Why I Admire A Man So Many People Hate

I have articulated my frustration with politics many times before. I will not be doing so again right now. But one of my biggest goals when it comes to politics is to keep it from getting personal. I believe our desire to take political discourse into the realms of the personal is why the climate in politics today is so toxic and why no problem is getting addressed in our country.

For those reasons I have defended President Obama as a person. I believe there is a great deal of good in the man. I may not agree with all he stands for and advocates, but I don’t believe politics is what makes a person.

Along those same lines, I came across this article today. I know many liberals and democrats who despise President George W. Bush. And I mean despise him. I’ve never understood it. There were things I disagreed with him on when it comes to politics, but when he spoke or made appearances, I always saw a good man doing his best. Call me naive, but that is what I saw. So it was heartening to see that I was not alone and that this high ranking official in the Clinton administration had many of the same feelings about George W. Bush that I always did. And that he could back up those feelings with personal experiences. So, because I believe it is important to accentuate the positive and raise our discourse, I am linking to this article below. Please take the time to read it. Because this is the type of politics I believe our Savior would have us practice.


Meanwhile, only three and half months until THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER hits bookstores and mailboxes. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to pre-order it, today’s as good a day as any. You can order at Amazon.com by clicking here. Or you can request a copy be ordered for you at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ, or any bookstore that handles LDS books. Simply walk in and ask to be on the list for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, by Ryan Rapier from Cedar Fort Publishing. Your support is appreciated.

One other note; my friend, Brad Hull, of Due West has a request. He and the rest of the band are striking out on their own and could use your help. I would explain it here, but they do a much better job, so to hear what Due West is asking, please follow the link below. If you haven’t heard a Due West song, you are missing out. In today’s world of country music, their amazing harmonies are a rare commodity. Here’s hoping their new venture works out and we hear new Due West music on the radio real soon.


Dreams Are For Rookies…And People From The Gila Valley

Confession Time: I hate American Idol. I haven’t always hated American Idol, but I’ve never been a fan. However, add Nicki Minaj to anything and my like vs. hate needle will quickly shift toward the extreme dislike.

Truth be told, I’ve only watched one half of one season. That would be the David Cook vs. David Archuleta season and it mildly held my interest, but when it was over, so was my desire to see any more.

One of my biggest complaints has always been the audition process. I just hate seeing people desperate to get on TV make fools of themselves, or even worse, people who truly believe they have talent, who…WOW…Just Don’t!

Because of my feelings about American Idol, I have never watched America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor, and up until three weeks ago, The Voice.

But then word started seeping out that a local boy from good ol’ Thatcher, Arizona was going to be making an appearance on the NBC show. I don’t believe I’ve ever met Ryan Innes, but I know his parents very well and other members of his family are some of my very best friends. So, three weeks ago, out of loyalty, I tuned in to the premiere of The Voice.

You know what? The show ain’t that bad. I genuinely like each of the judges. They are entertaining in their back and forth with each other and you get the sense that they actually enjoy working together. They also don’t get in the way of the people who are performing.

Which brings me to my favorite part of this show. From the first night, the worst performance I have seen was still pretty darn good. They don’t force the viewers to wade through hours of off-key train wrecks. You get right to the good stuff. And the added dimension of the judges not knowing what the peformers look like and having to make judgements on the voice alone is actually very intriguiging. Overall, I have been enjoying this show a great deal. The one thing I wasn’t seeing was Ryan Innes.

Then, last night, we got word that after three weeks, he would finally be on. So, my family and I settled in for the duration. And we waited…and waited…and finally after the full two hour broadcast, (I missed the entire NCAA basketball finale between Louisville and Michigan. How is that for friendship and loyalty? I should be getting an ice cream cone or something. Anyway…) Ryan showed up as the final act for the night. Now we have seen four episodes prior to this one so we knew that if you get showcased in the final position of the night, it’s going to be pretty good for you. And…to see how it went, click here.

I have to say that even though I have never met him, I am very proud of Ryan. But my favorite part of that video are the shots of the family. You see, dreams are funny things. You don’t wake up one day with a dream and walk down to The Voice studios and make it a reality. They are often years in the making. And almost no one makes them happen alone.

I know that Ryan has worked incredibly hard in order to get to that stage we saw him on last night. But I also know he wouldn’t have made it there without the support and strength provided by the people waiting for him in that backstage room jumping up and down, clapping and crying, cheering him on. I know that the joy they felt in that moment was made all the more sweet because there have been many times when things didn’t go so well, and instead of celebrating, their job was to console.

Now, because this is my blog and because I am still in the process of plugging a book, I will now direct this post back to me. Please know that I am not so self-aware that I don’t recognize how me-centric I appear. Anyway, I was so happy for Ryan Innes to be able to achieve a little more of his overall dream last night. It was interesting for me to watch because it also caused me to reflect.

Earlier that day, Shannon and I had traveled down to Mesa and during the course of the conversation, we began talking about the number of people we know who are trying to get a book published. And my wife made the comment, “Do you realize how lucky you are?”

The truth is, I do. However, I probably don’t realize it enough. Because it’s true, I am extremely lucky. And even on days where I stress out because I have no idea what else I can do to spread the word and generate interest in my book, I need to remember how truly fortunate I am. I am living my dream. And like most dreams, it hasn’t come easy, but because of the support of my wife, my family and some very dear friends, I was able to be in a position to be lucky.

So to the entire Innes family, I want to express my deepest congratulations.  Last night was awesome. Ryan was awesome. And regardless of what happens next, Ryan Innes killed it in front of millions of people on network television. No one can ever take that away. To my friend, Brad Hull, I again extend my congrats on the milestones he and his fellow Due Westers continue to achieve. If they never find themselves headlining at major arenas around the country and world, they still have sung on the stage of the Grand Ol’ Opry. That is their moment that belongs to them and no one else.

And to myself? You, Mr. Rapier, are one lucky bastage who probably doesn’t deserve this opportunity you’re receiving. But even if the book flops and it is the only one you ever publish, you need to remember that moment on December 21st, 2012, when the e-mail from Cedar Fort publishing hit your in-box. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. And remember that you’re lucky, because dreams don’t just happen for everybody.

Ryan Innes can be seen on THE VOICE, Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.

THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER drops August 13, 2013. It is currently available for pre-order at Bookworms Bookstore and from Amazon.com. Please visit Ryan Rapier’s author page on Facebook at facebook.com\ryanrapierauthor and like us if you like.

A Sign of the Apocalypse and My Book Getting Love From Nashville

Occasionally, something will strike me as so odd or ludicrous that I feel an almost crushing obligation to comment on it in some form or another. So before I get to the main purpose of my post today, I feel the need to get one of these items  off my conscience.

-Over the weekend, one of those “cause posts” showed up on Facebook that almost caused me to vomit through my gales of laughter. Apparently, in Utah (of course) a woman was released from her calling as a Young Women’s adviser because she repeatedly would nurse her child in church meetings, including sacrament meeting, without the aid of any kind of covering. According to the report, she was asked repeatedly to excuse herself to the Mother’s Lounge or to use a blanket of some kind to cover herself. She repeatedly refused. So now, the Feminist Housewives of Salt Lake City or some ridiculously named group like that has taken up her cause for being discriminated against…Where do I even begin?

To be clear, I could easily go on for a full post on this, but I won’t. I will just hit some high points:

Discriminated against? As compared to who? I’m fairly certain if I took my shirt off in Sacrament meeting I would also be released from my calling. And possibly jailed…And rightfully so.

Does this woman realize where she’s worshiping??? Umm…WE”RE MORMONS!!! Outside of the Amish, we are the closest link there is to the puritanical movement of the 1800’s. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that is a bad thing.

The group claimed that lookie-loo men in the congregation, as holders of the priesthood, should have higher standards than to gawk at a naked breast providing nourishment for a baby-the main purpose designated for that body part. Further, they stated that only in America is the female breast objectified as a sexual object and that in other nations, this beautiful, natural act is not looked upon shamefully the way it is here. Three things…

1. Coughing sound(bullcrap)Coughing sound!!! Please provide any and all proof for any of that tripe. My comment box is waiting breathlessly.

2. Even if LDS men should somehow be expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, what about the hormone-filled teenage boys found in our congregations. Oh Yeah. Forgot about them, didn’t ya?

3. Urination is also a natural function, and yet, I don’t hear many people calling for urinals to be installed at the end of each pew. I’m just sayin’…

Anyway, this group was calling for Mormon women everywhere to step up and provide support and stories of similar discrimination so that they could send these on to Church headquarters. I just love it when a small, small minority wants to defend the so-called “rights” of a group of which the majority doesn’t want the “right” to begin with. And let’s face it, this whole controversy ends quickly as soon as the following happens:

A twenty-year-old blonde bombshell, whose body shape morphed back to its high school glory within two weeks of giving birth to her first child, releases her now somewhat swollen left-side filling station in the middle of sacrament meeting. I guarantee you that over half of the .05% of women who are behind this movement would drop their support in a heartbeat. Higher standards my rear-end. That’s a lit match in the middle of a gasoline refinery right there. And everybody present would know it.


After my mission, I continued with my education at Eastern Arizona College. Some of my greatest memories are of my time spent in Dr. David Lunt’s choral program. I met some of my best friends there and consider that time to be the most “fun” I’ve ever had in my life.

One of the people I met was a fresh out of high school baritone named Brad Hull. Compared to his best friends, Lan Allen and Josh Mack, Brad was fairly quiet and unassuming. And we got along very well.

After that one year at EAC, Brad left on his mission and I got married and we really didn’t see each other again except at the odd college or high school reunion. (My wife and Brad were in the same graduating class of Thatcher High School.) We had heard that after his mission and college, Brad had moved to Nashville with the idea of breaking into the music business. When we heard that news, we nodded appreciatively and silently wished him luck, but didn’t give it too much more thought. I mean, after all; what are the odds someone we knew fairly well would become a well known musician.

Fast forward several years and now Brad is part of the Nashville recording group known as Due West. And while Due West is still waiting for the hit that will provide super stardom, they have a recording contract, their songs are heard on the radio, and they have even been invited to perform on the Grand Ol’ Opry. To me, that is a pretty good definition of success.

All three members of Due West are LDS and are a founding part of the group The Nashville Tribute Band. The NTB is a group of musicians in the Nashville area who come together to perform LDS-related songs set to a decidedly country sound. In short, they are amazing.

So, when I finished my book and was thinking of people I would like to share it with in the hopes of receiving an endorsement, one of my first thoughts was of Brad Hull. We hadn’t really spoken in several years and I knew that the group is constantly on the road and very busy, but I took the chance and contacted him with my request. To my extreme appreciation, he agreed to read it.

Last week, Due West came to the Gila Valley where I live for a charity concert. At this point, I hadn’t heard back from Brad on his final evaluation of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. I was a little nervous. But I love their music and so a friend and I went to the concert with no expectations of even speaking with him.

In the middle of the concert, a drawing was held for a future concert at the venue we were at. Due West was in the middle of their performance when they were asked to announce the winner. Shock of all shocks, my name was announced. As I started walking up to the stage to pick up my tickets, Brad said a few words about how he knew me and then proceeded to say to the entire audience that he had just finished my book and how awesome it was. I was floored. It was a very nice gesture on his part.

After the concert, my friend and I waited around to say thank you. When he had the time, he came over and we talked for a bit and he again expressed how much he enjoyed THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. He also told me that he had sent an e-mail with his endorsement, but that he hadn’t had WiFi for a while and so it was sitting in his outbox just waiting for a chance to be sent.

Two days later, I received the following message:

So I’m on a plane to Arizona right now and I just finished the book.  I am completely blown away.  First of all, thank you again for letting me be a first reader.  I am so happy for the success that I see this book bringing you.  From the first few pages of the book, I was into the story and by about page 50, I felt a total connection to the characters and their stories.  I now close the book feeling like I’m saying goodbye to some good friends.  You did an incredible job of telling a story that every Mormon needs to hear.  These characters may not be real, but the issues are and I related to each one of them to different degrees and felt a powerful message being taught.  I found myself both laughing and crying at different times.  Anyway, all that to say THANK YOU!

He then added this endorsement:

“This is a powerful story told superbly… from the very first page, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER made me feel so many emotions and by the last page, I didn’t want those feelings to end.” -Brad Hull, Member of The Nashville Tribute Band and Nashville Recording Group, Due West.
Brad, I cannot express my appreciation strongly enough. You guys who make up Due West are some truly talented individuals and I am honored that you took the time to weigh in on my book. You are an amazing musician and an even better friend. Thanks again.
You can follow the group DUE WEST on their website at http://www.duewest.com. 
THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER releases August 13, 2013. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.com today. You may also “like” Ryan Rapier, Author on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/ryanrapierauthor, to receive updated information and previews of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER.