Friday, 20 May 2011

Learning from Mormons

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I am very interested by, and sympathetic to, Mormons.

(I will use the term 'Mormon' as being that with the widest circulation over the longest timespan.)

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It was back in (I think) 2007 or so that I began to realize that Mormons were the only group in 'modern' society which had solved the basic problems and contradictions: first and foremost to reproduce at above-replacement rates, with the most successful (most devout, wealthy, highly educated) Mormons having the most children - and this in a context where almost all Mormons use contraception and family planning. 

Furthermore, Mormons as a group are extremely well-behaved in almost every way, and Utah is an outlier at the positive end of most social statistics comparing American states.

Mormons have grown from nothing to about 16 million worldwide since 1830 (exponentially - doubling about every 15-20 years partly by conversion but substantially by having many children and retaining them within the faith), and 8 million in the US; and are disproportionately represented among the wealthy and powerful

I also find Mormon theology to be very beautiful and am moved by the heroism of their foundation story - I agree with Harold Bloom that Joseph Smith was an inspired religious genius of the front rank.

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I should point out that my interest is almost entirely theoretical - I have some Mormon (and ex-Mormon) penfriends; and have read several dozen books on the subject in many aspects (history, sociology, theology, scriptures); have read numerous online newspapers, magazines and blogs; and watched videos of several types; and I have even done two internet surveys of the psychological basis of Mormon fertility - but I have never properly met a practising Mormon, at least not to sit down and talk with.

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But I feel that my efforts to explore the Mormon world have been very rewarding and enlightening; and I would encourage others to do the same.

The fact is that if a Martian social scientist was to land on the earth and look at humans with an objective eye, there is no doubt that he would regard Mormons as the best adapted of all human communities.

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Regular reader will know that I regard Eastern Orthodox Christianity to be the Truth; but that does not block my admiration and sympathy for Mormons.

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I would go so far as to predict that if the US survives in anything resembling its present form, it will (realistically) only happen if Mormons come to dominate the ruling elite - and indeed the trend is strongly in that direction.

(If the US population is about 300 million, and the ruling elite numbers about 25 million; then Mormons already have about 2 million in this group. Each generation will at-least halve the number of the current elite - who are virtually sterile - while doubling-plus the number of elite Mormons. 'Do the math'.)

And if, as seems more likely, the US breaks-up into smaller units, the one which I would prefer to live-in would be the mountain West, centred-on and dominated-by the Mormons of Utah.

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