This letter comes in an effort to be transparent, provide an explanation, and an apology to my friends and business associates. First, let me deal with my apology. Last week an article that I published in a private blog addressing some misrepresentations of myself and the OSR Initiative was used in lieu of my regular “Letter from the Director.” This came about due to my lack of time to provide my usual letter and when asked by my editor if my submission addressing those misrepresentations could be used, I said yes. I totally forgot about the personal elements included in the article. For this error in judgment, I sincerely apologize to everyone. Please, let me further explain.
I am highly involved in and on the boards of five separate entities. Each entity has a specific mission statement, and all involve a diverse group of individuals. Some are members of my church and others are not. However, each one has my respect and commitment to the purpose and objective of each entity. This “Letter from the Director” is brought to you by the Academy of Self-Reliance, a 501c3 non-profit, dedicated to education and research associated with the knowledge needed to become self-reliant as individuals and as communities.
The Utah OSR Land Cooperative is another board, with which I participate. This entity has been created under the Utah Code Title 3: The Uniform Agricultural Cooperative Association Act to help small agricultural owners and operators produce food, goods, services, and jobs essential for self-reliance. The Board and Shareholders of this cooperative are diverse in age, ethnicity, religion, and such. However, there is one description that is requisite for membership in this group: being like-minded. Being like-minded is reflected in the description below and is a requirement for membership:
• Have a desire to be self-reliant
• Hold truth important from whatever source found
• Have integrity regarding commitments and contracts
• Have respect for other people
• Understand and accept that choices have consequences
The above description defines choices and beliefs that unify those that are attracted to the OSR Initiative. However, each individual involved in OSR or any other group comes with his or her own personal set of values, core beliefs, knowledge, experience, and a myriad of other elements that are unique to that individual.
I personally believe that this diversity brings about sustainability and a greater potential for self-reliance as individuals and as communities. What I have found and history teaches us is that when we as individuals or as a group think we have a corner on the market for all knowledge or all authority over another person or group of people, we set ourselves up for a serious and often painful learning moment. In addition, if we are offended because someone does not hold our beliefs to be their own, we lose a great opportunity to learn, because everyone has something important that can add value to our lives.
The OSR Initiative, of which the Academy of Self-Reliance, the Utah OSR Land Cooperative, OSR Green, LLC, and other initiative partners are dedicated to helping families transition to a homestead culture of self-reliance with like-minded neighbors. This initiative is non-denominational and non-political. However, most participants are Christian in their beliefs and many are conservative in their political persuasion. The desire to have a healthy, safe family environment is the mainstay of why individuals and families are drawn to OSR.
Learning to counsel together enables us to learn from one another. Doing this in a safe environment is part of the OSR Initiative. This is not always easy, because mistakes and errors will be made. How we choose to deal with these will define who we are. Who we are will determine what we do and how we do it. Preparing every needful thing is the new next frontier. If these are things that resonate with you, know that you are invited to participate.
Philip J. Gleason