Wednesday, October 29, 2008

God needs more democrats

Thanks to Bob for this article. (I've shortened it quite a bit, for the full article see bob's blog.)

If this was applicable in 1998, it's even more applicable today.

Here's also a link to an article from the UofU's Daily Chronicle, originally published in 2004. I've linked to it before, it's a good one.

Dan Harrie, Salt Lake Tribune, May 3, 1998
10/27/2008 05:51 PM MDT

On May 3, 1998, the Salt Lake Tribune reported the following interview with Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Jensen, at the time a member of the Church's Public Affairs Committee, was "designated by church officials to respond to The Salt Lake Tribune's request for an interview on the topic of partisan imbalance in Utah and among LDS members."

The LDS Church, through a high-ranking leader, is making its strongest public statement to date about the need for political diversity among members, while expressing concerns the Republican Party is becoming the "church party."

"There is sort of a division along Mormon/non-Mormon, Republican/Democratic lines," says Elder Marlin Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. "We regret that more than anything -- that there would become a church party and a non-church party. That would be the last thing that we would want to have happen."

Jensen said major national political parties may take stands that do not coincide with teachings of the 10 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but that should not put them out of bounds for members....

-- The LDS Church's reputation as a one-party monolith is damaging in the long run because of the seesaw fortunes of the national political parties.

-- The overwhelming Republican bent of LDS members in Utah and the Intermountain West undermines the checks-and-balances principle of democratic government.

-- Any notion that it is impossible to be a Democrat and a good Mormon is wrongheaded and should be "obliterated."

-- Faithful LDS members have a moral obligation to actively participate in politics and civic affairs, a duty many have neglected.

...Jensen, who was called as a general authority in 1989, said high church officials lament the near-extinction of the Democratic Party in Utah and the perception -- incorrect though it is -- that the GOP enjoys official sanction of the church....

"One of the things that prompted this discussion in the first place was the regret that's felt about the decline of the Democratic Party [in Utah] and the notion that may prevail in some areas that you can't be a good Mormon and a good Democrat at the same time," Jensen said.

"There have been some awfully good men and women who have been both and are both today. So I think it would be a very healthy thing for the church -- particularly the Utah church -- if that notion could be obliterated."

The idea that Mormonism and Democratic Party affiliation are incompatible traces back to the early 1970s, when LDS general authority Ezra Taft Benson, who later became church president, was quoted in an Associated Press interview as saying it would be difficult for a faithful member to be a liberal Democrat.

Church officials later claimed the comment was taken out of context, although the AP stood by its account.

Jensen said concerns exist on two levels about the unofficial linkage of the Republican Party and Mormon Church.

One is the fear that by being closely identified with one political party, the church's national reputation and influence is subject to the roller-coaster turns and dips of that partisan organization. Also bothersome is that the uncontested dominance of the Republican Party in Utah deprives residents of the debate and competition of ideas that underlie good government.

"There is a feeling that even nationally as a church, it's not in our best interest to be known as a one-party church," Jensen said. "The national fortunes of the parties ebb and flow. Whereas the Republicans may clearly have the upper hand today, in another 10 years they may not."

..."The Democratic Party has in the last 20 years waned to the point where it really is almost not a factor in our political life," Jensen said. "There is a feeling that that is not healthy at all -- that as a state we suffer in different ways. But certainly any time you don't have the dialogue and the give-and-take that the democratic process provides, you're going to be poorer for it in the long run."

There also are more immediate, tangible costs, he said.

Jensen blamed the Republican monopoly for contributing to Utah political leaders' inability or unwillingness to grapple with long-range planning issues. He pointed to the lack of state leadership on issues of open-space preservation and land-use planning.... "There are probably issues like that environmentally, educationally that we'd really benefit from if there were a more robust dialogue going on. But we've lacked that and I think we've suffered somewhat because of it."

..."This is the second dramatic time in the history of the state when forceful signals have been flashed from church headquarters calling on Mormons to choose up political sides more evenly," said J.D. Williams, retired University of Utah political scientist.

Williams compared Jensen's public pronouncements to the church's attempts in the 1890s to divide congregations up evenly among the two major political parties....

Jensen also referred to the 19th-century splitting of congregations along partisan lines, when the territorial People's and Liberal parties were abandoned in favor of national party affiliations.

He repeated an anecdote told by prominent LDS Democrat Oscar McConkie about his father's recollections of a church leader telling a congregation during a Sunday morning meeting to "sign up to be Republicans."

At that time, Mormons favored the Democratic Party because it was less stridently anti-polygamy than were Republicans.

When members of the flock returned for an afternoon session, the Republican sign-up sheet remained blank, Jensen said. "Brothers and sisters, you have misunderstood," said the church leader. "God needs Republicans."

"And Oscar said his father would wink and say, `And you know, Oscar, those damned Republicans think they've had God on their side ever since,' " Jensen said....

"We need to develop a tolerance -- so we don't demonize people that we have a disagreement with," Peck said. "It really was the church leaders' position on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment [in the 1970s] that was the death of the Utah Democratic Party, because it became a litmus test," he said.

Pro-choice and, more recently, gay-rights stands of the national Democratic Party have helped Republicans paint the donkey-symbol party as taboo.

Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation.

"We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say, [parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."

Friday, October 24, 2008

All of these things are just like the other, all of these things are just the same

Salt Blog has provided a nice kick-in-the-pants to remind us of the senate and house members who voted for vouchers. The list is not comprehensive, the Salt Blog says their list is of the voucher ring leaders. You can also look at the Utah Leg. sites for Senate and House votes on the voucher bill.

Lest you think I've become a one issue voter (If I had, the issue would be health care anyway), I'm not recommending voting against any of these people soley because of their vote for vouchers, but rather to use their voucher vote as an example of their arrogance as a representative. They decided that they knew better than us, that they didn't need to listen to us, and that we were so stupid that we'd continue to vote for them even after they demonstrated such a lack of regard for our will.

Here are the Davis County legislators who voted FOR vouchers and are up for reelection:

Roger Barrus (House district 18)

Kevin Garn (House district 16)

Curtis Oda (House district 14)

I'm sure that these men are all good people, I'm sure that they are doing what they believe to be their best in representing us, which is one reason why it's time for them to step aside.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where does a liberal mormon fit in?


It seems that liberals attack us for our mormon-ness, and mormon's attack us for our liberal-ness.

I'll be glad when November 4th is a distant memory.

I either need a break, or to find some different blogs.

Don't do this

I made pizza for dinner tonight, usually I form the crust by tossing the dough in the air (which is why it is usually less-than perfectly round- let's just say I'm still "perfecting" my skill). Today for some reason I decided just to use a rolling pin. I placed the dough on the pizza stone (with a little corn meal) and rolled a perfectly round base for pizza toppings.

The pizza was the nicest looking pizza I've ever made, but when it came time to slice it, I could tell there was a problem. For some reason the crust was cemented to the pizza stone and the only way to get the pizza off of the stone was to use a spatula to cut the top of the pizza off. It wasn't pretty, but it was edible.

I suppose if I want to use the rolling pin again, I could, I just need to roll it out prior to placing it on the pizza stone. I think I'll go back to the pizza toss method- it's more entertaining for the kids.

(Speaking of Pizza, does anyone have a really good crust recipe? Mine is okay, but it's not anything special.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Sometimes it seems that politicians get a little full of themselves. Especially when they feel they can't be beat. I'd encourage even the most staunch republican to consider voting for Morgan Bowen this year. Rob Bishop states clearly who he represents, and it isn't you or me. I've met Morgan Bowen as well as his wife. They are good people. Morgan genuinely wants to serve Utahns and represent us in congress. Let's send Rob Bishop the message that he isn't irreplaceable, that he must be accountable for his lack of true representation (I was going to say honest, but he's been quite upfront about who he is accountable to). Lets look beyond party affiliation and vote on the issues that matter. Republicans and Democrats haven't always been enemies as we seem to have become. We were meant to compliment each other and share different sides of an issue.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Words Fail

As a child we had some special family friends. He had taught my dad in college and they had been friends-family ever since. Kelly and Martha never forgot us and were always bringing us things that we as children thought were really cool. Giant gummy spiders and rats, plastic animal noses, interesting trinkets from their travels. They were also the kind of people who had a house full of treasures from all over the world, but I was never told to "put that down" or "don't touch that" at their house. When they came to dinner, Martha brought the most amazing desserts. Then there were the slideshows. Images from their travels, and the stories that went with them.

Martha died earlier this afternoon. Sometimes growing up really stinks. (I guess people died when I was younger, but I don't remember it being so difficult- maybe it's because as a child your relationships with people aren't the same as they are when you are an adult.)

The picture is from last spring when they stopped by my parents house on their way home from a trip to southern utah.

Quote of the day...

“You don’t have to be a Democrat to understand that government works better when there are two vital and participating parties. Utah’s Republican leaders have all the power right now. They think they can do anything they want. That’s why Republicans tried to strong-arm the voters on school vouchers. It’ s why we’ve seen bribery, corruption, nepotism and ethics investigations involving so many Republican politicians this year. Our lawyers are organizing to even up the game. Competition from a stronger Democratic Party will make all politicians more accountable. “

--Jeffrey Eisenberg, Utah Democratic Lawyers Council (UDLC) President

48 Quarts Later

Growing up, homemade grape juice (mixed with a little sparkling water) was a special treat. We usually only got it when we had company over for dinner (That's when we also usually had abalone- hey mom, I need to learn how to cook abalone one of these days...).

As I got older and had my own home, and made my own juice, I tended to hoard the juice. Until one day, when I was making juice and realized I still had quite a few quarts from the previous year. That's when I decided to drink it whenever I feel like it.

We finished 48 quarts over the weekend (picture to come later). After giving some to my mom (who provided the grapes) we figure we have enough for 3 quarts per month. It's going to be tough to make them last all year... :)

We've been to DI twice this month to buy more jars, and we haven't started applesauce yet, so we'll be back (if you have quart canning jars, donate them to DI (or me directly)).

Monday, October 13, 2008


Our garbage is picked up early friday mornings. Early enough that if we don't put it out the night before, we're not going to get it out in time.

We've missed the last two weeks, and I was a little worried about how overflowing it surely must be by now, but when I took the kitchen garbage out, the big can wasn't even half full yet.

I bet if we really tried, we could cut our garbage down another 50% by being more careful about making sure recyclable things go in the recycling can and compostable things go in the compost bin.

If it wasn't so impractical, I'd wish that we were charged for how much garbage we generated rather than just a flat rate. Well, I wish it anyway, but recognize it would be difficult to track how much garbage each household produced.

Which of course brings up another point- as my neighbor likes to say, the burn plant ought to be paying us to take our garbage. They sell the energy generated from burning the garbage to HAFB, and then they run a giant magnet over the ashes and pull out all the metal, which they are able to sell.

I'm not fond of the burn plant, so this just adds to my irritation with it generally.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Movie Recommendations

We've all been sick, and haven't been watching as many movies recently, but in the past two weeks, we did find time to get two movies in. Martian Child, and The Whole Wide World.
The Whole Wide World is about a school teacher with ambitions of becoming a writer who meets, well, I don't even have the desire to write what the movie was about- that's how exciting/interesting I found it. Here's the info from Netflix:This Dan Ireland-directed film stars Renee Zellweger as Novalyne Price, a Texas schoolteacher with literary ambitions who falls for pulp fiction scribe Bob Howard (Vincent D'Onofrio) -- a man who gracefully traverses a world of words but can't seem to fit into real life. Howard's most famous literary hero is Conan the Barbarian; he, too, is a barbarian of sorts. He's a capable writer, but is he capable of love?

It's rated PG (and I don't see it listed on, but does have some parts that I found somewhat disturbing- when Bob Howard is writing or talking about his stories.

I Say: Don't bother.

My Mister Says: "What in the world was that about?"

Martian Child is about a widow who adopts a little boy, and their journey to becoming a family. From Netflix:n this film based on a David Gerrold novel, John Cusack stars as a recently widowed science-fiction writer who adopts a 6-year-old boy to quell his loneliness. The catch? The kid (Bobby Coleman) claims to be from Mars. At first, the new dad doesn't pay much attention to the boy's story, but when an odd series of events occurs, he begins to believe his son may be telling the truth in this film co-starring Amanda Peet and Joan Cusack.

It is also rated PG, with a 2.2.3 rating at

I Say: I loved it. I thought it was a sweet movie and, (as my Mister likes to remind me) I like John Cusack.

My Mister Says: "Eh. It was okay. I liked Oh Brother Where Art Thou* better."

*inside joke- he didn't enjoy the movie. He didn't think it was awful, just not worth watching again.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What's your Flavor?

Wikipedia says, The saying "Do not drink the Kool-Aid" now commonly refers to the Jonestown tragedy, meaning "Do not trust any group you find to be a little on the kooky side," or "Whatever they tell you, do not believe it too strongly." Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly is famous for using the term in this manner.
Having "drunk the Kool-Aid" also refers to being a strong or fervent believer in a particular philosophy or mission — wholeheartedly or blindly believing in its virtues.

It seems that all of us have "drunk the Kool-Aid". We seem to feel so sure that our position is the only correct one, and that anyone who disagrees with us is either stupid, or uninformed. We label people or ideas. "Liberal", "Conservative", "Left-wing idelogue", "Right-wing", "Extremist", "Obstructionists", "Reactionaries". All of these labels are used to insult those we disagree with. They are used to divide us and pit us against each other.

Who benefits when we are so busy arguing with each other that we forget that every issue has more than two solutions? How about instead of shutting each other down for voicing an opinion different than our own, we do as President Eyring suggested in his recent conference talk. The great peacemaker, the restorer of unity, is the one who finds a way to help people see the truth they share.

How about we stop with the labels meant to insult each other and spend a little more time trying to understand where the other person is coming from. Maybe then we'll be able to fix real problems, like our broken immigration system, and the growing number of uninsured people and skyrocketing health care costs.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Awhile back my son was playing with a friend, who said to him, "if you don't let me play with that, I won't be your friend any more".

I recently read on a blog, "If marriage loses, our religious liberties are next".

I dislike fear mongering in any form. I've tried to teach my son to make choices because he wants to do what is right, based on accurate information, not because he feels threatened in some way. Yes, sharing toys is good, but it is inappropriate for a child to threaten friendship over a toy. How more inappropriate for an adult to use similar tactics. However noble (or not, I'm not commenting on marriage amendments today, I'm just using that as an example of fear mongering) the message, if an argument can't stand on it's own merit, it needs a little more work.

Too often we allow fear to determine our actions, fear prompts us to act hastily in situations where well planned decisions would serve us better. The iraq war is one good example, we as a country were lied to and led to believe that an attack on iraq would protect us, and that failure to act immediately would lead to more terrorist attacks. More recently, the concerns over the economy and the mortgage crisis had politicians telling us that a 700 billion dollar bail out was essential but we must act immediately. I don't currently see any benefit from that immediate action, other than my portion of the national debt just jumped. In both instances, we would have been better off to take a little more time, put a little more thought, and use a little more caution in gaining knowledge before committing to action.

Fear divides, knowledge and understanding unite and allow us to work together instead of breaking into "us" and "them". Sometimes I listen to Sean Hannity while I'm driving in the car (don't ask me why, I find him very divisive and rude) if people like Sean Hannity are successful, they pit people who have slightly different ideas against each other and make us forget that we are capable of working together. We spend so much time fighting each other, that we don't focus on really fixing the problem. Obi Wan Liberali at The Hornet's Nest said it well:

For fear is paralyzing. Fear causes one to search for scapegoats, not solutions. Fear can easily disintegrate into paranoia, finding enemies where they don't exist, and losing trust in allies you have a history with. And in the search for scapegoats that fear inspires, who knows what "them" are to wear that label? And pretty soon, we are again, the "Disunited States of America" where your standing as a citizen is subject to whether you fit within that "them" group or not.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kyle's website up

Kyle's webpage is now up. Check it out.

Roberts 4 House 20

Thanks to Derek for all of his hard work. It looks great.

We'll be adding more to it over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Item in sidebar

You may have noticed the new image in my side bar- My Mister (Kyle) picked up his campaign signs- so if you live in district 20 and are interested in having one in your yard, email me.

His website will be up and running sometime this evening, but for now he's posting on his blog