Thriving in the Storm

If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.[ref]D&C 38:30[/ref]

So often, we think of preparedness in terms of food storage or standing in holy places. But today a friend forwarded a link to an article in the political journal, American Affairs. Natalie Gochnour’s article, “Utah’s Economic Exceptionalism,” picks up where Megan McArdle left off in her 2017 Bloomberg article “How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive.”

Economic health is often assessed in terms of a monthly index produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, that combines four indicators of state economic health.

The economic index for the US and the vast majority of her states and territories has declined since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. For the US as a whole, the index has declined by 5.2 percent. Utah’s index has improved by 5.9 percent – notably the only US state to show an increase.

I’ve seen the cooperation and mutual care Ms. Gochnour describes on a smaller scale, within the family of my birth. I have eight siblings, and we have very different outlooks on life. Yet we share the hope that we will be family in the future, when we gather with our mother beyond the veil. This has caused us to work together in circumstances where other families have been torn apart. There is no index of thriving that measures the joy and peace our shared hope provides us, compared to peers who lack this shared hope. But in stressful circumstances affecting all of us, professionals exposed to a wide sample of families undergoing similar stress have commented on our mutual support and unity.

We can prepare by acquiring stores of food and supplies. We can also prepare by building trust and goodwill. By loving others as ourselves. By respecting one another and doing good to all.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

4 thoughts on “Thriving in the Storm

  1. Ms. Gochnour, in a footnote, mentions that there are several ways in which Utah is not “doing well.” One problem noted was the existence of a large female wage gap.

    However I couldn’t help wondering about the contribution the cultural emphasis on motherhood has made to improved economic index. The fact of a wage gap suggests women are paid less for equal work and/or women occupy jobs that are not paid as well, on average, as jobs predominantly occupied by men.

    On the other hand, this means that there has been statistically less overall damage done as women disproportionately have lost jobs as a result of COVID, though any such job loss would be catastrophic for an individual family. I also suspect Utah has a higher percentage of families where mothers were already staying home to care for children, making it less disruptive overall when it might have been perceived children did not have a “safe” place to go. And, of course, Utah (the reservation areas excepted) benefitted from being relatively sheltered during the initial months of COVID spread in the United States as well as government that is reluctant to require protective measures, such as shutdowns and mandatory masking.

  2. Utah is the best state for minimizing income inequality, which is great and really important.
    Utah has many other virtues.

    On the other hand, I had hoped Utah would not have its hospitals on the verge of being overwhelmed by Covid-19. I had hoped Utah would not be so prone to incubate Ponzi schemes. I had hoped that driving I-15 in Utah would not feel so much like Los Angeles sprawl and traffic. I had hoped the Church would not have had to withdraw plans for a Tooele Valley residential community.

    Utah is doing great in some things, but could do better in others.

  3. Every location has aspects that could be improved.

    As for worst traffic, California metro areas rank #1 and #2, but my own DC area ranks #3. Utah doesn’t even make the top ten.

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