I think that Kevin Barney was sincerely interested in finding answers when he first posed the question. The trouble is that when you ask a question on the Internet, there’s a danger that you’ll get responses from people who have actual, first-hand experience. Then the double-trouble is that it’s hard to answer that question in a reasonable way without, y’know, pointing out things that might possibly be wrong with the CoJCoL-dS. Which, in Mormonland, is not kosher. Those are the kinds of truths that aren’t useful — unless you want to actually address and solve the problems. But that would require acknowledging that the CoJCoL-dS may not be already perfect exactly the way it is. Just imagining such a thing makes some believers respond with la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you-anymore-because-I’m-bearing-my-testimony-at-you-now (which Chino argues may be the root of the problem).
But, to be fair, the responses that Andrew calls “cringe-worthy” (about how obviously bad and wrong the church is) don’t really answer the question either. We’ve hardly scratched the surface of the main mysteries:
- Why now? Why was the LDS church growing a few decades ago and now heading into decline? (If it’s not true now, it’s not as though it was more true thirty years ago…)
- Why is religion in general losing ground throughout the industrialized world? Are Mormonism’s problems just a part of that trend, or is there something more going on in Zion?
- Why is it that the more liberal/laid-back religions seem to be losing ground faster than the more extreme/all-consuming religions? (Is that actually the case, and is Mormonism a counter-example?)
Now, I have my own theory about this, but please formulate your own theory before reading it.
OK, remember how they used to teach us in Sunday School that nobody knows when the exact time of the Second coming will be, not even Heavenly Father? Well, naturally that causes some coordination and planning problems. HF had saved up a whole bunch of choice, valiant spirits for the last days — but He used them all up a generation ago, and now in the latter-latter days, He’s left scraping the bottom of the spirit barrel. Meanwhile, Jesus is still in the bathroom doing his hair for His return in clouds of glory.
But, seriously, any ideas?