in doubt and pilloried as a pretender. Those I knew in person defended me but there were a great number who gleefully continued the scorn. I have become cautious (yes, for me this is caution). I am wary of the bullying atmosphere that pervades many comment threads on some sites.
    I agree with JHS that we have much to be grateful for, but I believe our culture has ripened in iniquity. I find myself described as a member of the ‘right wing fringe’ because I feel abhorrence for the harvest of human life for gain.

  13. You’re wrong about the ACA and the “bankruptcy” of Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security. I don’t understand why so many ultra-conservative LDS are intent on mixing in their politics with the gospel, mingling the philosophies of men with scripture. In this case your particular “philosophy of man “is based on lies told to you by Fox News and other conservative media outlets

  14. Jeremy, first off, I’m not a conservative. I am a Libertarian. I do not watch Fox News, as they slant in directions I do not care for. I enjoy reading Camille Paglia, who used to write for Salon, and in fact they are doing a three parter with her right now on the state of affairs.

    As for the ACA, while well-intentioned, it is a mishmash of a variety of programs that did not work well in the first place. Having work places pay insurance is inefficient and does not cover many people who are out of work or employed part time. As I stated, Medicare is enroute to bankruptcy.

    From Forbes, we read that it will go insolvent sometime between 2016 and 2024.

    Of course, this does not include the trillions of dollars in unfunded mandates, many pushed down to the states to manage.

    As for Social Security, there are ways to “fix” it. However, government has been unwilling to do so since the Reagan administration. Over the next few decades, Medicare/Medicaid/SS will expand for an aging Baby Boomer population, eventually requiring 18 percent of GDP (which is the amount fed government brings in as revenue annually).

    How does one fix Medicare and ACA? Perhaps a voucher system for all families that creates a HSA. It takes much of the bureaucracy out of the system, saving billions annually. Bureaucracies are great for wicked people to hide what they are doing and how they enrich themselves and their friends. ACA enriches insurance companies, for instance. TARP enriched banks.

    Again, this is just one symptom of a failing system.

  15. Accusations of Fox News watching indicate the person making the accusation has lost the debate but refuses to admit that. “Where’d you get that, Fox News?” is a retort used often, but it’s meaningless. I don’t watch Fox News, but when a liberal uses that phrase (or a similar one), they act as if the debate is over and they just won, but really they’ve lost because they have no good answer; all they can do is fall back on a logical fallacy.

  16. Specifically, the [i]ad hominem[/i] fallacy, in a rare case where it actually [i]is[/i] the much-misunderstood [i]ad hominem[/i] fallacy.

    I’ve seen too many accounts of how ACA works in practice to be impressed with it. Some examples:

    Whether it is good policy or not — I think it has tended to be detrimental to family ties — social security might be saved, if it was returned to its original purpose: ensuring that folks who have become too old or ill to work have food, clothing, and a roof over their heads. This requires, among other things, that the retirement age be raised drastically. That’s going to happen, of course, because when something can’t go on forever, it won’t. But the procrastination will make it more painful.

  17. The ancient Greeks, (and the Nephites) believed that life went through cycles of growth and decay. Since the Enlightenment, modern society has abandoned that worldview for the belief in a great march forward of continual progress and improvement. Stephen Pinker’s Angels of Our Better Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, and David Deutch’s The Beginning of Infinity, make very compelling arguments that society is marching forward towards an irrevocably more positive destiny, and this is of course true in the short term.

    However, we know that eventually the sun will engulf the earth as a red giant, then shrink to a small, cold black dwarf, leaving the solar system dead and lifeless. In the meantime, other stars will explode and start new systems which will eventually die out again. On the scale of billions of years, the universe seems to agree with the Nephites, there are continual cycles of growth and decay, life and death. Apocalypse is a true principle, for we all experience a personal one at death, and the earth also has a birth and a death, and humanity has a birth and a death.

    But in addition to preaching apocalypse, the gospel also echos David Deutch’s views on infinite progress, where individuals are said to progress eternally, and God Himself is the pinnacle of humanity’s progression and destiny. How this principle of eternal progression fits in with the universal cycle of growth and decay, I don’t know. The mystical concept of resurrection posits a supernatural dimension wherein the cycle is broken and thrust into eternal progression.

    In any case, both concepts (growth/decay and eternal progression) are true principles which are true both individually, and collectively for humanity.

  18. Raem

    Rameumptom, what you said was not “The ACA is inefficient.” You said this:

    ““Affordable Care Act” that enriches insurance companies but increases prices for the average person”

    This is a lie. The increase in medical spending has decreased under the ACA. The ACA does not increase prices for the average person, it decreases prices for the average person. Furthermore, the ACA caps overhead for insurance providers at 15-20 percent. They get new customers, but their profit margins are not increased. I would tend to agree that keeping employer supported health care (and insurance companies) around is a problem, but the ACA will save thousands of lives a year. Any “free market” alternative that Libertarians propose could potentially be a great deal for the rich and the healthy, but it would result in the deaths of thousands. The poor simply cannot afford to pay for their own health care, and, yes, the rich and middle class should be expected to pick up the tab. We’re all in this together. These are the people whose labor makes your lifestyle possible, after all. Furthermore, as the church said in a recent statement, you can’t be expected to provide for your family if you don’t have good access to health care, and that’s a huge problem.

    Social Security will not ever “go broke” no matter what you say. Even if the trust fund were to run out of money before any changes were made, recipients would still receive any money coming into the system. It would mean a significant cut, but, even after such a cut and even after adjusted for inflation, they would receive higher benefits than today’s recipients of SS. That’s hardly going broke. Of course, that will never happen. There will be a fix to fully fund the trust fund, and that fix will probably come in the form of increasing the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes.

    As far as Medicare and Medicaid “going broke”, it may be true that they are in serious financial trouble, BUT free market worshipers such as you all refuse to do anything about what is driving the red ink: medical costs. The ACA is a step in the right direction, and is extending the life of these programs, but you people are opposed to the ACA and any government intervention in health care. Why, exactly? To save us from the horror that taxes might have to go up. Groan…

    Free market solutions will never work in the medical arena because the demand curve for healthcare is static. People will pay anything for medical care. The free market simply cannot efficiently handle something like that. That’s why governments that have taken a more hands-on approach have been able to provide quality healthcare at a fraction of the cost that we do. And, please, before you even try to contest the assertion that Europe, Singapore, and Japan provide quality healthcare at a fraction of our costs, do your research. That is an indisputable fact. Even if you could somehow prove that our health care (for the rich at least) is slightly better than theirs, it’s nearly impossible to justify the fact that the price tag is nearly double in the US.

    Ivan, Fox News is a notoriously horrible source for information. To the extent that any liberal does what you describe there, that’s weak, but it’s understandable. Bad information, like the kind included in this blog post, seems to come almost exclusively from FN, especially when it’s coming from your side of the political spectrum.

  19. “Free market solutions will never work in the medical arena because the demand curve for healthcare is static. People will pay anything for medical care. ”

    You kind of lost me there. People were getting prescriptions high-priced Lipitor while it was still on patent in spite of the availability of generic statins for which there was little evidence of reduced effectiveness. People who are clearly terminal sometimes demand expensive therapies for their cancers that do little to extend their lifetimes, instead of getting much less expensive palliative care. Doctors get expensive MRI imaging when ultrasound or an X-ray are almost as likely to produce a favorable outcome. I am not myself a physician, so I am probably missing countless other examples of tremendous slack in the system.

    The notion that demand for medical care in this country is completely inelastic is unsustainable. It may be somewhat less elastic than demand for many other goods, but I doubt it’s less elastic than demand for, say, food, clothing, and shelter, all of which are provided primarily by the market.

  20. JJ-
    Sorry, but your attempts to excuse your use of the “Fox News” trump card (it’s not a trump card, but you seem to act like it is) means little. Your latest comment is fairly fact free, full of assertions but very little in the way of actual proof. If any one side of the political spectrum is sharing bad information here, it’s you, not us.

  21. If there isn’t a Fox News corollary to Godwin’s Law, there should be. The longer the thread, the likelihood of FNC being invoked approaches 1.

    What I get from the Book of Mormon, particularly Mormon’s commentary in Helaman and 3 Nephi, is a deep lament for those who “professed to belong to the church” but who were every bit as consumed with the culture wars of their day as those who were not in the church. contending and dissenting and warring with each other, and often leading the charge. Mormon distinguished these from the true disciples of Christ, who continued to be obedient and compassiionate. He decried the contention he read about in the record of Nephi; as the record proceeds he doesn’t bother to elaborate on whatever had people bickering (or warring). He didn’t care; the battles were centuries old. What he cared about was how their behavior harmed the people and the church in their relationship with God.

    Nephi referred in his vision to two churches: the Lamb, and the devil. there are many who are, or will be, in the church of the Lamb, who have not yet embraced the gospel. And there are some/many in the church now whose hearts really aren’t with the Lamb, wherever they may show up on Sunday morning. This has been true since the days of Joseph Smith.

    CS Lewis had a similar division: Mere Christianity vs. Christianity And. Uncle Screwtape was particularly fond of the latter – it’s fine, go to church, but be a believer with a difference. inject your beliefs into the partisan causes you really care most about.

    Rameumptum covers the relevant scripture: those who refuse to take up arms will flee to Zion. that choice is here. The brethren have already warned us against the Keyboard Warrior mentality online. Defend the faith, but civilly. And watch how much time we spend online vs. remembering our duties to our families, our callings, and those in need of service.

    We’ve seen many examples of serious contention in various corners of the Mormon internet, from elections to social issues to Book of Mormon geography theories to the new vs. old NAMI.

    It’s natural to have opinions about these and other topics. I have mine. But what I take from Mormon’s pleas is: remember us. Remember the perils of pride, contention, taking eyes off the Lord’s priorities. I could quibble with some of the specifics in the OP, but I agree with the broader point: the world is going one way, and the church must go another. While Nephite civilization was imploding prior to Christ’s coming, Nephi was still performing miracles and preparing those who would hear. That is our charge.

    Someone will always be Wrong on the Internet. but there will always be those who need our attention, our service, our love. The choice is ours.

  22. I am bemused by the FN castigation. I am one of many who have ‘cut the cable’. I get information on culture and news from a variety of sources available electronically including an app that offers video newsclips from both conservative and liberal networks. I can browse through The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal online as well as getting e-mail updates from other news and editorial providers. I can remember a time when there were three VHF and two UHF channels and a couple of local papers along with a few news and opinion magazines to choose from, and even then there was polarization equivalent to what is seen today. The one great difference is feedback. Letters to the editor and gossip were the only venues for most who felt a desire to comment on politics and culture.
    It is inevitable that truth becomes a battered victim of the cacophony of contending viewpoints. I am reminded of the situation described in 3 Nephi 7 where the people separated into tribes as the central government lost authority. At least they forbore to war on each other. As for politics mingled with religion, both are ways in which we define ourselves. I hope I will remain true to gospel ideals no matter what the government and popular culture decree. However I have found that some people identify my religious beliefs as political opinions. That might betray their own intellectual laziness. A recent reunion with my siblings was unmarred by arguments because we recognize that we have profound differences in political and religious viewpoints but know the futility of contention when the objective is to maintain family ties.

  23. One of the things I have noticed is that political liberals know very little about actual conservatives and how they get their news, and conservatives actually know quite a lot about how liberals think and get their news. This is obviously a generalization, but it continues to be proven true. You always get “Oh, did you watch that on Fox News?” from a snarky liberal (unable to mount an actual argument), when in fact most intellectual conservatives I know don’t even watch Fox News anymore. (Many of us like Pat have cut the cable a long time ago). But of course liberals are quick to trust extremely biased sources like the New York Times, Huffington Post and (worst of all) Salon. Unlike the many brain-dead liberals out there, I am able to read something from the biased NY Times and detect whether or not it has valid points. Even the NY Times occasionally is right. I would propose to any liberals reading this that you concentrate on the actual arguments made, and try to counter them with actual evidence, rather than continuing the logical fallacy of attacking the supposed news source.

  24. And I cannot let this slide without comment. This is easily one of the most ridiculous assertions I have seen in a long time:

    “Free market solutions will never work in the medical arena because the demand curve for healthcare is static. People will pay anything for medical care. The free market simply cannot efficiently handle something like that. ”

    It is true that people will pay a lot for emergency services, but medical care these days is increasingly about elective surgery, not emergency services. In fact, the marketplace is doing a wonderful job of lowering costs for elective surgery, even in a country where the government has ruined the medical marketplace with subsidies and regulation. Lasik surgery, to use one example, has improved exponentially in the last 20 years, and costs keep on going down because of competition. Chiropractic care is so inexpensive that you can walk in and get an adjustment for $20 with no appointment (I did this on Saturday). The same is slowly taking place in more regulated areas like hip surgeries, knee surgeries and even cosmetic surgery.

    Bottom line: medical care, like every service, works better with competition and little government regulation.

  25. Geoff, to expand on both your posts:

    “when in fact most intellectual conservatives I know don’t even watch Fox News anymore”

    I am a libertarian-leaning theoconservative who hasn’t watched Fox in years, never watched it regularly, and wince when I see a link in a Web posting going to a Fox News story. But then I can say all those things about MSNBC and CNN as well.

    “Bottom line: medical care, like every service, works better with competition and little government regulation.”

    Your example of Lasik surgery is an excellent one. But there are a couple of other flaws in the post your are responding to.

    One is that it considers the demand side only. Even if it were true (and I think there is good reason to believe it isn’t) that the demand side is inflexible, the original post ignores the supply side. Providers can still compete to meet an inflexible demand; we see it in the oil industry, for which the evidence of relatively inflexible demand (at least in the short term) actually exists.

    Another is that disruptive innovation seems to first take hold in the low end of the relevant market. The classical example is the steel industry, where small steel mills first captured the market for rebar. Rebar was the low-end, least-profitable market for the big steel producers, who were not particularly upset to see the small mills take it over so they could focus on what was really making them money. But then the small mills began taking over the new low end of the big steel mill market. Rinse and repeat. Similarly for consumer electronics; the first transistor radios were really pretty lousy products, but there turned out to be a teenage market for such things. (The article in New Yorker from which I take this history coined the deliciously memorable phrase “rebar of humanity” to describe the teen market, which is almost enough to make be subscribe.) The disruptive innovation in both these cases spread from the bottom up.

    Health care in this country is in serious need of some disruptive innovation. But the field has carefully insulated itself from any threat of disruptive innovation, by effectively eliminating the low-end market through a combination of licensing requirements, employer-provided tax-exempt health plans, and diversion of entrepreneurial energy into things like herbal supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other forms of alternative medicine that are relatively unregulated bu are little threat because they don’t actually work.

    I’m not optimistic that can be changed easily or soon, and the likely outcome will be government capture of the system that will more or less permanently close the door on disruptive innovation. I know of no sector of American society more unfriendly to disruptive innovation than the judicial-bureaucratic complex that increasingly wields the real power of government.

  26. Kent, I agree with all your points. To make it simple: if there is greater competition for emergency care, the cost will go down regardless of static demand.

    The areas where government regulation retreats — like chiropractic care, for example — creates a tremendous amount of competition with ever-lower prices. I am hopeful that we will get an Uber-like expansion of medical care with willing providers and willing patients getting around government regulation. When Uber was first proposed, everybody said: “you can’t do that — there is a taxi monopoly.” Now, of course, the service is so popular that the taxi monopolies are retreating. What will eventually happen is a health care app connecting providers to patients, and this will bring health care costs down. Notice that this will happen DESPITE the government, not because of it.

  27. “they don’t actually work”, while of course Global Warming is beyond dispute. Several years ago our extended family visited Arches National Monument and hiked until we ached. When we returned to our cars I got out a bottle of homeopathic Arnica pills and offered them around. Everyone took a few tablets to relieve their muscle aches, everyone but a daughter who was in medical school and her husband. Three years later the daughter was a double doctor (MD and Phd), had a child and was living in Santa Cruz, Ca. While she was visiting I noticed a bottle of Arnica pills on a table and didn’t recognize the brand. I asked the other members of the family if it belonged to them but my doctor daughter claimed it. A change of culture had softened her hard stance against the remedy that had eased aches and banished bruises in her childhood and she now used it for her own child.
    I refuse to argue with others who dismiss my successful use of various alternative medicines, but for surgery, broken bones and similar maladies where conventional medicine has proven efficacy, I’ll pay the ever increasing price.

  28. I’ve had several years of nursing education so I’m familiar with the placebo effect. However I have seen homeopathic remedies have remarkable healing effects on animals and infants where the placebo effect is doubtful. One of the problems with the arguments that discredit alternatives is the presence of con artists and shysters who are always happy to harvest from the gullible. On the other hand, my out of pocket expenses for a recent hospital stay were increased significantly by doctors who would stroll into my room, have a brief and essentially meaningless conversation then charge $500.00 for a “consultation”. My actual surgeon called me with pathology reports and other information and made no charge for brief visits to my room.

  29. I never invest much in any OTC or alternative medicines but what is the recourse when you have no idea if the doctor who comes into your room for a chat is going to hit you up with a bill for the privilege of exchanging a few general comments. Somehow they never appeared when my daughter, a member of the staff, was present. They might even have had her brought in if I became belligerent about such venial visits because she is a psychiatric consultant at the hospital where I was treated.

  30. Nate, I don’t agree with you one wit politically, but what you wrote is quite profound. Still digesting it– and I’ll probably end up disagreeing with it wholesale– but beautifully expressed.

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