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.