A Chastened Chaffetz Should Learn from Mo Udall

Jason Chaffetz was recently tasked by angry constituents to "do [his] job." He should look to fellow Mormon and former congressman Mo Udall for some ideas.  At a speech before the Brookings Institution on January 11, 2017, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., stated that Donald Trump’s plan to avoid conflicts of interest was “meaningless.” This assessment is borne out by the facts – Trump’s business assets have not been placed in a blind trust, his sons will o … [Read more...]

Your Optimism Isn’t a Virtue

Growing up in an abusive home taught me a harsh lesson about optimism: too often, optimism is a weapon in the hands of people who are simply unwilling to help. Too often the apathetic bystander uses optimism as an excuse to walk away, guilt free. It wouldn't surprise me if the Priest and Levite who walked past the wounded man in a ditch told themselves to hope for the best, that surely someone would come along and help him, or he'd rest awhile and find the strength to crawl to safety. Surely, he … [Read more...]

The Fundamental Optimism of Apocalypse

Today, we have a guest post from my friend Cameron Neilsen. Please note that this was written before November 8.Apocalypticism is back. While the Bible-thumping, seven-seals-interpreting strain has kept a low profile compared to the 1970’s and 80’s, it has joined with secular concerns over environmental threats and economic instability to produce an entire subculture of “preppers,” ZeroHedge readers, and r/collapse Redditors. Pundits are all too apt to dismiss these groups as paranoid, supers … [Read more...]

The Trump Supporter Next Door

If you've been following the Peculiar People column over the past few months, you've probably noticed two things: the posts have been sparse, and nearly all of them have been anti-Trump. The emphasis on Trump wasn't a coordinated effort on anyone's part - personally, I've held back from writing more about him so that it wouldn't seem like we'd plunged into political propaganda. But I'm acknowledging that trend because it probably won't surprise you that I'm among the many Americans still reeling … [Read more...]

The Case for Hillary Clinton and a Mormon Stance on Abortion

It's no secret that Mormons don't like Donald Trump. So I was surprised a few weeks ago when, among my conservative Mormon friends, one of the most common public reactions to the third debate was a doubling down on far-right anti-abortion stances. In response to Clinton's insistence that a ban on late-term abortion needed to include exceptions for the life and health of the mother, friends shared articles claiming that no abortion is ever necessary to save a pregnant woman's life and gave … [Read more...]

Why I’m Fasting for Hillary Clinton

On the first Sunday of every month, Mormons all over the world abstain from food and drink for 24 hours. This period of self-denial is designed to help us draw closer to God and seek answers to our prayers. In addition, we donate the money that we would have spent on the skipped meals to the Church’s program for assisting the poor and needy.I’ve fasted for various things over the course of my life. As a high school senior, I fasted before giving a speech at my graduation, praying that I wou … [Read more...]

Not a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship: My Big Fat Mormon Family

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously suggested moving to New Zealand to avoid Donald Trump. Alas, here I am in Auckland, New Zealand, but there is no refuge here from U.S. politics. Election news is on the BBC. It’s in the headlines. My students at the university get together to watch the debates and quote the best bits in tutorial.These discussions about political bodies and how they are constituted and governed have coincided with the semi-annual General Conference of t … [Read more...]

Trump’s Threat to Mormons

Donald Trump poses a unique threat to the interests, freedom, and safety of the Mormon people. Yesterday, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Donald Trump spoke to a group of evangelical pastors at a conference in Orlando. While there, the Cheeto-dusted Bloviator sought to capitalize on some evangelicals’ antipathy towards members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by noting that Utah “is a different place” and pointedly referencing the fact that no one from Utah was present in the audie … [Read more...]