The transition of leadership in state government has reminded me of Benjamin Franklin's rule of public service: "Never ask, never refuse, and never resign."
While several individuals made their case known to hungry reporters, Greg Bell quietly went about his business avoiding political posturing. He is a perfect example of a statesman. He is not consumed with personal gain or the next prominent position. He didn't ask and he didn't refuse when asked by Gov. Gary Herbert to fill the opening for a lieutenant governor. Neither did Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. Nor did Huntsman resign contrary to Franklin's public-service rule. He was asked by a higher executive to offer public service in a different field of labor. Prepared men and women adapt quickly. Such will be the case of those now asked to fill public offices.
My view is that they need residents of this state to adapt quickly.
A state budget deficit is at our door. Therefore, Herbert's ideas, expressed in his inaugural address, of returning to limited government, self-reliance and good economy, bode well for all of us. This, I believe, is the undercurrent of the health-care debate. People are not happy with health care, but deeper is their concern for government taking the role as everyone's legal guardian.
The governor's public ceremony in taking the oath of office should cause all of us to hold a private ceremony of the heart. These are difficult days. We are being tested as to who we will ultimately turn to for help ?— Caesar or the family and community. Are we prepared to adapt so as to not lose future security? Americans seem willing to turn their agency and liberty over to government for some imaginary security. True self-reliance is to rely on God and his divine guidance. Government dependence requires stimulus packages that are nothing more than monetary handouts.
"Government entitlement," Herbert said, "can never substitute for individual responsibility or the inherent roles of family, neighborhood and community."
State budget woes have highlighted the unfit shape of American families. As social programs have been reduced or eliminated due to lack of funds, we are seeing many groping in the dark for answers. The answer is to return to the traditional family.
Something good could come from the recent economic woes — namely a love of family and a familiarization and application of the two great commandments: love God and love your neighbor. "The family is not a social-structure accident," LDS Church Relief Society General President Julie Beck has conveyed. "It is central to the Creator's pan for the eternal destiny of his children."
Marriage rates are declining. Age of marriage is rising. Divorce rates are rising. Too many babies are being born out of wedlock. Lower birth rates prevail. And abortions are rising. These are heavy social toll roads for prosperity to rebound.
Franklin would teach: "Marriage is the most natural state of man, and … the state in which you will find solid happiness."
There is solid evidence our new governor and lieutenant governor adhere to sound principles in their public and private lives that have been taught by our Founding Fathers. Limited government is possible with healthy and happy families.
Ryan Jenkins of Layton writes religious curriculum.