S.L.-based Summum asks for info about potential purchase
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.
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.
"Su Menu, the president of Summum, wrote,"If I remember my
rudimentary Spanish, "Su Menu" would roughly translate to "your
"We want to share the Summum philosophy with young people," Menu wrote
MondayThere's nothing wrong with that, butLDS seminaries
are built mainly to instruct those who are already LDSIt 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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Given the financial straits of the district, put the land up for bid and let the
deepest pockets win.
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
"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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Interesting.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.
lost in DC says:"It sounds like Summum wants the land to proselytize,
something the school district should NOT be involved in."True.Substitute LDS for Summum, and your statement is still true.Taxpayers should not be spending a thin cent to promote or establish
religion. An audit of our school districts will show that much public money is
expended on religion, especially ONE religion.Churches and families
teach religion.Public schools should not be involved.
To ignoranceisbliss: I grew up in California and I had to get up at 5 am every
school day to attend seminary. I would get so tired, but it was worth it. I
would have loved to have done it as part of my school day. It was against the
law in California. Release time is Great!
I think summum should have equal right to the land that the LDS think they
should get, I think the catholics or any other group should be able to get that
land, I dont think that land should be set aside ever when building a new
school. Thats another thing wrong with Utah. There is too close of a
relationship between church and state, and it makes me nervous. I am an active
member of the church but grew up on the east coast. when I came here, i got
really nervous for a lot of the things the school does for lds members. its not
right. If anybody needs a bad example of how things are so close come up to
Heber and find the seminary building to the new high school. right in the middle
of the public schools land...Im surprised nobody has made a big deal of this in
the past. I support Summum. Good luck in getting the land.
Just for clarification, does the district own the land? That was only mentioned
in the article. If so, just advertise it for sale based on county determination
of market value and first come, first serve that has the money. Doesn't seem
hard to me.Reasonable person - can you prove that school district
pay money to any religion? If so, do share.
RE: gnoranceisbliss"but they are leaving school grounds during
school hours." Students are not required to be locked on campus the entire
day anywhere. They are allowed, in many places, to leave for lunch. They are
also allowed to leave with their parents permission - which is what this is. The
school is to provide an education - not to remove the parents ability to raise
To reasonable person: how is public school money being spent to support
religion? Are you ready to pay for more teachers to deal with over crowded
classes if released time no longer exists?
It would be irresponsible for a school district not to take note of that fact
that the LDS Church has built seminaries near every secondary school for
decades. Such allowances would be made for any commercial or religious
establishment whose activities are appropriate and legal adjacent to schools,
and who seek to acquire such property every time a secondary school is built.Summum has every right to try to buy the available property, and the
school district really can't prevent them from doing this in open bidding. But
the idea that the LDS Church's reliable intentions should not be expected and
planned for by school districts is irresponsible on its face.Since
the LDS Church will not likely give up building seminaries near schools, the
real winners from Summum's actions will be the land speculators that will
descend like vultures at every new school announcement. There is good reason
why school districts take the LDS Church's historical intentions into account.
I doubt that every seminary building is built on land purchased from the school
district. Most land is purchased by the LDS Church from the "same"
source that the school district purchased their land. Draper seems to be the
exception. I believe the ONLY reason the school district gets involved with
planning of release time property is to control the safety of the students
(which is a legitimate responsibility of the district).As I recall,
the district held several public meetings to discuss the school usage plans long
before the school was even designed. I'm sure the LDS Church was there and
expressed their released-time usage needs. Where was Summum then? If they
would have spoken up, I'm sure plans for two off-campus released time buildings
could have been made. How convenient of Summum to express interest only AFTER
the plans have been laid out! Does it make sense for the district to spend tens
of thousands more tax dollars to RE-DESIGN the school to accomodate Summum? Am
I the only one sensing a (not so) hidden agenda here?Perhaps we
should do as Solomon and divide the land in two -- one each for LDS and Summum!
Excellent comment Andy in Sandy!!
Stirring up controversy where there is none.
To those who complain about a school district helping a religious entity: Pay
attention to the other DN article about release time programs - they SAVE MONEY
and reduce class sizes. The schools, students, and taxpayers benefit.
1. IF the District chooses to sell to Summan for whatever reason, of course
there should be a development agreement requiring them to build within a
specified time line, such as 12 months form closing, and to specs approved by
the district. This is rather easy to do as part of the title work. 2. To
ignoranceisbliss: Your arugument is flawed. Students should be allowed to leave
school for a period or two for any number of good reasons: such as work release,
or a construction class at a building site, or an agriculture class at a small
farm, OR a religion class.
I was curious about Summum philosophy and did an online search. I found a lot
about the 7 aphorisms and most of it sounded pretty benign. I found one article
by PATTY HENETZ in 2002 that was not like any of the other articles. This is
not a safe, healthy alternative to Mormonism. Here's a quote from her article.
"Adherents use the wines, also known as liquid knowledge and
nectar publications, to enhance seven types of meditation, including the one
serving Summum's paramount belief: the power of sexual ecstasy."Maybe we'd better think this one over.
Liquid knowledge you say?Well, in that case I'd better head on down
to the store and get some.
reasonable person.Substitute LDS for Summum, and your statement is
still true.No, the LDS church is NOT buyng the land to proselytize.
QUOTE to DN Subscriber |"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."The
interesting thing about the ACLU is, if the ACLU had been in existence in 1860,
Utah would still be recognizing principles of Plural Marriage.