First to Worst. Utah’s ranking collapses  from 1st to 13th.

 A mimeme or meme is Greek  word for something imitated, like applying a sports term such as ‘First to worst’ to life. This book cover From First to Worst was about New York baseball in the 1970s.


Fall! Its that time of year.  Crispy mornings.   Even before School starts,  we have weekly football rankings.  Then  Columbus day,  next Halloween,  on to Thanksgiving, and  more weekly football rankings thru New Year’s Day.   One hundred and twenty five teams play in sixty games a week, and the media reports the rankings.   You want your team in the top quintile, top 25, to be noticed.   You lose, you go down, you win, you go up.   Rankings matter for selling tickets at the stadium. Rankings matter for getting televised games and money. Rankings matter for recruiting high school seniors and JUCO transfers. Rankings matter to College Presidents for alumni giving and support. Rankings matter to coaches for keeping their jobs.  Good Rankings give prestige, or  poor Rankings take it away. Rankings have a  history for over a century, telling which teams have consistent success, or not.

But football rankings are not a matter of life and death.  Nor basketball, nor baseball,  nor other sports rankings. 

Some Rankings are a matter of life and death.  Did you know the Federal government has state rankings for deaths?  Utah was ranked first, with the lowest death ranking per capita, after the 1990 census. The flip side of lowest death rate is longest life expectancy.  Even before the 1990 census, Utah ranked in the top quintile after every census that ranked states’ deaths, or best life expectancy.  In 2017, the Feds ranked Utah 13th, a drop of 12 Rankings, the worse performance of any state.  From first to worse.

You can read details in the under the series on life expectancy. Part One 1995-2017 ranks fo UTopiAH’s Health by United Health Foundation with data from Center for Disease Control.

Various leaders have taken notice of life expectancy. Life expectancy and death rates have been noted by the following authors in 32 articles posted on the  

 Elder Quentin L. Cook’s “The Gospel and The Good Life”, BYU Devotional Dec 18, 2015,  Liahona 2017,  ‘’we have reached ‘unprecedented … life expectancy.’’’

The said “Church members have a life expectancy eight to 11 years longer…’’

President, Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign 2001. “When I was born, the life expectancy in the United States was fifty years.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley Ensign 1999. average life expectancy of a man or woman in the United States and other Western countries was 50 years.

President. Gordon B. Hinckley, Adapted a 5 March 1994 address given to the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Brigham Young University Management Society. “When I was born, the life expectancy in the United States was 50 years. Is it not a thing of wonder that 25 years have been added to the average life span during this time?”

President, Gordon B. Hinckley,  in the Ensign 1992.We live longer to enjoy these things. When I was born, the life expectancy in the United States was fifty years.”

Second Counselor in the First Presidency, James E. Faust, Liahona 2000,” life expectancy worldwide has risen to 64 years.8”  New York Times 2000 Almanac (1999), 484.

William T. Stephenson, MD, Kansas City Cancer Center, Kansas City, Missouri. Ensign 2008. “Life expectancy for Latter-day Saint males living in Utah is 7.3 years longer than their non-LDS counterparts.”

Elder F. Enzio Busche, Seventy. Ensign expectancy rates in Germany are not rising.”

Hugo Miza. Liahona 2004. “In my tribe, life expectancy for a man is 48 years.

First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, Joy F. Evans,, Ensign 1987. “Today there are sisters in many places living in poverty* with infant mortality high.”

 Elizabeth VanDenBergh. Religion and the Abundant Life. Ensign 1994. “Death rates for this [Latter-day Saints] group of active members of the Church are among the lowest ever reported: 72 percent fewer deaths than national averages for males. * decreased death rates of Latter-day Saints,  * comparing death rates for Latter-day Saints with national death rates from 1980 to 1987,  *Death rates for Latter-day Saint females were approximately 35 percent lower.  * Latter-day Saints still had significantly lower rates of death due to cancer * lifespan of this Latter-day Saint male group seven years longer than the highest life expectancy of any of the industrialized nations.”

Welfare Services Suggestions on Staying Healthy:  Liahona 1981. “Vital statistics of the United States have shown people from Utah to have the lowest overall mortality rates. * Utah has been the lowest or second lowest in the United States for heart attacks and cancer since 1950.* Using * death certificates for the State of Utah * very low rates of heart disease and cancer * people from Utah * Latter-day Saints in Utah a longer life expectancy* increased life expectancy * Latter-day Saints live longer.”

Gerry Avant.. Liahona 1983. Mormons in Utah, “where about 70 percent of the population is LDS, is approximately 65 percent below the rest of the United States. * where about 70 percent of the population is LDS, is approximately 65 percent below the rest of the United States. Word of Wisdom articles courtesy of Church News.”

Other articles that refer to life expectancy, longevity, life span, or infant mortality are as follows:

Sterling W. Sill, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, Keep the Commandments  Ensign 1973.

Gary Hansen. Growing Older: Everyone’s Challenge, Ensign 1973.

Jean Hedengren Moultrie, Of Walkers, Wheelchairs, and Wisdom Ensign 2003.

Beckie W. Kearl and Cameron Carr . Charlie’s Miracle.New era 1999.

News of the Church. Ensign 1990.

Elaine Reiser Alder Growing Older, Ensign 1987.

Dr. James Mason, director of the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia. A century and a half ago, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned from the Lord that tobacco was not good for us. Since then, medical science has determined the same thing. How has society responded to this information?Ensign 1986.

Dr. William Foege. Smoking a Major Third World Problem, Health Expert Says, Ensign 1985.

Thomas R. Valletta. The Length of the Lives of the Ancient Patriarchs, Liahona 1998.

Registered Nurse Todd F. Cope, Providing Care for  Elderly Loved Ones. Ensign 2013

Angela Diener. Kirsten’s Challenge, Ensign 2006.

Phyllis C. Jacobson and Barbara Vance “Fit” Is More Than “Not Fat” Ensign 1978.

FYI New Era 1971.

John H. Holbrook, M.D. The Health Consequences of Smoking, A Report of the Surgeon General. Smoking and Health, 1973 Ensign 1973. 1972.

Gordon Williams, a physician and professor of medicine at Harvard Universit Medical School, Regional Representative. “In keeping the Word of Wisdom, we are promised that we will “run and not be weary” (see D&C 89:20) and that we will enjoy good health. Since many who obey this law fall physically ill, are these promises mainly spiritual? Ensign 1991. See James Enstrom, “Health Practices and Cancer Mortality among Active California Mormons,” Journal, National Cancer Institute, 81[1989]:1807.)”

            The Best thing We’ve done. Crucial Health Need Gives Missionaries Opportunity Ensign 1978.

There are 2 possible conclusions for this collapse of Utah’s death rate ranking.  Either requires serious action.

1) A collapse of 13 rankings, If true,  is a present disaster. The leaders of government and church should be shocked, and hold hearings, research, bore into this and find the problem.  What changed to wound thousands of Utah residents? Every city, and county should look in the mirror. What happened? A similar collapse occurred with Oklahoma, which over several decades dropped 41 places for life expectancy over 4 census reports from 1960 to 1990. 

2) A collapse of 13 rankings, if false, must be  rooted out.  The Federal executive branch needs to correct this, but because it is not a headliner, getting attention is not a priority.

            Jesus said, by their fruits ye shall know tham. Much of the attack on Utah’s life expectancy rankings, which could be considered the fruit of the Gospel,  is explained in a 30  column series beginning at

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