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Home / Articles / News / Letters /  Warts & Betrayals

Warts & Betrayals

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // May 27,2009 -

In the pre-election KUED 7 gubernatorial debate aired in 2008, Democratic candidate Bob Springmeyer said to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.: “I’ve challenged you, and I’ll challenge you again, Jon. Will you make a commitment for a full four-year term?” Huntsman said, “That’s exactly what I intend to do.” Springmeyer: “And you’ll commit to finish out a full four-year term?” Huntsman: “That’s been our commitment, absolutely.”

Huntsman clearly and unambiguously broke the promise. Who could have seen it? Huntsman is more interested in being a diplomat, which is compatible with his life goal and accumulated years of executive experience and education.

In 2004, Huntsman was chosen by the Utah Republican Party in a contentious round that ultimately kicked to the curb Gov. Olene Walker, who served after Gov. Mike Leavitt left office for similar reasons as Huntsman. Utah Republican Party autocrats believed Huntsman, with impressive credentials on his résumé including corporate executive experience, not to mention being a practicing Mormon, would serve as a useful tool to control the state of Utah with its rigidly socially conservative attitude.

Huntsman, with warts and all, double-crossed them by liberating state alcohol law, affirming gay civil unions, etc. The ultraconservatives whined in a temper tantrum at the betrayal. However, Huntsman committed a greater betrayal—he broke the promise to serve a full term as a duly elected governor for the second time with a record margin. Which is worse in betrayal?

I believe that despite Utah being one of the reddest states in the Union (thanks, Utah County!), the voters should contemplate Huntsman’s betrayal of a broken campaign promise and give the Democratic Party a chance to govern the state after 25 years of Republican rule. Vote blue, blue, blue to outrun red.

We ,the progressives and non-Mormons—who support the separation of church and state, which is not the case with Utah government run by overwhelming majority of Mormon executives and legislators—definitely don’t want to see Utah controlled by haughty, holier-than-thou Utah Republican Party theocrats who will run the state into the ground with more regressive laws.

Aaron Heineman

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Posted // June 2,2009 at 14:49

Thank you for yours, as well. I appreciate the fact that you aren't, typically, rolled into a defensive ball over my comments that come from experience.

I was sitting in "my" church last week at an elderly aunt's funeral and as the priest was reviewing her life and making a few obligatory and kind comments, all I could think about was what a devout critic of all things LDS she was. All her life, it seemed. To the point of being unpleasant to be around and it was obvious that it made her miserable, as well.

I walked out of church relieved that I wasn't toxic on the subject, but aware of the influence and reality of the Latter Day Lake Effect.

Here's the funny part: It was the same week that President Obama was being booed at Notre Dame by the devout Catholics who felt strongly about his Pro-Choice view.


Posted // June 1,2009 at 09:58

Joe, the source of the story about legislators meeting with LDS Church officials to discuss changes to Utah's liquor law was the Salt Lake Tribune. Right out in the open for all to read. The legislators in question wanted to "run it by" the upper-level at the LDS Church to see what the reaction might be. More of a thermometer than ring-kissing, I'd say. Given the environment and their membership, probably not a bad surival tactic.

Same source for the story about how then-Gov. Mike Leavitt used to have early morning prayer breakfasts with other, like-minded Mormons to get the day started with a righteous bang.

Your need to have it on LDS Church stationary as proof is silly. Like those documents, if they existed, would ever see the light of day!

I've lived here all my life, Joe, and although I get chapped now and then at the preposterously dishonest nature and hypocrisy of some (few) members of your church, particularly in business dealings, I'm not a Mormon hater.

However, I think you're confusing teachings about self-reliance with self-determination and free-agency. The "latter" two items are not something preached to the faithful in the LDS Church.

I've noticed that at Conference time, elders say almost anything that sounds reasonable from the podium (uplinked to the world). Then, at the Ward level, many go back to behaving like childish heathens. As a Not-a-Mormon in my Sandy neighborhood, we couldn't help notice that the only time anyone waved at us was upon retunring from church on Sundays. The rest of the week, we could have dropped dead.

It's just the way it is, Joe. And it's just fine with me until it comes to spilling over into governance.


Posted // June 1,2009 at 15:36 - "Like those documents, if they existed, would ever see the light of day!" Sure they would. If the "secret/sacred" LDS endowment can be found through multiple sources on the internet, proof of a Church conspiracy to control Utah government would be right out there along with it. I used to work in the U.S. intelligence community and most of the Top Secret information I was cleared to handle was readily available online and in freely published articles and books with their own ISBN numbers and catalog entries in the Library of Congress. There's no such thing as leak-proof intelligence just as there's no such thing as a conspiracy that's never been exposed. And I can totally relate to being burned by Mormon business people who justify unethical practices by telling themselves, "I'm not a bad person for lying, just a clever businessman using for concealing or distorting information to my financial advantage. It's all about the bottom line not right and wrong." It's unfortunate that a lot of Utah-Mormons are under the delusion that they represent the archetype of what it is to be a faithful latter-day saint. Like I said, they ask "What would Jesus do" and usually get the answer wrong. As for the disparity between what's spoken at General Conference and what's practiced at home, you should read Alex Nibley's article "Vote LDS." It shines a light on a lot of blatant hypocrisy that's embodied in Utah-Mormon-Politics. Thanks for your remarks.


Posted // May 30,2009 at 15:52

You've made some great points, Aaron, but one can't assume that only non-Mormons are progressives. There are progressive Mormons. There are also Mormon Democrats and Mormons who believe in the strict separation of Church and State (strictly speaking, that's a principle of Mormon theology*). What we've got in Utah government are a bunch of Mormons making decisions by asking "What would the Jesus do?"--and nine times out of ten getting the answer wrong--instead of asking, "What's best for my constituents?"

*Another commenter speaking in response to similar comment I've made before, spoke of a meeting between Church leaders and State Legislators regarding state liquor laws (he offered no source for this information but I'll take him at his word) and cited this as evidence that the LDS Church "controls" the state government. I prefer more solid evidence as apposed to hearsay. If he gave me proof in the form of legislation written on official Church stationary then I might believe him.

What it comes down to is that all organized religions have the right to address government on any matter they see fit to speak out on. They can speak to Congressional committees (and have), they can invite legislators, governors and even presidents to hear what they have to say. This does not mean that government officials, even those who are members of the same religion, have to adjust their policies and legislation to accommodate the views of their church leaders. If they do, it is always the choice of the government officials to do so. This is most likely what we're witnessing in Utah government. There is no agenda within the LDS Church to surreptitiously manipulate state affairs, turning the offices of the Governor and bodies of the legislature into puppet regimes; though I wouldn't be surprised if some Mormon members of state government would actually prefer that. As such, they disregard their constituencies and just do what they think the Church wants.

Mormons are not mindless drones. They are counseled to think and choose for themselves. Unfortunately, many of them choose not to think and just follow the herd.