ON Kilter: Censorship, a family value

OPINION – Although I regard the man highly, and at the risk of succumbing to criticism of being his prodigy, I have to stand in agreement with Ed Kociela and his stance stated on his Facebook page Plygs, on the absolute absurdity of Tuacahn Saturday Market’s banning Kristyn Decker from selling her book, “Fifty Years in Polygamy,” at the Market as she reportedly has been doing for a year.

Citing that the book is not consistent with the “family values” mission of the market because of alleged graphic content, the management decided to ban the book while admitting to not even having read it.

Of lesser concern is whether or not the management possessed the intellectual integrity to actually make an informed decision on the matter by, say, intently investigating the claims by reading the book; of greater concern is the notion that somehow one person’s idea of family values supersedes our collective and common values when it comes to freedom of speech.

I expect the market likely defends their decision by leaning on some right to pick and choose who can and cannot represent them in a private enterprise such as the market may be, but I wonder if they considered the precedents they are setting.

•  First, that of censorship.

What if a local farmers market were to likewise ban the distribution of Christian (those who lay staunchest claim to the “family values” ethic) literature on the premise that Christian Literature is bad for humanity and their values as a whole expose others to fictitiously-premised manipulation guised as prophetic teachings?

Would there be an outcry against censorship of freedom of religious expression?

Of course there would and, fact is, it would be an appropriate outcry.

What if the Mormon church had been successful in silencing Juanita Brooks when she endeavored to set the record straight about the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

At the time, her work was considered offensive but now, in light of history and defense of the truth, she is credited for laying the groundwork for a community’s redemption for a senseless moment in its history.

•  Second, that of family values.

The management of the Tuacahn Market has made a bald assertion that somehow this book and its graphic content defiles family values.

Telling the truth and exposing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the modern day human-enslaving, woman- and child-abusing organization it is defiles family values? This, in an area that is credited for not only being the founding place of said religious cult, but where it practices its “values” right here among us, is preposterous.

Mind if I ask what, or whose, values Decker’s book is conflicting with exactly?

Do we really aspire to assume any semblance of maintaining family values by hiding the truth from people  – merely because, perhaps, a select few find it distasteful?

Will our children honestly grow up to be productive members of society staunchly committed to upholding integrity and truth in their lives if keeping them uninformed and sheltered from the uglier truths of our world is how we demonstrate our values?

And what makes the Tuacahn Market or the unidentified offended in question an authority on the definition of family values?

Some families, I would assert, hold the laws of this land to be integrated into the very fabric of the collective family structure and hold that without them no family can stand against persecution or violation of their freedoms.

A mindset and an alternative

Support for banning the sale of a book is indicative of a mindset that defiles the very premise that allows people to have such staunch values to begin with.

I would propose: Be first an American. Uphold the core tenets of the Constitution, namely in this case the First Amendment. Else risk the proverbial opening of Pandora’s Box whereby the inevitable day arrives that reading any religious literature is considered offensive enough to ban it publicly.

Think about it.

See you out there.


Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @dallashyland

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Gary June 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I agree with much of what you say, on this I will disagree. Yes, censorship is not a good idea. I do think you have missed the point that the Tuacahn market is a private organization able to do pretty much what they want. Your example of another market banning Christian materials falls into the same category: that of a private organization deciding what they will or will not do. They can give any reason or no reason. Of course if they choose not to allow the book then customers will make THEIR decisions as well. It comes back to the free market forces.
    Another thing that I look as is I regard ‘censorship’ as something from government. From a private organization it would be something else; what I don’t know.

  • Kathleen June 23, 2013 at 11:49 am


    Your article is wonderful, thought provoking and articulate! I loved your opinion and how you expressed it…

    If the book is believed by some to be inappropriate for “families”, they do not need to buy the book then read the book. They have freedom of choice!

    Personally I believe that educating children on the truths and reality of life, whether it is based upon Theological, Sociological, Sexual, Historical and Political truths or opinions, is the wisest gift you can give your children. Truth and opinion, though ugly at times… is truly a beautiful thing!

    We must guide our children and OURSELVES to think, study, stand up and stand by our personal truths! Whatever they may be. We must know how to make our own decisions through success and failure.

    Because of your article, my curiosity is peaked and I will purchase the book, “50 years in Polygamy”, today!

    Thank you!


  • Murat June 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    This writing style is pretentious and stuffy. Keep your dayjob.

  • Maggie June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Why I ask, is it absurd for a group of merchants not to sell something at their gathering? Do they not have rights also?

    The market at Tuacahn is not a library or a school banning this book ,it is a group of private merchants. The public can buy the book all over the community and borrow it from the library. If it is a legitimate “book” and not something printed in a basement ,which I am sure some library’s choose not to make available. No one’s rights are being infringed upon ,unless Tuacahn would be forced to sell this book.

    Sometimes you just have to respect both sides of the issue and this appears to be one of them. Let the author sell where she is welcome and respect those who do not wish to sell her book.

    The left, contrary to what Ed K believes are not right about everything all the time. Actually they are not right most of the time. Sorry ,little play on words, could not resist it.

    I never knew anything re Plygs until I moved here and have read much of what is available. So I will look for this book, somewhere else besides Tuacahn.

  • Andy June 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Clearly you decided to ignore the fact in the article the person who runs the Tuacahn Saturday Market asked the author specifically if certain graphic content she had been told about by the people w
    ho complained was really in her book and the author said yes. She didn’t need to read her book to find that out, nor to help her make the decision. Your commentary is irresponsible for not including that. And just as she stated she had had to ask other artists not to sell certain artwork at the market, she had to hold this book to the same standard. I don’t see anything wrong with her decision. Whether its graphic images on a painting or graphic descriptions in a book, she had to hold the same standard for all of the vendors there. Most of your commentary in this article is about the topic of the book, suggesting that this is what was offensive. That clearly was not the case as they had known the topic of the book and had allowed her to sell it for over a year.

  • Vicki June 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I appreciate the market deciding some things are just not appropriate, even though a few think anything goes these days. Those people can still purchase the books of their choice, just somewhere else. Oh yes, just look at all the free publicity the author gets from this controversy.

  • Kara Chill Erler June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Another fine example of the control the Mormon church has on the otherwise free citizens of Utah. Who decided what appropriate ‘Family Values’ are? It’s not likely that a child is going to buy the book. But the church leaders are so afraid that young people will be exposed to their tyranny and lies, and possibly be turned away, that they can’t risk anyone being exposed to another point of view.

  • Real Life June 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Exactly Kara. These people live in another world that is so out of touch with reality. What kills me is how they can just seem to act like what is going on right around the corner, is just part of life. The sick pedophiles who live right down the road, somehow are “not that bad”.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson June 24, 2013 at 7:35 am

    You are greatly confused. A private retailer declining to sell a book does not censor the book. The author can sell the book in other outlets, as well as online and through electronic book sales on Nook and Amazon. There are scads of books and every retailer has to decide what to carry. Surely you don’t think a bookstore is required to offer pornography of the most graphic sort, or books that express religious prejudice against Jews, Muslims or Mormons.

    The Mormon Church did NOT censor Juanita Brooks. Some individuals ostracized her.

  • RPMcMurphy June 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

    What makes the managers of the market an authority on the definition of family values ?
    They are the world’s foremost authority on their definition of family values — whose definition should they (or you) consider definitive ?

  • BlackJack43 June 24, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Real Life and Kara,

    While I don’t disagree with your views on polygamy, I do take exception to your attitudes/comments toward the LDS faith, those that choose to practice it and the influence it has on our community at large. I am not LDS and I have lived all over the country and travelled the world. I CHOOSE to live here and I CHOOSE to raise my children here. I find it very condescending to ascribe that one person’s view of reality is the standard by which we should all judge one another. You choose to live here, but why is it your mission to impose your reality on the populace at large in such an antagonistic way? By and large I belong to a wonderful community of family, friends, neighbors, employees etc., who love each other, take care of each other and are very kind to each other. I haven’t found that quality in as much abundance any other place I’ve lived. My religious friends (both LDS and non-LDS) do follow their leaders’ counsel as long as it is in accordance with their scriptures, but they are not ignorant of competing views or issues outside the scope of their religion and they do have freedom to choose their path. Do you take the time to understand and love your neighbor and respect their religion, or do you just pull the superiority language out in order to dismiss that which you have no time or desire to understand, yet feel the need to condemn?

  • pete June 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    excellent article. subtle and strong

  • Roy J June 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    If you look at the Tuacahn Market’s Vendor Application it is pretty clear that what is allowed to be sold is at the discretion of the Tuacahn Market management. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? If you don’t like what they do, you can of course, complain like the author here and also some of the reporters in other local news. If the market gets enough complaints it may opt to change what it feels in it’s best interest. No laws being broke here…woot!

  • pete June 25, 2013 at 6:22 am

    just imagine the mormon church missionary program(or similar, any christian religion handing out bibles, etc) having a booth there giving out book of mormons and bibles. there a countless atrocities in religious books, coming directly from gods hand no less, and these would not even be questioned at the tuacahn market. not all the stories in those books are based on family values.

  • Blutarsky July 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    It appears that Tuacahn receives public funding. I would think that this sort of censorship would violate various clauses regarding First Amendment Rights.

    “Family Values” is a pretty broad brush to use to paint thoughts and ideas that might make people uncomfortable, but are indeed protected rights.

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