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, September 21, 2014

States' Powers

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution:  “All powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  The people and the states have the right to all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government or prohibited by the Constitution to be exercised by the states.

                W. Cleon Skousen stated, “This provision was designed to protect states’ rights as well as the rights of individual citizens.  Each sovereign state retained unto itself all powers that had not been given to the national government.  Unfortunately, with the passing of the Seventeenth Amendment (wherein Senators are elected by popular vote rather than being appointed by the state legislatures), the states lost the right to be represented in the Senate, where they had held a veto power over any legislation which violated states’ rights.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 712-713.)


                Charles Cooper of The Heritage Foundation explained:  “The Tenth Amendment expresses the principle that undergirds the entire plan of the original Constitution:  the national government possesses only those powers delegated to it.  The Framers of the Tenth Amendment had two purposes in mind when they drafted it.  The first was a necessary rule of construction.  The second was to reaffirm the nature of the federal system.

                “Because the Constitution created a government of limited and enumerated powers, the Framers initially believed that a bill of rights was not only unnecessary, but also potentially dangerous.  State constitutions recognized a general legislative power in the state governments; hence, limits in the form of state bills of rights were necessary to guard individual rights against the excess of governmental power.  The Constitution, however, conferred only the limited powers that were listed or enumerated in the federal Constitution.  Because the federal government could not reach objects not granted to it, the Federalist originally argued, there was no need for a federal bill of rights.  Further, the Federalists insisted that, under the normal rules of statutory construction, by forbidding the government from acting in certain areas, a bill of rights necessarily implied that the government could act in all other areas not forbidden to it.  That would change the federal government from one of limited powers to one, like the states, of general legislative powers.


                “The Federalists relented and passed the Bill of Rights in the First Congress only after making certain that no such implication could arise from the prohibitions of the Bill of Rights.  Hence, the Tenth Amendment – a rule of construction that warns against interpreting the other amendments in the Bill of Rights to imply powers in the national government that were not granted by the original document.”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 371.)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Preparedness

                What does the word preparedness mean to you?  I believe there are as many ideas on preparedness as there are people.  Merriam-Webster defined preparedness as “the fact of being ready for something; the state of being prepared.”  

                Wikepedia described preparedness as referring “to a very concrete research based set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters.  These actions can include both physical preparations (such as emergency supplies depots, adapting buildings to survive earthquakes and so on) and trainings for emergency action.  Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes.  There are different types of preparedness (i.e., Snow Preparedness Teams – SPT), but probably the most developed type is ‘Disaster Preparedness’, defined by the UN as involving ‘forecasting and taking precautionary measures prior to an imminent threat when advance warnings are possible’.  This includes not only natural disasters, but all kinds of severe damage caused in a relatively short period, including warfare.  Preparedness is a major phase of emergency management, and is particularly valued in areas of competition such as sport and military science.
                “Methods of preparation include research, estimation, planning, resourcing, education, education, practicing and rehearsing.”

                President Thomas S. Monson  counseled members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  “We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt.  Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free.  Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse:  they have a supply of debt and are food-free….
                “Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives?  Are our skills perfected?  Do we live providently?  Do we have our reserve supply on hand?  Are we obedient to the commandments of God?  Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets?  Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy?  Are we square with the Lord?
                “We live in turbulent times.  Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties.  When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.”

                To me, preparedness means the practice of being prepared for whatever may happen.  When I think of preparedness, I think of preparing for bad days, such as saving for a “rainy day” or having some extra food in the house.

                I recently had an opportunity to take advantage of practicing preparedness.  Some cousins came to spend the night with us, arriving about midnight and planning to catch a bus to Whittier at 1:00 the next afternoon.  We planned to eat breakfast at Village Inn in order to have more time for all of us to visit together. 

                Before we could leave the house we learned that our guests needed to check in for their cruise at 11:00 instead of 1:00; I realized that we had no time to go out to eat.  I immediately inventoried what I could serve our guests.  I had enough eggs for scrambled eggs.  I also had some pancake mix to make some pancakes.  I had a choice between ham and sausage.  I had fruit and fruit juice.  It turned out to be a wonderful breakfast and was put together within just a few minutes. 

                We used the extra time to show our guests some of the sights in Anchorage.  We showed them the Anchorage Alaska Temple, the large chocolate (water) fall at the Wild Berry store.  We drove around Lake Hood and showed them our airplane.  We showed them Earthquake Park and how Cook Inlet wraps three-quarters of the way around Anchorage.  We even had some time for them to do some souvenir shopping.  The fact that I was prepared to serve breakfast unexpectedly made our day so much nicer than it might have been if we had tried to eat out.

                Prophets have counseled members of the Church to practice preparedness since our pioneer ancestors crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.  Brigham Young (1801-77):  “If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?” (Deseret News, July 18, 1860, 153).

                Wilford Woodruff (1807-98):  “We feel led to caution the Latter-day Saints against forming the bad habit of incurring debt and taking upon themselves obligations which frequently burden them heavier than they can bear, and lead to the loss of their homes and other possessions.  … Our business should be done, as much as possible, on the principle of paying for that which we purchase, and our needs should be brought within the limit of our resources” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Wilford Woodruff [2004], 232-33).

                George Albert Smith (1870-1951):  “How on the face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when instead of doing so he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family” (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 1868, 26).

                Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972):  “[The pioneers] were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed, and to be frugal and not wasteful of their substance.  This is still excellent counsel” (“The Pioneer Spirit,” Improvement Era, July 1970, 3).

                Harold B. Lee (1899-1973):  “We expect the individual to do all he can to help himself, whether it be an emergency for a single family or for a whole community, that the relatives will do all they can to help, then the Church steps in with commodities from the storehouse, with fast offerings to meet their needs that commodities from the storehouse will not supply, and finally, the Relief Society and the priesthood quorums will assist with rehabilitation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Harold B. Lee [2000], 171).

                Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985):  “We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property.  Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees – plant them if your climate is right for their growth.  Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard.  Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters.  … Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive.  If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (“Family Preparedness,” Ensign, May 1976, 124).

                Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994):  “The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (“Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69).

                Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008):  “The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings.  The best welfare program is our own welfare program.  Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary.  …
                “We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months.  I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs” (“To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58).


                We are encouraged by Church and civic leaders to have food in our homes. We should begin with obtaining food we can immediately access – food that does not need cooking or refrigeration – enough to last from three days to a week.  We should then obtain more food as quickly as possible, enough to last for at least a year – and do so without going in debt for it.  We should also obtain enough clothes to last a year and also fuel if at all possible.  The goal is to be prepared to remain independent of other people, the Church, and the government.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sacred Duty

                We must all understand that strengthening families is the sacred duty of all of us.  The breakdown in our society, such as fatherless homes, children running in gangs, lack of respect for authority figures, etc., is the result of lack of strength in our families. 

                Did you know there is “a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and family strengthening program for high-risk and regular families”?  The program is “Strengthening Families Program (SFP).  It “is an evidence-based family skills training program found to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children and to improve social competencies and school performance.  Child maltreatment also decreases as parents strengthen bonds with their children and learn more effective parenting skills.”  You can learn more about this program here.  http://www.strengtheningfamiliesprogram.org/

                If you are interested in the Lord’s program for strengthening families, I suggest that you read and/or listen to a talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  It can be found here.  www.lds.org/general-conference/1999/04/strengthening-families-our-sacred-duty?lang=eng  

                Elder Hales explained in his talk why strengthening “families is our sacred duty as parents, children, extended family members, leaders, teachers and individual members of the Church” and suggested some things we can do to strengthen families.
                “The importance of spiritually strengthening families is taught clearly in the scriptures.  Father Adam and Mother Eve taught their sons and daughters the gospel.  The sacrifices of Abel were accepted by the Lord, whom he loved.  Cain, on the other hand, `loved Satan more than God’ and committed serious sins.  Adam and Eve `mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren,’ but they never ceased to teach their children the gospel (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:12, 18, 20, 27; Moses 6:1, 58).
                “We must understand that each of our children comes with varying gifts and talents.  Some, like Abel, seem to be given gifts of faith at birth.  Others struggle with every decision they make.  As parents, we should never let the searching and struggling of our children make us waver or lose our faith in the Lord.”

                In February 1999 the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a call to all parents “to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church.  The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.”
                In the letter, “the First Presidency taught that by teaching and rearing children in gospel principles parents can protect their families from corrosive elements.  They further counseled parents and children `to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities.  However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform’ (First Presidency letter, 11 Feb. 1999; cited in Church News, 27 Feb. 1999, 3; quoted by Elder Hales).

                Elder Hales stated that the “key to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes.  The goal of our families is to be on the strait and narrow path.”  He then listed many things families can do “within the walls of our homes to strengthen the family” and ideas to help identify problem areas.  A few of his ideas are as follow:

                (1)   “Make our homes a safe place where each family member feels love and a sense of belonging….”

                (2)   “Remember, `a soft answer turneth away wrath’ (Proverbs 15:1)….

                (3)   “Spend individual time with our children, letting them choose the activity and the subject of conversation.  Block out distractions.

                (4)   “Encourage our children’s private religious behavior, such as personal prayer, personal scripture study, and fasting for specific needs.  Measure their spiritual growth by observing their demeanor, language, and conduct toward others.”

                (5)   “Pray daily with our children.”

                (6)   “Read the scriptures together….  Read the words of the living prophets and other inspiring articles” for their age groups.

                (7)   “Fill our homes with the sound of worthy music as we sing together from the hymnbook and the Children’s Songbook.

                (8)   “Hold family home evening every week….”

                (9)   “Hold family councils to discuss family plans and concerns” either as a group or individually.”   

                (10) “Eat together when possible and have meaningful mealtime discussions.”

                (11) “Work together as a family….”

                (12) “Build family traditions.”

                Elder Hales listed many more ideas to strengthen families and then encouraged us to “listen to the prophet’s voice and set in order our own homes (Doctrine and Covenants 93:41-49).  The family is strengthened as we draw near to the Lord, and each member of the family is strengthened as we lift and strengthen and love and care for one another….
                “May we be able to welcome and maintain the Spirit of the Lord in our homes to strengthen our families….”


                I suggest that you try the Lord’s way first and save time.  The Lord knows what the problems are and how to solve them; He reveals this knowledge to prophets and apostles such as Elder Hales.  I know the Lord’s way works.  I know we can strengthen our families by bringing the Spirit of God into our homes and keeping Him there.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tree of Liberty

                The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that the Constitution of the United States is like a giant tree protecting Americans and all other peoples.  Americans commemorated Constitution Day on September 17, marking 227 years since it became the Supreme Law of our nation.

                An elm tree standing near Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, was known as the Liberty Tree before Americans revolted against Great Britain.  In 1765, the tree was the site of the first act of defiance against the British government.  “The tree became a rallying point for the growing resistance to the rule of Britain over the American colonies and for that reason it was felled by British soldiers in 1775.”  As it turned out, the felling of the Liberty Tree did not stop the creation of the Tree of Liberty, the U.S. Constitution.

                Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long considered the U.S. Constitution to be divinely inspired.  More than 2,500 years ago, Nephi saw a vision of future events.  He saw Columbus and his inspired discovery of a new land.  He saw the Pilgrims colonize the new land.  He saw the inhabitants of this new land fight a war against their mother land.  He saw that a climate of religious freedom would be established in the land that would enable the gospel of Jesus Christ to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.  (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 13.)

                The Doctrine and Covenants, another book of modern scripture, explains how “wise men” were raised up to establish a new type of government for this new land.  This new standard would be acceptable to God and would also allow mankind to use moral agency to “be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.”  This standard of freedom and liberty is the U.S. Constitution.

                The Prophet Joseph Smith said that the U.S. Constitution would inspire a spirit of constitutionalism that “is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun.”  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City:  Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 147.)

                Jay Todd wrote in 1987 that “this is yet one more of the seemingly unending array of fulfilled prophecies that flowed from the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Today, two hundred years after the establishment of the U.S. Constitution, one of the nation’s preeminent constitutional scholars can write that `the United States Constitution is the nation’s most important export… [and that] just by being first, the United States Constitution has inevitably been an influence for constitutionalism.  Every nation that has a one-document constitution (or is committed in principle to having one) is inevitably following the United States precedent – model.  And that applies to all but six countries.’”  (Albert P. Blaustein, internationally-known scholar of the U.S. Constitution and professor of law, Rutgers – The State University School of Law in personal papers, 1984, published in edited form in National Forum, Fall 1984, p. 14.)

                Another prophet, President Wilford Woodruff, also spoke about the tree of liberty:  “As far as constitutional liberty is concerned, I will say, the God of haven has raised up our nation, as foretold by his prophets generations ago.  He inspired Columbus, and moved upon him to cross the ocean in search of this continent….  It is also well known how our forefathers found a home and an asylum in this land from the hand of persecution, and how they planted here the tree of liberty and jealously guarded it from the attempt of the mother country to uproot and destroy it.  The hand of God was in this; and it is through the intervention of his providence that we enjoy today the freest and most independent government the world ever saw.  And what was the object of this?  It was to prepare the way for the building up of the kingdom of God in this the last dispensation of the fulness of times; and as long as the principles of constitutional liberty shall be maintained upon this land, blessings will attend the nation.”  (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City:  Bookcraft, 1946, 51:801, pp. 188-89.)

                Prophets are not the only ones to speak of the Tree of Liberty.  President Thomas Jefferson liked parts of the new Constitution but did not like other parts and shared his feelings with William Stephen Smith in Paris, France, on 13 November 1787.  Jefferson was sure there would be another rebellion in twenty years.  “…The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure….”

                The Constitution of the United States has become a great Tree of Liberty and is spreading its branches to protect freedom and liberty throughout the world; however, it in danger of being destroyed by those who desire to destroy the government of the United States.  The day may come when Americans must defend the Constitution by the shedding of the blood of those who love liberty more than life itself.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Questions about Benghazi

                Questions about the 2012 terrorist attack at the U.S. compound and the nearby CIA complex in Benghazi continue to be in the news.  I hope the attack will stay in the news until the American people know the truth about it.  The Obama Administration continues to cover up their actions concerning the attack – prior, during, and after it. 

                The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador.  New questions are coming out because security contractors stepped forward to say that they were told to “stand down” when trying to defend the compound.  The attack is currently being investigated by a selected committee of members of the U.S. House of Representatives led by Congressman Trey Gowdy.

                Aaron Klein, radio host and WND reporter, wrote a recently released book entitled The REAL Benghazi Story:  What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know.  In his book Klein claims that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was coordinating “arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting the Syrian regime.”  He stated that this scheme to arm rebels could be considered “the Fast and Furious of the Middle East, the Iran-Contra of the Obama administration.”  WND has more information about Klein’s book here

                Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, brings other questions to light in his book Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.  He suggests Barack Obama should be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” because of his lack of action to provide adequate protection at the compound.  He claims that this lack of action is “impeachable and removable.” 

                “The most shocking transgression by this president involves Benghazi, which is a profound dereliction of duty, even though it’s not an indictable offense….  It’s simply a fact that the president does not have to be indictable in order to be removable….
                “Once you know what impeachable offenses are, when you know what high crimes and misdemeanors are, you look at a president who doesn’t defend Americans under terrorist siege for hours notwithstanding that he knew from the earliest part of the assault that a terrorist attack was underway.  … And then you go through other things like Fast and Furious, where you had a Justice Department that actually armed violent Mexican crime syndicates intentionally to try to make cases, separation of powers is a big problem, but it’s hardly the only problem.”

                Even though he believes Mr. Obama has committed impeachable offenses, McCarthy does not advocate for impeachment because he does not believe the President would actually be removed from office (remember Bill Clinton).  This Senate under the direction of Harry Reed simply will not hold this President to the rule of law!

                Still another book was written containing the experiences of people who were on the ground in Benghazi during the attack.  The book - 13 Hours In Benghazi:  The Inside Account Of What Really Happened - was written Mitchell Zuckoff, journalism professor at Boston University.

                Breitbart.com reports:  “The Obama administration, the CIA, and even some congressional committees – they all said there `was no “stand down” order.’  But now five men who helped ward off the terrorists that attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, two years ago say it’s only because they defied such an order that as many as 25 Americans are alive today.”

                Breitbart quoted Kris “Tanto” Paronto, one of the security contractors on that fateful evening said in a telephone interview:  “There’s quite a few – the soft-skins, we call them, or the non-shooters….  They’re all still working.  I can’t give their names out or give their call signs out.  The only ones I can are like me and Oz and Tig who have come out.  We’re all on board with the project and we’re all a team together, but some want to remain anonymous.
                “As far as the numbers, you’ve got – and I’m going to be approximate – but there’s about 25 people that came out there and then there’s however many that left from Tripoli from the State Department when we got there.  There’s a lot of them.  I haven’t stayed in touch with all of them, and haven’t felt the need to.  But a lot of them are staffers for the most part.  A lot of them are still working.”

                Within minutes of word of the terrorist attack on the compound, the security team at the CIA Annex – Paronto, John “Tig” Tiegen, Mark “Oz” Geist, Jack Silva, Dave “D.B.” Benton, and Tyrone “Rone” Woods - were ready to head to the compound.    U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and five other Americans were at the compound calling for help.  The security team waited for permission for twenty or minutes and were told twice to “wait” and once to “stand down.”  Finally, they decided to act on their own.

                In an interview I heard recently, one of the men said they had to wait to write their book for two years because of contract conditions; however, he also said the book was not political at all, just an attempt to get the truth out to the American people.


                Some people believe that Benghazi is “old news,” but I do not.  I believe that more information will continue to come out.  I believe that truth will eventually prove that Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton set the stage – intentionally or unintentionally - for the murders of four Americans and then covered up for political reasons.  Will the truth come out in time to save our nation from those who seek to destroy us?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Divinely Inspired and Glorious Constitution

                September 17 is Constitution Day.  This year marks 227 years since thirty-nine men signed the Constitution of the United States.  All thirteen original states were petitioned to send delegates to the Constitution Convention scheduled to begin on May 25, 1787; twenty-nine delegates gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 25, 1787.  With George Washington presiding at the convention, the delegates spent a hot and sweaty summer working on our glorious Constitution.  The delegates’ first duty was to formulate rules for the convention; one of the rules called for absolute secrecy about everything that happened in the convention.  Other delegates eventually joined the first twenty-nine, and fifty-five out of seventy-four appointed delegates actually attended the convention.  Thirty-nine men signed the finished Constitution.

                The Framers of the U.S. Constitution understood they were undertaking a magnificent task as they created a completely new type of government.  The Constitution they created was the first written constitution in the entire world.  It would not only serve America well, but it would also serve as a pattern for constitutions in many other nations.  The Framers also understood that Americans would need to be vigilant to maintain this new formula for freedom; they knew that this new government could be lost in a single generation.

                Elder Dallin H. Oaks believes the Constitution to be divinely inspired.  He stated that several miracles took place while the Constitution was being written with the first miracle being the agreement for a strong central government by delegates representing different regions and loyalties.  He attributed this success to the “intelligence, wisdom, and unselfishness of the delegates.”

                According to Elder Oaks, a second miracle concerned the actual writing of the Constitution because the Framers were far from being of “one mind” on the wording.  A third miracle concerned the principles included in the Constitution.  Elder Oaks does not believe that every word in the Constitution was inspired, but he does believe the following principles included in it were inspired by God:  (1) Separation of powers, (2) A written bill of rights, (3) Division of powers, (4) Popular sovereignty, and (5) Rule of law and not of men.

                President Ezra Taft Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture during administration of President Eisenhower.  He described the Constitution as being a “glorious standard raised up by the Founding Fathers.”  He reminded his listeners that “The framers of the Constitution were men raised up by God to establish this foundation of our government, for so the Lord has declared by revelation in these words:  `I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.’ (Doctrine and Covenants 101:80; italics added.)

                President Benson stated that “Wise and honorable men raised that glorious standard for this nation.  It will also take wise and honorable men to perpetuate what was so nobly established.”  He continued by encouraging every American to “do his duty” and not be an “idle spectator.”  He counseled us to seek diligently for people who are good, honest, and wise – and to be “prayerfully wise” as we choose our leaders.  “May we select only those who understand and will adhere to Constitutional principles.  To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves.”

                President Benson quoted from a public statement made by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  “We urge members of the Church and all Americans to begin now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution, and of adherence to its principles” (Ensign, Nov. 1973, p. 90).

                Continuing his talk, President Benson urged “every Latter-day Saint and all Americans in North and South America to become familiar with every part of this document.  Many of the constitutions of countries in South America have been patterned in large measure after that of the United States.  We should understand the Constitution as the Founders meant that it should be understood.  We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers.  Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us.
                “I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document.  To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land.  I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as a prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the Second Coming of our Savior.
                “May God bless us to protect this sacred instrument.  In the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, `May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.’  (Doctrine and Covenants 109:54.)  For this I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”


                I too believe the Constitution of the United States to be a “glorious standard” that was “divinely inspired.”  I too pray that we will stay strong in defending and protecting this Constitution and the liberty and freedoms of men and women everywhere.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Andrew Carnegie

                Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Scotland.  He was the eldest son.  His father was William Carnegie, and his mother was Margaret Morrison Carnegie.  William Carnegie was a linen weaver and was a leader of a group known as the Chartists who worked to “improve the conditions of working-class life in Great Britain.  Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Morrison who was a shoemaker and a reformer, both political and social.

                When William was thirteen years old, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  The move took place because industrialization was destroying the handloom business.  Andrew soon found a job as a “bobbin boy in a cotton factory.”  He was a “voracious reader” and welcomed the opportunity to borrow books from the personal library of a man.  He gained most of his education from books while he moved from bobbin boy to messenger for Western Union to telegraph operator – and “then to a series of positions leading to the superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.”

                While working for the railroad, “Carnegie invested in a new company to manufacture railway sleeping cards.  He later expanded his business to building bridges, locomotives and rails.  He organized many companies, the first being Keystone Bridge Company in 1865 and the first of his steel works in 1873.  Carnegie believed that the working class should work with the business man in joint efforts and joint success, and he attracted talented young men who had the talent to manage organizations.  His steel company did so well that he sold it to J.P. Morgan in 1901
and the Carnegie Company was worth more than $400.

                Carnegie began his philanthropic around 1870 and is best known for providing free public library buildings.  He gave his first library to his home town, Dunfermline, in 1881, and eventually gave 2,509 similar gifts to communities throughout the English-speaking world. 

                A prolific writer, Carnegie wrote many books sharing his belief that rich people are only trustees of money and should distribute it to the less fortunate.  He retired from business in 1901 and became more active in giving away his wealth.  He helped to establish colleges, schools, nonprofit organizations and associations in the United States, Scotland and around the world.   “His most significant contribution, both in terms of money and in terms of enduring influence, was the establishment of several endowed trusts or institutions bearing his name.”  By the time he passed away, he had distributed about $350 million; however, his legacy of generosity continues through the work of trusts and institutions he endowed.

                Carnegie married Louise Whitfield, and the couple had one child, Margaret Carnegie Miller.  Carnegie passed away at age 83 on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts, from bronchial pneumonia.