I listen to Doug Wright on KSL every morning during my commute. I find his shows thoughtful and heartfelt, folksy and forthright.
But the other day he made a rather interesting mistake. At about 8:25 this hit the airwaves:"And today, a discussion of abortion in the Granite Stake . . . er, I mean the Granite State - New Hampshire."
Despite Doug's lapse, however, his program on abortion got me thinking, and led to this column.4 A dentist I know says an aching tooth often causes some other tooth in the mouth to throb in "sympathy pain."
That also happens in daily life.
Sometimes an issue - such as abortion - sets off sympathy pain in other parts of our lives - pain that runs much deeper than we realize.
I think of the LDS concept of human existence - the way it's divided into "trimesters" just as a pregnancy is: pre-existence, mortality, afterlife. And I think of the literature in the LDS culture that talks about human beings being "embryos" or "seeds."
Given all that, notions of pregnancy and abortion become almost cosmic.
If abortion is a still a moral act in the second trimester, but not the third trimester - as the U.S. courts have declared - does that mean God could "abort" us in this, our second trimester, and be justified?
The thought causes a shudder, and probably generates some "sympathy pain." It also prompts many people to say they answer to a Supreme Court a little higher than the one of the land.
When the National Organization for Women decided to boycott Utah because of the strict abortion law here, the group needed to do a little more homework.
The thinking behind NOW's boycott is this: Utah will be hurt in the pocketbook, so to preserve the standard of living here the state will soften its stand on abortion.
Maybe in Ohio. Maybe in Louisiana. Maybe even in Wyoming.
But in Utah?
No way. The boycott will create just the opposite effect in Utah. This is a state born and bred out of persecution. Ability to take the heat is worn here as a badge of honor. If things get tough economically, most people here will feel under siege. They'll hunker down and absorb what they have to absorb.
In Mormon Utah, people go to the wall for moral choices.
The more the NOW boycott stings, the more resolute the LDS people will become. Eventually NOW will have to go door to door shooting people to effect a change.
As Wallace Stegner said, "Never get in a guerrilla war with the Mormons. You could never win a war like that."
Whether he's right or wrong, whether he's off base or on target, the late Malcolm Muggeridge said something just before he died that brought me up short. It will likely bring you up short, too. Muggeridge said:
"As far as I can tell, the principles and thinking behind abortion are identical to the principles and thinking that were behind the Holocaust."
That quote is as stark as they come.