Sun, 11 October 2020
Brennan Harris’ dad, Kip Brower Harris, took his own life on January 9, 2019, while he was employed as Dean of Students at Brigham Young University - Idaho. During his 30 year career at BYU Idaho, Kip Harris had served twice as a Mormon bishop, served in a Mormon Stake Presidency, and was personal friends with LDS Church apostle David Bednar.
In the final years of his second term as bishop, Kip Harris became involved in an extra-marital affair with a neighbor and ward member. Inexplicably, when Kip Harris was found in a car with this neighbor/ward member by a Sugar City police officer, this police officer informed Kip Harris' LDS church leaders (violating the separation of church and state). Kip Harris' church leaders, in turn, notified Harris' employer (BYU Idaho), who then put Kim Harris on leave (threatening to fire him). This horrific sequence of confidentiality violations led Kim Harris to feel like his only option was to take his own life, which he did in January of 2019. Press coverage of Kip Harris' death can be found here and here.
Brennan Harris, Kip's son, believes that the LDS Church, BYU Idaho, and Sugar City police are all partially responsible for his father’s death. Brennan has written publicly about his father's story at these links:
This is Brennan’s story.
Sun, 11 October 2020
Ezra Taft Benson is perhaps the most controversial apostle-president in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nearly fifty years he delivered impassioned sermons in Utah and elsewhere, mixing religion with ultraconservative right-wing political views and conspiracy theories. His teachings inspired Mormon extremists to stockpile weapons, predict the end of the world, and commit acts of violence against their government. The First Presidency rebuked him, his fellow apostles wanted him disciplined, and grassroots Mormons called for his removal from the Quorum of the Twelve. Yet Benson was beloved by millions of Latter-day Saints, who praised him for his stances against communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and admired his service as secretary of agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Using previously restricted documents from archives across the United States.
Matthew L. Harris breaks new ground as the first to evaluate why Benson embraced a radical form of conservatism, and how under his leadership Mormons became the most reliable supporters of the Republican Party of any religious group in America.
Matthew L. Harris is professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He is the author of The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History and editor of Thunder from the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics.
Matthew's new book can be purchased here: https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/watchman-on-the-tower/