About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

Is Huntsman constitutionally eligible?

The U.S. Constitution requires that presidents be at least 35 years old and natural born citizens. The third requirement is that they must have been “fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

So how about amabassadors to China? Or supreme allied commanders away for three years to direct military invasions? Or Herbert Hoover, who returned in 1919 from years of directing wartime food relief in Europe?

Perhaps the fourteen years residency is a lifetime accumulation and not just the most recent fourteen years.

What is it that Bishop Burton appreciates in Utah’s new immigration laws?

Last week, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert signed a set of immigration bills. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church, was present at the signing, and expressed his approval: “Our presence here testifies to the fact that we’re appreciative of what has happened in the Legislature.”

The Most Rev. John Wester, Catholic Bishop of Salt Lake City, responded to the signing with praise for the legislators’ goodwill, but also concern for the new laws themselves:

I appreciate the sincere efforts of Governor Gary Herbert and some Legislators to adopt humane solutions in the face of the federal government’s failure to act on immigration reform. Each Legislator’s desire to do what he or she felt was right under the circumstances was clear throughout the debate. I particularly respect Governor Herbert’s decision to sign several immigration bills in the face of extreme opposition.

However, reasonable people of goodwill may differ on strategies for achieving common goals. The Diocese of Salt Lake City finds H.B. 497 Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, H.B. 116 Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments, and H.B. 469 Immigration Related Amendments ill-advised. We have concerns about the practical effects of H.B. 466 Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments.

Continue reading

The Moon to Rule the Night

Yesterday morning afforded a lovely coincidence of a crescent moon, Venus, and my southbound drive under a dawning sky. There is something about a crescent with Venus close by on the concave side that looks just right. (Islamic flag designers the world over agree.) It seemed that there would be one more waning crescent in this cycle, and there it was this morning, much thinner than yesterday and no longer in intimate proximity with Venus.

I wondered how long it would stay visible. Twenty minutes before sunrise, it no longer stood out in the sky. I had to use the line between Venus and the coming sun to find it. Ten minutes before sunrise, it faded from view, sometimes seeming to be part of my perceptions, sometimes not. The moon is up there now, as big as the sun, but completely invisible to me.
Continue reading

The Best Explanation of Human Life

Coronel Suarez was the last town I was assigned as a missionary. One feature of the town was polo. From 1952 through 1983, teams from that small town on the Pampa had won the Argentine Open Polo Championship 25 out of 32 years. In the fields surrounding the town we would see them practice as we visited with stable keepers who lived near the horses. A couple rungs up in that world was a trainer we met with who had worked for royalty in the Mid East and in the Far East.

Also of note were the Volga Germans. Continue reading