The Doctrine and Covenants of Sedition

Starting in September 2020, I have noticed a large number of banners that have been anonymously posted on fences, overpasses and bridges across Salt Lake County. The banners all appear as black letters written on white banners, but always reference D&C 98:4-6 and 109:54. These signs began to appear when campaign signs were going up (I have seen them posted off I-15, 215, Bangerter Hwy and MVC). Fully one month after election day it is unfortunate that the persons or groups behind this “campaign” continue to post new banners.

Without variation, the banners say:
“MAY THOSE PRINCIPLES (RULES)… NAMELY THE CONSTITUTION… BE ESTABLISHED FOREVER” D&C 109:54, or “WHATSOEVER I COMMAND THEM, I THE LORD, JUSTIFY THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW” D&C 98:4-6

Given the times and the political environment here in Utah, both of these statements are willful misconstruances of the convenants. The quotes butcher meaning to suggest the US Constitution is God’s law; and there are a lot of people on the far right who see themselves as sworn protectors of the Constitution. This is also wholly a fabrication of meaning. Both of the banner statements take sacrilege against these covenants, and become the kind of heretical theocratic fascism that is poisoning the LDS faith and our political systems at a local level.

According to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/98
Doctrine and Covenants 98: 4–8 “the Saints are to befriend the constitutional law of the land

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/109
Doctrine and Covenants 109:54–58 “may nations and peoples and churches be prepared for the gospel

It is not patriotic to twist words or mislead people, nor is it right to skew religion for the purpose of sedition. The signs are clearly fomentary, and raise direct concerns about the intent of the group who continue to post their messages across Salt Lake county.

I have called Utah my home for more than 20 years and have raised my family here; however I am not a Mormon, and I am not religious. These signs concern me because they invade on the grace and good will of my Mormon friends and neighbors, and infringe on the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy. I am personally concerned that veiled messages like these are to be received by those who can “interpret” them. Our nation has a constitution written that guarantees freedom both for and from religion.  As citizens we must understand and faithfully pursue the laws of our nation. 

Updates

  • 11-Oct-20 question submitted to debate@utahdebatecommission.org: I have noticed religious signs excerpting LDS Doctrine and Covenants throughout the valley, and these signs are typically paired with Owens Burgess political signs. The placement suggests that the signs are being placed together by your campaign. Are these religious signs affiliated with your campaign, and as an atheist, what assurance do I have that you are able to perform a role that honors all constituents, and respects all of our First Amendment rights?
  • 17-Oct-20: https://twitter.com/wardimus/status/1317517247166869504
  • 12-Dec-20 submitted to letters@sltrib.com (unpublished). Published letters can be found at https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/
  • 15-Jan-21: https://twitter.com/wardimus/status/1350274498600210437/photo/1
  • 1-May-21 Just your typical major intersection signage. (reddit.com/r/SaltLakeCity)

MMM-Peach-Mint® Iced Tea

A suggested govern-mint concoction that combines bitter tears and sour lemons with the sweet, sweet satisfying taste of Mmm-Peach-Mint® Iced Tea. Share at your next partisan political soiree – namely the upcoming Senate trial.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 181-197 tears of partisan republicans
  • 2 right-wing tea bags
  • 1 can of white house swamp peaches, not drained
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar to help all that medicine go down
  • cold, cold ice

Directions
Using a wooden spoon, crush the mint just like you crushed their objections and stalling tactics into a glass pitcher. Add tears and tea bags; cover and let stand in the sun for at least 6 hours of debate.

Meanwhile, combine those swamp peaches, sour lemons and sugar in a blender. Keep it chill, yo.

Remove and discard mint from tea. Stir in peach mixture. Pour over the cold, cold ice your democratic peers just delivered.

Mmm-Peach-Mint tea should be savored. Take your time to relax and fully enjoy it when you knock that drink down.

Of course, if you’re sitting across the aisle and looking for a stronger drink, then consider my recipe for the salt-rimmed Ermahgerdarita®.

Responsible and Accounted Gun Ownership

Like most people, I have been thinking about the balance of rights and responsibilities when it comes to owning a firearm in the United States.  I don’t understand the resistance to what should be common sense around how accessible firearms have become in the United States.  Whether or not you agree on bans for certain types of firearms or components (like bump stocks, high capacity magazines and the like), we can separate that discussion and focus here on accessibility.

My first issue is that gun ownership comes with responsibilities.  This starts by acknowledging how you are capable of owning the gun; meaning that you are of sound mind, and can own and operate the gun legally. You also need to be able to reliably store, transport, carry, operate and maintain what you own.  If you buy a gun, you should anticipate how you will use it, and educate yourself so that you are both informed and aware of its general operation, and be mindful of the consequences of its accessibility and use. You need to learn its use both by instruction and practice, and can certify to it.

My second issue is that accountability matters greatly, and that being accountable for a weapon you own is absolutely a condition of gun ownership.  This means that you are accountable for its accessibility, for its transfer (whether a loan, sale or disposal) and any subsequent consequence of its placement whether under your direct control or not. This is all directly tied back to you, the gun owner.  This means that, as an owner, you maintain appropriate safeguards to ensure that the gun is not generally accessible, that you directly control its use or supervise handling by someone other than yourself. It also means that you report thefts or misplacement. It also means that you recognize liability in transferring ownership to another party.

The consequence of irresponsible gun ownership is within your accountability.  It’s my opinion that a breach of responsibility should have significant legal consequences that could include forfeiture, fines, and prosecution.  If the burden of responsible ownership is too great, then consider why you would be okay with contributing to serious harm or death of a person as a result of your lack of responsibility.

What the 2nd Amendment Says

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
shall not be infringed. – US Bill of Rights, Amendment II

Before we rant about our rights to keep and bear arms, let’s look at the first part of the statement above, specifically “A well regulated Militia being necessary…“.  The second amendment specifically states regulation as a term of the rights granted.  Essentially, if you want the right to something, you bear the cost of responsibility in exercising that right.

***

A Proposal for Responsible and Accounted Gun Ownership

I’m going to continue updating this list, but am publishing so that a conversation can at least be had.  There are reasonable conditions for any gun sold, and these conditions can also be legislated:

Fee-based application with mandatory 48-hour wait period

  • Transfer of ownership ONLY through a licensed firearms dealer, police agency or military (see below).
  • For a private sale, the firearm must be physically verified, and serial checked against national database
  • For a private sale, a government issued ID is required from buyer and from the seller
  • For sale by a licensed firearms dealer, a government issued ID is required from buyer
  • An application to purchase can be filled in online, however the person must present application in-person before the mandatory wait period begins
  • Application can be used to purchase multiple firearms, but all firearms for purchase must be listed on the application
  • A credit check is required to obtain address history
  • Local and Federal background check is required (based on current address/address history). Prior felonies, restraining orders within 2 years, history of physical violence, family altercations, affiliation with hate groups, no-fly registry, etc disqualify
  • HIPAA modification must allow access to mental health records (past 5 years reports of depression, suicidal thoughts, anger management, family counseling are flagged for review). – Courts, Insurance and Providers must report
  • Under age of 25 requires 2 referrals (individual only) who are not family. Exemptions for individuals who are under 25 but have a firearm issued for military service, or for employment in emergency (police, fire or medical) services. Limited or no exceptions.
  • No person can sponsor more than 2 referrals per year

Prior to sale: training required (16 hours) on nationally standardized syllabus with add’l state-specific content.  

I’m adamant this training should NOT come from the NRA. Materials should be vetted and approved by a non-partisan group with no political affiliations or advocacy tied to itself, its members or its governing board. 

  • Firearm components and features
  • Basic operation
  • Review of applicable State and Federal law
  • Review of Private Party restrictions (employee policies, storefront policies, privately owned establishments, etc)
  • Gun Safety (storage, handling, loading and unloading, mis-fires, cleaning)
  • Transportation and carry
  • Range etiquette
  • Minimum 2 hours/100 rounds in practice range

Prior to Sale: Competency-based certification on specific gun is required

  • completed after mandatory training, prior to purchase
  • multi-choice exam based on training syllabus
  • must pass vision test
  • skill based certification must use similar (same or higher) caliber and similar firearm group and similar firing mechanisms
  • skill based certification verifies disassembly, re-assembly, loading, gun safety, range etiquette, firing accuracy and overall ability to properly handle firearm

3-year fee-based renewal of certification required

  • automatic renewal with proof of range activity, certified training or active military service
  • otherwise renewal requires presentation of qualifying gun in addition to vision test and skill-based re-certification

Gun sale must include:

  • lockable case, or
  • lockout system for firearm (cable, trigger guard, etc), or
  • gun safe

Ammunition sale:

  • identification required; sale is tracked

Transfer of ownership ONLY through a licensed firearms dealer, police agency or military

  • Registration of all guns required (guns without serials will be stamped or etched with a unique serial number, or permanently modified/tagged)
  • National database
  • 3 year initial amnesty period for registration. After amnesty period, firearms without registration; or firearms in possession of any person without immediate direct supervision by registered owner or a licensed agent is a violation resulting in forfeiture, tickets and fines
  • buy-back programs must be offered within states and territories. In addition to buy-back, firearms can be offered for re-sale or auction through the buy-back program.

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