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Falling out of the American mainstream?


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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

In general America is doing better now then it was eight years ago. Some news and entertainment outlets have spent the last few decades telling a subset of the population that things are terrible, their country is being stolen from them, that there are death panels out to euthanize them, and that there are barbarians at the gates. They seem to think they own the country, that they are the only real Americans, and that if they do not act they are all doomed.

The GOP has itself to blame for this. They have pandered to this fear to win elections. Then Trump comes along. His policies make perfect sense in this paranoid worldview. There are barbarians at the gates. Build a wall to keep them out. A tiny minority is going to enforce Sharia law on us. Form a registry to track them and keep more from coming in. ISIS is about to descend on us. We should use nukes. Some companies are going overseas. Slap them with tariffs and sign better trade deals. Meanwhile the GOP is hard at work shutting down the government. Of course they turned to Trump. He is actually giving solutions to the problems the GOP insists are there.

When you are fed a diet of fear and outrage long enough basic human decency is thrown aside as a crippling handicap that is keeping you from dealing with the catastrophe that is supposedly threatening you. The Book of Mormon has several incidents where this tactic is used. Amalickiah hired speakers on towers to tell the people all the stories about how the Nephites had stolen everything and were an existential threat and were degenerates, etc. It worked and the people went to war. The devil is working hard stirring up fear because it leads to anger and he is always trying to stir that up.

Just part of my view on how we got here.

great post.  There are a lot of reasons why the country finds itself in the mess it now faces.  But you certainly have nailed a very big reason why we are here.

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On 1/30/2017 at 4:11 AM, Calm said:

Any suggestions on appropriately protesting the immigration order for someone that has attempted to act as if there is no such thing as politics most of her life?

Work harder next time to get your candidate elected. Protests just annoy the other side more and intrench them. They cause turmoil in society and accomplish little more that disrupt the lives of the very people the protesters claim to represent. We live in a republic not a democracy. We elect representatives to govern. We are not a mob or majority rule society. If you want change get engaged in the election process. Then if you lose be an American and at least give the other guy a chance.

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12 hours ago, Five Solas said:

Vance is serving us the world as Breitbart portrays it.  Obviously he finds it very compelling and is prepared to go on & on with their talking points.   

It raises a question I hadn't considered when I authored my OP.  What exactly is the "American mainstream" these days?  Following the utter shock of last November's election outcome, there's been some introspection in our local press about whether we in our city live in a "bubble"--made possible by Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing and many smaller but growing companies.  We've been largely isolated from the economic hardships experienced in many of the states that backed Trump following the "great recession."  We have confidence in free (relatively speaking) trade and travel.  Our local companies (including my employer) depend on employees with H1B visas and so forth for essential work.  The "alt-right" agenda is anathema around here.  Is Seattle, its culture, its values--American mainstream?  Or is Vance's Georgetown, Texas a better representation? 

It's an interesting question, as I think about it.

--Erik

My opinion? There is more than one American "mainstream" and it looks very different depending on where you live. To take your example of Seattle, there are certain political and cultural norms that are accepted, yet these vary wildly from what one would find in Texas. As much as we all try to deny, I think we can never fully escape being somewhat provincial. 

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17 minutes ago, boblloyd91 said:

My opinion? There is more than one American "mainstream" and it looks very different depending on where you live. To take your example of Seattle, there are certain political and cultural norms that are accepted, yet these vary wildly from what one would find in Texas. As much as we all try to deny, I think we can never fully escape being somewhat provincial. 

I don't disagree - and yet I suspect these differences have grown larger in recent years.  To turn this back to the subject of the thread - do you think are some parts of the country where political/cultural norms are a more natural fit for LDS to grow their membership?  Clearly they haven't been doing well in Bernie-lovin', Trump-hatin' Seattle, as evidenced by the number of ward closures and consolidations. 

What do you think?

--Erik

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8 minutes ago, Five Solas said:

I don't disagree - and yet I suspect these differences have grown larger in recent years.  To turn this back to the subject of the thread - do you think are some parts of the country where political/cultural norms are a more natural fit for LDS to grow their membership?  Clearly they haven't been doing well in Bernie-lovin', Trump-hatin' Seattle, as evidenced by the number of ward closures and consolidations. 

What do you think?

--Erik

On a state by state basis I don't know if I could tell you exactly what's up, however even though we aren't part of the religious right, I think we still are seen on the same side as them in regards to the culture wars, which certainly wouldn't help our image in bluer states. 

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12 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

On a state by state basis I don't know if I could tell you exactly what's up, however even though we aren't part of the religious right, I think we still are seen on the same side as them in regards to the culture wars, which certainly wouldn't help our image in bluer states. 

Certainly not asking for a "state-by-state basis," Bob.  There's 50 of 'em & that would be a lot of work.  We've all got day jobs. 

;0)

But some regions are predictably red, some blue, and some "swing."  Play it out for me here.  Do you think some regions are more receptive to the LDS Church's growth aspirations than others?  Or to address it from another direction: Left, Right, Alt-Right--which ideology do you think is most optimal for LDS growth & prosperity? 

--Erik

___________________________________________________

Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand

Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table

--Steely Dan, 1972

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9 hours ago, Five Solas said:

Certainly not asking for a "state-by-state basis," Bob.  There's 50 of 'em & that would be a lot of work.  We've all got day jobs. 

;0)

But some regions are predictably red, some blue, and some "swing."  Play it out for me here.  Do you think some regions are more receptive to the LDS Church's growth aspirations than others?  Or to address it from another direction: Left, Right, Alt-Right--which ideology do you think is most optimal for LDS growth & prosperity? 

--Erik

___________________________________________________

Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand

Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table

--Steely Dan, 1972

Well to give a two dimensional answer to a three dimensional question I would say somewhere in th moderate to center right. Though LDS are conservative on most issues, the official stance is more moderate in regards to things like immigration. Having said that, there certainly are ways the LDS views of the constitution have resonated with the far right (such as the writings of Cleon Skousen, and Glenn Beck). So that's what I think. That's an imperfect answer to a good complex question. 

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12 hours ago, Five Solas said:

 Alt-Right

Are they called the alt-right because their alt-facts?

As to your question, you don't really hear much about the Christian left, so...   

There are 2 reasons why Mormonism will do better with red states:

1. The left is much more secular and less religious. http://www.npr.org/2016/10/06/496731092/why-dont-we-hear-more-about-the-christian-left

2. "Mormons are the most heavily Republican-leaning religious group in the U.S." http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/23/u-s-religious-groups-and-their-political-leanings/

Though our doctrines can be interpreted as more moderate or liberal on many social and environmental issues, for whatever reason we bleed red.  I really, really wish that we were much more politically diverse than we are.

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19 minutes ago, pogi said:

Are they called the alt-right because their alt-facts?

As to your question, you don't really hear much about the Christian left, so...   

There are 2 reasons why Mormonism will do better with red states:

1. The left is much more secular and less religious. http://www.npr.org/2016/10/06/496731092/why-dont-we-hear-more-about-the-christian-left

2. "Mormons are the most heavily Republican-leaning religious group in the U.S." http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/23/u-s-religious-groups-and-their-political-leanings/

Though our doctrines can be interpreted as more moderate or liberal on many social and environmental issues, for whatever reason we bleed red.  I really, really wish that we were much more politically diverse than we are.

When I was growing up and for a number of years the California missions were some of the top baptizing missions in the church. Those days are gone from what I hear. 

Has california changed that much or has the churches image changed

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41 minutes ago, california boy said:

When I was growing up and for a number of years the California missions were some of the top baptizing missions in the church. Those days are gone from what I hear. 

Has california changed that much or has the churches image changed

There are likely many of variables at play. 

Here is an interesting interview with Matt Martinich that may partly answer your question.  Matt is the "founder of the LDS Church Growth Blog. For over eight years now he has tracked just about every aspect of Mormon growth and loss, tracking baptisms, retention rates, and more."

http://religionnews.com/2016/04/19/mormon-growth-slows-to-its-lowest-level-since-1937-heres-why-thats-great-news/

He lists the "centers of strength" policy as one of the biggest contributing factors world wide, higher baptism standards since the 1980s-1990s, and he also argues that secularism has contributed.

I don't know when you grew up but baseball baptisms were a major contributor to high baptism rates in California for some time.  I also suspect that Prop 8 has had an effect in California conversion rates.

You asked if California has changed that much or if the churches image has changed.  Huge social changes have taken place in California and the rest of the United States.  This has affected the public's perception of the LDS church who has remained unchanged in their position.  So, yes, the churches image has changed, but only in the eyes of those who have changed their positions. 

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On 2/3/2017 at 6:32 AM, boblloyd91 said:

Well to give a two dimensional answer to a three dimensional question I would say somewhere in th moderate to center right. Though LDS are conservative on most issues, the official stance is more moderate in regards to things like immigration. Having said that, there certainly are ways the LDS views of the constitution have resonated with the far right (such as the writings of Cleon Skousen, and Glenn Beck). So that's what I think. That's an imperfect answer to a good complex question. 

And in the far-right category, may we never forget Captain Moroni & his adventures in Eastern Oregon. 

;0)

I think Alt-Right ideology puts LDS in a compromised position, your example of immigration illustrating the point.  But LDS will certainly vote for Alt-Right if the other choice is perceived as being on the Left of the political spectrum.  I say "perceived" because I think you could easily argue Mrs. Clinton was a conservative choice (certainly Vladimir Putin understood that).  And Utah overwhelmingly supported Trump, as the record shows. 

Back to the  OP, one can detect nostalgia in what Peterson has to say about the decades immediately following WWII.  Perhaps the ideal state for the LDS Church was never a place in geography, but instead a place in time...

--Erik

__________________________________

And they all pretend they're Orphans
And their memory's like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can't remember
Tell the things you can't forget that
History puts a saint in every dream

--Tom Waits, "Time"

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3 hours ago, Five Solas said:

And in the far-right category, may we never forget Captain Moroni & his adventures in Eastern Oregon. 

;0)

I think Alt-Right ideology puts LDS in a compromised position, your example of immigration illustrating the point.  But LDS will certainly vote for Alt-Right if the other choice is perceived as being on the Left of the political spectrum.  I say "perceived" because I think you could easily argue Mrs. Clinton was a conservative choice (certainly Vladimir Putin understood that).  And Utah overwhelmingly supported Trump, as the record shows. 

Back to the  OP, one can detect nostalgia in what Peterson has to say about the decades immediately following WWII.  Perhaps the ideal state for the LDS Church was never a place in geography, but instead a place in time...

--Erik

__________________________________

And they all pretend they're Orphans
And their memory's like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can't remember
Tell the things you can't forget that
History puts a saint in every dream

--Tom Waits, "Time"

Sadly I think LDS are like many other demographic groups (such as Evangelicals, LGBT etc.) in that there can be group think when it comes to voting. A bit of self disclosure, I voted for Clinton as I felt she was the lesser of two evils. I didn't like it but I did it. I feel that people who voted for Trump may very well be voting against their own interests, but this isn't the time or place to discuss this.

In regards to Mormons having nostalgia about the past, I think it's no different than many other conservative groups and organizations that miss the way things were. I don't know how much you hear the phrase in your Calvinist circles, but a common phrase one hears is the need to "take the nation back for Christ". Of course there are layers to this phrase we could unpack, but the inherent idea is that something was lost which needs to be regained. These are interesting times for conservative religious groups regardless of the label, as society is generally becoming more liberal (Trump's victory notwithstanding). Look at Obergefell, the legalization of marijuana and other things. These are scary but fascinating times to be alive. 

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On 1/30/2017 at 3:11 AM, Calm said:

Any suggestions on appropriately protesting the immigration order for someone that has attempted to act as if there is no such thing as politics most of her life?

You might want to think about that.

The immigration order isn't what many people (including the media) are calling it.  It isn't a "Muslim ban", it's a temporary measure placing a moratorium on immigration from the countries identified by the Obama administration as problematic from a terrorism point of view.  They will be reviewing and updating vetting procedures so this kind of thing doesn't happen again: Al Qaeda in Kentucky.  Where actual terrorists were allowed to enter the US as refugees because of the slopping vetting procedures.

Meanwhile, brainless hordes in the US are rioting over the so-called "ban on Muslims".

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

You might want to think about that.

The immigration order isn't what many people (including the media) are calling it.  It isn't a "Muslim ban", it's a temporary measure placing a moratorium on immigration from the countries identified by the Obama administration as problematic from a terrorism point of view.  They will be reviewing and updating vetting procedures so this kind of thing doesn't happen again: Al Qaeda in Kentucky.  Where actual terrorists were allowed to enter the US as refugees because of the slopping vetting procedures.

Meanwhile, brainless hordes in the US are rioting over the so-called "ban on Muslims".

It is a temporary measure put in place for no reason. Our vetting procedures, particularly for refugees, are VERY thorough. Much more thorough then when the Kentucky terrorists were caught. I am curious as to how Trump intends to tighten them further. The process already takes over a year and often several years. Of course there is risk of someone slipping through but unless Trump actually plans to come up with an improved procedure (I have seen no evidence he understands what the procedures are now) this is grandstanding. I give it about a 99% chance this is grandstanding. Trump doesn't want to tighten vetting of refugees. He wants to only let Christian refugees in and to hell with the rest because he feels this will appeal to the irrationally hateful/terrified chanting morons from his rallies. We will not be any safer.

And on a personal note I would feel safer with a hundred terrorist refugees in the nation than I do with a President who shows this level of contempt for the federal court system. Presidents often disagree with rulings but they usually make it clear that they respect the 'checks and balances' system enough to follow it. Our current President is ranting that a judge disagreeing with him makes the judge illegitimate. That is horrifying.

Edited by The Nehor
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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

You might want to think about that.

The immigration order isn't what many people (including the media) are calling it.  It isn't a "Muslim ban", it's a temporary measure placing a moratorium on immigration from the countries identified by the Obama administration as problematic from a terrorism point of view.  They will be reviewing and updating vetting procedures so this kind of thing doesn't happen again: Al Qaeda in Kentucky.  Where actual terrorists were allowed to enter the US as refugees because of the slopping vetting procedures.

Meanwhile, brainless hordes in the US are rioting over the so-called "ban on Muslims".

Um...pretty certain the Obama administration already did this because of the issue in Kentucky.

Also pretty certain Trump is the one who said he was going to ban Muslims as part of his campaign process.  

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31 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

Where are the millions of protesters when there is a major terrorist attack? 

Typically we have shown solidarity with attacks by having tributes for the victims rather than protests as unless the attack was done by a white male, the attackers stateside have been killed.  

Edited by emeliza
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5 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

Where are the millions of protesters when there is a major terrorist attack? 

I don't think you get how protesting works and when to use it.

After an attack we have vigils and shows of support for wounded victims and those who lost loved ones.

Protests are designed to be used to draw attention to an injustice. This is used to draw support, embarrass those supporting the injustice, and get press attention. Current protests are working very well.

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5 hours ago, emeliza said:

Typically we have shown solidarity with attacks by having tributes for the victims rather than protests as unless the attack was done by a white male, the attackers stateside have been killed.  

I know but it would be so great if all of these protesters protested against terror. I mean I saw a lot of Muslim protesters at this latest protest. It would be outstanding if they did it against their Muslim brothers and sisters that are fomenting the violence. Don't you think it would have some affect or is that effect?

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43 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I don't think you get how protesting works and when to use it.

After an attack we have vigils and shows of support for wounded victims and those who lost loved ones.

Protests are designed to be used to draw attention to an injustice. This is used to draw support, embarrass those supporting the injustice, and get press attention. Current protests are working very well.

Yeah well terror attacks are an injustice.

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1 hour ago, rodheadlee said:

Yeah well terror attacks are an injustice.

Yes, but protests do not discourage them. Terrorists are not usually up for reelection and seeking to impress the voters. Nor are they seeking the goodwill of the people they are terrorizing. Protesting terror would be like protesting the Soviets in the Second World War. It does not influence the intended target.

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