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:
Doctrine and Covenants 98: 4–8 “the Saints are to befriend the constitutional law of the land“
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.
- 11-Oct-20 question submitted to email@example.com: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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)