Death to the World!

In my endless search for connections between faith and music, I came across a stark and beautiful sight last month.  First of all, I finally bought a Sleep album after knowing about them for years.  Sleep is a sludgy, brutal Doom/Stoner Metal band from the early ’90s, and I really can’t explain why I love them so much.  But that’s beside the point.  I was reading about their history, and discovered that one of their original guitarists, Justin Marler, had left the band to become an Orthodox monk.

Intrigued, I tried to track down what happened to him, and came across Death to the World, and let me tell you, I was floored.  Death to the World is a ‘zine, created by Justin Marler and other monks, that was passed out in the ’90s at punk shows all over the country.  It targeted the punk subculture, but it was all about Jesus Christ and the saints of the Orthodox Church.  It was recently resurrected and continues to have an online presence.  The artwork is simply stunning, and quite different from what Latter-day Saints may be used to, but I thought it was simply beautiful.  After reading a few articles I knew I’d have to interview someone about it, and I was honored and blessed to receive that interview this week from John Valadez, a writer for Death to the World.

John’s response was beautiful and insightful.  He highlights a perspective on life and Christ that I found to be very new and refreshing.  Since John was generous enough to bear his testimony as a member of another faith, please remember respect and courtesy in your comments.

Tell us a little about how Death to the World got started.  Is Justin Marler (Asbestos Death, Sleep) still involved?

Death to the World was started by some punk converts to the Eastern Orthodox faith who became monks in a monastery in Northern California. They started the publication to reach out to old friends that were still engulfed by the punk scene. Yes, one of these first people was Justin Marler from Sleep, but he is not a main editor anymore. We still send him zines and he is working with us to re-print the book “Youth of the Apocalypse” which was first printed during the first few years of Death to the World’s existence.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing our youth in the 21st century?

As our Father Seraphim Rose once said, “Our abnormal life today can be characterized as spoiled, pampered. From infancy today’s child is treated, as a general rule, like a little god or goddess in the family: his whims are catered to, his desires fulfilled; he is surrounded by toys, amusements, comforts; he is not trained and brought up according to strict principles of Christian behavior, but left to develop whichever way his desires incline” (The Orthodox World View). We are the ME generation, narcissists. We live in a fantasy world, a Disneyworld, from youth we are very rarely directed towards the seriousness of life and what the world demands of our souls. Thus, when we grow up, we are plagued by the same desire to surround ourselves with as many distractions and gizmos as we can. Life in the 19th century was drastically different. Today, instead of the flickering flame of a prayer candle that once used to illuminate our homes, it is the television that gives off its un-illuminating light. Our values are no longer dictated by the words of Christ or the lives of His Saints, they are regurgitated through this glowing television set. Living rooms used to be set up for conversation about God and each other, now look what we have done! Our living rooms surround the television set! Where has it got us?! Children walk around with their heads glued to cell phones; earphones playing loud music would rather be found in their ears than a serious conversation. Where has this all gotten us? We who are so superior to the ancients because of our “advancements?” We have forgotten holiness; we have stopped striving for wisdom. Many souls today live off of the electric shock that comes off of our computers, not by virtue or purity. Sex crimes, murder, suicide, etc. run through the streets today like a pack of wild dogs, consuming many, some that we personally know. Our whole society and the way it is structured is a challenge to the youth of today. A monk in the first centuries of Christendom once asked his elder, “Will Christians in the last times be able to raise the dead or perform miracles like us?” The elder answered him, “It will be a greater work for them to even be Christians in those times.” These are the times we are living in; the society we live in is very much anti-Christian, forcing us to look like strange religious radicals, sometimes even to Christians of our day. As Saint Anthony, an ancient monk once said, “A time is coming when people will go mad and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”

Many view the punk subculture, and those lost to drugs, self-defeating behavior, or nihilism, as “lost causes.”  You obviously disagree.  Why?

No one is a lost cause. As Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr once said, “The image of God can be overshadowed, but never destroyed.” Sometimes these subcultures build a strong rebellion in a person, but the only problem is that they don’t know where to direct it. They know the world is bad, but the rebellion they have is directed politically or sometimes in self-harming ways. Death to the World tries to direct this rebellion against the world in a healthy way, we quote Saint Isaac of Syria (6th c.) inside of every issue, “‘The world’ is the general name for all passions […] See for which of these passions you are alive. Then you will know how far you are alive to the world, and how far you are dead to it.” By this, DTTW propagates the more you die to your desires and the more you cut off your self-will, the more you “rebel” and reject the world. Thus, it becomes not merely a physical struggle, but develops into a spiritual and inward struggle.

Why do you use the phrase “The Last True Rebellion?”

Subcultures today are filled with young people wanting to fight for the truth through rebellion against this world. The punk subculture is a rebellion, but it is false rebellion that if one follows it to its end will lead to complete nihilism and despair. These rebellions within subcultures can be effective, but the truth they are fighting for is usually not the truth as we know it, Truth as a person, Jesus Christ. Unlike the rebellions of this world, death to the world is a rebellion without a dead end and the acceptance of something real, something otherworldly. This is why it is “The Last True Rebellion” because it is the only true one.

Death to the World has often featured articles about martyrs and saints in the Orthodox faith.  Why do stories about martyrs seem to resonate with your audience?

The souls of people today that are trying to seek the Truth are suffocated by our fake plastic society. Television programs, billboards, movies, etc., more often than not have no good solid real people to look up to. Our society is not only surrounded by, but also bombarded by the fake everyday. It seems sad to say, but some of us don’t even have parents who we can look up to. The saints and martyrs relate to us on a level that some of us feel that no other person we know can. By their lives, they bring to us the reality of life, the reality of what it means to follow Christ in a true manner, without compromise. The brutal deaths of Saints Justin, Ignatius, George, Panteleimon, and other great Christians during the first centuries hold some of the most amazing stories of steadfast faith a person can ever read. The lives of Saints John of San Francisco, Nikolai of Zhica, Herman of Alaska, Raphael of Brooklyn, and other American Saints or those who lived during our times, reveal to us how God has not left His Church even in these dark times. In the Orthodox experience, the Saints are real, alive, and intercede for us standing before the throne of Christ. They bring heaven close to us through their prayers and worship before our Creator in Heaven. They are the “lovers of truth” who have completely sacrificed everything and anything earthly, dedicating their lives to the Ultimate Truth, which is seen in the incarnate Christ Himself. Thus, by seeing these very real and radical lives and their testaments to life beyond the grave, people see that our “rebellion” is not fake, but very real.

The Orthodox faith has a rich tradition of having beautiful artwork and icons.  How do you incorporate that tradition into your publication?

Iconography has been with the Church since the very beginning. According to tradition, the Apostle Luke first painted Christ and His Mother on a plank of wood taken from the table in the Virgin Mary’s home where Christ ate with her. It has been proclaimed throughout the centuries that the icon is like a window into heaven, revealing the world to come. For two thousand years, the Orthodox have always placed great emphasis on worshiping God with our whole being, with all our senses, and the icon is a visual representation of theology for us. In one icon, a person can see all of salvation; the renewal of human nature, the promise and radiance of heaven, the exaltation of humility, etc. The icon intrigues people because it is a form of art that is holy, it comes from an apostolic tradition and it moves people souls. Within our publication we use many depictions of icons and they resonate in people’s hearts, there is something about them that catch people’s eyes. Saint John of Damascus spoke that icons were the Gospel to the illiterate. It is very true, for although a person can read, their soul can be illiterate to spiritual things and icons really do communicate the Gospel to them.

Many churches (Protestant, Catholic, etc.) offer outreaches to young people using music.  What makes your approach different?  How does your unique perspective on Christ appeal to your readers?

The Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian Church, historically tracing its roots to the Apostles. It has existed before both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, being blessed by Christ Himself, the Apostles being the first Orthodox Christians. One can point the Orthodox Church’s origins to the time of Christ, but it would be more proper to say that it has always existed, as we exclaim that our Faith has “established the universe” (Orthodox Synodikon). We say this because our Church has a direct link to the Apostles and therefore directly to the Old Testament all the way back to the foundation of the world. We understand that, through God’s love for us, salvation for man has been a process since that foundation, being ultimately revealed in Christ’s incarnation through the Mother of God, all His works on earth, and through His voluntary death, tomb, and resurrection. The Traditions of the Orthodox are very deep and have not changed since the beginnings of Christianity, keeping in line with Saint Paul’s words when he said, “…stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). The deep understanding of man and what it means to be transfigured through Christ have flowered abundantly throughout the centuries in rich monastic communities and has given the Church a very thick and dense sense of what it means to be a Christian in this world. Unfortunately, the richness of the faith has near been lost in the west through the breaking away and degradation of Roman Catholicism and the near radical rebellion of the Protestant Church and its too many descendants. Orthodoxy incubated and flourished in the East, preserving the teachings of Christ and continuing to celebrate the most ancient form of Christian services, the Divine Liturgy which can be traced back to the Apostles James himself, the brother of Christ. I think that this is what makes us stand out, what makes us unique to our audience. There are too many churches today that sway with the times, which change year to year depending on the culture surrounding them because they think it will bring more people in. People see that Orthodoxy is not like that, she does not change with the world around her because she is too deeply focused on the life of the age to come, ever being engulfed by and directed to heaven. People who see the fakeness in this world want Orthodoxy because they see it as a refuge that will always be preserved and firm among the ever crumbling world around them.

All in all, do you feel that Death to the World has been successful in bringing young people to Christ?

With depression, sadness, and uneasiness plaguing our society and the people around us, the outlook of the Orthodox on suffering is one of the key things that DTTW relates to people.  The ancient Christians and monks of the past viewed struggles and sufferings as a means to put our flesh into subjection, to learn to carry our cross without complaint, all too ultimately relate to our suffering Christ. As our society casually sweeps the suffering, the poor, and the destitute under the rug and out of the sight of the “civilized,” Orthodoxy reaches out to them and relates a suffering God to them, not a God wrapped up in a pretty American box with a bow on top. We like to speak of things how they are, life should not be sugar coated. Both joy and suffering should be acknowledged as part of our journey toward salvation. Suffering is a part of our life that should be embraced by us more often, not ran away from, but unfortunately we who have grown up in a very comfortable and relaxed society have a very hard time with this and it is to our own detriment. Saint Dorotheus of Gaza once said that when God cast men out of the garden He looked at them and said to Himself with sadness, “he [man] does not know how to be happy; if he does not have a hard time he will be totally lost, if he does not know what sorrow is, he will not learn what rest is […]” (Practical Teaching on the Christian Life). Therefore, suffering is given to us out of God’s love, that we might remember our fall and cultivate within ourselves a deeper love for the Heavenly Kingdom. When suffering teenagers and young adults see the lives of these Saints and Orthodox people who bare their sufferings with joy, it gives them hope and courage to embrace and conquer their struggles. The human heart is very complex and cannot be remedied by distraction and prescription medication, it needs something more, something that man and this world cannot give. When suffering people come to us, it always humbles us to see that these people in sorrow are sometimes closer to our Christ than we are. As we sing to God in a service called the Akathist of Thanksgiving, “Thou descendest to the bed of the sufferer and his heart communeth with Thee. Thou kindlest the soul with peace at the time of sorrow and suffering. Thou sendest unexpected help. Thou art the comforter. Thou art all-knowing love. To Thee I sing: Alleluia!”

What would you say to our readers (mostly Latter-day Saints) who are worried about raising their children in Christ in this generation?

Bring your children up in truth. The world around them will give them many contradictions and false teachings, help and explain these things to them. Cultivate within them purity and love towards their Creator. Be a family, eat together, pray together, unite your souls, your home should be a small chapel. Be direct rather than vague about such things as sex, drugs, etc. so that they know what these things are and what their consequences are, not only on the body but more importantly on the soul. Help them to embrace suffering and do not pamper them, it will build endurance and attention towards the soul instead of distracting them on temporal things. Above all, they need to seek out any truth they can in able to survive in our anti-Christ like society—make them to be lovers of Truth. There is an excellent book on this called, “Raising them Right” by Saint Theophan the Recluse who once said that out of all holy works, the upbringing of children is the holiest. Some of his writings can he found here also:

http://www.innerlightproductions.com/thoughts/aug0600.htm

Where can interested readers find out more about Death to the World or the Orthodox church?

Info on DTTW can be seen our website, www.deathtotheworld.com and information about the Orthodox Faith can be found on www.orthodoxinfo.com, www.stherman.com, or www.ancientfaith.com.

Comments

comments

19 comments for “Death to the World!

  1. jmb275
    November 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you very much Arthur. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the perspective another Christian. Very enlightening.

    My overall impression is that, like Mormons, he seems to be concerned about an ever increasing wicked world in which the collective “they” (although this is always poorly defined) are becoming less virtuous, forgetting the ways of Christ, and becoming too pampered in the modern world. Certainly there is truth here.

    I was a bit surprised by his nostalgic tone, hearkening to the days of suffering, glorifying and praising them. It feels like the “us vs. them” he is describing is not only a current one (people separated by beliefs/faith), but also a temporal one (the older generation vs. our generation).

    There are too many churches today that sway with the times, which change year to year depending on the culture surrounding them because they think it will bring more people in. People see that Orthodoxy is not like that, she does not change with the world around her because she is too deeply focused on the life of the age to come, ever being engulfed by and directed to heaven. People who see the fakeness in this world want Orthodoxy because they see it as a refuge that will always be preserved and firm among the ever crumbling world around them.

    I thought this was particularly interesting. We have a mechanism in Mormonism that attempts to balance absolute, unchanging truth, with the need for “continuous revelation.” It seems to me there is wisdom in both ideologies. This can be seen in our members. Some members will welcome the change as they see a continual need to “prune” the vineyard. Others cling to unchanging doctrine as an “iron rod.” It would seem that Orthodoxy prides itself on the latter. This helps to explain the nostalgia I think.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that it feels very down and depressing. After reading it I feel like I should suffer more (or at least try to view my life through the lens of suffering) so I can grow from it. Where is the celebration of the great things society does do right? Where is the joy that stems from great medicine, the ability to stay in touch with people easily, the abundance of information at our fingertips, and the great blessing that we live in a relatively safe and secure country that still honors human dignity and basic rights? I guess I find too much to celebrate in this life to spend my time in suffering. I agree fully with this:

    Both joy and suffering should be acknowledged as part of our journey toward salvation.

    In any case, I loved this piece Arthur. What a great perspective to read. I thoroughly appreciate it!

  2. November 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for your response. I agree with you in some ways. Let’s face it: we really are pampered in today’s society. Our bodies were designed to work, wake up with the rising sun, sleep with the setting sun, get cold when it’s winter and hot when it’s summer. We really don’t do any of that anymore. We wake up to go out to our car, to drive to work, sit in a heated and air-conditioned rooms typing at our computers, and go home and stay up watching TV till we get tired. It’s strange because it just seems like it’s so counter to what we were “designed” for. Like making a bear dance in the circus or something.

    I think it’s a refreshing new perspective though. Perhaps we don’t need to beat ourselves every day in order to glory in our suffering, but perhaps we need to look at suffering through a different lens.

    So yeah, I was floored by John’s response because it’s was just so NEW to me, and it seemed like something we could all learn from perhaps.

  3. jmb275
    November 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I think it’s a refreshing new perspective though. Perhaps we don’t need to beat ourselves every day in order to glory in our suffering, but perhaps we need to look at suffering through a different lens.

    Yes, I agree generally that “suffering” can be good and we ought to view it in that light. “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” said Nietzche. Metaphorically taken this is a very true statement. As we weave our life narrative we must incorporate the suffering. Religion provides a very good mechanism for doing just this. It provides meaning, context, etc. Furthermore, suffering, when handled appropriately, can lead us to more wisdom, and greater enlightenment adjusting our worldview appropriately. We become more like Christ – in essence.

    However, do we not already do this in Mormonism? I agree with you in the “general society” sense, but in Mormonism it seems like we already value suffering in this way. The idea that we are here on “trial” speaks volumes about the importance of suffering. Couple that with the Mormon idea that we “won’t be tempted above that which we are able” and it seems like we have a pretty healthy attitude toward suffering in Mormonism. We appreciate the joy, but see the need for suffering. The life “trial” gives the suffering context, and D&C 122 re Joseph’s experience gives us hope coupled with humility.

    I guess what you’re trying to say is that, in some sense, we are running counter to our design by using modern conveniences. In that vein, what do you suggest for society fixing this? It seems like his statement:

    We have forgotten holiness; we have stopped striving for wisdom. Many souls today live off of the electric shock that comes off of our computers, not by virtue or purity. Sex crimes, murder, suicide, etc. run through the streets today like a pack of wild dogs, consuming many, some that we personally know.

    is more geared toward the idea that we have become lazy in an intellectual, personal, and spiritual sense, not necessarily a physical sense. His call is a call to elevate virtue through spirituality and Jesus Christ.

  4. November 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Well, I admit, I do not live in an LDS culture so usually I stray away from blanket statements about Mormons. I just don’t know how things work in California and Utah and Idaho. I was speaking more about society in general.

    I think that the LDS people do see suffering in a better light than most people. I even think we have an acceptable handle on when things go too far. I don’t think we medicate ourselves at the first sign of depression, but I think we do medicate ourselves when that depression has gotten out of hand.

    There really isn’t a solution to the fact that we seem to be running counter to our design. There really isn’t. We recognize, for instance, that the human body needs exercise and work, so we artificially have to create gyms and sports to keep that side of us healthy. We don’t walk nearly enough so we put walkways and paths everywhere, and we sell millions of treadmills to people. There are ways that we can mitigate the effects of modernity but sometimes it does seem like taking a vitamin pill instead of a nutritious diet.

    But I bring it up because there seems to be a mystical aspect to physical labor and living close to the land. Our ancestors developed religions to codify and understand what I consider to be an inherent mysticism in life, nature, and our consciousness. Being lazy in an intellectual or spiritual sense could in this way be tied to laziness in other areas.

  5. jmb275
    November 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    There are ways that we can mitigate the effects of modernity but sometimes it does seem like taking a vitamin pill instead of a nutritious diet.

    I agree. I can see this as well. On the one hand I am grateful that I don’t have to milk my own cow, grow my own food, etc. Trade allows for this, and is a brilliant concept allowing our society to elevate itself. However, I worked as a landscaper for about a year and I did, in fact, like it far more than any exercise program I’ve ever followed (even though all I did was shovel dirt). There is something satisfying about manual labor.

    But I bring it up because there seems to be a mystical aspect to physical labor and living close to the land. Our ancestors developed religions to codify and understand what I consider to be an inherent mysticism in life, nature, and our consciousness. Being lazy in an intellectual or spiritual sense could in this way be tied to laziness in other areas.

    Could be, this is a good thought. The obvious question, to me, would then be: are we simply pre-programmed to feel a connection to our own work and labor (as opposed to our exercise program)? Or is there some form of divine presence or closeness that permeates us, along with nature, that enables us to feel intertwined with it when we work in that context?

    Great post!

  6. Nathan
    November 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Orthodoxy theology teaches that suffering is for our benefit. It is the tool through which we can divorce ourselves of unhealthy attachments to this world and focus ourselves on spiritual things. Orthodoxy is not nostalgic for some earlier time, though it might often seem that way, our society has moved further from the life we were meant for. We are not nostalgic for some lesser form of sinful living, but rather we long for the life God intended for man at his creation in paradise. We do not pride ourselves on holding to our doctrine, but rather we view holding to the teachings of the church as an obligation. There is little innovation in Orthodoxy and there is none in our Doctrine or Theology. Orthodox Christians before me died to keep this faith pure and unchanged from Christ himself unto the present hour, it is not for me to change it and make their sacrifice in vain. From the Orthodox perspective there is no need for further revelation, let alone continuous revelation. Simply put either of these implies that Christ some how failed to accomplish it, but the gospels teach us that before He gave up His spirit He says quite clearly, “It is finished.” (Some might translate this accomplished, or even done; but the phrase in the original implies a completion.) We keep the truth, unchanged, handed down from Christ to His apostles and from them to each successive generation. It is good that you can see the similarities between your way and ours, but I caution you not to pass off what we do not do as prideful or nostalgic.

  7. SUNNofaB.C.Rich
    November 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    man I sure wasn’t expecting to find a reference to Sleep here… “Dopethrone” by Electric wizard best doom album ever…

  8. November 18, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I thought that Turkish Emo was a step beyond …

    Seriously though, we could do with more study of the Orthodox.

  9. November 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    #7. You might have noticed… I’m NOT your average MormonMatters perma.

  10. David Feliciano
    November 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Hello and thank you for posting this article. As an Orthodox Christian I found it very interesting to read a Mormon response to a ministry such as DTTW. I have lots of experience with little-o-orthodox Christian responses to Mormons but no experience the other way around. I appreciate your openness and kindness here.

    JMB275’s comment about a perceived nostalgic tone in the interview struck a chord with me. I think it’s much deeper than nostalgia. It’s at the core of Orthodox Christianity. That is, the deep interconnectedness of the Church today with the Church of Christ, the apostles and the saints of history. Orthodoxy is organic in that it is a living body whose head is Christ and life has existed for the past 2000 years consistently and faithfully in it’s members. Orthodoxy is unique in that it stands as a beacon in the midst of a pluralistic post-Christian society as THE Christianity founded by Christ and his apostles, alive and kicking after 2000 years of unrelenting persecution. Not only is it alive, but it is fresh, relevant, and yet virtually unchanged. We believe in the communion of saints, meaning that the Church established by Christ continues in harmony and communion with the Church today. We could not imagine a Christianity where this nostalgia does not exist; where the life and doctrines of the Church today is different from the life and doctrines of the Church of the past.

  11. November 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    #10. David, thank you for your response. I love interfaith discussion and we try our best to be respectful of the opinions and traditions of other Christians. The only Church they love to bash around here is our own…

    That kind of deep connection with tradition that I’ve always loved about Orthodoxy. The LDS Church has tried in its own way to connect to the Church of the past, with Apostles and Prophets, laying on of hands for priesthood authority, etc. But Orthodoxy sure does feel ancient and mystical. It’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.

  12. David Feliciano
    November 18, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Thanks Aurthor. Just wanted to clarify that I didn’t intent to make a statement about the rightness of Orthodoxy as opposed to Mormonism. My point was just to say that Orthodoxy makes the unique claim of being the original Christianity preserved through the ages. Thanks again.

  13. David Feliciano
    November 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Oops – Arthur

  14. November 19, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I know! No worries.

    David – have you been Orthodox your whole life?

  15. jmb275
    November 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Re 6 & 10
    Thank you for the clarification. I really appreciate the nuanced perspective you’ve offered. From my own religious experiences I know how difficult it is to be properly understood.

  16. David Feliciano
    November 19, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Arthur – My wife and I have been Orthodox for about six years. We are converts from a Protestant denomination.

  17. Wretch
    December 2, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    These guys are a little too much on the darkside. I come from a rough punkish background too. But isnt Christ supposed to put a light in our lives. I met a few people from this group and thier fruit was rotton. No sign of the Holy Spirit any where and God wasnt mentioned much at all. I think anyone getting involved with these guys should pray hard on who these guys are. We are instructed to live our lives in His light…….not in darkness, I would really question my salvation if I ever decided to have any part of these guys.

  18. Athanasios Paul Thompson
    March 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Fr Athanasios Paul Thompson encourages “death to this world” and knows what he speaks of. He gleans an accumulative perspective from more than forty years of fulltime Christian ministry, half of that immersed in the great traditions of the Orthodox Catholic heritage. Athanasios Paul is the founder/speaker of Ancienttruthmedia.com and Sevenholystones.net – He has recently endorsed the mission of the Adventist church as it expresses concepts of holiness in the way it reaches out to proclaim the Gospel of Grace. Both SDAs and LDS members beleive they have prohpets whose writings serve as guides along with the sacred scripture. Athanasios Paul is a friend of the LDS church and just a few years ago had the unique opportunity to meet with the late President of the church, Gordon B. Hinkley. Although he acknowledges the important differences in belief between Latter Day Saints and other Christians, it is his conviction that an uncompromised love is a foundational principle for all who presume to speak for God. Athanasios Paul says: “The truth will set us free when we know how to live it out in saintly purity!” He spoke recently on this theme:

    “It is true that the world is in opposition to the Kingdom of God. We must boldly acknowledge it. The efforts of the so called punker converts of the 1990s who embraced the ancient truth of Orthodoxy (as in the recent interview) have much to say on the theme. But more than the sober and controversal symbols, religious slogans and hermetical isolation they promote, we must courageously encounter the world they reject while protecting ourselves against its corrupting influence. This is a difficult task but one that all believers are called to. A careful reading of St Paul’s epistles demonstrate the need for separation from worldly philosphies and sinful temptations … while remaining in the struggle of life. We live, work, laugh and cry in the society of our fellows. This is life as it is lived in reality. The podvig (struggle) is to be in the world but not of it. It seems to me that we must be done with the notion that the modern, the newer and more advanced is nearly always and inevitably the better. That is a lie! In order to understand our present age we must rather return to the truths of the ancient past. Our doctrines and covenants issue forth from earlier times and themselves contain ancient truth drawn from a distillation of anceint wisdom. Orthodox, Mormons and Adventists share some conceptual truths while having dramatic differences. At the very least, may each group seek more effective ways to avoid entanglement with the world while loving Christ and the society of mankind that He created.”

  19. Sunshinefactoryband
    June 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I have to say that the Death to the World founders inspired me tremendously and through me my son. We are now traveling the country performing music that is completely inspired by our faith. We have an opportunity to bring some beauty into the world just as Justin (my friend ) Fr Isidore, Reader James and many others did those years ago. Their generosity and love supported us in our efforts. Although not overtly religious our music is 100% inspired and informed by our faith and unshakable belief in the mercy and love of God. Our website is thesunshinefactory.net please visit us there as well as facebook. In January we did an interview feature on ancient faith radio which should be archived for listening. We are “The Sunshine Factory” You may see us live 06/29/11 at Cocco 66 in Brooklyn, NY—06/30/11 at Trash Bar in Brooklyn, NY—07/01/11 at “The Delancey” in Manhattan at the base of the Williamsburg, bridge.

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