Sunday, May 17, 2015

background to establish a premise for my next post

the Salt Lake City complex know n as Temple Square, with a few outlying buildings

I cannot recall if I've ever mentioned this family before. -- it seems I may have mentioned them at least once, but my memory is so filled with facts concerning hearts, lungs, and blood that I'm easily confused about other more mundane matters -- but there's a family who formerly lived in Laie, Hawaii. Obviously there are many families who formerly lived in Laie, Hawaii, but this particular family is noteworthy for a few reasons in particular. 

The father of the family, William Cravens, was the director of the Polynesian Cultural Center for most of the time my uncle's family lived there. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a major tourist attraction at the juncture of windward Oahu and the north shore of the island. It's a multi-million-dollar business operation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; it exists primarily to provide job opportunities for Polynesian students attending the Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University, most of whom would not be able to afford tuition and living expenses without such employment. It's  presumably also a major source of financial windfall for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beyond what the students are paid, but such information isn't easy to access; one can only assume.

William Cravens served in a lay leader position (LDS clergy are unpaid except at the highest levels, as in those who oversee things from headquarters in and around Salt Lake City. Cravens was, during most of the time my uncle's family lived there, the President of the Laie Stake of the church. This position would be considered the rough equivalent of a Roman Catholic bishop's position. A great deal of public speaking is required, along with the establishment and maintenance of budgets. If members of high standing are considered for church discipline (excommunications, disfellowshipments, and such) the stake president oversees the proceedings.  He chooses bishops (roughly equivalent to parish priests) for local congregations. He oversees bishops as they oversee their wards, which is the name given to local congregations.  It's a large job with little monetary compensation 
(I've heard bishops and stake presidents receive possibly a small mileage stipend, but it wouldn't have gotten a person far  even with the prices of gas having been what they were in the 70's and the 80's.) 

Being either a bishop or a stake president would have to be considered a rather thankless job, with the only real payoff being prestige. Many Mormons are quite taken with the prestige that goes along especially with being a stake president. Once in a great while, the position leads to an actual paying job in Salt Lake City, but there are few of such jobs available in the grand scheme of all the Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints all over the world. Unless one is extremely fortunate, one must possess an incredibly highly esteemed pedigree to even think of ascending to the upper echelons of LDS church leadership. Certain surnames just keep popping up over and over among those paid Salt Lake City positions of real leadership. I suppose it could be sheer coincidence -- men born with surnames such as Packard,  Eyring Kimball, Romney, Richards, Callister, Christofferson, Young, Smith, Clark, Scott (or men married to women with the surnames) may just happen to be more righteous than the rest of those who might be called upon to fill the positions.  Periodically a few obscure names will come up in the quorums of the seventy and such, and occasionally in one the the really Big Boy Positions you'll get an Uchtdorff to prove the church is not truly north America-centric. Still, by and large, those with the tried-and-true pedigree surnames (or those married into them) are going to be the ones we see advancing up the ranks most rapidly and will be those who will create the policy to which the rank-and-file Mormons must adhere.  I suppose it could be sheer coincidence, but what are the chances that men with the pedrigeed surnames (or those men married to women with such surnames) are so much more righteous and more worthy to lead the flock than the millers, Ybarras, and Medeiroses of the world? God himself supposedly chooses the names. Is God's knowledge of surnames really limited to only about two-hundred? In addition to the new and inspiring Uchtdorf, which suddenly sprang to His almighty lips, or is there more to this story.

Admittedly, while the lowly membership has the agency to follow or not to follow, on the bottom-line issues,such as paying a full ten per cent of one's earnings to the church in addition to other offerings, one must accede or risk a penalty as harsh as being denied attendance at one's own child's temple wedding if one chooses to be on the wrong side of adherence.. This may sound like hyperbole on my part, but I can assure readers notin the know that it has happened many,many times in the past (and even more times to extort the desired funds) and will  continue to happen. One does not need to take my word regarding this matter. Ask any knowledgeable Mormon or even poke around the site at mormon,org. The information may be buried between paragraphs about the Plan of Salvation or Joseph Smith's First Vision, but it's there to be found, though perhaps worded cryptically. 

I promise to return to my original topic , which was to be the Cravens family, tomorrow, Some of them are, admittedly, nice people, but some of whom are not, in the opinions of close friends and relatives.

Regardless, it's pushing 5:30a.m., and I have a study group showing up at my condo for brunch at 10:00 a.m. I don't wish to begin this last push before finals in an exhausted state before it even begins. The Cravens family can wait a few more hours.

And, in case my parents are reading, I understand that I must print material that can be backed up by reputable print sources or by my owns sources who will testify on my behalf  should it come to that. I'd like to believe that the Cravens family has bigger fish than I to fry, but one never knows the size of fish to which one will stoop for his or her next meal.

Goodnight to all of you, who are probably beginning your day by now.


  1. No, it's not hyperbole. Wayward and non-Mormons are not allowed to attend weddings in the Mormon temple. Of course since neither I nor my husband come from elite Mormon stock, our word - in some circles - might be suspect. Looking forward to your post about the Cravens!

  2. I'll be waiting for your next post. I suspect Bill's younger ex daughter would love to marry one of those high ranking Mormons.