Stop the Contention

fightingI’m one of the Gospel Doctrine teachers in my ward. It’s a calling l love, but am terrified of all at the same time. Teaching the gospel to adults is very hard, especially when I feel like I’m the least experienced in the room. But it’s good to feel inadequate sometimes. It pushes me to rely on the Lord a lot more to do my calling the right way.

This year’s course of study has been The Book of Mormon and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Over the last few weeks as we’ve wound our way thru the chapters in the Book of Alma and Helaman there are stark patterns that emerge that parallel our day. Some people call it “The Pride Cycle”, but basically it’s the story of the human condition since the beginning of time. People are good, they are blessed, then become prideful and wicked. They fall, and become enslaved – either to their own vice and are destroyed , or are literally taken away as slaves to be humbled. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Sometimes the cycle repeats itself several times in the course of a year.

Right before the Savior’s visit to the Nephites in 3 Nephi, this cycle becomes particularly vicious, with the people dividing themselves up into tribes and with the Gadianton Robbers bearing down on everyone they can. At the death of the Savior, the land is broken up, there is great destruction and the Nephite civilization is destroyed, with “the more righteous part” of the people being left to pick up the pieces and start over. Continue reading

The time I got politically involved

ConstitutionI’m going to think out loud here and invite you all to listen in.

Really, I’m just a stay-at-home-mom, who likes to write in her spare time and watch cheesy romantic comedies on Netflix. I go to Church, serve, and try to do my best. Most days my kids eat me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I’m actually ok with that, because that’s what I signed up for. I follow the news, the issues and try to stay informed. I vote, write letters to the editor, my congressman and city councilors.

But then a few months ago, I found myself standing at a “line in the sand”. My line in the sand. And like Rev Tevya I couldn’t be bent any more without breaking. The particular issue is not important for this post, but I decided to get involved. In a matter of weeks, I found myself starting and managing a social media campaign about this issue, inviting people to join, researching, reading, writing about this issue, attending City Council meetings, and trying to find people willing to get involved. Continue reading

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Guest Post by Daniel Ortner

The recent Hobby Lobby decision has been widely praised in the conservative media and greeted with deep alarm among the left. Yet, in reality the decision was a modest one that will likely have almost no impact on the employees of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood. Indeed, the most likely outcome is that the government simply offers to religiously motivated for-profits the same accommodation that they are currently offering churches and religiously affiliated hospitals whereby upon certification of a religious objection, the health insurance providers cover contraception at no cost to the employer or employee.

So why is this case nevertheless a big deal? Why should members of the LDS Church and other people of faith celebrate the ruling? The threshold question in this case was whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which congress passed in the early 90’s to protect religious people of conscience applies to religiously motivated for-profit companies as well as churches and other people of conscience.

In other words, the key question is whether individuals who form for-profit entities lose the ability to assert religious freedom claims under the RFRA. For the dissent, because “an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obliga­tions,”[1] by incorporation, that individual cannot argue that a government requirement violates his/her individual conscience. In other words, because the law removes personal liability from most business decisions, the dissent suggests that an individual should be expected to compartmentalize or separate his faith and his business activities.
Continue reading

The Problems with Moral Equivalence – A Response to Geoff B.’s Perspective on Ukraine


[This is a guest post by Morgan Deane who is a military historian that teaches history for BYU-Idaho. He is an Mphil/PhD student at Kings College London and writes at and He has written a book titled, “Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon”, which will be released shortly. His guest post is in response to Geoff B.’s recent post: Perspective on Ukraine]

Every time the U.S. might take potential military action there are a variety of people who argue that these tyrants and dictators are little different from the U.S. This article in particular caught my eye, since it contained so many of the common moral equivalence errors. Despite the legitimate mistakes made in American foreign policy, America is a different and better country than Russia and our foreign policy is morally superior to that of Putin’s. The quotes are from this article from Geoff B.

The United States is currently occupying Afghanistan

Occupy is a loaded term with a negative connotation. We have troops there, but the most frequent criticism about Obama is that we are leaving too soon. We just left Iraq and the leverage we had there, so I’m amazed at how consistently America is attacked over “occupations” when we seem to be heading towards the exits like scolded gorillas. Continue reading

Selling a Life—Missionary Work

As I explained before, sustaining the law supports agency just as much as sustaining choice. You can’t support one to the detriment of the other without destroying agency in the process. It is a common misunderstanding that laws unrighteously apply force to individuals, so long as they are just and reasonable. They do not force obedience, but they do attach a consequence to behavior that some might perceive as force because they don’t like it.

Participating in a community is an implicit contractual agreement. There are guaranteed to be some laws you don’t like. I have heard this referred to as “tyranny of the majority” which is an empty catch phrase. “Tyranny of the majority,” in any meaningful sense, is ALWAYS present in life. Whoever has the majority of people behind them has the power. That is not the prerogative of democracy, and complaining about it or imagining it away is merely an exercise in fantasy.

The advantage to democracy is that it exposes this underlying reality to the open air and uses it to slow corruption. Note that it won’t stop corruption, only slow it. I believe that we are currently in a situation where corruption is present throughout the system. Theoretically, democracy should be capable of cleaning out the sump unless the majority of the people also succumb to corruption. It remains to be seen whether or not that is the case in the USA.

That being said, there is nothing inherently good about democracy, just as there is nothing inherently good in ANY form of government, even anarchy or decentralized government. The key to a good government is not structure, it is righteousness.

Alma said it much better. The preaching of the word of God has more power than the sword or anything else which had happened to his people. Power to change minds. Power to change hearts.

I believe that if we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stop preaching party politics and begin to preach the word of God in the political arena, we will affect true and righteous change. This doesn’t mean proselytizing, necessarily. This means to preach gospel principles. Frugality, self-reliance, charity, peace, patience, acceptance of others’ weaknesses, hard work, hope, sacrifice, unity.

If any of us truly wish to save the collapse of this country, it will not come by finding the political party which best suits us or trying to convert others to our cause. It will certainly not come by vilifying those who do not agree with us. It will not come by government overhaul. It will come because there are people who eschew politics in favor of peace, power in favor of charity, rightness in favor of righteousness.

Unless that happens, there truly is no hope.