Soap Box: Aug. 10-16 | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Soap Box: Aug. 10-16

On Utah beer, Navy SEALs, religion and more.

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Cover story, Aug. 10, The Beer Issue
City Weekly keeps talking about New England IPA as a style of beer which I can only translate as "bad, flavorless IPA."
@mattrich
Via Twitter

Some of our #fakebeers made it in City Weekly's Beer Issue along with some regional SLC selections. #justcannedwater
@SDCityBeat
Via Twitter

News, Aug. 10, "Wild Things"
Deer and Foxes are OK, but we don't need no stinking badgers.
Steve Decaria
Via Facebook

One of my favorite hangouts.
Carol Hansen
Via Facebook

The Straight Dope, Aug. 10, "Are the Navy SEALs really so special?"
Yes, they are special.
There is one error in the story. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) are not organized in regiments. They are organized in groups like the 19th Special Forces Group, Airborne, headquartered in Utah.
Jade JD LeBlanc
Via Facebook

Wrong terminology. Navy SEALs are not Special Forces. In the U.S., the only SF are in the Army. Semantics? Not to those in thick of it.
@BlackFlakSLC
Via Twitter

Blog, Aug. 15, "A Tale of Two Rallies"
You're either a racist or you're not. Saying "down with racism" is like saying "down with serial killers."
Matt Morris
Via Facebook

Here is a reason why we desperately need Spencer J. Cox as our next governor—a man who can and will lead with respect for all.
Danny Van Wagoner
Via Facebook

Thank you, Danny.
Spencer J. Cox
Via Facebook

Spencer J. Cox is a man of honor and integrity. A courageous politician [is] rare. Please run for POTUS!
Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh
Via Twitter

Opinion on opinion
Perhaps if religion and politics were "one and the same," as Mr. LeBlanc suggests [Soap Box, Aug. 17], in all 50 states there would be a 50-way tie for "Best Managed State."
J.S. Felt,
Riverton

Of statues and men
"Church members who promote or pursue a 'white culture' or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the church." That was the core of a Mormon church press release, provided in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. I applaud that statement. It was appropriate and timely, but it also puts in question how Mormonism should be dealing with its own racist history.

The Mormon church, since its beginnings, has "received revelations" that closely coincide with the prevailing social attitudes of our nation. Back in the 1800s, blacks were generally marginalized, and treated collectively as second-class citizens. Mormonism chose, during that era, to deprive black males of its priesthood. Since Mormon Prophet Brigham Young had said so, it was received by Mormons as God's word. That policy endured through almost 150 years of church history.

During that period, members were taught that the blacks had been cursed for either overt disobedience to God's laws or their failure to valiantly support the forces of good in the pre-existent life. There was nothing ambiguous about it; it was taught over the pulpits and thoroughly explained, in various official accepted doctrinal publications. The original Book of Mormon even claimed that blacks who lived God's word would become a "white and delightsome people." Mormonism wasn't alone in its perception that blacks were inferior to whites; all major Christian religions accepted that blacks were simply recipients of the "Curse of Cain."

But, in the latter part of the 1970s, a new bandwagon came along, and the prevailing social attitudes toward the blacks in our society inspired the rewriting of Mormon doctrine. Pressured by negative articles in a number of national publications, President Spencer Kimball changed the black policy of the church in 1978.

Statements followed that the black doctrine had never even existed. If Mormon prophets spoke for God, whatever Brigham Young and Spencer Kimball enacted was divinely mandated. Blacks may look on President Kimball with reverence and, conversely, Brigham Young with the greatest disdain.

If Robert E. Lee's statue needed to be removed because it was offensive to blacks, Brigham Young's should be entitled to the same fate. His preaching was flagrantly racial, and his portraits, statues and writings are offensive to the history of blacks in America. If the U.S. is finding it essential to toss out its racial history, maybe it's time to toss out the reminders of Mormonism's embarrassing past.
Michael S. Robinson Sr.,
Riverton

Banding together
What is the solution to dead communities? Democracy in action. Here are some ideas: community gardens and farmers markets; nonprofit banking; free universities (exchange knowledge and skills); sustainable projects; neighborhood watch programs; court watch; winter clothing giveaways; men's sheds (where older men serve like ancient "elders" to dispense advice and escape loneliness); wellness programs for schools, churches and businesses; government oversight research projects; free used products exchange services; outdated food collection and utilization; "time-banking" where experts give time and mentor others; nonprofit and free education projects; local currencies; ethnic fairs and feeding; worker-owned companies; town halls/debates/issue discussions; petition drives; creation of new political parties and newspapers; ecumenical and secular humanist societies; literary societies and book clubs; unplugged projects exploring face-to-face activity; solidarity/unity movements; get involved at church. You name it, you create it.
Robert Kimball Shinkoskey,
Woods Cross

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