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Paul Rolly: Separating church, state and Twitter

Published May 21, 2013 6:31 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah state government's Twitter account, @UtahGov, posted on May 12 a link to a spectacular seven-minute video journey through southwestern Utah's Snow Canyon, produced by Jeremiah Barber. The scenery, accompanied by soft music, creates an enticing tourism lure to that part of the Beehive State.

At the end of the video, right after a shot through an opening in a rock formation revealing a star-filled sky, a Book of Mormon scripture, from Jacob 4:9, appears. It reads: "For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the Earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the Earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure? — The Book of Mormon. Another testament of Jesus Christ."

Officials assure me that the state is not promoting the Mormon Church on its government site, at least not purposely.

A spokesman told me the video was sent to the Department of Technology Services, which manages the state's Twitter account, and technicians there posted it to YouTube, thinking it was a great way to show off the beauty of southern Utah's Snow Canyon.

Unfortunately, he said, they didn't view the entire video and didn't see the scripture.

If you want to view the video yourself, don't bother. I was told after my inquiry that it would be taken down. You still can find a 53-second version of the Snow Canyon video, but no scripture.

Power of the press • Salt Lake Tribune reporter Derek P. Jensen recently chronicled the plight of 90-year-old Renate McKitrick, who has lived in the United States since she was 2, became a naturalized citizen in 1946, married, raised a family, voted and paid taxes and, now, can't get an I.D. card in Utah because of questions about her citizenship.

It turns out that when she turned 65 and attempted to renew her I.D. card, the bureaucrats couldn't translate her birth certificate, which was rewritten in Polish since the Polish government usurped the Germans in the old east Prussian territory after WWII.

She was given an I.D. back then, but with more stringent rules for citizenship proof now and the confusion 25 years ago, she can't get a new identification card, which she needs to vote and to pick up prescription medications.

Her records proving naturalization status are not in the Homeland Security database. Instead, they are buried in Lee's Summit, Mo., where the National Records Center houses 4,000 miles of files.

McKitrick was told it wouldn't be until July before they could find the files necessary to renew her citizenship status.

That was before Jensen's story ran.

After the saga generated outrage among readers, McKitrick was notified by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently that, miracles upon miracles, the confusion has been cleared up and her records are in the mail.

Mark your calendars •When it comes to adequate public notice to give residents the opportunity to attend and comment at public meetings, the Department of Workforce Services has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Posted on the Utah Public Notice website this week was an announcement for an upcoming meeting of the Department of Workforce Services' State Homeless Coordinating Committee Board meeting in the Capitol Board Room. According to the notice, the meeting will be Sept. 12, 2020 at 2 p.m.