John Wilder of Wilder, Wealthy & Wise fame has released a new Civil War 2.0 Weather Report. We've been hovering at 9 on his 10 point scale for months. But he believes we have edged over into 10 as well. Nine is: "Common violence that is generally deemed by governmental authorities as justified based on ideology." Ten is: "Open War".
Wilder's reasoning for the increase is (1) "since the George Floyd riots started, there has been epidemic violence in the nation"; and (2) even though this violence may not have uniformly exceeded the threshold across the United States, it has been exceeded in numerous cities.
This is most easily seen in the violent protests that occurred last year where BLM and Antifa could literally riot and destroy property with impunity, but anyone on the right who dared try to protect themselves or their property was prosecuted with extreme prejudice. But it also shows up in crime statistics and prosecutions (or lack thereof).
For instance, the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2020 was published Monday, showing homicides increased nearly 30 percent last year from 2019. This is the largest single-year increase since the FBI started collecting the data in the 1960s--another period that was marked by low-grade civil war. In fact, it is nearly twice that of the prior record year, 1968, even with 15% of law enforcement agencies not reporting data to the FBI. Unsurprisingly, "[i]n the FBI’s expanded homicide data, the black share of known murder offenders increased to a new record of 56.52%."
And then, as John points out, there are the increasing signs that the Left and Right no longer want to deal with one another, whether it is banks refusing to deal with gun companies (and a few states now willing to not deal with such banks) or YouTube censoring yet another popular conservative vlogger, to broader issues such as a polls showing that a plurality want the red and blue states to split into separate countries, or half of voters believe that the other party is a threat to democracy, and spreading phenomena of crowds at sporting events chanting "F**k Joe Biden".
Finally, the economy looks increasingly fragile. John notes, for instance, that the New York Federal Reserve Bank has suspended its GDP tracking model. To which you can add inflation fears, the continuing shortage of workers, and continued supply chain disruptions.
Charles Krauthammer famously quipped that the immutable law of American politics was that "Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." I have long said that when Conservatives begin to believe that Liberals are evil, then all hell will break loose. I think we have finally crossed that threshold. Mostly because Liberals won the cultural war and now enjoy the power to do something about those "evil" conservatives without any moral constraint. And it is driving deep divisions.
To a certain extent, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a microcosm of what is going on across America. That is, "Black Lives Matter", feminism and LGBT+ privileges, illegal immigration, and, most recently, Covid vaccinations, have caused deep divisions within the membership of the Church. This is bad enough that we have recently received messages from all levels of Church government--from the leaders of local congregations to the highest ranking Church officials--about the need to set our differences aside and strengthen our love for one another. It isn't going to happen because there are irreconcilable differences between the two sides; and the Left will never be satisfied with whatever concessions it may obtain and will continue to subvert the Church and its leadership.
To a certain extent, this subject is taken up in a recent, heavily Left-wing article from the Washington Post entitled, "The Rise of the Liberal Latter-day Saints -- And the battle for the future of Mormonism" by Emily Kaplan. The article begins by detailing the Church's recent communique to members encouraging them to get vaccinated because the vaccines are "safe and effective" (which didn't sit well with many members) before moving on to a Church congregation ("ward") in Berkley, California, that "welcomes everyone — openly gay members, atheists, followers of other faiths, undocumented immigrants and even people with very conservative politics — with acceptance and love."
A former leader of that congregation, Matt Marostica, dives into the LGBT+ controversy in the Church and how it is, he claims, damaging to the Church. Per the article:
His ward has long served as a liberal counterweight to many conservative pronouncements made by church leaders, which in recent years have predominantly concerned homosexuality. In 2008, Berkeley, along with other liberal communities in the San Francisco Bay area, was a site of severe pushback to the church’s push to pass Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that sought to limit marriage to a man and a woman. In 2015, when church policy was changed to prevent children of same-sex couples from being baptized, Marostica’s community was outraged once again. (That policy was reversed four years later.) And more recently, there was a profound sense of betrayal when apostle Jeffrey Holland — long considered one of the more liberal leaders of the church — urged the faculty of Brigham Young University, the flagship campus of the university run by the church, to take up metaphorical “musket fire” against peers who show public support for gay Latter-day Saints.
And, as to Proposition 8, the article reveals that Marostica, and others, used their positions to undermine the Church:
When Marostica assumed his role as bishop in the Berkeley ward, those convictions — as well as his duty to carry out the orders of his church superiors — were put to the test. It was a month after church leaders in Salt Lake City had instructed all California clergy to read a statement urging members to campaign to pass Proposition 8 — that is, to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.”
At the time, Marostica used that language to his advantage. “I got guidance from the stake president to say: Here’s what the letter says: ‘Do all that you can do,’ ” he told me. He interpreted that liberally with his congregants. He told them, “If all that you can do is to not do anything, that’s fantastic — you’re doing all that you can do. If doing all that you can do means that you don’t demonize the church leadership, that is all that you can do.”
Dean Criddle, who was serving as the president in the Oakland Stake, of which Berkeley is a part, tried to influence church authorities toward more inclusive policies, hosting a panel of Latter-day Saints who felt personally wounded by the Prop 8 statement and bringing apostles to meet in private with church members who might touch their hearts, or even change their minds. Criddle told me that these actions reflect his view that change best comes from using levers within the institution — never by publicly criticizing church leaders. Often, that doesn’t seem to work — the 2015 policy change regarding the children of gay parents, for instance, was the opposite of what Criddle had hoped for after he hosted an apostle at his home — but other times it may have. Criddle believes that some of the church’s recent softening around gay issues came as a result of meetings he set up between members and visiting apostles.
But Marostica and others in the article are also confident that the Church's stance toward the LGBT+ issue will continue to change in favor of their desires. For instance:
According to Jana Riess, author of the 2019 book “The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church,” fewer Latter-day Saints are following behavioral mandates like the prohibition against alcohol and coffee. Polling conducted by Riess and others has shown that the percentage of Latter-day Saints born after 1997 who do not identify as heterosexual may be 20 percent or higher. In perhaps the most dramatic break with the past, the partisan identification gap among millennial church members is narrow — 41 percent Democratic, 46 percent Republican — and a plurality of members under 40 voted for Biden.
It also notes many instances of Church members that are privately meeting to discuss LGBT+ issues, and those that hope to affect change within the Church. Some of these members, the article describes, have the belief that Church authorities do not have the authority to speak for God. As one related, "That may go against the church’s teachings, but I don’t believe that a group of men can tell me that I won’t have an eternal family."
The article concludes:
Patrick Mason, the Utah State professor, offers a bolder forecast — one that may give heart to liberal Latter-day Saints who are desperate for change within the church, as well as those who are quietly debating whether, or to what extent, they can justify staying. “People have already started to do the work to sketch out a theological rationale that would allow for the kind of revelation that allows for women’s ordination, for same-sex marriage, all kinds of things,” he says. And, he adds, with the passage of time “what was once possible then becomes probable.”
Church leaders may be anxious to prevent a schism within the Church, but it seems inevitable at this point. For one thing, per r/K political theory, the two sides of the political spectrum are inherently incompatible and hostile toward one another. For instance, the sexual license exhorted by liberal r-strategists is diametrically opposite to the monogamy favored by the K-select conservative. Similarly, the K-selected loyalty to one's in-group is incompatible with the "open borders" and preference for outsiders shown by the liberal r-selected "rabbit."
For another, the liberal element is espousing a religion and a God contrary to that in the Bible or Book of Mormon. They imagine a God that is accepting of all behaviors due to His love for all people, rather than a God that hates the wicked (Psalms 5:5 and Psalms 11:5), cannot abide the sight of sin or evil (Habakkuk 1:13; Alma 45:16), and that has cursed and killed the wicked (Genesis 19:24 (destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah); Numbers 16:35 (destruction by fire of Korah and others that rebelled against Moses); Numbers 16:41-49 (death of over 14,000 because they objected to the death of Korah); 3 Nephi 8 (destruction of many cities by various calamities because of their wickedness)). They seem to think that there will either not be a Second Coming when Christ returns in justice, or that they will somehow be exempted. Conversely, scripture tells us that the glory of the Savior’s presence will consume the wicked. (See Nahum 1:5–10; D&C 133:41; 5:19).
Of course, this is not just something happening in the LDS Church, but in all of Christian churches and sects. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thessalonians 2:3). I believe that time is almost upon us.
We have been warned of wolves in sheep's clothing and false prophets. We have been told to "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17).
Christ's first coming was in mercy: to allow us a way to escape the otherwise certain death of sin. As Christ's interactions show--particularly when he shamed a group of men from stoning an adultress and then told her to go and sin no more--God loves the repentant sinner, but there is no place in His kingdom for the unrepentant sinner, i.e., the wicked.