What is the point of this Blog?

It's kinda hard to explain. Hence, a self-indulgent need to keep rambling. I am a "passionate moderate" as explained below and a faithful Latter-day Saint, which is almost impossible to explain. So here are my attempts. I am also interested with connecting to faithful LDS thinkers and blogs reflecting a moderate to progressive viewpoint. Heaven knows we have enough conservatives in the church. I'd like to see it balanced out a little. Below are my introductory blogs trying to explain myself with all the necessary caveats:


Don't let the name scare you!

I hope this new title for my blog [formerly just "passionate moderate"] isn't a turn-off, especially for my non-Mormon friends. Of course, a lot of my Mormon friends and family left me at "moderate."

Anyway, let me explain. First, it's unique (at least according to my Google search). There are a few other "passionate moderate" blogs out there and I wanted to be different. As an aside, I thought of "passionate moderate" on my own. I've been using the term for many years. And I think my college roommate (you know who you are) will vouch for me. So I didn't steal it from anybody.

Second, it's pretty clear to me, and probably to any reader out there (assuming any at all), that my blog focuses on both Politics and Mormonism and sometimes mixes the two. I should repeat my caveats that my political views are certainly influenced by my government employment but they are entirely my own and should never be considered official positions of the US Department of Interior. And that's also why I only blog at night and without the use of any government equipment or confidential information. The other caveat is that my religious views are also entirely my own and should not be interpreted as the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), except when I link to the church's own website and only for what's at the website not what I say about it.(Can ya tell I'm a lawyer?)

Moving on, my meaning for "passionate moderate" should be evident from my postings here. Check particularly my page on Culture War Armistice. But there's a lot more you can glean from all the meandering postings because it's hard to explain.

Let me make this attempt. Moderation is a good thing but it tends towards apathy or lethargy. To be truly moderate, especially against the mighty forces of Conservatism and Liberalism to the right and left and all around, it takes a lot of work requiring passion to maintain it. So, by avoiding apathy and lethargy I won't be "lukewarm" and get spit out of the Lord's mouth. And speaking of the Lord, my devotion is strong if incomplete, "help Thou my unbelief!" I will keep working for that full measure which will not be until I endure to my final breath. And I am committed to the Lord and what I believe to be his church with respect for all of different belief systems or even none at all. I think faith is a lot like love in marriage - commitment is more important than the emotion. If the commitment is there the emotional will follow. Faith for me is an exercise of choice, agency, or free will. (Read my page on "Mormon Existentialism")

So that's it is in a nutshell. Love it or hate it or find yourself in the middle, hopefully passionately, but lukewarm is OK by me too. Charity always!



Facebook just isn't enough.  I'll try it here where people that are really interested (if there are any at all) can follow, engage, or maybe even be entertained by my thoughts on politics, religion, and general living.

Firstly, caveats need to be given.  As I am employed by the federal government, my thoughts are clearly my own and have nothing to do with my official position which will likely be revealed as we go along.  As my [family] points out, my employment certainly has its impact on my political and economic views - that goes without saying.  But because some of this may touch on politics, I am required to follow the Hatch Act which protects me in my First Amendment expressions as long as it is clear that that neither the U.S. Government nor my Agency or local office has in any way endorsed my personal speech. I will not use any confidential government information. I am also restricted in the use of government equipment or official work time to express personal views. I will honor that requirement with the commitment that I will never blog during my regularly scheduled work hours of 7:45 am - 4:45 pm Mountain Time, Monday through Friday. That will be true for days I am on leave as well just so there will not be any confusion on anyone's part. So, no matter how tempting it may be, I will not engage during those regular business hours.  (I might just sneak a peak to look but not to blog on a lunch break [or coffee Diet Coke break] to see if anybody ever comments.)

Secondly, why blog? As I started out, I feel a need for expression beyond the limitations of Facebook and the patience of my numerous friends thereon. I have a lot in me anxious to get out. I have had a few guest op-ed pieces published in the Salt Lake Tribune (I'll try to link below). I find myself in such a unique and often contradictory situation as a middle-of-the-road registered Democrat living in a red state that is very conservative. I mean, there's the whole passionate moderate thing to begin with. I am active LDS or Mormon and have been all  my life, even serving as bishop, yet I was not born in Utah, did not grow up here, and can't really figure out why I keep ending up here. And I find the dominant Utah culture rather strange at times.  Maybe I'm on a mission to Zion? A good part of my extended family is much more conservative than I am to the point that it has caused some familial tensions.  But I still love them and they love me (I think).

For instance, I love the Constitution of the United States of America.  I use it in my daily work. (OK, I guess it's time to admit I'm an attorney.) But the Constitution I read and use seems to be a little different than the sometimes strange Constitutional interpretations I often find around me. Well, more of that later.

So, for now, sit back, enjoy, engage or ignore as you wish. I will attempt to be positive, passionate and moderate as I trust in Faith, Hope, and Charity. And I will attempt to practice Charity in my communications, which after all, is the greatest of these.

(I will also edit offensive language or comments - remember Charity always! - if I can figure out how to work this blog thing.)

Previously published op-eds in the Salt Lake Tribune:
The most recent was from last Spring 2010 on Joseph Smith and States Rights Doctrine.  An older one from Spring 2007 is Temperate Pacifism which is unfortunately behind the Trib's Archive wall requiring payment. Here is my draft as submitted to the Trib (so I don't interfere with their copyright - they did do some modest, helpful editing.)

For an explanation of my cool logo of the boy's head with the snake around the neck see this. And special thanks to my good buddy Von Fugal for giving me the HTML codes and process to get it in as an icon with our url!