Friday, January 27, 2012

Utah's Dark Reality. (The Shadow Side of Mormonism)

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism

Joseph Smith had his first vision at age 14. Allegedly, celestial personages appeared to him: "My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right — and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt . . ." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 5-6).
"What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 270.)


The PBS documentary, "The Mormons," is "must" viewing, every bit as riveting as Fritz Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" or Stephen King's "Shawshank Redemption."  Now that Romney is the designated Republican candidate, "The Mormons" will be widely viewed at "house parties" on both sides of the aisle.


I discovered the following webpage while researching a claim made in the PBS documentary -- The Mormons" -- that Mormon women consume a startling quantity of anti-depressants.

Utah's Dark Reality

If life in Utah is so transforming, shouldn't that be reflected in the CDC statistics? 
(Note: Utah is 70% Mormon)(these stats recorded in 2004)

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the leading cause of death in America is heart disease, with suicide ranking eleventh. [1] Compare that with what the Utah Department of Health says.  They report the leading cause of death for males between the ages of 15-44 as suicide.  The Utah External Injury Data System says that from 1992 to 1999 there were 7,713 suicides alone. Eleven of those were between the ages of 0-9 years of age. [2] The rate of suicide in Utah for females between the ages of 15-44 is four times the national average.  With this being said, the CDC has been “unable to explain the regional variation of suicide”.  About 20 percent of successful suicides have occurred in the 13-21 year old age bracket.  The Utah Department of Health has declared it an “epidemic”.   For the past four decades now, Utah has ranked in the top ten for numbers of suicides in the nation.  [3] What is equally disturbing is that the other nine states are located in the intermountain west and Alaska. [4]
Just think about this for a moment, you’ve got more than a handful of little people who have witnessed such horrific events in their short lives and have learned this is the only way out…

Between 1996-8 the Office of Vital Records and Statistics reported that suicide accounts for 27 percent of deaths in intentional and unintentional deaths in Utah.   There were 3,399 deaths in this category.  That means there were more than 917 suicides in that two to three year time frame.

A news report on BYU NewsNet states Sterling C. Hilton, assistant professor in the statistics department, as saying “the natural tendency is to assume that since Utah has a predominantly Latter-day Saint population, (70% of the population is LDS), the church must contribute to the level of depression and suicides in Utah.”  Newsnet said that Hilton and others performed a study that said just the opposite is true of what the statistics show.   “No evidence suggests that church demands and pressures on its members account for the high suicide rate in Utah," Hilton said. [5]

This has to be one of the most insidious comments I have heard in a long time.  How could there possibly not be any connections?  I lived as a Mormon for 30 years.  The demands in Mormonism are so great that it is nothing short of arrogance to assume that there isn’t a connection.  The Mormon Church itself said in the book Eternal Man; ‘Suicide is just a change of scenery’.  [6]

Newsnet went on to say “the church activity level of the men studied was determined by whether or not they had the appropriate priesthood calling for their age. In other words, if a 16-year-old had been ordained to the office of a priest, he was considered active.  The study does not account for the higher suicide rate in Utah overall, a statistic that has baffled sociologists for decades.”  I truly believe that they need to bring in some objective mental health advisors to take a hard look at it and tell them the truth, or better yet, call me!

It probably has something to do with the quest for godhood and knowing you can’t go to heaven if you’re not perfect.  The following from Mormon Doctrine is just one example of what goes on in the mind of a typical Mormon:

“Christ is the example. "He received a fullness of truth, yea, even of all truth" (D. & C. 93:26), so John tells us. That is, the attribute of truth was perfected in him in the eternal sense and there was not anything which he did not know. If men become perfect, they must do so on the same basis, progressing until they gain all truth, all knowledge, and all the attributes of Deity in their perfection. (D. & C. 93:20-28.) Only those who keep all the commandments and for whom the family unit continues in eternity will merit perfection. (D. & C. 131:1-4; 132:16-32.) This kind of perfection comes not by the Levitical Priesthood (Heb. 7:11), nor can we without our worthy dead attain unto this high status. (Heb. 11:40.)”.  Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,  568.

Professor Hilton also emphasized the point that the “entire Intermountain West Region of seven or eight states has above-average suicide rates”, as if that justifies Utah.  They quote Hilton as saying that Utah was at the lower end of the scale in the region”.   That’s like telling one of my kids that I won’t punish them because their friend told the bigger lie!  Can you just imagine if God worked on that kind of a scale?  Where would you be in eternity?

Dan Judd, author of Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints found that suicide rates at BYU are lower than other college campuses, and contends that it's spurious to assume that depression or suicides are linked to the church.  He also mentioned that “Nevada pulls the region much higher, and I think possibly westerners have more access to weapons and firearms”.  [7]

Perhaps it has something to do with the high usage of anti-depressants Mr. Judd.  Eli-Lilly dispenses 62% more Prozac in Utah than any other state.  More Utahns take Prozac-style drugs than in any other state, according to a study conducted in June of 2001 by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management firm.  [8] The study indicated that Utah residents average 1.1 prescriptions per person per year of medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. The national average is 0.7.

"Oregon and Maine also had above average anti-depressant usage, but those states' percentage of overcast days and average length of winter could explain the increased number of depressed residents," said Jim Jorgenson, director of pharmacy services for the University of Utah.  No such weather explanations exist in Utah, which has a high percentage of sunny days and average winter duration, he said.

Jorgenson said Utah women, the group accounting for the largest percentage of anti-depressant use, ‘are under larger amounts of stress than their counterparts in other states because of large family size in Utah’.  He also said ‘some experts believe pressures on time and emotions could explain the high Prozac usage among Latter-day Saints’.  Judd offered an additional hypothesis after stressing that Utah's usage of anti-depressants does not indicate there is a higher lever of depression in the state.

"Utahns are more educated per capita than residents of other states," he said. "So instead of trying to ignore mental problems or medicate it on our own with alcohol or something else, we tend to seek professional help. We try to address our problems through legal legitimate ways." [9]  Many intelligent people get depressed.  Depression doesn’t mean you’re stupid and what a stigma to place upon someone who deals with this personally! 

In addition, why the discrepancy between deaths that lead to eternal destruction, i.e. suicide  and the ‘one and only true church’?  Shouldn’t the Church be the ones to show the importance of life if they’re really the ‘only true church’?  The so-called ‘experts’ that are taking a look at this have their heads in the sand on this one.  This is not the way of escape!  Suicide is certainly a change of scenery but it’s definitely not one that God would want for these people!

In an interview in the Deseret News, reporter James Thalman said; Air Force Lt. Col. David Litts, a medical doctor and special assistant on suicide to the surgeon general, suggests that Utahns [sic] need to evaluate whether the culture is pro-treatment or stigmatizing, a key factor in the suicide rate. He also suggests taking a look at the local "faith systems…is there a way for people who think they have failed to be forgiven and get that second chance? Faiths need to find a way to let people gracefully re-establish themselves after they've made a mistake.”  [10]  

So basically what this doctor has said is that they might want to take a look within the infrastructures of the Church.  And because he probably can’t say it out loud for political reasons, I will; you have a higher chance of committing suicide if you’re a Mormon than if you live elsewhere or believe in anything else.  It makes me fear for my family!  What are the chances that they’ll get out alive?  According to this report, they are slim.  Seventy seven hundred people is the size of a decent sized town in America!

And if this weren’t bad enough there’s even more bad news for Utah.  The Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice statistics released their annual reports on the national crime index for the nation. [11] Once again Utah didn’t score so well.

Each time I do my research and reports on the crime index of violent crimes, namely forcible rape, Salt Lake City always reports in with an abnormally higher percentage rate.  I ask the question again; why?

I compared Salt Lake City with four other metropolitan cities in the nation and their percentages of forcible rape.  They are:  Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City and Miami.  The rates are based on a population per 100,000. 

Los Angeles:  36.9
Miami:  25.3
New York:  20.9
Seattle 26.2
Salt Lake City:  58.4

No folks, 58.4% is not a misprint!  If living in the most ‘holy’ lands of Salt Lake Valley means being under mighty hand of God, then why are the statistics showing otherwise?


According to the Utah Domestic Violence Council,  “in 2001, the national homicide rate among female victims murdered by males in single victim/single perpetrator incidents in the United States was 1.4 per 100,000. Utah’s rate was 23% higher than the national rate. In 2001, Utah ranked 16th in the United States in the rate of female victims murdered by males in single victim/single perpetrator incidents. During that year, 18 of these homicides occurred. This is 1.7 homicides per 100,000 population.” In addition to this they also stated that “domestic violence is one of the fastest growing and most serious violent crimes in Utah today.”  [12] Normally taking 16th place wouldn’t be so bad, however this state supposedly has all the answers!  The prophets have said that when ‘they speak, the thinking has been done’, (Ensign, 6/42).

Mike Haddon, research director at the Utah Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice is quoted on BYU Newsnet in regards to the forcible rape issue:
"Is it a reporting issue or are there more victimizations here in Utah for some reason?" he said. "What is it about our culture that would make us more prone to be victims of this kind of crime, or are we more willing to report this kind of crime because of our culture? Those are answers that are really difficult to get at… Utah is lower than the national average in other violent crimes’. [13]

As I stated before, this does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out!  How can you possibly believe that what you are studying at home for your foundation of faith and life not lead to these kinds of statistics?  If you believe that a man’s only way to heaven is through becoming a god and the only way to godhood is having multiple wives then doesn’t that drive the urge for male dominance out of control?  When you’re told as a woman that it’s best to stay home with all of the kids, have a perfect home for your husband to come home to, be up to your elbows in flour when your kids get home from school, wouldn’t that drive you to be contemplating suicide?

‘That exaltation which the saints of all ages have so devoutly sought is godhood itself. Godhood is to have the character, possess the attributes, and enjoy the perfections which the Father has. It is to do what he does, have the powers resident in him, and live as he lives, having eternal increase.’  Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 321.

We are begging the people of Utah to rethink their beliefs.  By showing in a concise manner the statistics of rape, suicide and other problems within the boundaries of the ‘Zion Curtain’ hopefully it’ll wake up the people.   

2 – Utah Department of Health statistics.
3 – Utah Department of Health.  John A. Workman, B.A., William McMahon, M.D Douglas D. Gray, M.D., Jennifer S. Achilles, M.A.,
4 – CDC Data wonderbase
5 – BYU NewsNet
6 – Truman G. Madsen, Eternal Man, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966], 26.
7 – Troy Goodman, Salt Lake Tribune/Scripps Howard News Service
8 – ibid
9 – BYU NewsNet
10 – Deseret News, reported by James Thalman, April 16, 2002
11 – Bureau of Justice Statistics Data Online –
12 – Utah Domestic Violence Council 2004 Annual Report
13 – BYU Newsnet, as reported by Julie Cunningham, Oct. 29, 2002



"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Joseph Smith had his first vision at age 14. Allegedly, celestial personages appeared to him: "My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right — and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt . . ." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 5-6).
"What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 270.)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

G.K. Chesterton and Warren Buffett's Class War

"Warren Buffett On Taxes, Job Creation, The Coddled Money Class And Shared Sacrifice"


"The merely rich are not rich enough to rule the modern market. The things that change modern history, the big national and international loans, the big educational and philanthropic foundations, the purchase of numberless newspapers, the big prices paid for peerages, the big expenses often incurred in elections - these are getting too big for everybody except the misers; the men with the largest of earthly fortunes and the smallest of earthly aims. There are two other odd and rather important things to be said about them. The first is this: that with this aristocracy we do not have the chance of a lucky variety in types which belongs to larger and looser aristocracies. The moderately rich include all kinds of people even good people. Even priests are sometimes saints; and even soldiers are sometimes heroes. Some doctors have really grown wealthy by curing their patients and not by flattering them; some brewers have been known to sell beer. But among the Very Rich you will never find a really generous man, even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egoistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it." G. K. Chesterton - Born, 1874. Died 1936 


In the wake of Obama's State of the Union address, a Republican congressman (from Wyoming) commented: "I didn't hear anything new... I heard a lot of talk about fairness and pitting one American against another."

A curious combination of words: words that express the fundamental truth of class conflict while making it seem Obama has uttered a curse. (Probably in Arabic. Perhaps Watusi.)

The refusal of American plutocrats to pay adequate tax to insure sufficient working class purchasing power to propel prosperity -- guarantees that ‘the quest for fairness’ pits one American against another. 

Ironically, The Superfluously Wealthy -- despite their widely touted "enlightenment" and "beneficence" -- slit, not just the nation's throat, but their own.

Who are The Superflously Wealthy? 

And what have they done to snuff distributed prosperity? 

See "Inside Job," an Oscar-winning documentary freely streamable (with Spanish sub-titles) at 

Many conservatives who take time to view "Inside Job" will be startled by the sordid state of Cowboy Capitalism.

It's not Mom and Pop's corner store anymore.

Even within The 1%, Warren Buffett -- perched atop The Pyramid -- summarizes our economic quandary with disarming candor: “There is class warfare, all right... but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

I recommend Buffett's interview with Tom Brokaw: 


G.K. Chesterton's Works On The Web

Chesterton's Wikipedia Page


"The work of heaven alone is material; the making of a material world. 
The work of hell is entirely spiritual." 
G.K. Chesterton


"Viral Video Examines Gap Between The Super Rich And Everyone Else. (Great Graphics!)"


"99 Must-Reads On Income Inequality"


"Inequality For All"
Robert Reich

G.K. Chesterton - The Anarchy of the Rich 


"Inside Job" 
Oscar winning documentary on Wall Street malfeasance
Freely streamable online (with Spanish subtitles)


"This Is Why They Hate You And Want You To Die"


"Politics, Economics And The 101 Courses You Wish You Had" 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gingrich and Romney - George Will

The Tower of Babel

Dear A,

Since 9/11, the nation has been infected by the contagion of National Lunacy.

A salient feature of The Republican Party is its uncontrollable ideation -- a sure sign of losing one's mind. 

The GOP's "spin-out" is characterized by fickle fondness for one weirdo after another - a  volatile situation recalling a madman's "word salad," or, the sudden, incomprehensible confusion that overtook The Tower of Babel. 

The Party of Family Values - which brought America its first divorced president - is now zealous for the presidential candidacy of a twice-divorced philanderer. 

And the plausible allegation that Newt proposed "open marriage" to one of his wives has actually energized Newt's support! 

Say what?

Meanwhile, the GOP faithful -- who would hoist Obama's head on a pike if there were just one woman in his past (other than Michelle) -- represent Gingrich as "Saved!" and therefore "abundantly blessed by God!" 

In passing, I will note that the hypothetical "woman in Obama's past" need not even be a native-born Kenyan like himself. 

As the GOP sees it, she could have been born in any foreign country -- say The Bible Belt.

It surpasses irony that the only Republican candidates willing to express bedrock belief in the processes of scientific rationality were (are) Mormons. 

The rest of the GOP field is either nuts, or -- aware of the deliberately-induced madness of its membership -- stands aside to tacitly approve the mass psychosis.

Let us remember that - until very recently - Mormons were considered the weirdest "Americans" imaginable. 

MacArthur "genius" and Yale professor, Harold Bloom -- who has said many kind things about Mormonism -- also says its informing principles are no nearer to traditional Christianity than Islam is to Judaism.

Last night, reviewing a recent Fresh Air interview, I learned that Romney's great grandfather was a polygamist with four wives, and that Mitt's father, George - briefly a presidential candidate himself - was born in Mexico. 

Not Kenya of course, but a matter of historical fact...

I cannot overly recommend "The Mormons," a four-hour PBS Frontline documentary. It is freely streamable at 

The first two hours, which review Mormonism's foundation and ascendancy --- including the church-sponsored Moutain Meadows Massacre (of 120 men, women and children) --- are as riveting as Fritz Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."

If Romney is the GOP's chosen candidate, "The Mormons" will soon be the focal point of "house parties" on both sides of the aisle. 

In closing, I will mention that the Fresh Air interview referred above can be heard at 

Pax on both houses


George F. Will

George F. Will
Opinion Writer

Can Romney the turnaround artist do it again?

An Illinois lawyer who had a way with words once characterized a particular argument as weaker than soup made from the shadow of a pigeon that died of starvation. The argument for Mitt Romney benefiting from South Carolina’s voting is almost as weak as Lincoln’s soup, but here it is:
In the physics of politics, actions generate reactions. Granted, Newt Gingrich carried 43 of the state’s 46 counties, and at least six of the seven congressional districts, now leads in delegates, and his colorful personal life did not prevent him from decisively beating Romney among the women of a culturally conservative state. But Sunday morning, from coast to coast, Republican candidates for Congress, governorships and other offices awakened to a sobering thought: They could be running next autumn with Gingrich — whose current approval rating nationally in a Jan. 12-14 Fox News and Opinion Dynamics poll was 27 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable — atop the ticket. They have nothing to fear so much as an absence of fear about this. With Gingrich defining the GOP brand, the Republicans’ dream — unified government: a trifecta of holding the House, winning the Senate and the White House — might become three strikes and they are out.

Just 11 days after finishing fourth in New Hampshire, Gingrich’s pugnacity in two debates enraptured South Carolinians, especially when he waxed indignant about the supposition that the risk-taking in his personal life — e.g., having an affair during an indignation festival against Bill Clinton — is pertinent to his fitness for the presidency. Gingrich encourages Republican voters to believe he should be nominated because he would do best in the (at most) three debates with Barack Obama. So, because Gingrich might sparkle during 41 /2 hours of debates, he should be given four years of control of nuclear weapons? Odd.
When the Republican nomination contest commenced, two assumptions were that Romney’s strength would be his private-sector resume, and that his principal problems would be his religion and his authorship of Massachusetts’ health care mandate. The mandate, however, has receded as an issue since Romney noted that Gingrich was for a mandate before he was against it. And many “values voters” who consider Mormonism somehow suspect seem to regard it as not very important, no more important than Gingrich’s serial monogamy, and less important than Romney’s largest problem, which is, remarkably, his resume.
The first presidential candidate from the economy’s now deeply unpopular financial sector, Romney is suffering because this sector’s arcane practices and instruments seem to many people, as indecipherable things often do, sinister. His tax returnsperhaps testify to no more than sophisticated exploitation of the baroque tax code’s opportunities for — even encouragement of — tactics to minimize liabilities. This, however, may exacerbate the impression many Republicans seem to have of his slipperiness. And this attribute is related to the suspicion that there is something synthetic about him. This may be unfair, but so is life.
Life has been good to Romney, who now must quickly demonstrate authenticity, even if he needs to synthesize it. Actually, he does not need to. He speaks well, which is to say with infectious passion, about the dangers of the other party’s dependency agenda and the entitlement mentality it cultivates. But if Romney says even one more time “I believe in America” — a bromide worthy of Tom (“Your future is still ahead of you”) Dewey — voters may decide he is a human Oakland, that (as Gertrude Stein said of the city) there is no there there.
Some Romney aides have complacently expected enthusiasm for him to be a consequence rather than a cause of his victories. But there is too much space between his victories: The last ones before New Hampshire this month were 47 months ago, in some Feb. 5, 2008, primaries and caucuses.
Actually, losing in South Carolina could be a partial blessing if it banishes from his campaign and from Republican voters’ minds the dispiriting, eat-your-spinach idea that electability is the best reason for nominating him.
Gingrich thinks South Carolina has catapulted him toward irresistible victory. There remain, however, 53 more delegate-selection processes — in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and some possessions. Busy as an intellectual beaver having big ideas by the bushel, Gingrich has neglected some mundane matters, such as getting on the Virginia and Missouri ballots.
Should Prometheus have to sweat such tiresome details? Yes, because the nominating process in this complex continental nation usefully foreshadows the challenges of governing such a nation.