In recent weeks, we have seen the defacement and desecration of statues of the founding fathers, namely Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. This isn’t the only instances where persons have tried to cancel the founding fathers out of discourse. In 2016, UVA (University of Virginia) president Teresa Sullivan quoted Jefferson after the election of President Trump. She quoted Jefferson’s words: “Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind.” and “The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” This sounds like the right thing to do, calls for unity.
She was met with a public letter with 469 signatures, 25 of which were faculty or staff, expressing disappointment by using “…Thomas Jefferson as a moral compass.” This is a common theme among the postmodern wing: if anyone has at anytime owned slaves, made a racist or sexist remark, they ought to be forever shunned out of discourse for any positive mention, and the totality of their character is defective. This is cancel culture in a nutshell. (Though this is a cheap trick used by all factions to cancel anyone they don’t like, but it is being used by the postmodern faction with a frequency considerably higher than we have seen since probably the Communist witch-hunts in the Cold War.) These are, of course, those same men God declared were in his service (D&C 101:76-80,93-95). God does not call perfect people, and Satan has used this as a weapon against testimonies. On Ex-Mormon Reddit, the history tab is filled with people posting quotes from Brigham Young, Ezra T. Benson, and Dallin H. Oaks. The Salt Lake Tribune ran an opinion piece calling for BYU to change its name because of remarks by Brigham Young. Cancel culture isn’t coming for the Church, it has come already. The organization then ran a counter opinion piece, and what Hanna Seariac said is this:
“We celebrate Brigham Young for what he did well, but perhaps the change we need to make is not erasing him and his contributions. Perhaps we need to openly confront what he did well and what he did not do well and reconcile the two. If we adopt the standard of erasing historical figures when we discover that they did something less than palatable, we will soon be left with practically no one because, whether it is the adultery of Martin Luther King or the purported pedophilia of Gandhi or the racism of Brigham Young, even those who we prize as the best and brightest in the world have sins and stains that history remembers.”
This is acknowledgement and forgiveness. If you say we cannot let someone into polite society ever again, first you have a limit on your capacity for forgiveness, second, you are not ready to become a god because you are fueled by your resentment and not your love. Cancel culture, postmodernism, these are perpetrated by people calling for justice, but in fact they are calling for revenge. You know you are calling for justice when you want the accused to suffer the least amount they need to, and you are calling for revenge when you leave the “least amount they need to” out. But this is not an article on postmodern theory.
How this spells future danger for the Church
We know this government, and the nation of America was created for one reason: to house the headquarters of God’s true Church during the last dispensation. It was created to protect it from threats such as other nations, which is why it is on another continent which was saved. It was also made to protect the Church as an institution from other institutions, which is why we have the Constitution. But more and more postmodern influences in universities and eventually government and political activism will take root.
If one thinks this is a few protesters (they are referred to as protesters and not rioters by CNN) and not a widespread sentiment, then look to the “1619” spray-painted on the statue. This is a reference to the 1619 Project hosted by The New York Times, which seeks to frame the Revolutionary war not as a war for independence for liberty, but simply to preserve slavery. If one holds this view, why would they view the founding father’s philosophical views as legitimate?
The postmodern conclusion of the failed American experiment (and Enlightenment project) will fuel a movement to reshape the initial philosophical concepts upon which this nation was founded. Mix this with a disdain for traditional values, and the new philosophical order will contain a disdain for religion because it is seen as a construct of a patriarchal regime created for the benefit of white men and for the oppression of women and minorities, so all religions that do not conform to the dictates of postmodern theory must be fought against. Cancel their leaders. Shun their members. All, ironically in the most tragic sense, in the name of the highest virtues (or at least their counterfeits), charity and love.