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, August 22, 2014

Teaching Children Light and Truth

                Parents have the responsibility to teach the importance of family unity.  Parents must rear their children in light and truth in order for them to withstand the evils all around them.  This is best accomplished when all family members are in spiritual agreement as to the importance of certain activities.  The strength of communities and nations is based on the security of the foundation of the home.

                The following quote was in the family home evening manual for 1970-71:  “The importance of family unity – love and consideration for one another in the family – cannot be overemphasized.  Spiritual solidarity in family relationships is the sure foundation upon which the Church and society itself will flourish.  This fact is well known and appreciated by the adversary, and as never before, he is using every clever device, influence, and power within his control to undermine and destroy this eternal institution.  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ applied in family relationships will thwart this devilish destructiveness” (as quoted in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church – Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 205-206).

                President Smith warned us at that time of the importance of teaching our children correct principles in order to avoid being deceived by Satan.  We can see - nearly forty-five years later – that President Smith was wise in warning parents.

                A year or more prior to the above warning (1969), President Smith taught, “There are many great and real dangers to be reckoned with, and those which concern us more than all others combined have to do with our children.  The only real protection or adequate defense can be afforded by the home and its influences.”  (See “Our Children -`The Loveliest Flowers From God’s Own Garden,’” Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1969, 5; as quoted in Teachings of the Presidents, p. 206.)

                President Smith not only warned us of the importance of teaching our children, but he also told us what we should teach them.  This quote comes from 1916!  “Our children will have to be taught to discern between good and evil, otherwise in many respects they will not be able to understand why they are not permitted to indulge in practices that are common with their neighbors.  Unless they are instructed in the doctrines of the Church, they will not, perhaps, understand why there is any harm in the Sunday concert, a Sunday theatre, picture show, ball game, or something of that kind, when their playmates, without restraint and with encouragement, indulge in these things forbidden of the Lord on his holy day.  The parents are responsible for the proper teaching of their children, [and] the Lord will condemn the parents if their children grow up outside of the influence of the principles of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Conference Report, Oct. 1916, 71-72; as quoted in Teachings of the Presidents, p. 206).

                In 1965 President Smith again warned parents of the importance of teaching their children and quoted scripture in doing so:  “The Lord has commanded us, one and all, to bring our children up in light and truth.  Where this spirit exists, disharmony, disobedience, and neglect of sacred duties will not, cannot, succeed.”  (See Conference Report, 1965, p. 11; as quoted in Teachings of the Prophets, p. 206.)

                I am grateful to have had the guidance of living prophet of God to help me rear my children.  Nothing pleases me more than to see my son or son-in-law call his family around him to teach them a gospel principle or to study the scriptures together.  Of course, their wives are right beside them, supporting them in this great responsibility.  I can see in the behavior of my grandchildren that they are learning to love their siblings and to show consideration and kindness to them.  As their grandmother, this makes me very happy to see! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

IRS Scandal

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that the federal government should be transparent to American citizens.  Then the government attempts to hide facts from its citizens, they must be called on it.

                Judicial Watch continues to fight for freedom for all Americans.  When Congress could not obtain copies of former IRS official Lois Lerner, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.  As a result, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the following order.  

                “In light of [26] the Declaration filed by the IRS, the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014.  In this Declaration, the IRS must:  (1) provide information about its efforts, if any, to recover missing Lois Lerner emails from alternate sources (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone, iPad); (2) provide additional information explaining the IRS’s policy of tracking inventory through use of bar code property tags, including whether component parts, such as hard drives, receive a bar code tag when serviced.  If individual components do not receive a bar code tag, provide information on how the IRS tracks component parts, such as hard drives, when being serviced; (3) provide information about the IRS’s policy to degauss hard drives, including whether the IRS records whose hard drive is degaussed, either by tracking the employee’s name or the particular machine with which the hard drive was associated; and (4) provide information about the outside vendor who can verify the IRS’s destruction policies concerning hard drives.”

                I am grateful that someone is still on the job fighting corruption at the IRS.  I hope Judicial Watch will be successful in ferreting out the information necessary to indict someone and send them to prison for targeting tea party groups.  We must have a transparent federal government!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Indictment of Governor

                Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted on Friday, August 15, 2014, for “the high crime of exercising his constitutional right to free speech and his legal power to veto legislation.”  The indictment charges him of abusing his office because he threatened to veto legislation for funding the Public Integrity Unit of the district attorney’s (DA) office unless the DA resigned her office.  The reason why he wanted her to resign is because she is not fit to hold the office. 

                Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was found by police “drunk in her car with a blood alcohol level of 0.23, or nearly three times the legal limit.”  She is a convicted drunk driver and spent time in jail. 

                Governor Perry said he would veto the funds unless Ms. Lehmberg resigned; he argued that “a prosecutor who breaks the law and abuses law enforcement shouldn’t judge the `public integrity’ of others in government.”  She would not step down, and the Governor used his line-item veto power to remove the appropriation.  If convicted, he faces 109 years in prison!

                The indictment is obviously a political attempt to destroy Governor Perry, making him the first sitting Texas governor in almost 100 years to be indicted.  It also throws uncertainty over a possible run for President of the United States.  Democrats at both the state and national levels are calling for his resignation.

                Governor Perry is not going away quietly.  In a packed six-minute news conference near his office, he denounced the charges and said he “wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor.”  He added, “We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country.”  He declared that he would remain in office until the end of his term and would ultimately defeat the charges.

                Judge Jeanine Pirro, former district attorney and former judge, spent approximately five minutes explaining why the indictment was wrong; she also destroyed the credibility of Ms. Lehmberg.

                Austin, the capital of Texas, and the surrounding Travis County are liberal; in fact, it is the only Democratic county in a very conservative Texas.  This is not the first time a conservative Texas has been indicted and a political career destroyed without cause.

                As soon as this case hits the court, the judge should immediately throw it out.  If a grand jury can indict a governor or a president for doing a line-item veto, every governor in America as well as every President of the United States would be in danger of being indicted.  I wish Governor Perry success in fighting this indictment!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Questions about Ferguson

                Many questions remain more than a week after Michael Brown, a black eighteen-year-old man, was shot by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.  The altercation between the young adult and the policeman began with the cop telling the young man and his friend to get out of the street and stop obstructing traffic.  Apparently, the two young black men disobeyed the police order, but the details of the shooting remain unclear due to the fact that witnesses are telling conflicting stories.  Some are saying that Brown attacked the officer while others are saying he was walking away with his hands in the air just before being shot.

                The next day violence erupted in the city and continued for over a week.  Stores were looted, a gas station was torched, and shots were fired at police.  By the end of the week, another person was dead and seven people arrested for violence.  The mayor of Ferguson asked the police department of St. Louis to investigate the shooting but have since turned over control of the town to the state troopers and the FBI due to the rioting.  Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, put the city under curfew.     
                The police took almost a week to release the name of the white cop that shot the black teenager.  This caused frustration among the majority black community.  The Ferguson police department released a raw video from a nearby store showing Michael Brown strong-arming the clerk and stealing some cigars.  This caused further rioting in the community and brought criticism from the governor.  Now another video has been posted to YouTube claiming to show the scene of the shooting.  There is a conversation in the background of the video with someone suggesting that Brown may have rushed the officer, who then shot him in self-defense.  What would you do if a person weighing 200 plus pounds charged you?  Would you defend yourself if you had a gun?

                Hopefully, the on-going investigation will answer the questions concerning why the shooting took place; however, there are greater questions that must be answered if we are to solve the race problems in our nation.  Among those questions are these:  (1) Are police and other authorities persecuting black people or are they acting because of the behavior of black people?  (Did the policeman shoot Michael because he was black or because he was attacking the cop?)  (2) Why do black people riot because one black person gets shot by a white person but ignore the many black-on-black deaths every single day?  (3) Why do black people believe they have the right to riot and destroy the property of other people for any reason?  What is it about blacks that they began to act like animals when they get upset rather than act like human beings?  When was the last time you saw a riot of white people, Asians, Mexicans, etc.  (4) Are the riots caused by community organizers and other “leaders”?

                A black pastor apparently wants the answers to these questions also.  Pastor Jonathan Gentry recently gave some candid commentary about the riots in Ferguson as well the behavior of black people in other places and under other circumstances.  He posted a video that went viral; in his video rant the pastor called out blacks, particularly civil rights leaders like the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the Black Panthers, for urging on the rioters.  He said “change is not going to happen until WE change….”  He explained that he is a young black man with a nice car who has frequent interactions with police but never had any trouble from the police.

                This pastor will probably be called an “Uncle Tom” or an “Oreo” or some other name, but he is right.  Rioting and destroying private or government property is not the answer to the race problems in our nation.  There must be change. 

                Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes the race wars are not about race but are class warfare caused by the 1% holding down the rest of us.  He believes that the protests in Ferguson are “justified” and that “we need more protests across the country.”  “What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest?  Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change.  The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.
                “Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson:  a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage….”

                I too believe that we must all work together to solve the problems in our nation.  I believe the key is work rather than redistribution of wealth.  I believe we must all work and make the effort to take care of ourselves and our families the best we can and then helping our more unfortunate neighbors.  I believe that we must stop allowing ourselves to be divided by class, race, religion, or whatever and act as united Americans.  We must all act like human beings and treat each other with respect, understanding that respect must go both ways.  Blacks cannot demand more respect from others without returning respect, and no one is respected when they act like animals instead of people.  Whites must understand that all human beings are equal in the sight of God and deserve to be treated with respect.  We must call out all those people and organizations who continue to agitate and cause problems between the races and elect honest and upright politicians.  We must realize that we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven who desires that all of His children learn to live together in love and respect.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wright Brothers

                The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur – “are credited with inventing and building the first successful airplane” as well as “making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  They worked from 1905 until 1907 developing their “flying machine” into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.  They also made fixed-wing powered flight possible by inventing aircraft controls.

                Orville and Wilbur Wright were two of seven children born to their parents, Milton Wright (1828-1917) and Susan Catherine Koerner (1831-1889).  Their paternal ancestry was English and Dutch, and their maternal ancestry was German and Swiss.  Wilbur was born on April 16, 1867, near Millville, Indiana; Orville was born four years later on August 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio.  Their siblings were Reuchlin (1861-1920), Lorin (1862-1939), Katharine (1874-1929), and twins Otis and Ida (born 1870, died in infancy).  Orville and Wilbur both attended high school, but neither of them graduated or married.

                After their successful flight, the brothers credited their interest in flying to a toy helicopter they were given as children in 1878 by their father.  The toy “helicopter” was made of paper, bamboo and cork with a rubber band to twirl its rotor and was about twelve inches long.  It was based on an invention made by Alphonse Penaud, a French aeronautical pioneer.  The boys played with the toy until it broke and then made their own.

                “The brothers’ fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium.  This method became and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds.  From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving `the flying problem.’  This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines.  Using a small homebuilt wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before.  Their first U.S. patent, 821,393, did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces.
                “They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery.  Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice.  From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots.  Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first airplane engine in close collaboration with the brothers.”

                Wilbur became ill on a business trip to Boston, Massachusetts, in April 1912; he died of typhoid fever at age 45 on May 30, 1912, at the family home in Dayton, Ohio. Orville lived from the days of horse and buggy to the days of supersonic flight.  He died on January 30, 1948, following his second heart attack.  The next day John T Daniels, the Coast Guardsman who took their famous first flight photo, died the following day.  The Wright brothers are buried at the family plot at Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton, Ohio. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reexamination Clause

                The topic for this Constitution Monday comes from the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “In Suits at common law … no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”  This means that no changes can be made once the jury has made and reported their decision.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained that “no judge of a trial court can substitute his opinion of the facts for that of the jury, nor can an appellate court set aside the jury’s findings and make a final order on its own.
                “In case of a mistrial, the court may order a hearing before another jury, or a new trial can be ordered by an appellate court if there was an error of law committed by the trial court.”  (See “The Making of America – The Meaning and Substance of the Constitution, p. 710.)

                David F. Forte of The Heritage Foundation explained the Reexamination Clause:  “The principle that juries determine questions of fact is a fundamental underpinning of our legal system.  The Seventh Amendment was drafted in response to complaints raised during the ratification process that the Constitution failed to protect the institution of the civil jury.  The Reexamination Clause, in particular, answered the chorus of objections in the ratifying conventions that the Supreme Court’s appellate power `both as to Law and Fact’ would effectively abolish the civil jury by allowing the Supreme Court to retry facts on appeal.  It is for this reason that Justice Joseph Story characterized the Reexamination Clause as `more important’ than the initial phrase of the amendment guaranteeing juries in civil trials….” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 361.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

To Know the Truth

                We can learn the truth of all things through the power of the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead.  The Godhead also includes our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are personages of tabernacle, meaning that They have bodies of flesh and bones.  The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, meaning that He has a spirit body in the form of a man. 

                When Joseph Smith received his first vision of God and His Son, he instantly knew the truth about God:  “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:21-22).

                The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth.  He reveals the teachings of the Father and the Son to all those who faithfully serve God.  Prophecy comes from the Holy Ghost.

                President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “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.”  (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 183-184; see also Doctrines of Salvation, 1:47-48.)

                I read this quote by President Smith many years ago when I taught the gospel to a group of sisters.  I was amazed to learn that truth taught through the Holy Ghost actually becomes part of the body.  We cannot ever forgot truth taught by the Holy Ghost becomes it is part of us!

                The Holy Ghost is a revelator.  He bears testimony to honest people everywhere.  This is how sincere seekers of the truth learn for themselves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is actually the Church of Christ on earth today.  Jesus Christ bore testimony that the Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30).  You can know this truth through the power of the Holy IF you sincerely ask God if it is true and have the honest intent to act upon the truth.

                There is much darkness in the world today, but the everlasting light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is available to all who seek it.  Every sincere investigator on earth can receive a personal witness from the Holy Ghost of the truth.  An ancient American prophet by the name of Moroni closed his record in the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni 10:4-5 with his testimony. 

                “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.”

                The opportunity to receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost is available to all men, women, and children wherever they may live and whether or not they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The power of the Holy Ghost is available to all mankind.

                In this dark world where good is called evil and evil is called good, I am grateful to know that I can seek truth through the Holy Ghost.  I often – meaning several times each day – seek the witness of the Holy Ghost in making decisions about right and wrong.  I am immensely grateful for this knowledge and opportunity.  I urge you to seek guidance through the Holy Ghost as you make decisions that affect yourself, your family, your community, and your nation.  We can all be strengthened through the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives.