Saturday, December 14, 2013
The days of being wild
I think every member has had a conversation or two about the transformation of the Church's image from the early days of unique facial hair styles to the unimaginative, clone-ish, clean cut look of today. We could talk about the history of how this came to be and discuss how silly it all is, but there's something else about this transition that eventually stood out to me.
The more I compared and contrasted the early Church with our current LDS Church, the more I noticed significant differences. Generally speaking, the early Mormons seemed to have a far greater range of expressing individualism and variety of thought compared to today, when so much of what we must think, believe, and do is dictated with precision. What happened to the freedom of belief and expression that once was found in Mormonism?
Then one day a friend of mine pointed out in a brief aside that the early Mormons were incredibly liberal for their times and today Mormons are known for taking a very conservative stance on most issues. How did Utah become one of the reddest states of the U.S.A.? Why does the Tea Party do so well where the Church is strongest? What happened to the spirit of early Mormonism? Why would God find a bunch of liberal, democratically-minded people to start his church only to hand it over to close-minded theocratic reactionaries?
Something didn't seem consistent about the trajectory of this "perfect" Church. Reading about what brought about the changes only clarifies who's really at the helm of mainstream Mormonism.