Born and raised in rural southeastern Idaho in a town founded by my Mormon ancestors, I spent the first 25 years of my life living in the heart of “Mormondom.” After a life of deep, zealous commitment to Mormonism, I left my home for law school in Washington, D.C., and was airdropped into a world starkly different from the one I had been raised in. This prompted a decade-long shift in my perspective on faith, society, and the treatment of others.
After spending three miserable years as a litigator in a “BigLaw” firm in Washington, D.C., I did the unthinkable and attempted a career in academia. Today, I am an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where I teach political philosophy and constitutional law. I have a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. I write and teach on tolerance, the limits of freedom of religion, and theories of justice.
My blog/newsletter, Just a Thawt, as the first entry explains, is a place to deal with the Big Chill: that self-censoring tyrant in all of us that says, “Don’t speak until you’ve read enough/done enough/been enough.” I, like so many people, have been waiting around my entire life for a magic moment when I’ve read all “the literature,” cited all “the sources,” sat through all “the lectures,” and appeased all “the peers.” But time is slipping away quickly, and waiting for special permission means that one could be dead and buried with many unspoken thoughts.
I have spent enough of my life, as Christopher Hitchens eloquently put it, living with “the fear of freedom, the wish to be slaves, the wish to be told what to do.” I’ve had enough of orthodoxies and dogmas. In 2023, I will be releasing my first book, To Hell with Heaven: An Introduction to Apatheism. It is a topic I will discuss a lot here and in whatever media I can use (follow me on TikTok or Instagram for more). But beyond that specific topic, my writing is an attempt to do better with the time I have left. For my part, I mean to thaw out the Big Chill in my life with thoughts. Thawts, if you will.
Roll your eyes all you want at the word. I was a Mormon missionary once – I know all too well how to turn ridicule into energy. 😉