Government Regulations are the Cause of Utah’s Housing Crisis

by Robert John Stevens, October 26, 2017

Government regulations are the problem. For example, to build in Utah County it is highly likely you must build, pave and dedicate a road.

For example, a 3/4-mile road with the required 12″ of road base will cost $350k to $400k.

Dead ends, cul-de-sacs, dirt and gravel roads are not permitted. Roads must have a separate entrance and exit. Your driveway cannot, even for 1 foot, pass thru a private, interior road.

Expect to pay at least $27k for the required 9 acre-feet of water because monopolies monopolize, $25k for an at-grade wastewater treatment system, $8k to hook up your power, tens of thousands to bring utilities to your property, $9,500 to dig a 145-foot well.

Brigham Young urged young men to build a 10×10 home, and plant flowers and shade trees to attract a young lady. Now you cannot build less than 1,200 sq ft.

It is highly unlikely that you can buy raw land in Utah County, develop it, and build for under $350k.

Utah County is 2,144 square miles in which 2,003 square miles is land and not water; 96% is outside of the incorporated towns.

19th-century pioneers would have been denied settlement in Utah County.

Plenty of land but insurmountable regulations.

By the year 2044, the median home price will be $1.3 million. See — see Why Utah’s Wasatch Front is on course to become the Bay Area.

See also A. Scott Anderson: Time to act on housing affordability.

Today’s Mormon Church May Not Have Sent Me on a Mission

by Robert John Stevens, October 22, 2017

On October 20, 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released Standard Interview Questions for Prospective Missionaries (see also my saved copy).

If these new questions were in place, I wouldn’t have been able to serve a mission because I had a serious speech disorder—I stuttered so badly that when going door-to-door on my mission, people regularly slammed their front door before I could say my name.

In my first area, I ordered an $800 delayed auditory speech machine like the one BYU had my use for speech therapy about the time they filmed me for future study.

And yet my companions and I baptized dozens of people. At least two of those young men later served missions—one later became a speech pathologist.

I’ve only met one person who stutters worse than I did and he builds stain glass windows for Mormon temples.

Moses also had a speech disorder.

According to Mormon history, Jesus recruited Sidney Rigdon to speak for Joseph Smith who until the late 1830s was not mighty in speaking.

In the New Testament, we learn Saul consented to the stoning and murder of Christians and yet Jesus choose him. Saul (later named Paul) wouldn’t have qualified either under these new guidelines.

People who committed sin can relate to and guide those with similar problems. Jesus was required to feel the pain of all sins to accomplish his job.

The faithful will defend these qualifications as being inspired. The unfaithful may see them as uninspired, hypocritical and detrimental.

Response from a friend:

Having a focused conversation about a speech disorder to ensure the prospective missionary feels confident in their ability to proselyte seems pretty reasonable to me.

Yes, that’s true and a very good perspective—All discussions are reasonable. A church, entity or any government institution that discourages or shuns free and open discussion will have difficulty establishing the foundational mindset necessary to receive new inspiration necessary for advancements.

I felt confident that I could proselyte but if my Bishop asked me if I could say my name, teach a discussion or give a talk without severe stuttering, I would have admitted that I wasn’t confident I could. So would I have been denied going on a mission under the new rules?

I’ve observed that most close-minded people, especially those who are determined to comply with man-made rules, would enforce adherence.

Interestingly, note the phraseology on this subject used by Jesus in D&C 98:7 — “pertaining to law of man” — as though it was clear to Him the source of most laws.

As previously mentioned, our son Wesley was repeatedly denied missionary service because of his severe psoriasis. He was asked to interview with a psychiatrist who concluded that he was also depressed. Of course, Wesley was depressed–repeated denial of missionary service by “inspired Bishops.” Plus, who wouldn’t be if they had Wesley’s condition? Finally, a Bishop let him serve a local summer temple mission. He did. During his mission, his psoriasis mostly disappeared. He’s content. Work got done, he’s now a returned missionary dating a nice girl, and his future is bright.

Given regulations, without the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, most men will strictly abide by them. I think Jesus was clear about telestial leaning in Mark 2 when his disciples were plucking corn on the Sabbath. We could propose an unauthorized rephrasing for His solution, “Missionary work was made for man, and not man for missionary work: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the missionary work.”

I am sure the Twelve Apostles know that raising the bar will also increase virtue—That’s positive.

But if they want to discuss speech impediments, then why not also discuss impediments for all senses, including poor-functioning limbs? Where will it end?

Will Bishops also disqualify Tiny Tim? Consider this quote from A Christmas Carol:

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”

Wesley’s mission was further evidence to me that a one-size-fits-all approach fits only the laws of man. Youth no matter what their sins may be, or having undesirable physical or mental conditions, with or without a testimony should know there is a mission available for them–whether it be proselyting, temple, physical service, mentoring, etc. If a mission can elevate the missionary one notch and help others then would there be greater youth retention and more determination for future blessings?

I still question why my mission was cut short to 18 months due to Church policy and then later raised back to two years. To me, that is plausible evidence of fallibility that I’d like discussed.

Reply from the same friend:

I’m not sure if the church would have sent you or not with these new questions…but everyone is talking about these new “rules”…when they are simply standardized questions that will be asked of every prospective missionary. Your interpretation is that the church is trying to “limit” who is going on missions. Perhaps this is from your experience with Wesley, which I’m sure has been difficult for you to observe. However, while the church must take seriously who it sends out to represent it, I can tell you that they are ultimately concerned about each young man. While it is true that a mission experience can help elevate some young men, for others, they go out either unworthily, unprepared, or unconfidently and then have to come home and face the embarrassment of coming home early. So these new questions simply ensure that bishops can have more focused conversations about issues that may ultimately cause a missionary to struggle in the mission field. To me, it makes total sense. I’m sure there will be bishops that don’t enact the intent perfectly, just like there were bishops who are way too lax or way too strict in the way they approach prospective missionaries before these questions were given.

Tiny Tim would not have been called as a missionary given that I don’t think he was LDS ;). However, assuming he had been converted, as his Bishop, I think it would make sense for me to have a conversation with him about his physical disability and whether he could adequately meet the physical demands of the full-time missionary service. If he couldn’t serve a full-time proselyting mission, the church provides all kinds of alternatives for full-time missionary service to those that need accommodations for various physical or mental challenges. So already, they do not apply a one-size-fits-all approach…and I think this helps them adapt even more by helping to identify individuals who want to serve but may need to serve in alternative capacities.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, for discussing this with me, and for increasing my understanding. You’re right–asking specific questions during pre-mission interviews makes sense or the questions may not be asked. I know of a recently returned mission president who had several missionaries confess to him on their mission that they hadn’t repented about something serious.

I also realize that when 15 spiritual men agree1, they create much better policies that the three Utah County Commissioners where 2 out of 3 votes wins and then their regulations become law and backed by force, fine, prison or forfeiture.

1 The living prophet, his two counselors and the twelve apostles

How to Establish a County Government

by Robert John Stevens, October 20, 2017

County governments in the United States, particularly Utah County where I live, can currently be defined by this equation:

State Code + Stricter Restrictions via County Code = “Dig a pit for thy neighbor1.”

I never understood that phrase. I thought Nephi, in whom it is attributed, was joking. It applies perfectly to government regulations.

I would like to see all county governments:

  1. Operate as testbeds for innovation and thus become showcase counties for their state as well as the nation
  2. Hold charrettes (a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions) regularly with stakeholders for new ideas to be tested, proved and bad ones discarded.
  3. Privatize all possible services
  4. Set up a department that focuses on liberty, inalienable rights and the Constitution so they are always considered for every decision
  5. Focus on tasks that even most developers cannot do such as building roads, bridges and sewer treatment systems
  6. Prepare for all large-scale contingencies such as cataclysmic events where the trucking imports stop, earthquakes, nuclear war, EMP, etc. Citizens need leadership to prepare for such things now and in advance, and not to just be reactionary after the fact.

1 Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 28:8

VidAngel: The Sequel to David and Goliath

by Robert John Stevens, October 19, 2017

All great men and women experience severe opposition when they fight for good and ring the bells in hell.

VidAngel’s theme is comparatively a 21st-century underdog sequel of David and Goliath. The fact that VidAngel is experiencing so much opposition from dark forces convinces me that my friend, CEO and Founder Neal Harmon was right all along—that VidAngel will do more good than bad by luring good people to straddle the fence by watching filtered content.

In this announcement of Chapter 11 Reorganization, Neal comes across as determined and full of resolve. To use slang, he’s bad-, bad-, bad to the bone.

Like Steve Jobs at Apple Computer, Neal started an underdog movement for good to triumph over evil. This month he is riding the wave of President Donald Trump’s war against the main-stream media, and Hollywood’s sexual abuse scandal which is furthering their own self-destruction.

I’d like future VidAngel-made movies to simply tell true stories that highlight the brave John and Jane Doe’s of history and ignite mankind with ideas and hope. To make movies like that, they’ll need to find and hire highly moral people who strive for self-mastery and are committed to standing for good.

See VidAngel Uses Chapter 11 Protection to Pause Los Angeles Lawsuit to Reorganize Its Business Around The New Streaming Model

How the Constitution Has Been Twisted to Undermine the Free Market | Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

An excellent, must-watch speech on the foundational principles of the U.S. Federal Government and Constitution and how things have been changed from their original intent: