35 Comments

Would you recognize this church?

Often on the bloggernacle, someone will ask (such as Faithful Dissident did recently) What Would Joseph Smith Think About The Modern LDS Church? The implication often is that we moderns have strayed.  Perhaps, but another answer is we have evolved.  But if we moderns were to travel back in time, would we recognize them?

I’ve just finished reading Great Basin Kingdom by former Church Historian Leonard Arrington.  The book is subtitled “An Economic History of Latter-Day Saints 1830-1900”.  I liked the book, but it can get bogged down in the some boring economic details.  I was amazed to see how differently wards functioned than they do today.  It was interesting to see that Brigham Young tried a more limited form of Consecration.  Different forms of United Orders were established.  These are not exactly the same as the Law of Consecration, though there are quite a few similarities.

ZCMI is a famous department store in Utah, which shut down and sold it’s assets to Meier and Frank.  Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution comes from this early pioneer history, and often bought goods produced by the wards.  Check out this list of items produced by the wards!  I’ve changed the formatting for readability, but it is an exact quote from page 333, which talks about ward (and specifically economic) structure in 1870’s as the church was dealing with a nationwide depression.

  • In Salt Lake City, for example, the Eighth Ward operated a hat factory;
  • the Eleventh Ward, a tailor’s shop;
  • the Nineteenth Ward, a soap manufactory;
  • and the Twentieth Ward, a boot and shoe shop, all of which were referred to United Order enterprises.
  • In Logan, the First Ward initiated a large foundary and machine shop in which were produced sawmills, planing machines, and various kinds of agricultural implements and tools;
  • the Second Ward, in turn, operated a planing mill and woodworking shop in connection with seven sawmills, and a United Order store;
  • and the Third Ward owned a diary.

Most of these specialized U.O. enterprises lasted until the middle 1880’s, when the anti-polygamy “Raid” and other factors compelled the abandonment of such group projects.

It is hard for me to fathom that everyone in the ward participated in building a business.  I work 45 minutes away from home, and never see the people in my ward at church.

These United Order enterprises were extremely effective in helping to create an efficient workforce, producing needed products, and keeping people employed.  It certainly was not the free market economy we’ve come to expect today.  Mormons were encouraged to be self-sufficient.  Brigham Young started many of these enterprises, but died in 1877.  John Taylor kept them going, and they were helpful.  Both Young and Taylor did not want to import anything if possible, which did create some hard feelings with non-Mormons.  Many of these anti-polygamy feelings can be traced to non-Mormons wanting to break into the Mormon market, which was essentially a monopoly.

Even within these United Orders, there was some interesting dynamics.  There was an interesting story about a pair of pants.  From page 335,

Orderville had been founded in an atmosphere of dire poverty, and the common action which took place in the Order made it possible for members to eat and dress better than they had for years–better, in fact, than many residents in surrounding settlements where United Orders had not functioned successfully.  When the Utah Southern Railroad was completed to Milford, Utah, however, the rich mines at Silver Reef, nto far from Orderville were exploited to the full.  Within five years, more than $10,000,000 worth of silver was extracted.  Orderville’s neighbors, profiting from this boom, suddenly found themselves able to buy imported clothing and other store commodities.  The Saints at Orderville became “old fashioned”….Orderville adolescents began to envy the young people in the communities….

A young man wanted a new set of pants, but the rules of Orderville said that all clothing must come from the same bolt of cloth.  (All were equal, and there was no inequality among them.)  His pants had no holes, and his request for new pants was denied.  His community raised sheep.  From page 336,

When the lambs’ tails were docked, the young brother surreptitiously gathered them and sheared off the wool which he stored in sacks.  When he was assigned to take a load of wool to Nephi, he secretly took the lambs’ tail wool with his load and exchanged it for a pair of store paints.  On his return, he wore his new pants to the next dance.  His entrance caused a sensation.  The story is that one young lady rushed to him, embraced and kissed him.  The president of the Order demanded an explanation, and when it was truthfully given, he said:  “According to your own story these pants belong to the Order.  You are requested to appear before the Board of Management tomorrow evening at half past eight, and to bring the store pants with you.”

At the meeting, the young brother was commended for his enterprise, but was reminded that all pants must be made of cloth from the same bolt.  However, to prove its good will, the Board of Management agree to have the store pants unseamed and used as a pattern for all pants made in the future, and further, the young man in question would get the first pair.

As time went on these United Orders were dissolved in 1885 due to growing anti-polygamy prosecution.  From page 337,

With the disintegration of their collective institutions, after ten years of “cooperative living,” the older members began to reflect on the advantages of their previously enjoyed communal experience over the encroaching spirit of competitive individualism.  The chafing under restrictive regulation, the disagreements, the yearning for privacy were all forgotten, and their memories were sweet.  Almost every published reminiscence of life under the Order mentions it as the closes approximation to a well-ordered, supremely happy Christian life that was possible of achievement in human society.

This story made me laugh, but I think illustrates well some of the problems we don’t think about in “utopian” societies.  Do we really want equality in our society, where there are no poor and no rich among us?

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35 comments on “Would you recognize this church?

  1. I would love to live in such a society. I pray for it. Unfortunately, members generally don’t understand what the united order would really be like.

    More than one occasion in this ward when the subject is discussed someone pipes up and says that they can’t wait for the UO because then they will go over to so-and-so’s house and take what they want. I’m tired of the greediness of many members in this ward.

  2. “Do we really want equality in our society, where there are no poor and no rich among us?”

    Wow, that’s a great question. I consider myself a socialist (social democrat who believes in a mixed economy — “The Third Way”), and I do want equality of human and civil rights and eradication of poverty. But I don’t want us to all be the same. I don’t want us to all wear the same pants. 🙂 We can’t all be truly equal.

    I find it kind of ironic that most of the Mormon libertarians I’ve come across are so pro-United Order and see it as the perfect system, while I, a “socialist,” am not very optimistic about it. I think it was OK for a small, homogenous society that didn’t really interact economically outside of itself, but I just don’t think it can work on a large scale in today’s international business world where our skills, needs, and professions are so varied. Not without the Lord himself calling the shots. 🙂

    I think we can be and should be equal in terms of human and civil rights, as well as right to medical care, food and shelter. But I don’t think we can ever be equal in every sense of the word. I think the best we can do is achieve a very minimal class difference and be economically similar but not equal, which is probably best achieved through tax (or tithing) redistribution. Once we become 100% equal and own absolutely nothing of our own, innovation is compromised and growth and development of our talents (particularly business talents) is stunted. (Wow, I’m starting to sound like a Republican.) 🙂 For example, it was wrong that the boy stole the wool, but if he had found an honest way of procuring it, wasn’t he being a good entrepreneur by seeing the business potential in a waste product that was probably just going to be discarded anyways?

    I look at capitalism as the horse that is getting us to where we should be going and socialism as the reigns that keep it under control. Losing either one is not a good a idea, IMO.

  3. “…another answer is we have evolved.” Interestingly, this is the same logic used by believing Christian historians when they look at the ancient Christian church. When LDS refer to “the primitive church” of the 1st century A.D., we use the term as an example of Christianity in it’s pristine pure form. To Mormons, deviation from this purity shows apostasy. In contrast, traditional christian historians see the primitive church as rustic and in need of “evolving”, which took place with the introduction of greek philosophical elements by the Alexandrian school (Clement and Origin, 2nd and 3rd century) and the many church councils which convened from the 4th through 9th centuries.

  4. Great comments! Floyd, what you mentioned as a problem today (“they will go over to so-and-so’s house and take what they want”) is exactly why Consecration didn’t work for Joseph. I plan a future post with an interesting quote from Brigham Young explaining the reason consecration didn’t work for Joseph was because everyone expected Joseph to give them clothes, and he did, making Joseph further in debt. It’s a funny/interesting quote. It doesn’t sound like we’ve changed much.

    FD, I love the pants story because I think few people realize the downside. I know people talk about how everyone is dressed the same in heaven, and how wonderful that will be. Well, yes, we don’t have to worry about having the latest designer jeans, but on the other hand, all individuality is lost, which some people really treasure.

    There are other quotes in the book stating that some people worked hard, and didn’t like it when the lazy people got the same wages. Capitalism rewards hard work, but United Order says we all get the same, regardless of ability. Capitalists are going to have a real problem with lazy people, so I understand why it would be hard to live. We all view this Utopian society as 100% wonderful, but there is a downside. Individualism gets completely stifled. Your “similar but equal” comment reminds me of the segregation argument “separate but equal.” It’s a nice concept, but does it really work in practice?

    “I think it was OK for a small, homogenous society that didn’t really interact economically outside of itself, but I just don’t think it can work on a large scale…” As I read the book, I realized that much of the impetus behind the anti-polygamy raids was economic. Just as you said, the United Order/Consecration worked precisely because it was a small, closed system. When non-mormons were shut out of the system, they cried foul and essentially used polygamy as a weapon to open up the Mormon markets. UO is anticompetitive. It is a monopoly. Modern Free-Market Mormons like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman would have had a hard time with UO. Consecration really appeals to the poor, much more than the rich. I mean let’s look at it in reality. The rich give to the poor. Who benefits? Who loses? Why would a rich man really want to be a part of conscecration?

  5. I forgot to mention that the young man did not steal the wool, as evidenced by the statement that the elders commended him for his “enterprise”. The wool from the tails was generally thrown away, but the young man saved it. He was actually exhibiting thrift–it was an honest way of procuring it.

    Larry, you bring up an interesting point about evolving. One could look at the Catholic Church’s decision to sprinkle instead of immerse as an evolution. Yet we look at it with disdain. Then we look at the Amish spurning modern transportation for horse an buggy, as not evolving, yet they view it as staying true to imoprtant principles. One man’s evolution is another man’s degeneration.

  6. One of our CofChrist scriptures (I think its D&C 150 — its close to that anyway) says “Repression of unnecessary wants is in harmony with the law of stewardship and becomes My people.” The suggestion is that what is necessary is to be defined by the individual, not by a hard and fast rule. Another scripture from the same era says “Stewardship is the response of My people to the ministry of My Son.”

    If we focus on coming closer to the love of Christ, personal revelation can hopefully sort out for each of us what we need for ourselves, to maximize our geowth and opportunity to serve, and what we should distribute to others so they can do the same.

    What I grow suspicious of is OTHER people telling me how much to give — especially if there is any hint that they are avoiding giving themselves. That sounds a little more like King Noah than King Benjamen to me, and I’ve seen a lot of that going around for many years here in Washington.

  7. That’s interesting how the boy wasn’t guilty of stealing after all. He was being resourceful and smart.

    A question that I have, it’s perhaps a stupid one. But a lot of us seem to assume that the UO is the same thing as the Law of Consecration. Is it?

  8. The book made a big deal that UO isn’t the same as Consecration. UO is a lower form of Consecration. It grew out of the idea of cooperatives, such as ZCMI (which I think is similar to the idea of labor unions.) I think Brigham was one of the first real union leaders in the US. I plan a future post on the UO’s. The different cooperatives were really successful, and Brigham decided to try to expand them into UO’s.

  9. Larry:

    I think evolution could have a very interesting take on apostasy: apostacy is evolution that turns out to be an evolutionary dead end. The object isn’t to get back to a primitive perfection, but to get back into an evolutionary course for the church that moves us toward the future. That allows us to accept the possibility of change without committing us to believe that all changes have worked out well.

    How do you tell an evolutionary success? It survives.

  10. I would be happy if there were just no poor. It is hard to think of children not having enough to eat everyday and not getting their basic needs met. I could care less about the rich really. I don’t place much value on things at all and I don’t care if a person wants a lot of things….whatever floats their boat. I really just care about those who go without and would like to be a part of making their lives better.

    If JS were here today, I imagine he would have quite a bit to say about our society. I wish we had a prophet who was more straightforward like JS, but I imagine everyone would have a bit tizzy fit and we can’t have that. 🙂

  11. FireTag, I’m not sure I agree with you about apostasy being a dead end. In some case, yes, in other cases no. For example, the LDS would view the Catholic practice of sprinkling as apostasy–yet it persists to this day. Of course, immersion isn’t a uniquely LDS idea. I’m not sure, but do the CoC allow sprinkling? I know that they are starting to accept baptisms from other faiths, but do they sprinkle children to baptize them CoC?

    Jen, consecration definitely appeals to the poor much more than the rich. As we look at the Orderville example, the people of Orderville were initially richer than surrounding communities due to the UO. But as the boom times of the silver mining trade hit, the surrounding communities surpassed Orderville. I guess it could be said that there were no poor among Orderville or surrounding communities. But as the children coveted clothing of the gentile communities, it created its own problems. It seems to me that the UO is a more consistent path–not as many highs or lows. Capitalism, on the other hand, is full of highs and lows (booms and busts).

    Jen, if you traveled back in time, what would you have to say to them with the straight-shooter Brigham Young, you lived the UO, and everyone in your ward made shoes and boots? How would you handle wearing the same clothes as everyone else, “cut from the same bolt of cloth”?

  12. MH, Honestly, I don’t think it would bother me to wear the same clothes as everyone else. To me, individuality shows through in a person’s personality and I don’t think wearing the same clothes can change that. Yes, clothing can tell you about a person, but it can also lead you to misjudge a person as well.

    As far as what I would say if I traveled back in time, I really don’t know.
    I am pretty sure that I would have liked JS much better than BY and having said that, I would love to have JS here today to speak to the Saints, but BY…..no thanks. I think JS would speak to us in a way that is to the point, but we would also be able to tell he cared about us. I am not sure about BY in that regard.

  13. Jen, you’re a better person than I. I don’t think of myself as selfish, but when I view this episode with the pants, I really identify with the boy. The more I think about being selfless, and putting others needs above our own, I realize that I am far from selfless.

    As for JS and BY, I think I would have enjoyed them both. They certainly had different styles. JS was probably more charismatic and likable, yet when I see his polygamist practices, he reminds me of Bill Clinton (who I’m not fond of.) BY was more of a fire and brimstone person–perhaps a bit like J Golden Kimball (who swore during sermons a lot.) Brigham could be rough and abrasive, but he was also one who got things done, so I do admire that too. Frankly, I think they both had positive and negative qualities.

  14. It’s funny, I’ve just been rereading Orwell’s 1984, where everyone wears the same Party blue overalls. I tend to think that wanting everyone to dress the same has more to do with conformity as equality.

    “I would be happy if there were just no poor. It is hard to think of children not having enough to eat everyday and not getting their basic needs met. I could care less about the rich really.”

    Good point, Jen. One of the common arguments I would get as a social democrat is that social democracy drags everyone down to the same level. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t). Ideally, it should help the poorest and weakest up to a certain level without putting unreasonable limitations on the rich. So the rich can continue to be rich, but no one should be starving or freezing because of it.

  15. I like the thought of an evolving church–a living church. While some could lament changes that have occurred since the time of Joseph Smith, for the most part, I’m sure it is a better church today for those changes. Even just since the early 1980s–we’re a better church today (for example, getting rid of the policy that women couldn’t pray in sacrament meeting, etc). Whether or not those early Saints would recognize the Church today, I’m convinced that having all the facts and understanding, they would approve. That’s not to say we’ve reached a point of perfection–heaven knows. Just that the process of perfection is underway and we’re headed in the right direction, no matter how fast or slow some think it may be going.

  16. MH- I understand where you are coming from and I think if it was a few years earlier I may have felt more like the boy in the story as well. Some of the experiences I have had since that time have really changed my perspective. I used to have a tendency to think money, clothing, “stuff” in general, was related to who I was or that it determined my value. I have really had some very interesting experiences that have helped me to shed these false ideas. For someone who is poor, those pants that are “cut from the same bolt” may be the best pair of pants they have ever had and it could be thrilling to them to get a pair. For someone who has had more, it may be a “step down” from what they are used to and they may struggle with it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like being able to express my individuality through the way I dress, the way I decorate my home, etc. but I have learned when it comes right down to it, they don’t matter to me like they used to and I could live without them if I needed. The biggest thing I would hope for is that the “bolt” to make my pants would be made of some comfortable materials! 🙂 I really don’t think it has to do with selfishness as much (as you mentioned) as what we have been used to in our lives.

    I think you are right about JS and BY. My feelings about BY were tarnished when I heard the story about a man (who I can’t recall right now for the life of me) who returned to the church and BY spoke of him publicly in a way that I couldn’t believe. He talked of him being old looking and that there would be no reason why any woman would want him. I realize that I can’t make a judgment of him just based on this, but it is hard to believe a prophet would speak in such a way about another person in public. I can’t imagine the Savior doing that to someone who wanted to return to Him. I guess this is helpful in understanding that prophets really are just people like us and that they will say things that aren’t necessarily the best thing to say at times. The problem is, just like we say things we regret, they say it to a lot more people and it may be recorded, so their comments are much more influential than yours or mine.

    I do like people who speak in a direct manner, I just like a spoonful of compassion thrown in with their directness as well. It think it is possible to be direct and compassionate, and I think JS may have been good at being this way. Another thing is, I really like Emma and Emma didn’t really like BY. I think it is possible she may have liked him better if her circumstances had been easier on her. I think when people are under tremendous stress it is hard to be who they want to be and it is not fair to judge them when life has continually pounded them over and over.

  17. Faithful Dissident-

    “Ideally, it should help the poorest and weakest up to a certain level without putting unreasonable limitations on the rich. So the rich can continue to be rich, but no one should be starving or freezing because of it.”

    I would love to see this happen. Again, I don’t really care how much money a person has, but I do care deeply about how much a person doesn’t have. Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard to make it all work and to assure that everyone has food and clothing. It is disturbing to me to think how complicated we have made it.

  18. MH:

    Yeah, I should have thought the evolution concept through in greater detail before I wrote. Let me try again.

    It is tough to define apostasy by a belief change. Particularly when you can’t know whether it worked out for the best until you look back on it from a historical perspective. Look at how differently people see polygamy in the discussions you’ve had here. People can’t even agree on exactly when the Roman Republic turned into the Roman Empire to closer than about 20 years; different actions mark the decisive point for different people.

    Catholicism and its contemporary versions of Christianity once believed they were living in the “last days” and felt no need to consider the Romans as any more than temporary masters. Later they were running the Empire and vitally concerned with its earthly stability. Today, Rome is gone, but the church lives on — yet it no longer sees itself as actively evolving toward the kingdom. I have an interesting quote that I’ll try to find and post later about the church being ABOUT preserving past truths and not seeking new truth. That is evolutionary stasis as a religious ideal, and that was what I was trying to say by knowing apostasy because it leads to a dead end. Restoration isn’t about preserving the past, but about getting back on the road “progressing” toward the Kingdom.

    No, the CofChrist does not sprinkle, but ask me again in a few months. We have to at least make a decision about accepting people who were. Your post title is ironic. I often don’t recognize my church from year to year. We’ve certainly moved from asking change vs no change to which changes are of God, and when are we being fooled.

  19. Jen:

    I think there is something unique about clothes because expensive clothes were the way the Lamanites and falling-away Nephites showed they were “better” than their brothren. In our culture, we do the same with the degrees we have, or our job titles, or — most ominously — with our priesthood titles as well as our consumption. We still haven’t overcome the tendency toward status seeking that is really necessary to sort out the “equality” issues.

    And I wonder how much time we have before we start to pay a really high price for that. I was reading earlier this week about what will ACTUALLY be required to hold carbon dioxide atmospheric levels to 450 ppm, like all the government ntional and international negotiations are targeting. By 2030, even if ALL emissions were to cease from the 30 most developed countries in the world, the poorer countries emissions alone push the world above that level. In the US, the expected goal of 80% reduction below 2005 levels would require a per capita emission of about 2.4 tons per person per year. The least fossil-fuel dependent countries in Europe (like France and Switzerland) exceed 6 tons per person, and the last time the US had per capita emissions that low was 1875. We may have exceeded that even in the colonial era from wood burning.

    So issues of rich and poor are getting more real and more urgent, not less.

  20. FireTag-

    Isn’t it interesting how much value is placed on who makes our clothing (GAP, Ralph Lauren compared to K-mart, Target, etc.) and how the cost of the clothing is related to that? I think it is very hard to think outside of job titles, priesthood titles, how a person dresses, what they drive, how big there house is, where it is located, etc. I know that I really have to work hard to not judge a person based on those things. I remember being in the temple and meeting a woman who was probably in her late 80’s. She was very wrinkly and just plain old, but when I looked into her eyes, I saw one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. There was a light that shone through her which penetrated her physical being. It was remarkable and it taught me that spiritual beauty does transcend physical beauty. It didn’t matter at all what she was wearing, how she looked physcially or what she was going to drive home because I was allowed for a moment to see beyond all of that and I realized that in the end that is all that matters.

    Interesting facts about emissions. I think you are right about the issues of rich and poor getting more urgent and more real. I hope that we can all work together to change the direction in which things are headed.

  21. Great comments all!

    FD, I was talking to a friend tonight and we felt that Brigham Young may have been a socialist, or perhaps even a social democrat. Brigham hated the thought of having poor people and did everything he could to help the poor. I know you’ve expressed some strong feelings against BY, and I agree he sometimes spoke without compassion (as Jen said), but don’t you admire his steadfast committement to the poor? Does that make you like him less?

    Clean Cut, welcome! I enjoy your blog, and hope you’ll stick around here more. I think we have much in common. This whole concept of evolution/apostasy is a real interesting subject. It’s not something I had considered, and I thank Larry for bringing it up. I do like most of the changes over the years. I do wish women had a more active role in priesthood, and I wish the race issue had been settled sooner (like in Joseph’s lifetime) but I think the changes in our church are pretty good as a whole.

  22. I know you’ve expressed some strong feelings against BY, and I agree he sometimes spoke without compassion (as Jen said), but don’t you admire his steadfast committement to the poor? Does that make you like him less?.

    I think it’s what I like best about him. Have you seen “The Proclamation on the Economy?” The name is actually a bit misleading and some have made it out to be something way more than it was, arguing it as “proof” that BY was a “socialist.” I think things get pretty sticky when people try to argue such theories. My impression of BY was that he was more of a common sense, say-it-as-it-is type of fellow without necessarily having a specific political agenda (unlike JS, perhaps). But if we read this excerpt from the document, without looking at it through “Republican” “Democrat,” “socialist,” or any political eyes or trying to mold it into our individual political agendas, then I think it’s pretty good, common sense:

    “The experience of mankind has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice.

    One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals.

    The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations.”

    You can read the background behind this document — what it was and what it wasn’t — here.

  23. Here’s the quote about how the Catholic church now views its role. It comes from an official brochure put out under the Imprimatur of the Catholic Archdiocese in Washington in connection with the 2008 visit to DC of the Pope:

    “The Lord– entrusted the keys of the Church to him [St. Peter]. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter–functions as the head of the Bishops, to work in unity with them to teach, lead, and sanctify “TO SAFEGUARD WHAT HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN, NOT INVENT NEW IDEAS.” [EMPHASIS ADDED.]

    That, I think is the evolutionary definition of aposasy — accepting what you are now and ceasing to strive toward what God calls you to become.

  24. Actually, I am aware that there are a variety of economics papers in the literature that there is an optimal distribution of “inequality” that produces the highest total wealth. I’m not an expert on the literature, and so wouldn’t want to guess what the optimal solution is — though I suspect that the US is too unequal and the Communist world was too “equal” (ignoring the commissars for a moment), but the optimum is definitely not total equality.

  25. Interesting link, FD. I had not heard of that. I will say that I do think Brigham Young would have been a strong proponent of the labor unions that grew in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. I guarantee he would have been against NAFTA.

    I was listening to the Doug Wright radio show on KSL in SLC and Doug said that in the 1890’s and 1900’s, the party with the 3rd most votes in Utah was the Socialist Party. My how times have changed! I don’t think socialism was a dirty word back then.

  26. Very interesting, MH! If you know of any articles online about that, I’d love to see them.

  27. FD, I think you’ll like to listen to this particular Doug Wright show for a couple of reasons. Doug is a moderate republican, and starts off talking about some of the hatemail he’s been receiving.

    On Tuesday, Pres Obama is giving a speech to school children about the importance of education. Some really right-wingnuts (in Utah and other states like Texas) don’t want the children to listen to Obama. Wright mentions in passing that the Socialist Part quote between about the 5-10 minute mark, I’d say. (You can skip the first 0-5 minutes–it gives the news along with some commercials, but you may find that interesting since you’re not from around here.)

    He also talks about an LDS church leader (“ecclesiastical source”) who also rants against the right-wing nutjobs. Since you’re more political than me, you may want to write up a post on it. I think he talks about immigration policy as well.

    It’s found at http://pandora.bonnint.net/audio/doug.rss

    Go to Sept 3, the 1st hour to hear it. I listened to about the first 20 minutes, but then I had to go to work, so I couldn’t hear the whole thing.

  28. FD, there’s also some news 30 min in about LDS missionaries threatened with deportation in South America, and a Muslim convert to Christianity claiming political asylum because she’s afraid she’ll be killed by her family.

  29. Thanks for the tip, MH! I actually read something just this morning about what you mentioned about some Utahns being against the Obama speech. So it’ll be interesting to hear some more about it.

  30. FD:

    Actually, the concern is national, with at least one suburban school district even here in Washington cancelling it. The speech itself will be innocuous, everyone is sure, but some of the “study guide” materials put out for the speech from underlings in the Department of Education seem to range from partisan to “creepy”.

    You have to understand a little of the context. During the Viet Nam era, there was a leftist domestic terrorism organization, the Weather Underground, that carried out acts of violence in which a number of people were killed. For example, a policeman’s home was fire-bombed while a nine-year old boy was inside. The organizations’ founders included William Ayers, who openly acknowledges his involvement in the violence today, and remains a committed radical.

    Ayers had a rich father, well connected to the political establishment that has ruled Chicago under both Democratic and Republican administrations since the days of Al Capone. After the legal proceedings are over, Ayers’ father reintroduces Ayers into the establishment, where Ayers becomes a player first in Chicago and later on the national scene in regard to using the educational system to instill “social consciousness” into students at all levels.

    Remember, Ayers does not mean by social consciousness what a Western European means by the term. He remains open about his radical goals; he’s just adopted better tactics than in the 1960’s. I first realized Ayers was, in fact, the Weather Underground leader when my daughter started showing me materials being presented at her college in the social sciences several years ago, and I looked up the authors of this “theory of the role of the social sciences in raising social consciousness”.

    The study guides accompanmying the Obama speech seem to contain several elements of a grade-school version of this same “social-consciousness” raising, and many of the employees in the Federal Department of Education were never taught any other way of doing teaching.

    Because Obama and Ayers were linked during the campaign (Obama had effective control over one of Ayers’ major foundation funding sources for community education activities) and the announcement came on the same week that Obama’s “green jobs czar” was shown to have signed a petition supporting the idea that the CIA carried out the 9/11 attacks, Obama doesn’t need any more connections to ANYTHING that smells radical.

  31. I have been receiving e-mails from my children’s teachers offering an optional activity if I don’t want them watching the Obama speech. I was told that The White House will release the text of President Obama’s speech on Monday, September 7 at whitehouse.gov/mediaresources. That will help me make an informed decision about whether I want them to watch in on September 8th.

  32. The “green jobs czar”, Van Jones resigned at about 6 AM this morning (Sunday) on the West Coast where he lived in Oakland. The NY Times report ascribes the resignation to a smear by Glenn Beck because Jones was leading a boycott against Beck. The article refers only to this week’s two big revelations about Jones, and does not note Jones previous “greatest hits” collection: tapes showing him telling audiences that white liberal environmentalists were in league with corporations to force polluters to build factories in black communities (which, not having their social consciousness sufficiently raised, are desperate for the development dollars); that he came out of prison as an avowed communist intent on maintaining alliances with the radical community he found in prison; his claims that white America was spraying toxins on immigrant farmworkers; his attempts to free a black radical convicted of murdering policemen from prison, etc.

    Its amazing how many people are in our President’s present and past who have such “greatest hits” collections. You start to get alarmed when General Custer doesn’t seem to know that there’s something moving out there, and it’s not just the Bushes (pun fully intended!)

  33. […] mentioned this in my previous post, but let me summarize some ward […]

  34. Interesting, Fire Tag. Do you think, though, that those Americans who don’t want their kids listening to Obama are aware of this, or are they just paranoid about him being a “socialist?”

  35. […] may want to review Part 1 and Part 2 of my consecration series as […]

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