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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Liberty and Socialism

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns liberty and socialism and the simple fact that there is no liberty where socialism reigns. I am deeply involved in family business, but I want to make sure that my readers see this article by Matt Kibbe titled “Liberty rocks, socialism kills.” 

                Kibbe begins, “Today’s current political atmosphere is more polarizing than ever, leaving many voters – particularly millennials and first-time voters – feeling alienated and disenfranchised. It is times like this when we must reflect on what made America great in the first place and try to revert back to our founding principles. America was not built on the idea of free stuff, but rather the freedom to be left alone – the ability to say what’s on your mind, to practice a religion of your choice, to thrive economically. This freedom to live our lives the way we choose is being threatened by socialist policies and an overzealous federal government.
                “If we want to continue to be the greatest country in modern history and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world, we must protect these freedoms. Only by protecting personal, civil, and economic liberties, can we truly maintain our influence in the world.”

                The article continues by explaining why we need to protect our liberties and regain our influence in the world. I found it to be an interesting article and encourage you to read it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Religion and Politics

                We have heard much about the danger of losing our Freedom of Religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe there is real reason for this fear. I also believe that we – collectively as Christians and as a nation - brought this problem on ourselves because of our lack of integrity.

                We say that we believe certain things, but we live our lives differently from what we say we believe. How else can we explain that we have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the candidates for President of the United States? If we as Christians were living our lives according to the teachings in the Bible, we would have chosen God-fearing candidates. We had many to choose from!

                Steve Deace at Conservative Review shares some interesting thoughts on this subject. He begins, “There’s been a lot of justifiable hand-wringing regarding the Christian vote in this election cycle. Unfortunately, the reality is even worse than the perception.
                “That’s because data suggests that what’s driving many believers to vote isn’t their beliefs as much as it is their racial/ethnic identity – just like the electorate at large. In other words, voters coming from the institution charged with preserving America’s vitally important moral foundation – the church – collectively aren’t approaching the ballot box any differently than the secularly-minded.”

                How can people who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ support abortion, living on the dole, or violence? We see people see in our nation who claim to be followers of Christ but do not live His gospel. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and values. It will survive on those same principles or values or fall. Followers of Christ must live their lives differently than other people!

                After discussing the state of the Catholic vote, Deace cites a survey completed by LifeWay Research that draws “distinctions between voters who simply identify as evangelicals and those who actually have evangelical beliefs. Overall, the survey found among whites who hold evangelical beliefs Trump overwhelmingly leads, 65-10. Meanwhile, Clinton holds almost the exact same lead among non-whites with evangelical beliefs, 62-15.
                “For the sake of its survey, LifeWay defined evangelical beliefs as the following: [1] Trusting in Jesus Christ alone for [2].  Believe they have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with others. [3] Believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives.
                “What’s unsettling is how those who claim they `believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives’ could have such starkly different voting patterns. Especially because the Bible makes it clear the Christian is to set aside their worldly identity (race, ethnicity, gender, family legacy, nation of origin, etc.) in order to find his/her identity in Christ first and foremost.”

                Later in his article Deace explains why this “trend spells certain doom for American Exceptionalism if it continues.” He quotes John Adams as stating that the self-government established by the U.S. Constitution was “meant only for a moral and religious people.” President Adams was not the only Founder stating this belief.

                Deace continues, “It’s no coincidence that as the culture has become more decadent the government has gotten bigger. The less moral restraint we have, the more government is needed to suffer the consequences of our actions.” The cycle simply continues with people calling for more government control. In order to have limited government, morality must also be present.
                “This is why great spiritual awakenings came before liberty in our history, and then later revivals were required to secure that liberty for future generations once it was established. Spiritual revival leads to a morally-restrained people. A morally-restrained people require less government to restrain them.”

                Deace’s article reminds me of a statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was asked how he controlled the members of the growing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

                The Book of Mormon is another witness for Jesus Christ and includes many of His teachings. The book is also a history book about various civilizations. It shows the human tendency to move in cycles. When people are humble, the Lord helps them to prosper. As they prosper, they become proud. As they become proud, they sin more and eventually suffer. When they suffer long enough, they become humble enough for the Lord to bless them again.

                This cycle is shown over and over again in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and it continues in our day. This nation was blessed by the Lord in its beginning. There is no way the colonists could have beaten Great Britain, the greatest military in the world at the time, without the help of God. There were numerous miracles from God that helped Americans to win independence.

                Years passed, and Americans begin more wicked – as shown by putting other human beings in slavery. This wickedness continued until the nation was consumed in a terrible war, a war that killed more Americans than all the other wars combined.

                America is a promised land to people who follow Jesus Christ and live His teachings. Prophets in our day teach that God will have a humble people living in the promised land of America. All other people will be swept off the land. At least two great civilizations have lived, prospered, and been destroyed on this continent because they forgot to follow Christ’s teachings. The prophets teach that people will either humble themselves, or He will humble them. I prefer to humble myself. If we desire liberty, we must follow Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leaked Emails

                Julian Assange, the founder and owner of WikiLeaks, promised to release 50,000 emails and bring down the Hillary Clinton campaign for President of the United States. So far, he has released more than 5,000 emails hacked from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager.

                Rachel Alexander at The Stream shares some of the most damaging emails from Podesta: (1) Clinton “often” says false things, (2) Clinton hates “everyday Americans,” (3) Clinton Foundation COO almost driven to suicide dealing with Bill, Chelsea Clinton, (4) Collusion with ABC’s George Stephanopolous to ambush “Clinton Cash” Author Peter Schweizer, (5) New York Times reporter Patrick Healy runs his thoughts on his next Clinton/Trump article past Clinton team first, (6) Anti-Catholicism, (7) Bill Clinton: Someone making $110,000 annually would struggle financially, (8) The AP is “helpful,” (9) Saudi Arabia providing aid to ISIS, (10) Clinton’s affiliated super PAC “Correct the Record” placed 132 op-eds, killed negative stories, (11) Clinton campaign aware Obama campaign committed massive voter fraud in 2008, (12) Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, (13) CNBC’s John Harwood, a Republican presidential debate moderator, congratulated Podesta on Clinton campaign success, (14) Staffers brazenly refer to the Democratic base as “The Red Army,” (15) Carelessly discussing sanctions against Iran over unsecured email, (16) Racism, (17) Wall Street banker included in top staffer email discussions, and (18) Plot to smear Bernie Sanders and his supporters as sexist. You can find the details on each of these emails in Alexander’s article titled “18 Reasons (So Far) Leaked Podesta Emails Reveal Dishonest Side of Clinton, Her Campaign and Media Collusion.” 

                Each time I see an article such as the above, I wonder if any legal action will be taken against Clinton and/or her staff. I am slowly losing hope. Maybe she is above the law!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Desmond Doss

                Desmond Thomas Doss is a hero from World War II. He has the distinction of being the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three so honored. As a corporal in the U.S. Army, he was assigned to the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.

                Doss was born on February 7, 1919, in Lynchburg, Virginia, to William Thomas Doss and Bertha E. Oliver. He married Dorothy Doss (m. 1942-1991) and Frances Doss (m. 1993-2006) and had one son, Desmond Thomas Doss, Jr. He died on March 23, 2006, in Piedmont, Alabama, and was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

                Pfc Doss was mocked for being unwilling to carry a rifle, but he became a hero because of his courage under fire and love for his men. A November 4th big-screen release of a movie, “Hacksaw Ridge” tells his incredible story. The movie stars Andrew Garfield, and the screen adaptation by Mel Gibson is “based on a screenplay that had been relegated to `development hell’ for 15 years. The film’s world premiere was [in September] at the esteemed Venice Film Festival, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.”

                I first heard of Desmond Doss when I read an article written by Mark Alexander at The Patriot Post. Alexander met 76-year-old Doss in 1995, as the two of them lived a few miles apart in east Tennessee. Alexander described Doss and his wife as being “simple people who lived a simple life on a small farm” and “warm and welcoming” people. Doss is described as “humble and slightly built,” wearing “thick glasses,” and being “virtually deaf. Both Doss and his wife were devout Christians.

                Doss “was raised in a Christian tradition which taught that taking up arms to do someone harm was forbidden,” but he declined a religious exemption during World War II. He was as a “conscientious objector” but considered himself to be a “conscientious cooperator” because he felt it “an honor to serve God and country.” He did not want to dodge the draft, but he had no idea what was ahead of him. He was viewed by both officers and enlisted men as a coward because he never picked up a rifle.

                In May 1945, near Urasoe on Okinawa, Doss showed by his actions that he was not a coward but had “limitless courage and character.” The fighting was “horrific,” and “he knew there were many severely wounded soldiers” on the top of Hacksaw Ridge (Maeda Escarpment). He disobeyed an order to retreat and cover and then spent 12 hours rescuing injured men under machine gun, rifle, and mortar fire. One-by-one, he pulled the injured soldiers off the battlefield and lowered them 35 feet to safety.

                The Medal of Honor citation for Doss sounds like fiction, but it honors a real hero as it documents his heroic actions as a medic between April 29 and May 21, 1945.
                “He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.
                “On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.”
                “On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma.
                “Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.
                “On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.”

                Doss continued his service to other upon his return to the states. His character was shown by his many acts of honorable service throughout his life. It is only fitting that he receives the honor of having a movie made about him. “Hacksaw Ridge” sounds like a movie that all of us should see.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Division of Powers

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the division of powers built into the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the Founders divided the national powers into three branches – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. In dividing the national powers into three branches, the Founders meant for the three branches to keep each other under control. With Congress giving some of their powers to the Executive branch and the Supreme Court attempting to legislate laws, the controls on the three branches are still there but slowly failing.

                Barack Obama uses his pen and his telephone to make policies. If he cannot persuade Congress to pass a bill that he wants, he simply signs an Executive Order. He does not have a judicial record because the Supreme Court is still exerting controls on his actions on immigration, environmental policy, and presidential appointees.

                Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal recently wrote about seven times when the judicial branch stopped power grabs from the Executive branch. “Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued a July 2014 report that found 20 instances in which a unanimous high court ruled against the administration. Not all of these cases were executive actions, but legal interpretations by an agency.
                “The Obama administration has fared worse before the Supreme Court than any other modern president’s administration, with a 45 percent win rate, according to an analysis by Ilya Shapiro, a fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Obama’s last five predecessors had a win rate of between 60-75 percent before the high court, according to Shapiro.”

                Even though every President uses more executive power than the last, Obama has exceeded all of them with his unconstitutional grabs for power. This has happened because Congress and the courts have yielded some of their controls.

                The high rate of unanimous rebukes by the Supreme Court happened because of the Obama administration’s “pattern of ignoring the rule of law and usurping the role of Congress.”  The Judicial branch stopped power grabs in the following seven actions: (1) Executive Amnesty, (2) School Gender Identity Restrooms Mandate, (3) Appointing without Confirmation, (4) Delayed Carbon Regulations, (5) Searching Cellphones,
(6) Obamacare Judicial Setback, and (7) Regulating Water. You can read details of these seven actions in Lucas’ article titled “7 Big Judicial Setbacks to Obama’s Executive Overreach.”

                In order for our national government to operate correctly, each of the three branches of our government – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial – must operate within the bounds given in the Constitution. Anything less gives power to the wrong branch of government.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Importance of Fathers

                I have written many times about the importance of fathers and was recently reminded of their value in our lives. We have a Father in Heaven could have been called by any name He chose, and He chose to be called Father. This, to me, is a critical witness of the value of fathers and fatherhood.

                We bestow the title of “father” on numerous and worthy individuals. Father Adam, George Washington as Father of our Country, and James Madison as the Father of the Constitution are just a few of them so honored. Yet, the same title of “father” is given to most men.

                Fathers are essential to God’s plan for the eternal happiness of His children. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles  spoke about fathers at the April 2016 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and raised  a voice of encouragement for those who are striving to fill well [the] calling” of father.

                Elder Christofferson quotes David Blankenhorn, the author of Fatherless America. The author observed, “Today, American society is fundamentally divided and ambivalent about the fatherhood idea. Some people do not even remember it. Others are offended by it. Others, including more than a few family scholars, neglect it or disdain it. Many others are not especially opposed to it, nor are they especially committed to it. Many people wish we could act on it, but believe that our society simply no longer can or will.”

                Then Elder Christofferson states, “As a Church, we believe in fathers. We believe in `the ideal of the man who puts his family first.’ We believe that `by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.’ We believe that in their complementary family duties, `fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.’ We believe that far from being superfluous, fathers are unique and irreplaceable….
                “Perhaps the most essential of a father’s work is to turn the hearts of his children to their Heavenly Father. If by his example as well as his words a father can demonstrate what fidelity to God looks like in day-to-day living, that father will have given his children the key to peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. A father who reads scripture to and with his children acquaints them with the voice of the Lord….
                “Loving the mother of his children – and showing that love – are two of the best things a father can do for his children. This reaffirms and strengthens the marriage that is the foundation of their family life and security.”

                Toward the end of his talk Elder Christofferson shares Julian Dyke’s story about his father that appeared in the New Era [in October 1994]. Every morning before he left for work, the father would stand by his sleeping son and pray for him. The boy was aware of the prayers and was somewhat embarrassed by them.

                “At first, I didn’t really understand what my dad was doing those mornings when he prayed for me. But as I got older, I came to sense his love and interest in me and everything I was doing. It is one of my favorite memories. It wasn’t until years later, after I was married, had children of my own, and would go into their rooms while they were asleep and pray for them that I understood completely how my father felt about me.”

                Children who are reared by the type of father shown in the story above are very blessed. I had such a father, and I grew to appreciate him more and more as I grew up and become a parent. I am grateful that my grandchildren are being reared by this type of father. My sons by birth and marriage are true fathers to their children, and their influence shows in the children’s lives and in the family as a whole. Thank you!

                To close this post, I want to share again this video titled “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.” I encourage you to watch it often to understand the importance of fathers in our homes.

Friday, October 14, 2016


                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when all individuals understand how God empowers women in motherhood. Motherhood is the most essential “career” for all women because we brought it from our pre-mortal life. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Adam said she was the “mother of all living” before Eve bore any children.

                Marie Bigelow posted an interesting article titled “3 Ways God Empowers Women in Motherhood.” She writes, “As a mother, doula, childbirth educator, and maternal-fetal health advocate, I have witnessed the magnification of mothers continually for over a decade. I have seen God’s hand in every aspect of raising the next generation. Here are three ways I continually see Heavenly Father strengthen and magnify mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and female role models.”

                First, Bigelow states that “God foreordained all women to be mothers. Modern day revelation teaches us that all women were foreordained in the preexistence to become mothers, in more ways than just physically. As the family proclamation teaches, gender is part of our eternal identity. Meaning, our gender and accompanying attributes were laid out in the preexistence. God had already qualified and empowered all women to this demanding role and endowed all women, even those who do not physically give birth, with the ability to mother….”

                Second, Bigelow shares that “The Physiology of childbirth transforms and strengthens women. Despite cultural beliefs, the ability to bear children is not a curse. Childbirth was not a punishment placed upon women after Eve partook of the fruit but was a divine gift to humankind long before Eve was ever placed in the Garden. Though childbirth is anything but a curse, it is also anything but easy! Pregnancy and birth take a physical and emotional toll on women, but God has found many ways to strengthen and magnify His daughters during this trying, yet edifying experience. One notable example of this is the physiological design of childbirth and how God uses the chemical reactions of birth to magnify and strengthen our relationships….”

                Third, Bigelow says that “Nurturing children magnifies women. Taking care of children magnifies a woman in two ways: (1) Physiological bonding continues as women nurture and enjoy children, and (2) Christlike love is developed and strengthened through countless opportunities to serve. Whether a woman gives birth to her children or adopts them, she will physiologically bond with her children as she enjoys spending time with them as they grow. Teaching, nurturing, snuggling, singing, dancing, playing, and reading together will add happiness to family life as both mother and child are rewarded by these activities….”

                Bigelow’s entire article is very helpful in explaining how God empowers women in motherhood. She states that to “mother” is to “give life.” There are many ways that women give life – besides giving birth. Think of the many step-mothers and adopted moms that love children born to other women and give them “life” through nurturing them in the home. Think of the many teachers who welcome into their classrooms children from many walks of life and help them to become better people. Think of the many grandmothers and great-grandmothers who have great influence for good in the lives of their posterity.

                Motherhood is a part of womanhood and is empowered by God. When we realize the power in motherhood, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.