Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Catholic Church helped preserve Roman civilization. Can Mormonism do the same for America? has an excellent article on, if America were to collapse however many hundred years from now, how American culture and ideals would be preserved - and we LDS are seen as the most likely of preservers. (Off-topic for this blog, but just really enjoyable and interesting.) This is part of a series of articles looking at possible ways for America to collapse or the world to end.

No society yet has lasted for ever, so even our nation must be mindful of it own mortality. But who and how will we be remembered when we are gone?

But for America's intangible qualities to get preserved—our shared history, our ideals, our passions—someone needs to do the preserving. Edward Gibbon argued that the introduction of Christianity doomed Rome: "[T]he last remains of the military spirit were buried in the cloister." There's a stronger case to be made that the Christians kept Rome from being erased from our collective memory—that the Catholic Church was the one entity that maintained Roman hierarchies, Roman thought, and the Latin language as the rest of the continent descended into illiteracy.
Likewise, the article quote Cullen Murphy's excellent book, Are We Rome?, which posits that Salt Lake City could become "the Vatican of the third millennium," with the LDS "propagating a particular, canonical version of America."

The kind of things that give us an advantage are birth and marriage rates, food storage, cohesiveness, shared values, etc. - something like how the Catholic had who saved bits of Roman culture and heritage and language. We even have prophecies about stepping in and saving the Constitution. And because of our respect for the Constitution, we would continue a reasonable separation of church and state with no Mormon equivalent of Sharia law or Taliban.

The church as a whole, has a toe-hold in both the present and in the past. We are seen as 30 years behind the rest of the country on some issues, and we continually look back to our pioneer heritage even though many to most of us, like myself, have no pioneer ancestors at all. But we SLC is a tech center and we have modern business leaders like Stephen Covey, Romney, Marriott, and many others.

Whatever the future hold, bonds of family and community will preserve us more readily than the govt will.

The article concludes with:

In The Folk of the Fringe, Card writes that "civilization lives on among those folk whose bonds of faith, tribe, and language are strong." As a native New Orleanian, I couldn't help thinking of Hurricane Katrina. With the federal, state, and local governments all failing to mount a rebuilding plan, the city's revival was left to grass-roots, neighborhood-based organizations. It's not surprising group that the city's most tightly knit and most homogeneous group—the Vietnamese-American community of New Orleans East—came back the fastest. Partly inspired by a priest from the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church who traveled around the South persuading evacuated parishioners to come home, Vietnamese residents of the Versailles neighborhood turned out to help each other and help their church. Within nine months, 45 of 50 neighborhood businesses had reopened. Within two years, 90 percent of the area's pre-Katrina residents returned, double the citywide average.

In New Orleans, civilization lives on among those folk whose bonds of faith, tribe, and language are strong. In America, perhaps civilization will carry on in the same way.

I have not done the article justice and I encourage you to read it.