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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

No Excessive Fines

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution:  “Excessive … fines [shall not be] imposed….”  This clause simply means that all fines in criminal cases must be reasonable instead of excessive. 

                W. Cleon Skousen stated:  “Excessive fines are described in the Magna Charta as those penalties which constitute a forfeiture, or deprive a man of his ability to earn a living or pursue his calling and business.  It further provided that the penalty for each crime should be according to the seriousness of the offense.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 711.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Holy Ghost

                The first Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”  These three individual personages comprise the Godhead and make one unit with one acting as head and the other two as counselors. 

                The Father and the Son are personages of tabernacle, meaning They have glorified bodies of flesh and bones.  The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, meaning He has only a spirit body, which is in the form of a man. 

                The scriptural support for this statement is found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:22:  “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.  Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”

                The scriptures teach about the Holy Ghost and refer to Him as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Truth, or the Comforter.  According to these scriptures, the Holy Ghost is a person.  Jesus referred to the Holy Ghost as a male person when He said to his disciples, “… It is expedient for you that I go away:  for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).

                The Holy Ghost works in perfect harmony with the Father and the Son and plays several roles in helping us live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel.  He is a witness for the Father and the Son.  He teaches truth.  He leads us in the path to eternal life.  He is the Comforter and soothes our fears as a loving parent soothes a crying child.  He sanctifies us as we repent.  He is the Holy Spirit of Promise and puts His seal of approval on all those who have proven their worthiness by their continual faithfulness and are acceptable to God.

                The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth.  The Holy Ghost has been present in every dispensation of time since the days of Adam and Eve.  The Holy Ghost sits in counsel with the Father and the Son and then reveals to mankind those matters that the Father wants to be revealed.

                The Holy Ghost is manifested both as the power of the Holy Ghost and as the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The power of the Holy Ghost can come upon a person before baptism and often does as a witness of the Jesus Christ, His atoning sacrifice, and the truthfulness of the gospel.  The gift of the Holy Ghost comes only after proper and authorized baptism, and it is bestowed by the laying on of hands by authorized priesthood bearers.

                When we speak of the gift of the Holy Ghost, we speak of the right to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost as long as we live worthy of it.  The gift of the Holy Ghost brings the additional power to cleanse and purify our souls.  This power is often spoken of as “fire.” 

                When a person speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost that same power carries the conviction into the heart of the hearer.  The Holy Ghost knows all things and can lead us to know of future events.

                President Joseph Fielding said, “The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings.  Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten.”

                This is a very powerful message.  When the Holy Ghost speaks to us, His message becomes part of us and becomes impossible for us to forget.  A message from the Holy Ghost has greater impact on us than a visit from an angel or other heavenly beings.

                The Holy Ghost manifests the truth to honest people everywhere.  He will manifest himself to any individual who asks for the truth.  As he prepared to close his record and bury the golden plates, Moroni wrote this promise:  “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
                “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni 10:4-5).

                I know that we can know the truth of all things by asking God and receiving the knowledge of the truth through the power and/or gift of the Holy Ghost.  Anyone who is honestly and sincerely seeking truth can have it manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.  If the person has not been baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost will deliver the testimony and depart; however, He may linger longer with someone who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

                We can all receive guidance and reassurance through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, but we must meet several requirements.    (1) We must be worthy of having the Holy Ghost come to us.  (2) We must be humble enough to ask God for assistance.  (3) We must be willing to be obedient to the answer we receive.  (4) We must then put our trust in God and let Him work miracles in our lives.  (5) We must remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive.

                I am very grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and for His frequent visits to me.  I thank God for this great gift every single day because I would be lost trying to make my way through this life by myself.  I know there is a God in heaven who loves us. I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, lives and stands at the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet of God today.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on earth.  I know these things through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Work and Self-Reliance

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation learns to work hard and be self-reliant.  The best place for children, youth, and young adults to learn to work is within the walls of their home and with their own family.  When family members willingly help with the chores in the home, they learn to work and become self-sufficient.

                Work is an honorable activity.  When youth learn to set goals and work hard to reach them, they learn to be self-reliant.  Work helps a person in many ways – economically, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

                Bishop H. David Burton, former Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of work being a blessing.  “Today, many have forgotten the value of work.  Some falsely believe that the highest goal in life is to achieve a condition in which one no longer needs to work.  President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was fond of saying, `Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success’ (Pathways to Happiness, (1957), 381).
                “Work is not a matter of economic need alone; it is a spiritual necessity.  Our Father in Heaven works to bring about our salvation and exaltation (see Moses 1:39).  And, beginning with Adam, He has commanded us to work.  Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam was instructed to `dress [till] it and keep it’ (Genesis 2:15).  After the Fall, Adam was told, `In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ (Genesis 3:19).  As with any other commandment, there is joy in its keeping.  To work – honestly and productively – brings contentment and a sense of self-worth.  Having done all we can to be self-reliant, to provide for our own needs and those of our family, we can turn to the Lord in confidence to ask for what we might yet lack” (“The Blessing of Work,Ensign, Dec. 2009).  

                One major part of work and self-reliance is to develop the capacity to work and to contribute to the world in which we live.  Work and self-reliance help to increase a sense of self-worth.  Work is a blessing to individuals and families.

                Another important part of working and becoming self-reliant is learning early how to handle money wisely and to live within one’s income.  God – through his prophets and apostles – has commanded us to pay tithing on our income, to avoid debt, and to save for the future.  We can do this by setting goals, developing self-discipline, being dependable, and working hard.

                Working keeps us from being idle.  A favorite saying of many parents is “idleness is the devil’s workshop.”  Being idle and having no responsibility leads to inappropriate behavior and often legal and moral problems.  When youth and young adults learn the benefits of hard work and follow those teachings, they strengthen their families, communities, and nation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Freedom to Abstain

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the simple fact that abstinence from sex prevents unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  This fact has been disputed for many years but has been proven to be true by recent studies.  The facts are finally becoming clear. 

                The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  recently reported dramatic declines in teen births and included the acknowledgement that abstinence efforts contributed to these declines.  The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) explained that these declines “reflect a number of behavioral changes, including decreased sexual activity….”

                Janice Shaw Crouse, PhD, connected much data recorded in the battle to convince liberals and other Americans about the benefits of abstinence.  “Heretofore, the official line has been that abortion and birth control have been the driving forces in the decline in teen births.  The facts, though, have been consistently pointed out … that both contraception and abortion have been constants throughout the time periods covered by CDC and that the new factor in the equation is more effective and widespread abstinence education.  The facts about the success of the more sophisticated abstinence campaigns are further developed in two major reports….”

                The facts as reported by the CDC and explained by Dr. Crouse have been proclaimed for years by pro-family activists, scholars, and legislators.  Knowing the facts and figures contained in Dr. Crouse’s number should empower the rising generation to resist temptation to give in to hormones or the claim that “everybody is doing it.”

                The facts also reflect the truth included in the law of chastity as taught by prophets, apostles, and other religious leaders for centuries.  Chastity is sexual purity.  In order to be truly chaste, one must be morally clean in thoughts, words, and actions.  This means avoidance of pornography and any sexual relations outside of a legal and lawful marriage.

                Heavenly Father made His children capable of sex in order for them to create children and to express love within marriage.  He has declared that sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin, but Satan has convinced many people to believe that unmarried sexual intimacy is acceptable. 

                Teaching children, teenagers, and young adults to abstain from sex brings them freedom.  By abstaining from sexual activity, they become free from worry about STDs, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and other fears that should not be a part of their lives.  Abstinence from sex except during the bonds of legal and lawful marriage brings freedom, and these statistics bring the freedom to abstain without being embarrassed or humiliated.  The facts give everyone the freedom to abstain!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Making a Difference

                Is it possible for one person – or a small group of people – to change the thinking of other people?   A little known experience in Ferguson, Missouri, says YES!  I appreciate this good news out of Ferguson after so much bad news.  

                During the rioting and looting many local businesses in Ferguson were damaged, and their innocent owners were left with the cleanup and repairs.  The St. Louis Tea Party decided to help and spread word of their “Buycott” on Facebook.  They hoped to have twenty people show up to the event and spend money at the local Ferguson businesses on August 21.  They were surprised when about forty people came.  Their goal was to help small businesses hit by the violence.

                Bill Hennessy was part of the tea party event and later wrote about his experience.  “A gentleman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with.  I told him `St. Louis Tea Party.’
                “`Tea party?’ he said.  `You bad boys,’ and chuckled.  Then he looked at me, very serious.  He said, `The tea party came up here to do this?’
                “`Oh, yeah,’ I said.  `We don’t want to see Ferguson go south.’
                “He laughed.  And he looked at me.  Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute.  When he came out of it, he was like our best friend.  Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories.  He admitted baseball can be like `watching grass grow.’
                “In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile `tea party’ with what he was seeing – four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.
                “That moment made the whole event worthwhile.”

                What did approximately forty “mostly white” tea party members accomplish during their time in mostly black Ferguson, Missouri?  They proved that their group is made up of good people who are concerned about their neighbors and fellow citizens.  They proved that people are lying about the tea party.  They proved that there are good white people who care about black people. 

                What difference will it make?  It changed the thinking of one man who may spread the word about his experience.  We cannot shirk out duty to show love and kindness to others.  By opening our minds and hearts to other people, we may just find one person who will see the truth.  We must live our morals and principles before we can truly help other people and make a difference in their lives.      

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Understanding the Global Chess Game

                I watch the seven-week-long war between Israel and Gaza.  I hear about ISIS and the way its members behead Americans.  I read about the Russians invading Ukraine.  I am shocked and dismayed at all the evil taking place in our world and have a difficult time keeping it all straight in my mind.  I understand the situation a little better when I consider it to be a global chess game.

                Chess is a very complicated game played by highly intelligent people.  My father played chess; my husband, and sons play chess occasionally and seem to enjoy it.  I have occasionally tried to understand the game but eventually give up because I cannot keep the players and what they are supposed to do straight in my mind.  The state of affairs in our world reminds me of a chess game.  The behavior and policies of Barack Obama seem to make matters really bad for all of us.

                Doug Hagmann is a multi-state licensed private investigator; he uses his investigative skills and training to fight terrorism and increase public awareness through his website.   I pay particular attention to any articles I see authored by him.  He recently authored an article entitled “Understanding the ISIS threat – global chess game for power at multiple levels.”  I encourage you to read his article, which starts as follows.

                “The current threats posed by ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, to world stability in general and to the U.S. specifically are very real and extremely dangerous.  However, the origins of the group and hence the threats are not to be believed `as advertised.’  We are being subjected to more lies from the White House to Foggy Bottom, along with many elected leaders who know the real story but insist upon pushing a false narrative.

                “Collectively, they are bringing us to the brink of World War III through Syria, which I have long contended, while simultaneously opening our country to a large scale attack that could equal the September 11, 2001, attacks.  Unlike 911, however, we know at least part of their strategy.

                “First, ISIS did not mysteriously or unexpectedly originate from vaporous pockets of Islamic terrorists in an area that is referred to as the Levant, or the geographical region roughly bounded by southern turkey to the north, Egypt to the south, the Mediterranean to the west and Iraq to the east.  No, ISIS was created through an intentional process of deliberate default by the U.S. and Western powers – including Israel, working in conjunction if not on behalf of the Saudis, Kuwait and Qatar.  This unconventional alliance will be addressed later, but for now, it must be identified to understand the truly dangerous and evil confederation of complicity.”

                Mr. Hagmann continues his article by explaining that the Arab Spring was orchestrated by “elements of Western and Saudi intelligence.”  “As these plans were being laid, the process to select a new U.S. President was in progress.  Specifically, the selection of the democratic nominee between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama was at issue.

                “Given the requirements needed to accomplish such an ambitious objective as reshaping the power structure of the entire Middle East, it is relevant to cite the ‘odd meeting’ that occurred during the Bilderberg Conference in Chantilly, Virginia, attended by Obama and Clinton, almost a year to the day (or exactly one calendar year if you use the starting and end dates) before Obama’s infamously important Cairo speech.  It was on June 5, 2008, that Obama and Clinton went out of their way to ditch the press and sneak off to the Westfield Marriott Hotel in Chantilly where Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller and other globalist leaders were meeting at the Bilderberg Conference.  Shortly thereafter, it was Obama who was selected as the democratic nominee and ultimately, the next leader of the United States.  A wise selection, perhaps, considering the globalist plans as detailed herein.

                “Whatever happened at that secret meeting, Obama was ultimately named as the 44th President of the United States, and Hillary Clinton was appointed as his Secretary of State.

                “From the very outset of the Obama foreign policy agenda, the intent to reshape the power structure of the Middle East was telegraphed to the world, but few understood the far reaching and world changing implications of this policy….”

                Mr. Hagmann continues with his explanation of how the organization of ISIS came about.  It is a very interesting and thought-provoking read.  Even if he does not have all his facts in order, he has been right about numerous events in the past.  Whether we are led by an incompetent president or an evil and corrupt secret combination, we are headed down the road to destruction.  Americans and other honest people of the world need to wake up and learn the game that is being played.  We need to learn the rules and how to win the game! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thomas A. Edison

                Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, the seventh and youngest child of Nancy Elliott and Sam Edison, Jr.  Thomas suffered much poor health as a child.  In fact, only four of his older siblings survived to adulthood.

                Edison’s ancestors lived in New Jersey until the American Revolution.  They were loyal to the British crown and were forced to flee to Nova Scotia, Canada.  Later generations of his ancestors moved to Ontario and fought against America in the War of 1812.  Edison’s mother moved from New York to Vienna, Canada, with her family.  There she met and married Edison’s father.  The family was forced to move back to the United States in the 1830s because Sam was involved in an unsuccessful insurrection in Ontario.  They moved to Milan, Ohio, in 1839, and then to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854; there Sam ran a lumber business.

                Thomas Edison was not a good student and was called “addled” by a schoolmaster.  With this insult, his mother withdrew him from school and taught him at home.  Edison remembered the influence in later years when he said, “My mother was the making of me.  She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

                Edison was fascinated with mechanical things and chemical experiments at a young age.  At age 12 while selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railroad between his home town and Detroit, he did chemistry experiments in a laboratory set up in a baggage car.  He also set up a printing press and printed the first newspaper published on a train, the Grand Trunk Herald.  He was forced to stop his on-board experiments by an accidental fire.

                Edison lost almost all of his hearing when he was about 12 years old but never let the disability discourage him; in fact, he considered his loss of hearing to be an asset because it helped him to concentrate better on his experiments and research.

                Thomas Alva Edison because “one of the most famous and prolific inventors of all time” and “exerted a tremendous influence on modern life, contributing inventions such as the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, as well as improving the telegraph and telephone.  In his 84 years, he acquired an astounding 1,093 patents.  Aside from being an inventor, Edison also managed to become a successful manufacturer and businessman, marketing his inventions to the public.  A myriad of business liaisons, partnerships, and corporations filled Edison’s life, and legal battles over various patents and corporations were continuous….”

                Edison’s mother died in 1871, and he married Mary Stilwell, a former employee, on Christmas Day that same year.  “While Edison clearly loved his wife, their relationship was fraught with difficulties, primarily his preoccupation with work and her constant illnesses.  Edison would often sleep in the lab and spent much of his time with his male colleagues.”  The couple became parents of three children:  Marion (born in February 1873), Thomas, Jr. (born January 1876), and William Leslie (born October 1878).  Edison nicknamed his two oldest children “Dot” and “Dash,” referring to telegraphic terms.

                After Mary died on August 9, 1884, maybe from a brain tumor, Edison married Mina Miller on February 24, 1886.  Edison and Mina “moved into a large mansion named Glenmont in West Orange, New Jersey.  Edison’s children from his first marriage were distanced from their father’s new life, as Edison had a second family with Mina:  Madeleine (born in 1888), Charles (born in 1890), and Theodore (born in 1898).

                “Unlike Mary, who was sickly and often remained at home, and was also deferential to her husband’s wishes, Mina was an active woman, devoting much time to community groups, social functions, and charities, as well as trying to improve her husband’s often careless personal habits.”

                Edison opened a new laboratory – later known as an “invention factory” in Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876.  There he conducted numerous experiments to solve problems.  He said, “I never quit until I get what I’m after.  Negative results are just what I’m after.  They are just as valuable to me as positive results.”  He worked long hours and expected his employees to do the same.

                The next year (1877) Edison worked on a telephone transmitter, building upon and improving the work of Alexander Graham Bell work on the telephone.  His transmitter brought “higher volume and greater clarity over standard telephone lines.”  His experiments on the telephone and the telegraph led to his inventing the phonograph in 1877.  He was amazed when his invention played back “Mary had a little lamb” after he said it into the mouthpiece. 

                Edison set aside his phonograph in 1878, Edison focused on the electric light system.  He obtained financing and formed the Edison Electric Light Co. on November 15 of that year.  He gave his patents to the company and received a large share of stock.  “Work continued into 1879, as the lab attempted not only to devise an incandescent bulb, but an entire electrical lighting system that could be supported in a city.  A filament of carbonized thread proved to be the key to a long-lasting light bulb.”  The company installed lights in the laboratory and “a multitude” of visitors were amazed at the special public exhibition on New Year’s Eve.  He opened an electric light factory in East Newark in 1881, and set up a laboratory in New York the next year and moved his family there.  The first commercial electric light system was installed in Lower Manhattan in 1882.

                Edison continued to be involved in inventions and business until the 1920s when his health became worse.  He spent more time at home with his wife, but he did not have a good relationship with his children.  His health declined due to a series of ailments in the last two years of his life.  He slipped into a coma on October 14, 1931, and died on October 18, 1931, at his estate, Glenmont, in West Orange, New Jersey.