October 2020

Joyce Barnes
1930 ~ 2020

Joyce Barnes

Joyce Barnes was a longtime member of Humanists of Utah who served on the Board of Directors for several years. Joyce grew up in Colorado. On graduation from high school, she went to the University of Northern Colorado on a piano scholarship and played for spending money at weddings and funerals. She married John in 1951 and moved to Clovis, New Mexico, in 1952 where she student-taught while John was in the army; then to Laramie in 1953, where she couldn’t teach because she was married to a “transient,” i.e., a student, but earned her own degree in Colorado; then to Denver, where she taught third grade for three years; and finally to Salt Lake City in 1961, where she worked for the Granite School District until her retirement in 1993. She taught music at Central Junior High for three years and then requested to work in special education with the disabled. While working and raising two daughters, she earned an M.S. in special education from Utah State University, after which she was soon transferred to the district office where she developed the curriculum for special ed. A few years later she became Granite School District Director of Student Support Services with a staff of 500 and a budget of $30,000,000. She soon earned an Ed.D in public school administration in a new program at BYU, where she had the novel experience as a Unitarian of signing the student code and living in a dorm, but slipping off campus for a cup of coffee.

Upon retirement, she became a mediator privately and for court adjudicated divorce and family conflicts. She was a volunteer mediator for Juvenile Court. She served as adjunct faculty for special ed at the U., USU, and SLCC. She has served as chair of the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities and serves as a member of the East Valley Advisory Board for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. As a self-professed political junkie, she served as Voter Service Chair for the League of Women Voters, arranging debates and preparing voter guides and finding it hard to remain nonpartisan, and as the Utah representative for the Children’s Advocacy Network, advocating to state and federal legislators for both gifted and disabled youth and adults.

There is a lovely tribute to Joyce published on-line at: https://www.jbarnesmemorial.com/

Most of this biographical information was written by Earl Wunderli

Octobers Past

This issue looks back to Octobers in 2015, 2010, and 1995

Debating the Constitution in Philadelphia

October 2015

Would our Constitution have been written in 1787 if Institutional Slavery did not exist?

Professor Jeremy Pope from the Political Science Department of BYU presented our Founders Day lecture. He started by discussing George Washington’s “first farewell” which was titled Circular to the States, the third sentence reads, “if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.” In the end the loose federation of the states proved to be too little to guarantee the safety and prosperity of group so a Constitutional Convention was convened. This was not an easy thing to do, why did they establish the government that they did? On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that “…it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several States be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.”

Some of the main players included William Paterson of New Jersey who was a successful advocate for the rights of the small states. James Wilson from Pennsylvania advocated a strong and independently elective executive. Roger Sherman from Connecticut who had helped with the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, proposed the Great Compromise. Gouverneur Morris from Pennsylvania did the actual drafting of the constitution. Alexander Hamilton was a powerful friend of stronger government. George Mason from Virginia, while a major player, did not sign the final document as it lacked a bill of rights. John Rutledge from South Carolina strongly defended slavery at the convention. Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, while his age prevented as much participation as some, endorsed the constitution and backed it with his prestige. George Washington left retirement to risk his reputation on the enterprise. He only made two speeches, but he presided over the convention and consistently supported the document.

Socializing was an important aspect of getting the document completed. The delegates spent a lot of time at taverns and eating together. An actual surviving bill from City Tavern shows that they ordered about two and a quarter containers of alcohol per delegate for one evening; wines, claret, whiskey, porter, hard cider, beer, and alcoholic punch were all listed. These conversations were less formal than the ones in Constitution Hall but were the source of many significant compromises. Among the significant agreements were Proportional Representation, Federalism, and Executive Independence. There were roughly three groups of states: the (physically) Small States which wanted little if any reform but favored a stronger executive. The Deep South, who wanted to change federalism and representation to favor slave-holding states, but did not want to make a powerful executive. Finally the Core Reform States who wanted to change everything, but they didn’t all agree on exactly how and what.

They set an example that could help us today. Slavery was of paramount importance, much that is good in the Constitution came about because of the slave interest. The founders did NOT agree on everything but they were able to compromise and forge one of the greatest political documents in history. Two statements from participants illustrate this:

“On the whole sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.”

—Benjamin Franklin

“It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, bytheir conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”

—Alexander Hamilton

The most thought provoking and challenging concept of this lecture was that without slavery the Constitution likely would not have been written. It is ironic indeed that so much good could be spawned by something as heinous and revolting as slavery.

—Wayne Wilson

Women’s Influence in Humanism and Society

October 2010

Flo Wineriter

Beverley Earls said, “One day I would like to write a book about the contributions humanist women have made not only to humanism but to modern civilization.” Those words of Ms. Earles, professor of Religious Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand inspired me to prepare this presentation tonight.

I spent the summer thinking, reading, and writing about the women in the humanist movement and the influence they have had in expanding public knowledge about our philosophy and the impact they have made on the advancements improving our lives and our society. Of the hundreds of women who have made significant contributions I have chosen fourteen to share their influence with you.

First, I would like to mention that my LDS excommunication hearing was a personal experience of how women and children have been treated as second class citizens. The presiding male at the hearing asked me if I wanted my wife and children included in my excommunication? I replied, “No, I cannot speak for my wife and children.”

Dora Russell, a British humanist and the second wife of philosopher Bertrand Russell, wrote, “At conferences of humanist organizations one notices that the head table often bears a remarkable resemblance to the Politburo, all males within a certain age group.” She went on to say, “Something that women have to say is being left out of everything in the world and there can be no humanist world without it.” BBC broadcast a television documentary naming her as one of the six great women of our century.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, cofounder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has authored several books exposing sexual abuse of children by religious leaders. In 1977 she let a protest against praying at the University of Wisconsin graduation ceremony. She has an unceasing devotion to recording the convictions of women who have challenged the efforts of religions to dominate society.

Mary Wellstonecraft (1759-1797) was a free thinking deist and the first influential women to write about the need for gender equality and recognizing reason and rationality as the highest human virtue. She published two major books that influenced the struggle for human equal rights.

Frances Wright (1795-1852) Pioneered anti-slavery and was an early advocate of free public schools. The clergy of her day portrayed her as “The red hot harlot of infidelity, a bold blasphemer, and a voluptuous preacher of licentiousness.”

Margret Knight (1903-1983) authored three books on humanism and delivered humanist lectures on BBC. During her broadcast she said, “…there is no ground for the common claim that Christianity is the source of all that is best in our culture. The true roots of our civilization lie in the classical Greece and Rome.” Following her broadcast a London newspaper wrote, “Woman psychologist makes remarkable radio attack on religion for children.” Another British newspaper wrote: “Don’t let this woman fool you. She looks just like the typical housewife; cool, comfortable, harmless. But Mrs. Margaret Knight is a menace, a dangerous woman. Make no mistake about that.”

Vashti McCollum, it was her lawsuit to stop religious instruction on public school property that led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1948 to halt religious indoctrination in public schools.

Mary Morain co-authored Humanism as the Next Step in 1988, a book that clarifies the humanist philosophy that there is intrinsic, inalienable value in every human being. She was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association in 1994.

Lisa Kalverlage, immigrated to the United States from Germany after World War Two with a mission to bring greater understanding of the horrors of wars. In 1966 she participated in an anti-Vietnam war demonstration, was arrested and sentenced to 90-days in jail. She is currently a leader of the humanist chapter in San Jose, California.

Barbara Wooten, British Feminist humanist, vocal opponent of Christianity and Communism, refers to both as two of the greatest superstitions of the western world.

Margret Sanger, humanist leader credited with making a major contribution to the sexual freedom of women. She filed the lawsuit that led to the overturning of the Comstock laws that give women the right to birth control information. She was recognized as “Women of the Century” in 1966.

Sonia Johnson, following her excommunication from the Mormon church for her leadership role in supporting the Equal Rights Amendment was asked by a reporter if she had acquired any non-Mormon habits she replied, “Yes, I have acquired the habit of free thought.”

Barbara Walker, Honored by the AHA as “Humanist Heroine of the Year” 1973. In her acceptance speech said, “Violence can be controlled by bringing us all down to earth in the practice of enlightened humanism.”

Bette Chambers, was a board member of the American Humanist Association for several years and served at President of Board during a crucial period of turmoil. Her leadership calmed the dissension, restored a respectful atmosphere, and began a period of healthy membership growth.

The examples of feminist humanist leaders I have shared with you tonight illustrate the significant contributions women have made to the social and cultural progress of society in general, the humanist movement in particular, and the validity of the world wide feminist movement.

—Flo Wineriter

Fables, Fantasies, and Fairy-tales

October 1995

So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the middle of the procession right through the streets of his capital city. And all the people standing by and those at the window cried out, “Oh, how beautiful are our Emperor’s new clothes! What a magnificent train. And how gracefully the scarf hangs!” In fact, no one would admit that he could not see these clothes which everyone seemed to think so beautiful for fear he would be called a simpleton or unfit for office.

Never before had any of the Emperor’s clothes caused so much excitement as these.

“But the Emperor has nothing on at all!” said a little child.

“The child tells the truth,” said the father.

And so it was that what the child said was whispered from one to another until all knew and they cried out altogether, “BUT HE HAS NOTHING ON AT ALL!

The Emperor felt very silly, for he knew that the people were right, but he thought, “The procession has started and it must go on now!”

Nancy Fletcher

Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, is as appealing and applicable today as it was in Denmark in the 1850’s. Somehow, we mortals get a sense of satisfaction seeing an arrogant leader exposed as a result of his own vanity.

Andersen had a knack for seeing through people and getting to the heart of matters, and his talent is reflected in his children’s stories, many of which teach valuable lessons that when learned early are able to stay as habits of the heart throughout life. For example, in the Emperor’s tale, he unveils the human susceptibility to be easily deceived, and our predisposition to social conformity. If we learn to recognize our inclinations early in life, then we will be able to catch and correct them sooner.

Andersen delightfully presents the innocence of a child as being an essential human quality for telling the truth. If we can learn to always reserve part of “our child within” for those times when we need to be open and honest, then perhaps we’d have a bit more integrity.

Another lesson pertains to the Emperor’s denial of being caught unattired, and proceeding on as if nothing had happened. We admire him for trying to maintain his dignity, but his facade is a reminder of some leaders today who refuse to face the truth out of fear, so they continue on with their own procession of myopic myths in order to maintain their positions of power and authority. From this we can learn to have periodic “reality checks” to see if we want to be part of a mythological problem, or be part of a different kind of solution.

What is it that attracts people of all ages to fables, fantasies, and fairytales? Feminist author Clarissa Estes believes, “Back in the recesses of our mind is a secret desire for life to arrange itself as a fairytale.” That’s probably why the movie, Sleepless in Seattle, became so popular. Stories with happy endings meet a human need–the need for hope, and the need to feel that the world can sometimes be a congenial place where everything works out well. Good stories also provide an indirect way to learn some of life’s lessons, because when we identify with certain characters, we get to discover our own truths, which can lead to positive changes. Reading tales can also compensate for our particular feelings of inadequacy and make us feel whole. We tend to fill in our own gaps with the good qualities of story characters when we identify with them. Who couldn’t identify with the charming spunk of Ann of Green Gables, or the unwavering integrity of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Reading tales with challenges and noble ideas can also have a curative effect on us.

“Stories are the simplest and most accessible ingredient for healing.” (Estes) By vicariously stepping into a story character’s role, there’s a possibility of curing our own ailments, because we gain insight on how to change our own behavior. In a sense, reading can become “bibliotherapy.” Whether its learning to be more assertive, to control one’s temper, or to show respect for people’s feelings, we can still change our behavior.

Joseph Campbell, renowned professor of mythology, believed stories offer people of all ages models for living a good life, but that the models must be meaningful to have any positive effect. He felt our present moral order had to catch up with the moral necessities of life in the here and now. “The old time religion belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe. We need myths that will identify the individual not with his local group, but with the planet.” A good myth, or story, then, must not be provincial in nature, such as reflected in the belief of being “one of the chosen people,” or belonging to the “one and only true church” but must speak to the unity of all people and the wellness of the earth. The tales can be old or new, just so the plots have unifying motives and/or a global message.

Without developing an active imagination and hopeful fantasies, people of all ages might not have the strength to meet the dragons of life. “Good tales give our anxieties form and show us the ways to overcome our monsters. If our fear of being devoured takes the tangible form of a witch, it can be gotten rid of by burning her in the oven,” said child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. In other words, a child can learn to deal with the mean-spirited people in life by symbolically shutting them away until he or she can learn, through experience, more and productive ways to deal with troublesome characters.

Fairytales and other stories bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. “Before a child can come to grips with reality, he must have some frame of reference to evaluate it.” (Bettelheim) Good books speak to a child’s mind, and in such a way he or she can understand. Stories offer beneficial emotional lessons which can shape brain circuits in more productive ways. Research also verifies that “adult brain circuits can change just as well as children’s.” (Daniel Goleman, 1995)

Childhood is especially a time when fantasies need to be nurtured because that’s when the creative venture begins. It’s also a time when life can be overpowering for some little ones. Good stories can be a respite for tenuous circumstances because they help reassure a child about a just and happy outcome. For example, a selfish Emperor (who might represent father) is publicly humbled; the wicked witch (mother?) gets shoved into an oven; The Wizard of Oz (an authority figure) is exposed as a charlatan; the ugly duckling (an insecure child) turns out to be attractive; and the sky in Chicken Little’s scary world really can’t fall.

Good tales can help people of all ages become mentally healthier and happier human beings, but childhood is the ideal time to begin telling or reading stories because that’s the time when children learn the most. Caregivers can facilitate the process early by creating an emotionally stable foundation which includes choosing good stories, and by asking the right questions about the stories. Bettelheim said, “Asking , ‘Is it true?’ is not as important as wondering with a child, ‘Do you think the monster was good or was he wicked?” This type of questioning will promote self-discovery and self-confidence. Leisurely helping children to think for themselves will eventually guide them toward a sense of reality and a mature adulthood which just might help them to “live happily ever after” or at least reasonably so.

—Nancy Moore

Editor’s Note: Nancy Moore was one of our chapter’s early leaders. Much of what our chapter is, is a direct result of her efforts and influence.