LDS Dems! Are you ready?!
THIS IS IT! This is the weekend we have been looking forward to all year. Three whole days of family friendly activities with fellow Dems, and food to boot!
So, the question is, do you have your ticket?
LDS Dems has an awesome opportunity provided by several different underwriters- if you sign up to volunteer at our booths for Thursday or Friday, we get you into the Taylor & Mayne Awards Celebration on Thursday FOR FREE! Sign up by emailing our coordinator, Elizabeth Roberts, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not interested in volunteering? No worries, LDS Dems still has a great deal on tickets with the promo code LDSDems. You can order your tickets here: taylormayne.eventbrite.com/
So what is exactly is the Taylor & Mayne? Even if you have been before, you are in for a whirlwind of surprises. This year, the Thursday night festivities include a concert, a comedian, food trucks, children's activities, and lots more, all included with your ticket! Come and join your fellow Dems at this unique and exciting celebration of all that is good within our Party!
How in the world do we follow a party like the Taylor & Mayne?
I'll tell you, but it's a secret.
Although Democrats have chosen to eat their dessert first, the following courses are just as tasty and possibly more nourishing!
The Blue County Project is an all day course in the delights of activism. Whether you are a county chair, a future elected official, or someone who wants to know a bit more than they do about the political spectrum in Utah, this is the place for you. Complete with lunch as well as infinite knowledge in the land of Democratic politics, individuals who attend will be endowed with special knowledge on organizing groups, mobilizing people, messaging to those you want to reach, and properly running any kind of meeting you desire to have.
Tickets to this appetizing event can be procured here as well: taylormayne.eventbrite.com/. There are only 8 spots left!
And then, there was the BIG BANG!
State Convention this Saturday is going to be one for the record books! We are a young caucus, and as such, we need your help to grow! What can you offer your caucus? What can we do for you, to provide guidance and motivation for the upcoming 2014 election cycle?
We have a plan, but we need your input. We need your ideas. We need your vision!
LDS Dems can go nowhere but up, but the heights that our caucus soars to is absolutely in your hands. Join LDS Dems at 10 am on Saturday morning for our meeting covering current goals, future plans, and ways we can further enrich and uplift our community! You will be amazed at what this caucus has accomplished in such a short amount of time, and the real power we weild as LDS Dems. People are listening to the voices of moderation in the face of extreme partisan politics, and we happen to be front and center. Come help us craft the message that will be sent out to the state and the country. Let your voice be heard!
All the details on all the captivating events are located here: www.utahdemocrats.org/convention
We cannot wait to celebrate with you! See you Thursday!
Any questions or concerns? Call Elizabeth Roberts at 801-835-7087 or shoot an email to email@example.com, and she will gladly provide you with answers, tickets, and possibly a puppy or two!
*There will be a room or rooms provided for children to play in during the convention beginning at noon, which will not be monitored by staff or any other current organization. But there will be room to play!
Friendship is a Gospel Principle
Gospel Truth: “If we truly want to be tools in the hands of our Heavenly Father in bringing to pass his eternal purposes, we need only to be a friend.”
Scripture: John 15: 13-14 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends.”
“The prophet Joseph Smith taught that ‘friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism.’ That thought ought to inspire and motivate all of us because I feel that friendship is a fundamental need in our world. I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give. Perhaps one reason the scriptures make little specific mention of the principle of friendship is because it should manifest quite naturally as we live the gospel. In fact, if the consummate Christian attribute of charity has a first cousin, it is friendship.
“There is a particular challenge we face as Latter-Day Saints in establishing and maintaining friendships. Because our commitment to marriage, family, and the Church is so strong, we often feel challenged by constraints of time and energy in reaching out in friendship to others beyond that core group (family).”
Source- “Friendship: A Gospel Principle” May 1999 Ensign, Elder Marlen K Jensen
- How is Christ an example of friendship?
- What does a good friendship look like?
- By being a good friend, how are we becoming more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
- How does friendship bring to pass the eternal goals of our Heavenly Father?
Challenge: We all set aside specific time, like this one, to learn something new and enrich our family members. This week, set aside time to learn something new with a friend.
Hello everyone! Writing this blog post about myself reminds me of a communications class I took at the University of Utah where I was required to write my own obituary. I felt then, as I do now, that it seemed a little self-aggrandizing to write about myself for others to read. That being said, I was asked to write this, so I’ll do my best.
My name is Keven Wall. I am a full time employee, part time student, husband, father, golfer, and community advocate. I am also the new outreach coordinator for the Salt Lake County chapter of the LDS Dems Caucus. I have not always leaned towards the liberal persuasion. In fact, less than a year ago, I worked hard for Ben McAdams under the Republican’s for Ben McAdams campaign flag. Here’s my story.
Two or three years ago I would have described myself as a staunch Republican. I’m talking Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. About that same time I began to notice an attitude of doom and gloom among all my republican friends. The country was going to “Hades in a Handcart”. Politics began to be a contentious battle at every turn, even between republicans. According to my close republican friends everyone was out to steal America from us. Socialism, Obamacare, illegal immigration and other secret liberal combinations kept me up at night and the funny thing is - I couldn’t understand why.
My own personal convictions didn’t always jive with the republican policy platform. I didn’t agree with the cold-hearted (and sometimes bigoted) stance my friends would take on the immigration issue. I hated the live-and-let-die philosophy I would hear spewed with regards to welfare and other social programs meant to help the poor. I couldn’t reconcile in my mind why the republicans always seemed to be the party of fiscal responsibility when the most recent Republican President of the United States was like a child who found his daddy’s credit card. My only explanation for these and other issues that I had was that ‘smarter people in the Republican Party must know things that I don’t know.’
Then last year the candidate that I supported for SL County Mayor lost in the republican primary, and I was forced to choose a new corner to run to. I tried to meet with both candidates, and while I was blown off by the Republican candidate, Ben McAdams met with me when I walked into his office unannounced, chatted with me and invited me to stay and visit with some of his staff. I was amazed how warm and inviting they all were. That atmosphere helped me open my mind, look objectively at my values, and determine where I actually stood politically. I asked Ben some pretty direct questions about issues I deemed a County Mayor would be able to weigh in on and noticed that he and I didn’t differ very often on policy issues. When I left his office that day I noticed campaign pins on his desk that said “LDS Dems.” I took one, began volunteering on his campaign, and enjoyed every minute of it.
Here is what I have learned from my experiences. First, I will never agree completely with either the Republican or the Democratic Parties, but I don’t share the pessimism and cynicism of the Republican Party. Second, the more I learn about the Democratic Party, and LDS Dems specifically, the more I realize that we share more similarities than differences in policy.
I don’t think my experience is unique. I think my story could be retold hundreds or thousands of times within the county. I think that we can grow the LDS Dems Caucus by leaps and bounds just by sharing our opinions honestly, openly, confidently and respectfully. We need to understand, and we need everyone else to understand, that while we may not all agree perfectly on every policy issue, our similarities will outweigh our differences and by getting involved we will better the caucus, the party, the State of Utah and the Country.
Let’s go share the message!
What would you say if I told you that our nation had a program that:
1. Pumped $1.73 into the economy for every $1 spent. (According to Moody's.)
2. Has an error-rate that's at all-time low and a program budget where over 95% of all money spent goes directly to helping families.
3. And is incredibly good at responding to economic downturns, mitigating the impact of recessions and other set-backs on child health and development, which helps reduce the cycle of poverty?
The program in question: the Supplemental Assistance Nutrion Program. (More about who uses it, why they use, and fraud rates can be found here.) It is extraordinarily good at doing what it was designed to do: help children, the elderly, the disabled, and the working poor stay food secure, meaning they don't get to the point of malnutrition. Despite a reputation for fraud and abuse, fraud rates are very low and keep getting lower.
The House Committee on Agriculture has advanced a version of the Farm Bill that cuts over $20 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this would eliminate benefits of 1.8 million people per year, including 200,000 children who would no longer automatically qualify for the school lunch program.
The push to cut SNAP comes from Representative Stephen Fincher, Republican of Tennessee, who received $3.5 million in direct payments for his farmland between 1999 and 2012, including $70,000 in the last year, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum annual SNAP benefits for 12 working families. (This gets to another major problem with the 2013 Farm Bill: both the House and Senate are repealing the direct payments program, where the identity of major recipients is a matter of public record, in favor of an expansion of the funding and eligibility for the crop insurance program, whose beneficiaries are anonymous.)
The members of the House Committee on Agriculture reportedly traded Bible verses over these cuts and our responsibility towards the poor. This led Rep. Fincher to share Matthew 26:11 ("The poor you shall always have with you") and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ("The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat") as evidence that "The Bible says a lot of things."
Last month, Rep. Fincher stated, "The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and giving it to others in the country."
[caption id="attachment_684" align="alignleft" width="169"] Granary at Welfare Square
(Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]
This reminds me of discussions in LDS circles, where feeding the hungry is recognized as a very good thing to do and SNAP (often referred to as food stamps) is sadly depicted as an evil, over-reaching government program. We are very focused on taking care of our hungry Latter-day Saints, either through the official Church welfare program, or through member-led efforts, and we conduct targeted humanitarian relief efforts for others around the globe. This is great, but the Church isn't our only community.
The United States is also a community, wherein we elect legislators and executives who have the sworn duty to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution, which itself was created to "insure domestic tranquility," "promote the general welfare," and "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." We pay our taxes, one of the responsibilities that comes with the rights of citizenship or residence, with the intent that our representatives will use this money towards these goals. Helping working families, the elderly, and, above all, children, receive the food they need to avoid acute hunger is crucial for them to secure the blessings of liberty. As Appleton, Wisconsin has discovered, good food can make all the difference.
During the 2012 election, the LDS Newsroom worked overtime to educate the public on what Mormons believe. A highlight was the publication of the editorial Modern and Mormon. I love its emphasis on the importance of both faith and reason and our need to ask questions, to pursuing truth, and to "seek after" anything that is "virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy." The Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), a praiseworthy program "of good report," is in danger of major cuts that will cripple its ability to feed the hungry and short-circuit the cycle of poverty. If you want SNAP to keep doing the job it's doing so well, let your Congressperson and Senators know that you don't want the cuts to happen. While you're at it, remind them that the sequester hurt WIC's ability to help moms and babies. We cannot starve our way to recovery.
For us who strive to be followers of Christ, regardless of creed, there are a few basic doctrines we must adhere to. (C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece, “Mere Christianity”, is the classic summation of those doctrines.) Those teachings include: Love your neighbors. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Forget the mote in your neighbor’s eye and worry about the beam in your own eye. Judge not that ye be not judged. Let your conversations be “yea, yea; nay, nay” because anything greater than this is evil. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Blessed are the meek. Beware hypocrisy. Teachings of the restored gospel expand on this theme of humility, compassion for others and brotherly love.
Given the fact that we’re a self-proclaimed Christian nation, the lack of basic Christian civility and kindness among some of our nation’s elected leaders toward the Obama administration the last few weeks has been remarkable – especially since there appears to be significant correlation between the degree of self-proclaimed devotion to Christ and the virulence of the attacks against that person’s political opponents.
Part of our Christian beliefs is that there has been only one perfect man, Jesus of Nazareth. The rest of us make mistakes. I believe the scriptures when they teach that our own sins will be forgiven in the degree to which we treat the mistakes of others with charity.
However, this basic Christian doctrine conflicts with a key strategy of the Republican Party: We are the anti-government party, so anything we can do to get Americans to despise government and hate government workers and elected officials, the better for us. Therefore, anything we can do to foment rage and hatred is fair game. Outrage and paranoia are certainly the main marketing tools of media shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Certainly there are times when righteous anger is appropriate. But those times should be the exception rather than the rule. Followers of Christ should look for the positive, should give their brothers and sisters the benefit of the doubt, rather than rush to judgment at the drop of the hat. But, as previously stated, that conflicts with basic Republican strategy.
Donna Brazile, in her excellent commentary, “We’re pointing a gun at our democracy”, gives a sobering warning about where this strategy is leading us. “This road we're on will lead us step-by-step to an extreme: either an autocratic government that functions, or a dysfunctional anarchy. The petty squabbles, bilge in the name of party or principle, will dissolve our self-government.
“Abraham Lincoln felt no foreign power could ever defeat the United States. He said, ‘From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never...No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.’
“We're pointing a pistol at our heads. A government of, by, and for the people requires that people talk to people, that we can agree to disagree but do so in civility. If we let the politicians and those who report dictate our discourse, then our course will be dictated.”
I witnessed this first hand, when I had the historic opportunity in December 2008 to be in the audience in Washington during the House Finance Committee hearings on the “bridge loans” for GM and Chrysler. I have never been more embarrassed for America. Instead of an honest give-and-take to find ways to save – with the benefit of hindsight – what was a key industry in leading us out of the Great Recession, I suffered through almost three hours of arrogant blowhards posturing for the camera, competing with each other to see who could show the most outrage. There were few hints of any desire to actually learn anything or find workable solutions to saving America’s automotive industry.
How do we get out of this destructive cycle? I always expect a little more from my fellow Latter-day Saints, and would hope that Mormon political leaders might be at the forefront in combatting this destructive trend. And indeed, there are some of our members who are out there working to increase Christian civility, to restore proper discourse in government and get back to the people’s business. Names like Udall, Matheson and Huntsman come to mind.
However – at the risk of sounding politically incorrect – the above list of Mormons are not exactly known for being regular churchgoers. What about active Latter-day Saint political figures? I think of the good Governor Romney could do right now, both for his country and his church, by speaking out for civility. He was given the opportunity to do so last week. What was his response? “I’m not a fan of Obama.” What a petulant response; what a wasted opportunity. He should take a cue from George W. Bush, who has graciously resisted criticizing the President. And let’s not forget Senators Lee and Hatch and Congressman Chaffetz, who have been at the forefront of recent witch hunts.
I sincerely worry that one fault Latter-day Saints are susceptible to is the sin of self-righteousness. This was the sin in the Book of Mormon that let to all other evils and eventually to destruction. It surely appears that modern conservative politics fits what Brigham Young called “decoys”, tricking Latter-day Saints into attitudes and emotions they otherwise would consider evil.
Those of us who love America, the Church, and our fellow Latter-day Saints, can no longer remain silent on this issue. We need to preach “The Mormon Ethic of Civility” courageously from the rooftops.
Family Home Evening: Nature-Evidence of Heavenly Father’s Love
Scripture: D&C 59: 18, 20 “Yea, of all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, . . . And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess.”
Suggested Song: My Heavenly Father Loves Me (CS p. 228)
Everything in our environment evidences in all its wonder, both in the way it functions so efficiently and in the way it enriches our lives with its beauty, that God organized the universe for his children (See Alma 30: 44). The body is a marvel of engineering. Families, the church, societies, and even governments were inspired for our growth and security. God revealed the plan of salvation with agency, responsibility, and repentance for our exaltation. He sent his son to show us the way.
Take a nature walk with your family. Stroll around your neighborhood and point out how beautiful the things are that you see around you every day. There may be some special places near your home, such as a wood, the seashore, the mountains, or a desert. Take advantage of these places to inspire a love of nature in your family.
Create a nature collage or scrapbook. Draw pictures, use pages from magazines, and have the older children match up scriptures with specific scenes. (Psalms 65: 9-13, 96: 11-12, 106: 1; Isaiah 32: 18; Romans 11: 36; D&C 59: 16-21; Moses 3: 9; Abraham 5: 9)
Challenge: While we appreciate all that heavenly Father has given us, he has charged us to tend to these gifts as well. What ways can we encourage good uses of the earth? How can we protect the earth? Can we experience our own little bit of creation through growing of gardens, exploring the outdoors?
Your typical conservative is pointing at us Democrats right about now and saying, "Yeah, I told you so. You liberals who believe in an entitlement society have got it all wrong." More than any other of the lies told about us, this one makes me tear my hair out! Democrats do not believe in an entitlement society! No one would be more thrilled than me if that single mother out there had the tools to provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care for her children without government assistance.
The difference is in the best way to get there. Conservative philosophy seems to be pretty simple; everyone's on his own.
Democrats have a different view. I am currently enrolled in a class on the Toyota Production System at work. One characteristic of the coursework is you get to learn a bunch of Japanese words. One of these is "nemawashi". It's the word for properly preparing the soil to plant a tree. The tree won't grow if you don't prepare the soil. The application of this principle in the business world is obvious, but in our changing society, it especially applies to people. We can't expect those being left behind by our new economy to grow and thrive without some soil preparation. If you just plunk them down in the dirt, they will perish just as surely as all those trees I've tried to plant out in the crappy, alkaline soil in Plain City.
So, back to Friedman's column: "I find a lot of this scary. We’re entering a world that increasingly rewards individual aspiration and persistence and can measure precisely who is contributing and who is not. This is not going away, so we better think how we help every citizen benefit from it.
It has to start, argues Ryan Burke, the director of jobs and workforce for Hope Street, with changing our education-to-work system to one that enables and credits a variety of viable pathways to needed skills. But for students and workers to take advantage of the opportunities open to them in a 'defined contribution’ world, they will need much better information to inform their decisions. Right now it’s much easier to evaluate a choice about buying a car or picking a mutual fund than to find the competencies employers are looking for and the best cost-effective way to obtain them."
This isn't going to be easy. It will take work and creativity, Which means simplistic answers won't do. One final quote, from Friedman's book Hot, Flat and Crowded: "There was a lot about Reagan's economic policies that made sense when it was first introduced. We did need to unlock talent, energy and entrepreneurship that had been bottled up in our economy. But like all good things in politics, for everything there is a season and limits. Reaganism, which coincided with the collapse of America's mortal enemy, the Soviet Union, ushered in a period of history in which more and more public officials denigrated government and offered painless bromides for prosperity. The market was always right. Government was always wrong. And any government proposal that involved asking the American people to do something difficult - to save more, drive more fuel-efficient cars, study harder, or to be better parents - was 'off the table'. You could not utter such phrases and expect to be elected to any high office in America."
The time for those "painless bromides" are past. They won't work. It will take a lot of effort and sacrifice to prepare the soil in America so all her citizens can be self-sufficient and prosper in the new economy.
My friend and legislative colleague, Representative David Lifferth, and I have been discussing which political party's position on abortion is closer to the LDS Church's position. I say the Democratic platform and David says it's the GOP's. You can see Rep. Lifferth's last statement in our discussion at: http://davidlifferth.ning.com/profiles/blogs/comparison-of-abortion-platforms-of-republican-party-groups. This is my response.
First, let's summarize the LDS Church position on abortion. The Church makes clear that the circumstances under which an abortion is permissible from a religious and moral perspective are unusual. It condemns abortion for "personal or social convenience . . .." Unusual circumstances that may justify an abortion are when:
• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
Even if one of these circumstances exist, abortion, " . . . should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct." In addition, "the Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion."
The Utah State and Utah County GOP platforms are a bit different from each other on abortion. The state GOP position implies that all abortions other than those necessary to preserve the life of the mother or for pregnancies arising out of rape and incest should be criminalized. On the other hand, the Utah County GOP platform explicitly states that abortion should be illegal except " . . . where the life of the mother is at serious risk, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest." Both the Utah State and the Utah County GOP platforms would criminalize abortion even where the fetus has severe defects that will not allow it to survive beyond birth. This deviates materially from LDS Church teachings.
The national GOP platform deviates even more from Church teachings by creating greater restrictions than either the Utah State or Utah County GOP platforms. It explicitly supports a human life amendment to the Constitution to place a fetus's right to life from conception on a par with the life of the mother. The national GOP platform criminalizes all abortions without exception. The Church's position simply cannot be reconciled with the national GOP platform.
The national Democratic platform supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose as framed by that decision. Contrary to how many pro-life advocates characterize it, the national Democratic platform does not call for supporting abortion rights at all stages of pregnancy. It emphasizes that abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor and her clergy.
The GOP platforms at all levels impliedly or expressly call for abortion to either be made illegal across the board or illegal subject to narrow exceptions. Part of the moral or religious basis for the national GOP position is that life begins at conception. Of course, believing that life begins at conception is not a prerequisite for believing that all abortions should be prohibited or for promoting a Constitutional amendment recognizing personhood at conception. But if you believe life begins at conception it provides the factual and moral foundation for the legal conclusion that the fetus has just as much a right to life as the mother.
In fact, the LDS Church, unlike the Catholic and some other religions, has never specifically identified the point at which life begins. The range of answers to that question from various LDS Church leaders goes all the way from conception to the point at which a newly born baby takes its first breath. A Church member may, as a personal matter, choose to believe that life begins at conception. But, to the extent they think about it at all, an LDS Church member could also be justified in believing that life begins when the fetal heartbeat begins, or when movement begins in utero, or when the fetus becomes self-sustaining outside the womb, or when a baby draws its first breath. As with many other doctrinal points within the LDS Church, the matter is theologically unsettled. As such, there is simply no definitive LDS Church statement to support the position taken by the national Republican platform that life begins at conception as opposed to some other point later in the developmental process of a fetus.
Rep. Lifferth points out that the LDS Church and the GOP positions are similar in that they both denounce abortion. It is true that both do agree that certain types of abortion should be prohibited under either law (GOP) or are not in accordance with church teachings (LDS). But Democrats have not come out in favor of unlimited access to abortion. They simply support Roe v. Wade and oppose any limits on a woman's choice that go beyond that case. No one disputes that both federal and state law impose significant restrictions and criminal punishment on many types of abortion that do not fall within Roe v. Wade. So the LDS Church, Republicans, and Democrats all agree on that.
Rep. Lifferth states that the LDS Church and GOP positions are similar in using terms such as "sacred" and "sanctity" when referring to the unborn child while the Democratic platform does not use such terms. But this similarity doesn't really help Republicans demonstrate that the GOP is closer than the Democrats to the LDS Church position on abortion. It just shows that on this, as on so many other issues, the GOP frames political debates in religious terms as often as possible. Is that a helpful or productive thing in terms of advancing understanding about what would be good public policy? I don't believe so. Decisions about public policy should be based on facts, not ideology or a particular religion's moral values. Nothing about LDS Church doctrine advocates fusing church and state policymaking based solely on religious or moral principles. In fact, both generally and in the context of the abortion debate, the Church supports the First Amendment and long-standing Constitutional doctrines about the need to separate church from state in our political affairs.
Rep. Lifferth goes on to state, "the LDS Church position is that 'elective' is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. This is a direct contradiction of the National Democratic Party's position which states [that it] "strongly and unequivocally supports . . . a woman's right to make decisions." Rep. Lifferth suggests that the LDS Church would support efforts to see its position on abortion channeled directly into civil and criminal law. But the Church says no such thing. In fact, it expressly states that it does not favor or oppose legislative proposals involving abortion. In other words, the Church explicitly recognizes the importance of separating church and state. Rep. Lifferth's statement inaccurately and improperly attempts to combine the two.
It's the Church that makes the right call on this point. The position of the GOP and Rep. Lifferth, advocating that certain conduct be made a crime on the basis that it is proscribed by religious or moral principles, is contrary to LDS Church doctrine. The Democratic platform is more in line with the Church's position because the Democratic platform does not frame the debate in religious terms and it does not insist that because particular conduct is deemed "immoral" by a particular religion that is must be criminalized. The LDS Church position is that its moral teachings do not reach to the political sphere and that its religious position does not dictate public policy.
Rep. Lifferth concludes by stating: "there is nothing in the LDS Church's position on abortion that supports 'Roe v. Wade' or a woman's right to an 'abortion'. On the contrary, none of the 'exceptional circumstances' listed 'automatically justify and [sic] abortion." True. But it is likewise true that nothing in the LDS Church's position on abortion advocates for the reversal of Roe v. Wade or a woman's legal right to an abortion. In fact, as noted above, the Church specifically differentiates between the two.
The idea that a particular religion's spiritual tenets should not necessarily be adopted as public policy is something we, as Utah legislators, understand very well and accept in other contexts. For example, tobacco use is strongly and unequivocally forbidden by LDS Church doctrine. Church teachings proscribing tobacco are more clear-cut than its statements about abortion. Yet there is no thought by the Utah State legislature of criminalizing tobacco use. Why not?
I believe at least part of the reason is that most people recognize that there would be enormous practical problems with trying to make all tobacco use illegal in Utah. Doing so would require the commitment of significant resources to enforce the law. What effect would criminalizing such fundamentally personal and private behavior have on our law enforcement resources, our personal relationships, our community relations, the public image of the state, efforts to bring economic development to Utah, tourism, etc? In addition, legislators are, and should be, wary of using coercive government influence to regulate personal and private choices of individuals. This is true even if everyone recognizes those choices may, directly and indirectly, kill and seriously injure the person who engages in the conduct and bystanders as well. Why do we not consider and discuss the same types of, cultural, social, economic, logistical, political, and philosophical factors when it comes to abortion? These issues are no less prominent, valid, and difficult with regard to abortion than with tobacco, alcohol, or a host of other behaviors arising out of personal choices the Church prohibits or deems immoral.
The problem with the abortion debate is that it has come down to two sides simply yelling slogans and platitudes at each other. The real world effects of going in the direction that the national or state GOP wants to take us are rarely discussed. If those realities and the effects of banning all abortions as the GOP platforms call for were considered in any detail, I'm very confident more Utahns would support the Democratic than the Republican position on abortion.
Family Home Evening: Jesus is my Example
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Suggested Song: Teach Me to Walk in the Light (Hymn 304, CS p. 177)
What is an Example?
Play “Do as I do”. Each member of the family takes a turn as leader. The leader stands in front of the others and performs an action, like clapping, touching his nose, winking, or saying something. The rest of the group imitates his actions. Parents or the ones conducting the family home evening may want to be leader after the others have had a turn so they can introduce a few examples of reverent behavior for others to follow.
Discuss the idea of using Jesus as our example.
- Mark 10: 13-16 He loved the little children
- Mark 6: 53-56, 7:31-35 He helped the sick and those in need
- John 4: 6-10 He was kind
- John 8: 32 He taught the importance of truth
For the teenagers and adults:
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these,”
Roger sat at the dinner table, tired but happy. He had spent his entire Saturday at the university library studying for exams. His roommates had all gone out on dates or to the football game, but Roger stayed in, determined to keep his high grade point average. He had finally finished all his studies, and was beginning to prepare his Gospel Doctrine lesson about following the example of Christ for the next morning.
When the doorbell rang, Roger reacted with a frown. “Who would be coming here on a Saturday night?”
When he opened the door he found an unshaven, scraggly dressed man about forty years old. The man’s breath smelled of tobacco and liquor. “I just drove into town,” the man said, “and my car stopped right here in the middle of your street.” The man explained how he hadn't eaten all day and that his friend had a son attending the university whom he wanted to find. “Could you spare me a bite to eat, and then help me find out what’s wrong with my car? You could probably help me find my friend’s son too, couldn't you?”
Roger tried to think of an excuse. There were several other houses on the street in which families, not students, lived. They probably had more food. They probably didn't have to worry about teaching a Sunday School lessons and weren't as tired as he was tonight. Besides, this guy might even ask to stay the night. What would his roommates think if they came home to this man in their apartment?
On the other hand…Roger did know something about cars…
- What would you do if you were Roger?
- What would the Lord have you do? Why?
- Read Matthew 25: 31-46 and discuss.
Challenge: Find ways to care for others in the next week. Write them down and discuss them. What can we do to help those we don’t see every day? What good can we do to help those we may never meet?