Animal Farm, Dictatorships and Mormonism

By: Jake
December 9, 2011

animal_farm.jpg

One book that profoundly altered the way I see the world is Animal Farm. I recently re-read it and I was struck by the shift from a communist democracy to a totalitarian regime.  I began to see some parallels to the changes happening in the modern church.

Animal Farm is TIME magazine’s, one of the greatest books of the twentieth century.  It is short (about 60 pages long, available here to download the pdf) and simple to read yet contains profound insights into society. Animal Farm tells the story of a revolution on Manor Farm by the animals. After overthrowing Mr. Jones and his men, the animals establish a utopian society. They establish rules that will preserve the freedom and happiness of the animals. The pigs Napoleon and Snowball offer themselves as leaders of this community. Over time a dispute between the two happens, and Snowball is evicted. Under Napoleon’s leadership the pigs slowly become corrupted and take advantage of the other animals.  At the same time the animals live in ignorance of the manipulation of the leaders and refuse to rebel against the increasing tyranny that the pigs subject them to.  Animal Farm makes two powerful statements:  one about the corrupting influence of power and the second about the ability of people to accept and live with an abuse of power.

Leaders and Pigs

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The tale shows how power can corrupt even the best people. The pure motives that guided the revolution soon get forgotten by those who take leadership roles. As Franz Kafka said, “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind it the slime of a new bureaucracy.”

In section 121:39 of the D&C, Joseph Smith revealed:  “We have learned from sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men as soon as they get a little power, as they suppose, to immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” In Animal Farm the power of the pigs allows them to exercise unrighteous dominion over the animals on the farm.

Snowball

“It seemed to them as though snowball were some kind of invisible influence, pervading the air about them and menacing them with all kinds of danger.”

As one of the early leaders of the revolution Snowball proposed a plan to build a windmill. His plan was rejected, and he was cast out of the farm (a bit like the council in heaven and Lucifer’s plan).  After his exodus Snowball became the scrape goat of animal farm and when anything that went wrong it was attributed to him. In many ways Snowball echoes the way Satan is invoked within the church.  The mythology around them distorts and manipulates their reputation in order to control and persuade others. Just as the name of Snowball was used to manipulate the animals in the farm, we should be wary that Satan is being used in an equally manipulative way within church discourse.

Napoleon

“Do not imagine that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility.”

Animal-Farm-Napoleon.jpgEverything good on Animal Farm is attributed to Napoleon. Orwell portrays him as a power seeker, who is concerned only with preserving his position and his own comfort. Whilst he is constantly exhorting the animals to work, he himself does very little and only administers. Napoleon alters the history of the revolution to place him as the hero who overthrew the humans. Napoleon takes the glory for achievements that are not entirely his. This reminded me of the tendency to attribute everything to God in the church which diminishes human achievement. We can be quick to attribute the recovery of a sick child to a priesthood blessing and forget the role of doctors and medical researchers, both past and present, who created the medical treatment that allowed them to be healed.

Squealer

“The animals seemed to remember that a resolution against this had been passed in the early days, and again Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case.”

animal_farm1.jpeg

Squealers purpose was to promote propoganda about the farm. He reminded the animals of how terrible things were outside the farm, and how bad they were before the revolution. In the church we often hear about how bad, wicked and terrible the world is. We are told about the dark days of the great apostasy prior to the restoration and how unenlightened the world was before the dawn of the restoration of all things. The creation of a feared outside world makes the present community appear better and safer by contrast.

Squealer also masks changes in administration and promotes historical revisionism. When the rules were violated and altered by the pigs Squealer convinced them that the rules had always been like this. The history and practices of the church are spoken of as universal and unchanging, contrary to evidence, and manuals are written to deemphasize those changes.  The past is reinterpreted and whitewashed to reflect the modern state of affairs.

Administration of the Farm and the Correlation Committee

“In future all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. These would meet in private and afterwards would communicate their decisions to the others.”

Initially on Animal Farm all decisions were made by consensus. Every Sunday they would meet together and all the ideas about how the farm should be run and administered were openly discussed and then all animals would vote on which plan they would like to implement. Over time the meetings stopped, and instead an elite group made decisions and then imposed them upon others. This is  parallel to how change happens in the church today, although we originally used “by common consent.” All decisions about how the church operates today are made by special committees behind closed doors, who then publish it via letters read in sacrament and in the church handbook of Instructions; these protocols are simply communicated to the middle-managers of the church who inform members. This shift from open debate to closed private decision making in Animal Farm solidified the shift from a democracy to a totalitarian regime.

Members and Animals

The other side of the story is the tale of the members of the community who are subjected and manipulated by the pigs.

The sheep and members

‘Two legs bad, four legs good’

AnimalFarm-Sheep-copy.jpg

The sheep in the book are, well, sheep. They follow without thinking.  In Animal Farm the chorus of sheep drowns out criticism and discussion amongst the animals in all of their meetings.  Sometimes it seems within the church that the chorus of ‘follow the prophet’ drowns out any discussion on the merit of the proposed course of action.

Mollie and those who leave

“None of the animals ever mentioned Mollie again”

Mollie loves sugar lumps and pretty ribbons. She leaves the farm for another farm where she gets sugar and ribbons. Mollie is like those who stray from the church. After her exodus, no one mentions her as it doesn’t fit in their framework.  They cannot understand why, if live is so good on Animal Farm, Mollie left?

Boxer – The hardworking member

“Boxer was the admiration of everybody. He had been a hard worker even in Jones’s time but now he seemed more like three horses then one; there were days when the entire work of the farm seemed to rest upon his shoulders”

“His answer to every problem, every setback was ‘I will work harder.’”

boxer.jpg

Boxer’s story is heartbreaking. Boxer studies and works tirelessly out of his simple faith in Napoleon. Many bloggernaclers have an element of skepticism toward authority.  We see leaders’ flaws, and we raise concerns online about things that we do not agree with. Our obedience is not in ignorance. Most of us who believe, believe with an awareness of the historical, philosophical, procedural and theological issues of Mormonism.  However, the church is not made up of people from the bloggernacle.  In my ward most people do not know about the issues discussed here and do not approach their faith with skepticism. In many ways they are like Boxer - the faithful who want to do the best and work hard at being faithful.

Those who, like Boxer, faithfully follow the brethren, those who sacrifice all that they have – those are ultimately the ones who get taken advantage of by the institution.  They go above and beyond the call of duty in the service of the church and ultimately end up in the knackers yard out of exhaustion. Just as Boxer worked more than he needed to, believing in the leaders and in the vision they had given him of the future, in our wards we can members like him. As a youth I had a home teaching companion who went out with the missionaries every week.  He was a simple man, who gave everything he had to the church, and his answer to any difficulty was to simply work harder. His dedication profoundly affected me.  He was always reaching out in service to other people, yet he never achieved any form of church position despite being one of the most faithful people I ever knew.  He tirelessly served the church, and never received anything in return, whilst many who were far lazier “church careerists” were given positions of responsibility. The Boxers are the unsung heroes of Mormonism.

Why compare Animal Farm to the Church?

In Animal Farm’s final scene the pigs are playing poker with the local farmers.  As the animals look at the men and pigs, they realize that they look the same. The farm has become just like the farm they overthrew. The new regime simply became the old.  At times it seems that the very things that the early church leaders where against have slowly filtered into the church. The radical revolutionary thinking that characterised the early restoration has been replaced with a very different bureaucracy.  The question is, to what extent has the Church adopted the very stance that it once stood in opposition to?

Discuss.

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31 Responses to Animal Farm, Dictatorships and Mormonism

  1. Aaron R. on December 9, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Jake, your narrative which traces the move from common consent to secret committees lacks an appropriate level of nuance. Certainly there have been changes in how these principles are practised, and it might even be correct to say that earlier forms of Mormonism were more egalitarian, but this misses the very real sense in which JS regularly asserted his authority and the extent to which revelations were received through councils which consisted mainly of his inner circle (i.e. the 12 and others).

    Moreover, the comparison between members of the ward who do not know the issues you do and the sense in which their story is ‘heartbreaking’ seems inaccurate. This ignores the sense in which spiritual fulfillment can come from faithful service for these people. Further, you too readily categorise between people who know the historical and theological issues and are therefore skeptical and those who do not know and who are not skeptical. That misses the fuzziness of the lived experience of those who know and who are not skeptical and the skepticism of those who do not know.

    Lastly, why would not having prominent responsibility be a sign that your friend never got anything in return?

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  2. SilverRain on December 9, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    It is my experience that, in general, the higher up the priesthood line you go, the less your description resembles the church. Your “middle management” and many lay members see things the way you describe, but I have only heard such an approach from the very greenest members with callings of temple president, or Area or General Authority levels.

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  3. question on December 9, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    this isn’t the strongest post, but i appreciate the effort.

    It is amazing to me that church members don’t demand the same quality from the church that we do from others. We have no financial transparency, and a huge possibility for corruption. but we like to point fingers at the catholics…

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  4. Sunshine on December 9, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    I can appreciate the comparison/frustration for more upward feedback and involvement, particularly where policy appears to be a stumbling block many, including ourselves. Sometimes the ‘latter-day saint’ part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seems to be more heavy-handed than we prefer. I can see many of your points.

    The difficulty I have with your post is that there doesn’t seem to be much by way of acknowledgement of God’s involvement. If that is your belief, that’s fine. But I would just like to point out, similar to Aaron, the individual and collective effort to turn to Christ that is facilitated by the church, priesthood keys, etc. The flawed institution you speak to is helping to bring people all over the world to the knowledge of and personal relationship with, their Savior.

    I apologize for not being succinct – I am not experienced in the bloggernacle. Just pointing out the tragedy is that God is nowhere evident in Animal Farm, and were the comparison as accurate as you put forth, we would indeed be in dire straights. That hasn’t been my experience. And I hope we as a people don’t let it become so.

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  5. alice on December 9, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    I’m still trying to take this all in but one of the thoughts I had was that the feeling in my stomach resembles the one I got when I heard that we are no longer supposed to even write to GAs.

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  6. Will on December 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Jake,

    I think this is a horrible analogy, and a bad post for that matter, casting a shadow over the church that it is somehow a dictatorship. It is nothing of the sort. It is founded on God given agency –a church that teaches freedom of choice, but not freedom from the consequences of our choice – just as god intended.

    I think the fruits of the leadership of this great church are good. The members of the two presiding quorums are good and honorable men that are innately good – the best of breed from their respective fields of medicine, law, education and business. There is no dominion or compulsion – attendance if voluntary, attending the temple is voluntary, baptism is voluntary, living the principles is voluntary and serving in callings other respective duties are voluntary.

    Jake this is a bad post with a bad message.

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  7. Course Correction on December 9, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Jake,

    I’ve often thought of the similarity between church administration and Animal Farm–though not in as strong a terms as you do.

    I definitely think of Animal Farm when I hear the message that husbands and wives are equal partners, but the husband presides.

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  8. Paul 2 on December 9, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    I don’t agree with Will very often, but I do this time. I think this post and this comparison to Animal Farm is uncalled for.

    For me the difference is that I have known several GAs over a period of time and have family members who have worked extensively with GAs in their callings. From my sample size of 5 or 6, I think you would have to look hard to find any evidence of laziness ever, or any lack of concern about members or doing what they believe to be right. I think that the comparison totally misrepresents who those men are as a group and what they are giving to a cause they believe in. Although there are changes I would dearly like to see in the church, I don’t think a comparison between murderous totalitarian thugs and our church leaders is warranted.

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  9. jmb275 on December 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Re Jake-
    I love Animal Farm. One of my favorite books. However, I agree with Aaron on this one. Your analogy is just too broad, there’s not enough nuance, and I just don’t see the sort of power mongering that exists in Animal Farm.

    A few points I feel like you missed:
    1. The pigs were elite because they were smart. That was the original reasoning for giving them power. But our leaders don’t get chosen because they’re smarter, or better, in fact they regularly push against that idea. Even if you take the cynical view of nepotism in the church, I think it’s a stretch to claim it’s Napolean (the pig) like power grabbing.

    2. I think the biggest problem is that you leave out the reasons why changes occurred. Changes in Animal Farm occurred because of Napolean’s desire for power and laziness (as you point out). But changes in the church that may on the surface resemble changes in Animal Farm are often born out of practicality, not corruption.

    3. If we take your analogy to the logical conclusion, then we would need to ask who exactly our leaders would resemble when we peer through the window and see them “playing poker.” Who would that be? God, Christ, other prophets, corrupt leaders? Frankly, I just can’t see any of them fitting the analogy with the same result. Going along with that, what “regime” was replaced with the modern church like which we are now becoming?

    As for Animal Farm, for me the take home point is the evolution from

    All animals are equal

    to

    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    which I think is a statement about communalism and various forms of “equality” that many demand.

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  10. Manu Forti on December 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    I on the other hand thought it was a great analogy. How sheep like are we to bleat follow the brethern at evey turn. How the Church has changed from the time of Joseph and how much like the protestants we have become…the very things we were founded to oppose.

    No I thought this was a very good analogy. Well done.

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  11. Jake on December 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Aaron R,

    Thinking about it I would agree with you that there isn’t really a shift from consent to secret committees in the church. As we have Joseph Smith and the council of 50, and the minutes and what its purposes were, I don’t think we will ever see or know. So yes there isn’t really a move there.

    However, I don’t think the spiritual fulfilment and enjoyment necessarily overrides the way in which the church can overwork its members. After all it is not unheard of that some people learn to love the slavery they find themselves in. I agree most the people I know have rewarding lives from the church, but that doesn’t mean they are not being overworked through being told to do more then they need or have to do and they can enjoy being overworked. In animal farm Boxer loved the work that he did so gaining fulfilment doesn’t refute the comparison. I agree though that it is more nuanced and complex then I portray it though. My rhetoric could have been tamer.

    Will and Paul 2,

    I will concede that I did make the comparisons rather strong. But I didn’t actually compare the leaders to ‘murderous totalitarian thugs.’ I think you both miss the point of the post which is that just as Animal farm was founded on good principles, but over time it lost its way and became what it was established to avoid can we see that the church has slowly became something that it initially was established against. In short have we moved from being a revolutionary dynamic religion to just a variant of mainstream christianity?

    You are entitled to disagree but I would like to know on what grounds you think that the analogy is actually not valid? None of your points actually address any of the analogies in the post you simply say our leaders are good and good things are the fruits therefore I am wrong in this comparison. I probably am, but your argument doesn’t convince me as its just a reverse form of ad hominem.

    Both your arguments are that my analogy is bad because there are good people in charge of the church. I too know many GA personally, I never doubted their commitment to helping others nor did I say anything negative about leaders. They really are some of the best people I know. However, the analogy is about institutions and ideologies not about the leaders. An institution can lose its way with good people at the helm. The only reference to leaders actions that I made was the historical revisionism and it can’t be denied that the church is selective and sometimes misrepresents its past. Yes, I would say that most leaders have good intentions, but having good intentions does not make them impervious from causing bad consequences from their intentions.

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  12. Cowboy on December 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Perhaps the comparison to Church culture broadly is a bit overgeneralized, but the thought that came to mind was “this was my mission”.

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  13. Remlap on December 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I thought this was a great post. The fact that it struck a nerve with some of us (myself included) just points out how close it hits home.

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  14. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Plug in is working again. I have to say this is the best illustrated post ever. Appreciate Paul’s points though.

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  15. aerin on December 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    I know a little of Soviet history, and Animal Farm reminds me a lot of that history. Particularly in relation to Stalin and Trotsky. It’s a scathing critique of everything the bolsheviks set out to do.

    I don’t think this OP is far from the mark either, describing how hard some members work. It’s really a lot like many non profit organizations…the LDS church to the PTA. Often these organizations continue to exist because of the labor of the masses.

    Is the premise that orginally Joseph Smith (depending on your beliefs with inspiration) intended to overthrow the current church model…and in the modern church it looks a lot like some of those other churches in practice? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable assertion.

    In terms of all mormons being equal but some being more equal than others…I don’t think that’s an unreasonable idea either. In my former ward, we knew exactly which family were related to a general authority. Did they have preferential treatment? Yes. Now, was it the family that demanded that treatment? No. It’s the same as what our society gives celebrity, politicans, managers and entrepreneurs (sp).

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  16. Aaron R. on December 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Jake, I suspect we are in agreement. There is no doubt that some people are overworked in the Church, I would even say I am one of those, which might explain my perspective on Boxer. I also agree that the Church can be a blackhole in terms of the demands it places upon our time and so there is a sense in which we need to find some distance from it.

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  17. hawkgrrrl on December 10, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    Jake – I think objections to your post are because it was written as an indictment of communist Russia, which was really oppressive, but there are still parallels to the church and to all large organizations. Things start out idealistically, and eventually, social power corrupts the system despite good intentions.

    I agree with Aaron’s comment that members who give their all like Boxer don’t need to be made leaders to feel it is worth it to them, nor is being a leader a reward. Now if you had likened being a bishop to being sent to the glue factory for the last remaining value to be extracted from you, that might have made sense too!

    On the whole I think the analogy works. Animal Farm is also a treatise on how a Utopia becomes a Dystopia, a cautionary tale of what to look for, to guard against. The church should guard against these things: elitism, lack of listening to the members, blind followership, not appreciating the sacrifices of the loyal.

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  18. [...] discussion topics, we have why the CoJCoL-dS is like the Soviet Union and how the CoJCoL-dS will soon collapse. It may be related to the belief in infallible authority [...]

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  19. Chino Blanco on December 11, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    For some reason, these photos reminded me of that final scene with the pigs playing poker with the farmers:

    http://washingtonscene.thehill.com/party-events-pictures/archive/4745-annual-canterbury-medal-dinner-

    Happy scrolling. Oink oink.

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  20. Miri on December 12, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Jake, I actually think this is an amazing analogy. I really, really, really like this post. Of course it’s not saying church leadership is like that of Communist Russia, and I feel like we should be able to look past that point to see the other similarities–which are striking. No analogy is ever perfect, and the fact that this one isn’t either doesn’t make it invalid.

    I’m just really taken aback by how much this post struck me. Animal Farm is fantastic and this comparison illustrates really well the areas in which I have issues with the church.

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  21. Jake on December 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Jmb275,

    I agree with you about the difference between the two. It is not a perfect comparison. I think that there is a crucial difference between the two in that Animal Farm the pigs were power grabbing, and I don’t think that is the motives for the process within the church.

    As for the final scene and what our leaders resemble. Manu Forti captures my feelings on it when they said ‘how much like the protestants we have become’ along with the wonderful pictures by Chino in which our religious leaders blend into every other religious leader and businessman (or women).

    Hawk and Aaron,

    That’s an interesting point about boxer being sent to the glue-factory and its similarities to being called as Bishop. Perhaps that’s what being called as a senior missionary couple is, or as a Mission President or area seventy is. Its sucking out the last bit of service from you in your retirement. It occurs to me that being called as an Apostle really isn’t a fun calling. The saying no rest for the wicked in this case surely should be there is no rest for the righteous.

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  22. Me on December 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    If Animal Farm blew your mind, check out 1984.

    HOWEVER, to REALLY blow your mind, read Eric Hoffer’s ‘The True Believer!’

    Holy cow. It will forever alter the way you see these things.

    http://www.amazon.com/True-Believer-Thoughts-Movements-Perennial/dp/0060505915/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323808423&sr=8-1

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  23. James on December 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    I think part of the reason people are resisting this comparison is because they want to posit a divide with benevolent totalitarianism on one side, and violently oppressive totalitarianism on the other.

    And Jake, when you say to jmb, “in that Animal Farm the pigs were power grabbing, and I don’t think that is the motives for the process within the church.” I think you should take a step back, because your analogy is solid.

    Are the leaders of the church seeking power so they can be lazy and glutinous? Doubtful. But they are definitely power seeking. Correlation demonstrates this desire to centralize administrative power. Leaders preaching that disagreeing with leaders is unrighteous (how many times have we heard the narrative in the last twenty years of the person who disagrees with his/her bishop, but follows his counsel anyway and is blessed for it) when Joseph would invite people to come debate him and Brigham told people that trusting our salvation to our leaders without clear confirmation was God could result in us being led astray.

    Furthermore, when the church is not obligated to the people to be financially transparent in any way and then drops $2,000,000,000 that came from its people on a shopping mall, then I’d say there’s been a consolidation of power. And the fact that so many defend the City Creek nonsense by saying “it’s not tithing” only further attests to the way the power has been concentrated. Tithing is the only original source of the Church’s money, sure there may have been investments of tithing money in ways seen as acceptable to the church, but even if the money used for City Creek was not tithing money in terms of accounting, it was generated from tithing money. There’s no way around that since tithing is the church’s revenue stream.

    The other challenge presented (I think from Will) is that it is not the Animal Farm analogy doesn’t work because people have their “agency” and can leave at any time. Sorry, this argument doesn’t work either.

    You overlook the fact that the animals too had agency: Mollie left without any problem. Saying that people can exit the totalitarian system ignores the fact that exiting would often be worse than staying. In the church this is even more true. Even if someone is in the church and doesn’t accept the truth claims, sure someone has “agency” to hypothetically leave, but to do so would cost friends, family, and social relations. If that person is a firm believer then that “agency” is diminished even more. I mean, agency with a gun to the head is not really agency. If you tell someone that they’ll lose their spouse, their children, their extended family and suffer for all eternity, then how much “choice” do they have as far as their conformity is concerned. When you are told that you have two choices, follow God or follow Satan and doing the former will bring you everlasting happiness and the latter everlasting suffering, then “agency” is pretty ephemeral. The animals on the farm actually had much more of a choice than we do.

    I should be clear. Yes I think the church is totalitarian and that the accuracy of Jake’s analogy far outweigh any overlooking of nuance: there is some of that going on, to be sure, but the analogy is sound. But just because I see the church’s totalitarianism as one of its problems, I still think it is led by men who receive inspiration and have love in their hearts for their people. I don’t doubt that love or the inspiration they receive to bless people’s lives. The problem is that even a benevolent dictator will end up oppressing the people “for their own good.” Correlation, following one’s leaders unquestioningly, secretive financial practices, and de-emphasis of our peculiar doctrine with the near obsession to be accepted by the Christian world as Christians all point to a consolidation of power from the top. It doesn’t mean the church is not God’s church (by no means!), but it does mean we have a problem. And even though we have a problem, we can still be happy in and with the church, but that doesn’t mean we should think that benevolent totalitarianism is not totalitarianism all the same.

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  24. [...] Animal Farm, Dictatorships and Mormonism – Jake [...]

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  25. Main Street Plaza » 2011 Brodies: Vote Here!! on February 21, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    [...] Animal Farm, Dictatorships and Mormonism – Jake [...]

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  26. [...] public criticism.” There is a lot about this that I find deeply concerning. Considering I already think the church has some similarities with Animal Farm, this seems like something directly out of 1984 and the thought police. However, let us look at [...]

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  27. [...] We often find the church kicking and fighting against progress rather than fighting for it. As I have observed before the church has some similarities to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in particular the maxim that: ‘All animals are equal but some are more equal then others.’ [...]

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  28. zimasa on September 17, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    this is the norm in working enviroment

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  29. truthseeker55 on September 29, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    I think the Lord calls leaders who try and test us. In fact, I know He does. Why? To teach us not to rely on the arm of flesh, but rather to rely on Him.
    My salvation does not come thru church leaders, it comes thru the Lord. If I orient my life to Him, then no matter what church leaders do… I am safe.
    I think this is the fundamental lesson to be learned from the Kirtland apostasy. A good leader will always shine the light on the Savior, not on himself.

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  30. truthseeker55 on September 29, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    I think the Lord calls leaders who try and test us. In fact, I know He does. Why? To teach us not to rely on the arm of flesh, but rather to rely on Him.
    My salvation does not come thru church leaders, it comes thru the Lord. If I orient my life to Him, then no matter what church leaders do… I am safe.
    I think this is the fundamental lesson to be learned from the Kirtland apostasy. A good leader will always shine the light on the Savior, not on himself.

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  31. Mike on December 5, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Jake,

    This a fantastic comparison and I’m surprised that I hadn’t linked the Church and Animal Farm like this in the past. If people can’t
    see where you are coming from, they have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask “why not?” Are they a “sheep” or a “boxer”? The simple test is this, if a “Molly” member decides to go to another church or no church, what reasons go through your head? If, because it might not be the truth then you have all the evidence you need to make this comparison. Because in your mind “there is no legitimate reason to leave”, yet you only know one lifestyle, so how can you possibly come to that conclusion?? From people who told you so, with their experience from living that same lifestyle? In the past, our church was way more cowboy and anti-establishment aka Catholocism. Now we are a whole lot more business and more closely resemble that (now rescinded) w***e of the earth.

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