Mormonism, like most other religions, has long-employed the memorization of holy texts as a way of emphasizing principles for good living. Jews recite parts of the Torah; Muslims are grilled on the Quran; Catholics imprint the questions and answers of the catechism on their young. It's pretty much universal among the faiths and essential in the child's religious-imprinting process. Youthful Latter-day Saints are required to memorize and recite certain scriptures. Frankly, that's a great way to get kids to learn and appreciate the words of wisdom found in religious texts. Half a century later, there are many adults who still remember them verbatim.
What's sad is that memorization has absolutely nothing to do with the application of real-life principles.
Here's a Mormon favorite from John in the New Testament. Religious or not, one cannot question the truth and relevance of its message: "...and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." All of life's decisions require reliable information.
For all the times U.S. Sen. Mike Lee we imagine that recited that scripture while he was growing up, it has certainly made no lasting impression on him. Instead of seeking liberation through truth, Lee has faithfully demonstrated that he prefers cleverly spun Republican alternative truths and the nonstop lies of the most dishonest U.S. president ever elected.
Lee is very much a prisoner of the deceptions and misdeeds of the most corrupt administration in the history of our country. He has shown a rabid commitment to follow the president's lies and to condemn legitimate news sources—apparently believing that the misplaced loyalty is a prerequisite for holding his Senate seat and a possible shot at the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, his bootlicking is a good reason to dump him.
One of Lee's latest war dances is over the news coverage KSL.com provides to its readers. Instead of focusing on and accepting KSL.com's commitment to provide unbiased reporting, Lee is now complaining bitterly that KSL is not the impartial watchdog of society it's supposed to be.
Lee took heated exception when the LDS-owned media company reported the death of the president's younger brother, noting quite pointedly, that Robert Trump was, by all accounts—including the president's—the better-behaved and balanced of the two. The article, dated Aug. 15, 2020, came from KSL.com affiliate Associated Press, stated, "President Donald Trump's younger brother, Robert Trump, a businessman known for an even keel that seemed almost incompatible with the family name, died after being hospitalized in New York, the president said in a statement."
Lee was quick to jump on his high horse and gallop, hellbent, on his crusade. Within hours, he had posted a Tweet: "I find this appalling. The brother of the sitting president of the United States has just died, and KSL tweets this ..." It didn't matter to Lee that, while the words may have been a bit careless, KSL.com had simply picked up the article from its wire service—and AP had checked it out. Robert Trump was, indeed, the even-keeled peacemaker in the family, a quality far out of reach for the president. Unfortunately, Lee got hung up about the political correctness of the story—never mind that the information was correct.
Lee's no fool. He is acutely aware that Trump is the antithesis of good leadership, but he never stops complaining about those he believes are out to dethrone the Lyin' King.
Only four days after the passing of Robert Trump, Lee, once again, came unglued at what he considered a mischaracterization of Trump's praise of QAnon. A KSL.com article (again sourced from the AP) asserted that Trump "praised the supporters of QAnon" and that he "suggested he appreciates their support of his candidacy."
Well, that was absolutely true. Trump had, indeed, glowingly noted how QAnon "really likes me," and that he appreciated the (totally debunked) conspiracy group's support. Once again, Lee's pickiness concerned word-choice minutia—not the substance of the report. He posted his disdain on Facebook, asserting that the Latter-day Saints should sell-off KSL.com—accusing it of being anti-conservative, anti-Republican and anti-Trump. He only forgot one thing: Truth doesn't line up very well with any of those. In reality, Trump's pathological lying—and his penchant for persecuting those who tell the truth—has given KSL.com and the AP all the truth they need.
Mike Lee possesses an education that promotes an honest, fair and balanced view of the facts—that's what law school is supposed to accomplish. One has to really go to extremes to avoid the contradictions and lies of Trump, but Lee has become an agile contortionist in dealing with POTUS's duplicity and outright fabrications.
It's far too obvious; Lee avoids the standard of truth that he learned as a kid, and all the rules of jurisprudence he was taught in law school. He's simply been sucked into the growing cesspool of a White House that promotes blind Trump-style nationalism, replicating the president's moral-DNA in an army of swamp-creature clones who love the lie.
It's likely that Lee, like most of us, started out with an idealistic commitment to those things that are good, honest and right. Sadly, he has allowed politics to dim his principles. Today, he is simply one of King Trump's courtiers. Instead of fighting against the hard, uncomfortable facts, maybe it's time forMike Lee to embrace the truth and, just like that scripture he memorized as a kid, set himself—and his constituents—free.
The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.