Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Utah's Governor Huntsman Named Ambassador to China! Nice Move by President Obama

I'm surprised and excited that President Obama has named Utah Governor Jon Hunstman as US Ambassador to China. Marvelous and gutsy move, given that Gov. Huntsman was part of the McCain campaign. But what a great choice. Gov. Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin (hurray!), has two adopted children from China and India, and is very familiar with the country.

President Kimball's prophetic comments about China 30 years ago seem more relevant than ever. We will continue to see amazing things happen in that country. Some saddening, perhaps, but I look forward to much joyous news. Good luck, Governor Huntsman!


Bookslinger said...

Wow. This carries so much portent.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

JDD said...

This is exciting news! Just for the record, though, one of his adopted children is from China, and the other is from India.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Thanks, AllAbout. I corrected that.

Tony said...

An artist friend of mine just told me about this!

Interesting indeed!

Anonymous said...

Well... this may be one of those Obama means it for evil, but God means it for good things.

Note this article from May 6th...

"SALT LAKE CITY - (ABC 4 News) - There is one republican presidential candidate that President Barack Obama's campaign manager fears the most in 2012...and his name is Jon Huntsman Jr.

In my mind, this was Obama's way of neutralizing Huntsman as a potential rival in 2012. But Heavenly Father has something else in mind.

Exciting times to be living in for sure!

Alex T. Valencic said...

Has Huntsman announced that he is abandoning his exploration of a presidential bid in 2012? I find that an interesting extrapolation. However, as I haven't seen anything from Huntsman denying this, I can only assume that the statement is true.

Regardless, I am excited about this appointment, as it is one of the few examples of Pres. Obama actually acting in a bipartisan manner.

From an LDS standpoint, I can't help but think about the development of the Church in South Korea through Kim Ho Jik. Is it possible that Huntsman's presence in China may help facilitate the fall of the "Bamboo Curtain"?

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for more "amazing things" to start happening in that country and way less "saddening news" I think you have it wrong on China. While I am sure there are some amazing people in China there also exists an overwhelming amount of terribleness coming from that country from the people and its government.

Bookslinger said...

anon at 8:57pm. Yes, there is a lot of terribleness in China, in its government and in some of its people. But this is just some ground-work. Huntsman, being a high level political/diplomatic contact, will be able to non-chalantly expose high ranking Chinese to Mormonism; not in the sense of converting them (he doesn't have to), but just make them aware, just give exposure.

It may start out with something as simple as "his people" telling "their people" that Hunstman doesn't drink alcohol, as a warning before any official functions where alcohol is served. That's just something that is done in advance of high level meetings or social functions.

There are LDS branches (for foreigners, not Chinese) in all the major Chinese cities. So the embassy staff will also likely inform the Chinese protocol/diplomatic contacts that they expect Huntsman to seek out the LDS church branches on Sundays, and may not be available for diplomatic events when those branches meet.

They're going to ask him where and how he learned Mandarin. He's likely going to say on his mission (if that's the case, I'm just guessing) and then they'll ask him what happens on a Mormon mission.

So the diplomacy corps in China (ie, the people who take care of details before official diplomatic events and meetings), as well as the higher Chinese political officials who are briefed by those diplomatic workers, are going to learn tidbits about Mormonism.

All of that is preliminary work to establish good feelings and good relations prior to the admittance of foreign missionaries.

Also keep in mind that of the thousands of under-grad, grad, and post-doctoral Chinese students who study in the US each year, a small handful join the church before going back to China. Those are more seeds being planted.

That means that when Chinese LDS branches are finally allowed, there will be some local Chinese members in place to attend those branches.

Jeff Lindsay said...

I know a Protestant Ph.D. theology student from China who has been part of a house church in China, preparing to do more work of ministry there. He says wonderful things are happening. Faith in Christ is growing, worship is possible in many places if done with some caution, and tolerance for Christianity is growing.

Increased freedom in several aspects of life has been occurring in many areas. And the expansion of education and business opens all sorts of interesting doors. Do not underestimate that nation.

Anonymous said...

Jayleen, why assume that Obama means it for "evil"? Good grief, you could try seeing the good in people just now and then. That comment is like making lemons out of lemonade.

Even if he is doing it as a political maneuver, that is hardly "evil."

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:08 - It's a phrase from the Bible and I didn't mean it literally. And it means the opposite of making lemons from lemonade.

I've never ever seen the good in people, ever. All I see is bad... just bad all the time. You know me so well. ;o)

Good grief! Can't you see the good in people just once in a while?

All I meant by it was that Obama doesn't have the best of intentions, but Heavely Father knows what he's doing and is in control.

Uh oh Jeff, this might turn into one of those posts.

Zera Pulsipher said...

While this was a good choice for Obama I have to say that I'm not a big fan of Huntsman politically. This was afterall a man who said that republicans need to be more liberal (even though that was why most republicans didn't vote this election as McCain is was the second most liberal republican after Arlen Spector). Whether you are a democrat or republican member of the church the liberal agenda clearly goes directly against many of our core values as latter-day saints. So while this could be a good thing it has a lot of potential to be bad as anyone calling for anyone to be more liberal is in my opinion a bad sign for adherents to the gospel. I'm personally taking a wait and see approach to this decision. That and every decision Obama has made so far has led us away from a democratic republic and more towards a socialist government, I have a lot of trouble believing this won't end up working towards those ends as well.

Anonymous said...

"All I meant by it was that Obama doesn't have the best of intentions"

jayleenb, that's exactly what I was referring to, your hasty assumptions that he doesn't have the best of intentions. Huntsman is fantastically well qualified for the job, maybe--just maybe--Obama picked him with the best intention of picking the best person for the job. You do seem unwilling to see good in other people (person), specifically Obama.

My reaction to your comment was one of huge dismay that Jeff's upbeat, great news of a post was so quickly turned into saying baseless mean things about Obama. In other words, that you turned it into one of "those posts."

Anonymous said...

Zera, I only wish that the Brethren would sound the warning cry about the dangers of socialism as clearly as you have. I mean, sure, we got those messages back in the good old days of the Cold War and all, but, let's face it, the Brethren really missed a great opportunity to denounce the evils of socialism in our days at the last few General Conferences. But it looks like you've got some pretty good ideas about how liberals are really bad and stuff. Maybe you should write a letter to the Brethren and tell them what you've been thinking.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:20 - Baseless?

On May 6th Obama's campaign manager comes right out and says the one person he fears the most is Huntsman.

Within a few days Huntsman is offered a Ambassadorship and effectively swept out of the presidential run he was just laying the groundwork for.

If you wish to ignore that set of facts, feel free. But don't ask me to ignore them just so you can feeeel good.

todopurete said...

Maybe it's a good thing that he'll be out of the 2012 running. Another Mormon in the mix will split the LDS vote (yes, you better believe Romney will run again). I like Huntsman, but not as much as I like Romney.

Bookslinger said...

You all seem to assume he's going to keep the position a full four years or more. That's not a guarantee. He could resign the position in 2011 or early 2012 and still run. Or Obama may replace him.

Unknown said...

I guess it could be Obama being evil. I mean, all Democrats are evil right? I men one of Satan's minions is running this country.

Or, he could have been inspired. Could be.

Anonymous said...

Hope we all can keep religion and government separated if you know what I mean. Who cares about the LDS stuff just do your job and represent the USA.

Many a time the LDS stuff gets too rigid and one can't see beyond what is really needed for the good of the USA. The other side can exploit this weakness when there is an opening.

So I still approve of what Obama has decided. I support the President and so should everyone else. He is our President and the Republican Party really has nothing nor do they have a mission.

Bookslinger said...

In this thread, I see the dems bashing the repubs as much as vice versa.

"He started!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

Yada, yada, yada.

I think Jeff's point is that religious type questions are going to be asked of Huntsman by the Chinese during private off-the-record moments. It's not about converting anyone, it's about the filtering out of information, and familiarization of the Chinese with the LDS church.

Huntsman will likely be attending LDS branches that exist for foreigners in all the major cities around China during his travels there. This will likely be reported on by the Chinese media, etc., etc.

It all looks good to me.

Anonymous said...

There's some positives to this appointment, obviously, but keep in mind that Hutnsman is no conservative. In his reign Utah as governor he softened the laws on alcohol, substantially, and also appeared to favor homosexual marriage to the point that Utah was gearing up to be the next battleground on this issue. With respect, Utah will be stronger without him.

Humanity said...

Only in Utah would Huntsman be considered a liberal.

He opposed gay marriage. You may be thinking about his support for civil unions?

Anonymous said...

Only a far left liberal would consider him conservative.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there supposed to be a lot of corruption in our government in the last days like the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon, as the book was written for our day? I think that this corruption could easily apply to members of the church too. I like Huntsman's father, and originally liked the governor, although he has fallen in my book the last couple of years. And what's up with his endorsing homosexuality and civil unions? There is something fishy going on. I don't trust him.

Anonymous said...

*off topic rant*

"After this choice and his 2 tribual/photos decisions earlier in the week I have to give Obama some credit."

I hope you're not referring to the secrecy of the torture photos. There is absolutely nothing good about torture or the attempts to cover it up.

There is some major contradictions coming from the government. On the one hand they tell us that terrorists attack us because we're free and prosperous. On the other they say releasing these torture photos will incite more hatred. So which is it? Do terrorists hate us because what we do/have done to their country and people, or is it because we're free and prosperous? The obvious answer is: terror is aimed at America in consequence of our actions, involvement, interference (whatever you want to call it) in foreign lands and/or to foreigners. This naturally leads us to ask: why are we there to begin with?

*on topic*

Identifying an unspoken motive is like guessing how many fingers I'm holding behind my back; even if you guess right you may never know.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 5:24 May 21

I don't know what you've been listening to but they hate us and always have hated us because we aren't Muslim extremists (note they feel similar though not as harshly about their brothers and sisters who don't agree with their methods). That has also always been the reason given for why they hate us.

As for water boarding being "torture" that really is a matter of opinion as is your insistence that "There is absolutely nothing good about torture or the attempts to cover it up." One the photo's could incite violence by pushing more people to the extremists side thus meaning more people willing to defy their belief, for a clerics faulty interpretation of the Koran, thus leading to more hatred and violence. No contradictions there whatsoever.

Also congress did the right thing by denying the funds to shut down Gitmo, and while there is a contradiction there among those who voted against the funding and those raving about closing it, in the end they made the right decision whether they were contradicting themselves or not.

The contradictions are only found with those who say they love America and want to keep it safe but then go and oppose enhanced interrogation tactics, which worked and helped keep us safe.

Jeff someone put spam on your blog btw you may want to remove it as it appears it will be pornographic in nature.

Nathan said...

Anon @4:46 I totally feel the same way. When he was an Apostle, former Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson ranted heavily against socialism (you can find his talks all over the Web & videos on youtube as well), but as soon as he became the prophet he took more of a moderate approach. In fact, since then I don't think too many Apostles or Prophets have voiced so strongly against socialism or communism. Not sure why, but the church does not get into political sides, just moral ones (but this post is far from that topic so lets not go there anyone).

I for one would like to see President Monson or one of the Apostles raise a mighty warning voice to the government, about the evils of socialism, but so far nothing.

Carey said...

To be sure, communism and socialism are subtle forms of slavery and bondage to the state. However, the church leaders are smart enough to know that everything they say can be heard across the world. The mission of the church is to proclaim freedom from sin through the atonement of Christ, not freedom from oppressive taxes from corrupt governments. Criticizing government corruption will not advance the gospel cause in the world. As we know from scripture, when people embrace the gospel and show faith in Christ, he will either deliver them from bondage, or make their burdens light.

Unknown said...

I thought I'd point out that there are organized branches of the Church in mainland China, although worship is heavily restricted. There are branches for native Chinese, and there are international branches for non-natives. Proselyting, of course, is forbidden, and foreigners (such as visiting Americans) cannot worship in branches with the native Chinese.

A great loophole for the saints in China is that, because Chine claims Taiwan, that our Taiwan members--including, I'm sure, Seventies from Taiwan--can worship and lead branches on mainland China for the native Chinese, while Americans cannot.

Nathan said...

Don't forget Hong Kong, which is now Mainland China! We have a temple there!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:24,

No, "enhanced interrogation" (which is newspeak for torture) has not kept us safe or protected us from attack, quite the opposite (as evident by the excuses to keep this completely unChristian behavior secret). I have never heard anyone who has been water boarded say that it could be considered anything but torture. John McCain has said that much. Maybe you did not hear about how Mancow recently volunteered himself to be water boarded so he could dismiss the whole controversy (you can see the videos on YouTube). Afterwards he says that is definitely torture.

Torture does not work and produces unreliable evidence. If you are tortured, you will confess to/say anything that you think will make it stop. The former head of the CIA testified in this behalf.

You would also be interested to look into the CIA's coin phrase "blowback." You will find the 9/11 commission report cites blowback as the underlying cause for the attacks of Sept 11. In all fairness there probably are a few nutjobs who just want to kill people of different faiths, but those who fall into that category as opposed to those acting in retaliation for American transgression is microscopic.

You should also google "Matthew Alexander" the author of How to Break a Terrorist who was an interrogator of these detainees, who did not use torture, who got more valuable information than his colleagues and who also says torture does not work.

Finally, torture, no matter what flowery language you try to call it, is illegal. Guantanamo is illegal. The detainees in Gitmo should be tried or they should be released. If we compromise our principles than there is nothing that sets us apart as a goodly or Godly nation.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:49 Part one of 2

1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.
2. a method of inflicting such pain.
3. Often, tortures. the pain or suffering caused or undergone.

These are the definitions that apply to the act of torture in no way does water boarding fall under it. It's at best a gray zone.

4. extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.
5. a cause of severe pain or anguish.

While people like you will try to use these to say that water boarding fits these definitions here you'd again be taking these two definitions which are specifically defined for literary expression, out of there context. Any interrogation tactic by the above to could be construed at torture as simply asking the questions would cause the mental anguish you would try to pin solely to enhanced interrogation tactics.

So while many people who are of the OPINION that it is torture it does not matter how they feel about it as like i said it is at best a gray area.

"has not kept us safe or protected us from attack"

LOL Obama even admits that the intelligence gained from these sessions was instrumental in preventing multiple attacks congress as well as the CIA have all confirmed that the information given from high priority subjects has kept America and American's safer, the debate you poor misguided soul is over whether the information could have been gotten another way. Something we can and will not know ever as what was done was done. However there is sufficient evidence that the information would not have been gained as they were already trying all other forms of interrogation TO NO EFFECT!

You can live in your bubble and listen to Matthew Alexander, and all the former CIA heads you want, the problem is no matter what they say it worked not just once but multiple times it led to information on planned attacks that were thwarted because of that intelligence.

So lets examine your torture doesn't work theory. As i actually agree with it torture in normal circumstances does not work. The problem is you failing to note the psychology of why. Most torturers and people willing to engage in it do not even hide the fact that after they get what they want you are of no use to them. Meaning you are dead anyways. Generally you will say whatever they want so that they stop the torture TO KILL YOU. You are at that point hav9ing you survival instinct killed by the pain and agony of whatever methods they are using. The detainees at Gitmo knew we would not kill them they no that even if they were detained with out trial they would at least live. They also knew that giving bad intel would only lead to more and worse sessions of waterboarding and that it would not ever lead to there death to give either bad or good information. In this scenario, tell me when the only way to stop it is to give good information, not just any information like with normal torturer and torturers, what would you do. The fright of these sessions is obviously enough to overcome loyalty and even survival instinct which has won over loyalty numerous times. Would you give just any information and risk having to go through it again? Remember these detainees knew their lives were secure this defeats the survival instinct so the motivation then becomes only to keep from being water boarded, and that lying or giving faulty information will only lead to having it done more.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

You can cling to your high minded black and white ideals, but the fact is that even inside the gospel there are grey areas on matter such as these.

If thousand of lives were saved from the intelligence gained which is most likely the case then how is this or any other form of torture not justified? Do you really believe that it is better for people to die then for one terrorist to suffer?

Do you think Christ would really support that scenario or would he say that those who didn't do it would be blessed greater then those who did but those who did were justified and have their reward?

"You will find the 9/11 commission report cites blowback as the underlying cause for the attacks of Sept 11."

Actually no, you will find that the "blowback" you refer to is a "blowback " of perceived aggression towards the muslim world. Thing such as supporting Israel at all and acknowledging them as a nation. Things such as the crusades which were not only centuries before we as a nation existed but had equal atrocities committed by both sides. That is the "blowback that these extremist use to justify their actions. Perhaps you should read the commission report again as it goes into derail about how the "blowback" is a perception of theirs.

"In all fairness there probably are a few nutjobs who just want to kill people of different faiths, but those who fall into that category as opposed to those acting in retaliation for American transgression is microscopic."

Have you studied anything about middle eastern politics? Are you really so foolish to believe that we committed any real transgression against them. You do know every single person of knowledge on this subject will tell you the crime that they find so unforgivable is two fold one we exist, two we have power and influence which we use to support Israel. These aren't true Muslims committing these atrocities, these aren't people acting in retaliation, these are that microscopic number inside of their faith who are killing because they hate everything that is not in line with their faith and even their view of it. Osama Bin Laden did not need a reason just an excuse and if you had read anything in the 9 11 commission report you'd know that.

"Finally, torture, no matter what flowery language you try to call it, is illegal. Guantanamo is illegal. The detainees in Gitmo should be tried or they should be released. If we compromise our principles than there is nothing that sets us apart as a goodly or Godly nation."

Hence the value of the fact that since water boarding worked then according to your ideas about torture it must not be torture. Afterall torture doesn't work water boarding did so it then logically cannot be what you are calling it. And if its not torture then your circular argument and justification for not using torture (that it doesn't work)is destroyed as well.

So really is it torture and proof that torture works, which if it does the value of the lives saved validates it despite your bubble you live in.

Or is it not torture because it definitely worked.

By definition it isn't torture unless you use the literary definitions which then my question is what isn't torture? What method that does not fit the literary definition s would you be able to use. Because you are then walkking a fine line because if you use those definitions and someone else feels that even yelling at the person is torture you have to either say "So what" or stop yelling at them and try to conform to their definition of what is and isn't acceptable.

What sets us apart as a "goodly or Godly" nation isn't whether we use these methods to protect our freedoms and thew lives of those who live in this nation. What makes us both of those is our commitment to freedom and preserving it no matter what the cost even if it's being looked down on by the very people you are protecting. And then not taking their right to fell that way from them. People like you in fact.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for going off topic with that wall of text but I feel very strongly on this issue. So much so that i hide my identity so that my regular posts won't be looked up or down upon but taken for their own merit, rather then a bias towards this view of mine one way or the other.

SlalomHO said...

Maybe Huntsman will put Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in a headlock until he agrees to buy our long-term bonds again...


Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:46-50

The UN Convention Against Torture defines it as:

"...any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession... when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."Your definitions which exclude the atrocities you protect are not legal definitions, and are a lot like anti-mormons who create definitions of "Christian" to exclude LDS.

Water boarding is not a "gray area" at all. It is definitely, 100% torture.

No, torture does not work. Obama and other blockhead politicians have make unbacked, unproven statements about the matter to promote their agenda. I suppose you think everyone in Gitmo actually is a terrorist too, huh? That the government never lies to support its agenda? I'm afraid you are the one living in your "bubble" dream world.

It's funny how when I actually provide people who have been there during the interrogations, who are a credible source because they were there, you dismiss it, but then you make completely unbacked, unproven statements like "torture works."

"Hence the value of the fact that since water boarding worked then according to your ideas about torture it must not be torture. Afterall torture doesn't work water boarding did so it then logically cannot be what you are calling it."You might want to try again because that made absolutely no sense.

"Things such as the crusades which were not only centuries before we as a nation existed but had equal atrocities committed by both sides. That is the "blowback that these extremist use to justify their actions."Wrong. If you read the 9/11 commission report it specifically mentions American foreign policy as the cause for blowback. Furthermore if you even listened to what bin Laden says you will find that his arguments to recruit are not those of the crusades and other issues out our control.

You did correctly mention Israel as motivation for hatred against us, but you completely perverted it. It is not the recognition of Israel as a country that causes them to hate us (otherwise they would be attacking a whole lot more people than just us and a few European nations). It is the billions of dollars that we give to Israel every year to fund their military actions that they hate us for.

'What sets us apart as a "goodly or Godly" nation isn't whether we use these methods to protect our freedoms and thew lives of those who live in this nation. What makes us both of those is our commitment to freedom and preserving it no matter what the cost even if it's being looked down on by the very people you are protecting. And then not taking their right to fell that way from them. People like you in fact.'Good ad hominem attack. I like how you portray me as an enemy to freedom. Maybe you should read the Constitution. The Constitution is what protects freedom. It is unpopular speech that needs protecting, not the popular. Yet you, a supposed advocate for freedom, attack me because of my unpopular speech. You will also come to realize through your reading of the Constitution that the fourth amendment prohibits the actions you are defending.

Unknown said...

I'm truly saddened that members of the church are so supportive of "gray" areas like turture. I don't think it is a gray area at all. I think the savior was pretty clear on this sort of thing. I have enough faith in the lord to know that, as long as we as a people do what is right, He will not lead us into danger. Torture is not right, I don't care how you look at it. To use the scriptures to support torture is laughable. You will find that the Nephites treated their prisoners exactly the opposite of that.

I would rather terrorists come into our country and "KILL" me and my children than to see the country degrade itself by delving into that sort of thing.

And I will not stay anonymous on this.

Anonymous said...

Regardless whether torture works or doesn't work, its lawfulness or otherwise, we've strayed far off the subject of Governor Huntsman appointment. Perhaps Jeff will allow us another shot at the issue brought forth.

As long as the UN agrees.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff Lindsay said...

That's it for the tortuous threadjack, please. I deleted the last off-topic comment because it fell into the trap of name calling.

This post is about China and Gov. Huntsman, not about torture. And no matter how vile, counterproductive, morally degrading, and evil torture is, this post is not the place to discuss it.

Nathan said...

I thought about blogging myself about this but then thought it was related to this post so I'll add it here.

With Gov. Huntsman in China, and the above speculation that his presence in that country could lead to opening the doors for full-time missionary work, I was wondering yesterday how President Obama's recent speech to the Muslim world and his desire to "make peace" with the Muslim world, how that may affect "taking the Gospel to all the world." We clearly are not in the majority of Muslim countries. Since we only go "in through the front door," I wonder if there is a chance we'll see relations between the U.S. and the Muslim countries soften to the point where we have a Egypt Cairo Mission or a Turkey Ankara Mission.

Food for thought.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Just got my 3-column Chinese Book of Mormon. Awesome!

Nathan said...

Awesome Jeff. My then-girlfriend now wife taught English in China for 4 months via BYU while I was on my mission and got me a Chinese triple-combination (in traditional characters). Pretty neat.