Archives for May 2017

Gus Warr (seen here in cowboy hat), wild horse and burro program manager for BLM Utah, fields questions from the general public and wild horse enthusiasts during a public tour of the Despain Ranch, a privately-owned, BLM-contracted off-range corral facility in Axtell.


BLM offers tour of Axtell off-range wild horse corals, official says horse adoptions on rise


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



AXTELL—After a nearly 83-percent drop in the number of wild-horse adoptions, the Bureau of Land Management’s horse adoption program is beginning to pick up again in Utah, says the BLM’s top man overseeing the program.

And that’s a good thing, considering the drastic 175-percent overpopulation of wild horses on BLM land, said Gus Warr, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program manager, when he spoke during a public tour of the Despain Ranch on April 19.

The Despain Ranch is one of two in Sanpete that care for wild horses rounded up on BLM land. Warr spoke there and fielded questions from the public and wild-horse enthusiasts, who had been invited to tour the privately-owned, BLM-contracted facility.

“This is a great addition to the community here,” Warr said. “It does a great service to the BLM to have this facility available.”

The Axtell off-range corals are owned by the Despain family and contracted by the BLM to hold wild horses and burros gathered from the open range, such as those gathered during the recent Sulphur Herd Management Area gather. The facility holds horses gathered from all across the nation says Warr.

The other Sanpete facility that contracts with the BLM to hold wild horses—Tate Farms just north of Fountain Green—has a different purpose.

“Horses that go to Fountain Green are going to live their lives there forever,” Warr said. “They are not going to be adopted. It’s kind of like a sanctuary or a retirement home for horses.”

Despain Ranch, he said, “is for short-term corralling mostly, and we hope that the horses are only here a limited amount of time and then go off to adoptions.

Such adoptions had seen quite a decline in the several years. At the same time, there was a “huge” issue with overpopulation on the range and it was drastically affecting the living conditions of the wild horses that currently survive there.

“When we gathered horses this winter there were so many in such poor condition from the overpopulation problems that many could barely be driven a mile before they would just shut down,” Warr said. “Horses were literally dying during the gather because the overpopulation had caused a lack of forage and poor body condition. It’s not everywhere, but there are really some key areas where we have a very big problem.”

Warr says the current estimated population survey for Utah wild horses was 5500 and the range can only support 2000.

When questioned by a tour attendee why the state couldn’t handle a larger population, Warr told them that he regularly gets asked that question.

Warr  answered, “When I get asked that, I have to say ‘you weren’t out there like I was, seeing horses die on the range during winter from these issues that stem from overpopulation.”

Moritz asked Warr what his thoughts were on the current wild horse and burro adoption levels. Warr says they had gone from 18,000 a year, 15 years ago, to 3,000 a year in current times, but the adoption rates were beginning to rise again.

“They are going up,” Warr said. “Thanks in part to efforts by organizations such as the Mustang Heritage Foundation. We are projecting the adoption rate could be as high as 4,000 this year.”

Wild horses being held in the Axtell based, BLM-contracted Despain Ranch. The horses are meant to be kept at the facility on a short-term basis until they are adopted from the BLM.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation sponsors the Extreme Mustang Makeover, in which trainers have 100 days to tame a wild mustang to compete in events across 10 U.S. cities.

Attending the tour was Gabriele Moritz, of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, a member of the Northern Colorado Mustang Riders (not affiliated with the Mustang Heritage Foundation) and the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Partners. Moritz said she has seven mustangs, once of which she trained and competed in the 2011 Extreme Mustang Makeover.

Moritz posed a question to Warr, asking him why the BLM didn’t use drones to survey wild horses on the range, rather than larger and more disruptive manned helicopters.

Warr said the BLM was experimenting with drones and had seen some success in California, but because non-military drones are limited in range and battery capacity, they are not well-suited to the task.

“They just can’t go the distance right now,” Warr said, “but we’ll get there.”

Warr also said drones are not large or loud enough to cause the horses to move around, but such motion allows the BLM to perform more accurate surveying and head counts.

Moritz asked Warr what was the longest a horse had been kept in the Axtell corrals. Warr replied that, although they try to move them on to adoption as quickly as possible, there are some horses in the Axtell corrals that have been here since the BLM contract began with the Despain Ranch in July 2015.

“Do you think the new political changes in the country will affect the BLM horse program,” Moritz asked Warr? Warr answered that he had not seen any impact yet, but he couldn’t speculate on what was in the future.

“I’m not expecting a major change,” Warr said. “I am not really sure where it would begin, but it would be great if we could get more funding, more resources and more adoptions happening.”

Mt. Pleasant raises police department wages, sewer rates


James Tilson

Staff writer



MT. PLEASANT—Mt. Pleasant officials are grinding through financial issues that they (and residents) may find tough to deal with in coming weeks as they prepare the fiscal 2018 city budget.

The council met last week following its regular council meeting and wrestled with a potential city budget shortfall. That raised questions about how large a pay increase, if any, the city’s police should receive and just how the city should respond to the fact that it has let residents off the hook for years when it comes to sewer rates.

At meeting’s start, the tentative city budget for next year showed a $100,000 shortfall.

But with whittling and adjusting, the shortfall was pretty much balanced out.

However, Mayor David Blackham wanted about $30,000 to pay for a $2-per-hour wage raise for all staff in the Police Department.

Councilman Kevin Stallings questioned why the Police Department should receive pay raises across the board. He noted that such a move could raise contention among city departments over unequal treatment.

The mayor argued that the raise was justified. He said employees in every other department got incremental raises that were automatic whenever they achieved new certifications. The Police Department had no such certifications and had not had any kind of raise in years, he said.

Stallings was not swayed. He pointed out that with a $100,000 shortfall going in to the new budget, such a raise was hard to justify. With salaries in excess of $20 an hour, Stallings said, police were being paid pretty well compared to most of the county.

But more than that, “Raises should be based on merit, not the entire force at the same time,” Stallings said. He argued merit-pay decisions should be made at the department level, to be reviewed by the council, not imposed from the top down.

Monte Bona, who no longer sits on the council but who, after many years as a councilman, advises on city matters, suggested the city give a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) raise across the board, so as to make the raise less arbitrary.

Stallings, however, insisted that department chiefs must determine levels of pay based on merit.

Blackham then suggested, and the council agreed, that the police department would get a 4-percent COLA raise, rather than the $2-per-hour raise, and the department chief would report to the council as to whether any other raises were merited.

A financial matter that will affect all residents, rather than just a few city employees, is a proposed increase in residential sewer rates—and a hefty one at that.

After much discussion, the council decided to propose a 5-percent increase in sewer rates every year. But in the first year, in order to start bringing rates in line, the council proposed to raise the base rate $6.50 per month. That translates to a 40 percent increase for 2017-18.

Sam Draper, the city public utilities supervisor, told the council Mt. Pleasant sewer rates were the lowest in the county by far and needed to be increased immediately.

Mt. Pleasant charges a base rate of $10.50 per month, while the average for other municipalities in the county is $20 to $25 per month, Draper said. He told the council the city’s base rate should immediately be increased $5 per month, with an inflationary hike every year after that.

Councilman Stallings suggested making up the gap immediately. “If Mt. Pleasant is so far behind, why not catch up?” he asked.

Draper answered he wasn’t comfortable with that big a raise all at once. And Mayor Blackham argued forcefully that such a large raise would have a devastating effect on citizens who were on fixed incomes.

City Treasurer Dave Oxman argued that the projected budget deficit would justify an even larger increase; the $5 raise would only bring the budget to break-even.

Stallings suggested adding $6.50 to the base rate, which would bring it to $17, and implementing the inflationary raise yearly thereafter.

Blackham said the council could propose a rate change at the meeting and then schedule public hearings to begin the rate-increase process.

Bona told the council that spending money on the city’s infrastructure was imperative.

“Having been on the council for 20 years, [I can tell you] the town’s infrastructure is in trouble. This (the public hearing) will be the beginning of a dialog with the citizens, to let them know what is coming.”

Stallings moved that the rate proposed rate change should be $6.50, with a 10-percent yearly increase. He also proposed an increase in the overage rate.

Still concerned with people on fixed incomes, Blackham argued that the yearly increase should only be 3 percent. After discussion, the council agreed on the 5-percent yearly increase.

Beginning on Monday, May 2, and lasting until Tuesday, May 9, military helicopters like this one could be a common sight locally as the Utah National Guard’s 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion conducts yearly training missions in Sanpete and Juab counties.


Guardsmen training mission coming to Sanpete, Juab counties this week


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



More than 300 Utah National Guardsmen are participating in a training mission in Sanpete and Juab counties this week.

Beginning on Monday, May 2, the 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion of the Utah National Guard descended on Central Utah to undergo required yearly training which will last until next week.

Utah National Guard Maj. Jeremy Tannahill says Sanpete and Juab were chosen for the training mission location because the areas were well-suited for the training mission objectives— although he said he was not at liberty to divulge those objectives.

The 2-211th is an aviation unit equipped with UH-60 Black Hawk and UH-72 Lakota helicopters. The Battalion has its base in West Jordan, but for the duration of the training mission it will be based at the Nephi City, Mt. Pleasant and the Manti-Ephraim airports.

There will be roughly 350 soldiers and officers, 80 vehicles and eight aircraft participating in the training.

The soldiers and officers from the 2-211th Battalion will perform training missions such as troop movement, medical evaluation, ground and air refueling, and equipment maintenance. Soldiers will be training on U.S Forest Service land in both counties.

According to Tannahill, local law enforcement and search and rescue agencies will be able to participate with the National Guard pilots, crew chiefs and medics to improve their communications and capabilities as part of the training.

The 2-211th has invited the public to visit each of the three airports on Monday, May 8, from 2-6 p.m. to get a look at the Utah National Guard equipment and operations.

“We want to be able to show the community what we have, and what we are out there with,” Tannahill said.

If you have questions, please contact Tannahill at 801-834-1242, or Ileen Kennedy at 801-403-7655.

President Gary Carlston introduces Bryce Sorensen of Gunnison, the valedictorian, and Jessica Guyman Cox of Huntington, the salutatorian.


Speakers urge graduates to decide what they want to become


Suzanne Dean




EPHRAIM—Two graduates from Central Utah were honored at Snow College commencement last week, one as valedictorian and one as salutatorian of the Class of 2017.

Bryce Sorensen, son of Wayne and Ann Sorensen of Centerfield, an agriculture major, was the valedictorian.

The salutatorian was Jessica Guymon Cox, daughter of Jeff and Joyce Guymon of Huntington, Emery County. Her husband, Cory Cox, joined her on the front platform.

“I’m proud to be representing Sanpete County,” Sorensen said in his valedictory speech.

He noted that five of the past six valedictorians at the college have been from Sanpete County, and three of those five have been from his home, the Gunnison Valley.

“Somewhere deep inside of you, you know what you want to become,” Sorensen told the graduates. Then he used a metaphor from farming to suggest what they needed to do to reach their potential.

He said the land on his family’s farm is laced with rocks. “Sometimes I wondered if we were growing crops or rocks,” he said.

Every year, one of his jobs was to pick up rocks, because if they weren’t removed, seeds sowed in the ground would not be able to sprout.

“The rocks represent the things you need to remove from your life to become the best you can be. The seeds are what you want to become,” he said.

“We all have a lot of potential in front of us, a lot of rocks to pluck and a lot of seeds to plant.”

Cox, the salutatorian, focused on “embracing new and daunting challenges.”

“I’m sure you had challenges” at Snow College, she told graduates. “(But) you’ve done it. You made it this far. Congratulations.”

But, she said, “The true test in living is whether we embrace what we have learned and continue to stretch…Are you prepared to become a lifelong learner and dreamer?”

She recounted a story told by Scott Wyatt, former Snow College president and now president of Southern Utah University.

As a boy, his father took him on a hike up a high mountain. When he started, he was excited, but as the hike got longer and his legs got tired, he got discouraged.

But his father broke the hike into smaller pieces by coaxing him to keep going to the next landmark, and then to the next, until he found himself standing on the ridge.

She advised graduates to break big goals and tasks into smaller pieces. “If fear or fatigue come to call…, those small goals will take you to the peak of those mountains,” she said.

“With hard work, perseverance and self-belief, there is no limit to what you can achieve.”



The MHS Greenpower team pictured at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum, back, from left, James Ray, Reid Olson, Bradon Owens and Kenyon Butler; front, from left, Jacob Johnson, Graysen Pierson, Ethan Larsen Alex Stevens (in driver’s seat), Katelyn Dickenson and Bryan Taylor. Photo courtesy of Tina Pierson

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Trever Trythall slides safely into third base on an RBI triple that gave Manti a 4-0 lead over ALA on Monday, May 1.

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Cort Olson backs the ball out of scoring position to work on spacing and passing in Manti’s blowout win over North Sevier on Tuesday, April 25. Olson had two goals in the win over the Wolves and three against North Sevier later in the week.


Manti soccer team coasts through final games to take first in region


Bob Bahlmann

Staff writer



MONROE—The Manti soccer team closed out regular season play with a pair of easy wins last week.

The Templars defeated North Sevier 7-0 on Tuesday, April 25, and then traveled to Monroe on Thursday, April 27, where they defeated South Sevier 7-1.

The wins earned Manti an 11-1 record and sole possession of first place to win the region championship.

Against North Sevier, the Templars got two goals each from Cort Olson and Daniel Frutos to go along with one each from Jorge Lemus, Noah Arnoldsen and Caleb Jensen, all in the first half.

Ahead 7-0 at the intermission, the Templars’ back-up players took the field while the starters moved to the practice field where they ran wind sprints. The second half was scoreless. Justin Bawden had the shutout for Manti.

In Monroe, the game was close at the half with Manti ahead 2-1. The Templars stepped it up a notch in the second 40 minutes to take the six-point win.

Olson had a hat trick, Frutos had a pair of goals, Lemus and Arnoldsen had one each.

Earning the region championship will give Manti home-field advantage for the first two games of the state tournament.

Wednesday this week saw Manti hosting the number four team from the 2A North region, Rowland Hall. The Winged Lions were 5-6-1 on the year. Results of that game were not available at press time.

A win in that game will set up another home game for Manti on Saturday with the winner of the game between American Leadership Academy and American Preparatory Academy.



Meg Larsen winds up to take a swing in Manti’s mercy-rule win over South Sevier on Tuesday, April 25. Larsen connected for a two RBI triple that started off the scoring for the Templars.



Manti softball headed to state championship tourney


Bob Bahlmann

Staff writer



KAMAS—It took a performance that was nearly record setting to do it, but the South Summit Wildcats shut out the Manti softball team 5-0 in the weather-delayed final regular season game of the year.

“Hannah (Peterson) was on fire,” said Manti coach Susan Hatch. “She had 16 strikeouts.” Peterson, the ace pitcher for the Wildcats was just three strikeouts short of the 2A state record of 19.

The disappointing loss, on Monday of this week, ends the regular season with Manti and South Summit tied at 8-2. The Wildcats will go into the state tournament as the number-one seed by virtue of their two wins over the Templars.

Last week, the Templars defeated South Sevier on Tuesday, April 25. Against the fifth-ranked Rams, the Templars jumped out to a five-run lead after the first inning. Meg Larsen hit a two-RBI triple and then came home on a homerun by Kiana Pogroszewski.

South Sevier narrowed the Templar lead with two runs in the third, and another in the top of the fourth, to make it 5-3 in Manti’s favor.

Manti scored another run, but then went two outs in a row.

Undaunted, the Templars found their bats and went on a nine-run, two-out rally to take a 12-run lead. The defense held and the game was called on the mercy rule after five innings.

Pogroszewski went the distance from the pitching circle for the win.

Manti will now have a week to prepare for the state tournament, which gets underway on Thursday, May 11, at the Spanish Fork softball complex.

Manti will take the field at 1:15 p.m. against either Parowan or Kanab. These two teams tied for third in the 2A South, and seeding will be determined by a coin toss.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Hatch scheduled a game against 5A Taylorsville for Tuesday, and is “hoping to pick up another game before state.”

Gunnison Bulldogs baseball team claims Region 15 crown


Matt Harris

Staff writer



GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley Bulldogs are your Region 15 baseball champions.

Gunnison baseball claimed the crown in a tight race last week, posting two wins, 3-2 and 3-0, in a doubleheader against Emery to keep them just ahead of Grand County in region standings with a 9-1 region record, 19-3 overall.

“It is all about the players on the team,” head coach Jared Anderson said. “They have really worked hard and put in the time to put them in this great spot going into the state playoffs. It is a huge compliment to these players to win the Region 15 title outright in what is a very tough region with some outstanding teams and fantastic pitching. They really have come together at the right time.”

In addition to a region title, Gunnison is earning respect at the state level, ranked No. 1 in 2A by Deseret News (No. 2 by MaxPreps), and ranked No. 15 in the state.

Emery, the third-place team in Region 15, was no less of a contender than Grand this year. The Bulldogs had their hands full with the talented squad.

In the first game on Friday, April 28, Gunnison managed a 2-0 lead by the third inning in what turned out to be a magnificent pitching battle.

In the fourth and fifth innings, the Spartans fought back with two runs of their own to even the score. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, senior Jaden Mayne smacked away a single homerun, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good after the Gunnison defense held off Emery in the final inning at home.

Senior Drew Hill pitched the majority of the game, striking out Emery’s batters eight times, to only one allowed hit. He was countered by Emery’s pitcher, who tossed 10 strikeouts in the spectacle.

In the second game that day, Gunnison went on the road and absolutely stifled the Spartans with defense. Mayne pitched the entire game and notched eight strikeouts, only allowing six hits.

While still struggling on offense, thanks to nine strikeouts courtesy of Emery’s pitching game, senior Kyle Peterson saved the Bulldogs with two single homeruns, winning the game.

“It was Gunnison’s pitching doing what they have done all year in keeping Emery’s bats intact and the offense coming mainly from the long ball,” Anderson said.

Hill currently leads the state in homeruns with eight, while Mayne is 7-0 as a pitcher. The Bulldogs’ spectacular record and region title gives them the No. 1 seed heading into the 2A playoffs, which begin this weekend with Gunnison facing off against the No. 4 seed of the 2A North Division. While it is not yet confirmed, standings indicate the likelihood of a first-round matchup against North Summit. Game time is this Saturday at 10 a.m.

“We are very excited, but now it is a new season as we move into the playoffs,” Anderson said, “so we need to stay sharp and hungry for the ultimate goal in the end that all teams set out to accomplish. We feel we are a team that can compete for a state title but we know there are other real good teams out there.”

Lady Bulldogs winning streak over, but team still in first going into region play


Matt Harris

Staff writer



GUNNISON—An unbelievable run of success hit a slight snag last week as the Lady Bulldogs saw their win streak snapped at 11 games.

Gunnison softball had an amazing game on both sides of the ball, being just slightly outdone by a tough Emery squad, 15-12, on Friday, April 28.

The loss is the first in region play for the Lady Bulldogs, who are 7-1 in region and 15-5 overall, good enough to retain first place in the 2A East. Prior to the Friday loss, the Lady Bulldogs dominated in a doubleheader against San Juan, 16-2 and 18-5, last Wednesday, April 26.

“It was tough losing to Emery,” head coach Tyson Brackett said. “We hit really good. Five homeruns and scoring 12 runs usually wins you a game. We played great on defense. We should rebound okay from the loss. A loss can make you refocus, so they aren’t always bad.”

Last Wednesday, Gunnison established itself as top dog in the region by manhandling San Juan, giving them solid victories over everyone in the 2A East at least once. In the first match of the doubleheader, the Lady Broncos got first on the board by scoring a run in the top of the first inning, but the Lady Bulldogs quickly made good friends with home plate, blowing out San Juan in five innings behind 20 total hits, five doubles, a triple and a homerun. The homer came from sophomore Halle Bjerregaard, who notched four RBI for the match.

If there was a mercy rule that could end a game after one inning, it would have applied to the second game between Gunnison and San Juan. The Lady Bulldogs’ hot hitting got even hotter, scoring a jaw-dropping 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning.

The Lady Broncos scored their five runs in the next two innings to try and a salvage the game, but to no avail. Gunnison crossed home plate six more times en route to the quick win. Eight doubles, one triple and a homerun from sophomore Emily Brackett resulted from 19 total hits for the team.

Then came Emery, looking to avenge a loss to Gunnison just the week prior. Gunnison still wouldn’t cool off at the plate, vamping it up even more, but Emery came ready for the onslaught. It was a thriller in Gunnison Valley, with both teams combining for nine home runs and 29 total hits.

Emery got the early lead, scoring two runs apiece in the first and second innings, while Gunnison got three in the bottom of the second to make it 4-3. At the bottom of the fourth, the Lady Bulldogs lit up, notching five scores for an 8-4 lead, and looked poised to take over the game. The Lady Spartans came back to life with a run of 11 scores in the fifth and sixth innings to run back ahead of Gunnison, 15-9. The Lady Bulldogs desperately tried to get the lead back in the final inning, but the fuel ran out right at the end with Gunnison conceding the loss.

Brackett led the team at the plate with two home runs and six RBIs, while Bjerregaard, senior Jerusha Miner and sophomore Paige King each homered as well. Emery’s Bailey Huggard kept pace singlehandedly with Gunnison with three homeruns and seven RBIs.

The single loss does not take Gunnison out of first place in region, however. Their season continues this week with several nonregion matchups. They were on the road Tuesday this week against Piute (score unavailable at press time), and now have their best chance to prove their worth in the state with a game today (Thursday) against South Summit, ranked No. 3 in 2A and leading the 2A Central region.

Garret Bolles, arguably the greatest Snow College success story ever, celebrated the beginning of his NFL career with his two greatest fans last Wednesday, Natalie and Kingston Bolles.


Former Snow lineman chosen in 20th draft pick by Denver Broncos


Matt Harris

Staff writer



PHILADELPHIA—Former Snow College offensive lineman Garret Bolles made his alma mater proud by being selected by the Denver Broncos with the 20th pick in the NFL draft last Wednesday, April 27, and he might just be the NFL “father of the year.”

Bolles, who spent a year with the University of Utah after two years as a Badger, gained collective adoration from football fans around the nation by arriving onstage to greet the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, while carrying his four-month old son, Kingston, against his massive chest. After taking the obligatory photo, Bolles hoisted the youngster high above his head, showing him off to a huge Philadelphia crowd.

“I love this little man,” Bolles told ESPN on live TV.

Bolles may very well be the greatest success story ever to play for Snow College. A checkered past full of adversity and personal struggle had many people telling him that he would never even graduate high school, much less play for a college football team. After being taken in by a generous LDS family, Bolles made his way through school and took his only shot by joining the Badgers.

Bolles would make the NJCAA All-America team twice before committing to play for the Utah Utes last season. His rough play and strong presence as a left tackle turned heads of NFL scouts, and he got even more attention with a spectacular showing at the NFL Draft Combine.

Since his drafting, Bolles has been filled with thanks to the Broncos organization, and has also publicly thanked his college coaches and mentors that helped him get to where he is now.   Bolles joins a growing number of Snow College football stars making it into the NFL.

Bolles was unavailable for comment.

Mary Pipes, called as a LDS church services missionary with the church’s 12-step addiction recovery program, sits in the circle of chairs where her and her fellow missionaries Kris Jorgensen and Milisa Boorman help addicts find hope every Wednesday. Pipes has been involved with the program for nine years, five of which have been serving as a missionary,


LDS 12-step program offers help for addicts and families


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



MANTI—”There is hope here.”

That’s what Mary Pipes will tell you if you ask her what you will find at the LDS 12-step meetings she organizes alongside Kris Jorgensen and Milisa Boorman. The trio are local LDS missionaries called to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program that exists as part of LDS Family Services.

The LDS church bases their 12-step program closely on the one made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous but has adapted it to include the doctrine and principles of the Mormon religion.

“The biggest difference between AA and us is that they talk about a ‘Higher Power’ and we call him God,” Pipes said. “The principles in it are very similar. We want to help people realize why they do what they do and that addiction is really only a symptom of a bigger problem. If we can get to the basis of the problem, we can usually take care of the symptom as well, which is whatever their ‘drug of choice’ happens to be.”

Pipes was introduced to the program nine years ago by invitation. Both addicts and family members of addicts are encouraged to attend LDS 12-step meetings and, as the daughter of an alcoholic, Pipes says she was no stranger to the negative impacts of addiction. When she showed up, she thought, “Oh my gosh, I am not alone in this.”

“When I started coming years ago, I learned more about me than I did anyone else,” she says. “As the daughter of an addict I learned a lot about addiction, and the maladaptive coping skills family members of addicts use to deal with the problem.”

Pipes says the LDS Addiction Recovery Program taught her many things, including that those very same coping skills used to deal with addicted family members often ends up just enabling the addict.

After being involved with the group for four years, Pipes was called as a church service missionary with the program. She has been a missionary with the program for five years now.

Pipes says over the years she has seen hundreds of people come and go through the program.

“Sometimes they come on their own or are encouraged by a family member or bishop,” she says. “We don’t care how they end up here as long as they come.”

Even though sometimes it’s the influence of family members that gets an addict to 12-step initially, Pipes says the most rewarding part of helping others through the steps is seeing the light come on in their eyes as they realize the recovery process is for themselves, and not for their spouse, children or parents.

“When they finally realize they are worth it,” she said, “that is so wonderful to witness.”

The religious aspect of LDS 12-step is a major component of the program, Pipes says, and one of the single biggest distinguishing factors it has from non-denominational 12-step programs.

“We talk about the atonement of Jesus Christ,” Pipes says. “We believe that is not only for your sins but any sadness or sorrow or sickness you’re experiencing.”

Pipes says they also read scriptures from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. She says most of the people who come are LDS or come from an LDS background, but all are welcome.

“Anyone can come, and we appreciate what they bring to the table,” Pipes says. “We welcome their point of view. You can also just sit and listen if you feel more comfortable that way, but you do not have to be LDS.”

Pipes says anyone who comes to the meeting will find love, acceptance and understanding, but they will not find judgment.

“I would venture to say that there is not one family who has not been touched by addiction,” she said. “A lot of people come and say ‘I am not an addict, I just can’t stop.’ We want to give them the tools they need to climb out of the hole they are in, that they might never be able to get out of alone.”

More than anything, Pipes says she wants to emphasize that there is hope for addicts and, if they truly want to, they can find it there.

Those who wish to attend a LDS 12-step meeting can meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Manti LDS Seminary building at 190 West 500 North. There is also a meeting in Gunnison on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the seminary building at 35 E. 600 South. Another meeting is held at the Ephraim Young Single Adult First Stake Center (51 N. 100 East) on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., or the Young Single Adult Ward Building (115 E. 200 South) on Thursdays at 7 p.m. People in northern Sanpete can attend LDS 12-step on Thursdays at 7:30 the Mt. Pleasant LDS Seminary building at 280 E. 700 South.

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