Devils and Mormonism

Letters from the week of March 27, 2003

Jumping Through Hoops

The Devil and Mr. Ruiz: What a story on the ASU basketball program and its excellent coach, Rob Evans ("Devils' Advocate," Paul Rubin, March 20). I am not a big fan of the team, but reading about the ups and downs of this year grabbed me and my son (who is going to ASU next year).

Also, the story about the coach was amazing and should be made into a TV movie.

One more point is that my son never reads anything longer than a menu, but he read the whole story on the season (and most of the story on the coach himself). You should be proud.

Bob Ruiz
Glendale

Devil worshiper: I'm not a big New Times reader, but your articles on ASU and Rob Evans suggest that maybe I should read more. Great stories – keep up the good work.

Michael Strasser
Via e-mail

Church Chat

Case in point: Your "Bound by Fear" article was fantastic (John Dougherty, March 13). It was both informative and chilling. Both my wife and I found ourselves reading and exclaiming "WOW!" throughout one of the finest pieces of journalism I have ever read – clear, factual and unbiased. The latter fact is likely not to be appreciated by the Mormon Church.

Which brings me to my second point. What is your take on the Elizabeth Smart case? As I hear the "facts" of the case and evaluate them under the shining light of truth found in your article, they come out as a series of contradictions and outright lies.

Arnold Hampel
Fountain Hills

They're the other polygamists: You know, I really appreciate most articles I read in your newspaper. It's nice to have another point of view in this Valley. I am glad to see you and others writing about polygamy in Arizona and Utah. I am glad you are exposing it and bringing to light what goes on in these closed communities. It's wrong. It's illegal.

However, I would really appreciate it if you would not refer to the people who practice it as "Fundamentalist Mormons" or "Fundamentalist LDS." That is completely wrong and misleading. Those people have been excommunicated from the LDS church and are not Mormons anymore. I know that some of the polygamist groups call themselves Mormon, but they are not.

Please don't confuse them with the Mormon Church. And please don't confuse others in this Valley that do not know much about the Mormon Church except for the "bad" or "weird" things they hear from people or news articles that do not know who the Mormons really are or what they believe. Believe it or not, most LDS folks are pretty nice.

Peggy Stockton
Phoenix

Stormin' Mormon: I take exception to two statements in your article ("Fornicating for God," John Dougherty, March 20). The FLDS Church is not a branch of the "Mormon" Church (respectfully known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), renegade or otherwise. The LDS Church has not practiced plural marriage since God commanded that the practice be stopped.

Also, the statement that obedience to men is stressed in Mormon culture is not only wrong, but laughable. Ask any husband in the LDS Church if he is "the boss," and both he and his wife will get a good laugh. Equal partnership in marriage is always stressed in the LDS Church. Any "unrighteous dominion" practiced by either partner is strongly discouraged. In fact, no member is "ordered" to do anything.

Steve McVey
Phoenix

Tithing ring: I had never even heard of Mormons until moving here from the East Coast in the late '80s. It wasn't until my sister became involved in (and was baptized into) the Church that I did my own research. She was not involved in the FLDS. However, years after separating from the church (and marrying a non-Mormon), they continue to seek her out and continually come to her house and send letters despite her and my brother-in-law kindly asking them to cease and desist. I cannot imagine how horrible and oppressive it must be for the women and girls in Colorado City. What I find to be the icing on the cake is that my tax dollars are going toward supporting this illegal and (many would say) immoral lifestyle. As I've heard some say, "Only in Arizona (or Utah, I guess)."

Name withheld by requestCult of personality: You are to be commended for writing such an in-depth but depressing story! This is terrible that our taxes support the perpetuation of such a "cult"! An easy solution would be to cut off their welfare benefits and, if they then cannot take care of the children, let them be adopted! Some will say this is so un-American, but what do you call the atrocities these people are doing and that we have to support?

Name withheld by request

Missionary position: Thank you for the unvarnished look at pure, unsanitized Mormonism. Modern Mormons cringe because the FLDS shows the true roots of Joseph Smith's mind. I am a former Mormon, having resigned my membership. Anecdotal evidence indicates an exodus that the Church would rather not discuss. If you are interested, I have posted research exposing the fraudulent origins of the Book of Mormon. It is at www.post-mormons.com/tories.htm.

Tom Donofrio
Mesa

Code Red

Building permit: Amy Silverman's recent article "Code Squawkers" (March 6) suggests that a new building code proposed for Phoenix, the NFPA 5000, is "more safety conscious" than the International Building Code, a competing new building code also being eyed by jurisdictions across the country.

Actually, both the NFPA 5000 and the IBC fall well short of the mark when it comes to providing adequate fire protection for building occupants, firefighters and rescue personnel.

Indeed, those who live or work in Phoenix will soon have reason to be concerned about the state of fire safety in buildings to be constructed here in the future. Why? Because NFPA 5000 has accepted the principle that sprinklers virtually never fail and, therefore, require a minimum of fire-resistant construction.

In response to the growing reliance on sprinklers for fire protection, the new NFPA 5000 also allows for taller and wider buildings, with more open, flexible space and fewer fire-resistant separation walls to slow the progression of a fire.

While many code officials view fire-resistant construction as a costly excess, firefighters and fire damage investigators see it as a potential lifesaver. They recognize that the more fireproofing and other fire-resistant construction that is designed into a structure, the less likely it is that a burning building will collapse and trap, injure or kill its occupants.

The need for adequate built-in protection becomes all the more critical when the sprinklers fail to function.

With so much at stake, fire safety cannot be an "either/or" proposition. Every building in Phoenix should have both sprinklers and fire-resistant construction for the safety of everyone who works or lives here.

Dr. W. Gene Corley
World Trade Center Building
Performance Study

Skokie, Illinois

Union do's (and don'ts): Your article was very interesting, especially the quoted reasons provided by Councilman Dave Siebert for supporting the NFPA building code. Mr. Siebert knows if your city does not agree with a code issue, PB pipe, that it amends the code to delete PB pipe. Since Arizona has the Uniform Plumbing Code as the State Plumbing Code, this is not an issue.

The issue started when IAPMO, the organization that publishes the UPC, was invited to join the three major building code organizations in the United States to develop a single set of building codes. This would benefit manufacturers, suppliers, architects, general contractors and building owners.

IAPMO discussed this issue for more than a year but decided that they would lose "union" control of the codes and declined to join the ICC in developing a single set of codes. Councilman Siebert is employed by PIPE and I believe that he has shown a perceived conflict of interest in his active position on this issue.

Larry Richards
Phoenix

Hoag's No Hero

Pro Tools time: So there it was, another story about some dick in the music business. I'm sorry – Bob Hoag may not be a dick, but from your story that's what I got ("Exploring Bob," Joy Hepp, March 20). He made fun of someone successful. You ragged on Pro Tools and he expressed betrayal for not being as good a producer as Walt Vincent.

What happened to the time when journalists actually researched a story? Do you even know what Pro Tools is? Pro Tools is simply a digital recorder, a medium like an analog tape machine. Your story said he records to a vintage Amek automated console. That doesn't exist; you don't record to consoles, they are simply I/Os, not recorders. Amek's not vintage; it's a piece of crap, actually.

I think Hoag's a very talented guy, for sure. I just wish you would have talked about how he works with the band and his vision for creating great songs.

Seriously, the writing in the article is half-assed and an embarrassment to everyone working hard to create great songs. You had the opportunity to show the great parts of Bob Hoag's production but instead you basically inserted a few personal phrases into recycled reviews that have been done to death. Please go the distance instead of wimping out with boring-ass articles.

Jeremy Parker
Van Nuys, California

Art Lesson

Culture shock: This is a response to the March 13 letter by Chip Wilson, "Out of Commission," regarding possible cutbacks in arts funding.

Wow! This coming from an individual living in the culturally diverse Chandler. I'm sure the only time this individual ever comes downtown is to spend $30 on a beer and a hot dog just to watch a ball game. Did you know that the people the arts bring to downtown Phoenix are those who wish to stay downtown and spend some time here? This is why the arts are important to the vitality of the city.

I can agree on the whole "pots on the wall" thing, but the next time you look at that $10 poster of Jeff Gordon on your wall, think about what the world would be like without your precious poster.

And as for the boring performances, when was the last time you even attended anything outside of your local movie theater? Odds are pretty good that you have yet to even experience what it is that the arts actually provide to the community.

Feel free to visit downtown Phoenix on any First Friday and experience what it feels like to be out from under your rock. Hope to see you soon.

Scott Sanders
Downtown Artist

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