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Posted 01 Apr 2001   For week ended March 30, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 30Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Iowa State Employees Question Use of Covey

DES MOINES, IOWA -- Mormon management guru Stephen R. Covey's book is coming under criticism from some state employees who claim the book pushes a religious message that shouldn't be paid for by the state. A recent article in the Des Moines Register airs the complaint after Covey's seminars and book were presented to state employees.

The book and seminars have been popular among West Des Moines city and school employees and supervisors at Iowa's Department of Public Safety have been trained in the Franklin-Covey seminars. Public Safety employees have also been receiving the weekly "Covey Thoughts" message by email in an effort to motivate state troopers, criminal investigators and other employees.

But public safety commissioner Penny Westfall received a complaint from one employee who said Covey's book has religious overtones. This led her to suspend sending "Covey Thoughts" temporarily and to make sure employees could opt out of getting the weekly email message. Westfall did not identify the employee.

But claims that Covey's program promotes Mormonism are not new. The Register cites and Iowa State religion professor, Hector Avalos, who is an atheist, as saying that Covey's program doesn't belong in government. "The government should not be in the business of telling our state troopers that they should develop their spiritual side." Avalos says that the seventh habit listed in Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and presented in Covey's seminars encourages spirituality. Noting that some people are not spiritual at all, Avalos says, "I wouldn't want someone telling me to develop my spiritual side." In addition to the seventh habit, Covey ends the book with a 'personal note' in which he tells about his own beliefs.

But Iowa State management professor Brad Shrader, an LDS Church member who attended BYU while Covey taught there, calls the suggestion that Covey's book is essentially a Mormon sermon preposterous. "That's a bunch of hooey, to suggest there are religious overtones," he said. And Franklin Covey spokesperson Debra Lund says that the book's success argues against any overt religious message, "It's been the No. 1, best-selling business book in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. If there were too many religious undertones, I don't think we'd have that kind of success internationally."


Covey's regimen raises questions
Des Moines IA Register 25Mar01 B2
By Jennifer Dukes Lee: Register Staff Writer


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