Brother Of Jerry
Date: December 31, 2020 03:20AM
That was a the headline of a recent letter in the SLTrib from Gregory Prince, an occasional contributor there, and I believe part of the Sunstone crowd.
Here is the link to the full letter. Quotes of the principal parts followhttps://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/12/26/gregory-prince-have-we/
The gray-haired faithful, of which I am one, are likely to return to communal worship, if for no other reason than decades of deeply ingrained habit suffused with duty. But the young are bound neither by habit nor duty. Even in the pre-pandemic world, they were leaving institutional religion in droves, regardless of the tradition of their parents — hence, the dramatic rise of the “nones,” younger people who are spiritually inclined but unchurched.
The silver lining of the pandemic is that it obliges us to rethink everything in our lives, including religion. Those who emerge from the rethinking and merely return to religion as usual will waste a good crisis, for in too many cases that will mean a return to “Christ-centered boredom.” Simply put, if kids are bored, they are gone.
What religion has historically offered fills libraries; what it offers in a post-pandemic world might be summarized in three simple phrases: truth claims, moral authority, and community. For the younger demographics, set aside truth claims — the backbone of religious conviction for so many of the older demographics. Even talking about them to youths is counterproductive. That leaves moral authority and community.
For most of its history, Mormonism has looked and acted inwardly, taking care of its own while largely avoiding engagement with the outward world and other faith traditions. Moral authority, to the young, means engaging the world and its problems on their own terms, taking institutional risks and minimizing or even ignoring proselytizing as a metric of success.
He goes on to talk about the many crises facing the planet, and how religions need to be both more involved, and more integrated with other churches, to present a united front.
I am interested in a few of the points he made above."The youth are bound by neither habit nor duty" - That may be less the case for Mormon youth than youth in general, but I get the sense that it is pretty on the mark.
"Christ-centered boredom" - I laughed at that. I think everyone recognizes that LDS meetings are boring. You've heard most everything new you are ever going to hear by about age 8, and after that it is just repetition. That's why nobody cried over the loss of the third hour in the three-hour block.
Lastly, he points out that he thinks truth claims by religions are not only not important to today's youth, but that they are actually counterproductive.
That's kind of breathtaking. I'm not sure I believe it. Truth claims are a huge part of Mormonism. If the youth really don't care about that, I think Mormonism is in very deep trouble. Truth claims were practically all that the missionary lessons taught, besides pressuring "investigators" to commit to baptism.
I'd be interested in your thoughts about truth claims now being largely irrelevant, or worse.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2020 03:21AM by Brother Of Jerry.