Introduction to Evading Babylon (Times of Turmoil, Vol. 1)

(This is a Fictional account of a possible La Days scenario written to be thought provoking and entertaining.)

The Turmoil Deepens

As this story begins, the United States’ position in the world has begun to falter. 

“The Great Recession” that first battered the financial markets in 2008 created long-lasting effects, leading to a feeling of national unease as the unemployment rate remained stubbornly high. It was a daunting task for companies to add new jobs as the economy limped along, despite continual claims from the federal government that things were on the upswing.

Despite promises from Congress to trim the federal budget, the nation’s leaders continued to pile up more than $1 trillion in additional debt each year. Even the most-optimistic analysts forecasted an economic tsunami unless immediate and drastic changes were made, but their pleas went unheeded.

With this massive debt looming over the nation, Congress could not agree on where to tighten the budget. Entitlement programs and interest payments were eating up a growing portion of the nation’s expenditures, but the number of handouts to unemployed citizens continued to expand. These programs greatly reduced any incentive for these people to find jobs, leading to a sharp increase in the number of citizens who were essentially living off the government. 

Then in the fall of 2011, a movement emerged to capitalize on the nation’s uneasiness by organizing protests against the wealthy. It began when a group attempted to shut down New York City’s financial sector, and their effort to “Occupy Wall Street” became a catch phrase, with similar protests sprouting up in other cities.

These blockades took on a darker tone in the summer of 2012, and from that point on the clash between the establishment and the so-called “99 percent” became more polarized and violent. The contentious U.S. presidential and congressional campaigns that year added to the nation’s troubles, leading to outbreaks of civil unrest at levels that hadn’t been seen since the 1960s.

Also, for several years the executive branch of the federal government had been quietly issuing mandates and executive orders that slowly but surely eroded the Christian foundation of America. Religious institutions faced fines or other penalties if they didn’t comply with edicts that were blatantly against their core beliefs. Congress and the judicial system failed to take serious action against these new policies, and in many ways the U.S. Constitution was indeed hanging by a thread.

 On the global front, America’s leaders seemed to ignore the growing overall strength of China, the renewed military power of Russia, and the danger posed by a volatile Iran. It was clear to many observers that there was a growing collaboration among these nations, but America’s leaders seemingly turned a blind eye. Instead, they made substantial cutbacks in the U.S. military budget, weakening the country’s defenses and leaving it more vulnerable to a possible attack.

Meanwhile, the world waited in anticipation for the Mayan Calendar to end on December 21, 2012—then everyone moved forward with their lives when the earth just kept on turning.

During this time, members of the LDS Church were warned and cautioned by their leaders in each General Conference to prepare themselves and their families for tougher times ahead. The importance of being both spiritually and temporally prepared was clearly emphasized. 

The prophets recognized that important events that had been prophesied for generations were now coming to fruition, and the spiritual commitment of each Church member would be tested to the limit during this time of sifting and refinement. Those who stood faithful during these darkest hours would emerge triumphantly into a glorious era when the wicked would be vanquished and New Jerusalem would be built.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’re only at the beginning of that story, where you’ll meet Nathan Foster and Marie Shaw, two Latter-day Saints who are facing the same daily challenges you are. They and their family members might remind you of people in your ward or neighborhood. Here’s their story.