Monthly Archives: March 2019

What is the ‘Utah way’? Depends on who you are.

If you are involved at all in Utah politics, you most likely have heard about the “Utah way” of doing things. But what exactly is the “Utah way?”

The New York Times referred to the firing squad as “a Utah way of death.” The arrival of Frontrunner ahead of schedule and under budget was described as being “kind of the Utah way.” Gov. Gary Herbert declared that “turning a blind eye and doing nothing” to help “our neighbors, our friends, and our family members” was not the Utah way, shortly before the House of Representatives rejected his Healthy Utah proposal. The phrase was used by political commentator Paul Mero to describe the Utah Compact and by Keith McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management, when referring to Utah’s business-friendly policies. Most recently, the Utah way has been trotted out when discussing the ballot initiatives during last year’s November election. read more

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Chapter 9: Happiness

Human beings are born to achieve happiness within God’s plan for man. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes happiness and its enjoyment possible. The Atonement, in fact, defines happiness. It defines our choices, our judgments, our values, our priorities and our worldview – all central components of our happiness.

Pleasure-seeking and pain avoidance are not forms of happiness. This worldly, utilitarian paradigm is selfish. Happiness is not selfish. Happiness is communion with God, His great Plan of Salvation, with our Savior and every element comprising essential connections leading us to know, become as and to live again with Heavenly Father. read more

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Chapter 8: Human Dignity

Every person is a child of God and, as such, has inherent dignity. God’s purpose for each one of us is the context for understanding the true meaning of human dignity. We exist to discover Him and draw close to Him and live by His Word. The farther we are from God, the less dignity we possess and project ourselves and nurture and embrace in others.

Personal comportment, decorum and politeness are secular and nice but superficial forms of dignity – virtuous expressions useful for orderly social interactions, but they do not represent its essence. Neither do modern platitudes about “respect for diversity.” Honoring human dignity is not about accepting and respecting any and every human expression or behavior a person claims for him or her self. read more

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Chapter 7: The Light of Christ

All human beings have the light of Christ. It allows every person to comprehend the nature of his or her existence without direct instruction or commands. The light of Christ is the spark of God in all of us. It helps us cut through the veil covering our eyes from eternity. It offers us simple guidance in our interactions with mankind. It helps us see others as we see ourselves and it presses upon our conscience what not to do.

Every living thing has the light of Christ to fulfill the measure of its creation. That said, the light can dim and even disappear at times from neglect or abandonment. We can turn our backs on the light. read more

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Chapter 6: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

America’s blueprint for freedom, the United States Constitution, has an introduction to set context, the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration explains the why and what of freedom. Likewise, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has an introduction to set context – The Family: A Proclamation to the World. In this single document, faithful Latter-day Saints are instructed in the why and what of our Gospel identity.

We are instructed in Creation, not of earth but of man. We are instructed that gender is eternal, not of temporal manufacture. We are instructed that family structure, not emotional well being, establishes a family in God’s plan. We are instructed about the importance of parents and the roles of men and women inside a family. And, lastly, we are warned about not heeding its truths and importuned to defend marriage and family as bulwarks of a free society. read more

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Chapter 5: The Plan of Salvation

“In the beginning” there was a plan – God’s plan for man. There was a desire in God the Father for all of His children to become like Him and sealed together, as one family, for time and eternity. There was a council of the gods to set this plan in motion. Particulars of the plan were settled. Disagreement and, ultimately, dissension occurred. A Savior was chosen. The rules of mortality for the practical exercise of the plan were established. His children freely chose to accept and adopt His plan or not. read more

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Chapter 4: Opposition and Conflict

Without conflict, choice is largely functional. Conflict makes a choice real. Choosing between an apple and an orange is not a conflict. Choosing between keeping God’s commandments or not represents pure conflict. In other words, mortality alone does not bring opposition in all things. But mortality combined with God’s plan for man sets the stage for conflict. This is opposition.

Mortality without purpose is life driven by instinct alone and our choices narrow to things that give us pleasure or pain. Driven by instinct, we are drawn to pleasure and repelled by pain. This “utilitarian” view of life is not God’s view. This utilitarian view is myopic and focuses on immediate gratification or what momentarily “is.” God’s view is eternal, focused on futurity or what “ought” to be and what we “ought” to become. read more

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Chapter 3: Moral Agency

In a vision of Adam and Eve’s experience in the Garden of Eden, during their conversation with Heavenly Father regarding the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Moses teaches us about moral agency:

And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Moses 3:16-17) read more

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Chapter 2: Order

As faith precedes the miracle, order precedes freedom. There is no freedom without first establishing a transcendent moral order. Freedom requires virtue, personal and public – it requires us to be our better selves in our private lives and in the public square. Bad behavior diminishes both personal and societal freedom. Order is thus the framework of freedom. Comprised of numerous influences – more often freely expressed, typically encouraged privately but sometimes necessarily imposed publicly – order is both prescriptive and proscriptive in the human experience. read more

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Chapter 1: Purpose and Identity

What does it mean to be a human being? In the understanding of faithful Latter-day Saints, it means we are the literal offspring of our Heavenly Father. We have His spiritual DNA in our mortal bodies. Every human being is a child of God and that identity defines our freedom. Hence, to be truly free means to match our will to His. If freedom is our goal, our purpose every day we wake should be to strive to conform our lives to His – our desires to His, our thoughts to His and our actions to what He would have us do in this mortal existence. read more

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