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Re: Utah as a Religious Police State

On 30 Sep 96 at 0:55, Moroni wrote:

>       I never cease to be surprised by the interest that gentiles show  in
> working mormon communities while totally neglecting their own failing
> areas.

<rant on>

I never cease to be surprised by Mormon apologists who refuse to look 
in the mirror at problems in so-called "working Mormon communities."  

I moved to Utah 2 years ago from Texas.  Even though I am nominally 
Mormon (I haven't been to Church in years), it was still a huge 
culture shock to me.  I think the thing that bugs me the most is the 
way the political system is dominated by a 500 lb. elephant known as 
the LDS Church.  We Utahns sit in a room with this elephant that eats 
and s**ts and yet we don't talk about the fact that it's there.

This is Utah for you...Utah where during the first legislative
session I was here (1995) the legislature spent 42 out of 45 days
talking about whether they were going to have tightened ethics laws.
 Where during the last legislative session (1996) the legislature
spent 42 of 45 days discussing what to do about the fact that a few
kids in one of the Salt Lake high schools wanted to have a
gay/lesbian/straight club.  NO MATTER that the schools are horribly
overcrowded and that in some elementary grades 40-plus students per
classroom is the norm.  NO MATTER that teachers are horribly
underpaid in a state with California-style costs.  NO MATTER that
despite a $100 million surplus the governor and the legislature
can't see clear to get rid of the sales tax on *food*.  NO MATTER
that if anything terribly controversial (or even not so
controversial)  comes up, someone in the legislature feels like they
have to sound out the Church to make sure that they don't cross 
Gordon B. Hinckley or Boyd K. Packer and endanger their Church 

In the meantime, our legislators (with Church approval, these are 
Church "callings") run down to the prison at Point of the Mountain to 
"counsel" convicted child abusers and then pass laws to get rid of 
minimum mandatory sentencing.  The roads are falling apart here, the 
schools are overcrowded.  Gang violence is prevalent up and down the 
Wasatch Front.  I heard about a gang-related murder in Layton last 
weekend.  Up until a month ago, when the mayor of Salt Lake City 
closed the place and forced them out, there was a well-known open-air 
drug supermarket going on in Pioneer Park.  Legislative leaders think 
that they're above the Open Meetings law.  And liquor laws still are  
pretty backwards.  (Gee, just last week places that sell beer 
actually got permission to put signs that say "BEER" instead of 
"BEE?" on their premises.)

Thing is, Utah is generally a wonderful place to live.  As I said, I
used to live in Texas.  It's great to live in a place where the
economy is booming and there are jobs available.  The crime rate is
pretty low for an urban community (but there are sore spots, as I
indicated above).  The scenery is downright spectacular.  And Salt
Lake City proper is a pretty cool place.  

But I don't believe that Utah is immune to the problems that beset 
other cities.  One thing that would help is for Utah opinion-makers 
to admit that not everyone who lives in this "pretty, great state" is 
a devout Mormon and/or a Republican.  Not everyone shares the same 
values as the dominant religion, and they shouldn't have to.  

I apologise to the cypherpunks mailing list for this rant, but not 
everyone in Utah agrees with the view expressed by Moroni above.


Deana M. Holmes
April 1996 poster child for clueless $cientology litigiousness
alt.religion.scientology archivist since 2/95
[email protected]