Federal judge reminds us the lockdowns are unconstitutional

A federal judge in Pennsylvania decided the state’s lockdowns violate the 1st and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. For many of us who have been concerned about the lockdowns since March, we can celebrate the decision while also being disappointed that it took so long for a judge to overturn the tyrannical actions in one state.

From the article I linked:

In the 66-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania William Stickman struck down Wolf’s limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings of up 25 and 250 people, respectively. The limitations, Stickman wrote, violate “the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Stickman ruled that the governor’s stay-home order and mandatory closure of businesses, which were deemed non-essential to curb the spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus, infringed on citizen freedoms and discriminated based upon arbitrary “life sustaining” and “non-life sustaining” standards breaching 14th Amendment protections.

In the ruling, Stickman said he “believes that defendants undertook their actions in a well-intentioned effort to protect Pennsylvanians from the virus. However, good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable, and the intent is good — especially in a time of emergency.”

Stickman emphasized that once liberties erode under a public emergency, they become difficult to repossess.

“Even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup,” Stickman wrote.

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Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 8-11

My blog post on CFM: 3 Nephi 8-11


Most Mormons believe that the great Nephite destruction occurred, three days of darkness passed, and then Jesus showed up for lunch the next day.

However, the Book of Mormon’s text actually clues us in on the actual time frame involved here.

“And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land” (3 Nephi 8:5).

“And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them—” (3 Nephi 10:18).

The destructions occurred almost a year before Jesus appeared to the people.  Such a time delay would allow Jesus to perform his works in Jerusalem among his apostles after his resurrection, begin the work for the dead in the Spirit World, and organize the work among those who resurrected with him..


How Mormons Building Bridges (et al.) Became a Bridge Distancing Many from their Spiritual Home

Part II. Nehor Rises Again

Jacob Z. Hess

Note: I believe healthy deliberation includes space for strong critique, passionate contestation, and efforts to persuade. I do all of that here without questioning the sincerity, intelligence, or intentions of those with opposing views. Although I believe most people are doing the best they can to love, to help, and to understand, I also believe the patterns outlined in these essays are little considered or understood in the broader discourse.

That’s why I write. These are perilous times for America. In my view, anyone willing to preserve space for thoughtful people to disagree on these and other matters (no matter your actual position) is part of the solution – and helping lay the foundation for our collective future. Anyone contributing to a recession of this same space (no matter your position) is part of the problem – and helping lay the foundation for even greater misunderstanding, hatred and violence than we have yet seen in our country.

Latter-day Saints revere the Book of Mormon for its role in re-establishing truth that was lost, or made dim, by a Biblical interpretation process that confused or omitted certain “plain and precious” parts of God’s message to the world. 

One of the lesser-appreciated truths clarified in the Book of Mormon is the role of anger in subverting the long-term trajectory of both individuals and entire communities, through a variety of means.  For instance, virtually all scriptural references to a people being “stirred up to anger”[1] happen in the Book of Mormon. 

In part I, I summarized the way in which Mormons Building Bridges (and other allied organizations) became a persuasive force that convinced many Latter-day Saints to adopt the larger narrative of the gay rights movement, along with its accompanying anger (and built-in explanations for that anger).        

In that first part, I only began to touch on problems with that larger narrative frame – mostly focusing, instead, on how these new ways of seeing identity and sexuality became a significant wedge for so many people in their faith – effectively distancing so many precious brothers and sisters from their spiritual home, and leaving them wounded in their attachment to anything related to the same.  As one woman told me recently, “I’ve got to stay away from the Church…it’s just too toxic for me!” 

In what follows, I round out the picture, introducing an alternative way to make sense of this movement that has unfolded and overflowed into members’ lives – one that contrasts sharply with the framework outlined in Part I (true-identity discovery in a larger movement about liberation and civil rights that welcomes any allies willing to stand by their bravery). 

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Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 1-7

My post on Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 1-7

Excerpt:”The Gadiantons have attempted to gain power through religious preachings (Korihor), assassination (Kishkumen), war (Amalickiah), secret combinations (Gadianton), and overthrowing the government.  Now they try another tactic: building their own nation into a power so great they threaten the Nephite and Lamanite nations. “The Gadiantons did not immediately attack army against army, but used a hit and run terrorist strategy.  They destroyed small towns on the borders and elsewhere that were not well defended. They probably carried off the women and children.  Their efforts brought chaos and instability, until the Nephites and Lamanites were forced to take up arms against them.”


Keeping Faith At BYU

A few weeks ago Millennial Star contributor Tom S. wrote an essay titled, “The Meaning of the Gay Dating Fiasco at BYU”. This prompted some good discussion among our readers, some of which didn’t believe that there are people who work for and teach at BYU that don’t fully support the church. Tom’s essay was published right about the time a new group called Keeping Faith at BYU was organized. You might have read more about the group over on My Life by GoGoGoff. So far their work has prompted a lot of discussion in the affirmative and in the negative online. But it’s a discussion we need to have about BYU.

As our own J Max Wilson shared on twitter a few days ago, “I had chosen to major in English with my eyes wide open about what I was going to encounter. But I felt bad about the students who were not expecting or prepared for their faith to be attacked at BYU. I came to BYU knowing that there would be apostate professors and students. My father had been at BYU more than a decade beforehand working on his PhD and had often told us about his apostate professors. When my own daughter was accepted to BYU last year we had a good talk about the fact that she could not assume that either her professors or her fellow students would be faithful members of the church. She started BYU knowing that some of her professors and the other students might push apostate ideas and reject the teachings and directions of the prophets and apostles.”

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