Jim Sawyer

I grew up in Ogden, Utah in a dysfunctional family that included a huge schism around what constitutes “true religion.” Neither parent attended church (Christian Science, Mormon), but on Sunday mornings my brother and I shuffled off to worship with neighbors at the Mormon Church, nearby. Buss, as our father chose to be called, recognized that Latter-day Saints controlled the culture, and if one is to succeed locally, they must be fluent in all things Mormon, although he felt his sons were being forced. Buss despised the Mormon culture, privately.

As I entered adulthood, Buss acquiesced and honored my choice to serve a two-year proselytizing mission for the Mormons (aka Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Following college, I served as advisor to a liberal Utah governor, then later, settled into an academic career on the faculty of a Jesuit, Catholic University. As a labor economist, the scope of my work broadened, eventually including interests as diverse as chronicling economic paradigm failure, and studying the fraying of America’s civic culture. Along this professional path, I also held a chair in public ethics.

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