Senate Mormonism

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darkside_Spirit, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    If you paid any attention to Utah politics perhaps you would see how absurd such an accusation is because that is exactly what the church leadership is attempting to do where they have the power to do so.

    People can use their time, property, or resources however they want. I may disagree but if LDS Inc wants to build a mall, I might point out how that goes against their mission statement but it tries to be both a charitable organization and corporation at the same time. If I lived in Rome I would complain about the special governmental privileges of the Vatican. I do not believe they should be silenced in the public sphere as long as they are not advocating CONTROL over how others use their time, property, or resources. Case in point: the Utah Dept of Alcoholic Beverage CONTROL just decided to close two highly profitable state liquor stores to "save money" because the legislature wanted to cut their funding.


    Well then you'd have to define what exactly is "the Church." I shouldn't be angry at Fundamentalist Islam for blowing people up, it is the fellow human beings who blow themselves up I should be mad at. And I guess since they are dead there is nothing to worry about.

    I don't know where to start with this, but I'm interested to hear more of your new outlook on armed forces recruitment and funding. Does this mean we get to convict GWB now?

    Just because I do not believe in a laisse faire economic system does not mean I do not believe in individual liberty, nor does it mean I then have no right to claim any personal liberties without being a hypocrite. Be happy in your great and spacious buildings. When the hierarchy makes bad decisions I may critique them, but they are free to act how they want if they are treated like everyone else. I haven't made a clear distinction in what I think they should do, and what the government should do about it. I think government should demand that "charitable" institutions should have transparency in financial statements. I don't want to stop anyone from paying tithing, but if the government is to consider that something that deserves a tax break, I think we should evaluate that.

    You don't get to mandate Sharia law and tell everyone that it is just the majority following their religion as they desire. And last time I checked Utah was still a part of this country, despite serious attempts at the contrary. And as if I didn't hear the love it or leave it attitude from Utah Mormons I now get it from you. If the church wants to establish a theocracy, maybe they shouldn't have joined the union.
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm sorry, but show me the proof that the Church (as in through its leadership) is attempting to control the government. I have seen some stories out of Utah that indicate that some legislators who happen to be members of the Church have proposed various laws trying to implement restrictions based on LDS doctrines or teachings, but I've seen no evidence that the Church (as in the organization itself) has done so.

    So wait a moment, a state agency decided to close two state-owned stores, and you claim that it is the Church doing it?

    Where is your proof that the Church (as an organization) did anything on that issue? Or are you trying to lay the blame for the actions of individual members at the feet of the Church?

    You cannot attribute every action of every member to the organization as a whole, no matter how angry you feel with the organization.

    You live in a democracy, and you are complaining about how other members of that democracy choose to exercise their right to vote.

    There is a difference between "the Church" (meaning the organization known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and the membership of the Church. You seem to be searching for any way that you can possibly tie any complaint to the organization, even if the root of the complaint is with the actions of members.

  3. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    For the record, the City Creek Center is being developed by Property Reserve, Inc., a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is not a charitable organization under the 501c3 code, i.e., it is taxed like any other corp. Tithing funds were/are not used to build the mall. Any profits made later on from the City Creek Center will be taxed like any other corp, and property taxes are paid for the land the City Creek Center is built on. In fact, any property owned by the church that is not used directly for ecclesiastical purposes is taxed at its full market value.
  4. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
    Hey Espaldy, what did you think of Big Love, particularly wrt their portrayal of Utah politics?

    As an aside, I found a couple of documentaries that deal with leaving a religion that you may find interesting. The first is "Trouble in Amish Paradise", which deals with a couple of Amish families that are beginning to question the religious strictures of their church and are beginning to lean towards a more evangelical strain of Christianity. There's a short followup to this documentary as well, titled "Leaving Amish Paradise" that checks in with the family years later, after they've left the Amish for good.

    "America's Most Hated Family IN CRISIS" is the followup to an earlier Louis Theroux documentary on the Westboro Baptist Church. In recent years the church has recently lost/excommunicated several of the younger members, and this documentary attempts to present the views of both sides in this schism. Of course, these films involve rather extreme examples of religious communities, and if anyone has more apt examples, perhaps something on leaving Mormonism, I'd love to hear about them. I'm very interested in people undergoing major lifestyle/identity changes.

    Along those same lines, I'd like to request more details from you, Espy, either in PM or here, about what your journey away from the LDS church has been like, where you're at with things right now, how your family has reacted, etc. Anything you're comfortable sharing, of course.
  5. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    If Tithing funds were not "used" to build the mall, tell me where the church got all this money? Yes technically they only used the interest and dividends from investments made with tithing funds and so while no the principle amount paid to tithing was not used, all the money they got from having the tithing sit around in Church bank accounts did pay for the mall.


    Funny, I thought the morality of government and society was exactly the same as morality on an individual level. I don't get to kill people, so it seems odd that according to your reasoning we do actually pay people to kill and that is completely fine, but when we redistribute ill gotten gains, that is common thievery.

    If the LDS church didn't hire lobbyists and issue specific policy recommendations behind closed doors to LDS legislators and let them act of their own ideas, maybe I would have less of an issue with this democracy you speak of, which is actually constantly subverted by a Caucus/Convention system that seeks to place all power in the hands of a very small minority.

    Rogue- I love Big Love. I don't have much time, but it was very well researched. Now occasionally there were minor things that gave away the fact the actors and main writers didn't actually grow up here, usually some odd phrasing or portrayal. And it was odd to have a show set in the place you live because I could immediately recognize whenever they filmed locally and the fact most of it was shot in California. Utah Politics is even crazier than they portrayed. Of course it was a TV show, not a documentary, so there were sometimes things they would show that were necessary for the plot but highly unlikely to actually occur. Like in the episode where they show the temple, the about to be excommunicated polygamist daughter is allowed to borrow her mother's temple recommend. I just don't see that ever happening.

    But I did laugh pretty hard when one of the characters shows up at an exmormon support group and just don't know how to react to a fundamentalist, and then the guy starts dating the girl. Those things are great places to get a girlfriend who understands. :) My family reacted rather poorly at first, but they love me and we still have a good relationship and I've been able to tone down my opinions in front of them which is something I've never had to do before. I do have an awesome fellow exmormon girlfriend who I met at a postmormon concert. She is still personality wise very much a good Mormon girl. So life is actually going pretty well for me. It really helped at first to meet fellow postmormons, now I've found a few different groups, one of young people that does more than sit around and talk about the church, and another one that does that, which I've grown bored of. I think the younger crowd mostly just wants like minded friends and dating opportunities around here, while some of the older people need more group therapy type support because of the severe family issues created when they leave. If you are going through a divorce because
  6. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
    I'm glad to hear you've been able to retain your old sources of love and support while gaining some new ones. Sounds like your transition is going well.
  7. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    There has always been a very clear moral difference between deaths as a result of combat and murder. You can see that even as far back as the Old Testament.

    And if you are going to bring up Iraq and Afghanistan, I have long argued that both were completely legal and justified. Iraq was the resumption of hostilities after continual and repeated violation of the cease fire agreement by one of the parties. Afghanistan was a response to a direct act of war against the US. Until you can present an argument other than "But I think they were wrong", I have no need to justify either one any further than that.

    Can you point me to any large organization that doesn't hire lobbyists to represent their interests? The act of hiring lobbyists or even having them meet with legislators (and I'm sure that the Church's lobbyists don't just meet with LDS legislators, so there's no real need to single them out) isn't anything inappropriate.

    What you are again complaining about here isn't that the Church has exercised its institutional right to speak out, including to petition the government (on multiple levels). You are upset that they disagree with your positions, and that people chose to listen to them instead of you. Again, you live in a democracy, and that's how things work when you are in a significant majority on various issues.

    I note that you haven't said one word of complaint about the Church's highest profile, direct involvement in politics in recent months: supporting the Utah Compact on immigration. And amazingly, they happened to take a position that you have expressed agreement with in the past on that sort of legislation! It's almost as though your complaints against them here aren't a matter of principle, but rather than they disagree with you!

    You haven't shown that the Church has done anything illegal or immoral by exercising their rights in a democratic society. While the First Amendment might provide for a form of separation of church and state, it also provides for the right to free speech, and that applies even to churches. They have as much right to speak out as anyone else does. You're just upset that they don't use it the way that you want them to.

    And, as far as the Caucus/Convention system, if you don't like how the Republican Party in Utah decides to choose their candidates, then you are more than welcome to join the Democratic Party instead, or even go and form your own political party. No one forces you to be in any political party. Again, I'm sure that if those caucuses had produced a candidate that you agreed with, even if it was the result of power being in the hands of a very small minority, you wouldn't have complained about the process at all.

    In a democracy, you win some and you lose some. When you are in a significant minority, like you are in Utah, you don't to win that often, and you tend to lose a lot. If you don't like that, then your best option is to either accept that, or find someplace else where you aren't in a significant minority.

    To give a personal example, yo
  8. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    How do you know the money to pay for the mall came from dividends from investing tithing funds? Is that just an assumption because you can't think of where else the money could come from? There are other possibilities. There are non-charitable organizations affiliated with the church, i.e., that are subject to state, federal, local, etc. taxes. These include Deseret Book, Bonneville Corp, farming and agricultural entities, Coca Cola (that last one was a joke ;)) and others. None of these orgs are funded with tithing money. It's just as possible the revenue from one or more of these entities was used.

  9. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Nerf, you are correct that in the end any discussion of church finances is speculation because they are not transparent. My information comes from former Church employees, but all the funds the church has at some point was the result of donations of tithing.


    Actually no, I was the deciding vote in a convention and I accept the fact it produced a candidate I might not agree with on a lot of things but is actually a reasonable person. The latest round of replacing Buttars made me upset because it didn't produce a candidate that even the general Republican primary would necessarily have supported. It is an undemocratic system, not because it doesn't represent my interests, but it doesn't even represent the interests of the people who they claim they represent. And in a one party state, I feel perfectly ethical in participating in the party that holds the power, and I advocate that like minded people also get involved.

    The process that elected your liberal members of Congress is very different, and more democratic, than the one that ousted Bob Bennett and let Jason Chaffetz win by advocating camps for illegals.

    Edit: And if you can't see the blatant contradiction in being for the state sanctioned sponsorship of killing, and against individuals killing, and decrying hypocrisy when others are for the state sanctioned redistribution of wealth and against individuals forcibly redistributing that wealth through crime, I don't know what to tell you. We don't hold government morally accountable the same way we do so of individuals, and it was downright silly of you to suggest otherwise.
  10. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    And as with any other such charitable organization, religious or otherwise, they don't have to be under the laws of the U.S. Other countries do require charitable organizations to disclosure their financial dealings within that country, and the Church complies with the law of those countries and makes the financial disclosures.

    I personally don't need them to prove to me on a ledger where my tithing donation is going; I trust them. If you don't, that's your choice of course.
  11. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Which is why they were able to get you to buy all the old supply of Books of Mormon that had already been purchased with tithing dollars, and the COB produces manuals and videos with little input from the congregations that use them. This is a book I really need to read. You ever wonder why they say the easiest place to lose your testimony is by working for the church?
  12. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    If Utah is a one-party state, then how did Jim Matheson get elected in the 2nd District? Or how about the 17 members of the Utah House of Representatives who are Democrats? Or the 7 members of the Utah State Senate who are Democrats?

    Republicans in Utah hold a 23 point advantage (55.1% to 32.4%) in party registration, but that doesn't make Utah a one-party state. You are rather clearly overstating your case here. In fact, Democratic representation in both the state legislature (both houses) and in the US House delegation are roughly in proportion to those voter registration numbers. Republicans hold a clear majority, but it is far from a one-party setup.

    My point is that organizations, including political parties, are allowed to create and follow their own rules about how to select their representatives. As long as association with that organization remains voluntary, your options are basically limited to accept the organization as it is set up, or leave for a different organization that you agree with (including the option to start your own organization). That's part of the fundamental right of free association protected by the First Amendment. (You know, under the heading of "peaceably assemble".)

    Again, if you don't like it, no one forces you to be a Republican. Roughly a third of the registered voters in Utah are Democrats, and just under half aren't registered as Republicans. You have other options than a party that follows processes that you dislike.

    Again, you are barking up the wrong tree here. Killing and murder are not the same thing. (For example, if you were to attack me and I killed you in self defense, that would not be murder. Ergo, you cannot equate the two.)

    Also, you could only call me hypocritical on that matter if I were unwilling to serve in the military myself, but was willing to send others to do so in my stead. Such a complaint would not be valid when applied to me. (For the record, the military would not accept me due to medical reasons. By the time those reasons no longer applied, I was considered too old. And no, I'm not going to outline my medical history for you.) Had the military been willing to accept me, or had I been drafted into service, I would have served gladly and willingly.

    Would you be willing to personally use force to take someone else's property and redistribute it to the poor? Anything I would demand of the government to do, I would be willing to do myself if called upon to do so. I don't hold the government to a different standard than I hold myself.
  13. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    They didn't "get me" to do anything.


    I've never heard "them" say anything of the sort.
  14. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    Yes I would be willing to be a tax collector or police officer enforcing the will of society. You do hold the government to a different standard, because I highly doubt if you had the resources you would buy a Predator, fly it over to Pakistan, and start blowing up people you think are terrorists. And if someone else was to do that, and accidentally kill a civilian, that would be accidental homicide. The morality of the government, and working as agents of that government is patently different from pursing actions as individuals.

    The state has the right to kill inmates, and just because you are willing to be on a firing squad doesn't mean you have the right to kill people in the streets. The morality of agents of the state and the state in that situation is different than the morality of individuals. Just because I am not willing to rob people in the streets, does not factor into the moral calculation of forced redistribution of wealth by government in a fundamentally inequal society. So if you hold government and society on the same moral judgement as individuals, then the killing of one innocent person by an armed force of a government or agent of that government should be subject to the same punishment as an individual. So when should we start prosecuting officers for negligent homicides?

    Or do you care to admit that there is a difference in the moral judgements, and that there is in fact nothing hypocritical in calling for societal redistribution of wealth and not willing to engage in or support of individuals holding billionaires hostage?
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You are really stretching here in order to claim that I am hypocritical in my position.

    Capital punishment is as moral as self defense. In fact, it is the same basic principle as applied to society as a whole. (It is justified to protect society from individuals who are so dangerous that they would continue to harm society unless they are permanently removed from it.) I carry a firearm daily to protect myself and my family, and the same principle that justifies that justifies capital punishment. Again, you are barking up the wrong tree here.

    As far as an innocent person being killed, you are neglecting a very simple moral and legal concept known as mens rea - literally "the guilty mind". Without the intent to commit a crime, no crime can be committed. (Think of it as the difference between sin and transgression. While the latter may violate the law, the former requires that you know that something violates the law and choose to do it anyway.)

    By its very nature, calling for redistribution of wealth is a violation of property rights. You are essentially saying that my property isn't really my property, and that I have no right to control it. Instead, I am only allowed to keep my "property" at the sufferance of the government. To apply your logic would destroy the very concept of personal property.

    Moreover, you are directly advocating for that specific effect. In the other examples that you have given, I have never argued for the specific effects that you find morally repugnant. They happen to be a side effect to other matters that I have argued (according to your interpretation, at least). Supporting a strong military (or even supporting its use) does not logically require support for the death of innocents, even though innocents die in wars. However, supporting redistribution of wealth does logically require supporting the violation of property rights.

    There is no contradiction in my position. Give it up.

    Kimball Kinnison
  16. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5


    Strict Liability requires no mens rea.

    Why does the state and its agents get a free pass on manslaughter?


    A rather weak reason considering our ability to hold prisoners indefinately in maximum security facilities, and not an argument that even most proponents of the death penalty use very often.

    No right is absolute. It is hypocritical to hold me to an absolute right when it comes to personal property, yet not hold yourself to the same standard when it comes to right to life. Your position on why the right to life should be lawfully constrained by the need ot the state may not have contradiction, yet when you only find nuance acceptable in your own position and insist that any in mine in hypocrisy, that is hypocritial. All taxes are a redistribution of wealth. We have agreed that the state may kill, and is not subject to the same consequences it if kills wrongly than if an individual does so.

    I believe people have a right to equality of opportunity and freedom from economic oppression. That conflicts with the absolute right to property, just as right to life conflicts with the right to be protected from enemies foreign and domestic. Your position is hypocritical because you are calling me a hypocrite. If you recognized we both have different values on which rights are most important, yet found some value in each right, and dropped the charges of hypocrisy, you would cease to be hypocritical.
  17. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Lol. That was the first thing that came to my mind when he mentioned the mens rea requirement, i.e., some crimes don't have a mens rea requirement. However, none of the crimes you each are talking about are strict liability offenses.
  18. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Why don't you just give it up and let it go, Espy. Unless you really think you're going to change my position (in which case, quite frankly, you're delusional as you aren't providing any evidence to support your assertions), all you are going to do is frustrate yourself even more.

    Let it go and move on. All of your responses so far can basically be summed up as "Nuh uh! You're wrong!"

    Kimball Kinnison
  19. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7

    I do believe that's how any argument on the Senate can be summed up. That or monkeys flinging poo at each other.
  20. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Except, just as events after Prop 8 lead me to question whether my rights were really valued by proponents of same-sex marriage, your posts lead me to question whether you really can respect my rights to my property. The problem comes down to the fact that as far as I can tell assuring "equality of opportunity and freedom from economic oppression" means you DO trump the rights of those who do NOT get your solicitude. So, in essence, while you free one group of people from that opppression, you impose a different form of oppression on those you don't like.

    And just as is the case with same-sex marriage, if I feel forced to choose between their rights vs. my rights, I'll decide in favor of my rights every time.
  21. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
  22. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    I find it interesting how quickly I can turn from one of "you" to one of "them." You've met me, you know personality wise I am your average Mormon guy. What would happen to your rights if you decided the church wasn't true and that you were gay?

    Nobody is forcing gays to be married in the temple, and I would strongly oppose any effort to force that as I still believe in individual liberty.

    If we lived in a world without oppression, no government would be necessary. It isn't people I don't like, I interact all day with nothing but the people I would impose higher taxes on. The "oppression" of taking more of their abundant wealth in taxes is not really oppressing at all, and won't in fact affect their lifestyle very much. We must do cost/benefit analysis, and government is enforced shared sacrifice, and taking from some to give to another, to ask for the life of one for the freedom of the society as a whole. If you are only willing to receive rights rather than give them, then you will lose the ones you have. By giving the freedom to marry who you want, you remove the ability of the government to declare Mormon marriages invalid. Yes some may go too far, but if you examine the history of persecution of the Mormons, you will see it was because the society attempted to force on my ancestors their idea of what marriage should be through government force. My belief is that it would be best to remove that power from government, because it was that very governmental power that threatened to destroy Mormons as a people. And if you believe in Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, then you should also believe what they said about plural marriage and with the history of polygamy in the church it isn't clear to me that the doctrine has changed with the first Proclamation even though the practice has. I think the primary reason the LDS church should be scared of same sex marriage is that it then makes polygamy much more likely to be legal, and that creates a lot of problems because if it is legal, once the historical statements of previous prophets are more widely learned along with how it was changed in practice, I think according to LDS teachings there isn't much justification for the change. I think you should also visit with people who have "same gender attraction" that are Mormons to see how your hateful comments are really antithetical to your stated beliefs in a compassionate creator.

    In fact I don't think your misdirected hate is actually from yourself, but one of the negative effects the religion can have on people. Luckily there are no Dannites for you to join.
  23. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Ah... the old anarchist slogan...

    Not terribly surprising.
  24. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
    But taxation? Now that is TOTALLY theft.
  25. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    I do not believe the doctrine, which is stated in the Book of Mormon, has changed.

    Jacob 2:30, speaking of plural marriage: "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." The "these things" referred to is the command not to practice plural marriage. In other words, the default is to not practice plural marriage unless God commands its practice, as he did with Abraham. If polygamy were ever to become legal (which it already is in some countries where the church has congregations), I do not believe the Church would just start it up again. But if the practice ever does resume it will come through the Prophet.


    The power you're talking about is the power to make laws. Can it be abused? Yes, and it has, but the government is kind of defined by that power. The courts are in place as a check against abusive legislation and/or executive action, and in the case of the same-sex marriage laws, the courts have been appealed to. We'll see what happens, but legislature, and in some instances the people themselves, enact laws...laws that not everyone is going to agree with. That's how a democratic republic rolls.


    Honestly, that doesn't scare me one bit and if that were the only reason for opposing gov't recognition of same-sex marriage, I wouldn't have opposed it.