November 14th, 2015



When I first heard about the "clarification," I was happy that God had finally gotten it right this week.  Or at least right-er.  Who knew the Handbook 1 additions would cause such a kerfuffle?  Not God, it seems.

James' "defense" of the church bothered me.  It amounted to, "Don't get too ruffled, guys.  LDS, Inc. isn't necessarily being malicious, they're just covering their corporate arse, making sure that their various ventures and entities aren't unnecessarily exposed to litigation as a result of their ecclesiastical policies and practices."  This is an extension of the old line people have used for millennia when screwing somebody else over, "Hey, it's not personal, it's just business.  You understand."  The assumption being that whatever is done in honor of the Almighty Dollar is OK and excusable as long as it was done for purely fiscal reasons without particular malice toward anyone.  James seemed to be telling us not to worry, if Mormon LGBT families get run over by a bus, the driver may simply have been wearing a different hat that day.  When he explained that the policy changes were simply legal maneuvering probably written by lawyers right out of tort law textbooks and thus completely understandable, the air seemed to just go out of the discussion.  There was sort of a collective, "Oh."

I would suggest that a corporation run by robots in white shirts and power ties might act in ways that are perfectly legal and totally sound financially and yet still morally unconscionable.  In fact, that might be worse than we originally thought.

Ward Blazzard . . .

. . . had a telephone company in his living room.  The telephone company in Kamas, Utah to be exact.  He and his wife owned a sawmill and the phone company.  Ward was pretty much deaf from working in the sawmill all his life and he had the old-timey hearing aid with a transistor radio-sized box in his shirt pocket and "period correct" earbuds.

They put the old-timey telephone switchboard with 1/4-inch "phone plugs" and jacks in their living room so that his wife could cook and sew and take care of the kids and connect people's calls when the ringer rang and a light lit up on the console.  By the sixties, they had added "modern" automatic crossbar switches which stood in the garage against the other side of the wall that the switchboard was against in the living room.  The crossbar switches clacked loudly all day as the good people of Kamas placed unassisted automatically switched calls, but it would die down as it got later and people went to bed.  The garage was a good place for the switch racks.

The operator (Ward's wife) could still place calls manually for the customers who hadn't yet upgraded to dial telephones and to handle emergencies.  In an emergency in those days, you dialed 0 and an operator answered and connected you to the sherriff or the fire department.  She'd probably just call them for you.  It worked just like 911.  That was another advantage to having the switchboard in the living room: if there was an emergency call in the middle of the night or somebody was calling long distance from a peculiar time zone, Mrs. Blazzard could throw on her housecoat and walk a couple dozen steps to the living room.  In those days, if you called outside of your exchange or received a call from the relatives in Poughkeepsie, the operator had to be involved.

Getting these tiny phone companies updated and connected to the national network for DDD (direct distance dialing) was my dad's job.  That's why we stopped at the Blazzards whenever we were in the area just to say Hi and see how things were going.