Updated: 9 Jun 2014
Lately, there seems to be a rash of western Mormons behaving strangely. Unfortunately, all have succesfully made the national news. I will mention 5 here:
- Cliven Bundy: ABC News describes Bundy as “a 67-year-old partriarch of a large Mormon family with over 50 grandkids.” A few months ago, cattle-rancher Bundy gets irate because he can’t do whatever he wants for free on Federal land, and starts an armed lawless rebellion near Mesquite NV, and becomes an instant conservative folk hero (think Glenn Beck and his ilk). Unfortunately, Bundy couldn’t keep his month shut, and wondered if black people were “better off as slaves, picking cotton.” His racist remarks caused many of his conservative “friends” to bail out on him. I can’t help but wonder if Mormonism’s racist past had an influence on Bundy’s ideas about African Americans?
- Phil Lyman: Lyman, a San Juan County Commissioner and a Cliven Bundy want-a-be, wanted to start his own rebellion near Blanding UT. Lyman’s plan was to ride ATVs down Recapture Canyon, an area closed to motorized traffic because of its cultural resources. After taking a lot of criticism for his proposed “act of civil disobedience,” he tried to backdown. But on D-Day, he had lost control of his unruly mob (particularly the Bundyites in the crowd). So the ride sort-of took place. The Deseret News, a Mormon owned “newspaper,” printed a Lyman-authored op-ed piece that reads “The BLM, rather than listening to local people about their own experience, is taking direction from groups from outside Utah.” Gee, isn’t Recapture Canyon a national treasure? Aren’t there plenty of places to ride ATVs in San Juan County?
- Gary Herbert: I recently met with Utah Governor Herbert and he seems like a nice, reasonable person. I was impressed. But his recent statement calling other states’ decision not to defend same-sex marriage bans the “next step toward anarchy” was a little over-the-top. I suspect that the governor probably chose the wrong word. I’m willing to give him a pass. The word “anarchy” would better apply to the actions of Bundy and Lyman. And in Herbert’s defense, he did try to settle Lyman down.
- A Utah High School’s Yearbook Staff (particularly their Adviser): According to a raspberry in Time (16 Jun 2014) magazine: “A high school in Utah tweaked year book portraits to add extra fabric on female students showing too much skin–like bare shoulders.” Gee, digitally editing several girls shirts and removing tattoos seems a bit extreme. Sounds a little like a Mormon dress code, and not the high school’s. What makes it even worse is that it was done so randomly, and so unevenly. After all didn’t the yearbook have a page stating “Studs doin’ what studs do best” with boys in vary states of “immodesty”?
- Michael Otterson: This guy has one of the toughest jobs around. I don’t envy him. But strictly top-down organizations, like the LDS Church, are a thing of the past. Otterson, the managing director of Public Affairs for the LDS Church, recently sent out an open letter on Mormon feminism which was long and rambling. All he really needed to say was, “The LDS Church will accommodate its female members better, please give us specific suggestions, realizing that not everything is on the table.” He could even have listed the things that are not on the table at this time. Why make life so complicated? But I do admire the LDS Church leaders and Otterson for sending up this “trial balloon.”