Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sacred Powers of Procreation

                We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by studying “The Family: A Proclamation to the Worldand by following its precepts. One way to study the proclamation is one paragraph at a time. This is the fourth article in this series.

                The fourth paragraph of the proclamation states, “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

                This paragraph clearly explains that the sacred powers to create life – sex – should be employed only between a man and woman who are legally married to each other. This is God’s standard. If we have proper reverence for these powers and complete all the other requirements, we can continue to procreate in the next life.

                President Henry B. Eyring states, “We can understand why our Heavenly Father commands us to reverence life and to cherish the powers that produce it as sacred. If we do not have those reverential feelings in this life, how could our Father give them to us in the eternities? Family life here is the schoolroom in which we prepare for family life there.”

                We know that we should treat sacred things sacred. We must understand that the powers necessary to create life are some of the most sacred powers available to mankind. These powers are privileges given to gods for eternity and loaned to mankind for a few short years to see how we will reverence them.

                Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in an epic talk about this subject says, “Secondly, may I stress that human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God. From the Garden of Eden onward, marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman – their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything. Adam said of Eve that she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and that they were to be `one flesh’ in their life together. This is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise…. But such a total union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with solemn promises and the pledge of all they possess – their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams.”

                God commanded Adam and Eve to become “one flesh” and to become one in purpose. That purpose is to provide bodies for spirit children and to become an eternal family. We do this by learning the gospel of Jesus Christ, receiving priesthood ordinances and keeping all God’s commandments.

                As you study the fourth paragraph of the proclamation, you may want to share what you learn in a family home evening. This site has a wonderful family home evening program all outlined with lesson, music, activity, and refreshments. I hope you will use this outline and strengthen your family, community, and nation by understanding the doctrine that 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Freedom from Excess Regulations

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the excess of regulations issued by any government. The Obama administration has issued more than 21,000 regulations. Too many regulations tend to decrease productivity and economic growth.

                Dianne Katz published an article at The Daily Signal about the regulations on the food used for Thanksgiving. She states that the Obama regulations “increased regulatory costs by more than $100 billion annually.” She also reports that “Independent estimates find that total regulatory costs are exceeding $2 trillion annually – more than is collected in income taxes each year.” Katz continues her article describes how regulations affect the foods that we eat at Thanksgiving.

               Some regulations are necessary for health, safety, or security, but too many of the regulations put out by the Obama administration simply control citizens where no control is needed. Katz continues her article by describing how regulations affect the foods that we eat at Thanksgiving. Please read her article and decide for yourself if all those regulations are really necessary.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Standing Rock Protests

                Thousands of people have been protesting the building of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. The protests have continued for more than three months, and most of the protesters do not live in North Dakota. They are there to protest an oil pipeline project that has met all the legal requirements and is currently 85 percent complete.

                The protesters – “celebrities, political activists, and anti-oil extremists” – are basing their protest on emotions rather than facts, news reporters build on emotions rather than furnishing facts. The protesters object to the location of the pipeline being too close to the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This should not be a problem because the pipeline will be located “92 feet below the riverbed, with increased pipe thickness and control valves at both ends of the crossing to reduce the risk of an incident, which is already low.”

                Representative Kevin Creamer, the Representative for North Dakota and a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, published an article about the Standing Rock protests for The Daily Signal. He writes, “This 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois. It will do this job far more safely than the current method of transporting it by 750 rail cars a day.”

                Creamer noted that company building the pipeline “is taking all necessary precautions to ensure that the pipeline does not leak” and there will be another “water intake” further downstream for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

                According to Creamer, the Sioux leaders at Standing Rock have not met with either the pipeline company or the Army Corps of Engineers. “The Army Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times, after which they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas in North Dakota. The logical time for Standing Rock tribal leaders to share their concerns would have been at these meetings, not now when construction is already near completion.”

                Creamer also notes that the pipeline is being built in the original area, which is south of Bismarck, North Dakota, rather than north of the city as the protesters claim. The company did not pursue the northern route because that course “would have affected an additional 165 acres of land, 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas, and an additional 33 waterbodies.”

                Creamer’s article is very interesting and informative. He concludes, “The simple fact is that our nation will continue to produce and consume oil, and pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport it. Legally permitted infrastructure projects must be allowed to proceed without threat of improper governmental meddling.

                “The rule of law matters. We cannot allow lawless mobs to obstruct projects that have met all legal requirements to proceed. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is the Election Over?

                Hillary Clinton conceded defeat three weeks ago, and most Americans thought the presidential election was behind us. Apparently we were wrong. All those paid protesters were simply the prelude to new drama.

                President-elect Donald Trump recently claimed on Twitter that “millions” of people voted illegally in the election. He presented no proof for his claim. We can only guess at the reason for his statement, but we can suspect a few possibilities.

                One reason could have something to do with all the noise that Hillary won the “popular vote” by more than two million. I read something a few days ago that more than three million illegal votes were cast in the election. If that figure is true – and most of the illegals voted for Clinton – then Trump won the popular vote!

                A second reason could have to do with Green Party candidate Jill Stein who filed for a recount in Wisconsin last week and may file for recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump flipped these traditionally Democrat-leaning states, and Stein apparently believes that Russian hacking of the political machines caused Clinton’s defeat. Again, there is no evidence of any tampering by hackers.

                In fact, the Obama administration issued this statement: “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people…. The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on Election Day…. We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

                So, if there is no evidence of millions of illegal votes or election tampering – and the federal government believes the election was fair, why is Jill Stein, supported by Hillary Clinton, calling for recounts three weeks after Clinton conceded the election and Stein failed to get enough votes to even matter? Is it just a scam by Stein to get donations? Are people trying to tie up the electoral votes in those states to force Trump’s numbers below 270?

                The answer is: Who knows?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro

                 Fidel Castro has finally died, but Cuba is not free. Castro died on Saturday, 26 November 2016, but the island nation is still ruled by his dictator brother. The Castro brothers have reigned in Cuba for more than 60 years. Instead of freedom and prosperity, they brought poverty to their nation and forced many freedom-loving Cubans to leave their country, be jailed, or be killed.

                While many world leaders, including Barack Obama, offered condolences to the Castro family, two U.S. Senators with Cuban ancestry told the real story. One of the Senators, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), sent the following tweet: “President Obama issued a pathetic statement on death of dictator #FidelCastro with no mention of thousands he killed & imprisoned. #Cuba”

                Senator Rubio also published the following statement:  “Fidel Castro seized power promising to bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba, but his communist regime turned it into an impoverished island prison. Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed.
                “Sadly, Fidel Castro’s death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.
                “The future of Cuba ultimately remains in the hands of the Cuban people, and now more than ever Congress and the new administration must stand with them against their brutal rulers and support their struggle for freedom and basic human rights.”

                Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated, “Fidel Castro’s death cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families.” He added, “Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba.”

                These two Senators have personal and family history with Cuba. Senator Cruz is the son of a Cuban father who was fortunate enough to escape from Cuba in 1957. Senator Rubio’s parents left Cuba in 1956 before Castro came to power.

                I feel certain that Senators Cruz and Rubio have more information about what really happened in Cuba in the 1950s than Barack Obama or any of the other world leaders who feel so badly that Fidel Castro passed away. The Senators are joined by other Americans with Cuban ancestry who are celebrating the death of a dictator.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

U.N. Global Warming Treaty

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the Treaty Clause. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states: “The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….”

                Michael Bastasch at The Daily Signal explains how the Obama administration bypassed the Senate with the U.N.’s global warming treaty. The Senate declined to ratify the treaty, but Barack Obama did ratify it in September by executive actions. Nearly 200 countries ratified the global warming treaty. This is enough countries to bring to bring the treaty into force this year even though the U.S. Senate did not ratify it.

                Mr. Obama “promised to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent by 2025.” His “ambitious pledge – and every domestic regulation crafted to meet it – was meant to convince China to sign onto the deal.” “China pledged to `peak’ emissions by 2030, but made no promise to actually cut global warming emissions.”

                Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry voicing their concerns. The committee members want the Obama administration to be more honest with the international committee about how treaties are ratified in the United States. They “warned that bypassing the Senate, Obama is relying on his `sole executive authority’ to enforce the treaty, meaning it’s `no different than the president giving a speech, or stating at a news conference’ that he’s fighting global warming.”

                The Republicans are not only concerned about Mr. Obama bypassing their authority. They are concerned that his “plan `leaves the door open for any future administration to alter its course.'”

                Donald Trump promised to pull out of the U.N. deal if he is elected, but he may have a difficult time doing so if it is “already in effect. That’s why the Obama administration will heavily focus on implementing the UN treaty at the Marrakech meeting.” There is a court challenge that may solve the problem.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Program or Attitude

                Just prior to His death the Savior, Jesus Christ, instructed His followers to share His gospel. The scriptures state that He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

                The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to stress the importance of spreading the gospel to all the world. In the October 2016 General Conference of the Church, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed this topic and gave it a different slant. 

                Elder Oaks reminds his listeners that we have many resources to share the gospel today that were not available in the time of Christ. “We have TV, the internet, and social media channels. We have many valuable messages to introduce the restored gospel. We have the prominence of the Church in many nations. We have a greatly increased number of missionaries. But are we using all these resources to maximum effect? I believe most of us would say no. We desire to be more effective in fulfilling our divinely appointed responsibility to proclaim the restored gospel in all the world.”

                After saying there are “many good ideas for sharing the gospel,” Elder Oaks suggests three ways that members can fulfill “our lifelong Christian duty and privilege.”
                “First, we can all pray for desire to help with this vital part of the work of salvation. All efforts begin with desire.
                “Second, we can keep the commandments ourselves. Faithful, obedient members are the most persuasive witnesses of the truth and value of the restored gospel….
                “Third, we can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others. This is different than praying for the missionaries or praying for what others can do. We should pray for what we can do personally. When we pray, we should remember that prayers for this kind of inspiration will be answered if accompanied by a commitment – something the scriptures call `real intent’ or `full purpose of heart.’ Pray with a commitment to act upon the inspiration you receive, promising the Lord that if He will inspire you to speak to someone about the gospel, you will do it.

                Elder Oaks concludes his address: “Sharing the gospel is not a burden but a joy. What we call `member missionary work’ is not a program but an attitude of love and outreach to help those around us. It is also an opportunity to witness how we feel about the restored gospel of our Savior….”

                So, it appears that missionary work is just like everything else in our lives. It is our attitude that makes the difference! As we live the gospel and pray for the desire to share the gospel with us, we must be willing to follow whatever promptings come.