I was immediately attracted to a Reuters news article dated Tuesday, January 31, 2012, and written by Peter Henderson and Kristina Cooke about "Mormonism." The article was about a "religious studies class" held some time last year at
Utah State University in . The students were concerned about what was happening in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were asking "hard questions." Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was present to answer their questions. Logan, Utah
One question was, "Did the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that members are `leaving in droves?'" Elder Jenson replied that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were very aware of the situation and very concerned about it. He described the situation as being "a time of challenge, but it isn't apocalyptic." This problem seems to be among the older members of the "rising generation" - high school students and young, college-age adults.
With the increase in defections in the Church, President Thomas S. Monson and his associates in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have launched a new program in an attempt to stop the losses. The new campaign is called "The Rescue" and includes new materials being sent to Bishops and other leaders to help teach our rising generation about "some of the more sensitive aspects of church doctrine."
There are several topics in Church history that are difficult for youth and some adults to understand. Some of these sensitive topics include plural marriages, blacks and the priesthood, the massacre in Mountain Meadows, and homosexuality. I will be interested in seeing the package of materials coming out of Church headquarters.
Not long after seeing the above referenced article, I listened to a discussion on GBTV between Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Glenn Beck about "Baal" and the rise of secular fundamentalism. Rabbi Lapin explained that the worship of Baal or secular fundamentalism is just as much alive today as it was three thousand years ago and does not require the idols spoken of in the Bible. The worship of Baal always demeans women as does the hook-up culture in our day.
Rabbi Lapin said, "Think of it as spiritual gravity. It is that which tugs our better natures downwards - to everything that is a yielding to bodily appetites, a yielding to darkness, a yielding to hopelessness and pessimism, a yielding to a sense of shortage and misery. All of these things that are so easily capable of overwhelming us as human beings as we struggle to remain encouraged and bright and filled with faith. That is the tension that exists within our hearts."
To illustrate this problem with spiritual gravity and the fact that it takes hard work to elevate ourselves, Rabbi Lapin used the analogy of a building. It takes much more energy to move upward in a building than it does to move downward. The most desirable location in a building is the penthouse, and the least desirable is the basement. If we were to walk up twenty floors to the penthouse, we would have to exert much energy - but the view would be wonderful. The penthouse would be warm with lots of sunshine and clean smells. If we chose to go down the stairs to the dark, dirty, and scary dungeon-like basement, it would be much easier walking. In fact, if there was a laundry shoot or a slide, the journey to the basement would take little or no energy. There would be no expansive view from the basement.
The rise of secularism began when atheists insisted that prayer and other references to God be taken out of the schools. It continued with the appearance of the birth-control pill that made the holy relationship between man and woman into a misuse of God-given powers to procreate. It grew further with the free love generation of the 1960s and continues to grow today.
Secular fundamentalism or the worship of science is one of the main reasons why youth and young adults are questioning their religions and losing their faith. They are being taught secularism in their classes in high school and college.
Our youth and young adults must be rescued as soon as possible and preferably before they leave their churches. Secularization will bring only heartache and pain into their lives instead of the peace and joy found in the Church of Jesus Christ. We must rescue our rising generations.