Saturday, January 07, 2006

Missed The Point

If you read Paul Rolly's Friday column, you'll see him criticize Senator Tom Hatch for wanting to exempt returned Mormon missionaries from background checks and remind him that serial killer Arthur Gary Bishop was a returned Mormon missionary. PROBLEM: That doesn't accurately describe Senator Hatch's proposal. From the Tribune: According to current law, caregivers in Utah must undergo a background check that usually takes about 10 days. If a person has lived outside Utah for any reason over the past five years, they must undergo an FBI check which can take up to six months. This applies to Peace Corps, LDS missions, military service, etc. Senator Hatch believes this is an unfair burden for job applicants because soldiers and missionaries are strictly supervised in their activities. The proposal would forego the FBI check in favor of a recommendation from the military, church, etc. Now, we can debate whether it's a good idea or not, but the actual proposal is very different from the Mormon Serial Killer Loophole Law Paul Rolly describes. Despite what Paul Rolly suggests, Arthur Gary Bishop's crimes would not have been affected by this law.


Blogger Bob said...

The problem is, missionaries are NOT stictly supervised, and that's why they sometimes get in trouble with the law.

Members of the Church tend to turn the Elders into diety that can do no wrong.

Also, I'm curious as to how recently the RM statute would be. I'll have to research.


1/07/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

If a foster parent's fitness is determined solely by waking up exactly at 6:30 every morning, daily scripture study, and hitting baptism quotas, then I can see why you would exempt missionaries from background checks. Unfortunately, being a missionary does not elevate one to be exempted from the same process that everyone else has to go through.

1/07/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Reach Upward said...

Being one of those RM guys, and knowing a whole lot of them, I would suggest that exempting them from the FBI check would be fine for the vast majority of them. But I also know a select few that probably should not be exempted from the FBI check. Ditto for soldiers.

All air travelers go through intensified airport screening to prevent a very small number of potential (yet significant) problems from slipping through. It is probably still good policy to inconvenience the majority to screen out the very small minority that could cause serious problems. It's something we all deal with in many facets of everyday life.

1/07/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Citizen 451 said...

Thanks for clearing that up Ethan. When I scanned over the article, I had the same misconception as Paul Rolley.

I would support the amendment, with one major change. The exception should be for people who previously resided in Utah and left temporarily for whatever reason: mission, military, job transfer, etc.

This would provide the same beneift as Tom Hatch's proposal and is more consistent with the distinction that currently exists in the statute. Someone who resides in Utah doesn't need an FBI background check becuase they have a history (credit, criminal, employment, etc.) in Utah, and any red flags in their background are likely to be caught by a local check. Out of staters, on the other hand, have no history here.

But someone who lives in Utah, then leaves for a couple of years, still has a history here and should get the benefit of a quick, local background check.

So both Rolly and Hatch have it wrong. The exception shouldn't be for people who are "strictly supervised." It should be for people who have a history in Utah, have recently lived out of state, and have now returned.

I agree with everybody else's comments. I knew plenty of bad apples on my mission. And if you think the military is a safe, "strictly supervised" environment, go read Jarhead.

1/07/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Smith, Jr. said...

Interesting blog. Enjoyed reading it.


Joseph Smith Jr.
Mormon faith

1/07/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed "students" was missing from the list. I think the background check for missionaries, military, etc. should be the same for anyone who has left the state to attend college and then returns for the summer. I agree with citizen 451, if a Utah resident prior to missionary, military, job, etc., then a quick check should be sufficient.

1/09/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you're wrong ethan. The point I thought he was making is that the proposed exemption is ridiculous. What is it about missionaries and soldiers and their "supervision" that makes investigating their pasts meritless?
They spent time outside of the state, so utah may not have record of their various offenses. So you investigate them with a federal body.

1/09/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with some of your points, but the majority I don't. The reason I feel that this is a ridiculous idea to exempt anyone from those indepth background checks is simple. I've lived in SLC my entire life, my father worked down at the prison as a substance abuse counselor, and I have a close friend who works with the police department with rape/abuse victims. Over time I've had several friends go on missions, several more go off to serve in the military, and even more have moved out of state for college. I know for a fact one of them went to California, and ended up getting into crack and cocaine. That won't show up on a local background check, but it'll show up nationally. I personally wouldn't give that person the time of day, let alone a child or other person to care for. Not to mention that RM's may have been behaving on their missions, but who's to say they've just never been caught? As for military, well, we saw the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners last year. Who's to say that it hasn't happened elsewhere, as well, with soldiers from Utah? I personally have no criminal history, but I'm non mormon, and will not be able to serve in the military for medical reasons. Yet I am required these background checks. So why does it matter if I've served a mission or been in the military? The fact is... it makes no difference. It's sad that there are a large number of goodhearted people out there that have to submit to these checks, when there's that small number of people who would abuse it to the extreme... wouldn't that make a fool of the church and military?

2/02/2006 12:23:00 PM  
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