Letters, March 24, 2016 | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Letters, March 24, 2016

Religious Objectsions, Story-telling and Inception Tactics, Skewing Reality



Religious Objections
The Utah bill to stiffen the penalties for those found guilty of hate crimes failed when Mormon legislators reversed their votes for the bill because their church leaders told them to do so.

I could understand the legislators' fear if Utah was Italy and the legislators were being directed by the Pope some hundreds of years ago. To go against the Pope would result in death or imprisonment.

Does President Thomas Monson have papal powers in 2016? What would happen to these legislator if they had been courageous enough to vote their consciences? Would these men have been excommunicated? Are these men's reservations in the Celestial Kingdom at risk? Or would they have lost preferred parking spaces at Temple Square?

What kind of religion is against hate-crimes legislation? What kind of religion forces its members to go against their own consciences? How can this religion have Jesus Christ as part of its official name?
Ted Ottinger

Story-telling and Inception Tactics
Human beings are fascinated by stories. Science and research support that fact. To their full advantage, presidential candidates use that fascination—and the American people likely don't know how much they are being seduced into choosing for whom to cast their vote, such as Ted Cruz saying, "My father came to America with $100 in his underwear" and Bernie Sanders' story about growing up in a three-and-one-half room apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn, while his Polish high-school-dropout father sold paint and the family lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Stories like these allow many Americans to relate to the candidate.

An exception is Donald Trump who doesn't focus on his own story because nobody can relate to it. Rather, he tells other people's stories and relies on the anger of Americans who are fed up and disappointed in the political system. Stories bring out emotions in the listener/reader and humanize the teller.

Is it possible for Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Ted and John to plant ideas into someone's brain—such as what happens in the movie Inception? Yes, according to articles in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Words transport information across our brains—independent of the actual situation, such as retelling a story about past events that can create similar brain patterns in the listener—and invoke real sympathy.
Kenny Atcheson
Author of Marketing Battleground
Henderson, Nev.

Skewing Reality
Let's get beyond this "heroic patriot v. the socialist Luddite" narrative. The most powerful tool in the dissenter's repertoire is doubt. Once sown, it can be difficult to dismiss. But, as powerful as it may be, it is as equally inauthentic, and it highlights either a lack of imagination or an inability (or at least an unwillingness) to go toe-to-toe in the arena of logical reasoning.

It's safe to say that a legitimate fear of an American communist state is behind us. The ideology of centralized socialism has been weighed, measured and found wanting. So, come to the table with something defensible, or stay home.

What's even more dangerous than the deliberate misrepresentation of facts is a skewed perspective of reality. Phil Lyman may not have driven his ATV all the way down Recapture Canyon, and Ken Ivory may not have borne arms inside that Oregon wildlife refuge, but their spirits were alive and well in the hearts and minds of their ideological constituents.
Josh Boling