Comments about ‘Canyons school board may mull Summum seminary offer in closed session’

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S.L.-based Summum asks for info about potential purchase

Published: Saturday, Aug. 13 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

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Sandy, UT

Fortunately, in America, we are free to govern in ways that make sense and benefit the community "at-large". Clearly, in order to serve the majority of their students, the new Draper High School will need a seminary close by. Hopefully, other religions will also take interest in investing their money and resources into education and hold classes for their youth. There are even seminary buildings that allow a different faith to use a room.

In other states, the LDS church holds seminary on campus before school. That is another wonderful option open to all religions in those states - to operate like a before-school "club" and hold religion classes. Unfortunately, in Utah, there are sensitive feelings about this so it doesn't happen often. But it would benefit all our churches and our students to be able to take a religion class before school - even if it were just 2-3 days per week, and it would be nice if it weren't limited just to the LDS classes held at the seminary building. All churches can't afford to build a building for that purpose, but the kids would benefit from the classes.

Saratoga, UT

Seems simple - existing interest by parents to have their students attend release time religious instruction. Which has more?, they get to purchase the land. Sorry Summum, not a lot of interest in this community. Have a nice day.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Su Menu, the president of Summum, wrote,"

If I remember my rudimentary Spanish, "Su Menu" would roughly translate to "your food offering."

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

"We want to share the Summum philosophy with young people," Menu wrote Monday

There's nothing wrong with that, but

LDS seminaries are built mainly to instruct those who are already LDS

It sounds like Summum wants the land to proselytize, something the school district should NOT be involved in.

Barnard wants to put barriers between LDS youth and LDS seminaries like at East High, where they have to cross 13th east.

According to another article in today's printed DN, there are 272 released time programs in Utah alone. Put all those seminary buildings across the street from the schools, especially the junior highs where most of the 9th graders attend, and you significantly increase the chance of an auto-pedestrian accident, especially in the winter when roads are more hazardous.

But that's a small price to pay in Barnard's eyes to tweak the nose of dominant religion.

No, I think the real reason Summum wants the land is so that the LDS cannot have it.

Riverton, UT

This seems like a no brainer ... if the majority of the community belong to the Summum Faith, then sell it to them. If the majority belong to the LDS Faith, then sell it to them. I think the community should decide. Just a thought.

Somewhere in Time, UT

This is a joke, right? They're not seriously going to consider selling property to a group who nobody wants to go to and deprive hundreds of kids of a seminary they really want to attend. It wouldn't surprise me if the group is deliberately doing this to be turned down so they can file a lawsuit.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is not about getting a seminary for the handful of Summum fringe folks. This is just the latest ACLU attempt to destroy mainstream religious values in American culture.

I have come to realize that everything that the ACLU has done in the last 20 years is bad for our country. (There may be a rare exception to that statement, but I am not aware of any good that the ACLU has done!)

And, I am not a big fan of any of the ACLU Lawyers who pull these stunts. (Hey, Rocky, that means YOU, among others!)

Andrew J. Marksen
Salt Lake City, UT

Conspiracy! Corruption! Favoritism! blah, blah, blah.

There is no secret how LDS Seminary buildings are acquired. There is no secret deal to reserve land space for LDS Seminary use. The LDS Church has bought land, and erected Seminary Buildings in proximity to schools for decades. The law requires full public disclosure of where and when new schools are to be built. I have no issue with any faith offering Released Time during school. I wish more would. My only concern is this quote, "These students will now so easily be exposed to the benefits of meditation, study and sharing our spirituality." What is the meaning of our spitituality? I agree that some questions should be asked. Who is Summum? What is their membership here, and around the world? What do they believe? What tenants will they be teaching? What does Summum do for the community? All of these questions are better discussed in private to avoid any religion bashing by the citizenry at large.

cheffy chef
Holladay, UT

I have just finished reading the Summum commandments. This religion teachs something like a physics lesson. Of course I support religious freedom. We are the United States of America. I'm not sure if students will sign up out of belief or curiosity.

Salt Lake City, UT

This is not about the "interests of the community." It is about the taxpayers being entitled to know that their public servants aren't spending one second of public time or money promoting religion or religious instruction. I am disappointed that Mr. Barnard is suing on behalf of Summum, which sets up a false dichotomy. It's not a question of which religion has the most money or supporters...rather, the government should not be in the business of setting aside public land specifically for the purpose of religious instruction, whether the land is sold or given away is irrelevant.

Speak English - USA
West Jordan, UT

It is an LDS community and an LDS Seminary is needed. I am not sure why Summum is even in the picture other than they want to create a stink? Why not compromise and let Summum waste their money on a building across the street on one side and let the LDS Church obtain the land needed for the actually needed LDS Seminary building on the other side.

Salt Lake City, UT

Given the financial straits of the district, put the land up for bid and let the deepest pockets win.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I'm LDS, and I hesitate to say this, but...I think the Summum leaders may have a point. No matter how it may be spun as a "community need", the school district has absolutely no business drawing an LDS seminary into their plans. The Church is perfectly capable of fending for itself without the help of the district.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

"Canyons School District officials would not specifically say why the board's discussion needs to be closed, other than it involves a possible future property transaction for which a price has yet to be set."

I think the reason that it needs to be closed is that they want to be able to make a reasonable decision and they may get sued for it so they don't want to be talking out in the open how to protect themselves from a possible lawsuit.

Clearfield, UT

Summum's seven principles offer a fascinating complement to philosophical contemplation that youth at the high school level may find intriguing. None of the seven principles (or perspectives on existence) have the usual immoral implications of other cults or mysterious religious entities. I would encourage others before making up their minds that they check out the Summum website and decide for themselves. In practice, some of the members of Summum may tend towards a liberal perspective rather than a conservative perspective, but considering Summum was funded in 1975 and context of the times, it's understandable that the flavor of those times would be incorporated into its teachings. Nevertheless the seven principles can be extended to any political persuasion and can embrace other religious much like Buddhism in some respects.

The Vanka
Provo, UT

The Summum lawyer has an important point. For too long, the "majority rules" mentality has been taken for granted, and has resulted in a systematic bias in favor of the LDS Church in acquiring land adjacent to public schools. This test case is necessary to challenge the reigning hegemony of the LDS Church and the corruption that has snuck into the system.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

If I understand the law ALL religions, not just LDS, have the same opportunity to have release time seminary programs. In practicality most religions don't because of the number of followers in any school, but in a rare case here or there, some religions have release time programs at some schools. Bottom line, the property should go to the highest bidder in an open transparent process. If not, the courts could rule release time seminary programs give preferential treatment to the those of the LDS faith over others and could end all programs.

Salt Lake City, UT

What is religion doing in our public schools to begin with. Yes, I understand the building is not on school property and yes I understand that they have their parents permission, but they are leaving school grounds during school hours. I remember seminaries in every single school I attended growing up and I felt it was wrong then and I still feel it is wrong. Public schools are for getting an education not for religious worship or bible study class. Save it for church on Sunday!

Kaysville, UT

This is a joke right???

Exactly how many Summan members are there in the entire State of Utah?????

Sorry Brian, but the majority does rule and if that wasn't that case we'd have Democrats in charge in our State Legislature.

Wow.... this is much ado about nothing. Summan??? Never heard of it.

You give the ACLU a bad name Mr Bernard.

Iowa City, IA


I lived a decade of my life in Utah, during the seminary years. This is the first I've ever heard of Summan. Grnated, I may have been a sheltered kid. But honesty, how many followers do they have that they expect they need an institute to teach them.

This is a ploy. Summan got attention (for instance, now I know they exist). Now, I think they are looking for a lawsuit.

I'm sure there could be space for both, but I doubt that that's what this lawyer envisions.

Congrats, Summan. One more person has heard of you.

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