Blake Ostler: Guest-blogger

Our latest guest blogger is Blake Ostler. Blake is a practicing attorney, having graduated from BYU and the U of U with a JD and a Master’s degree in philosophy. Blake, alas, has demonstrated almost no interest in writing about law and Mormonism. He has, however, been a prolific author on the philosophical basis of LDS theology. In addition to numerous articles in Dialogue, BYU Studies, Sunstone, the FARMS Review of Books and other fora, he has published the first volume of a proposed three volume philosophical study of Mormon theology, entitled Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God

21 comments for “Blake Ostler: Guest-blogger

  1. Shawn Bailey
    April 19, 2005 at 9:52 am

    Great! I am looking forward to Blake’s posts.

    If you don’t mind, Blake, I have little personal question. Unlike many of the academia-bound attorneys here, I may never escape the demands of practice. Do you have any thoughts on being a practicing attorney who succeeds in finding time to write very good non-legal stuff? The “very good” part, I understand, may rely on talent and skill that you need not discuss. Writing is very good or it isn’t. But how do you make both writing and practice work?

  2. April 19, 2005 at 10:00 am

    Cheers! I look forward to your posts.

  3. Frank McIntyre
    April 19, 2005 at 10:56 am

    I followed the link to Blake’s website. What exactly is involved in education law?

  4. Aaron Brown
    April 19, 2005 at 10:59 am

    I hope Blake will include at least one post on how his views on the Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source have evolved since the late 1980s. Yes, I suppose I could scrutinize the LDS-Phil archives to answer that question myself, but folks, there’s only 28 hours in a day, after all.

    Aaron B

  5. Nate Oman
    April 19, 2005 at 11:09 am

    Frank: I do a bit of education law, and my work has revolved around the availablity of tax-exempt financing for parochial schools. There are lots of other issues involved in education law, such as federal anti-discrimination and employment regulations, the liability of schools and school districts to students for injury, etc. etc.

  6. Ben H
    April 19, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    Welcome, Blake! Hey, by the way, I thought your presentation at this last SMPT conference was some of your best stuff yet. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. A. Greenwood
    April 19, 2005 at 12:13 pm

    Lots of school districts also allow private persons to set up schools that can qualify as charter schools if the right legal hoops are jumped through. This almost always requires the help of an attorney.

  8. April 19, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    I have a question. I struggle to write substantive posts and sometime get read the riot act when I do. (Like the one I wrote last week on my blog for you) Yet I manage because I have a flexible.job. How on earth to you manage to post as much as you do, write scholarly papers that I think everyone agrees are excellent – among the better ones among LDS scholars, and still be a lawyer? It sometimes boggles the mind.

    So here’s the big question? A post at T&S on Libertarian Free Will? (grin)

  9. April 19, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    That is, read the riot act by my wife. She didn’t appreciate me coming to be at a quarter to 2 last night…

  10. Greg
    April 19, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    “She didn’t appreciate me coming to be at a quarter to 2 last night… ”

    Wow, Clark, you must have had quite a breakthrough in your metaphysics studies!

  11. April 19, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    I hereby proclaim that the best Greg joke ever!

  12. April 19, 2005 at 6:04 pm

    Hear, hear!

  13. April 19, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    Well, I don’t know about a breakthrough, but after months of delay I finally got around to answering Blake’s questions about my view of freedom.

  14. April 19, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    Blake, have you met Matt Hilton? Last time I talked with him he was practicing in the area you are in. It has been a while (obviously) and he is older (around 50 or so would be my guess). Just curious, as I’ve lost track of him.

  15. April 20, 2005 at 12:22 pm

    OK, I’m an idiot. I missed my typo of “coming to be” rather than “coming to bed.” (grin) Alas there are far too many typos of that sort in my quick writing.

  16. Blake
    April 21, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    In response to Shawn in # 1. I do have some advice about finding time to be an attorney and have a life. The law is a jealous mistress and that is true. I am blessed to need only about 4 hours of sleep a night. So don’t sleep too long. Exercise — every day with all the intensity you can muster. You body will be more alert. Keep your wife (if you’re married) happy. That way you won’t have to take time to heal something that is broken. So do your chores around the house first and then kiss your wife and tell her you will be reading and writing. Make sure she and the children come first and foremost. Set a set time to study and write. I do it between 11:30 and 2:00 a.m just about every day. I wake up at 6:15 and work out. Have a passion for what you write about and you will find (as I have) that making time to write is not difficult and there is no writer’s block. Passion is important (in every aspect of life). When you get stuck and can’t write, get down on your knees and tell Father that you are stuck and then just listen. He always has something to say — all ways. If you’re still stuck, ask for foregiveness and then go ask for foregiveness from whomever it is that is causing you to remain stuck. Them let go and get going.

  17. Blake
    April 21, 2005 at 3:11 pm

    Stephen post #14. Yes, I know Matt Hilton. I represented the Alpine School District in a case where Matt argued that paents have certain rights to guide and dictate cirriculum. I argued that that perogative resides with the board of education within some limits. He lost.

    Education law is very broad. I represent a number of school districts in Utah. I often deal with constitutional issues regarding fundamental rights. I have dealt at length with school prayer, free speech, due process, equal protection, rights to choose abortion and parental notice etc. I deal with the entire range of employment law issues and contract issues that general counsel for corporations deal with (and I also represent a number of corporate entities as outside legal counsel). I deal with property, intellectual property and litigation constantly. I think my practice is as fun and broad as any attorney I know. I am one of the few attorneys I know that loves the law and what I do.

  18. Shawn Bailey
    April 21, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    Blake: thanks for your response. Perhaps I will give not sleeping a try! Your characterization of the ability to do so as a blessing has me wondering: is this a gift from God? A habit one can learn? Some of both?

    If I fail in giving up my beauty sleep—or as a supplement to hours gained by any success along those lines—I also imagine some day being able to scale back my practice to four days a week or fewer hours a day. But I may be dreaming. I take it that you practice in a small firm. Does that help at all? Or should I understand your comment to mean that you still work typical attorney weeks/hours and then do your non-legal study/writing late at night? Anyway, thanks again for indulging a rather personal/practical question.

  19. a random John
    April 21, 2005 at 5:30 pm


    Individauls each have a certain sleep need. This can range from about four to ten hours a night. If you are an eight hour a night person and try to only sleep four hours a night you will add four hours to your sleep debt each night. This is sleep that has to be made up eventually or else you will be perpetually sleepy. William Dement at Stanford has done all sorts of studies proving this point.

    There is no known way to change the amount of sleep you need each night, so you can’t train yourself to sleep less.

    There are also studies that show that people that need less sleep tend to live shorter lives, so even if you are a ten hour a night person don’t worry, you’ll end up with roughly the same number of waking hours.

  20. Blake
    April 21, 2005 at 10:36 pm

    Geez John I didn’t know I was going to die sooner than others because I need less sleep. Checking over the data, your assertion is not very reliable. Do you have any reliable longitudinal studies to support your claim about the less sleep/sooner death link? My grandfather slept four hours a night from about 22 until he died at 99 yrs — I guess he would have lived to what, about 150?

  21. April 22, 2005 at 1:02 am


    It if is any consolation I hope that you live at least as long as your grandfather! Honestly I only remember scattered facts from my Sleep & Dreams class. That was one of the more interesting ones. They used Bill Clinton as an example of someone who only sleeps six hours a night.

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