Category Archives: Personal Commentaries

Unworthy: Missing Chapter #3

I think he’s an asshole.

My SIL is not wrong. Nor is he alone in his opinion. Most of the book prior to these chapters is a testament to this reality. But Unworthy also explains why — the sources of my expressing ass-holier-than-thou thoughts. Even so, I’m not quite sure all of my new understanding and “scary” self-awareness would have changed anything between my SIL and me.

I do not begrudge my SIL’s venting. Nor do I begrudge him his pain. Believing his narrative, as he does, would demand the tone and form of his attack. I get it. I do. And his adamant desire to sever ties with me is a natural conclusion to his narrative. Hey, look, I have written too many “fuck you” letters in my life, personal and professional, to not understand his to me. read more

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Unworthy: Missing Chapter #2

 

I don’t care if this makes you sad. Almost everything about you makes me sad. I think you’re small. I think you’re a bigot. I think you’re a bully. I’m certain you’re an ideologue…It’s hard not to be impressed by [your] utter lack of self-awareness…

 Well, I guess this is what you call burning an already rickety-ass bridge. I told you many years ago that me and my family would be just fine without you in our lives. That remains true today.

The Imposter is made for moments like these. Regardless of how I apply every bit of context to my SIL’s words, they hurt, they successfully made me feel less-than, and they immediately began to work on my memories. I racked my brain. What beyond my early letter to him could make him feel this way, communicate it now after 20 years, and leave him in a position unable to forgive anything? read more

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Unworthy: Missing Chapter #1

You didn’t know who Candace Owens was? never heard of her? and sent me her video in defense of your position? Lol, Jesus Paul, how am I supposed to take you seriously?

The setting is Wednesday, June 3, 2020. It’s 3:39 pm. A friend just sent Sally a video of a young black woman opining about the new wave of aggrandizement, as she sees it, over George Floyd, the black man horrifically murdered by Minneapolis police officers. An hour or two had passed before I viewed the video and, in between receiving the video and watching it, I posted to Facebook an opinion, stating matter-of-factly, that systemic racism does not exist in America. read more

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I, swear

Over a business lunch just off Capitol Hill in Austin, Texas, a new colleague seemed shocked to know I was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “You’re a Mormon?” he asked with not a small amount of incredulity. My mind raced to discern why he was surprised. And then it hit me, “Ah. I get it. I swear. Right?” He nodded affirmatively.

My new colleague was not being overly sensitive. My swearing is reflective of unfiltered quality over quantity. I’m good at it. A damn or a hell would not have set off his perception alarms about my faith. He knew the strong expletives I used were intentional. Swearing is behavioral and I own it. read more

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Bill Dannemeyer, RIP

For six years on Capitol Hill, I worked for Congressman William E. Dannemeyer. It was the first real job of my 35-year political career. Now “Mr. D” is laid to rest after his own tireless career as a lawyer, judge, California state assemblyman (as a Democrat), U.S. congressman (as a Republican) and saint or sinner depending upon your worldview.

The numerous obituaries I’ve read nearly all sound the same: indefatigable, unapologetic, principled, laser focused, relentless, scrappy, combative and confrontational. These same obituaries are filled with other descriptors: homophobic, bigot, despicable, horrible and as his congressional nemesis for many years, Henry Waxman, called him “a mean and hateful person.” Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen dubbed him “the Renaissance man of bigotry” in 1990 and The Advocate, the gay flagship magazine, later included him on its list of “the 50 biggest homophobes of the last 50 years.” read more

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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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