A student walks past the entrance of Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo on February 16, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/George Frey *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-BYU-COMPLAINT, originally transmitted on March 18, 2015.

Mormon apostle bemoans kids today

There’s been some pushback this week in response to Elder Quentin Cook’s BYU devotional of February 7, when he spoke of a “banquet of consequences” for young people who engage the pleasures of the world instead of focusing on the path ahead, which should be about faith and family.

Quoting C. S. Lewis (who has, over his dead body, become the default theologian of Mormon apostles), Elder Cook said that it’s Satan’s plan to make evil seem good and wrong seem right.

In particular, he identified some major warning areas for students:

  • Word of Wisdom. Elder Cook suggested that a few generations ago, forces of evil convinced people that smoking was fashionable, but time and science have proven otherwise. And alcohol addiction is responsible for broken families, hospital admissions, fetal alcohol syndrome, and more.
  • Family choices. This was a major focus of the speech, which censured delayed marriage, abortion, and today’s declining fertility rates in many nations.
  • Materialism. Too many people, Elder Cook said, focus on acquiring wealth, to the neglect of the spirit. It’s good to have sufficient for our needs—and then to stop there so we have time to take care of more important things.

Here’s the thing: I agree with many things that he said (more on that in a moment). But I strongly disagree with the hackneyed and counterproductive trope of casting all social change we don’t like as driven by Satanic influence. Maybe that’s because I’m doing exactly what he warned against — not being sensitive to the subtlety of evil — but I hope you’ll hear me out.

Elder Cook essentially said that people who engage in the behaviors listed above are “mercenaries” of Satan. Really? For starters, using that language where addiction is concerned ignores much of the best research on addiction, which is not only (or even always) a choice but also a disease.

But more to the point of helping this particular audience, why employ scare tactics at BYU? As he acknowledged in the speech, those students have already signed an honor code that prohibits them from smoking and drinking, so why trot out these extreme and dramatic examples of substance abuse?

Now that we are analyzing the results of the Next Mormons survey, I think I have an inkling: not all young Mormons are interpreting the Word of Wisdom as rigidly as Mormons of Elder Cook’s generation. I’ll write more about these findings in the months to come, but what I suspect is happening is that the leaders of the Church have access to the same kinds of data I am seeing, and probably far more. (The Church has its own internal research division, which does very sophisticated social science research about members.)

The problem is that Mormon leaders seem to almost immediately jump to the language of addiction whenever speaking about behaviors they want to denounce, whether that be pornography or, as here, failure to keep the Word of Wisdom. And in this case, Elder Cook has thrown in the anti-imprimatur of Satan to drive the point home.

The Church needs to do better than this. We can’t leap to the specter of fatal car crashes every time a young person asks the perfectly legitimate question of why one can of beer is wrong (especially since the Word of Wisdom itself encourages moderation). Elder Cook’s talk does nothing to answer that question, and everything to alienate any young listeners who may have in fact partaken.

I’m not saying that some of Elder Cook’s advice isn’t good. What particularly hits home for me is his discussion of the perils of delaying childbearing. I wish I could go back in time and follow that counsel. We had a child at 29, then decided to wait until my husband was finished with his doctorate and we had good health insurance before we tried again. By the time we did we were faced with infertility, miscarriage, and heartache. It’s the greatest regret of my life.

But it’s categorically unfair to say that we postponed having another child because we were bowing to the whims of Satan. That’s absurd and incredibly insulting. If anything, we thought we were being responsible adults. Responsible adults wait until they have health insurance. Were we evil to wait? I don’t think so. Naïve, certainly: we felt healthy and invincible, so it never occurred to us that my ovaries were quietly diving off a cliff.

But naiveté and ignorance are hardly a sin. Our decision to delay having another child was not the work of Satan so much as the logical result of inexperience, overconfidence, and a broken health care system.

When Mormon leaders lecture young people (or anyone else), it would be great if they could so without suggesting that anyone who has ever strayed from their carefully delineated path is under the influence of Satan. It’s just not helpful. It shuts down discussion and makes young adults feel judged. Heck, they feel judged because they are being judged. And as I shared here recently, feeling “judged or misunderstood” tied for #1 in our research in the reasons why Millennials leave the Church.

In fact, while we’re at it, maybe all of us should stop invoking Satan to describe the behavior of anyone except ourselves.

Related Posts:

Do Mormons leave the Church because they ‘got offended’?

Are Mormons in their 20s and 30s leaving the LDS Church?

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I have a problem with the comments concerning “today’s declining fertility rates.” Until a male GA himself deals with pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriages, postpartum depression, hormonal Imbalances, and all that comes with trying to have children, I don’t want him telling me how many children to have.

  2. C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion.”

  3. My sweet Mother always used the phrase… “if you do {this or that} you will not go to the Celestial Kingdom. Everything was a threat along this nature. For example, “If you watch Charlie’s Angeles, you will never make it to the Celestial Kingdom..” Every single thing. Meanwhile she was addicted to soap operas and finally rid the house of televisions for years (Satan’s Box). This type of teaching can really mess a person up. My career ended up being in TV, and I live in Hollywood!

  4. “Mormon apostle bemoans kids today”
    Funny, because kids bemoan Mormon apostles today.

  5. I don’t get where this guy gets off telling people these kinds of things. Last I checked, he was a parent to three children. I have no problem with this “low” number (in Mormon circles). Whatever number of children someone has is a personal choice, but in some Mormon circles, he would actually be accused of not having done his part to rear a sizable family in Zion. (If biology were an issue, he could have always adopted more!)

    Furthermore, I briefly dated one of his grown children and know the family was (is) quite wealthy. Cook was a big attorney who lived in one of the toniest suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a managing partner of his law firm before becoming CEO of California Healthcare System and Sutter Health. He is a self-described anglophile, with an affinity for Jaguars. Again, I have no problem with this. I don’t begrudge him his financial or occupational success. I certainly don’t begrudge him his penchant for fine automobiles. But the finger-wagging is absolutely hypocritical.

    How is that beam in your eye treating you these days, Brother Cook?

  6. Equating questioning with following Satan has become the “go to” scare tactic for the past several years. Questioning our LGBT policy? Satan. Uncomfortable with the continuation of polygamy in our temples? Satan. Don’t like the three hour block? Satan. For me it has backfired. I know I am not following Satan. I’m just little old me, trying my best to do what’s right. Being called Satan’s minion doesn’t make me love the church more, but makes me question their motives. When I pray I feel just fine. It’s when I listen to the leaders that I feel terrible.

    I also agree with you about jumping to worst-case scenarios. It’s like being told if you if you swim right after eating you will drown. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that almost never happens. At that point the authorities have lost their credibility. Many people decide to delay childbearing and end up with plenty of children. Many people drink coffee daily and never even give it a thought, much less suffer ill health effects.

  7. The topics they continually bring up, especially from several specific apostles/leaders, are all very steeped in compliance and obedience. Where are the admonishments toward being kind, loving, considerate, in a word – Christ-like? I know that those seem so mundane, but when you spend time thinking about it, that is what improves our lives and our communities. It is much harder to judge someone else’s compliance, when the issue is virtuous living. Much easier to see that they had a beer. But bettering oneself (and your community) is brought about by changing one’s heart. Let us have direct challenges, teachings, examples of what that really looks like. Let’s have leaders that go out encourage by finding better things to talk about. We’re not going to create “heaven on Earth”, or a new Zion, or anything like that, when our examples are to point fingers at each other – enumerating the wrongs that the others did. “We all sin equally; I can just hide mine better.”

  8. … don’t want him telling me how many children to have …

    Nor should he – that decision is between you, your spouse, and the Lord.

    That said, declining fertility rates are a math issue, not a choice issue. In industrialized nations, the math says we need a fertility rate of 2.1 just to keep the population at the same level. Slightly more than two children per woman, on the average. Lower than that, and the population “grays” – that is, you start getting too many geezers and too few young pups. Less colloquially, not enough goods and services produced by the able-bodied to provide for the entire population.

    Before it became passé, couples who chose larger families made up for those who could not (or chose not to) have children. Anecdotally, my son and his wife started with three rambunctious boys. Stair-stepped, two years apart. On visits to nearby New York City, people would ask if they were triplets – incredulous that anyone would actually choose to have three children. [Postscript: they’ve since had a daughter, and another son is on the way].

    The fertility rate in the US is now just below 2.1 (if memory serves) and a bit lower in our neighbor to the North. In some parts of Scandinavia, it’s down to 1.6-1.7. This is a recipe for disaster in socialized medicine.

  9. ” Where are the admonishments toward being kind, loving, considerate, in a word – Christ-like? I know that those seem so mundane, but when you spend time thinking about it, that is what improves our lives and our communities. ”

    ” But bettering oneself (and your community) is brought about by changing one’s heart. Let us have direct challenges, teachings, examples of what that really looks like. ”

    Here’s some examples of what that really looks like —

    1. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…..Romans 14:13
    2. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God…..Romans 15:7
    3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love….Ephesians 4:2
    4. …all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble….1 Peter 3:8
    5. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…..Philippians 2:3
    6. Be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone…..Titus 3:2
    7. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…..Luke 6:37
    8. ABOVE ALL, LOVE EACH OTHER DEEPLY, because love covers over a multitude of sins….1 Peter 4:8
    9. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men…..Philippians 4:5
    10. Don’t seek your own good, but the good of others…….. 1 Corinthians 10:24

  10. Satan’s biggest lie is that there is no Satan. Certainly much of the world believes this lie.

  11. re: Word of Wisdom:

    Why is one beer wrong? Because God has warned us, through his prophets, that there is too much temptation to drink in excess in this culture. See D&C 89:1-2. At any rate, God wants us to attend his temple, and abstaining from even one beer is more than worth the price, even if there would be no consequences besides the loss of a temple recommend.

  12. And Jana ignores a key quote from the talk about NOT judging others.

    “With respect to the number and spacing of children, the health of the mother must be considered, and the decision should be made prayerfully by husbands and wives. Such decisions should never be judged by outsiders.”

  13. When you consider what institutional liars the leaders of the church have been over the years it isn’t hard to see why the millennial Mormons are feeling betrayed. The lied about the Gold Plates, they lied about Joseph’s polygamy and pedophilia, the lied about the Book of Abraham, they lied about the Lamanites and Nephites being Jewish, they lied about Mountain Meadows, they lie about their benevolent finances and charity, they lied about the ban on Black people, they even lie about their “modest living expenses”. To think that serial liars should ever be trusted to tell the truth shows just what control they have over their sheeple. There is a reason Utahnistan leads the nation in porn addiction, depression, opiate addiction and suicide, and it is not the location.

  14. I don’t drink beer, but (as Jana suggests) there are a wide variety of interpretations of the Word of Wisdom among the membership of the church involving tea and coffee and meat and even beer (which some believe to be a “mild barley drink”). The temple recommend question doesn’t ask if you drink beer, merely if you keep the Word of Wisdom.

  15. Control. Control. Control. Control. Control.

    Touch your dangly bits? touch someone else’s dangly bits? Have a beer? Down that way– Making choices — lies perdition. Better we should make your decisions for you.

    Control. Control. Control.

  16. Christianity’s biggest lie? That it represents the path away from Satan.

    If I were Satan. Christianity is exactly what I would invent.

  17. Meanwhile, we just keep having more and more children. This isn’t a recipe for disaster. It IS disaster.

  18. My great teacher Lowell Bennion advised us to “Tell the devil to go to hell.”

  19. “Now eleven million later, I was sitting at the bar
    I’d bought the house a double, and the waitress a new car
    Dwight Yoakam’s in the corner, trying to catch my eye
    Lyle Lovett’s right beside me with his hand upon my thigh
    The moral of this story, it’s simple but it’s true
    Hey the stars might lie, but the numbers never do”
    — Mary Chapin Carpenter, ‘I Feel Lucky’

    Numbers don’t lie. Developed nations – especially in Europe and Scandinavia – are facing what is called an “agequake” or “gray tsunami.” The World Economic Forum has estimated that by 2060, one in five humans, living on this third rock from the sun, will be 60+. That number is one in ten today (or rather, 2012, when their report was published.)

  20. Meanwhile, the entire world is facing a people quake. Too many people, competing for too few resources, producing too much pollution, draining water supplies, etc etc etc.

    The growth model of economics no longer serves us.

  21. “… facing a people quake …”

    Please demonstrate the overpopulation issues in places like Spain and Germany (fertility rate of 1.36) and in Hungary (1.23). Or the EU (average 1.57). Or anywhere in Scandinavia.

  22. “… ‘entire world’ …”

    So your argument is that slowing population growth in North America and Europe will somehow curb the problem of overpopulation in Uganda?

  23. It seems to me the Mormon obsession with high fertility rates is the LDS’s Achilles Heel. The excuse there are so many souls in the Spirit World waiting to be born is just an excuse to keep gullible women barefoot and pregnant.

  24. No, not at all. I’m pretty sure you are smarter than that,

  25. I think the prophets have made it clear how to interpret it.

  26. Agreed. The way some church leaders and teachers and parents etc etc teach certain things to youth is awful.

  27. I married at 20, delayed having children until I was 28, got a master’s and a PhD. I had my first baby when I was writing my dissertation and was pregnant with my 2nd when I finished my doctorate. I now have 4 children and was able to study something I love and don’t regret delaying children at all. It was the BEST decision for us. No regrets at all. Because we delayed having children, we were also able to travel overseas every summer, renovate the houses we were living in and sell them for enough that we no longer needed a mortgage. So all this talk about delaying childbearing as being of the Devil is nonsense. In our case, we followed our dreams, traveled around the world, got the educations we wanted, got completely out of debt, and still had a “big” family in the end, of our own choosing.

  28. Oh how we need some leaders like Lowell today. I don’t think I would be leaving the church if I had a leader like that at the head of the church today. I can’t see him OK’ing the Nov 2015 policy on kids of gays. I mourn for the church that could have been, but looks as though it is starting a downward trend.

  29. There you go again. “Reviling and slandering” while accusing me of same.

    But no worries, just thought I’d mention it to you on the way to the grocery store. Sale prices on bread and potato-chips today.

    (Buy a beer? Nope, no beer for me. I don’t know why, but it tastes like vomit. Can’t stand vomit.)

  30. Ironically today’s Mormon youth are over allowing self appointed apostles telling them how to live their lives. And therein lies the rub.

  31. There you go again. Lying about what I said. And pretending that I am bound by the rules you set for yourself.

    It wasn’t MY lord and savior telling me not to judge other people. It’s not MY god who tells me what to think and what to do.

    That’s all yours.

  32. I’m curious why the direct words of Jesus need to be accompanied by a “prophet” to tell you how to interpret them. I didn’t need someone to help interpret the direct words of the prophet Gordon Hinckley. It’s easy for him to convey what he means. (Thomas Monson might be a different story.)

    Modern day prophets are the equivalent of activist Supreme Court justices that Republicans are always bemoaning who don’t follow the intent of the original constitution.

    If God wanted us to obey the word of wisdom as interpreted today, he chose the most round about and confusing way of doing so. Jesus in his own words in D&C 89 says it’s a suggestion, not a commandment. He recommends not eating much meat.

    If God wanted us to not drink coffee and tea, why didn’t he have Jesus just say, “Thou shalt not drink coffee and tea.” That would have been much less confusing. Why was it a suggestion for decades? Could the Saints at that time not have benefited from God’s law of health?

  33. That’s all he needed to say. He didn’t need to tell people they should feel guilty for not having kids soon enough. He’s doing exactly what he’s telling others not to do. Judging them on their personal decisions about when to have kids. It’s actually quite grotesque.

  34. There’s actually someone else you should be afraid of. Named Be-elzegro. He’s the dark hairy eunuch sibling of Father Adam. (Actually, one of God’s earlier attempts at creating man. We all know that invention takes a lot of trial and error.)

    Be-elzegro is not well known by the modern day prophets. He is spoken of in whispers in the holiest rooms in the temple. He is worshipped by Lucifer. He is feared by Jesus because God was stupid and gave him power over death right on the spot. Thus, Be-elzegro can possess a body or dwell in the spirit. His preferred appearance is dark and hairy. He’s approximately 4 cubits tall according to the official Adamic weighs and measures. (Seven foot 4 inches)

    This all happened prior to the Garden of Eden, in the Melon Patch of Vor, the modern day location of which is Spanish Fork, Utah.

    Be-elzegro’s biggest lie is that he doesn’t exist. BUT….. when you say his name, he grows stronger. So Be-elzegro doesn’t repeat that lie too often, but once in awhile because he gets a kick out of it.

    Legend has it that he was going to go into the first edition of Mormon Doctrine, but David O’McKay was visited by a his leprechaun ancestor and warned him to stop Bruce

  35. Interesting title. In listening to Elder Cook or any other member of the Quorum of the Twelve, much less the First Presidency, I have never heard them bemoaning the kids or youth of today! Isn’t the actual doctrine that our Heavenly Father is sending exactly to the right souls to earth in these latter-days? The LDS apostles certainly lift a prophetic voice of warning and criticize the culture of wickedness and the ever mounting plethora of temptations and deceits, even Satanic deceits, facing the world and especially the youth. However, they do Not bemoan or blame today’s kids!

  36. Oh, everybody thinks that! But like the sabbath day and tithing and the priesthood ban, etc., there are many different interpretations. The problem comes when you believe your interpretation is the one everybody else should have…and you judge those whose interpretation is different from yours.

  37. ” If God wanted us to not drink coffee and tea, why didn’t he have Jesus just say, ‘Thou shalt not drink coffee and tea.’ ”

    The Kingdom of God is not food and drink but “righteousness” which is simply doing good works and deeds, showing loving attitudes, and living with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit………..Rom 14:17

    Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch…….Col 2:21. It appears that Christianity is not a ‘touch not’ ‘taste not’ religion.

  38. The problem with such panicked prognostication is that it doesn’t factor in the effect of immigration. All developed countries are using immigration to offset the aging effect. Even Japan has immigrants (it’s a badly kept secret) But only a handful of countries really know how to handle it effectively.

    Declining birthrates are a sign of prosperity, education and in many ways gender equality.

  39. That is precisely what immigration does. Diaspora are common way developing nations have dealt with overpopulation which didn’t include war, genocide or enslavement.

  40. I realize that your article is not about this (and I enjoyed what you said immensely), but just a little comment: I don’t think this statement (“especially since the Word of Wisdom itself encourages moderation”) is true. The WofW only really teaches moderation as it relates to eating meat (sparingly), but the rest is more about what to avoid completely and what to embrace completely. While there are other scriptures that might be used to teach moderation, I don’t think you can use the text of the WofW to teach it (even though it is common to do so).

  41. “God has warned us…” I just read verses 1 & 2. They don’t support your thesis. What are those mild barley drinks mentioned in D&C 89:17? 😉 Doh! As Rock Waterman pointed out, “The early saints would have been astounded that future members would ever conflate their mild barley drink -beer- with the “strong drink” advised against in verses 5 and 7. Early Mormons regularly consumed beer without compunction, as had most of mankind throughout recorded history.”

  42. I’ve never tried vomit. I’ll concede your point. You just haven’t had the right beer. 🙂 Give me a mild brown ale or deep amber, mmmmm. Local brewpub has one called John the One-Eyed. Makes my eyes roll into my head, sort of like Homer pondering bacon and butter.

  43. I live in New York City. I have plenty of friends with three children. It is not unusual in the slightest.

  44. Mormons in Utah are not going to help grow Sweden bigger by have a dozen children per home. They won’t even help their own family economics. Kids get neglected in families with more than four kids max.

  45. Nope. Helping Uganda have a more sustainable economy will do that.

  46. No I think the point is missed Satan is evil yes but not all sinners as your interpretation implies, most people including myself commit sin as a consequence of poor choices but not calculating or willful ones. Nonetheless broken spiritual law big or small always results in a loss of spiritual light and that regardless of the motive of the sinner. What I believe is evident with your blog is that your lack of belief in the reality of Satan, is at the heart of your non acceotance of the apostle’s message.

  47. “… plenty of friends with three children …”

    To which ward do they belong?

  48. “… not going to help grow Sweden …”

    You are correct. But we shouldn’t follow their example.

    “… kids get neglected …”

    And your chapter and verse for this is … ? Aidan Milevsky, writing in Psychology Today noted several studies which showed children from larger families were more likely to be altruistic, cooperative, and interdependent. Even though they had to compete harder for parental attention.

    “… a more sustainable economy …”

    What is it with you guys? I cited problem A, Ben responds with (what he believes is) problem B – and now you’re offering a solution for problem B? Neither of you see a logical problem with that?

  49. “… the effect of immigration …”

    Correct. Which is why I don’t have a problem with immigration from Central and South America. They tend towards a Judeo-Christian belief set, and also tend to have larger families.

    Social Security is the world’s largest pyramid scheme – and like all good pyramids, you need increasing numbers of folk coming in at the bottom of the pyramid to offset the folks reaching the top.

    “… in many ways gender equality …”

    Which is all well and good until it starts leading to age inequality.

    But if you check the link I provided, you’ll see that the global fertility rate fell from 5 children per woman in 1950 to roughly 2.5 today, and is projected to drop to about 2 by 2050. Most of this decline has occurred in the developing world, where the share of children in the population is expected to drop by half by 2050 from the 1965 level.

  50. The Bible has some good ideas interspersed with a lot of bad ones.

    Christianity might be one of the better religions, but they are all false.

  51. They’re not Mormons (and neither am I ). I thought we were speaking generally.

  52. There are only 2 influences. The influence for Good and the influence for Evil.
    “For starters, using that language where addiction is concerned ignores much of the best research on addiction, which is not only (or even always) a choice but also a disease.”

    Not at all. Addiction doesn’t just happen, it is a consequence of something else. Addiction runs in my family. My mother was an alcoholic, my father abused prescription drugs, my sister too…
    I could easily fall into that trap, but I choose not to. If I fall to the temptation to “try it” or succumb to peer pressure, the influences of Evil, then I could fall to addiction. Then the disease takes away my choices.

    “so why trot out these extreme and dramatic examples of substance abuse?”

    Because nothing is said in a vacuum. Your very article here is evidence of that… it was said at BYU, it was written about by you, it was linked to Face Book… I read the article…

    “We can’t leap to the specter of fatal car crashes every time a young person asks the perfectly legitimate question of why one can of beer is wrong (especially since the Word of Wisdom itself encourages moderation).”

    I wonder, is it your lack of understand how addiction, as a disease, works? One beer, to an addict, isn’t ever one beer.
    The rules, as set by God, are for our good. Not to be ignored, excused, or rationalized. They exist for a reason. If someone is susceptible to addiction, the WORST thing they could do is “try it” …
    Yet, if they try it… “just one beer, it’s ok”… they could fall into the trap where they no longer have a choice. Where the addiction takes hold, the disease grows, and they find themselves under its control, not with them in control of their lives.

    “But it’s categorically unfair to say that we postponed having another child because we were bowing to the whims of Satan.”

    No, I’m sorry, it isn’t “unfair”.
    We have purpose here. The Lord has purpose. His plan. Not ours. There are souls yet waiting to be born into this world to partake of the promise, the atonement, the learning experience, the necessity of obtaining a physical body… etc.
    If you choose to NOT play your part in the Eternal Plan of God… who’s influence is that?
    You even say, “It’s the greatest regret of my life.”… is that the result of Good or of Evil? What causes “regret”? Did you follow the advice and counsel of past Prophets? “Don’t delay in child bearing”? Or did you heed the advice of the world? “Wait a while, till things are better”?
    There are only two influences… you listen to one or the other…

    “But naiveté and ignorance are hardly a sin.”

    No, but failing to: A) repent, B) learn from the experience, C) Admonish others that it is OK to listen to the influences of Evil, D) Rationalization, Justification, Excuses… these all could be classified as sin…

    “Our decision to delay having another child was not the work of Satan so much as the logical result of inexperience, overconfidence, and a broken health care system.”

    No, I’m sorry, it wasn’t.
    Your decision to delay having another child was your failure to listen to the words of the Prophets (D&C 1:38). Your decision failed to take into account that Obedience to God bring Blessings. “inexperience, overconfidence, and a broken health care system” are simply excuses you use to justify your failure to follow God, and avoid feeling the pain of your decisions. (1 Nephi 16:2)
    https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/ss/commandments/blessings?lang=eng

    “their carefully delineated path is under the influence of Satan.”

    It isn’t “their” carefully delineated path… it s the Lord’s. (Mat. 7:14)

    “makes young adults feel judged. Heck, they feel judged because they are being judged. And as I shared here recently, feeling “judged or misunderstood” tied for #1 in our research in the reasons why Millennials leave the Church.”

    It doesn’t “make” them feel anything. If they have done wrong, they feel GUILT. GUILT is an indicator that you need to REPENT. That people leave the Church IN THE STEAD OF repenting is sad, indeed. Repentance removes the GUILT and restores Happiness.
    Leaving the Church instead of repenting is also listening to the influences of Evil.
    This world is trying to convince people that it is ok to “do what you want” and “there are no consequences”… if the Church has any failing, it is not combating the voice of the world STRONGLY enough. You cannot “try it” and not have Consequences, if the Lord has outlined that it is FORBIDDEN. That is, at a MINIMUM, a “Transgression”… but at it’s actual face value, “SIN”. Can you sin, unknowingly? Absolutely! How do you fix it? Repent!

    The questions are:,
    How strong is your faith?
    Do you believe in the divine inspiration of our Earthly Ecclesiastical Leaders?
    Do you understand and believe in the atonement?

    I cannot answer these for you, other than from what I have read here, in this article…
    I believe you need to strengthen your faith … but then, we all do. We all have need to hear and obey the words of the Lord as found in both the Scriptures and in modern writings by Modern Prophets (Conferences, etc).
    We all have need to improve, we all have need to understand and recognize that we aren’t immune from the consequences of our mistakes.
    We all have need to understand that if we fall to the influences of Evil, we, ourselves, are not evil, but we have made a mistake, and therefore have need of repentance.

    Our greatest enemy is the world. The world that would ask us, “logically” to disobey…
    Nephi “logically” shouldn’t have been able to build the boat…
    The Brother of Jared “logically” shouldn’t have been able to obtain 16 glowing stones and make his way to the New World…
    The world’s view of “logic” is far different than our’s should be. For instance, “logically”, you should have trusted the Lord and NOT waited to have your children… because you SHOULD KNOW the Lord would BLESS YOU, and that His blessings are GREATER than all the “problems” or “inexperience” or “broken healthcare systems” in the world…

  53. Overpoulation is not a problem.
    You could fit EVERYONE on this world on the Big Island of Hawaii…
    There are 112,000,000,000 square feet on the island. And if you gave everyone a comfortable 4 square feet to stand in, the whole of the world’s population would cover 28 billion square feet, leaving 84 BILLION square feet “uninhabited”.
    You could give every person in the world a home and ~1/3 acre within the borders of the United States.
    There is no “Overcrowding” problem. The United States, alone, if we cranked up all the farms, got rid of stupid Government regulations, the USA could produce enough food to feed the entire world.

    The problem isn’t “too many people”… the problem is “Government”… not that there IS a Government, but that our Government has become corrupt.
    Then we listen to those with an agenda…
    The agenda being “too many people”…
    But the reality is…
    With too few people, we face the real possibility of extinction…

    Look up “population decline”…

  54. “And if you gave everyone a comfortable 4 square feet to stand in, the whole of the world’s population would cover 28 billion square feet, leaving 84 BILLION square feet “uninhabited”.”

    Your comment speaks for itself. There is certainly nothing I can add to it.

  55. Ok. Here ya go.

    The validity of your statement ends the moment someone says “I have to go to the bathroom.”

  56. “… thought we were speaking generally …”

    We were. I was going for snarky.

    That said, Utah has a the nation’s largest average household size, 3.14 people compared to the national average of 2.64. It’s also numero uno in percentage of households headed by married couples, 60.6 compared to a national average of 48.1

    Compare to New York, average household size of 2.61, slightly below average.

  57. Oh, you have no imagination…
    I wasn’t suggesting that everyone LIVE in 4 square feet of space on the Big Island of Hawaii… I was demonstrating how the thought that the world is overpopulated is fallacious.
    Hawaii is a simple, small island in the Pacific… as seen from space, one little dot in the sea of blue…
    And the whole of the rest of the world all the way around it for thousands of miles in each and every direction.
    Of all the current habitable land that exists on our wonderful blue planet… you could give every single person who lives on this planed 2 acres of land. And if we stop being silly, and realize that children, babies, and the elderly don’t each need 2 acres of land, and we put people into their family units… and if we don’t force them to live on their family’s worth of land… and we build cities and businesses… and we cease to continue to ignore the desire people have to live closely together… New York, after all, is not a prison. People aren’t forced to live 27000 people per square mile.
    People have always congregated in larger groups… it is their CHOICE.
    Once you account for all factors, there is no “overpopulation” or “overcrowding”…

    Have you looked into “Population Decline” yet?
    Here is a starting point:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_decline

  58. Jana: I gave up thinking that apostles are relevant. They seemed to be locked in this mindset that Satan is behind any opposition to their teachings. It’s a cheap way to guilting today’s youth. As you know more than anyone, millennials are NOT responding to this message. Elder Cook shouldn’t confuse that by yelling it louder will somehow be heard. In fact, the millennials aren’t hearing the message at all. They’re leaving.

  59. ” The Bible has some good ideas… ”

    That’s true. And it’s those ‘good ideas’ that influence many to do the best they can do.

  60. Very true. And actually, it doesn’t really teach moderation in terms of eating meat. We like to cite the word “sparingly” because it gives us wiggle room (since most LDS members ignore this part of the WofW completely), but God makes it clear that it’s pleasing to Him when we don’t eat meat and teaches that meat is only to be eaten in times of famine and “excess of hunger.” This is a far cry from moderation! And obeyed by a tiny fraction of the membership…but no one seems to care.

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