The Provident Living Power Shift and the LDS Newer Deal

Peter BrownMormon 15 Comments

Allow me a little economic soothsaying. Given that all good things must come to an end, and given that the more rational economist are now saying we’re back at 1929, lets assume that the Greater Depression is upon us once again. American culture as we know it will change. Barak Obama will most likely be president, with a progressive wind at his back, and the storm clouds will indeed be dark by the middle of 2009. Attempts will be made to revive the economy, through programs, bailouts, and governmental incentives. Like in 1930, we provide government alphabet programs to do this, however, unlike the 1930’s we will be starting with massive deficits. Instead of gently expanding and encouraging consumer spending to jump start the economy, a la John Maynard Keynes, we encounter a meltdown of our currency due to our very high and unmanageable debt like pre-war Germany. Hyperinflation and Weimar-like conditions melt the entire economy in ways never seen before. Essentially, America becomes bankrupt. Our currency is worthless, we’re being told to merge into a one world order and currency to stabilize, and fascism on one hand and civil unrest on the other is threatening to topple us.

Mormonism will also change. Salt Lake will make a huge shift in resource allocation. Resources and attention spent currently on missionary efforts, temple and chapel-building, and managing the burgeoning local priesthood expansionist efforts will now shift. What once was a kitschy Mormon hobby by the fundamentalists, Provident Living now takes on massive attention from the Brethren. A Church that operates on a cash basis could become its own quasi-governmental institution with focus on welfare economics for its membership. The state may not be able to provide, or, if it does, it may be of the variety that is anathema to the general membership. Work farms, granaries, mills, orchards, and factories may pop up akin to the 1870’s and we collectivize once again the membership of the Church—although more generally in the United States and Canada. The political culture may shift left once again (at least economically), albeit an old fashioned left that may still eschew state collectivism, but will embrace private collectivism. Rugged individualism that is the hallmark of current Mormonism may whither on the vine. This process will be a huddle for survival in this brave new world ravaged by a dramatic decline in wealth.

President Monson will be bred for this. It will be interesting to see how he proceeds. If successful, it may attract the intrigued like never before. The orthopraxic machinations of this future Church may lure the theologically and sociologically ostracized DAMU’s back or chase them away for good to spit and fight against this new development. There will still those that have nuanced views, but probably for very different reasons. It may be seen as a threat to the new order—people off the grid. The conspiracies mark this time as a bargaining chip for the nations. Sign away your sovereignty, and get bread. All that we see now will come into view and we will see that the last few decades we were being set up for this. The curtain will now be drawn, and the wizard is seen for what he is, the grand master that used the dialectic of left and right to destroy our country. The others may see a benevolent pragmatic government just trying to help. There will be costs, and Mormons will be warned that the costs will be too high. We will be seen as renegades, unpatriotic, and we will again reclaim our status that existed pre-1890, a dangerous, subversive force that must be stopped. Persecutions return. Mormonism will be set up for another clash with Washington—or Brussels. To ensure compliance, people will be implanted with chips that will allow them to participate in the governmental programs—allowing them to buy and sell. Others will be shut out, ostracized, and then perhaps arrested for non-compliance.

Comments 15

  1. Huhn. I started reading eagerly, expecting a post on how the church might help its members cope with a new depression (assuming that one is here) … and itstead this dribbled away into just another goofy political conspiracy. How disappointing.

  2. It should be interesting if Soros turns out to be right on his sixth prediction of a meltdown. I’m really curious how China is doing and whether or not America collapses back to the economic status we had in 1940.

    Of course I’d rather that things got better. I keep thinking that the end of times is hundreds of years off, what a surprise it would be if it were not. Or, if it was, but the road was as rocky as it could be.

    I hope we did not reach our tidemark as a country with the invasion of Iraq.

  3. First off, I have to agree with Banned Commentator that I cannot see where this post is supposed to go.

    but, I think that if this scenario were to occur that the church would be looked upon as the model for an organization that practiced what it preached. That members who actually heeded the call will be viewed as those who really did prepare for their own welfare as opposed to the “eat, drink and be merry…” crowd. those disaffected from the Church will still find something to complain about. But I do not beleive we even approach the issues of 1929. There are more financial problems that is for sure, but we have more resources than before.

    Whether the state intervenes with “new deal-like” organizations is yet to be seen. At this point, the government is only bailing out the ones that caused the problem.

  4. “the church would be looked upon as the model for an organization that practiced what it preached.”

    I doubt that church members practice ‘provident living’ any better than the rest of society. Nobody is going to look at us as a model until we get our house in order.

    This is a weird post. It doesn’t really count as humor (unless I’m missed the joke) and yet it can’t really be taken seriously.

  5. Bill,

    I was referring to the Church as an organization. Certainly, you have to admit that the Church has a pretty extensive welfare program and self-reliant from that standpoint. As to individual members, we know that is about 15% have any food storage at all, but I bet that’s more than regular folks by a lot.

  6. I’ve often wondered about the sequence of events that would lead up to “the end”. There are many very vague and interesting signs of the times, but they are so wide open to interpretation that all you’re left to do is wonder.
    I think Peter makes some very unique points about how these events right in front of us on the news could be the beginning of the Church’s evolution from a tiny, inconsequential group into the institution that steps forward and saves the constitution as it hangs by a thread. I doubt that many people 5 years ago would have imagined it could be a financial collapse. Seems just as likely as any other “end of days” scenario I’ve heard.
    Interesting thoughts, Peter!

  7. Post

    Okay, so we all didn’t get it. I admit I went down the rabbit hole a bit, but let me start. There are those that think that we are going into 1970’s-style inflation recession at 6-12% unemployment. But, there are economists that think we’re heading FOR the rabbit hole, folks.

    Just an example of some from Beck’s Headline News,

    I think many of us like to sit in our office chairs and navel gaze about on Facebook, Myspace,, or the Daily Kos. We don’t like to contemplate that it could happen to us!

    About the conspiracy thing. It may not happen like I stated. I’m soothsaying. I’ll give you that I may be wrong, but I’m offering a future. What does the bright-eyed liberal have to offer–sunshine, pensions, social security, gay marriage and star trek, while the dour-eyed conservative things god, guns, and apple pie. The Book of Mormon warns against conspiracy so why is it always scoffed at?

    “This is a weird post. It doesn’t really count as humor (unless I’m missed the joke) and yet it can’t really be taken seriously.”

    Well I am the resident fundamentalist on this board 😉 I take myself seriously. I feel like in a sense I’m warning people by talking about serious issues that ACTUALLY affect our lives and freedom, now why green jello is a metaphor for the untangling of Nauvoo-era polygamy. There is a place for that on here, don’t get me wrong, but I like to offer a different flavor.

  8. Our currency is worthless? No. Worth less? Yes.

    Wrong, actually; believe it or not, the dollar has strengthened dramatically over the past few weeks. Even with all the current chaos, the US really does have better economic fundamentals than the rest of the world, and with the chaos in Europe, Asia and Russia, global investors are buying up dollars again.

    Note that even with the dramatic plunge today (nearly 700 points), the Dow Jones Industrial Average has just now finally lost (percentage-wise) over a two-week period what it lost in a single day back on October 19, 1987 (“Black Monday”).

    I’m not saying that things aren’t serious; I’m just old enough (55) to have some perspective on the economy’s gyrations. ..bruce..

  9. Way to get the conversation started, Peter. The sliding economy will be entering the gospel conversation front and center. Unlike some of the posters I had no expectations for what I experienced as your enjoyable post—other than I was certain someone would be posting about the meltdown. Imagine you’re the Church managing billions of dollars of assets and outlays and suddenly the credit markets seize up. Imagine you’re ordinary church members around the world finding ourselves scrambling to make ends meet in another world-wide recession. Oh, and did we mention that wars and remarkable natural catastrophes are on the end-times menu as well? The church leadership and each one of us will be chewing on this in some fashion until the end comes.

  10. We have a new Bishop in our Ward. I am the Preparedness Chairman. And now I understand that it is supposed to be called the Provident Living Chairman. I used to do this and it was always under the direction of the Priesthood, and now in this Ward it’s under Relief Society. So which is it? Please respond.

  11. (12) Bruce,

    The dollar has strengthened because investment bankers are cashing out of their equities and other paper assets. This is temporary. With 7 Trillion dollars from the Federal Reserve about to hit the fan, the dollaw WILL hyperinflate. At 55, you are also probably too young to remember the Great Depression. Sounds like an “All is Well in Zion” attitude to me.

    (14) Peggy, I have no idea.

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