I am saddened and disturbed by the massive wage inequities we see in Utah county.

I am not talking of gender or anything like that, I am speaking of the massive difference in what employers are willing to pay skilled, educated individuals, versus nearby states, or even nearby counties.

We see very little difference in cost of living compared to our neighboring states, but here in Utah County, the wages for the same employ are much less, even than the state average. I attribute this to the religious culture prevalent in Utah county.

I am not speaking of the predominant faith. I have absolutely no problem there. I am speaking of the culture that has sprung up around it, and has little or nothing to do with the tenets of said faith.

Religious cultures, as a general rule, take the teachings of a religion and twist them to the logical extreme. Case in point: pay inequity in Utah county. The predominant faith teaches to be frugal, to be careful with your money. There is absolutely no negativity in this concept. Indeed, we should all be more careful with our spending habits.

But the religious culture takes it several steps further, stating that you should "live within your means," even if it means that this is accomplished at someone else's expense. The culture encourages one to be a "cheap skate," which is being incredibly careful with your own money, whilst not caring about anyone or anything else in the doing.

I cannot count the number of times that I have heard local business people who profess to be upstanding adherents of the local predominant faith justify unethical or harmful business practices with the phrase "it's just business." Really? Check your Temple Recommend at the door, as one should not be able to honestly answer the third question asked to receive this document: "Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man"? This includes business.

I have run and owned several businesses. I understand how difficult business can be. If you, as a business owner or employer, feel a need to keep your own bottom line as plentiful as possible at the expense of your people, you are part of the problem.

Pay what your people are worth, and you will rarely if ever be disappointed. If you are unable to tighten your belt in any other fashion than payroll, be honest. You are just being lazy, and should consider whether or not you should be running a business at all.

— Beorn Tordensjold, Provo

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