Air Harvesting Law Proposition and Petition

I’m going to start a petition for an air harvesting law. I mean, really, it’s completely unfair that some people breathe more than I do. They are using inordinate amounts of this precious, limited, natural resource, and I will have none of it. I mean, how can we live in an egalitarian fair society if my neighbor breathes more air than me? We should have an equal share, every one.  

Perhaps we could limit it to a certain number of breaths per day, or perhaps by cubic volume would be more precise? We’ll have to determine a reasonable amount of air that is normal for a typical, average, adult individual (by scientific studies which will cost only about $2.1 million in taxpayer dollars), and apply it across the board. Yes, of course we will allow more breathing for certain activities, such as sports, and other physical activities; I mean, we’re not unreasonable people! Hahahaha… (but you will need to get a permit for those places or activities you choose to engage in, and those will be $20 each, which will help recoup the costs of the program).

And there’s the inescapable issue of the oxygen content in that air that will have to be dealt with judiciously by certain detailed sub-regulation. We will compel every household in the state, nay the nation, to install oxygen/carbon dioxide monitors, to determine just how much every citizen is breathing. You can be sure that the monitor manufacturers will lobby heavily in favor of this proposal, so we can count on their undivided support.

If you’re breathing too much, we just may have to fine you, which will also help recoup the costs of the program. Repeated violations may result in us taking away the space you’re breathing in, or even result in arrest. And you better not even think about breathing too much in jail or prison. We won’t even go there; that would simply be unthinkable (but we could consider solitary confinement I suppose, or regulated breathing apparatuses, which will only be another $15-20 million to purchase for the 2013 fiscal year).

Who’s with me on this vital, relevant, and current issue in our society today? Who will sign? Any other critical stipulations we should add to this law?

This entry was posted in Politics by Bryce Haymond. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bryce Haymond

Bryce grew up in Sandy, Utah, where he attended Jordan High School. He served a mission to the El Salvador San Salvador East mission, including eight months as mission financial secretary. Bryce graduated from Brigham Young University in 2007 in Industrial Design and a minor in Ballroom Dance. He loves all things Nibley and the temple, and is the founder of, and also blogs at Recently Bryce joined the Executive Board of The Interpreter Foundation, where he serves as a designer and technologist. Bryce has served in numerous Church callings including ward sunday school president, first counselor in the bishopric, and currently as temple and family history instructor. He is a Product Manager and Design Director at HandStands in Salt Lake City, and lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with his beautiful wife, three children, and another on the way!

39 thoughts on “Air Harvesting Law Proposition and Petition

  1. I realize that this feeble effort is trying to be about something else, but the irony is that we have had a Clean Air Act since 1970 that does plenty of regulation, and while it’s still unfair that some people pollute more than others, at least there are some mechanisms to deal with that problem that have contributed to the common good, so that we don’t have to breathe the under-regulated air of paradises such as China.

  2. What price? It looks like the online registration is free.

    It seems like there is a cap, 2,500 stored gallons, but that sounds like a safety regulation. Imagine the damage you’d cause to your neighbors’ houses with 3000 gallons of water spilling into their yard.

    You do need to pay money for a permit to drill for water, but I could list all kinds of reasons why that is reasonable, and why that has nothing to do with “harvesting air” (hint: one is a lot more of a precious resource).

    Your parody in the OP sounds more like an attack on communism (distinguished from socialism). That being the case, it isn’t really relevant to anything I can think of going on in America today. Care to elaborate?

  3. There is more to price than money. But even then, think of all the time that was spent on drafting the bill, putting it through the legislature, the time spent on the floor debating it, taking the time of the governor to sign it into law, the writing it into the books, the publishing of the books, the posting it on the websites, the establishment of the program, the development of the systems, and the maintenance to keep it all running. All of that costs money.

    As for the non-monetary price, it is a fantastically silly restriction on the free gifts of God. Moroni taught us, “deny not the gifts of God” (Moroni 10:8). How can man be so presumptuous as to think they can regulate and exact a price from everything that God has given man on this earth? There are measures, regulations, and laws of all kinds that are of this nature that are unreasonable, unrealistic, socialistic, destroying our freedoms, and costing us dearly both in terms of time, money, and effort.

    I recently went to get the annual safety inspection done on my car. It failed. Here are the reasons it failed: both head light mounts are loose, one of the battery mounts is missing, the front rims have dents, and there is a power steering leak. The State of Utah has ruled that I cannot drive my car on the public roadways because of these “problems.” Is that unreasonable, unrealistic, socialistic, and destroying my freedom? I certainly believe so. And if I were to bring all of those things into compliance with the state’s expectations, it would cost me upwards of $2000.

    So is this really relevant to anything you can think of going on in America today? I hope so. Nearly everything going on in America today is relevant to this.

  4. First, what I meant is that communism isn’t relevant to America today, but that is apparently not what this is about.

    Yeah, the cost for all of that huge process was, what, maybe $1000, divided by the entire state of Utah. That kind of spending is what drove this country into a depression (sarcasm)

    Do you seriously not believe that some resources need regulating and protecting? How would you propose we deal with scarcity? Low income families shouldn’t get access to water and utilities if they can’t pay market price for them?

    The car rant is something different (not about natural resources), but please, please, please don’t be driving your car around with a power steering leak like it’s nothing. Call me a socialist, but you’re “right” to be a potential driving hazard on the road should not supercede my safety driving near you or walking around as a pedestrian. If you don’t think that government should enforce safety regulations, then maybe you should revisit the purpose of government. Or move to a place where government doesn’t try to protect its resources and citizens, like Somalia.

  5. Why is communism not relevant to America today? Prophets have spoken on this very subject.

    Certainly we need some regulation. But honestly, rainwater collection?! Rainwater is not scarce! Deny not the gifts of God (Moroni 10:8). Rain comes from our Father in Heaven, in a quite literal sense. Who’s man to coerce others to pay fair market price for it? And if low income families shouldn’t get access to it, then how on earth should they be expected to survive?!

    To appease your concern, I’ve had a mechanic check the power steering leak, and it is not a life-threatening situation. Should the government regulate all leaks from cars? How many cars would be left on the roadways if they were not allowed to have any leaks? How many Americans could not afford cars if that were the case? What effect would that have on our economy? When does it stop?!

  6. Bryce, it stops when you turn over all aspects of your self (thought, heart, body, property, life) to the benign, paternal ownership of The State.

  7. Ouch! I’d rather turn over my heart, might, mind and strength to God, but maybe that’s just me (D&C 4:2; Alma 39:13; D&C 59:5; D&C 98:47; Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37). 🙂

  8. That’s the real point, Bryce. Some people worship the almighty State, and place their faith in the arm of flesh, and mock those who worship the almighty God and place their faith in Him.

  9. Some people place their faith in the right arm of flesh, mocking those who worship the almighty God and place their faith in Him, because their eartly politics differ. This kind of smug self-righteousness can cut both ways.

  10. Bryce, your argument had merit until you quoted Moroni 10. Then it just became a joke. Wresting the scriptures to fit your preconceived agenda ends up undermining your point to anyone who doesn’t already agree with you.

  11. My understanding is that a large chunk of the “rain water” that the guy was fined for, was actually _run off_ (of rain water) from neighboring properties.

    In other words, he was entitled to keep the rain water that fell on his property. But, he was _not_ entitled to keep all of (or a signficantly large portion of) the rain water that fell on neighboring properties, and then _flowed_ onto his property.

    Once the water was flowing on the ground, property to property he wasn’t supposed to interfere, beyond a modicum, with the flow.

    I would imagine that that water is counted on by the appropriate watershed authorities to then feed back into rivers/streams, or soak back into the ground water.

  12. It’s never a joke when I quote scripture, SilverRain. I’m very serious. Do not deny the gifts of God, and that’s precisely what government does in cases such as this.

    To Bookslinger’s point, I can imagine where one situation caused a problem. Should government enact a law because of a single isolated circumstance? I think we would agree on the answer.

  13. In other words, he was entitled to keep the rain water that fell on his property. But, he was _not_ entitled to keep all of (or a signficantly large portion of) the rain water that fell on neighboring properties, and then _flowed_ onto his property.

    So, can he sue his neighbor for not properly shepherding the rainwater to keep it from wandering over into his neighbor’s yard?

    I mean, it’s not like the rainwater comes branded so he can separate his water molecules from the neighbor’s molecules.

  14. It’s a joke, Bryce, because you are using a very powerful scripture on spiritual gifts to try to make your point about natural resources. It’s apples and oranges.

    You can, of course, use scripture how you want. But I thought you deserved a warning that it comes across as ridiculous to anyone who doesn’t already share your belief. If you are merely wanting to rant to like-minded individuals, then it doesn’t matter. But if you are wanting to convince, which I (perhaps erroneously) assumed you did, you are shooting yourself in the back side.

  15. And for what it’s worth, water rights are a very vital part of communal law, rainfall or otherwise, particularly in a desert. You can’t hoard water simply because your land is upstream of another’s. Air is also logically taxed and regulated for entities that spout pollution, as Bill points out above. Your satire falls short, I’m afraid.

  16. I’m not from the West, so perhaps I don’t understand certain things.

    So, water occasionally falls from the sky. You put out a big bucket to catch the water. According to some folk and the government, this is some sort of crime?

  17. Bryce: “Should government enact a law because of a single isolated circumstance? I think we would agree on the answer.”

    Not me. Suppose it happens again elsewhere. Instead of suing a person and having it cost a lot of money in the judicial system, you handle it cheaply through a fine by the state.

    If it is a matter of runoff, then rights issues on traveling water get complex. You are talking about riparian rights which is a very serious issue. At one point I considered going into water conflict law.

  18. I’m of the opinion that isolated circumstances and their solutions should not be applied as a blanket across the entire citizenry. I believe only things which become sustained issues and problems across a broad group of people should be addressed by government. Note, it is government’s role to provide for the “common” defense, to promote the “general” welfare, etc. These are not unique instances; they are common, general, etc. If you made a law to regulate every one-off issue that the people ran into, we’d have a huge problem. It appears we are not too far from having that problem. For the vocal minorities are loud, and get their laws legislated, whether we like them or not, or whether they are right or wrong.

  19. You’re comparing an imaginary national law to rainwater and vehicle emission and safety laws in one specific state (I’m guessing Utah).

    Obviously, rainwater laws in Utah are going to be different than rainwater laws in, say, Ohio, because each state has different state legislators and different conditions. Same with emission and safety laws (I’ve lived in four different states and Utah has been the only state that required that I get my car tested). Your beef should be with the legislators in your state (I’m guessing Utah, in which case your state leaders are mostly ultra-conservative Eagle Forum types).

    By the way, the “government’s role” you mention above applies only to the federal government–states have much more latitude as to the laws they pass.

  20. Mark N,

    Here’s the reasoning that I think they used. Remember that “water rights” are a big deal out West.

    Once the rainwater hit the ground on his neighbor’s property and started _flowing_, it then became a natural _waterway_, or _course-way_ or whatever they call it. A property owner doesn’t have the right to impede or alter the flow of a “natural waterway”(or whatever they call it) against the rules set by whichever local authority has control over waterways. Even if they are temporary water courses.

    Many officially designated streams or brooks (water courses) out west are dry beds, and only flow when it rains.

    So supposing there were even just a small ditch that ran from his neighbor’s land to his land, and on to the next property etc, etc, and eventually on to some river or stream and then eventually on to some reservoir, and if he then channeled the water from that ditch into his retention ponds, he would have been guilty of altering the natural course of water that was “supposed” to be flowing in that ditch.

    He would have been guilty of “stealing” the water that was *supposed* to have ended up in that reservoir way down the line.

    When the article says “rain water” we’re likely thinking of run-off, not a water-course or stream. But you have to remember that journalists are notorious for leaving out critical technical information that can alter the correct understanding of the story to the reader who doesn’t know what was left out.

    Of course you don’t separate out the molecules, but there are rules based on amounts: cubic feet, or acre-feet. Or even a relative amount of what -fell- on his land, versus what rained down elsewhere and then naturally -flowed- to his land from other properties.

    I’m guessing that the local rule was that he was only allowed to keep the -amount- of water that -fell- (rained) directly on his land, and whatever amount of water -flowed from- his neighbor’s land onto his, he was required to allow to keep on flowing.

    If there were actual water courses (ditches, etc.) he could have, or should have according to whatever rules the local water authority sets, allowed it to flow unimpeded and not have diverted any.

    And, if it was all “run off” (ie, very shallow flow over a wide flat area), he probably still needed to somehow control how much went into his retention ponds, versus what he needed to allow to keep on flowing.

    To properly understand the story, we need to know if there were pre-existing natural water-courses, or whether he recently created water-courses/ditches to divert the “extra” or “invasive” (I don’t know the correct technical words) neighbor’s water into his retention ponds.

    Given that he was fined for positive actions taken, one could reasonably assume he did alter the natural flow of water into his various retention ponds.

    Computations can be done multiplying the inches of rain that fell by the number of square feet of his property, dividing by 12, and coming up with the cubic feet of water that fell on his property. Then, I’m guessing it was that amount that he was allowed to “keep” in his ponds.

    Then take the square feet of his retention ponds, multiply by the number of inches that the water level in the ponds rose, divide by 12, and that would give the -increase- in cubic feet that he was storing in the ponds. Adjust as needed for sloping shores of the ponds.

    So there are ways of figuring it out. It’s just that whoever wrote the news story didn’t give all the necessary facts to fully understand. Which is typical of journalists. Haven’t you seen a TV news story, or read a newspaper account, of something you were familiar with, and seen how they left out the important information?

    EVERY time I read or view a news story with which I’m familiar, they ALWAYS leave out a key fact, or get some key fact wrong. Or leave out some pieces of information that are necessary to judge what really happened.

    And if they do it with 100% of the stories with which I am familiar, they likely do it for 100% of the stories that I’m not familiar with.

    SOMETHING is always missing from ALL news stories.

  21. Bryce- FWIW, I tend to side with SilveRain on the scripture issue. That said, I agree in principle that the government can be, and often is, overly intrusive on issues like rainwater and vehicle inspections. A little bit of government goes a long way!

  22. Well, I stand by what I said, scripture and all. I’m a bit unsure what the disagreement is over. Do you not believe such things as rain and other natural resources are gifts from God, or that Moroni 10:8 cannot apply to anything besides spiritual gifts given to man? In either case, I suppose you’d have to disagree with Hugh Nibley too.

  23. Nature and resources are gifts of God, but it would be wrong to justify them based off of Moroni 10:8. There are two reasons why.

    a. Moroni explains what he means by providing examples. Contextually he is referring to spiritual gifts given to individuals. Presumably, all of these are given only to members of Christ’s church.

    b. This entire passage parallels similar delineations of spiritual gifts in Corinthians and the D&C. In all three cases all examples relate to spiritual gifts given to individuals.

    I did not know that Hugh Nibley did this, but as it turns out, Nibley got a lot of things wrong. Don’t get me wrong, he has an important historical place in LDS scholarship, but the funny thing is, he knew so much stuff that he often connected disparate ideas that had no logical place being connected. This passage would be a perfect example of that.

  24. I will humbly disagree. Moroni says that the gifts “are many.” He didn’t list them all. The gifts of God include everything that God has given us, both temporal and spiritual. In another place the Lord says that “all things unto me are spiritual” (D&C 29:34). So, yes, I don’t think God wants us to deny any of the gifts he’s given us, in whatever form they may be.

  25. Since I started this, I’ll chip in here. Two things bother me about your use of scripture here.

    First, there is a growing trend of different groups of LDS members to quote scripture in order to “prove” their political points. The problem with this is twofold.

    A) Scriptures are for personal interpretation, and for spiritual exhortation, not for proving any kind of agenda. Therefore, it can be used to say, “when I read this, I felt it applied this way, and I would like to discuss this possibility with you” but to say, “here is a fragment of scripture, this is how it proves my political agenda,” is a classic example of wresting the scriptures.

    B) When scripture is used this way, whether it is the intention of the quoter or not, it carries the connotation that anyone who does not interpret the scripture in the exact same way is rebelling against God. It attempts to tap into prophetic authority to support a non-prophetic stance, usually political, but often moral. I find this . . . problematic.

    Secondly, it is contextually clear that Moroni is discussing spiritual gifts. If he meant to extrapolate to other types of gifts, I have full confidence he would have listed at least one example of them. So it is putting words into his mouth. But this is more than a little beside the main point for me.

    There is a deeper theological problem in that this scripture is taking a potentially spiritually moving exhortation to believe in the power of God and twisting it to political ends. There is nothing in what Moroni wrote that suggests that a government has no right to manage the resources in a land. If you want to convince others of the righteousness of your political opinion, then use reason, quotes, and support that deals directly with the topic at hand. You shouldn’t have to mask it with stretched interpretation, scriptural soundbytes that seem great until you actually look up the scripture.

    Even if you feel that managing natural resources “denies the gifts of God,” a very different interpretation of the scripture than the usual, the burden is on you to describe WHY you feel this way, WITHOUT condemning everyone who feels differently as ignorant of scripture. The meaning of this scripture is certainly not as clear to many other LDS as it is to you. So, rather than be defensive about it, it would benefit you to realize this and approach it with a little more tact.

    On a different note:
    The truth is, Bryce, that I empathize more with Libertarianism and their views than any other political party. Yet, there is no way I would ever affiliate myself with a Libertarian group, particularly an LDS one, because I see a huge tendency towards self-righteousness and judgment of fellow Saints. I also see a strong tendency towards extremes. The older I get, the more I learn that living with other people is far more complicated than simple black and white blanket statements. And the LDS Libertarian movement seems to favor wild hyperbole and dramatic statements.

    That kind of pride is pure poison, poison that can divide us from the true meaning of prophetic counsel, and lead us to extremist behavior. I see that in every political LDS group, but few as strongly as my experiences with LDS Libertarianism.

    The drama and hyperbole lead me to question every premise, and look at whatever opinion being presented with a far more jaded eye. Take this in contrast to the way Geoff writes most of his political posts, which have similar sentiments, but allow for a far more nuanced approach. That makes him a lot easier to read and agree with.

  26. Bryce, you’ve applied a definition to “gifts of God” that may be true, but it is much broader than the gifts Moroni is talking about. In other words, he isn’t using your definition in his discussion.

    How can I demonstrate this? Moroni states in Moroni 10:8 that these gifts (the ones he is talking about) “are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.”

    They are all given by the Spirit of God, which is different thing than saying that they are all spiritual (D&C 29:34). The Spirit of God is a component of all things spiritual, but not equivalent in nature, making the identification you’ve designated too broad in scope for Moroni’s definition.

    Again, this doesn’t mean nature is not a gift of God, but Moroni demonstrably did not have it in mind in his commentary.

  27. Again, I will respectfully disagree. The gospel should guide and direct all aspects of our lives, even political views and decisions. If scriptures can be studied that might help us better understand a subject, what God’s will may be, and how we might better implement policy in our society, then they should be! The scriptures don’t stand in a vacuum, isolated from our lives and from our community. We use them that we might know and do what’s true and right.

    I don’t see how a scripture could be used to “prove” a political point any more than a scripture could be used to “prove” a social point, or “prove” a moral point, or “prove” a scientific point, or even “prove” a religious point. That’s not what the scriptures do, yet we use scriptures in all of these situations to help guide our understandings and educate us in the will of God. Anyone is able to understand the scripture differently, such as in this case, which means it doesn’t prove anything. It certainly didn’t prove anything for you. It was cited that it might help us better understand this circumstance, and perchance what God’s will might be. If scriptures cannot do that, what good are they for in any situation? We use the scriptures to teach one another the will of God. They are not solely for our personal interpretation, or we would never read or cite them in public for fear of “proving” a point, or influencing others to our understanding.

    Consider this scripture:

    And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23)

    Did you notice what Nephi did? He read the scriptures to persuade his brethren to guide their understandings, to help guide their belief. Was he trying to “prove” a point? But more than that, he taught us that we should “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” This scripture is explicitly teaching us to interpret scripture in different ways than the original author intended. If we were to interpret scripture only in the very narrow way the prophets intended, we would profit very little or not at all from them. They lived in a very different time, place, culture, and circumstances. I take a much more deep and broad view of the scriptures than simply the words that the author used. I perceive that the scriptures contain many, many layers of meaning in them, that a single verse can contain a world of instruction, and that by peeling away the layers and looking at it from many different angles and contexts we may be guided thoroughly in the word of God. This is how we can study a single verse for hours or days, cross-referencing it with all the standard works, looking up what the prophets have taught us about it, connecting it to other aspects of the gospel where it might also apply, and in all ways trying to understand how we might “liken it unto us,” in our day.

    I do not condemn anyone and everyone that doesn’t believe Moroni 10:8 might apply to all the gifts of God. Where did I do that? I’m offering an alternate interpretation of the verse than the one that we commonly take. I’m digging in a bit deeper, peeling off a layer of what Moroni might have immediately meant when he wrote it. Would God want us to not deny all the gifts he gives us, whatever or wherever they might be? I believe so. This should help us be more wise stewards over the things he has given us. Yes, it may apply to rain water. This seems to me to be a gracious gift from a loving God that he would make fresh water fall from the sky to nourish and strengthen, even as manna. When man attempts to extort this gift from one another, to put a price on it, to hoard it to oneself, and keep it from others, I believe that is pride, and is man using a gift of God for his own greed, something which he doesn’t own for his own aggrandizement. Remember what happened when the Israelites tried to keep manna? It rot and bread worms (Ex. 16:20).

    Even in our Church history, we have been bountifully blessed by rain when there has been times of severe drought. I recall the situation in 1899 in St. George when Lorenzo Snow visited and saw the terribly dry earth and how the crops simply wouldn’t grow without rain. President Snow promised the saints if they would pay their tithing in full, rain would fall and they would harvest good crops. The rain came and plentifully blessed the Saints there so they could survive. Was rain a gift from God? I think these Saints would have certainly thought so. What if there had been laws instituted and regulated that held it back so the Saints could not use it fully and freely?

    Even on this very thread DavidF said, “Low income families shouldn’t get access to water and utilities if they can’t pay market price for them?” Realy?! Are you serious? We should withhold water, even rainwater, from the poor who cannot “pay market price for them”?! Do you realize what you are saying? Families that may not be as blessed as we should go without water because they cannot afford it? They should not get access to it? Water? Again, how would they survive then? Or perhaps they shouldn’t, survival of the fittest to be sure. This is a prime example of denying the gifts of God, and I perceive is not anywhere near God’s will for his children on earth, nor in their attempts to build up Zion. Zion is a people who are of one heart and one mind, and no poor dwell among them (Moses 7:18).

    Does this mean that we have no regulations or laws. No, I’m not suggesting that. We need laws to provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare of society. We cannot live in such close quarters with one another without some rules and policies in place. But I conceive that government takes the power we give it and runs with it past the end zone. The more government legislates, the more freedom we lose. Some are necessary, some are not. Should I be able to drive my car with a loose headlight mount or a small leak? I believe so. Government shouldn’t be involved, but unfortunately they are in Utah. They have legislated themselves into almost every area of our lives, and slowly socialism has crept in. It takes a long, long time for this to happen, but happen it does. And we are there.

    By the way, SilverRain, I’m not a Libertarian, although I might agree with some of their ideas. I’m actually not much of a Republican either for that matter. I’m not very political in any sense of the word, to be sure, as I think all the parties have their weaknesses and I find more pressing things in life to be worried about than to be involved in every wind of policy and the day-to-day shuffle of politics, but I do believe that we can learn more about God’s will for us from his word, and apply it to us, that it might be for our profit and learning, personally and as a society.

    Yes, satire often uses hyperbole and exaggeration. That is the very definition of satire. It goes to an extreme to illustrate shortcomings, abuses, vices, and follies, to plainly show how we might improve, even society itself. Northrop Frye, an influential literary theorist, noted that “in satire, irony is militant.” It is aggressive, on purpose, and uses exaggeration to approve of the very things that are being criticized. It takes an ill from society and strings it out to the point of absurdity to demonstrate its weaknesses and idiocy. Personally, I wish we had more of this form of literature, which we seem to have forgotten, to help us uncover much of the painful, imprisoning, freedom destroying things we do in our society today, yet usually take no thought of them. We cannot ignore our society’s cancers, or they will continue to grow and rob us of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  28. Bryce, on the low income families comment, I wasn’t endorsing that view. I was parodying an argument which I opposed. In other words, low income families should be able to have access to resources. In a strict free market, this cannot be assured. Government control over utility price and clean water access broadens coverage. This is a good thing for low income families.

  29. Bryce, from your very first paragraph, you demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of my point and my opinions. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to make my point any clearer, and I’m not interested in discussing my opinions here for the reasons I already mentioned.

    There is a huge difference in learning from the scriptures and using them the way you are. There is a vast difference in using scripture to persuade others to believe in God or even using it to formulate your own political opinions, and using it (without persuasive clarification, I might add) to support a political viewpoint to others by infusing meaning that, though it may be there for you, just isn’t there for others. If you can’t see it, I’m at a loss.

    You may not FEEL condemnatory, but it is the impression your use of scripture portrays. If you don’t care, then you don’t care. Your use of satire could use some work, as I said, but that is a whole other point to your use of scripture.

    I am not trying to attack you, merely to attempt to communicate to you why your use of scripture is problematic to others. You can learn from it and change your approach in order to persuade, or you can spend your energy defending your right to do what you already think best (which I was not contesting in the first place,) as you will. I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t do what you’re doing, but I am telling you that it isn’t having the effect you think it is, unless someone already agrees with you.

    By all means, continue using your methods of “persuasion” and garnish those who are susceptible to it. I have nothing invested in your choice, either way.

  30. Honestly, SilverRain, I apologize if you, or others, feel condemned by my citation of a single scripture (and it wouldn’t be the first time). But I perceive that is not my fault, and it certainly is not my intention. I cite scriptures, as I believe MANY people do, when I conceive they might help us understand a situation, circumstance, principle, or doctrine better, whatever that might be. I don’t look to see whether or not it might be necessarily agreeable to anyone else (although in this case it was certainly agreeable to one of this century’s most erudite and honorable Church scholars, Hugh Nibley, so we might want to pay attention). If you choose to not agree with my framing or interpretation of a scripture, then that is entirely your choice, but I do have a right to do it, as do you. Whether or not the interpretation, or gleaning of meaning, is right or correct is another matter, which is also open for discussion. The Spirit will indicate to each individual whether or not an interpretation or nuance of meaning might be true or worthy of consideration.

    Yes, scriptures may be used to support political viewpoints, as difficult or as taboo as that might sound to you, as they may be used to support any other type of viewpoint. I cannot imagine a world where we took scripture completely out of political discourse, but that, it seems, is what you are proposing. The scriptures exist to guide our viewpoints, beliefs, and understandings in every aspect of our lives. We can share scriptures when we think it may be appropriate, and it doesn’t have to always be 100% agreeable to every individual who happens upon it. You are applying a standard to scripture that I perceive no one is capable of if they choose to use scripture in any helpful way in any public discourse, not to mention politics. No one needs to agree with someone for them to cite scripture to support a view. How would we ever learn anything new if that were the case?

  31. SR, let me step in to this conversation and offer my .02. You say two things:

    “A) Scriptures are for personal interpretation, and for spiritual exhortation, not for proving any kind of agenda. Therefore, it can be used to say, “when I read this, I felt it applied this way, and I would like to discuss this possibility with you” but to say, “here is a fragment of scripture, this is how it proves my political agenda,” is a classic example of wresting the scriptures.

    B) When scripture is used this way, whether it is the intention of the quoter or not, it carries the connotation that anyone who does not interpret the scripture in the exact same way is rebelling against God. It attempts to tap into prophetic authority to support a non-prophetic stance, usually political, but often moral. I find this . . . problematic.”

    I kind of agree with point A but completely disagree with point B.

    People take scriptures out of context all the time. Liberals take Jesus’ teachings on helping the poor as an excuse to mandate huge $1 trillion welfare programs, and of course the scriptures have nothing to do with these political programs. I completely disagree with this interpretation of the scriptures but accept that the scriptures can and should be used for persuading to your viewpoint, including your political viewpoint. The solution to people using the scriptures incorrectly is more scriptures! So, when people completely misquote the Savior, the solution is to correctly quote the Savior. Admonishing people not to use the scriptures for their own political issues is a losing campaign — people will always appeal to authority in this way. It seems to me the better solution is to show how they are incorrect or their interpretation is incomplete — or completely ignoring their statements and therefore not giving them more attention.

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