by Andy Nowicki
In the current dispensation of the post-modern West, traditionalist-minded folk are trapped, much like prisoners of war, behind the enemy lines of a dissipated, degenerate modernity. We hearty souls are firmly opposed to the anti-values preached by all agents, organs and outlets of the Zeitgeist, yet we are unable to keep the ubiquitous, ever-ravenous Kali Yuga at bay.
For us, two methods of resistance are at least possible. The first is outright defiance, with no apologies: a sort of "Screw you guys, I'll do what I want!" approach. This method has its charms, but one wonders if it might ultimately be self-defeating, in that those who engaged in it may well burn themselves out before achieving any demonstrable goals. While no doubt cathartic in a short-term sense, nonstop and thoroughgoing defiance has questionable longer-term utility.
The second approach is to do what one can to adapt to circumstances, and compromise occasionally on non-essential matters, but all the while never to lose one's core values. Those employing this method of resistance must be shrewd as serpents and sharp as tacks: they must always be sure to use cunning discernment. They should always look for opportunities to throw the enemy off balance by assuming when possible the language, slogans, and shibboleths of the enemy, but ever with an eye towards retaining their own ideals, and never the anti-values being foisted upon them by the powers-that-be.
The LDS Church (better known as Mormons) are masters of the latter approach. Recently, they made an overture towards gay groups, saying that they will work to further anti-discrimination efforts regarding homosexuals, yet humbly asking that the LGBT-types might do a better job of protecting the rights of religious groups in return. Though some doom-minded traditionalists without imagination predictably moaned that this gesture was a "cave in," it is actually a brilliant tactical strategy, in which nothing essential is forfeited (gay "marriage" is as forbidden as ever in the LDS church), yet an image of tolerance is projected, and rights to resist the culture of death and perversity are positively asserted.
The LDS Church also recently made it possible for more young women to become what their faith calls "sister missionaries" by lowering the missionary-ready age for females from 21 to 19. Yet as can be seen from a recent ABC Nightline profile, this arguably "feminist" gesture does not seem to have led to any kind of ebb in the belief in traditional gender roles among mainstream Mormons.
Watch this ABC Nightline segment, and – however jaded you might be – see if your heart doesn't melt just a bit as you witness these sweet, lovely girls uphold their conservative faith without the slightest trace of rancor, bitterness, or smarm. Whatever our own faith tradition, we can all learn something from the shrewd, crafty ways of the Utah Saints.