Utah People's Party

…proclain liberty through out all the land….(Leviticus 25:10)

Officers

Broadly speaking our party leaders are of two types: those whose role is to propose to and persuade but not impose on the party members and those who act as neutral referees. Our Candidates page begins with the following quote from election law.

Unless an organization of registered voters is a registered political party under this chapter, it may not place the names of candidates representing that organization upon the primary and regular general election ballots under the common organization name. (Utah State Code. 20A-8-102 (2)(a))

A political party essentially is an organization that nominates candidates for the public to choose from on general election day. Because our election law does not allow any other type of organization to place candidates on the general election ballot under the organization name, nominating the right candidates  is the core mission of a political party and the quality of a party is the quality of its nominees. If a party is to succeed as well as possible in nominating the best candidates for public offices, the party must first succeed at choosing the best possible party leaders. Some party leaders are officers while other party leaders are members of leadership committees.

In order to elect excellent party leaders consistently, a party must base its selection process on true principles. As mentioned on the home page, one of those true principles is that a humble person makes a better leader than a prideful person. A humble person is more likely to follow guidance from the Lord because he recognizes that he needs guidance from someone wiser than himself. Pride is a sin in and of itself and the parent of other sins. Traditionally, the major parties have expected potential party officers  to appoint themselves to run for the endorsement of the party. When two or more citizens seek the same party office, the rivals have been expected to compete for the support of the party’s delegates. The delegates have been expected to choose one of the rivals and endorse him. If that were the best way to choose a leader then why has the Lord never used that system to select a prophet or any other officer of his church? The office should seek the man rather than the man seek the office. A careful examination of ancient scripture shows examples of this with respect to political office as well as religious offices. Saul was chosen as the first king of united Israel without volunteering or doing any competing. In those ancient days, the people of Israel had a prophet whose name saw Samuel.

Samuel anoints Saul to be captain over the Lord’s inheritance—Samuel manifests the gift of seership—Saul prophesies among the prophets, and the Lord gives him a new heart—He is chosen king at Mizpeh.( 1 Samuel 10: summary )

When Saul was king and his performance was not satisfactory, his replacement, David, was chosen without volunteering or doing any competing.

The Lord chooses David of Bethlehem as king—He is anointed by Samuel—Saul chooses David as his companion and armor bearer. (1 Samuel 16: Summary)

These scriptures shows examples of the Lord calling political leaders through his prophet thousands of years ago.  The Lord provided a king for ancient Israel not because having an earthly king was a good idea but because the people wanted a king and the Lord respected their agency even though the people were making a serious mistake. Ever willing to help his children as much as their choices permit, the Lord provided the Israelites with the least awful king possible. The principle is still sound in our own dispensation that the best possible leaders must be called to serve. They will not step forward on their own initiative.

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (Doctrine and Covenants 98:10)

Note that the Lord gave section ninety eight to the prophet Joseph Smith before the Saints lived in Utah. So the principle that the good, wise and honest should be sought for diligently was reaffirmed  back in the early years of the restoration of the Church. As explained on the Origin and Purposes page,  during a period back in the 1800s, political leaders in Utah Territory were called through the authority of the Priesthood just as in ancient times. Nevertheless, in our own century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does have a Political Neutrality policy which says among other things that the Church does not endorse or oppose political parties. This policy has the effect of removing the Priesthood and the presiding officers of the Church from any direct role in the selection of party leaders. So in our own time, who does have the duty to do a diligent search for the good, wise and honest? Some of the things taught on the citizens page are so relevant to the party leader selection process that they bear repeating here.

“We must urge all members as individuals to become involved in public issues within and without political parties. … One of the things that is wrong with politics [is that we] have been staying away from our district meetings where the delegates to conventions are made. When, too late, we see the wrong people on the ticket….” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1996], 363).

As president Lee teaches us, if we are wise, some of our political involvement will occur many months before each general election, to ensure that we have the best possible candidates to support on election day.

Since it does not make sense to expect that the party can nominate the right candidates for public offices while the internal operations of the party are messed up, getting the right party leaders will be an essential stepping stone to getting the right candidates on the ballot. We believe that the principles the Lord’s servants have taught regarding the selection of government officials also apply to the selection of party leaders. It is important to learn, that getting the right candidate into each leadership position in the party is the shared duty of the prospective leader himself and of his fellow citizens.

“We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens … we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: ‘Honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil’ ” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:10) (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 683).

Note that the Lord says here that seeking the good, wise and honest to be our political leaders should happen. Every one else can point out that the Lord did not assign him the duty of doing the seeking any more than he assigned that duty to you or to me, so this duty is equally distributed over all the citizens. What then is the duty of a citizen who has been selected by his piers as their candidate? The same as any citizen selected by his piers to represent them. According to President Harold B. Lee–

“The reason why we get into the hands of autocrats in politics is because many of us criticize and stay home and don’t go to our district meetings. And we don’t allow ourselves to become candidates, or representatives to vote for those who will represent us in the nation, or the county, or the state” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 367).

President Lee here suggests that each of us should be willing to serve as a representative if our piers wish us to represent them.

For selecting its party leaders the members of any party should bear in mind the following counsel from the First Presidency regarding how a citizen should chose the candidates that he supports. While the first presidency letter quoted below addresses itself directly to the selection of candidates for public offices and to the duties of citizens in connection with the selection of government officials, we believe that the principles the first presidency asserts below do also apply to the selection of party leaders and to the duties of citizen in connection with the selection of party leaders.

First Presidency Issues Letter on Political Participation

SALT LAKE CITY 22 September 2008 The following letter was issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 11, 2008, to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:

Political Participation, Voting, and the Political Neutrality of the Church

As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future.
Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties.

Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government.

The Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The First Presidency

What did the Lord urge us citizens to do?
1) register to vote
2) study the issues (carefully and prayerfully)
3) study the candidates (carefully and prayerfully)
4) vote for (those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government)
5) actively support (those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government)

How could you judge which candidate in a particular race will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government if you have not already formed your own ideas of good government? You first need to decide what your ideas of good government are, then you should compare the candidates to your ideas to see which candidate comes the nearest. Because having his own ideas of good government is an essential prerequisite for each citizen to be able to carry out the instructions of the First Presidency quoted above, the People’s Party does help citizens discern what the Lord sees as good government and bring their own ideas into conformity with those of the Lord. When you have chosen the nearest candidate, you should provide him with both passive support (voting for him) and active support (persuading other citizens to vote for him). Note that you have been instructed to chose your candidate based on how closely the candidate will carry out your ideas. It is not enough to identify the candidate who says the things most pleasant for you to hear. Other than revelation, the most reliable guild to a person’s future behavior is his past behavior. It is more valuable to know what a candidate has done before than it is to know what he says he will do in the future. Another thing that is very valuable to remember is that important words like freedom may mean different things to different people even within the Party. A person who has good intentions and an exemplary personal life but who understands a word like freedom differently than you do is more likely to act on his version of the word than yours.

The letter quoted above says, “The Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.”  The political neutrality of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is explicitly stated to apply to parties, platforms and candidates, but the Church is not necessarily neutral on individual political issues. The People’s Party is a political party, so the Church is neutral regarding it. Because of the Church’s neutrality regarding parties, no one acting as an Officer of the Church participates in the selection of leaders of the party.

Recall what the first Presidency letter quoted above says is the duty of each citizen when choosing a candidate to support for a public office.

Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government.

For each public office, it is the duty of each citizen to vote for and actively support the candidate that will most closely carry out that citizen’s ideas of good government. A person with a proper attitude of humility, and altruism will serve well if called or drafted but he cannot be expected to struggle to defeat rivals because he does not assume he would serve better than they. Our candidates page notes that the members of the Candidate Nominating Committee (CNC) are important party leaders and explains how we will select the best possible people to serve on that committee. With respect to any particular public office, the committee will have the authority only to recommend a possible candidate. The party members reserve to themselves the authority to draft the recommended candidate or some other candidate or not to draft any one at all. Thus the committee will not be able to impose its will on the party members. A CNC member is the most obvious example of the first type of party leader, one called to propose but not impose. Allowing the committee to make the final decision whom the party will endorse would be an unnecessary and dangerous concentration of power.

So the Candidate Nominating Committee members will be leaders that propose and persuade but do not impose their will on the party members. In order to prevent the committee from imposing its will on the party members, the committee must have no authority that it could use to manipulate the meetings of party members in any way. For example, the committee must not be able to influence the composition, rules, or agenda of the meeting at which its recommendations are considered. Furthermore, the party member meetings must be conducted by a party officer who maintains a position of strict neutrality so that the party’s general membership can discuss the committee recommendation and any other alternatives that may arise without being herded in any particular direction.

…a presiding officer, who conducts the meeting and sees to it that the rules are observed….(Roberts p 21)
In organized societies the presiding officer’s title is usually prescribed by the bylaws, that of president being most common. (Roberts p 432)

Our President is the most obvious example of the second type of leader, a neutral referee. We start our discussion of the selection process for the President of the Utah People’s Party by learning what election law has to say about selection of party officers.

20A-8-401.   Registered political parties — Bylaws.
(2) Each state political party, each new political party seeking registration, and each unregistered political party seeking registration shall ensure that its constitution or bylaws contain:

(b) a procedure for selecting party officers that allows active participation by party members; (Utah Code 20A-8-401)

In order for our party President to have the easiest possible time maintaining his required neutral position, he must not be a member of the CNC and must be neither appointed by nor even nominated by that committee. Furthermore, he must not be a candidate for public office himself, and must be neither appointed by nor nominated by any candidate for public office. The President is an important leader and  the office must seek the man. That being the case, the party will have a second nominating committee, an Officer Nominating Committee (CNC), whose members are not also on the Candidate Nominating Committee (CNC). The ONC members are important party leaders of the first type, those who propose and persuade but do not impose their will on the party members. Because the ONC members are important party leaders, again the office should seek the man. Except for the prohibition of being on the CNC, the members of the ONC are nominated and elected by the rank and file party members like the members of the CNC. We select the members of the ONC by the process of multiple plurality explained on the Candidates page.
Once the ONC has made a recommendation to the party members. Any Party member can nominate other possible presidents and the party members can then elect the one they prefer. In order to prevent the ONC from imposing its will on the party members, the committee must have no authority that it could use to manipulate party member meetings. For example, the committee must have no influence over the composition, rules, or agenda of the meetings of the party members. Once the members of the Officer Nominating Committee are selected, they can seek the best possible person to fill not just the office of President but also other party offices.

A volunteer organization is an organization in which the work is mostly done by people who do not receive financial or material compensation for their efforts.  A typical volunteer organization such as a charity or social club has a simple organizational structure: a top leader, a second in command, a secretary or clerk, a treasurer and a few directors, all of whom comprise an executive board.  Of course there are variations on this simple model. For instance, the sample organization featured in Robert’s Rules of order has two vice presidents and two secretaries. This simple, concentrated structure is typically used because it is hard to get people to do any work when they do not receive any money for their labor. If the organization is going to function at all, the few people that are most consistently active must have all the authority needed to run the organization.

Conventional parties are volunteer organizations. They usually do not pay their leaders a salary and generally speaking that is a good practice for which we commend them. In other respects, there is still much room for improvement. A political party is unlike a charity or social club in that the normal operation of a party can more directly assist persons who want power and privilege to get into government offices and therefor a party is potentially far more vulnerable to the corrupting influence of power than other kinds of volunteer organizations. If we truly believe in constitutional checks and balances, then we will practice what we preach.

For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. (Moroni 7:5)

We preach checks and balances and we practice checks and balances within the People’s Party itself. The Concentration and unification of authority that other parties use is a substitute for the missing citizen involvement that the Lord requires of us. We are foolish to rely on anything as a substitute for obedience to a commandment from God. Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, requires things that He knows we need. We, in our finite wisdom, we can never come up with a substitute that will work as well as what the He insists on. Since the Lord commands active participation by the general citizenry in their governance, neither concentration of authority nor any other substitute for citizen participation will work.

Conventional political parties are led by a chairman, vice chairman, and Executive Committee. This traditional arraignment centralizes both authority and responsibility in too few hands.  In a conventional Party, there may be as few as four officers: Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. Because of the concentration of responsibility in so few hands, the work load is too heavy for most concerned citizens and the officers are often persons who hope to use their party office as a stepping stone to a carrier in government office or as a paid staffer or consultant to a government official. Since we discourage office seeking, we need another way to motivate people to serve as party officers than offering a carrier stepping stone. To ensure that the People’s Party truly remains an “organization of voters” ((Utah State Code. 20A-8-102 (2)(a))) rather than an organization of office seekers that includes a bunch of voters for show, we distribute the  burdens among more party leaders  than a conventional party uses. If the burden of fulfilling a party office is lighter, that burden can more easily be borne by a concerned citizen who does not aspire to a political carrier and must earn a living in some other field and meet family and church responsibilities.

Our Founding Father taught, as we explain further on our page called Healthy Relationships (of leaders and followers), that we must pay government officials little or nothing if we are to have good government. We show that we believe this by practicing it within the People’s Party. Party leaders are not government officials but they are closer to the corrupting influence of political power than anyone other than government officials so it makes sense to take precautions to guard against that corrupting influence.  Doctor Cleon Skousen, in his very insightful book, The Five Thousand Year Leap (p65), shows us these words of Benjamin Franklin-

In America, salaries, where indispensable, are extremely low; but much of public business is done gratis. The honer of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. Public spirit really exists there, and has great effects…. (Smyth, Writings of Benqamin Franklin, 7:4)

With all of the above in mind, the People’s Party disperses authority and responsibility among more leaders than a conventional party and most People’s Party leaders receive no financial compensation for their services. So that the president can serve as a dutiful citizen without pay and without political ambition, and so that he will not have any other duties that might interfere with his duty to act as a neutral referee–in addition to the president, we have various other leaders.

“The term executive secretary, or executive director, is usually applied to a salaried officer who devotes full time to the position of administrative officer and general manager of an organization, especially at the national, regional, or state level….”(Roberts p 447-8)
In some organizations, the executive and managerial function that would otherwise be exercised by the president is entirely split off and vested in the executive secretary. This arrangement leaves the president his duties as presiding officer and spokesman for the organization.” (Roberts p 448)

Being responsible for party member recruitment and education, providing suitable callings within the party to all party members not otherwise engaged in party business, as well as all other business that has not been assigned to some other leader, Executive Director will be by far the most burdensome party office. So that a dutiful citizen, without political ambition, can bare this burden all year every year, a modest compensation will be provided. For some years after the Party obtains its ballot line, we expect this to be the only paid office within the Utah People’s Party. Eventually, when the party is much larger, paid consultants and other paid officers may be needed, but the party will still be very careful to keep compensation low enough that it does not entice any greedy or ambitious person to seek the office.

Having first split off the executive and managerial function, we then lighten the load on the president further by splitting off the role of spokesman for the party, leaving the president only the role of presiding at party member meetings. The chief officer of a conventional party is called the chairman, so government officials and media representatives will expect to interact with an officer called chairman. Therefore, to the officer who acts as our spokesman, we give the title of Chairman.

Any of the above leading offices may have assistants. In order to have a meeting at which many people (the party members) participate in making decisions, we need “…a secretary or clerk, who makes a written record of what is done–usually called the minutes…” (Roberts p 21) and in addition to all these, “The treasurer of an organization is the officer entrusted with the custody of its funds.” (Roberts p 444)

Unlike a conventional party, the People’s Party does not concentrate responsibilities and authority into one executive committee. There are multiple leadership committees that make the most important recommendations to the party members. To keep the burdens bearable and to enable checks and balances to work, none of the party officers serve as members of any of the leadership committees. Because the Lord discourages office seeking, all party officers and members of leadership committees are expected to serve without political career ambition. Party members call all the members of all the leadership committees using multiple plurality as explained on the candidates page. Membership on a leadership committee is a calling to propose to and persuade but not to impose on the party members. The leadership committees exercise their judgement and discretion, always taking a stand on one side of an issue if that issue is within their sphere of responsibility. The leadership Committees are Candidate Nominating Committee(CNC), Officer Nominating Committee(ONC), and Finance Committee. The Candidates page explains the role of the Candidate Nominating Committee. The role of the Officer Nominating Committee is explained above. The Finance Committee proposes budgets. Other Committees that propose to the party members may be created as needed.

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