Canyons school board may mull Summum seminary offer in closed session

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

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  • Tom Smith Sandy, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    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.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 15, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    reasonable person.

    Substitute LDS for Summum, and your statement is still true.

    No, the LDS church is NOT buyng the land to proselytize.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Aug. 15, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    Liquid knowledge you say?

    Well, in that case I'd better head on down to the store and get some.

  • echo Austin, TX
    Aug. 15, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    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.

  • RS Holladay, UT
    Aug. 15, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    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.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Aug. 15, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    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.

  • rok San Diego, CA
    Aug. 15, 2011 7:39 a.m.

    Stirring up controversy where there is none.

  • Scott1 Quiet Neighborhood, UT
    Aug. 15, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    Excellent comment Andy in Sandy!!

  • Andy in Sandy Sandy, Utah
    Aug. 14, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    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!

  • Old Scarecrow Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 10:29 p.m.

    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.

  • golfrUte SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    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?

  • JJ1094 Saratoga, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 9:35 p.m.

    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 their children.

  • Utah Dem Ogden, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 9:16 p.m.

    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.

  • HopefulHeber Heber City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 7:40 p.m.

    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!

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    lost in DC says:
    "It sounds like Summum wants the land to proselytize, something the school district should NOT be involved in."

    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.

  • MiP Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 14, 2011 6:47 p.m.


    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.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    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.

  • ignoranceisbliss Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    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!

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    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.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    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.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    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.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 14, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    "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.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    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.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 9:49 a.m.

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

  • Speak English - USA West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    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.

  • mamiejane Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    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.

  • cheffy chef Holladay, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    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.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    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.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:50 a.m.

    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!)

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    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.

  • SimonSays Riverton, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    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.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    "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.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 7:14 a.m.

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

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

  • JJ1094 Saratoga, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 6:47 a.m.

    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.

  • freedomforthepeople Sandy, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 2:04 a.m.

    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.