Vort

The Benedictine Option

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JAG introduced me to this term in another thread. Here's a FAQ-style writeup about the so-called Benedictine option.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/benedict-option-faq/

Granted that the author and his audience probably would not even recognize the Restored Church as Christian, I nevertheless think there's a lot of good thinking and, probably, truth in that article. It seems to apply quite well to us as Latter-day Saints, though we have the huge advantage of being led by a prophet. I'd like to hear what other Latter-day Saints think about this.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

JAG introduced me to this term in another thread. Here's a FAQ-style writeup about the so-called Benedictine option.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/benedict-option-faq/

Granted that the author and his audience probably would not even recognize the Restored Church as Christian, I nevertheless think there's a lot of good thinking and, probably, truth in that article. It seems to apply quite well to us as Latter-day Saints, though we have the huge advantage of being led by a prophet. I'd like to hear what other Latter-day Saints think about this.

I think it dovetails nicely into the separating into tribes idea that I was talking about earlier.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

JAG introduced me to this term in another thread. Here's a FAQ-style writeup about the so-called Benedictine option.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/benedict-option-faq/

Granted that the author and his audience probably would not even recognize the Restored Church as Christian, I nevertheless think there's a lot of good thinking and, probably, truth in that article. It seems to apply quite well to us as Latter-day Saints, though we have the huge advantage of being led by a prophet. I'd like to hear what other Latter-day Saints think about this.

I had never heard of this term until I saw you and JAG talking about it in the other thread. Honestly, I think it dovetails in very nicely with President Nelson's prophetic direction to set up family centered church supported worship. I hope we have not gotten to the point that Christians were in during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Part of me, if I'm honest, loves the American Empire as I've always pictured it, stalwartly standing against the evils of Nazism, Imperial Japan, and Communism. Of Ronald Reagan standing in front of a waving American flag. But part of me also recognizes that that America is rapidly disappearing. I hope it doesn't get to the point in my lifetime where the Benedict option is the only path forward for us as faithful disciples of Christ, but the realist in me says we are almost there. I hope I'm just being cynical, but I don't think I am.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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I've never heard the term before today.  But I've been acquainted for decades with the notion that America is an empire, showing signs of doing what every single waning empire in recorded human history has always done, without exception.

I've always taken comfort in the fact that Turkey, Spain, Rome, Greece, and Britain still exist, and citizens of their former empires often fail to realize they'd fallen until their children's children started writing history books.  As a guy who reads a lot of post-apocalypse fiction, it helps me not stress about my kids so much.

Still need to see how we saints are going to help when the constitution hangs by a thread, and other similar foretold stuff.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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2 hours ago, Vort said:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/benedict-option-faq/

Granted that the author and his audience probably would not even recognize the Restored Church as Christian, I nevertheless think there's a lot of good thinking and, probably, truth in that article. It seems to apply quite well to us as Latter-day Saints, though we have the huge advantage of being led by a prophet. I'd like to hear what other Latter-day Saints think about this.

I took some time to read the whole article.  I'd like to explore in more detail the six tenets mentioned in the article and see what is going on with the Latter-day Saints to see if there is any parallel or comparison/contrast.

1. Order. Our hierarchy and lay leadership chain of command and even ward level organizations are pretty organized.  Sure there are exceptions, especially where the wards/branches are unusually small or inexperienced.  But that happens with similar circumstances in any organization.  What I appreciate, though, is that there is a centralized system of beliefs.  Most faiths of our size do not have that.  

Quote

Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

 -- D&C 132:8
(See also D&C 88:119; 109:8)

2. Prayer and work. Prayer and scripture study are the hallmarks of active Latter-day Saints.  And WORK has been called "The Crowning Principle of the Gospel."  See Pres. Benson's statement on work and missionary work. Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel.

3. Stability. Even through the death of the "founding prophet", we continued. And we continue to grow.  

4. Community.  I know most of the time we truly try.  But things have changed since I was a kid.  I tend to believe it is modern life that has brought about such change.  Too many people on social media and working all the time don't know how to socialize or be a part of a larger community anymore.  That's not just us.  It seems to be everyone.  But one thing still happens that says we're part of a larger community.  Whenever I meet someone new that is LDS in some non-Church setting, we become fast friends.  That still happens.

5. Hospitality.  Per the definition given, I think we're "fair-to-middlin'."  But we could do a lot better.  However, I'm going to make an excuse for not doing better.  Accept it or reject it, I don't care.  It's just "a feeling" for me right now.  There is a winnowing going on.  Regardless of how much someone does as far as the mechanics of the Church, the faith and conversion to Christ are much more important.  One would hope that such faith and conversion would lead one to do more work -- and I think it does to a decent degree. 

What is sad is that I've noticed more and more people actually "doing their duty" but never really being converted.  I find this sad.  On the other hand, I've also seen people with the "All's well in Zion" attitude that prevents them from doing their duty even when they believe they are converted.  Perhaps both are being winnowed.

6. Balance.  I like the description the article gives for this.  From an outsider's perspective, being led by a single figure is terrible.  But being led by a

"True Prophet of God" (TM)

is actually the best way to maintain balance.  Only the Lord can remind us when we've gone too far from center.  And per Amos 3:7, that is going to be through a living prophet.  Man alone will never be able to judge properly when we've gone too far one way or another.  Only a prophet can tell in what aspects it is ok to "change with the times" and what aspects must remain immovable.

Edited by Carborendum

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I don’t know. All this Benedict Option stuff sounds really radical to me. 

It is, but let me ask you: what else is there? To continue the path we’re traveling, hoping that things will get better, is to court disaster. Millennials are leaving Christianity is unprecedented numbers — and why shouldn’t they, given how wan and lukewarm Christianity is? De-Christianized Europe is our future in America. In fact,  Jean-Francois Mayer, a Swiss academic who studies religious movements, told me that among the Christian communities left in Europe, many are making plans right now for how to hold on through the long night. And Father Cassian Folsom, prior of the Benedictine community in Norcia, told me that the only Christians who are going to make it through what’s to come are those who embrace some form of the Benedict Option.

In the end, it’s not really an option. It’s a necessity.

I took the above quote from the end of the article

Something about the conversion of Europe...I do not see Benedict as having a big hand in it.

Instead I see it paved in blood by Charlemagne who did it by the Sword rather than by the monastery.  In this, at times, the biggest way to institute change is not by peace, but by war.

That also, is not supposed to be the Christian way. 

With the falling world turning ever more towards wickedness in the west, it may be that war itself will visit upon the heathen rulers and nations and the forefront of the years prior to the second coming, paving the way for Christianity to once again be the religion of choice when the Savior comes to rule.

The article seems to take the idea that we will be left alone if we try to form insulated communities, but with the hostility that these groups have towards us I feel they will be far more aggressive.  They will stamp us out, or at least our ability to practice our worship, if they can.  I do not think there will be a Benedict Option eventually, as the article puts it, available.  I think those opposed to our way of life will not let us be, even if we try to live our own lives independent and insulated against them.

I think there are some that are already 'battening down the hatches' and thus in some ways have already elected the Benedictine Option, so to speak.  However, I think the storms are going to get rougher ahead.

Also from the article are two paragraphs from two different sections that I think are actually relevant to what is occurring in our religion right now...

Quote

Well, what is the Good? How can you tell good from bad? How does your community makes decisions on right from wrong? How do you? Our culture has become so overwhelmingly individualist that we inevitably end up worshiping the Self. The sociologist Christian Smith’s work on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has shown how historical Christianity has been revolutionized from within by modernity, and has become pseudo-Christian. To oversimplify, modern forms of Christianity do not challenge modernity’s assumptions, and are therefore highly susceptible to being colonized by it. This, in fact, is what has happened to most churches, and most individual believers. As MacIntyre would put it, the lack of awareness of this fact is part of our problem.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

For one, the it awakened many small-o orthodox Christians to something that ought to have been clear to them a long, long time ago: the West is truly a post-Christian civilization, and we had better come up with new ways of living if we are going to hold on to the faith in this new dark age. The reason gay rights were so quickly embraced by the American public is because the same public had already jettisoned traditional Christian teaching on the meaning of sex, of marriage, and even a Christian anthropology. Same-sex marriage is only the fulfillment of a radical change that had already taken place in Western culture.

This is happening in our Church RIGHT NOW and has been accelerating since around 2000.  We are ejecting many of the old forms of the Saints practicies and traditional teachings of the Church in favor of new, modern, ideas.  We see it in the recent 'policies' enacted in the past few years (for example, the ejecting of the view on Gay Marriage and homosexuality to be a lesser offense in how the church handles it is an example one could cite of such a change, not due to the Lord coming down and revealing it on his own initiative, but as per what the Prophet stated, long pleading to him to change it and many hours of asking for him to do it their way or some way other than what was earlier revealed via revelation.  I this much like Joseph received an answer in the positive after asking several times about the plates and letting some of the translation go out, they also finally received a revelation and answer which accorded exactly what they had been asking for).

We see this among the Saints themselves, and the reinterpretations they desire and how we act in relation to the Lord's commandments in public.  Instead of being humble and accepting what the Lord has commanded in the past, we do as we will.

 I see that today, instead of waiting upon the Lord, we expect him to wait upon us.  Rather than wait and pray humbly and listen and strive, we instead ask and demand he do as we wish.

Instead of influencing the world around us, we are HEAVILY influenced by the world instead.  We partake of all sorts of the worldly culture, listening to it's music, watching it's movies and TV shows, and being as much a part of the world and it's traditions rather than doing what we must to participate but keeping our own culture and traditions insular to ourselves without letting the world influence us so much.  We ARE the world around us.  There is very little to tell the difference between the movies, music, and entertainment a member of the Church participates in and what any other American or European participates in.

I see it in the Culture of the church today.  It's not just those outside the church and in the world around us, but within us as well.  With this inside the church already, I'm not sure a Benedictine Option will last long for us UNLESS we do as Brigham Young did (and I don't think there's that many spots that would allow us to do this), uproot all the church into some area that is more or less isolated, and govern ourselves.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

In this, at times, the biggest way to institute change is not by peace, but by war.

That also, is not supposed to be the Christian way. 

It is not the Christian way.  But it is the Lord's way.

Jericho

The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon!

Babylonian Captivity

Persian restoration

Roman Empire

Charlemagne

American Colonization

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As I thought to reply to this most inspired thread - there are so many avenues to explorer and so much that could be discussed.  Mostly I am intrigued by the notion of a "Restoration".  

But last night I sat, I read, I pondered, over and over the the "Bicentennial Proclamation to the World" that is titled "The Restoration of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ".  In a way this proclamation comes to me as a milestone in a recent spiritual journey that parallels a physical pilgrimage.   I have traveled to stand in the 5 places that I believe the Father has introduced his son.  I have explored the Holy Land both in the middle East and the Church historic sites on this continent.  Much has changed in the Middle East since Christ walked among men - Mostly I have relied on the statements of a prophet (Spencer W. Kimball) for his directions concerning the mount of transfiguration, Gethsemane, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb.

I am spiritually and physically convinced that the Benedictine Option is another effort of men to establish the stone that G-d will cut out of the mountain without hands.  There are so many prophesies that are fulfilled by the dawn of revelation that started with the "First Vision".  There is no restoration so marvelous with angles returning with powers and keys.  I fell to reference one prophesy that comes to us through the prophet Isaiah.  That in the Last days the Mountain (the divine restoration) of G-d will be established in the Top of the Mountains. 

When the Latter-day Saints were driven from the United States of America they went west and settled in the Salt Lake basin and the region reaching up into Canada and down to California.   There they applied for statehood into the United States but their territory of Deseret was divided and diminished.  After many years of attempting to become a state it was finally ratified through the congressional channels of the government.   The Saints of G-d would finely have their state of Deseret - but then, in the last hour, the enemies of the Church changed the name of the state to Utah.  No one realized it at the time but in the language of the native Ute peoples - Utah means "The Top of the Mountains".  And so the Prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled as only G-d could foresee and prophesy through his chosen prophet. 

The works of men will fail but the work of G-d will boldly move forward until it has filled the whole world and G-d will declare, "It is done".  I am inclined to think that we are witnessing the final touches (that include the COVID 19 pandemic and other things shortly to "come to pass") that will complete that prophetic restoration and that Christ is returning much sooner than I thought with I began my pilgrimage a few years ago.

 

The Traveler

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I've never been a big fan of self-help books because in general I find them to be (at least the ones with any truth to them) simply watered-down versions of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm not saying good can't come from them but it will never be nearly as much as could come from serious application of the scriptures to the same problems. I read this Benedict Option the same way. I see some definite truth to what is being said but its only a shadow of what we find in the scriptures. Escaping Babylon, both literally and figuratively, and the gathering of Israel from out of the world are constant themes throughout. The notion that this Benedict Option is some great new idea just shows how far removed even much of the Christian community is from reading and actually applying scripture or perhaps simply understanding them. 

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The Benedictine Option appears not to be any kind of self-help book. Rather, it seems to be a study of, or perhaps a manifesto for, the formation of Christian communities designed to weather the present and coming cultural storms. In fact, from what I have read about the book, it doesn't purport to be any kind of "new idea", but (as its name implies) a resurrection of a very old idea.

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The Benedictine option seems to contain elements of retreating and turning away from the world. I don't think that would be the best approach when we are trying to bring souls to Christ and to preach the gospel throughout the world. The idea seems to be inconsistent with the idea of being in the world but not of the world. This is a good time to keep in mind Josephs teaching that no unhallowed hand can stop the work and his counsel to  "go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!”

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1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

The Benedictine option seems to contain elements of retreating and turning away from the world. I don't think that would be the best approach when we are trying to bring souls to Christ and to preach the gospel throughout the world. The idea seems to be inconsistent with the idea of being in the world but not of the world. This is a good time to keep in mind Josephs teaching that no unhallowed hand can stop the work and his counsel to  "go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!”

I think Dreher himself might agree with you.  It’s easy to look at the Benedict option as a simple withdrawal from society; but I think Dreher’s point is that we need to focus on structures and relationships that are independent of society and not vulnerable to co-option by our enemies or to a broader societal collapse.  Dreher himself seems to acknowledge in his column (I haven’t read his book) that evangelization must remain a priority, and that the church will still need to be engaged aggressively on selected political issues—no longer for the purpose of shaping society, but simply to try to preserve a space wherein the newly strengthened church can function and grow in independence.  

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I think Dreher himself might agree with you.  It’s easy to look at the Benedict option as a simple withdrawal from society; but I think Dreher’s point is that we need to focus on structures and relationships that are independent of society and not vulnerable to co-option by our enemies or to a broader societal collapse.  Dreher himself seems to acknowledge in his column (I haven’t read his book) that evangelization must remain a priority, and that the church will still need to be engaged aggressively on selected political issues—no longer for the purpose of shaping society, but simply to try to preserve a space wherein the newly strengthened church can function and grow in independence.  

When I was visiting the Middle East I met with a most interesting Jew in Jerusalem.  I talked with him about when and how the temple would be rebuilt in the Last-Days.  He said that there were some that would rebuild the temple beginning immediately.   But then he said that such thinking is not the "Jewish" way - rather the things of G-d are to be decided by G-d and not by man.  When G-d decides to build the temple it will happen and such things are foolish for man to think that they can cause or schedule such to take place.  He also said that some debate that one place or another is the exact place for the temple upon the temple mount.  Some think that the Mosque is in the way of the temple and other say the temple can be built without disturbing the Mosque - but he said that G-d does not think or do according to such methods.  That the Jews should be ready to do as G-d commands and not to rely on their expert opinions in the matter - it will be built when and where G-d decides to build it.

As often as I talk to many about religion - especially Traditional Christians - they do not seem to realize that the organization of G-d is not a democracy or a republic but rather a Kingdom and that G-d is the supreme Suzerain (King).  We live in such modern times - I do not think many realize and understand what a Kingdom is - and who is in charge.

 

The Traveler

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