Middle-day Saints or Church Mortality

October 23, 2010

When I first started visiting Mormon Matters, there was a sidebar that would resurrect old posts for new visitors to see for the first time. One post by Jeff Spector caught my eye everytime it reappeared because it asked what people would do if they became convinced the church wasn’t true.

It caught my eye because I had something of the opposite problem; I was very convinced that the Restoration was true, but not at all sure that it was going to succeed in spreading the truths with which it had been endowed.

You see,  I had been forced to accept the decline into numerical irrelevance of my own Community of Christ by applying growth models I’d been exploring professionally in economics since the 1980’s. A lot of people in my church saw the renaming of the church in 2001 as a new start, but statistically, nothing has changed in the intervening time. Thus, for me, the question had become: “What if it is rejected?”

The notion that we are living in the “last” dispensation and destined to succeed has been ingrained in Restoration teaching since the formative years of the movement. We felt it necessary to distinguish ourselves from the Saints of early Christianity by calling ourselves “Latter-day”; we did not expect future Christians to have any need to distinguish their times from ours.

The culmination of our dispensation is pictured in Joseph Smith’s writings as just as apocalyptic as in the writings of other  Christian, Jewish, or for that matter, Islamic fundamentalist movements. The action in Joseph’s writings is geographically broader (and possibly more diffused in temporal duration after it begins) because of its focus on the Western Hemisphere than the events foretold in Ezekiel or Revelation, but it is intended to flow smoothly into them. Indeed, the urgency of bringing forth the Book of Mormon was seen as motivated by the need for certain tasks to be accomplished in preparation for the end times. It is not easy to separate apocalyptic notions from the Restoration’s other truth claims when the very preface to the Book of Commandments (now D&C 1) proclaims:

“Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together. For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days. …

“…Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled. And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious; Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure — Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.

“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear: Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth….

“…Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets— The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh.”

Pretty apocalyptic.  But apocalyptic visions and missions tend to come with “complete-by” dates. After a while the apocalypse has to happen, or one has to start explaining why the apocalypse hasn’t happened. Either way, the church’s vision stops being what it was.

We see this in early Christianity. The earliest Pauline letters assume that the return of Jesus is close at hand. They advocate transient solutions to life situations because the human condition itself is seen as transient. It is only in latter letters, often seen by scholars as being authored by a “next generation” of Paul’s own converts, that concerns about church order, long term relationships with the Jews and the Empire, and sexual roles and relationships come to the forefront. Ironically, what we see as the apostasy from original forms may in fact be an apostasy from the original zeal of the immediately-to-be-born Kingdom of God.

Admittedly, if you want to argue against an apocalyptic interpretation of Restoration history, this is not the best year since 1830 to be doing so.

After all, Israel has now been restored as a nation. Their population centers are targeted by 10’s of thousands of rockets more than they were as recently as 2006.  Military think tanks publish a campaign analysis of Israel war with Lebanon-Syria-Iran (WARNING : 1MB PDF FILE) that don’t even consider the Iranian nuclear programs as a possible trigger of war. In addition to rumors of war in the lands about Jerusalem, we see rumors of attacks in the American homeland — including the influx of violent drug lords (from Book of Mormon lands?) seizing actual control of territories along the “gentile” borders. We are warned of the potential for world-wide environmental catastrophe within our generation, and stopping economic growth to prevent pollution risks producing economic or socio-political collapse on even shorter time-scales.

And if the apocalypse comes, then the rest of this discussion becomes academic. The judgments of God are then made manifest to our individual and societal salvation or destruction. We can take it up with Him.

But I would suggest that those who do not regard an apocalypse as coming (to greater or lesser extent) in their lifetimes consider how they explain away the delay in their faith’s original vision.

Do we keep extending it just “beyond the horizon” until we effectively become “Middle-day Saints”?

Do we become increasingly focused on the next life and personal salvation, involving ourselves only in public issues that strike at preservation of the institution of the church itself?

Does the church see itself (as the Community of Christ has already done) as a true church rather than the one-and-only-true church and prepare for an indefinitely long history, as much of Christianity has done before it?

Does it see itself as a failure, and accordingly expect a new outbreak of the Spirit outside the institution? (What’s in those sealed plates at the back of the BofM anyway?)

In any event, the status quo does not persist indefinitely for a church whose DNA contains strong components of apocalypse. How do you think the status quo will change?  Because change it will sooner or later.

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33 Responses to Middle-day Saints or Church Mortality

  1. TH on October 23, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    Firetag,

    This is a well-crafted and thought-provoking post. Do you think it is one of those situations, like often happened with the early disciples and Jesus where they thought they understood what he meant, but they really didn’t “get it”? Meaning that we were incorrect in understanding the apocalyptic times in terms of timing, scope, location, etc.? Or do you think that something has changed that has changed the date? Or, some other reasoning?

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  2. FireTag on October 23, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    The situation between early Christianity and the Restoration are somewhat different in regard to the centrality of the apocalypse to the thinking of the authority figures.

    Jesus is not recorded as speaking of an apocalyptic end time; at most He is said to have spoken of a near-term destruction of the Jewish puppet state by its Roman masters. In fact, the view of a world-wide apocalypse may have been common in Judea from +/- 200 years around the life of Jesus, and may have originated in trying to see the universal significance of persecution of the Jews by individual rulers.

    While Paul’s undoubted letters are definite that his authority as an Apostle to the Gentiles came from a personal experience with Jesus, nowhere does Paul say that Jesus directly conveyed anything about the timing of His return. Paul simply seems to have assumed that the existence of the risen Jesus fit into the basic world-view of his culture about the end-times being close at hand.

    With Joseph Smith, the connection with the apocalypse is harder to fudge. There is certainly a general cultural sense of the end times throughout the Great Awakening of religion in early 19th Century American thought, but Joesph’s amplification of the ideas are connected definitely to more “authoritative sources”. BofM statements about the fate of the gentiles are attributed to Jesus speaking directly at Bountiful, and the authenticity of the record is verified by the ANGEL Moroni. D&C visions are filled with apocalyptic language, so that the authenticity of the vision itself gets tied to the language just as it gets tied to other of the contents of the revelation.

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  3. LDS Anarchist on October 23, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    “How do you think the status quo will change?”

    How about this? The unified church will be broken up and then assimilated into the State. Afterward there will be an explosion of growth in iniquity. Finally, it will be destroyed.

    Oh, yeah, and the State of Israel will be destroyed, too.

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  4. FireTag on October 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    LDS Anarchist (and others):

    Multiple links in a comment are interpreted by the software as possible spam and sent to moderation until an author or admin notices and checks the links. This can leave your comments out of the conversation if things get busy. So it might be better to match one link to one comment.

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  5. FireTag on October 23, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    LDS Anarchist #3:

    So you’re in the apocalypse is real and fairly close at hand category. Yes?

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  6. LDS Anarchist on October 23, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    If you mean by the apocalypse an “end of the world” scenario in which the wicked are destroyed, well, there are still many prophecies that must be fulfilled before that point. Prior to the destruction of the wicked, the gathering must take place. And before the gathering happens, the scattering must be fulfilled every whit. The scattering isn’t over, yet. So, although the apocalypse will be real, there is still a lot that must come to pass beforehand.

    We are currently in the sixth seal, yet the signs of that seal haven’t happened, yet. It is apparent that the sixth seal signs happen at the end of that seal, but just when will it end? The latest date would be 2033, the earliest 2000 and the mid-point 2016. 2000 has come and gone so 2016 is next. To some 2016 might be right around the corner, but what if the sixth seal ends in 2033, would that be considered “fairly close?” At any rate, even if the sixth seal ended in 2033, we’d still have all that is prophesied to occur during the seventh seal prior to the second coming of the Lord.

    Looking heavenward, the planets are still in their scattered state and the heavenly plasma events haven’t even started, yet, though there are evidences that all the planets are undergoing changes. So, we are still in the scattering or “scattered phrase” of the end-time events.

    Finally, the second destruction of the Gentiles can’t happen until the first destruction occurs and that can’t happen until the first set of Gentiles descend into all manner of wickedness, which still hasn’t happened. In fact, it can’t happen until the current conditions change.

    If all of the conditions of the church and world remained the same or continued along the path they are going, none of the prophecies would be fulfilled. However, sudden changes are on the horizon. But these changes are not, in and of themselves, the apocalypse.

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  7. FireTag on October 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    #6

    Yes, I’d consider 2033 to be well within the range of fairly soon. Even 2133 could fit the definition of fairly soon if the changes are steady in the direction of the apocalyptic language.

    So you don’t face the intellectual dilemma raised by the post. Your dilemma is instead how do you respond because you believe what YOU believe now, not how do you reconcile what you believe with what the church once believed about the urgency of its mission.

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  8. Stephen M (Ethesis) on October 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    an apocalypse as coming (to greater or lesser extent) in their lifetimes — or at the end of every person’s lifetime.

    I think that is the key, that no matter when the scroll is rolled up, at our time of death it has come for us.

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  9. FireTag on October 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Death can come as a gentle friend, or as a brutal or exhausting unexpected foe that teaches and tests us AND the loved ones left behind. I can see the apocalyptic analogue in the latter case certainly, but is that the ONLY thing our scriptures are talking about?

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  10. Cowboy on October 25, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Nothing important to add – Just wanted to say that I really liked this post.

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  11. Mike S on October 25, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    There are MANY dates that have been proposed for the “end of the world”, but the goal posts have always kept moving.

    In Christ’s time, they thought that His return was eminent based on “there are some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom…” or “This generation shall not pass…” But 1st century CE was one expected time.

    There are dozens and dozens of other ones (see, for example, http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrl2.htm)

    People can read into scripture whatever they want. I do think the early members and leaders of the Church were much more millennial in outlook. They seem to by shying away from this and not wanting to actually be pinned down by actually saying anything specific.

    We do tend to demonize whatever we are against. Several decades ago, the Soviet Union was the “Evil Empire” against which the last great war was going to be fought. The Catholic Church was the whore of the earth. Now, people probably look at the Muslims in the same role. But from the Middle Eastern point of view, the United States is the Great Satan pushing our movies and music and bad influence on the world.

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  12. Jon on October 25, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Mike S,

    I think people in the Middle East think we’re the great Satan because we going over their and over throwing governments (for last 60 years), killing their brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, ect., torturing them, and raping their women. I think the music and movies are the least of their concerns.

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  13. FireTag on October 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Mike S:

    The phenomena you describe are very real. There have always been those in every age who have seen themselves as the last generation. And even more than a few who have chosen actions (or inactions) that might make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that bothers me a lot.

    I’ve actually been toying with a post on the battles of Megiddo that have already been fought and why.

    My own suspicion is that since civilizations rise and fall dramatically, certainly local apocalypses can and have occurred, be they Carthage, Rome, or 20th Century Europe. The flaw in the apocalyptic mindset seems to have been the unwillingness to see how life might go on, utterly changed, the day after the apocalypse. Everybody simply plans to check out for heaven.

    Once you have sufficient globalization to have the beginning of a true global civilization feedbacks come into existence that can plausibly spread civilization rise-and-fall globally. That’s new in human history, and so the interpretations of prophecy can take on new options. Spacetime may not be about to rupture, but I can imagine some pretty dramatic effects on human history (or what is even possible for human history) in what amounts to an historical blink-of-the-eye.

    But in this post I’m actually less concerned about whether or not we believe in the apocalypse in some form or other than in how the Restoration movement responds to apocalyptic delay.

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  14. TH on October 25, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Jon: That’s a pretty harsh generalization for all people of the middle east and all americans. I think it is important to distinguish between extremists on all sides and the majority of people who want to have a peaceful existence. If you look at the specifics of sharia laws for example, you can see that the extreme versions of that aren’t exactly working to hold up the worth of all people by any means. There are bad people on all sides of the issue, but good people too. Sweeping and one-sided generalizations don’t serve to promote dialogue or help heal challenging situations.

    With that said, I don’t think FireTag’s post is about specifics happening in the Middle East or about who is to blame for anything…rather it is about how we, as members of the restoration, are to deal with a situation that is analogous to this: what do we do when the map that we are given through our specific faith tradition doesn’t match the territory, which is the reality of the situation. Do we throw out the entire map and say restorationists were wrong in presuming that we are saints in the latter days? Do we adjust the map? Do we reinterpret the territory?

    For me, it is a matter of distinguishing between the difference between faith and beliefs. Beliefs are specific understandings…as limited human beings our beliefs cannot fully comprehend what God is doing–after all, there would be no need for continuing revelation if we could get it fully once. Faith is trust and faithfulness in God. Faith gives us room for growth. We can adjust beliefs if our understanding of God is too limited without our faith being shattered.

    There is a lot that could be said here, but hopefully this helps to move the dialogue forward rather than trying to shut it down.

    If I have misspoken as to your intentions for the post, FireTag, please correct.

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  15. Mike S on October 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Firetag: As to “how the Restoration movement responds to apocalyptic delay”, I think it will respond as it has to much of everything else that changes. The Church downplays it, doesn’t talk about it, and hopes that people move on.

    In reality, I think that much of the apocalyptic talk characteristic of the early Mormon faith was a reflection of the times as opposed to a true doctrinal basis. People at that time were swept up in various movements, etc. so it is natural for leaders in that time period to incorporate and institutionalize those ideas.

    It has continued. The racism prevalent in BY time was institutionalized into the priesthood ban. The anti-polygamy movement of the late 1800’s was institutionalized into the Manifesto. Prohibition led to the reinterpretation and current format of the WofW. The “big business culture” in companies like IBM, etc in the 1960s and 1970s became institutionalized in the correlated, white-shirt-wearing, clean-shaven-faced traditions of today. The ERA-era changed (somewhat) prohibitions on women not praying in Sacrament, for example. The civil rights movement lead to a change in the institutional practice and finally allowed blacks to have the priesthood. During the Cold War, people interpreted Communism as the fulfillment of many scriptures. Etc.

    We all live in our societies and are necessarily products of that. I think that not much will be made of apocalyptic things in the Church, unless the society-at-large starts considering those things more. At that point, people in the Church will start seeing various scriptures being “fulfilled” in things around them.

    As for me, my key is Google Earth. Once I see a large temple being built in Jackson County to the design given by Joseph Smith by builders who have appears from the North and aren’t necessarily workers of some existing construction company, I will think the end is starting to come. For now, however, we are spending billions on malls in Salt Lake City, so I think we’re good for a while.

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  16. FireTag on October 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Mike S:

    Well, we in CofChrist do refer to the Temple, the Stone Church, and the Auditorium as part of a Temple Complex, so we’re working on that size thing on the Temple Lot. :D

    Your larger point seems to be that you’ll take the apocalypse seriously when apocalyptic things start happening. So would we all, but a real apocalypse sort of implies the warning was real to begin with and necessary.

    No points for my recognizing my heart attack AFTER I had the heart attack.

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  17. TH on October 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    Mike S. Your point about how the church takes and institutionalizes aspects of the broader culture is an intriguing one. In the Community of Christ there is a large emphasis on becoming a prophetic people rather than strictly a people with a prophet. Even so, the Restoration tradition is characterized by the prophetic. How can we (individuals, congregations/wards, and the LDS or CofC church as a whole) claim prophecy as a part of our tradition when we pick up something AFTER the broader culture?

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  18. Mike S on October 25, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    FireTag & TH: I do recognize the retrospective nature of my comments but it is unfortunately reality.

    I would absolutely LOVE if we had a “prophetic” nature in our church. I can’t recall that there has been a true “prophecy” in my lifetime. I don’t know enough about the CofC to comment there, but in the LDS faith, the recent things are pointed to aren’t really “prophecy” in the sense we are talking about.

    We have the Proc on the Family, for which BKP’s talk has been amended to suggest this isn’t a true “revelation”. We have the 1978 decision to finally give blacks the priesthood, but that didn’t really foretell anything. And we have the “inspired” program of correlation, which may or may not have been a good thing and which wasn’t really any different from what any other large organization did.

    I would love for President Monson to come out in the next conference and prophesy in true, “Thus saith the Lord…” fashion.

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  19. Mike S on October 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    And on a personal level, I LOVE the idea of becoming a prophetic people. But even this is squashed in the LDS Church. In the last conference we are told that we can receive personal inspiration just fine, as long as it agrees with the policies and programs and institution of the Church. In that case, the actual effect is to NOT seek to be a “prophetic people” as the valid thinking has already been done.

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  20. FireTag on October 25, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Mike:

    There is a real difference in principle between a prophetic church and an apostolic church, but that’s probably worth a post in itself.

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  21. TH on October 25, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Mike S.

    You might be interested in a book entitled The Challenge of the Prophetic by an evangelist in the CofChrist and former professor of Graceland University. Although some of it speaks to her personal experience, a lot of it has to do with the changing understanding of what constitutes being prophetic such as a “thus saith the spirit…” type of statement…sort of a change from a 1st person to a 3rd person expression of prophecy. If you’re not interested, that’s fine, but just in case, here is the link: http://www.heraldhouse.org/cart/edit.asp?p=129200

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  22. Cowboy on October 25, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    “But in this post I’m actually less concerned about whether or not we believe in the apocalypse in some form or other than in how the Restoration movement responds to apocalyptic delay.”

    This question may go well with the previous post on giving up. How long can we wait and hold our breath under a clause of “delay”? My guess is one-thousand years. While interpretations vary, that’s a nice dispensational figure from scripture. If the Second coming has happened by then, it’s probably safe. If we go two-thousand years we’ve covered our bases doubly. Either way it well beyond our lifetimes, so it really doesn’t matter. In the meantime we can just can use 3rd Nephi to frighten unbelievers into a religious frenzy of what-if. Better yet, if we really want to put this matter to the test, we declare a form of Marshall Law where all believers in Christ are to be put to death at an appointed day, if the second coming has not yet arrived. Just a couple of “doctrinal” thoughts.

    In reality the Church hasn’t been accountable for most of it’s Prophets and prophecies, so I suppose this is just one more matter to be ignored.

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  23. FireTag on October 25, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Cowboy:

    III Nephi 16:8-15 (LDS numbering) is perhaps the quickest experimental test of the particularly Restoration prophecies, since they clearly are happening at some period in the “latter days” BEFORE the Second Coming.

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  24. Jon on October 25, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    TH, Mike S,

    I was just using Mike’s terms when referring to Satan. Regardless, I shouldn’t have gone off topic, I just get upset when people make us (the US) sound like saints and think that the planes on 9/11 just came out of the clear blue sky all of a sudden. Maybe I just listen to too much antiwar.com.

    Back on topic. I think when they refer to a prophetic people it refers to a people that preach Christ (as JS said, a prophet is someone who professes Christ). As in the revelation quoted by FireTag, “But wo…unto the unbelieving gentiles.” It’s our lack of faith that will be the down fall. When I refer to faith I mean, not only believe in Christ but to follow, obey, and take on his name more fully. This will be the downfall.

    I see some of this lack of belief in Christ made manifest in how much of a warring people we have become. The Lord said there would be wars and rumors of wars. We (the US) are currently in perpetual war (since at least WWI, currently Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan) and there are rumors of wars (e.g., we don’t know for sure but it’s assumed the CIA is operating in Yemen and other places).

    I don’t know if it’s (the second coming of Christ) imminent or not but I do know every year we become a more idolatrous people. I specifically look at the idolatry of war being a big one with our monuments and are near (or actual) worship of the war apparatus. We have used God’s name in vain by saying that we are going to war for Him. I know the saints have always believed it could be every year. But I think this is a good belief since as a previous poster said, once we die, for all practical purposes, the day of reckoning has arrived.

    How can we overcome this? Well, I think our (LDS) prophets have already told us, be frugal, have a year supply, read the scriptures, pray, and most importantly come to Christ.

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  25. TH on October 25, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Jon:

    Thanks for your clarification. This helped me to understand where you are coming from much better. Your statement about the importance of preparing for whatever is to come is very wise, in my opinion.

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  26. Cowboy on October 25, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    FireTag:

    I had 3 Nephi 1:9 in mind.

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  27. Cowboy on October 25, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Firetag:

    Sorry, now I’ve confused myself. Regarding:

    “In the meantime we can just can use 3rd Nephi to frighten unbelievers into a religious frenzy of what-if.”

    I had 3 Nephi 29:2 in mind.

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  28. FireTag on October 25, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Jon:

    I come from a very different place than you. Before my daughter was born, for three years I had a window office on the 90th Floor of 2 World Trade (South Tower) looking out kitty-corner at the North Tower. You can see my old office vanishing into the fireball from the second strike in the famous Time magazine cover.

    I hope we try to see as many perspectives as possible, but I think the message “Get to where you feel God wants you to be working in your life and do it NOW is wisdom from a lot of perspectives.”

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  29. FireTag on October 26, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Cowboy:

    I think I finally sorted out which verses you meant. 1:9 or 29:2 both work well.

    #22. I don’t know whether your time as a denomination is limited by delay in the apocalypse or a decline in actual membership, since I don’t have access to good LDS membership data.

    In the Community of Christ, as I linked in the OP, our membership decline is so pronounced and longstanding that are expected lifespan is measured in decades, at least in North America and Europe.

    That, more than anything, personally motivates the questions raised in this post.

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  30. Cowboy on October 26, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Regarding the mainstream Church, they probably don’t publish detailed membership reports for the same reason they don’t provide detailed financial accounting. The data would give a more accurate impression of what’s going on in and with the Church, and reality is far from the message they would like to convey. We do know that convert growth rates are declining. I would be very interested in rates on retention, which presumably has never been very good – but I have a suspicion that there may be an interesting trend here. I would also suspect that drop off rates for BIC members is higher now than in the past – but this is all conjecture. I would guess that access to information is the culprit, as opposed to expectations surrounding the apocalypse. I think the general tendency in Mormonism is becoming a careful look backwards, not forward. But this is all conjecture of course.

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  31. Mark N. on October 27, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Apocalyptic Delay: now, there’s a good name for a rock band.

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  32. FireTag on October 27, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Mark N.

    ROFLOL

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  33. Hedgehog on November 13, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    FireTag,
    I see what you mean about declining baptism numbers. I did read an analysis of LDS numbers on a blog recently, I think it was Doves&Serpents but the post may have been quite old if I’d reached via a link elsewhere, and I didn’t make a note, but the conclusion seemed to be that growth was stagnant.

    Having read your post, I wonder if you may be interested in reading the book I was referrring to on the other post: ‘A history of the End of Time: Apocalypse’ by John Michael Greer and published by Quercus (that’s in Britain – titles and publishers might differ in the US). My husband received it as a birthday present, and I’ve found it fascinating. It mentions the Burned Over district, but Mormonism wasn’t mentioned (which struck me as odd – because I was brought up to believe we were the big thing happening then :-)), though both Jehovah’s witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists do get a mention.

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