Monthly Archives: December 2017

The LDS Doctrines of Grace and Works

There is an odd celebration today over a perceived breakthrough regarding the LDS doctrine of grace, as witnessed in the pages of the Deseret News (here, here, here and here). Perhaps thinking they are pioneering a road less traveled, these few LDS scholars only complicate long-standing and uncomplicated official doctrine.

This celebration is odd because these scholars lack commensurability. Nearly to the person they are in disagreement, “in many instances fundamentally” so. It is like celebrating a Super Bowl victory when your favorite team was not playing. Also unclear is the target of their celebration. Is it doctrinal or cultural? Are these LDS scholars celebrating changes to official doctrine or are they celebrating a broader acceptance of their particular interpretations of official doctrine? read more

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Donald Trump’s Gift to America

In looking back on the year 2017, Americans have witnessed political, cultural and economic cycles like few other years in recent memory. Personally, I began this year by unaffiliating with the Republican Party. Trump was too much for me to bear. He turned out to be the president many of us thought he would be. He remains ill suited to be the leader of the free world. In fact, I predicted earlier this year that Trump would not make it to the end of the year – either he would resign or be booted from office. Yet, there he remains. read more

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Mending Utah’s Safety Net

Over the past few months, I have been working with a few colleagues to develop a new “Utah Poverty Compact” modeled after the immigration compact released in 2010. The immigration compact changed public opinion nearly overnight. My hope is that a new poverty compact would have the same effect on public opinion and policy makers.

Among my several justifications for creating a new poverty compact, two societal aspects are often overlooked.

First, a poverty compact has the ability to decrease class differences in Utah and set an example for the nation. The nation is torn apart by class warfare. One article has received a lot of attention recently for its call to violence against the rich. The author writes, read more

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Total Justice Can Be Elusive in Harassment and Abuse Cases

Where do we go from here now that Roy Moore has been given a justifiably ignominious political burial and the sexual harassment genie is out of the bottle for good? How long will the victims of harassment and abuse continue to come out of the shadows? The stream must be endless. How much harassment and abuse do you think exists in America today? My guess is a lot.

But, as usual, I am more interested in the tougher questions surrounding these atrocities and controversies. For instance, frankly, I do not know how much longer these accusations will last. While I believe that harassment and abuse are rampant today, I am not so sure about the desire of every victim to go public. We see so many Hollywood stars each of whom has their story of harassment and abuse. Naturally, they get a lot of attention. They are in the attention business. read more

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It’s time to fight poverty the ‘Utah way’

The Utah Compact was the work of many to express the heart of how we feel about strangers in our midst. It certifiably established Utah as a welcoming state.

As a part of that transcendent moment, I have since wondered why that same spirit could not impact other public policies. For instance, is it possible to recreate the Utah Compact for poverty-related issues? What are our commensurate values regarding the poor? Are there values upon which conservatives and liberals (and everyone in between) can agree? And, if we were able to identify those values, would Utah policymakers find the courage to ensure that poverty policies match those values? read more

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Political Loyalties Give Dogs a Bad Name

Do you want to know why so many Americans identify as independent or, here in Utah, unaffiliated voters? The reason is that partisanship never serves the common good. By its very nature, partisanship is insular, exclusionary and selfish. It encourages bad behavior in the name of a perverse sense of loyalty and it does not serve the public interest.

Of course, the best current example of how partisanship turns otherwise intelligent people into flaming idiots is the Roy Moore candidacy in Alabama. The Republican Senate candidate is accused of gross improprieties with underage girls. The accusations are numerous, detailed and verified – so blatant, in fact, that there is little doubt about their veracity. Politics is not a court of law. It is the court of public opinion. Roy Moore should quit his race. But he won’t. Furthermore, Republican faithful, from the White House to the local courthouse, stand by their man. read more

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