A history disclosed lacks hypocrisy. Or one can hope.
Today is my 42nd birthday, a blue moon and was set to be the launch of a fantastic website. And yet, as I’m writing this paragraph at 12:30 AM, the technical issues I’ve faced have left me doubting if my 10 + years history in social media content creation, digital marketing and blogging will give me any leg up at all in the business administration and marketing management degree I’m currently working on. The truth of the matter is that I know what I’m doing when it comes to using my voice. Especially when it comes to being the dissenting voice. It’s what I’ve done my entire life: first as a child speaking out about generational abuse, then as a trauma advocate going head to head with a world wide religion. I’m not afraid of taboos because telling the story behind the taboos is what allows us to make informed decisions – and that’s what this website, and podcast are all about: Encouraging you to listen to your own voice, while we tell the stories behind the taboos, so you can make the best decision…for you. And so, allow me to begin.
It wouldn’t be fair, transparent, or beneficial to the purpose of this blog for me to write about this subject without first confessing the fact that my family has benefited greatly from the Machiavellian control with which the State, and LDS Church have on the alcohol flow in Utah. After all, I was born into the Mormon (LDS) Church, and lived as a member for the first 34 years of my life. I have four children who have grown up in the school systems in Utah, and it’s there where we find the power of the great manipulation: with the families.
The illusion within the church is that controlling the alcohol benefits the greater good. Control the flow of alcohol – keep it out of the view of our children, benefit from the tax dollars it produces, and punish the sinners, and in this way, God’s Will is Done. Members of the church are taught to believe that they’re sent to save humanity. Literally. As in, humanity! From the DAWN of time to the END of time. So it would make sense that members of the Utah State Legislature, 90% of whom are LDS, feel it’s their duty to do everything in their power to control and limit the flow of alcohol within the state. It doesn’t matter that doing so severely impacts Utah business owners or that these laws make running their breweries, distilleries, wineries, bars, restaurants and clubs difficult, stressful and honestly, frightening.
“If you want to live in heaven with your family when you die…..you absolutely MUST do these things….but it’s only a gentle suggestion.“God’s Mormon Prophet in 1833
First though, let’s go a little further back, to 1833, when Joseph Smith Jr. the current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or what is commonly known as the Mormon, or LDS Church, issued a decree known as The Word of Wisdom. After being pressured by his wife to have the men in the church clean up their act (she was tired of cleaning up tobacco spit from their floor), he received what he claims to be “revelation from God”, which is still a major part of the church today. KIND OF. (I’ll explain more in a minute.)
In this decree, members of the church are first encouraged that this is going to be easy for even the weakest among them”, then they were warned that what they are about to hear is being suggested because of the evil people in the world who are out to get them.
First, tell them it’s just a suggestion, no big deal. Next, take a shot at their manhood: are you too weak? (He was speaking to a group of men.) And finally, scare them into submission, first by painting those outside of their group as evil, then, by instituting the heaviest punishment possible: the loss of your family in the afterlife.
After members of the church had been practicing the Word of Wisdom for a couple of decades the weight of this suggestion became heavier as members of the church were then required to adhere to the Word of Wisdom in order to enter the Temple: the critical achievement for exaltation after death. The evolution and implementation was gradual and generally focused on abstinence from alcohol, coffee, tea and products containing tobacco. Other aspects of the text have been largely ignored (abstain from meat other than in times of winter or famine, grains are specified for specific animals, etc.) and not considered cause for punishment however there was always some level of gravity for failure to adhere to what is posed as a mere suggestion for the other select items leaders chose to enforce. For an outline of the evolution see this site, for the document itself, see this site.
If 90% of the State Legislature is LDS, isn’t that a fair representation of the population itself? No.Studies actually indicate that the majority of citizens in Utah are Non-Mormon or inactive Mormons, as such, why are we being forced to live with such strict Alcohol laws?
Recent numbers from the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and the University of Utah’s Gardner Policy Institute indicate that Mormons are now the minority in the county, in fact, this is the case in several counties in Utah. When taking into account the numbers of inactive members of the church, the numbers of active members are far lower.
And yet, we are living in a state that has an alcohol enforcement team that disguises themselves as everyday people. They spy on servers, bartenders and anyone else that has anything to do with alcohol, ready and waiting to slam the iron fist down upon that establishment, stripping them of their liquor license. As liquor licenses are a hot commodity in Utah, the power that the DABC holds, is not to be taken lightly. As such, there is fear in the air, everywhere. In fact, as I’ve approached distillery, brewery and restaurant owners to discuss interviewing for my upcoming podcast, the fear was real enough to tell me that getting them on the show would be a difficult endeavor.
Utah only allows 1 bar for every 10,200 people. With bar licenses such a hot commodity, it’s no wonder I heard hesitation and fear in Owner’s voices when asked to participate on a podcast.- No one wants to anger the iron fist of the DABC.Search “Utah Bar license for more info on the shortage”
Ultimately we have a war going on in Utah. Cemented by laws that were created by Mormon/LDS Men and enforced by the Utah DABC, which is still heavily influenced by the LDS Church, the LDS Culture is fighting to maintain a hold on its history while the uprising counter culture is fighting for a foothold, begging for scraps, and wondering why the hell it’s so difficult to run a business in this state when the business has anything to do with alcohol.
We hear representatives calling beer a “dangerous substance” and publicly promoting their religion as the reason for the state liquor laws, while others downplay it. And yet, within the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ there is the principle of “agency” wherein “every person is free to choose for themselves”. Why then are so many members of the church determined to dictate the alcohol consumption for others?
The motivation comes down to fear, as described above, and greed. The State of Utah profited 500 Million dollars this past year from alcohol sales, and yet restaurants, breweries wineries and distilleries are struggling to stay afloat. (When you follow the link above please note that the photo is misleading in the article. The Utah products shown in the article do not account for most of that 500 million. That said, you should definitely go buy them.) This indicates a massive problem. If the lawmakers aren’t willing to look out for the alcohol consumers and small business owners of the beautiful state of Utah, then we will force them to. There are ways to drink responsibly and simply hiding alcohol from teens isn’t going to prevent them from consuming, believing otherwise is naïve. As a mother of four teenagers I can tell you that our children know what’s out there and they know how to get their hands on it. They also see the imbalance of power in the state and they are revolting against it and leaving the church because of it. They demand equity and humanity in the world and when they don’t see it, they want to know why.
Critical thinking needs to play a role when policy is enacted, and the full spectrum of our diverse and beautiful population needs to be allowed fair and equal representation. The fact that this needs to be a discussion at all is a cause for ethical concern.
As it stands, the alcohol policies in the state are a result of ancient LDS groupthink traditions that have yet to be rooted out from the laws of the land. It’s time for this to change.
Coming in January of 2021, Two Faced with Nikki Jensen : The Culture Wars Roundtable, where we will discuss the issues on all sides of the battle and work towards a more equitable future. I don’t have all of the answers, so I’ll be serving as a moderator as we explore together.
In the meantime, we’ll be exploring how to break free from that groupthink mentality and embark upon a path wherein you are making decisions because it’s what you want. I’m not here to tell you what to do. You already have your own voice. Use it.